Shoreham Open Report

The conditions that greeted the 27 Fireballs at the Open Meeting hosted by Shoreham Sailing Club over the weekend of 27th and 28th June were nothing short of perfect – 12 knots of breeze and glorious sunshine.

One person who was not destined to enjoy the conditions was Chips Howarth, who, due to a major diary malfunction, was on a ferry in mid-Channel just as the gun for the first race was being fired.  However, Vince Horey stepped in as a last minute replacement to helm for Vyv Townend.  Howarth’s are big shoes to fill but Horey pulled it off with aplomb.  He came off the line stormed up the beat and rounded the first mark ahead of Andy Smith and Jonny Mildred and extended his lead throughout.  At the last leeward mark he even had time to stop and retrieve the spinnaker pole that an exuberant Townend had thrown overboard during the drop – luckily the new Twaron poles float better than the traditional Kevlar wrapped alloy versions!  At the finish it was Horey first, with Smith second and recently crowned National Champions Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff 3rd.

In the second race, Phil Popple and Gavin Tillson led around the first mark, closely followed by Smith, Dave Wade and Ben McGrane, and Horey.  During the hoist Popple managed to nearly decapitate Mildred with his spinnaker.  Wade emerged best from the ensuing chaos to lead from Horey and Burge.  These three boats had a great ding-dong around the next two laps.  Down the last run, Wade and Burge got into a match race allowing Horey to slip through and take his second bullet.

For Saturday night, Shoreham SC put on their usual hospitality and the fleet was able to enjoy a few beers and a spit roast.  

Sunday dawned with sea mist and a distinct lack of breeze.  The fleet launched only to drift around in the tide.  Eventually 5 knots of breeze kicked in – hardly the stuff for exhilarating high performance sailing but enough to get over the start line....just.  Peter Gray and Simon Forbes led around the first mark closely followed by Howarth who had finally made it back to the UK.  Gray maintained the lead for 2 laps but eventually Wade got through both Gray and Howarth and at the finish the order was Wade, Howarth and Gray.

In the second race the fleet managed to complete two laps and the Race Officer took the wise position to shorten course before the wind disappeared completely.  Howarth led from start to finish with Wade second and Smith third.

A big thank you must go to SSC for once again putting on an excellent event which also included a Fireball training event on Saturday morning before racing.

Overall results:

1st 15013 Vince Horey/Chips Howarth & Vyv Townend (Bewl Valley SC) 3pts

2nd 14993 Dave Wade & Ben McGrane (Northampton SC) 6pts

3rd 14994 Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff (Poole YC) 9pts

4th 14895 Andy Smith & Jonny Mildred (Notts County SC) 10pts

5th 15004 Peter Gray & Simon Forbes (Staunton Harold SC) 16pts

6th 14980 Tom Foskett & Tim Needham (Staunton Harold SC) 17pts


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