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2023 Gul Fireball Inland Championship at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Mike Deane 9 Oct 2023 22:00 BST 7-8 October 2023

Draycote Water SC welcomed 31 boats to the 2023 Gul Fireball Inland Championship event on the weekend of 7th & 8th October. This was set to be a classic battle of skill and tactics for the prestigious title, and Severn Trent did their bit by closing the main road to the club and posting a hopeless diversion so that only the very worthiest of competitors could even find the place.

The weather on Saturday was perfect, with a shifty, gusty 12 knot breeze and full sunshine. Suspecting that Sunday might not be so excellent, the race team opted for 4 races back to back. So once we'd guided Vince in from Outer Birdingbury, we got on with it.

Race 1: The start line was long and only lightly biased, which may have been the reason that there were no recalls at all for the entire event. So the fleet got away cleanly at the first attempt and negotiated the tricky beat with varying degrees of success. Finding the gusts was key to a decent result, and Dave Hall & Paul Constable appeared to be doing a fine job of it. Anyway, some very nice 3-sail reaches and tactical runs ensued, but Dave & Paul came out ahead with DJ Edwards & Vyv Townend worthy bridesmaids, and Paul 'Spanner' Cullen & Dave Wade not too far behind at the end either.

At this point I should confess that I never saw Dave & Paul on the water at any time. Either they were on the other side of the beat every time, or Dave is fitting an invisibility cloak to his boats now.

Race 2: The breeze was rising, and some boats dropped the rake back a bit for this one. It was becoming apparent that you could be at the pin end of the line with the hotshots and go left, or take the scenic route out to the right and pick up a fabulous lift after tacking. Those of us who spotted this option turned up at the windward mark marginally ahead of those who didn't, but were then assaulted by quite a lot of boats charging in on port. Some shouting and parking up ensued, followed by quite a lot of grumbling in my boat. Georgia Booth & Olly Davenport managed to avoid the melee and made it round in first place, with Dave & Paul not far behind. A few laps and some more fabulous reaches later, the latter pair had taken the lead, with Georgia & Olly second and DJ & Vyv third.

Race 3: Breeze still up, sun still shining. Local boys Peter Wood & Richard Bailey nailed the start and the first beat and arrived at the top mark in first place. Sadly a big gust arrived while they were hoisting their kite and, oh woe, the bear-away zone was packed with port tack boats all charging in to the mark. Faced with the option of capsizing or bearing off and wiping out half the fleet, they very decently went with the capsize. This allowed Dave & Paul to switch on the cloaking device and win another race before anyone noticed them doing it. DJ & Vyv were second in that one and Kev Hope & Matt Potter played a blinder and came in third.

Race 4: The wind was dropping by this time, which made the race less exciting but rather trickier, particularly if you had a 14st crew lounging around up front. DJ & Vyv won themselves a decent lead and eventually the race, followed home by Dave & Paul and Kev & Matt.

The next day dawned bright and sunny on the Costa del Draycote, but there wasn't any wind at all. After due process was observed (chatting & eating cake) Dave & Paul were duly crowned Inland National Champions for 2023.

We also handed out prizes in the following categories:

1st Lady: Georgia Booth
1st Youth: Katy Byne (Helm), Ollie Davenport (Crew)
1st Silver Fleet: Adam Whitehouse and Caroline Whitehouse
1st Bronze Fleet: Graham Clow and Anthony Wright

A great event, once again perfectly executed by Draycote SC and their race team. Many thanks to them and to Gul for their generous sponsorship, and congratulations to Dave Hall & Paul Constable and our other worthy winners.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
115155David HallPaul ConstableBlackwater SC111‑23
215144DJ EdwardsVyv TownendBough Beech SC2‑3215
315133Kevin HopeMatt PotterNotts county sailing club6‑83312
414940Georgia BoothOliver DavenportHISC/Northampton726‑1015
515166Simon KingsJon LoeHisc5‑185515
615091Graham CookWilliam CookLyme Regis SC‑854716
714785Simon Lomas‑ClarkeRob DanielsTCYC‑12410418
815147Paul CullenDave WadeWeirwood3129‑1724
914778Michael DeanePaul DisneyDraycote1077‑1324
1014941Derian ScottAndy ScottCVLSC4‑1515625
1115042Peter WoodRichard BaileyDraycote Water913(DNC)830
1215122Anthony WillcocksJames WillcocksPortishead Yacht and Sailing Club13‑168930
1314915Vincent HoreyIan MooreKing George Sailing Club(DNC)6141131
1415145Steve GoacherTom GoacherLymington Town Sailing Club1810‑211240
1515066Mark MaskellNigel SheppardBlackwater SC1114‑221540
1615096Adam WhitehouseCaroline WhitehouseWhitstable/Bartley171117‑1845
1715127Richard ByneRichard BottingDraycote16‑20111946
1814844Kath BroatchThomas BroatchPort Dinorwic20‑22131447
1914837Russ CormackAli CormackBudworth sailing club1417‑191647
2015164Graham ClowAnthony WrightDelph SC159‑262549
2115045Christine WillcocksGraham SlaterPYSC & PSC191912‑2250
2214883Katie ByneLia HorneDWSC‑2321162057
2315056Colin SnowdonKaren HilesDwsc‑2525182164
2414836Stephanie GunnAndrew StewartNotts County Sailing Club212320‑2464
2514822Jonathan HughesNick LewisDraycote Water S.C.22‑27242369
2614994Damian AbbattQuentin HayesDWSC242623‑2773
2714873Ian OldburyGemma McIlroyDelph Sailing Club Bolton‑2724252675
2814753Jon CowperMartin MillsHunts SC26‑28282882
2914876JASON CAHILLKerry WebbPDSC/BARTLEY SC28‑30273085
3014800Andrew TaylorDavid HaslamDelph SC(DNC)29292987
31K14325william rickardswilliam Ty Newydd (DNC)DNCDNCDNC96

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