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Abersoch Dinghy Week Fireball report

Once again the Fireballs returned to Abersoch in force.  This is a real tradition and fun week for many fireball sailors with 17 boats making the journey from 7 clubs. 

Abersoch did not disappoint in any way.  The sun, wind, beautiful beaches and superb socials were all present and correct.

The event started with the usual social in the yacht club on Saturday night, with competitors meeting up with old friends and catching up on the news from the last 12 months.  There was some high level mathematics being completed by Paul Cullen trying to calculate how many times he has won the event compared to Adam Whitehouse but the sums were too difficult and his memory would not go that far back.

Racing was close and exciting all week with many of the race leaders having navigation issues, thus taking the most of the fleet to the wrong marks until a more ‘experienced’ and wiser sailor realised this making huge gains.  With the leading few eventually looking over their shoulder and then ‘politely’ asking their crews to put the spinnaker up as they headed back in the other direction.

Race 1 on Sunday was sailed in lovely sunshine and a force three. The race was dominated by Becky Hatt and Adam Whitehouse until Adam sailed to the wrong mark allowing the chasing pack to catch up and over take.  Ali and Russ Cormack eventually sailed into the lead and held this to the finish with Gina Moidinis and Paul Cullen closely in second and Martin Bunn and Mo Turner in third.

Race 2 on Monday was again sailed in lovely sunshine and a force 3. This time it was Ali and Russ to lead the fleet.  They took advantage of a good proportion of the fleet sailing to the wrong mark and not realising until Ali had hoisted and set the spinnaker and well on the way to what they assumed was the second mark of the course.  Ali and Russ had what was thought to be an uncatchable lead and were secure with their navigation after checking this with a passing rescue boat.  All the fleet followed and no one noticed a lone red spinnaker sailing much lower than the other 16 boats.  Within the 3 boat lengths of second mark Ali and Russ could clearly now see that the mark they had been sailing to for the last 15mins was infact the wrong one, and notice that red spinnaker of Dawn and Ian Savell was now rounding a different mark miles away from where they were.  At this point the whole of the fleet saw Russ’ calm response to this navigation error as he ‘gently’ headed up to join the correct course.  This situation condensed the fleet and gave Dawn and Ian a great lead.  Soon Ali and Russ broke away from the chasing pack trying to catch Dawn and Ian, but team Savell were sailing well to maintain their lead until yet another navigation error this time by Ian Savell, which enable once again the fleet to condense around the final mark.  So rounding the last mark onto the final beat was team Savell followed closely by team Cormack and then Martin and Mo and Becky and Adam.  It worked best to stay to the left which caused problems for Becky and Adam, but Ali and Russ were able to sail over Dawn and Ian to claim first place and closely followed by Martin and Mo and with a great come back from Jean and Mike Jones into third place.

Race 4 on Wednesday was you guessed it, lovely sunshine and a force 3 to 4 with a great swell to play with.  This race was Abersoch at its best (plus there was no navigation issues this time).  It was a great race, very close with place swapping throughout the race and long fun reaches with lots to gain and lose if the waves were not caught.  This time the race was won by Becky and Adam with Martin and Mo in second and team Cormack in third.  Gareth Wilkinson and Jonathan Carter showed good speed in the race battling with the other top boats and finishing fourth.

Race 5 on Thursday was a little lighter and shiftier than the previous days.  Becky, Ali and Gina had all sailed their helms into a comfortable place with a fair gap from the chasing pack.  Ali and Russ eventually sailing through to first place on the beat and they and Becky pulled away from Gina and Paul.  The wind then filled in from behind on the run giving an advantage to the chasing pack and once again compressed the fleet and proved very advantageous for Martin and Mo.  Rounding the final mark it was Ali in the lead with Becky in second place.  Both Ali and Becky decided to cover Jane and Dave Stanley to the right of the course but Gina and Martin guided their helms on the other side of the beat making huge gains.  Dawn Savell seeing the progress made by the chasing two boats also chose the left giving the race positions as Gina the win, Martin second and Dawn third.  This change of fortunes on the last beat was so prominent that it was also mentioned by the band in the evening, giving Team Savell the name check they deserved!

So going into to the final day it was all between Martin and Ali the two crews who had sailed their helms so well around the course for the week.  Ali was slightly concerned as even though Team Cormack had a 2 point gap on second place Martin and Mo the chasing pair had at least 20Kgs on the Cormacks, and the forecast looked breezy.  However, the thought process and calculations were incidental as visibility was too poor to sail on the Friday and racing was cancelled giving the Cormacks the win and retaining their title for another year.

Yet again Abersoch was a great week proving to provide close racing in a relaxed one race a day format and being a fabulous marketing opportunity to show our super sailing dinghies and fleet racing off to those disillusioned RS sailors.


Posted: 06/08/2010
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