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Race day 5 at Lyme Regis

The penultimate day of the Gul Fireball Europeans in Lyme Regis was forecast to be light and shifty, so the prospect of getting 3 races in to catch up with the schedule was considered by many to be ambitious. It was possible that Wednesday would prove to be the last days sailing of the week.

The fleet launched on time and on the race course there was a brief delay as the wind fell below a consistent 5 knots. But in true Lyme fashion the breeze filled in from the South West and in around 8 knots the fleet got away 1st time via a gate start.

The light conditions saw a mix up of the order with the 1st beat of course being key. It was the French boat of Alois Verkest & Jean Robillard who popped out in front and they sailed brilliantly to take the win from David Sayce & Nick Rees in 2nd and Matt Burge & Dan Schieber in 3rd. The race team did a great job or resetting the course after the 1st lap as the wind had shifted left, yet despite this move the wind shifted again and dropped off to leave the final reach a beat for some of the later finishers.

The French were the 1st non UK boat to win a race at this championships so their welcome to the podium at the prize giving later that evening was rapturous and it was great to get a true international flavour to the rostrum. As the UK nationals run concurrently with the European Championships, it was the 2nd place boat of David Sayce and Nick Rees who took their second major Nationals prize of the week for their 2nd place.

Race 2 got underway promptly and in building breeze with another gate start. It paid to go early and bang left and the windward mark saw some unusual faces amongst the top boats. It was Burge & Schieber who had another flyer and went on to take the win from popular Husband & Wife team Derian & Andy Scott in 2nd and Paul Cullen & Adam Whitehouse in an excellent 3rd.

The final race of the day got underway in slightly lighter conditions and following disappointing results in the previous 2 races, overnight leaders Tom Gillard & Geoff Edwards showed their class to romp through the fleet and take the win from local pair Allan Tyler & Tim Parsons in 2nd and Chris & John Gill in 3rd.

Later the fleet convened on the event marquee for a packed evening that included a presentation on next years Worlds in Carnac by the French Association Chairman Jean Robillard, a prize giving for the races, along with a double Otter Brewery sponsored Dork of the Day award and a “Halo” award won by Andy Stewart for being the happiest man in the fleet. Fireball International outgoing Chairman Steve Chesney led an open forum while the catering team prepared a delicious hog roast. Following that a sail number lottery was held with some incredible prizes from key sponsors Gul and Allen, 2 brand new centreboards courtesy of the UKFA plus 2 50% sail vouchers and a brand new spinnaker from Hyde that saw the crowd get very excited. The evening entertainment continued with the International “Mr Fireball” gameshow containing entrants from the UK, France, Belgium, Kenya and Canada. It was a close run contest and the crowd got right behind them all, but the French Entrant Gael came out on top to be crowned Mr Fireball 2017. All the contestants were hilarious and made the end of the evening fun for everyone in attendance.

The mixed results sees Burge & Schieber in the overall lead with 29 points from Birrell & Townsend in 2nd with 35 and Dobson & Wagstaff 3rd with 39. The forecast for Friday looks un-sailable with no wind expected. If there are no further races then there will be no further discard.. It all hangs in the balance and in the lap of the gods. Watch this space..

Link to results here http://www.halsraceresults.com/crs/crs.aspx?ClubKey=1140

 

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