Blackwater SC Fireball Open 26th 27th June

Champagne conditions greeted the 17 Fireballs for the Blackwater SC Open meeting, the second in the Blackwater clubs series. With winds of F4-5 and temperatures of 27 degrees all was set for a g reat days racing. Race 1 with a strong port bias saw Ian Priest and Mike Stoddart hit the pin end on the start gun and never looked back rounding the windward mark first and keeping the rest of the fleet behind them till the finish. Second was local guru Steve Jarred crewed by Dave Nicholas with the birthday girl Maria Richards crewed by Graham Hoy in third.

Race 2, and with the wind increasing and strong flooding tide it was difficult to cross the line on starboard. Mark Maskell and Nigel Sheppard opted for a “port flyer” and cleared the fleet to lead the first lap. Peter Slack and Lucy Lingard closed them down on the second lap and went through on the next beat, with Martin Scarth and Tony King now in third place. Maskell and Sheppard closed on the final run and on the next beat powered over the top of Slack and Lingard and sailed on to take the gun, Slack and Lingard second with Scarth and King third.

Sundays racing was a little different, higher temperatures, but a fickle sea breeze full of holes and shift, winds F2. Race 3 with everyone eager to start, especially Dave Ryder the fleet decided to have a general recall, so next start under blag flag all got away cleanly. With big gains to be made by praying to the wind gods the fleet split some hard right the other hard left, left was good until the gods rolled the dice and those on the right came in fast reaching, Andy Pierce and Marguerite O’Rouke, followed by the local guru with Scarth and King in third. Places stayed the same until the next lap and on the run Maskell and Sheppard in 7th gybed at the windward mark and picked up breeze while those who opted for the right side fell into a hole allowing Maskell and Sheppard through into second behind Pearce an O’Rouke. These two then broke away from the fleet on the final lap and finished in that order with Slack and Lingard third.

Race 4 the breeze dropped off even more and became more variable. With any one of 3 crews who could win the event it was down to the last race. Pearce and O’Rouke again showed quick boat speed and hit the left side of the course, Maskell and Sheppard rounded second with Hannah Showell and Tim Saunders in third. On the next lap the fleet split with the leading two going left and the rest of the fleet opted for the right hand side. Right paid and Pearce rounded first, but only just, Maskell and Sheppard dropped to fourth and Showell and Saunders now in second. The PRO shortened course after the run due to dying winds with Pearce & O’Rouke taking the gun, Showell and Saunders second and Tim Riley and Lucy Foulds in Third.

Overall Results

1st Mark Maskell & Nigel Sheppard – Blackwater SC – 7pts
2nd Andrew Pearce & Marguerite O’Rouke – Portishead SC – 8pts
3rd Steve Jarred & Dave Nichols – Blackwater SC – 10pts
4th Peter Slack & Lucy Linguard – Staunton Harold SC – 12pts
5th Martin Scarth & Tony King – Blackwater SC – 13 pts

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