Funny old weather we get these days. My barometer spent so long stuck on FAIR (ie, windless) at the end of last year that I was convinced that it was
broken. Then it plummeted back to RAIN (ie, bonkers windy) and has been mooning aimlessly between the two ever since, so I guess it is working after all. None of this appears to have dampened the fleet's
enthusiasm for sailing and the racing has been pretty good. Loads of visitors rolled up in January to get some practice in before the Worlds, and we clocked 18 boats on the water on one morning, which is
the best turnout in about 10 years. Hurrah !
Dave Wade turned up to remind us how it should be done, and he and Jeremy did all the clever stuff at the front, with the occasional Pete Badham
appearance. The rest of us pootled around behind. Dave kindly excluded himself from the scoring, leaving Jeremy with three 1st places, and Pete with one, thereby accounting for first and second prizes respectively. Mike and Paul took third place by virtue of some consistent results. The prize for most amusing moment also goes to Mike who, whilst leaving the shore and attempting to engage a fixed rudder, fell out of the boat, became entangled in the mainsheet and was towed behind the boat for some distance whilst waving the rudder at passers-by.
Fleet Prizegiving and Meal
Starter, beer, Main Course, beer, Pud, wine, coffee, beer, Prizes (assorted alcohol and shiny things), merriment, small speech, beer, short film of
Aussies falling off 18ft skiffs, home, sleep. As usual, a truly excellent evening. Thanks in large amounts are due to Eugene for prizes and banter, Mick and Debbie for the catering and verbal abuse, Sue
for the projector and Captain Bob for general captaining. Thanks also to those in the Miracle fleet who came along. I'm not sure what you guys get out of it, but it's always nice to see you, so carry on.
The Boxing Day Pursuit Race
Against all probability, this turned out to be fantastic. The sun shone a bit, the wind blew (although not quite enough) and the course was
acceptable, albeit not really to our taste. In other words, it was business as usual but with some wind and some sensation left in your fingers. This was enough to tempt a mighty 13 Fireballs out of bed,
and as it happened, out of lunch too as the race didn't quite start on time. Still, with goodwill to all men and Flying Freds still prevailing, the Fireball fleet had a most amusing and enjoyable race
amongst themselves which ended up with Jeremy/Scottie 1st overall, Mike/Paul 5th, Dave/Mike 6th, Pete/Steve 7th and Eugene/Bob 8th. Joining intrepid
Fireballing chaps on the podium were the RS200 wallahs, Colin Newman in a Moth and Steve Irish in the RS800. Colin deserves a special mention as he was upside down when the finish boats drove past. Ho
The New Years Day Pursuit Race
No wind, and we were on OD duty. Jeremy, Miles and Ray went out for a nice drift round in sub-zero temperatures while Bob, Iain, Kath and Gordon did
the OD stuff. The rest of those present cluttered up the OD box in a futile attempt to keep warm and look useful. Jeremy and Tom got 2nd place in this one, and Miles/Paula came 6th.
Don has bought a nice new White Winder, but being Don, it's yellow. Phil has also bought a White article, this one has a yellow floor and non-slip
bits. Yellow is clearly the new black (or something). Those of you going to the dinghy exhibition at the Alexandra Palace (2nd/3rd March) will be able to see Don's boat on the P&B stand. In an expensive couple of weekends, a rescue boat has managed to put a hole in Phil's boat, Ray has smashed up John Tenney's other boat, and Alistair sailed Tony's boat into the side of Don's current boat and put a Tony shaped hole in Tony's jib. Oooh nasty. Big Hello to winter members Mike and Helen and their white Winder, Mel and Kyle in a composite Winder, as well as the hardy annual Dave Wade. Loads of other visitors have turned up at various times during the winter, resulting in some memorable racing. Anoraks amongst you will have ticked off Ian Pinnell, Penny Gibbs and Kevin Hope in their I-Spy book of Fireball hotshots. Hello also to new member Luke Barlow who has bought Iain's old boat, and to Jez White who has bought Eugene's old boat. Eugene and Bob have broken another mast, but I've lost count of how many that has happened now. It was funny the first few times, but I'm getting bored with it now chaps, can you break something else next time please.
Firestarter II The Revenge
Our beloved fleet boat was used a lot a few years ago, but then you all got a bit picky about sailing grungy old fibreglass boats and she started to
look a bit redundant. Keith Bond and Richard Burton (who are involved in getting kids into boats) have become interested in her, with the result that Keith now takes youngsters out for a jolly at
weekends, while Richard will be using her for Friday evening 'Junior Club' sailing. Whilst this has thus far resulted in some slightly unusual outings for the old girl, we have to say that we would
rather she was used by somebody than not used at all. Richard and Keith have also promised to maintain her, fix the trolley and dissuade the mice from eating the rest of the tiller extension. Now what
with the training committee also having some plans for her, anyone in the fleet who wants to take her out is going to need to book her in advance. This is all about getting new people interested in
sailing Fireballs, and is exactly the kind of thing we bought her for in the first place.
FireBowl Event Sunday 14th and Sunday 21st April
The first of the ever popular personal handicap events, where the slower boats get to start up to 15 minutes before the fast ones, and the race
starts when you push off from the shore. This is always hugely amusing, and is generally won by the person you least expect. This year we are running six races over the two Sundays and counting the best
four results. As usual, we have a variety of different handicaps for you, which are painstakingly calculated to be hugely unfair to you personally in all possible weather conditions. Meet up on the
foreshore at 10.30am for handicaps, the course and general mayhem.
We are going to start up our Buddy System training on the 3rd of March, and the first Sunday morning of every month thereafter. The idea is that hotshot helms and crews swap places with less experienced bods to impart gems of wisdom and general guidance. Bob will be accumulating names of people from both camps interested in this before the event, so get your name down now. Also, as a bit of a one off special event, Phil has organised for Fireballers to have the chance to receive boat handling tuition in their own boats (at cost). This is aimed at those of you who capsize more often than strictly necessary, or who can't gybe without becoming tangled up in the toestraps and visiting the casualty department, etc. It is likely to be held over a few Saturday afternoons and is not about racing. Contact Phil if you want to sign up for this.
Fireball Nationals 2002 at Marazion August 23rd to 30th
We are trying to arrange for as many Draycote Fireballs to go to this one as possible. We now have eight boats on our list, and are aiming for at
least ten to make it a proper Draycote crowd. Anyone wanting to join us there should have a chat to Mike or Cap'n Bob for more info, and you want to get your accommodation booked up pretty sharpish.
Start by phoning the Penzance Tourist Information people on 01736 362207 for details of hotels, B&Bs, cottages caravan parks etc. You might also try Pete's favourite campsite 'Wheal Rodney' on 01736
710605 (www.whealrodney.co.uk) which looks laughably cheap. You also need to
join the UKFA if you haven't done so already, and then fill in the form to apply to compete in the Nationals. Forms to enable you to do all these things will appear magically on our noticeboard when they
become available UKFA membership stuff is there already. If you want to come to the Nationals, don't hang about in getting your application form in to the UKFA. It's cheaper if you book well in
The Collected Thoughts of Fleet Captain Bob
I am really looking forward to 2002. I think that Eugene and I might finally crack it this year (our new mast that is!). Our fleet seems to be going from
strength to strength at the moment with new members and new boats arriving from far and wide. This is all down you keenies (nutters?) out there and is reflected by the number of fleet members who have
already booked up for this years National Championships at St. Michaels Mount in Cornwall. If we get good weather it could be one of the best weeks sailing anywhere in the UK. On the home front we will
be trying out several new ideas this year to help new members get more out of their sailing as explained in this newsletter. I would really like to encourage some new members to join our fleet committee
and as luck would have it our fleet AGM is rapidly approaching. This is the ideal time to volunteer your services (like I did last year) and make a difference.See you on the start line or at the AGM.
Fleet members 2002
(Table of fleet members not shown here to protect the innocent)
The idea here is that B fleet sailors are only scored against other B fleet sailors, and are competing for prizes that the A fleet mob are not
allowed to win. If you are in the A fleet, you have to compete against A and B fleet boats. Scoring is now to IYRU rules.
Allocation of who goes in which fleet is entirely at the whim of the fleet captain, and Winder owners mostly go into the A fleet. However, we like to give you
the benefit of the doubt if you are a new member or a bit wobbly or buy us big drinks. We will also occasionally promote a wooden or fibreglass boat to the A fleet if the sailor looks tricky enough. We
reserve the right to promote or demote anyone at a moments notice.
Fireball AGM Sunday 24th March at 3.30pm after the second race
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Fireball Fleet 208 will be held at the clubhouse on Sunday March 24th at 3.30pm in the
wetbar (or possibly the lounge, whichever is quieter) when the following business will be transacted.
1.To read and approve the minutes of the 2001 Annual General Meeting
2.To receive the report of the committee.
3.To prescribe the new rate for the fleet subscription (currently £10/boat).
4.To elect officers to the following posts:
Post Est. timeResponsibilities
Treasurer 1hr/mth Keep accounts, issue cheques, collect fleet subs (if any), do banking
Secretary 4hrs/yr Take and circulate the minutes of meetings.
Bosun 1hr/mth Boat park organisation.
Social sec. 4hrs/event Organise the Christmas meal and Prizegiving, (other events ?)
Open meeting Co-ordinator 5hrs/yr Organise the Fireball open meeting, buy, retrieve & engrave prizes.
Open meeting Race officer 2days/yr Run the Miracle open meeting.
Results secretary 3hrs/mth Collect and publish race results
Prizes officer 10hrs/yr Buy, retrieve & engrave prizes.
Training officer ? Help members to rig, tune and sail better, explain racing rules etc.
Fleet Captain 4hrs/mth Organise the above, liase with club, do race events, marketing etc.
This is your chance to tell the committee what a fantastic job it is doing, and how much you'd like to help. This is a Good Year for attending as
Captain Bob is standing for re-election, so there's no danger that you personally might get lumbered with Fleet Captaincy. We have probably got volunteers for most of these posts, but it has become a
tradition that nobody apart from Bob actually admits their willingness to do anything until the day of the AGM, so your guess is as good as mine right now. Please come to this bash, it's quite amusing
and demonstrates to the committee that you do appreciate the work that they put in. Joining the committee is the best way to get to know the fleet. It is not too onerous, the committee only meets two or
three times a year. Anybody who feels that they could do any job is welcome to stand. With the exception of the open meeting related posts you don't need any experience for any of them. If we don't get a
volunteer for any given post, we just won't be doing that particular function next year. The good news about joining the committee is that you get to do the job you sign up for, and ONLY that job.
There's none of this business of getting lumbered with something else grotty halfway through the year that you didn't expect and nobody else fancied.