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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Fireball European Championship at Portorož, Slovenia Interim Report

by Frank Miller 21 Sep 09:14 BST 16-22 September 2023
Fireball Europeans at Portorož, Slovenia - view of the dinghy park © Frank Miller

Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser (Sui) lead the field after two races in the 70 boat Fireball European Championship at Portorož in Slovenia. Lying second overall are Aussies Heather MacFarlane & Chris Payne just two points behind the Swiss team. Third overall are Alois Verkest & Bernard Biscay of France. Vince Horey and Dave Wade are 4th on 11 points.

The team who would have initially been event favourites, Tom Gillard & Andy Thompson, were 13th in race two, but their black flag from the first race hangs over them with a 36th place total. A discard kicks in after five races but the forecast for the rest of the week is unpredictable - marginally better than breezes to date but by no means assured. The traditional crews' dinner took place on Tuesday night. This was a very high class event generously hosted by Fireball Slovenia.

Other countries featuring in the top include the Czech and French teams. Slovenia has entered in force with a good number of young sailors taking part. Team Ireland are happy to have two boats in the top ten. Josh Porter and Cara McDowell are lying 7th overall and Adrian and Ossian are in 10th place.

The fleet on Tuesday headed out to the race area in an excellent breeze, but it faded steadily and by the start was averaging about eight knots. A decent start was crucial for clear air, as was the ability to keep boats moving through flat patches. There were quite big shifts and changes in angles both upwind and offwind and differences in pressure around the course.

Wednesday was the lay day and there wasn't enough optimism about the forecast to abandon that in favour of racing. For the remaining races on Thursday and Friday the race officer will attempt three races per day, conditions permitting, but the forecast remains tricky.

More information and full results so far can be found here.

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