Report by Vyv Townend:
The 2023 Fireball season kicked off with the Gul sponsored Golden Dolphin Series Open at Chew Valley over the weekend of 1st and 2nd April.
The first obstacle that the fleet had to overcome was actually getting to Chew. The wettest March in 40 years finished off with a flourish of torrential downpours causing atrocious driving conditions on the Saturday morning. Nevertheless everyone arrived safely to rig in light drizzle that eventually cleared by the time the boats had to launch.
To say that conditions were tricky would be an understatement. There was a very fluky semi-trapezing breeze from the North with some big shifts and even bigger holes which meant it was a day of snakes and ladders, the trick being trying to avoid the many snakes rather than trying to find the more elusive ladders. It was definitely a day for the lightweights.
In Race 1 DJ Edwards and Vyv Townend led at the first mark, but Derian and Andy Scott overhauled the former World Champions on the run to take the lead. Derian and Andy held off DJ and Vyv to take the race win with Kev Hope and Andy Street taking third.
In Race 2 DJ and Vyv led from start to finish with Kev and Andy second and Anthony and James Willcocks third.
Again for Race 3, it was the familiar red kite that was hoisted first and DJ and Vyv went on to take the race managing to hold off the challenge from the lightweights snapping at their heals all the way around, with Allan and Christina Tyler taking second and Kev and Andy third.
The fleet adjourned to the bar and then the local pub/curry house along with the Scorpion fleet to relax in a traditional manner.
Sunday dawned with slightly less breeze than the day before and a bit of a chill. The breeze was even more unstable, providing plenty of challenges for competitors and race team alike.
For Race 4, Derian and Andy led for most of the race until they hit the biggest snake of the weekend on the final run which saw them tumble down to seventh. DJ and Vyv took their third bullet, with the Willcocks twins second and Simon Lomas Clarke and Rob Daniels third.
Just as Race 5 started, a massive left hand shift came through throwing the fleet into disarray. Kath and Thomas Broatch took advantage and led at the first mark followed by Christine Slater and Jo Line who had fortuitously been forced to tack off the startline by DJ and came out smelling of roses. Sometimes it works like that! Despite being put under significant pressure, Kath and Thomas continued to lead at the first leeward mark only for the race to be abandoned on the next beat.
DJ and Vyv went on to win the restarted Race 5 and with it take the meeting, with Paul Cullen and Simon Forbes who were having an uncharacteristically quiet weekend taking second and Allan and Christina third.
Having won with a race to spare DJ and Vyv decided you can have too much of a good thing and headed off to the warmth of the showers. Allan and Christina did what they had been threatening to do all weekend and won the race with Paul and Simon continuing their roll to take another second and Kev and Andy third.
A big thank you to CVLSC for hosting such a great event especially PRO Nick Martindale and his race team who did a great job in such tricky conditions. A big shout out also goes to Gul for their continued support for the Class and the donation of some great prizes. This included a special prize to Rachel Elliott and Rory Stretch competing in their first open meeting. Welcome to the fleet Rachel and Rory!
|1st||Gold||15144||DJ Edwards||Vyv Townend||Bough Beech||2||1||1||1||1||(DNC)||6|
|2nd||Gold||15122||Kevin Hope||Andy Stewart||Notts County||3||2||3||‑4||4||3||15|
|3rd||Silver||15086||Allan Tyler||Christina Tyler||Lyme Regis||5||‑6||2||6||3||1||17|
|4th||Gold||14928||Anthony Willcocks||James Willcocks||Portishead||4||3||‑5||2||5||4||18|
|5th||Gold||15147||Paul Cullen||Simon Forbes||Weir Wood||6||5||4||‑8||2||2||19|
|6th||Gold||14941||Derian Scott||Andy Scott||CVLSC||1||4||‑8||7||8||5||25|
|7th||Gold||14785||Simon Lomas Clarke||Rob Daniels||TCYC||7||9||6||3||‑10||7||32|
|9th||Gold||14844||Kath Broatch||Thomas Broatch||Port Dinorwic||11||‑12||9||5||9||6||40|
|10th||Silver||14391||Christine Slater||Jo Line||Portishead||‑12||8||12||12||7||9||48|
|11th||Silver||14761||Mark Dinwoodie||Helen Dinwoodie||CVLSC||10||10||10||10||‑12||10||50|
|12th||Silver||15075||Andy Willcocks||Andrea Willcocks||Portishead||8||‑11||11||11||11||11||52|
|13th||Silver||14889||Barry Smith||Rick Spring||Thornbury||13||13||13||(OCS)||13||12||64|
|14th||Silver||14574||Rachel Elliott||Rory Stretch||Clevedon||(DNF)||14||DNC||13||14||13||69|