Ex-world champ Pinnell impresses
FORMER Fireball world champion Ian Pinnell competed at Draycote Water Sailing Club near Rugby on Sunday in a winter series
becoming known for its top class racing.
Draycote has the largest Fireball fleet in the country and Sunday's racing in the class was further boosted by five visiting
They included past world champion Pinnell, who lost the title last year but hopes to regain it at the 2002 Fireball World
Championships in Florida in March.
Other guests included Kevin Hope, Penny Gibbs and Dave Wade, who are rated 10th, 11th and 12th in world respectively.
Draycote's own fleet champion Jeremy Davey in the mean time ensured they would not have it all their own way during the day's
racing. Many in Draycote's own fleet turned out to test themselves against the world class competition, resulting in a total of 18 boats racing.The morning race was dogged by a light and
variable wind at odds with the forecast.
Dave Wade took an early lead which he was never to lose. Ian Pinnell occasionally threatened to overtake,but was unable to
find an opportunity, and behind them Draycote sailor Mike Deane contested third place with Kevin Hope and Penny Gibbs. At the finish line Hope proved superior, but Deane had the satisfaction
of beating both Gibbs and reigning Draycote champion Jeremy Davey. The afternoon race started in similar wind conditions. Hope pulled out an impressive lead on the first windward leg,
followed by Pinnell, Wade, Gibbs and Davey. The weather then condescended to play the game and produced agusty force 5 wind. Much of the fleet had set their boats up for lighter winds and
were consequently overpowered and struggling to remain upright. Gibbs in particular seemed to suffer, losing out to Davey and Deane, before capsizing, later to retire. Pinnell however was in
his element and was visibly gaining on Hope, whilst keeping a wary eye on the hard chasing Wade. Davey and Deane briefly contested 4th place, before Davey apparently selected a higher gear
and claimed it for himself.At the finish, Hope managed to stay marginally ahead of Pinnell to take the gun. Wade, Davey and Deane followed home a short while later.
Pinnell, Wade, Gibbs, Hope and local man Davey will represent the UK in the 2002 World Championships in Florida.