That was Winter then. A bit cold, mostly sunny and really pretty good. Fleet turnouts stayed above 10 boats on all days when the weather wasn't
stupid (eg, F0 or snowing), and we have reliably been the largest racing fleet in the club during the cold months. All the other fleets' sailors stay at home by the fire
Fireballers go sailing and get cold and wet. Nuff said. The competition at the front of the fleet has been awesome, with dogfights involving up to 5 boats lasting an entire race, different boats taking the lead throughout and fantastic 3-sail reaches. Even sexy new kevlar sails are not enough to get you a win, although they do look good and possibly that helps you feel better about losing.
Marriott Mug Trophy Event
Held over two Sundays in November. Day 1 offered us a damp F2-3 and only 1/3 of the water as the Freds had pinched the rest of it, along with most of
the car park. Dave and Paul went off first, followed by Luke and Nick shortly afterwards. On the first proper beat, Luke/Nick went off towards A instead of K and lost out to Iain/Kath, but realised their
mistake and were still in the running when they all caught up with Dave/Paul. At this point there was a very expensive looking collision between Dave/Paul and Luke/Nick, which left Luke with a big hole
in his boat. Iain/Kath were now in the lead and were chased by various people all the way round, most noticeably by Gordon/Ed. The latter probably would have got past them at H had it not been for an
accidental rule infringement, followed by the necessary turns. Gordon/Ed closed the gap again on the last reach from X to J by virtue of 3 sailing it, but just failed to get water at J and were still
just behind at OL. Jez and Mike were now only just behind Gordon and took third.
In race 2, 'Dangerous Dave' and Paul were going much better and required some serious chasing until they got tangled up on the red buoy at the top of the beat
andIain/Kath took the lead. Jim/John started to close the gap halfway round the second lap, but faded a bit in the third. At this point Tessa/Pete pulled one of their trademark massive-gains-from-nowhere
stunts on the last beat and were well placed to take the lead on the last reach. Somehow (and we really have no idea how) Iain/Kath managed to hold them off until OL and won by about 5 seconds.
Day 2 was less windy, but more cold, damp and generally grotty. Iain and Kath's standard of sailing was neverlikely to be up to their usual level of
incompetence due to the irresponsible decision of the Club Commodore to throw a small soiree on the Saturday night. Sunday morning started with the hot favourites waking up on Pete Badham's floor, not
remembering how they got there and the car journey to the club was interrupted with an unscheduled stop to decorate one of the verges on the A45 with some of the Commodore's punch.
Race 1 was sailed in a Northerly F1. Iain/Kath managed to hold off arch rivals and main contenders Gordon and Ed up thebeat(who blamed their boat for
'wanting to bear away a lot') and were a leg ahead of them by the 2nd mark. Jim/John then came steaming over the top of Iain/Kath, but managed to clip their shroud with the boom, resulting in the
obligatory 720. It did not slow them down for long though!The fleet had bunched up by H, and what appeared to be the entire club had bunched up round K. Lots of shouting and frantic tiller waggling
ensued, and it looked as though John/Angie pulled away cleanly from the bunch doing, oooh, at least 2 knots. In the meantime, Gordon/Ed found their own personal weather system and all but planed down
from H to K with the kite up and passed about 5 boats. Then the pedals fell off and they sat in the middle of the beat with sails flapping for some time. Ho ho. The race was won by Eugene and Bob, with
Andy Smith and James second and John/Jim third. This was good enough to keep the latter pair's title hopes alive, especially as Captain Chunder and Kath had only managed 9th.
Race 2 was a similar wind lottery, with a fetch to D and a fetch to B agonisingly slow with most pairings all but sat in their spinnaker bags and
transoms waving wildly in the air.Gordon/Ed were doing nicely at D but lost a lot of ground when they got stuck underneath a Laser, and John/Angie, Ray/Phil and Jim/John all went past. After going round
B and onto the beat, Iain/Kath and Pete/Jane were way out in the lead, but then the Big Windshift and Very Nice Gust turned up and changed all that. At the next mark it was John/Angie, John/Jim and Alistair/Tony out front, followed by Gordon/Ed (whose boat had decided to go in the right direction this time). Jeremy and crew (I forget who) overtook Gordon/Ed on the next leg, and they in turn overtook John/Jim and somehow re-took Jeremy/Whoever by the next mark. The finish line intervened with John/Angie 1st, Alistair/Tony 2nd and Gordon/Ed 3rd. Iain and Kath got 8th in that one. Oh dear.
The overall result was a tie for 1st place between Iain & Kath and Jim & John on 10 points each, but was won by Iain & Kath on account of their
tasty results on the first day. A similar three way tie for 4th place was resolved in the same way. Incidently, this scoring system is all pukka and above board, and is the most popular variant of the IYRU 'least points system'. Popular that is with all except with John and Jim, who would have won if we still used the old 'best discard' system. Tough luck guys.
Boxing Day and New Years Day Pursuit Races
BD was fantastic and NYD was rubbish. The former was mild, dry offshore F4 and gusty with it. It was all beats and reaches, and the reaches all
looked too broad until the gust hit you, whereupon you realised that they were just right after all thankyou and fwoooorgh-very-fast-indeed. The only downside to the broad reaches was the fact that the
asymetrics liked them too, so we missed out on 1st and 2nd places which went to the RS800 and 49er, but Mike/Paul got 3rd and Pete/John got 5th. NYD was a damp
F2, the reaches were about as interesting as you can make them in those conditions but still not much fun. 1st and 2nd went to the RS800 and 49er again, and Jeremy got 3rd in his Flying Fifteen. First Fireball was Pete with Richard Byne somewhere around 10th.
By virtue of the Boxing Day result, Mike and Paul won the Club Championship for the third time. Arf.
Stuff Forthcoming See enclosed calendar, plus
Abersoch Dinghy Week - July 19th to 25th. There will be a group of Draycote sailors and boats attending it's a bit less
demanding than the Nationals, and the beach is way better than Paignton. Pete Badham knows a good campsite. Book now.
We had the Fireball Fleet Christmas Meal and Prizes Evening just before xmas, and very nice it was too. Food, drinkies, prizes, good company, the
lot. Thanks to everyone for coming along and making it a proper event. Andy Smith and James Meldrum joined up for the winter, but what with the lack of wind, floods, snow, sub-zero temperatures etc, we
didn't really see much of them. Alison had a baby girl just before xmas, so you won't see her sailing for a while. Captain Bob has bought Haydn Manning's old boat, so we must bid farewell to Haydn and
hello again to Bob. Graham Collett is still looking for someone to crew for, as is Katherine Bruce. The UKFA have generously decided to run their Midland Race Training weekend at Draycote on the
weekend of 10/11th May, so you lot are all invited. Top bloke Adam Bowers (RYA Olympic coach, no less) is running the show and promises that there will be something worthwhile for everyone. Come on down….
We run the following race series through the year:
Sunday AM - Jan 1st to Nov 30th
Sunday PM - Jan 1st to Nov 30th
Sunday Late PM - Apr 13th to Sep 7th
Wednesday series 1 - Apr 16th to Jun 18th
Wednesday series 2 - Jun 25th to Sep 3rd
All the above have separate A and B fleet scoring, and we are planning to introduce an interesting 'ladder-system' scoring arrangement for the Sunday Late PM
series. More on this as soon as we find somebody who understands how it works.
Fireball AGM Sunday 30th March at 3.45pm 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 30th at 3.45pm in the
wetbar when the following business will be transacted.
1. To read and approve the minutes of the 2002 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. time - Responsibilities
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 - 0hr/mth - Boat park organisation.
Social secretary - 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.
Fleet Captain - 4hrs/mth - Organise the above, liase with club, do race events, marketing etc.
5. To transact any other business.
This is your chance to tell the committee what a fantastic job it is doing, and how much you'd like to help if you weren't so busy sailing. 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 about twice 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. Bonza.
The collected thoughts of Fleet Captain Bob.
As you may be aware I will not be 'Captain Bob' for much longer, I soon will be 'Fleet Member Bob'. Yes, at the forthcoming AGM I will be standing
down as Fleet Captain to give someone else the opportunityto takeup this prestigious position, representing the best fleet at Draycote.I know you will all be clamouring to be nominated as the
nextFireball Fleet Captain and will be wondering what the entry qualifications are? Well I have three multiple choice questions for all potential applicants to fill in.
1. When you see the tiller extension break off on the boat ahead do you
a) Immediately fire off a distress flare to attract the bosun's attention
b) Say 'Bad Luck Old Boy' as you sail by (while secretly rubbing your hands in glee).
c) Make a mental note to check every fleet member's tiller extension joint aftergetting ashore.
2. A new member (who has just completed a level 1 course in a topper) is a bit nervous about setting off from shore in their new Fireball in a force six breeze.
a) Recommend the best colour of underpants to wear.
b) Call across all other fleet members to come and watch.
c) Offer sage and wise advice on all aspects of heavy weather helming, crewing, useful boat tuning tweaks, and survival techniques.
3. A massive windshift means that you cross the whole fleet to win a race decisively. When you get ashore do you
a) Say 'Cor, what a jammy fluke that was'
b) Advise Pete Badham how he could adjust his spreader angles to get that bit extra performance.
c) Feel sorry for the other fleet members and apologise profusely.
Good Luck with your application.