Grafham Grand Prix
Grafham Water SC

02/01/2022 - 02/01/2022


Bloody Mary
Queen Mary SC

08/01/2022 - 08/01/2022


King George Gallop
King George SC

22/01/2022 - 22/01/2022


Tiger Trophy
Rutland SC

05/02/2022 - 06/02/2022


Staunton Harold SC Open Meeting
Staunton Harold SC

25/03/2022 - 26/03/2022

Brightlingsea Open Report

Golden Dolphin Event Sponsored by NeilPryde


19 travelling Fireballs landed in Brightlingsea this weekend with the prospect of some warm but windless weather on the cards. 

On Saturday the sun was certainly out and with the mercury rising, the Fireballs set off from the beach along with a group of Lasers, also there for an open, and a larger fleet of Europes who were there for their National Championships. Given the forecast of no wind that would go round in circles, the shifty 5-8 knots that came in from the South was much better than expected and made for some tight tactical racing out in the estuary, with many sporting short sleeves. Sun protection (James), lots of fluids and shades were definitely the order of the day.

 The excellent race team, led by RO Dave Gibbons, got the fleet away smartly and a royal battle ensued at the front, with Matt Rainback/Simon Foskett, sailing the sponsored fleet boat leading at the windward mark. The teams of Tim Rush/Richard Anderton and Christian Birrell/Sam Brearey were ever present  and with some place changing it was Rush/Anderton who took the win from Birrell/Brearey with Rainback/Foskett coming in 3rd.

 In race 2 the spoils were shared amongst the same 3 boats again, albeit with lots of place changes throughout and some other boats in the mix at various stages. There was lots of match racing going on but Birrell/Brearey won out taking the win with Rush/Anderton 2nd just beating Rainback/Foskett into 3rd.

 Race 3 was somewhat more processional with Birrell/Brearey leading from start to finish. Rainback/Foskett came home 2nd with Mark Maskell/Nigel Sheppard making up the final podium place.

 With the sun still shining, the sailors camped out in front of the clubhouse to shoot the breeze, quench their thirst and sample an excellent BBQ. Top job Brightlingsea.

 Sunday dawned slightly cooler but with a similar sea breeze building, the fleets got out early.

 In race 1 Rainback/Foskett led at the top with the usual suspects of Birrell/Brearey in 2nd and newcomers Chips Howarth/Vyv Townend rounding 3rd. A tit for tat battle was played out all the way round, with Birrell/Brearey winning out at top of last beat and holding position to the finish.

 In race 2 Rainback/Foskett schooled the fleet from start to finish with Howarth/Townend crossing 2nd and Birrell/Brearey only managing 3rd despite Christian punching the boom repeatedly.

 In the final races start sequence Birrell/Brearey and Rainback/Foskett engaged in some entertaining cat & mouse match racing tactics but Birrell/Brearey got away and went on to lead all the way round, with Howarth/Townend hot on their heels. Local couple Penny & Ian Gibbs rounded off the top spots with a well deserved 3rd place to add to their collection of previously earned 4th’s and 5th’s.

The win was enough to give Birrell/Brearey the title, with Rainback/Foskett 2nd and Rush/Anderton, despite experiencing a frustrating 2nd day, had done enough to secure 3rd. Penny & Ian Gibbs came home 4th with Penny winning a prize for 1st lady helm. There were also prizes for the winner of the Silver fleet, Lucy & Tim Riley from Blackwater, and the Bronze Fleet winners, home sailors Paul Aldridge and D O’Reilly. Despite the podium finishes being shared amongst a few boats, the fleet was always well bunched and lots of close racing happened all across the racecourse with a few boat lengths often meaning the difference between 5th and 15th.

 Thanks to NeilPryde for sponsoring the event and for donating the amazing prizes. Thanks also to the fantastic team at Brightlingsea. The racing was well organised and the food provided by the galley was excellent. I know the fleet can’t wait to come back next year!

Next stop for the Fireballers are the National Championships in Looe in just under 2 weeks time. Bring it on!


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