Firebowl Trophy Event
Held over two Sundays in late April and early May. The first race started in conditions which looked a bit on the windy side, and after due
consideration turned out to be a lot on the windy side. Dave and Paul went off on scratch with Paula and Tony (Paula helming !). After the 2nd mark Paula "I've never helmed before gimme a good handicap" and Tony were in the lead and Dave/Paul were in the water. Then it got a bit windier. Luke and Katherine capsized after a mere 12 seconds afloat, thereby breaking the record for the quickest capsize in a handicap event (previously held by John/Angie at 20 seconds). Jez/Rosco also had a bit of a swim on the way to the first mark the rest of the fleet got away without incident. Paula/Tony still had a very tasty lead, when they made a criminal error involving flying the kite whilst under the influence of a novice helm and a frankly insane crew, and as a result had a nice swim while the entire fleet sailed past. At just over the hour, all the boats were pretty close together so we opted to finish the race then and Miles/Steve got across the line first with Don/Simon second. With a rising wind and only four boats finishing out of the 14 starters, we abandoned the next two races.
The second day dawned bright and seemed breezy driving to the club, although it all seemed a bit mysteriously calm in the boatpark.
Obviously we were rigging in the lee of the hill, but a quick scan of the far shore for tell-tale breakers confirmed their absence and the decision was made to run the event, albeit on "windy" handicaps as we suspected there may be more than 13mph out in the middle of the lake. Anne Steele and Tina Watkins did a sterling job of getting the fleet organised and sent off on time, and as Tina so eloquently put it she was "parping" loudly every minute or so with the "parper" whilst the crews desperately tried to stop their boats reaching up the slipways in the shifty wind prior to the off. It soon became apparent
-GUST- that when you got out -GUST- towards the middle of -GUST-the lake there were some big -GUSTS-
that were arriving without warning giving some "interesting" conditions. In fact, it sounds like it was a good idea for us not to be on the club start line as it was carnage with most of the laser fleet performing some synchronised turtling just before the off. Anyway, JT and Ed stormed to a convincing victory, followed by Ray/Phil in 2nd and Don/Simon in 3rd.
Race 2 got underway in even more breeze.
The first leg was a reach out from the beach out to B, and it was easy to get lulled into a false sense of security and think "hmmmm, perhaps this is kiteable…" when WHAM! you got out of the lee of the hill and went for a full-on flat-wiring boom-in-the-water 2 sailer across the lake. However Graham and Sue decided "what the hell" and popped their luminous kite…followed by a sudden course change to D, lots of spray, some great swear words in a Scottish accent echoing over the lake and a big splash. Iain and Kath who were crossing them on the next leg promptly decided to join them for a quick swim too so they did not feel too silly. Other notable disasters for that race included the wire jib halyard on Dangerous Dave's and Perilous Paul's boat snapping resulting in a total loss of rig tension and an early shower (a shame as they were handling the windy conditions really well and looking good for a decent place) and 2 black eyes for Miles when he capsized to windward by E and headbutted the boom. Nasty. Ray/Phil, Jez/Rosco and Helen/Mike finished 1,2,3 respectively…hmmm, obviously a day for 6 foot pie-loving crews then…
Race 3 got REALLY SILLY.
The breeze had been building steadily over lunch and we were treated to the rare sight of a F***ing Fifteen over by J waving its keel in the air with the helm in the water. When we got out in the middle, the gusts were probably hitting 30mph, and the lake was very white and very wavy over the far side. There were a lot of retirements and many racers wished that they had stayed in the bar. John/Ed's race was over when the rudder literally exploded…leaving a little stump and the bottom section was never seen again. Mike and Helen had a very nasty capsize over by F, with poor Helen sustaining a gash to her head meaning that was that for them. Anyone who finished this race deserves maximum respect, the final order being Team Fray Bentos (Jez & Rosco) in first, "old black eyes" Thomas and Paula in 2nd,
Graham and Sue in 3rd, Ray/Phil in 4th, and Iain and Kath padlocking the kite bag shut and eventually coming home by closing time in 5th after 6 capsizes.
So when all was said and done consistency counted and Ray and Phil won the event, Miles and Paula came 2nd, and Graham "don't sail for 8 months turn up and come 3rd" Wilson and Sue came, well, 3rd.
So a rematch in the Marriott Mug in September then…let's hope there's a tad less wind this time…
Pursuit races Easter, MayDay and RNLI
None of these was windy enough for our liking. We had to run the Easter event; as a result there was a spiffy course for that one and Simon
Roberts (who usually crews for Don) won the thing in his Cherub by about 5 seconds from Steve Irish in the 800. Pete Badham came 5th. Mayday was about as good as you can expect for a F2
ie rubbish and we won't go into any further detail. The RNLI race was looking set fair to be totally hopeless, but the wind picked up just before we started and we had just enough pressure to plane on most of the reaches. The 29er came past us all embarrassingly early on and went on to win, but as a result of a storming first beat Mike/Paul managed a tasty 2nd place. Pete/John got 6th.
21st and 28th SeptemberMarriott Mug personal handicap event Note change of date.
4 races over 2 Sundays, 3 races to count. This is where the slow boats start off up to 15 minutes before the fast boats, so anybody can win. Beach
starts will be used; just have the boat in shallowish water with one crew member having some part of their anatomy touching the ground when your start occurs. We tell you the course and when to start
all you've got to do is sail round without capsizing too much. Definitely not to be missed.
25th and 26th OctoberDraycote Fireball Open Meeting.
5 races over 2 days, first start not before midday Saturday. Loadsa boats.
16th and 23rd NovemberDraycote Fireball Fleet Championships.
4 races over 2 Sundays, 3 races to count and I get to win, OK.
Sat. 13th DecemberFireball Fleet Christmas meal and prizegiving.
It's a Saturday evening this year. Make a date.
Proper Gill jobs, available in blue, cream or red, sizes S, M, L. Email
ichristie at fgiltd.co.uk (replacing 'at' with @ obviously) if you would like one so we can get the numbers together. Cost is likely to be just over £20 per shirt, but the final price will depend on the number we're ordering. We'll fill you in with the price when this is confirmed. We're also going to investigate kid's sizes too, as there are a few people in the fleet who were a bit "lost" in theirs! Please bear in mind that when we order it will be PAYMENT UP FRONT as there was a lot of chasing around last year!
Spinnaker for sale
Jeremy gave this to us. It is on the small side of medium and suitable for bag or chute use. It was measured in 1987 and has been mostly unused
since. It is still crinkly, if slightly discoloured in places. See Iain or Mikey to have a look at it, then place your bid for it in a sealed envelope and give it to Iain. Envelopes get opened September
28th, highest bid gets the kite. Proceeds go to fleet funds. Sorry, bids from within the Draycote fleet only.
Will the person who has the Marriott Mug Trophy please give it back. You've had it quite long enough now. We promise not to beat you up or set fire
to your house as long as it comes back PDQ. Otherwise, we send the buoys round
We held our AGM in March and elected Iain Christie to the post of fleet captain. Iain is now suffering a moderate case of 'fleet captain's luck',
which involves plenty of bad things happening to him including capsizing a lot and getting hit by various stuff.
Dangerous Dave and Paul have upgraded to a rather nice wide-bow Winder, and Katherine Bruce has signed up to crew for Luke on the rare occasions that he turns
up. We have also picked up six new boats in the last 5 months. These are 'Team Doris' Kath and Paula in a renovated Severn item (was Luke's before it got holed
fixed up a treat now by Richard Burton). Robin Farey with Ian Western's old wooden (very fast) boat, Kim and crew in the wooden job with the dragon on the deck, Graham and Jim in Dave's old HPS, Steve and Jo in Don's old composite Severn and Ian and John Thorpe in Pete & Jane's old Severn. A big welcome to one and all chaps, and if you want any help, just ask any Fireballer (they're all nice people).
Regrettably we lost Jeremy Davy and Miles Thomas from the fleet though. Jeremy never sailed here much anyway due to prolonged open-meeting campaigns in all
sorts of boats, but Miles did and will be missed. However, we are promised a period of attendance by well known hotshot types Andy Smith and James Meldrum from September to November.
A couple of pearls of wisdom when it comes to keeping your boat in tip-top condition, as well as a few modifications you might like to try to give
you that slight performance advantage or stop the thingybob wotsit getting caught round the doobbery what-d'ya-callit. Note-no responsibility will be taken for coming last, finger-pointing and
mockery in the boat park, catapulted crews, death or disembowelment howsoever caused…
Spinnaker chutes…make your kite go up super-slick by spraying all round the inside of your chute with a can of McLube or ProLube (Go see Vic at OnBoard).
Got loads of PTFE in it, you see, slippery stuff…
Tired old kite that acts like a sponge? Spray it all over (on a very calm day!) with a big can of Fab-Sil (camping shop) and gasp with astonishment as the water
pearls off it next time you drop it in the water.
Centreboard that wobbles and comes up at speed? Use a small length (2" or thereabouts) of 1" softwall hose (try Midland Chandlers, Braunston) screwed to
the horizontal top or back edge of your board, so that when the board is down, the tube goes down into the case and rubs on it.
Attach it with 2 screws and an old toe-strap plate, and you can alter the friction setting. Screw the plate in harder and the plate squashes the hose more and makes it wider, creating more friction and a stiffer board.
Jib cleats that won't uncleat under load? If your crew is waving their arms wildly above their head desperately trying to yank the sheet out of the
seemingly jammed solid cleat moments before the inevitable capsize, try this. Remove the cheek block next to the jammer, and place a couple of small washers, or a small "bobble" (Vic again)
suitably filed flat on each side as a spacer. The block now is a little bit higher, so when the rope is in between the pawls (jaws) of the cleat, it's somewhere nearer the top rather than the
bottom of the pawls and is one whole lot easier to get out under load.
You may need to adjust the height by either packing different sized washers or by filing the bobbles down slowly and trying it each time. Kath and I tried this on 14612 and it works a treat…we filed the bobbles down so they are about 3mm high.
Leaky tank hatches? Try replacing all the screws with stainless bolts (you may need up to 30 of them, try a nut & bolt wholesaler like Phil Holden
Fasteners in Broughton Astley or Mr.Fastner on the web, be about a fiver for all of them), use some silicone sealant behind the bezels, and try giving the threads of the hatch and the rubber O-ring a
light smear in Vaseline. Job's a good-un.
Didn't win your last open? Yeah right…answers on a postcard…