Rubbish summer then. The wind was switched up to full until April, then turned off completely until August.
Consequently, good racing has of late been a bit thin on the ground, and most Sundays have offered conditions which made mowing the lawn or drilling holes in your own head look more attractive than
sailing. But now it's autumn, when theoretically we get some decent wind and the water is still warm enough to swim in. The Fireball racing calendar starts now
to make the most of this. Check out the Stuff Forthcoming section for details of what's going on, and please come and take part. Particularly in the Marriott Mug-Bucket event where people who aren't very good get to win .
Abersoch Dinghy Week (Report by Iain Christie)
Nine Draycote Fireballs made the long trip North-West to the fantastic setting of South Caernarfonshire
Yacht Club in Abersoch, and with memories of flat-wiring wave-hopping screaming 3 sail reaches from last year still vivid in some peoples' minds, hopes were high for a repeat of last year's
Abersoch Dinghy Week, albeit perhaps a slightly less windy one. As it was we got a much less windy one!
The boats were Paula/JR/Stuart Turner in 'Doris', Iain and Ed in 'Mad Scow', Pete and Ian in 'Bad Ass',
Graham and Sue in 'Ab Fab', 'Chunky Monkeys' Bob and Paul, Helen and Mike in 'Cheezie Dipper', Dave and Sarah in 'Basic Instinct', 'Pete and Jane in Justafiaball', and new members Tony and Scott in
13884. For some crews this was their first outing onto (and sometimes into!) the salty stuff so it promised to be a bit of any eye opener.
People were spread around a variety of houses and campsites (some with nice hot showers, some
without…grrrrr…) and the Mad Scow started the week by making the traditional visit to the Wakestock music festival to get down to the bangin' choonz on Friday night/Saturday morning.
A good sail round the bay and one of the St Tudwals islands on Saturday soon blew away the cobwebs and hangovers.
The weeks races went as follows…
Sunday-The windy one! Wind rating-Yeeeehaaaaa!!!! Muppet of the day-Chunky Monkey. Hero(ine)-Paula
Frantic pre-start manoeuvring from all boats to get to the right end of the line for a screaming fetchy two
sailey type thing down to SWR.
A bit too frantic from Mad Scow…the tiller extension came off with 60 seconds to go (sod's law, the rubber bit was fine, it was the plastic clip that snapped off despite plenty insulation tape!) and had to get tied in place with the rudder downhaul rope. Sail of the week was a humdinger of a 3 sail reach along the back of the bay, but a bit too humdingy for salty water newbies Chunky Monkey who went for a windward swim big style, dropping them well down the order. Paula, a saltwater expert but usually at the front of the boat, soon found her feet and the very back of the cockpit on those reaches and sailed a storming race in the testing conditions keeping the newly varnished Doris very much the right way up. The Bad Ass boys obviously decided that height and age were no bother in the breeze and scored a creditable 5th.
Monday-The drizzly one… Wind rating-not great and damp. Muppet of the day-Mad Scow. Hero-Ab Fab
The holiday cottage crowd woke up to a miserable wet morning and the camping crowd woke up to miserable wet
tents. The wind was light and shite so with settings on max power the sailors hit the water and the shore teams hit Fat Face and White Stuff. Bad Ass apparently had a bent mast and went down to 15th,
Mad Scow had a perfectly straight one and did even worse finishing in, erm, discard place. Ab Fab started to excel in the light conditions with a very creditable 6th.
Tuesday-The one that got canned… Wind rating-none! Muppet of the day-Iain. Hero-the Race Officer
The campers in Bryn Bach who had a great view of the bay woke up to the sight of a gaggle of Lasers roll
tacking their way up the beat and roll gybing their way down the runs.
Everyone went to the beach anyway and Iain got changed into sailing kit which was a daft thing to do in that heat and no wind. Stuart Turner (previous owner of Rocker's Revenge and builder of Ripanikazof) stepped in to a Fireball for the first time in 8 years to helm Doris for Paula who had other commitments, and was looking more and more disappointed by the lessening breeze. During the 1 hour postponement for the afternoon fleets a few Draycote Fireballers gathered around the new No.1 sails Fireball and admired its very well engineered glued and stitched Kevlar main and it's composite half Dacron half Kevlar jib. Soon after, racing was abandoned for the day, much to the delight of many people who were itching to "get on it" in the bar, and 5 minutes after that a shifty force 1 and a bit arrived and 70 or so boats of various classes launched for a cruise around. The wind went to nowt and Iain began to melt, so jumped into the sea for a swim round the now very stationary and not too amused Kath helming Mad Scow.
Wednesday-The long tedious hot one Wind rating-less than the tide rating… Muppet of the day-Bad Ass.
Or more precisely, the helm of Bad Ass. Hero-anyone who got timed out and managed to avoid resorting to cannibalism for dinner…
The wind was looking quite promising at the start and much jostling at the pin end resulted in Bad Ass
having a shaky start from near the back of the fleet after having got squeezed very near to the cliff. Things got more tedious as the wind dropped, and as the whole fleet sailed off toward mark S a
few boats gybed and sailed back towards the shore in disgust.
The rest of us plodded on towards S and were obviously surprised that S had turned into SE when we got there. In fact the boats retiring had realised their navigational, erm, error, and had gybed for the correct mark and had just made up squillions of places. Things went from bad to worse as first the RS400s and then the RS200s started to catch us up. At least the RS200 crews gave the DWSC lads something to look at! What then started as a kite reach to SE then turned in to a beat and Chunky Monkey and Doris lost a load of places and Bad Ass sailed straight over the top of Mad Scow. The boats ahead clawed their way up to the mark…10 minutes later Mad Scow made it, sailed on 50 yards past it, roll tacked and went sideways past the mark in the tide, just missing it. They were the last Draycote Fireball to make it before the wind went to zip and the tide went silly. They opened up a huge gap on the following boats who got stuck in the tide big style, and as they fine reached away, twenty 400s popped their kites and just seemed to go backwards and were soon dots on the horizon…weird. Unfortunately, all the other DWSC Fireballs were timed out, which must have been really frustrating. Apart from Pete Badhelm, who was none too impressed to find out that during his nightmare start he'd sailed inside the inner distance mark and sailed that whole miserable race for nothing. Oh how we laughed…
Thursday-the one where it did not pay to listen to Spanner Wind rating-started OK and went rubbish.
Again. Muppet of the day-Anyone who listened to Spanner Hero-Spanner
The wind was looking very nice for this one, and top Alverbanks jockey Paul Cullen AKA Spanner ran round the
beach with tales of doom and rising winds and persuaded everyone to rake back to 22'6".
This seemed like a really good idea as we planed up the first reach but then seemed a crap idea as the wind (sponsored by Laser) decided enough was enough and started to go again. Mad Scow pulled the fastpins to go back to 22'8" but it did not really help a lot, and arch rivals the Chunky Monkeys again disappeared off into the distance, loving the light weather stuff. Local knowledge helped on this one and on the last fetch to the club house and the line the boats that went inshore came up smelling of roses in a big way.
Friday-the one with an ALMIGHTY foul up on the finish line. Wind rating-Not too bad I suppose
Muppet of the day-Basic Instinct Hero-Basic Instinct/Ab Fab
The gun went and loads of boats on port under the cliffs tried to cross the rest of the fleet on starboard
so all the little kiddies playing on the beach learnt a load of really useful technical sailing vocabulary. The elite of the UK's Fireball sailors made swift passage to the windward mark, Spanner
and David, Jenny and Nick McLeod, Dave Bevan and Sarah Stirman…BLOODY HELL what are they doing up there, way to go guys!!!! They went round about 5th in a 40 strong fleet but proceeded to lose a few places down the next reach and a bit of a "discussion" at the next mark cost them dear. Still they stayed in front of many of the DWSC fleet until the last mark when…D'OH…they did the equivalent of sailing outside OL. Sadly, they forgot to "unwind" and recross and did not get a result, shame after such a storming start. In the meantime, one solitary starboard tacker called water on about 6 boats all going for the line and knackered everyone good and proper apart from Mad Scow, who seconds before were in the worst place, suddenly found themselves able to duck every transom including Cheezie Dipper and sneak a result that was more from luck than judgement! Dastardly plotting and team racing tactics from Chelmarsh did nothing to slow Ab Fab down who recorded an awesome second when the race leader did the usual Abersoch trick of getting lost.
Other highlights of the week were the BBQ at the Badham/Western campsite, involving gallons of alcohol and
lots of carbonised meat.
Oh, and an alcohol fuelled game of dare involving a kite buggy, at least 2 passengers, a steep hill in the pitch black with a NASTY bend at the end, and of course a torch. Not forgetting the Rear Commodorette Sail attempting to learn the art of unicycling. Drunk. There was also a good session in the bar on Thursday night and a great beach BBQ on Friday, not forgetting the ready-steady-cook meal at Bryn Bach which went something like this…
Apertif - Stella, warmed in our tent
Starter - Finest supermarket ravioli slightly heated over a camping gaz stove
Main - Packet cous-cous accompanied by a lightly carbonised sausage, and medium rare beefburgers delicately
crammed into a cremated pitta pocket
Dessert - our speciality, the Ex-Commodore's marshmallow flambé.
(The full recipe can be found on the pavement of any inner city street after 2am - ed)
See y'all next year!
2004 Symmetric Grand Prix - 10 and 11 July 2004 (report by Helen Salisbury)
Well done to all the Fireball fleet entrants who won the overall fleet prize for the second consecutive year, hosted this year by Rutland Sailing Club. This
proves yet again that the Fireball is a great, tried and tested dinghy! The other single trapeze/spinnaker dinghies competing were the Hornet, 505, Flying Dutchman, 470, Javelin and Osprey.
Vince Horey was the winner of the Fireball prize.
Three Draycote Water SC Fireballs took part, battling against some tough opposition in all fleets. There were 64 entries in total:
Helen Salisbury and Mike Shreeve, 14645 - overall 42nd (42, 43, 39, 42, 41 and 34)
Pete Muggleton and Jane Muggleton 14695 - overall 52nd (50, 53, 55, 40, 42, 42)
Dave Bevan and Sarah Stirman, 14336 - overall 51st (54, 47, 48, 39, 45, 46)
Particularly well done to Dave and Sarah, as it was their first visit to an open meeting!
The 6 races were sailed
in 3 back-to-back sessions on Saturday and Sunday in light to medium winds (in the squalls), necessitating 22' 8" settings all weekend. It was certainly a fitness test for some crews, as I saw
a number of weary sailors staggering back in to a welcome, warm shower on Sunday afternoon.
We sailed trapezoid courses, which had to be altered on several occasions between races to cope with the
shifty Rutland winds, not to mention the downpour before the start to race 1. These courses made a refreshing change from the olympic triangle and sausage routine. We had 2 general recalls on
the Sunday first race before the black flag was brought into force.
Some interesting Fireball luffing took place, not to mention rule-testing mark rounding when various classes of dinghies were
juggling for places, some thinking it was a case of the bigger you are then you can do as you wish! It was challenging at times, too, trying to make headway when a Flying Dutchman passes to
windward of you. Comfortingly, too, Vince reported that this was the case with the leaders, as he could not always find fresh air.
Memorably, next time you're in the bar, ask Pete to tell
you about his capsize on the finish line in race 3, spinnaker in full sail? Also, I understand it was the crew's fault because we just passed him in front of the finish line in race 5, flying along
with all 3 sails up (but then the crew also gets it wrong for looking around ... ?) Ah well, the crew can never win.
Overall, a good weekend's sailing that brought together sailors of all
abilities and ages (crews and dinghies), with many prizes being awarded throughout the fleets for a whole host of skills and perseverance.
I believe it is planned to hold next year's event at Graffahm, so log on to www.fastsail.org to get the latest news.
If you haven't given your fleet subs to Dangerous Dave yet, be warned that he is not called 'Dangerous' for
nothing. This money (£10 / boat / year) goes to pay for this newsletter and buying the prizes for the various race series, and if you race then you should be stumping up the dosh. If you don't race, you
don't have to pay (although you can if you want to).
And the Good News! In 2 raffles we have raised a total of £94 from the DWSC training event on the May Day weekend and from UKFA event on
19-20 June 2004. Many thanks to those members who kindly donated prizes - Pete, Sarah and Paula. A small amount of the proceeds was reinvested to purchase several bottles of wine for the UKFA
event. Money raised will go towards supporting (not replacing!) the Fleet's prizes for the Fireball Open in October and the costs of the prizes giving in December.
The next raffle will be at the
Open in late October 2004, as well as one with a Christmas theme for the December prize-giving. If anyone can donate prizes for either event, then please contact Helen Salisbury, Fireball 14645,
phone 01858 461 549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As a result of a rare bit of democracy at the AGM, the Fleet Championships has been rescheduled to run over
3 days (1 day per month) and starts this weekend.
All forthcoming stuff is listed below, take note because it starts now and goes on until November:
Sunday 5th September Fleet Championships day 1, all 3 races. Race format as normal.
Sat/Sun 11th / 12th September Miracle Open meeting. We are running this, so you may find we need your help.
Sunday 19th September Marriott Mug-Bucket day 1. Personal handicaps, shore starts, all 3 races, much fun.
Sunday 3rd October Fleet Championships day 2, all 3 races.
Sunday 17th October Marriott Mug-Bucket day 2. Same as day 1, but colder.
Sat/Sun 23rd / 24th October Fireball Open Meeting. First start 12:00ish on Saturday, 5 races, 4 to count.
Sunday 7th November Fleet Championships day 3, both races.
Goodbye to Andy Malin, gone to Hastings to live on a big yot, Fireball now for sale if anyone's interested.
A fond farewell also to Perilous Paul, off to sunny Spain where there are no Fireballs at all. Boo. Big hello to new crews Amelia Cliffe, Adam Smith, Kate Ball, Rachel Wilson and Emma Whitely. No excuse
now for anyone to moan about how they can't find a crew – the biggest problem is going to be finding enough helms and boats to keep the crews satisfied. Not Helping At All With This is Ed, who is selling
his boat so he can crew for Captain Jez. Big hello also to Stuart LeCornu and family in a GRP item and Tony and Scott Morris in 13884. A couple of other boats have also appeared, 13330 and 12599, whose
owners we have yet to make contact with. We hope that all newcomers to the fleet will enjoy their sailing, whether racing or cruising. If you need any help, just ask.
Don't forget that we start first in the sequence now, as part of our masterplan to avoid having to sail
round with the Freds. The Fast Handicap fleet go on the 2nd start, and the Freds go 3rd as usual. So we get 6 mins headstart over the heavy-keel brigade, and if they still catch you up then you probably should stay out of their way as they're obviously going a lot quicker than you are .