Day 1 at Fireball International Week - Sligo YC

Champagne conditions in Sligo

After a lead in period of two years for the Irish Fireball Class Association, the 2011 Fireball Worlds and International Week got underway on Ireland’s west coast with glorious sunshine conditions and winds of between 15 and 20 knots with gusts up to 22 knots from a WNW direction. Nineteen boats got International Week underway under the burgee of Sligo Yacht Club, with representation from Australia, Canada, GBR and Ireland. The expectation is that more boats will join in as the week goes on but those who weren’t here today missed excellent sailing conditions..

Two races were sailed today and visitors took the gun on both occasions. Australia’s Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley took the first race from an initial group of five boats that included Canadians Joe Jospe & Tom Egli, Derian & Andy Scott, Noel Butler and Stephen Oram and Louis Smyth and Cormac Bradley. These five were then joined by Guy Tipton and Matt King and Graeme Grant & Hugh Butler.

Screaming reaches opened the gaps as the race progressed but at the end of the day the Aussies were comfortable winners followed home by the Scotts, Butler & Oram, Jospe & Egli and Ireland’s Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella, who came from behind having initially missed the start.

Race Two saw the wind ramp up a notch, but the author of this piece was only able to watch from the shore – victim of a windward roll at the second gybe mark of the first race.

The Scotts appeared to make it look very easy on the water such was the length of their lead by race end. Behind them came the Canadians, Jospe & Egli and the Irish trio of McCartin/Kinsella, Butler/Oram and Grant/Butler. Schulz and Bowley didn’t race the second race – a plan they declared in advance of going out on the water – but after today’s session they must surely be regarded as one of the favoured combinations. Early days yes, but they will have the advantage of a week’s exposure to the racing environment before the other “big guns” arrive.

For Sligo, there must be enormous pleasure that the regatta is underway and the first day is completed without hiccup!

The Fireball World Championships and International Week is sponsored by Dubarry, Malin Waters, Interreg, Failte Ireland, The Clarion Hotel (Sligo), The Glass House (Hotel, Sligo), Sligo County Council and the ISA (Ireland’s National Sailing Authority) and runs from Saturday 11th June to Friday 24th June 2011.

Results after Day 1: (top five)

1. Derian and Andy Scott, GBR 14941, 2 1, 3pts
2. Joe Jospe & Tom Egli, CAN 15024, 4 2, 6pts
3. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, IRL 15061, 3 4, 7pts
4. Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella, IRL 14820, 5 3, 8pts
5. Graeme Grant & Hugh Butler, IRL 14807, 6 5, 11pts

Developed by YorkSoft Ltd