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Inlands at Draycote

On the 13th and 14th of October 62 Fireball crews gathered at Draycote Water for their Inland Championships. On the same weekend as the great storm 20 years ago, all were greeted by mist and no wind. The race team did a good job and waited until 2pm to send the fleet out in a very light but consistent enough breeze for a fair race.

Andy Smith and Jonny Mildred (Notts County) led at the first mark to be passed by Tom Fenn and Mike Lewing (also Notts County). Fenn and Lewing stayed in front to the end. Dave Wade and "Pumping" Rob Gardner (Northampton) passed Smith and Mildred to finish second. The fleet drifted to the bank with rugby and drinking planned for Saturday night.

Sunday morning and still no wind. All set off to sail, on the first start a few were sent in by the black flag and a general recall. Richard Mason and Simon Hextall (Notts County) led for three laps being followed by Peter Gray and Simon Forbes (Staunton Harold) who passed Wade and Gardner on the second lap.

The final race was led from start to finish Becky Priest and Tim Saunders (Staunton Harold) being followed by Matt Mee and Richard Wagstaff (Hollingworth Lake). Mee and Wagstaff needed a first in this race to take the championship and tried to out-tack Priest and Saunders on the final beat. However Andy Pearce and Gary Henwood-Fox (Thornbury) had found a useful area of pressure and a favourable shift on one side of the course and just pipped Mee and Wagstaff on the line.

As lunch was served the wind dropped almost to nothing so the Race Officer wisely decided to call it a day leaving Mason and Hextall the Inland Champions for 2007. Wade and Gardner ended up second overall and Fenn and Lewing third. The prize giving and event was sponsored by Speed Sails. Thanks also to Draycote for a well-run event, great food on the Saturday night and a big screen to make England’s rugby world cup win seem all the more impressive. Just a pity the international contingent to this Fireball event was Irish and not French!

Posted: 18/10/2007
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