Solo Fireball!

Post date: Aug 23, 2017 2:38:34 PM

In contrast to the 85 Fireballs gathered in Lyme Regis, UK for the European Championships, where for the second day in a row no racing has been possible, the single Fireball out last night, in the penultimate Tuesday night race of the 2017 season, had good breeze for their laps of the course. Regrettably, as they were the only Fireball out, strictly speaking Stephen Oram and Noel Butler (15061) didn’t have a race. And that seems to be confirmed by way of no results for the Class on the official DBSC website this morning. However, to give them and the race committee their respective dues, both parties went through the motions of going round the course and giving the single participant two race starts. Twenty-two boats answered the starter’s call comprising 3 IDRAs, 1 Finns, a K1, 14 Lasers and 2 Laser Vagos and the single Fireball in a good breeze from a SSE direction. With low water at 18:22, tide and wind were in tandem with each other leaving a flat sea with a slight chop. However, there were stronger gusts on the water. A windward-leeward course of X1 was signalled – two roundings of the weather mark and a downwind finish after the second rounding.

Starting three minutes after the PY Class which was led all the way round by the Finn, Stephen and Noel had caught the last IDRA and the leading Vago by the first weather mark. Under spinnaker, they initially sailed out to sea on starboard tack before gybing and taking a long port tack back inshore to towards the leeward mark before a further two gybes saw them onto the second beat. At this stage the wind conditions were allowing Stephen to high-wire up the beat. By the second windward mark the leading IDRA had been caught and adopting a similar approach to the second downwind leg, they closed to just over a minute (1:04) behind the winning Finn with the leading IDRA 20 seconds behind them.

Before the second race got underway the wind started to build, creating whitecaps on Scotsman’s Bay and the weather mark was moved about 200m to the right (southwards). Stephen & Noel took a long tack out to sea on the first beat and rounded the weather mark a short distance behind the Finn and the leading IDRA who had each pursued a more inshore course to the mark. While a spinnaker showed briefly on the downwind leg, it disappeared prematurely and the pair two-sailed across the downwind finish line of the shortened race. There must have been a technical problem on board because as I left the harbour area, they were being assisted ashore by one of the rescue ribs.

In Lyme Regis, the Europeans got underway on Sunday past with two races in a “mixed-bag of weather day” characterised by multiple attempts to get the racing underway and a consequent heavy toll in black-flag disqualifications. Some well-known Fireball practitioners were on the list of transgressors including one of the Irish boats. Monday was afflicted with insufficient wind to get racing underway and yesterday (Tuesday) a combination of high winds and projected sea condition persuaded the Harbour Master that racing should not proceed. Thus, on Monday we had Facebook post of idyllic seaside conditions – sunshine, light wind and ice-creams – much to the disappointment of the competitors. Yesterday I understand that fossil-hunting was a popular distraction. The upshot is that today’s programmed lay-day now has a three-race schedule.