Many things appear to have happened since the last bulletin: Helen Salisbury generously volunteered to be fleet captain before the AGM, which avoided
us having to use the alternative approach to fleet captain selection as defined in the Dead Sea Fireball Fleet scrolls. This is where the outgoing captain pretends to be serious and asks for a volunteer,
and everyone else in the room has to hold their breath and pretend not to be there (first person to breathe or attempt to run away is elected). Helen has since been organising the fleet properly with
meetings, agendas, minutes etc, in a management style in total contrast to our usual benevolent/incompetent dictatorship. Long may it continue.
The UKFA turned up to run the annual training weekend, but sadly forgot to bring any wind with them. This barely mattered to the trainees since it
gave Adam Bowers and his aides more time to explain the complexities of the fourth corner and all that other good stuff, the understanding of which makes them a lot better than us. And all these years I
thought you just had to pull the sails in and stay upright
Adam Whitehouse and Mike were comfortably first Fireball and third overall in the John Siggers Pursuit, but due to a mistake somewhere, didn't get a
prize at the prizegiving (we have been trying for some time to slow Adam down by the simple expedient of ignoring him when the prizes get handed out, but it doesn't seem to be working). So we held a
small private presentation of third-place glassware in the corner shortly afterwards and received a standing ovation from the bar very touching.
Then it was hey-ho for the RNLI pursuit race, and it looked as though it might be windy so we diligently checked our boats for things that might
break or fall off. Then the wind dropped off to about a F2 just before our start (so no change there then). Half way round the first lap our spinnaker twinning line shredded on the first 3 sail reach,
neatly reminding us why we shouldn't bother checking the boat as it always breaks if we do. Further round we were being chased by Jez and Dave when there was a small gust which made our boat wobble a
bit, and a "waaagh
..(splash)" from behind as Dave did a surface to air missile impersonation, ending up about 30ft away. Shortly after that the wind kicked in with a vengeance, and all of a sudden
the air was full of water and the water was full of upturned boats. Excellent fun, and afterwards there were some prizes for the fireballs that stayed upright.
We also had 'fleet social evening' at the Dun Cow which was well attended watch out for the next one and come on down. And then, the FireBowl. This
is the ever popular personal handicap event where we start from the shore in reverse order of excellence and the very talented chase the more dodgy boats, like Pooh and Piglet on the trail of a
heffalump. It was distinctly light airs on both days, although this didn't stop certain people from capsizing anyway. The handicaps were pretty good and most races were finished with the bulk of the
fleet coming round J in a big lump and upsetting Mike Clay who was buried somewhere in the middle in his Solo. On the first day the best results went to Colin and Alan, with a sprinkling of Gordon and
Claudia (who took one first-place) and a smidgeon of Dave and Sarah. On the second day, Tom and JR romped home with a huge lead in the first race, but dramatically failed to repeat this performance in
the next two races. Ian and Greg were surprisingly quick in 2nd place considering they squandered their lead by half time and Ian had a dodgy leg. Anyway, Colin and Alan got another first place to clinch the series in the second race, and Dave and Sarah won the third race (their first ever win) by a short margin from a charging Tom & JR. Other notable performances came from Gordon and Claudia/Dave who spent the entire series harrying Colin and Alan, along with John and Jim who were alternately impressively quick and desperately slow. A special mention also goes to Pat and Jane, who competed ably in spite of never having raced a Fireball before in their lives. It's not easy when you have to go off first and have nobody to follow.
Final results were:
1st - Colin & Alan
2nd - Tom & JT/JR
3rd Gordon & Claudia/Dave
4th Dave & Sarah
On the open meeting circuit, Miles and Paul did rather well at the Inlands (1st Silver Fleet). As did Adam and Ed, but it was very windy and afterwards Ed had to emigrate to New Zealand for a bit of a lie down. So a cheerful ta-ta to Ed, and a hearty welcome back to Graham Collett who has been away with the asymetrics but is much better now and available to crew Fireballs. A big hello to Simon and Neil who have got themselves a nice sturdy HPS item and are already demonstrating that they're not afraid to use it. Rob Farey has returned from sailing around the world (or at least bits of it). Mike Shreeve has also equipped himself with a nice (if somewhat leaky) old HPS and a new crew (Hi Dave), and as a result of all this fleet turnouts are on the up again. This is a relief as we were in danger of occasionally falling below 10 boats on the start line, and that would be bad. At the time of writing there are a few cheap boats for sale at the club too ie under £400 so anyone who fancies a bit of fun can come and join in for less than the price of a wet weekend in Wales. If you fancy having a go in a Fireball first you are welcome to come and have a try, just turn up ready to sail on the shore at about 2:30pm on a Sunday and look for 14778 or 14064 as we come in from the 2nd race. Summer is here let's enjoy it.
Mike Deane Fireball 14778