Staunton Harold Open
The 2015 open meeting at Staunton Harold has gone down in Fireball folklore. Listen to some of the stories and you would think the event had been held in the Southern Ocean, not a reservoir just outside Derby. It was carnage with broken boats and crews everywhere. Some still bear the scars; for some the mental scars might never heal.
So it was with some trepidation that the Fireball fleet travelled up and down the M1 to Staunton Harold for the first open of the 2017 calendar over the weekend of 25th and 26th March. However, conditions could not have been more perfect as they were greeted with warm spring sunshine and a 10-12 knot breeze.
On the Saturday, a series of 7 sprint races were held over short 1 and 2 lap windward-leeward courses with races lasting 15-20 minutes. With the frenetic activity from that number of races it's impossible to give you a leg by leg commentary and, to be honest, that would be boring. What we can say it was a lot of fun. Plus if you were down the pan, you didn't have to endure the pain for too long.
At the end of the day Christian Birrell and Vyv Townend lay first, with World Champion Tom Gillard and crew Tom Lonsdale second and Kevin Hope and Russ Thorne third. Local evergreens Grahame Newton and Mark Stevens also had an impressive string of results.
Special mention must go to the scratch team of Dave Wade and Dave Winder. Although he has the necessary weight credentials to be a crew, Winder is normally seen at the back end of a Fireball (when not building them). I think the consensus in the boat was he was a pretty useless crew but, by the end of the first day they seemed to have worked out the best way to overcome his lack of crewing dexterity and rounded off the day with a 2nd place in the last race of the day.
After a hectic but fun days sailing, the fleet adjourned to the clubhouse for an excellent curry supper laid on by the club. I believe a few beers were also consumed with the Scorpion fleet.
Sunday morning dawned with more of the same - warm sunshine and 10 knot breeze which built as the day progressed. There was also some localised fogginess, mainly around the Wade and Winder boat.
There were another 4 races held over slightly longer courses, but still short enough to provide a bit of a sprint feel. Matt and Simon Foskett had a good day winning 2 of the 4 races. It may have been a coincidence that Simon had been manning the bar the night and kept the main opposition supplied with beer.
However, when the final points were totted up, the clear winners were Birrell and Townend with 6 race wins, Gillard and Lonsdale second and Hope and Thorne third.
But the real hero of the weekend was Thomas Kelsall. Most Fireball helms whinge about the loads on the mainsheet but this 9 year old put them all to shame. Sailing with his Dad this plucky lad completed almost every race and was rewarded with a thunderous round of applause when he collected his special prize at the prize giving.
A massive thank you to all the club volunteers at SHSC who made this such a great event from the galley staff who kept us all fed to the race team under Tim Grey who laid on such great racing. The sprint format was great fun and a huge success. With the Fireball season culminating in the Europeans at Lyme Regis in August, it was a great way to blow away the winter cobwebs and start the championship campaign.
|1st||15096||Christian Birrell||Vyv Townend||Bough Beech SC||1||1||‑4||1||1||‑4||3||1||2||4||1||15|
|2nd||15127||Thomas Gillard||Tom Lonsdale||Sheffield Viking SC||2||4||1||2||2||2||‑6||2||5||‑11||2||22|
|3rd||15133||Kevin Hope||Russell Horner||Notts County SC||5||3||2||3||4||1||4||‑6||3||‑7||6||31|
|4th||14870||Matt Foskett||Simon Foskett||SHSC||‑6||2||5||5||5||6||5||‑7||1||1||3||33|
|5th||15143||David Wade||Dave Winder||Northampton||4||7||‑12||4||3||5||2||‑12||9||3||4||41|
|6th||15118||Grahame Newton||Mark Stevens||SHSC||3||9||6||11||‑13||3||‑13||3||6||6||7||54|
|7th||15070||Isaac Marsh||Oliver Davenport||Dovestone SC||7||6||3||7||10||‑12||(DNF)||4||7||2||10||56|
|8th||14370||Daren Fasey||Colin Davis||SHSC||10||5||7||9||11||‑13||‑14||8||4||5||8||67|
|9th||14804||Toby Hamer||Torie Morley||Port Dinorwic||9||‑15||8||12||‑14||11||12||5||12||12||5||86|
|10th||14935||Andy Foskett||Lesley Foskett||SHSC||8||8||‑14||‑15||8||10||7||12||10||14||11||88|
|11th||15073||Nigel Pepperdine||Tim Saunders||SHSC||‑18||14||13||6||6||8||11||11||8||16||(DSQ)||93|
|12th||14792||Ellie Craig||R Botting||Draycote Water SC||13||12||‑16||8||9||15||‑16||10||11||15||16||109|
|13th||14950||Chris Thorne||Andy Stewart||Lyme Regis||16||11||11||14||7||16||8||14||‑17||‑17||14||111|
|14th||15107||Rick Cores||James Goodfellow||Hayling Island||11||10||10||18||17||7||1||(DNC)||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||114|
|15th||15004||Rob Watson||Corey Newton||SHSC||12||‑16||15||16||12||‑17||15||9||16||8||13||116|
|16th||14328||John Piatt||Ian Moore||HISC||15||‑18||9||‑17||15||9||10||16||14||13||15||116|
|17th||14889||Barry smith||Jo Line||Thornbury SC||14||13||17||10||‑18||‑18||9||18||13||10||12||116|
|18th||14771||Terry Forbes||Tim Needham||SHSC||‑17||17||‑19||13||16||14||17||15||15||9||9||125|
|19th||15002||Thomas Kelsall||Simon Kelsall||SHSC||(DNC)||(DNC)||18||19||19||19||18||17||18||18||17||163|