Northampton Golden Dolphin Report

Northampton SC hosted the first Fireball Open Meeting of the season over the weekend of 26th and 27th March.  With the Fireball Worlds in June, there was a highly competitive fleet that included the current World, European and National Champions as well as the Endeavour Trophy Champion of Champions all using the event as part of their pre-Worlds preparation.

A shifty 5-8 knot breeze greeted the fleet for the first race.  Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend made the early running, leading for the opening lap, but were in turn passed by Tom Gillard and Steve Grayham, Martyn Lewis and Richard Byrne and Dave Wade and Simon Potts.

The wind filled in over the lunch break so that the afternoon races were held in near perfect conditions.  It was still shifty to make the racing tactical but the 12-15 knot breeze, coupled with some well laid courses, created some great conditions in which the Fireball thrives. 

In Race 2 Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff led at the first mark and extended their lead throughout the race for a comfortable win leaving it to Howarth and Gillard to fight it out for second and third.

Race 3 followed straight away.  Lewis led for the first mark.  Howarth and Burge who both had to bail out from the pin end on the black flag start found that crossing behind the fleet on port wasn’t as disastrous as it first appeared and rounded in second and third.  Howarth pulled through to take the lead on the second beat and went onto to win with Lewis second and Burge third.

The fleet arrived a bit tired and jaded for the second day, not purely to losing an hour from the clock change.  Although the forecast was not good there was sufficient breeze to launch and Race 4 started in a 5-8 knot breeze and the finishing order was Wade, Lewis and Howarth.

Going into the fifth and final race the points were so close that any one of five boats could win the meeting.  However, with the wind dropping and some big shifts and gusts coming down the reservoir it was to become one of those snakes and ladders type races.  Howarth managed to climb up the longest ladders and fall down the shortest snakes to win the race and the meeting with Lewis second and Gillard third.

Northampton put on a masterclass in running an open meeting: bacon butties and tea of epic proportions at what appeared to be at loss making prices and slick race management that saw races turned around swiftly and well laid start lines and courses despite the fickle breezes.  A big thank you to the club for putting on such a great event and to North Sails for providing the prizes.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st 15013 Chips Howarth Vyv Townend Emsworth SC -4 2 1 3 1 7
2nd 15056 Martyn Lewis Richard Byrne Draycote Water SC 3 -8 2 2 2 9
3rd 15045 David Wade Simon Potts Northampton SC 2 4 -7 1 4 11
4th 15041 Tom Gillard Steve Grayham Sheffield Viking SC 1 3 5 -12 3 12
5th 15036 Matt Burge Richard Wagstaff Poole YC 5 1 3 -6 5 14
6th 15020 Vince Horey Andy Thompson King George SC 6 6 4 4 (DNF) 20
7th 15031 Alex Taylor Richard Anderton Budworth SC -11 5 6 7 7 25
8th 15050 Kevin Hope Russell Thorne Notts County SC 10 9 12 5 (DNF) 36
9th 14954 Becky Priest Tim Saunders Staunton Harold SC 8 7 11 -13 10 36
10th 14805 Mark Maskell Nigel Sheppard Blackwater SC 9 10 8 9 -11 36
11th 14976 Stuart Hydon Nigel Spurr Shustoke/Midland SC 7 13 -16 8 13 41
12th 14967 Thomas Castle Anthony York Northampton SC -14 11 9 14 8 42
13th 15055 David Hall Paul Constable Thorpe Bay YC 15 12 (DNF) 10 6 43
14th 14807 Gream Grant Hugh Butler RS & GYC 16 (DSQ) 13 11 9 49
15th 14894 Chris Owen Steve Jobson Oban SC 12 15 -17 16 12 55
16th 14909 Ian Priest Mike Stoddart Fishers Green SC 13 14 14 -15 14 55
17th 15030 Miles Odell Paul Busby Northampton SC 17 17 10 (DNC) DNC 64
18th 14977 Philip Popple Gavin Tillson Shoreham SC 18 16 15 17 (DNF) 66
19th 14099 Glenn Bolton Adam Sykes Datchet Water SC -19 18 18 18 15 69

See how this translates in to points with the new series points system

Many thanks to North Sails for Sponsoring the event.

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