Staunton Harold SC Open
Staunton Harold SC

21/03/2020 - 22/03/2020


Hayling Island SC Open
Hayling Island SC

02/05/2020 - 03/05/2020


Brightlingsea SC Open (Golden Dolphin)
Brightlingsea SC

06/06/2020 - 07/06/2020


Blackwater SC Open Meeting
Blackwater SC

20/06/2020 - 21/06/2020


UK National Championship
Weymouth & Portland NSA

25/07/2020 - 28/07/2020


Staunton Harold Open Report

Bright sunshine and a moderate northerly breeze greeted the 26 Fireballs, including 11 visitors, for the SHSC Fireball Open.  These pleasant conditions did however put some doubt into a few minds as force 4-5 winds were forecast.  These doubts were further reinforced by the almost horizontal hail shower which pasted through just before the start of race 1.

Following the excitement of the hail and fresh breeze, race one started, under black flag, at the first time of asking, in sunshine and a light breeze.  Gray/Forbes took full advantage of a port shift at the top end of the beat to establish an early lead, with Curzon/Elver and Fasey/Davis in close attendance.  These positions were held for the first lap until, suddenly, the forecast force 4-5 suddenly turned on, which caught Gray mid-kite drop resulting in the first swim of the day (obviously a helm issue!).  This allowed Curzon and Fasey through and Foskett (the younger)/Needham to join the mix.  With conditions stabilizing, Curzon took line honours with Foskett jumping from 4th to 2nd on the last beat.

Race two was held in a relatively stable force 3 with Findlay/Anderton taking the lead from the start, which was held through the race.  Hope/Thorne and Newton/Stevens gave early chase.  However the conditions gave plenty of opportunity for positions to change, particularly with the runs often going by the lee, proving to be a test of nerve. Burge/Wagstaff made steady progress to finish 2nd with Foskett (T.Y.) making impressive ground on the last run to pull up to 3rd.

The wind increased for race three and again started first time.  Curzon, following a poor start, took the right side of the beat in search of clear air.  This was rewarded with the lead at the first mark closely followed by Findlay and Burge.  The lead was swapped between these three throughout the race.  Conditions were becoming increasingly challenging, particularly the reach, which when taken full on, was lively to say the least, but several made gains by putting the kite back in the bag.  Findlay finished 1st with Burge and Curzon within a couple of boat lengths.

The somewhat fatigued fleet enjoyed a marvellous five-course Pepperdine meal including Indian and Chinese main dishes with English puddings and Mrs C’s infamous mulled wine.  The entertainment was provided by videos of the day’s events and a table-top quiz coupled with numerous visits to the bar.  But who was the Blue Max from yester year?

A distinct lack of breeze meant a delayed start to the far too early Sunday morning racing, giving some a chance to recover from the loss of sleep due to the clocks moving forward.  The intermittent light thermal breezes, from all directions, provided a challenge to the Race Officer and fleet alike.

After race four finally got away Curzon established a comfortable lead which was extended throughout the race.  A long run in the variable conditions gave passing opportunities with Newton and Foskett (the senior) crewed by Foskett (the even younger), finally holding off Hope and Findlay, to the line for 2nd and 3rd.

The effects of converging breezes dominated race five.  Maskell (x2) and Newton got away early but could never relax with Hope, Fasey, Findlay and Curzon all in close attendance.  Hope took the lead on the final leg followed by Newton.  However the effects of the breeze provided further cruel twist with Newton slipping from 2nd to 4th within 2 feet of the line with Findlay and Fasey taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.

By the final race Findlay, Curzon and Hope all were in contention for the overall prize but conditions were not conducive for boat covering.  Maskells got away on the first beat followed by Hope,  Findlay and Curzon were looking for clear breeze mid-fleet.  A particular wind convergence half way through the race created several “opportunities” with spinnakers being hoisted and dropped in double quick time (but in some cases not quick enough Mr Needham!).  When the breeze settled, Findlay had slipped from 4th to 8th, while Curzon moved up from 5th to 4th.  Maskells held the lead throughout the race from Hope with Newton in 3rd.

By the end of meeting, despite the conditions, six tight races had been held, only one boat caught out by the black flag, no protests (and yes Jim turns were done) and the closeness of the racing meant that the teams were not certain on the final positions.  Not a bad effort by all concerned and shows what strength in depth there is in the Fireball fleet

The fleet moves on to Notts County next weekend for the second meeting of the year, which will also allow the pond sailors to excel, much to the “delight” of the sea drag racing monkeys.

Full Results

1st John Curzon & Pete Elver SHSC 13

2nd Matt Findlay & Richard Anderton Weston 16

3rd Kevin Hope& Russ Thorne NCSC 19

1st Silver (13th)Silver Darren Fasey & Colin Davis SHSC 39

1st Lady helm (12th) Becky Priest SHSC 54

1st Lady crew (19th) Hania Ogrodsinski SHSC 88

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