Its a Wrap - Fireball Worlds 2013 all over bar the tourism

Post date: Sep 24, 2013 8:0:31 AM

Folks - for the verry many who use facebook note that we are working at updating the Irish Fireball Association Facebook page and there are lots of pics of team Ireland at play there.. below is my final few words on the event, just an update of last report to be hones..We're hoping for a great turnout in Lough Ree next weekend - the weather is looking very hopeful and there's free camping beside the club so we're all set for another great affordable event..Although some Irish teams are extending their break with a few days in Venice it’s all over now for the 2013 Fireball World Championships in Portoroz, Slovenia. On the final day Wind Guru was predicting winds of 2 knots gusting one knot. Those who fell in backwards during the event due to sudden holes realised this may not have been an error. Another race would have given everyone a welcome extra discard to play with. The race officer postponed due to lack of wind but sent the fleet out when a sea breeze appeared to kick in. The wind never really materialised properly however and variations of 45 degrees in direction over the race area were recorded. Just before the cut-off point he sent the fleet home and in all fairness it was probably the right decision even though a reasonable breeze filled in within half an hour. There were lots of boats to pack, prizes to be presented, beer to be sampled and journeys to be started. The new World Champions were Tom Gillard and Simon Potts (25 points), vice-champions Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey (27 points) and 2013 European champions Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff finished third with 34 points. Irish positions remained as per the penultimate day (below). Team Ireland immediately set about breaking down the boats and loading onto the Kenny wonder-trailer. You can see some pics and a video of the loading on accompanying posts but it all went smoothly thanks to a real team effort. By 7pm Kenny was driving out of the marina with a full load. The rest of the Irish repaired, along with some Shetlanders, to Rustika restaurant where a full meal for 15 people with drinks, some starters, some desserts and coffees came to 250 euros.

The Irish Fireball team performed solidly during the event although we never managed to crack the top ten which was dominated by UK boats. On the penultimate day of racing we launched in a light breeze which was still offshore and southerly. The race officer showed confidence in letting us out in the light air, and his judgement proved correct when a decent thermal breeze kicked in NNW and a course was set far out in the bay closer to Piran than Portoroz. After one general recall a black flag went up and a relatively diciplined fleet of 79 boats got away. Those who went left towards the Croatian side on the first beat found their luck had come good as a shift of 20 degrees or more with decent pressure landed in their lap. Those who went right paid a high price and could be forgiven for moaning that an abandonment would have been the way to go. The wind was constantly shifting however and on subsequent beats in this and the following race the trick seemed to be, as ever, to find pressure, avoid holes and tack in the major shifts. In the second race the fleet got away on the first attempt. The wind was shifty as ever but slowly dropping off also. Flag C was flown as the PRO tweaked the marks to keep the course as fair as possible. Overall the racing for the worlds was very good but very tough. The PRO has managed to get two races in per day as per schedule despite very tricky wind conditions. There has generally been decent wind however compared to the Europeans, albeit extremely shifty and uneven across the course.

Getting a decent start has been as crucial as ever in a big event and a bad start really does leave you gasping for air and the boat near stopped in chop and slop. The Irish fleet has been sailing well and posting some good results with 5 boats in the top half of the fleet. Louis Smyth and Cormac Bradley pulled off a blinder in one race posting a 9th. UK boats dominated the top 20 positions however, a testement to their big fleet skills but also their ability to adapt to different conditions. By day 4 Tom Gillard and Simon Pots (UK) were leading Christian Birrell and Sam Breary (UK) by 2 points with Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff (UK) in 3rd.Best of the Irish were team Kenny Rumball and Dave Moran lying 16th with Noel Butler and Stephen Oram one place behind in 17th. Niall McGrotty and Neil Cramer are lying 33rd with Louis Smyth and Cormac Bradley in 35th. Frank Miller and Marie Barry are two places behind in 37th. Louise McKenna and Ismail Inan had some misfortunes including a day off due to a bad tummy bug (which hit many sailors) and a failed main halyard leaving them 67th.

While these numbers look big it is worth remembering that this is the World Championships and the standard of racing is extremely high right throughout the fleet. It is actually quite an achievement for so many Irish boats to be in the top half of the scoreboard. It is worth mentioning the logistical and social side of things. This was an extremely well organised event by GoSailing with everything you could want on your doorstep. Everyone is staying within 10 minutes walk/cycle of their boat whether in apartments or hotels. There were many inexpensive and good restaurants beside us with cheap beer and wine. The marina area is massive and roomy allowed for upended boats to be easily repaired or tweaked. Half the fleet were accommodated in a hangar fully rigged and ready to sail at the drop of a flag. The PRO and his team showed great skill in getting the races in despite the tricky wind conditions. There were few downsides besides the difficult launching and recovery conditions via two temporary floating slipways. Once ashore however and eating the free pasta and drinking free beer after racing these woes and the snakes and ladders of the day were soon forgotten. Over and out from the Slovenia Six and see you all in Lough Ree for our Munsters next weekend.

There are some sailing pics to be seen from organisers GoSailing here -