Summer 2001
Draycote Water
Fireball Fleet Open Meeting
2018 Review Race Results Joining the
Fleet Buying
a boat Rigging,
Articles & Info Scrap
Book Calendar Draycote

Stuff Occurring


The lucky winner of the Fleet Captains Prize Draw is Bob Morris. Bob is therefore our new fleet captain and receives our heartfelt thanks for undertaking the job. Eugene takes over from Paul as the 'Prizes Bloke', Nick is still Treasurer, Pete and Norman are doing training and Phil is still doing results which are now available on the website and occasionally the noticeboard. Mike gets to do the Newsletter (oh joy). Many thanks to all the above, and to Paul Disney for being a most excellent 'Prizes Bloke' for the last three years.

The Easter (Waterboard) Pursuit Race

This was run in a cold Northerly F2-3. Alistair and Tony managed to push Pete/John over the line at the start (well done boys !), so Pete had to go back and start again. At the end of the beat Mike (with volunteer crew Norman) just managed to round the top mark first with Alistair/Tony and Eugene/Bob mere seconds behind. A couple of reaches later, Mike/Norm got through the gybe and onto the broad reach before the wind picked up, leaving everybody else on the reach going sideways. Alistair/Tony continued to fend off the rest of the fleet until they dropped the kite in the water, ran it over and eventually pulled out something resembling a string vest. This allowed to Pete/John some freedom to overtake Eugene/Bob (several times), and we eventually ended up with 1st, 4th and 7th.

The May Day (John Siggers) Pursuit Race

Wind F1-3, but the course had broader reaches and the odd run, so it felt depressingly slow at times. The assembled Fireballs soon discovered that the right hand side of the first beat was considerably windier and liftier than the left hand side when Pete and Norman went that way and legged it round the windward mark miles quicker than anyone else. Jeremy and crew gave chase, with Mike and Paul way back with the rest of the fleet, not quite down the pan but definitely sniffing something smelly. However, the run and beam-reach favoured the back of the pack and we were all together again by the start of the next beat. Both Jeremy and Mike got past Pete on the next few legs and spent the rest of the race slowing each other down. Mike was in front when the finish boat turned up, but the RS800 and B14 had cruised past some minutes previously so 3rd place was the best that was on offer. Further back, Ray, Miles and John were vying for the lead in their own personal race until Ray capsized (he blames the crew) and honours went to John. Many thanks to Eugene, Bob, Anne and Phil for running this pursuit race for the fleet, a very fine job by all concerned.

Firebowl Event

Seventeen boats took part in this event (which is good), but only about five did enough races to qualify (which is pants). We tried out a new method of starting on the first day, involving flags and stuff, but at least one boat was still sailing round in circles looking vaguely at the blue flag which signified their start a full 2 minutes after it went up, so perhaps we aren't ready for that level of sophistication just yet. Loads of people capsized in the first race (F3 !!) and then didn't stay for the second, which was a shame. We went back to beach starts on Day 2, but it was too late to stop Ray winning. Final placings were Ray/Paula first, with Mike/Paul second and John/Angie third.

RNLI Pursuit Race

A fantastic warm wind and sunshine for this one, with around 12 Fireballs turning out to sail a rather disappointing mad course. Mike/Paul made a poor start by virtue of being capsized, Jeremy and Matt made a good one on port tack and promptly disappeared over the horizon, eventually holding off the RS800 to win. Pete and John parted company briefly half way up the beat, but recovered well to take 3rd overall, with Mike/Paul getting 4th. Alistair and Tony hoisted their latest spinnaker a few times, then a big gust came and ripped it in half. Don/Pete came in 5th having sailed an excellent race marred only by the occasional attempt to sail to the wrong mark. Norman and Andrea got 6th. Somewhere further back Ray and Paula did well to finish with a mere two capsizes whereas John and Angie managed five.

Severn Trent Pursuit Race

Not enough wind for most of this race, but we got a nice F3 about 10 minutes before the end (ie, just too late). Your roving reporter was too far back to see what was going on up the front, but the RS800 won, giving Eugene and Mike 2nd overall. Further back, Dave/Bob threw away a potential third place by infringing a Flying Fred and rather decently doing a 720, which dumped them down to 5th and gifted 4th to Mike/Norman.

Fireball European and World Championships

Jeremy Davy, Matt Flint, Eugene Jordan and Mike Pratt went along and had a generally fantastic time, sailing in warm moderate winds on a big lake near Rome. Jeremy and Matt came 5th in the Europeans and 16th in the Worlds, Eugene and Mike achieved 50th and 57th respectively. Both events were won by Brit Steve Morrison, with Ian Pinnell (of Pinnell and Bax fame) getting 2nd in the Worlds and missing out on the top spot by a miserly 0.7 points. There were 10 Brits in the top 15, so maybe Fireball sailing should be our new national sport, at least we appear to be reasonably good at it, unlike tennis, cricket, football, rugby, horse-riding, swimming, athletics etc. Better yet, it doesn't displace Buffy from the BBC2 schedule.


Erratumn, Erratium, Errbugger, Big Mistake

The A and B fleet listing in the last newsletter wrongly suggested that Geoff Wood was in the B Fleet. Geoff holds the unique position of being the only A fleet sailor to sail a fibreglass Fireball, so when he beats you, you really can't blame your boat. Sorry Geoff.


New members

Mike Tredwell kindly introduced Sue Alexander to the joys of Fireballing when he fell over on the slipway and she had to take him to casualty. Sue now sails with Graham. Penny has signed up to crew for Phil (brave lass) and Ed Ayre (new bloke - used to sail Phantoms) is going to crew for Gordon. Ian and Catherine have joined with an old Dave Pratt boat. Various other new blokes have also turned up with their own boats, but we haven't managed to talk to them yet. Big welcome to one and all.


Fleet Captain's inaugural address (so pay attention)

Just over 18 months ago I was a simple Miracle sailor who never had to worry about things such as trapezes and jib bar settings. However 18 months later I have discovered that I have become Fireball Fleet Captain! Firstly I would like to thank Mike Deane on behalf of the fleet for bringing the fleet up to its present strength and enthusiasm. Mike makes it seem very easy in his naturally laid-back way but I know how much effort he has put in as fleet captain over the past few years.

For those that do not know me I crew for Eugene Jordan in Fireball 14612. We are both relative newcomers but thanks to the help and enthusiasm of everyone in the fleet we have got a lot better and faster (when we are the right way up that is?). I would like to encourage all newcomers to the fleet to just get out there on a Sunday and give it a go. Its great fun and I'm told there is no shame in capsizing a fireball (????). I have also been assured that all Fireball sailors only laugh at another sailor's misfortune to cheer them up! I do not yet know everybody in the fleet as well as I probably should so if you see me wandering around the club not noticing anyone then please say hello (or anything else which immediately comes to mind). If you have any good ideas, suggestions or constructive criticisms (on any topic) then please let me know.

There are a lot of exciting events (National Championships, World Qualifiers, our open meeting, Sunday 3rd race series) for us to get our teeth into in the coming months. Luckily for me Mike has agreed to continue producing the newsletter in his own inimitable style so the rest of this newsletter should be somewhat more interesting than this bit. (Some hope  ed)

See you on (and off) the water! Bob Morris Tel. 01926 400117


Stuff Forthcoming


September 9th - Marriott Mug Races 1 & 2. This is our (other) personal handicap event, slow boats start up to 15 minutes before the quick ones, beach starts likely. Anyone can win, but only if they turn up.

September 15th / 16th - Miracle Open Meeting. We have to run this, so be prepared to come and help if asked. We'll ask in advance.

September 29th / 30th - Fireball Open Meeting five races over the weekend, four to count, first race around mid-day Saturday.

October 14th - Marriott Mug Races 3 and 4. Yes, we know it's ages after the first two races. That's just how it turned out, OK.

October 19th - Skittles and Darts evening at the Queens Head in Bretford. Starts at 7:30pm. 4.50 per person including buffet, money in advance please to Miles 'Big Chopper' Thomas. Everybody welcome.

November 18th - Fleet Championships Races 1 & 2

November 25th - Fleet Championships Races 3 & 4

NB. Marriott Mug and Fleet Championships are best three results out of four to count over two Sundays. In the event of a tie we use discards, then the result of the last race. The Fleet Championships is scored with categories for 'overall' and 'B' fleets.

Rumour, Hearsay and Downright Lies

Paul Disney ran the London Marathon in just over 4 hours whilst suffering from something akin to foot & mouth disease. Paul is now on a selfless diet of beer and ice-cream in an attempt to get back to a sensible weight for a Fireball crew. Ray Steele managed to hit a Flying Fred and come off better (ie, the hole in Ray's boat was smaller). Pete Badham was hit by a loony ex-fireballer in a rowing boat on the start line of a recent Wednesday evening race, but went on to win anyway (drat, foiled again). Norman and Andrea have had some stuff nicked, including a Fireball jib and a set of Laser foils. As nobody who actually sails a Fireball would ever nick anything, especially not that tatty old jib, please keep an eye open for anyone trying to sell these items.


Grafham Open Meeting Report by Captain Bob

The open event at Grafham was basically a learning curve. It went something like this:

Saturday: 1st Race - Not much wind... We don't seem to be going very fast... Looks like we are going to be last round the windward mark... Oh good there are two boats behind us... We seem to be becalmed at the leeward mark (near the clubhouse). Leading boats are dots on the horizon. Lets give this a miss.

Race 2 & 3 postponed due to lack of wind. Hooray!

Sunday. 4 races. Two back to back in the morning. Two back to back in the afternoon. Lots of wind.

Race 2.Going a lot quicker but not as quick as the other boats. Looks like we are going to be last round the windward mark...Oh good there are two boats behind us... Finished 26th out of 32. What are we doing wrong?

Race 3. Decided jib bar settings are too inboard. Mast probably needs to be raked more but will have to wait until race no. 4. Seem to be going alot better... Eugene is getting the hang of sailing fast up the beat... Whoops didn't mean to capsize while tacking... Ok we are definitely last round the windward mark. Finished last out of those boats that finished.

Had Lunch. Adjusted mast rake.

Race 4.We are now really motoring up the beat... Crikey! Jeremy Davy is only just ahead of us at the windward mark (they are down the pan at this point). Mid fleet round the windward mark. Up spinnaker. Spinnaker seems to have jammed... Is the spinnaker meant to be dragging in the water like that?... Oops we seem to have capsized. Oh well back of the fleet again.

Race 5. Getting a bit knackered. Going fast up the beat. Mid fleet... Good run.. Staying in contention. Fast beat... Approaching windward mark... Can't quite make it... Quick tack on to port... Ooops what is that other boat doing on starboard... Emergency avoiding action required... Horizon tilting alarmingly... Oh dear we seem to have capsized again. Very knackered now. Near the shore and clubhouse... Let's have a cup of tea.


Overall result 30th out of 32 entries. (Jeremy and Matt came 5th ed.)


Fleet Training

We are planning to do some informal boat handling / race training on a one to one basis on the first Sunday morning of each month. The idea is that the trainee helm takes out a top notch crew (or helm) as their crew for that morning, and that godlike helms take the crews out. Anybody wanting to take part in this arrangement, please talk to Bob or Mike  obviously we are looking for instructors as well as trainees. The results of the morning race on these days will not be counted in the scoring for the Sunday morning series, so nobody will lose out as a result of giving up their time to this scheme.


Old Seadog's guide to better sailing: Part 1 port and starboard

A boat on Port tack shall give way to a boat on Starboard tack - unless the port tack boat can make a legitimate call for water (at an obstruction or leeward mark). This rule is very simple, and overrides cases such as 'them being the overtaking boat' and the little known 'us being closer to the mark than them', and indeed every other rule you might have just made up in your head. It's not difficult, please try to get the hang of it.