Winter 1998
Draycote Water
Fireball Fleet Open Meeting
2018 Review Race Results Joining the
Fleet Buying
a boat Rigging,
Articles & Info Scrap
Book Calendar Draycote

Ah Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And hideous gales. Most of these turned up during fleet events of course, but did we let that stop us ?  See the report below for details.


Fleet membership

As I mentioned last time, the fleet is on the increase and we have now acquired some six new boats in the fleet this year, with almost exactly the right number of people to sail them. Ok, none of them are racing much yet, but they will, and when they do please be nice to them whilst they are getting the hang of it. Watch out for those telltale signs, like starting on port tack, going the wrong way round marks or capsizing on J. We also have new crews Simon and Phil who have yet to acquire a permanent ride. Somebody out there must need a crew surely.


Boat park

The boat park is due for some rationalisation, starting with the removal of old wrecks and non-Fireballs, and including a spot of 'making the site safe'. In the first instance, we need all the stakes to be banged in so they are flush with the surface and people can't fall over them. Obviously you can't tie ropes to a stake you can't see, so you need to tie a small loop of rope to your stakes before burying them. Brownie points to all boat owners who do this for us. Any regular sailor hoping to get a space nearer the water should talk to Ray Steele.


Fireball Open Meeting 1999

We have just set the date for the Fireball Open Meeting next year. It will be a two day event held on the 10th and 11th of April. Watch the noticeboard for more details.


Fireball Fleet Championships

This event was held over Sunday 13th and 20th September. There were six races in all with the best three results to count. The winds varied from very strong to nothing at all, requiring extremes of strength, skill and cunning from the competitors.


Day 1, Race 1, Force 5

This one got abandoned due to no one (OD included) getting the course right.

Day 1, Race 2, Force 5-6.

Pete Badham's tiller extension broke off and sank on the way out to the start, effectively removing him from the race. Ian Western took an early lead with Don Robertson close behind. Mike / Paul went swimming in a bid to pass them both, and Ian's sail started come down, involving some  delay while he adjusted it and giving Don a huge lead. Ian's spinnaker halyard broke and Don's kite tied itself in a knot. In theory no-one could now catch Don, so he gave us all a chance by sailing one high speed reach with Pete on the foredeck, head apparently down the spinnaker chute. The inevitable capsize occurred and by the time they had resurfaced, Ian had wallowed past and taken the lead. Not suprisingly he then finished first with Don second.

Day 1, Race 3, Force 6-7

Pete Badham hoovered past everyone and was untouchable. Mike / Paul followed him round for second place, capsizing big time. Everyone else retired or failed to start. Winds like this require a certain skill.

Day 2, Race 4, Force 0

With barely enough wind to move the boats, Pete took an early lead from Graham Wilson and Mike. A hard fought battle for second place ensued, allowing Pete to take an easy first place, with Graham second.

Day 2, Race 5, Force 1

Some over-zealous manoeuvring on the start line led to mild damage to two boats and gave Pete a good headstart as the culprits performed their penalty turns. Ian's boat now had a small hole near the waterline and was slowly taking on water, which reduced his chances of challenging for the lead. However, he was still fast enough to take second place to Pete, with Graham third.

Day 2, Race 6, Force 2

The fleet made a more cautious start without incident, and settled down to a procession with Graham first, Miles second, Pete third, Ian fourth and Mike fifth. Ian only needed to come in fourth or better to take second place in the championship, so it must have been mildly iritating for him when Mike passed him, forcing him into fifth place.

Final placings

1st  14111 Pete Badham & John Tenney

2nd  14449 Graham Wilson & Martin Gaskin

3rd  14074 Ian Western & Chris Tomlinson


1st Classic Boat 13873  Nigel Imbush and Graham MacKenzie


Marriott Mug

This is effectively a fleet pursuit race, with the slower boats starting first and the hotshots chasing them. Ideally everyone finishes at the same time, although variations in the wind strength and race duration tend to cause a more random result. Most of us felt that we had a chance of winning the event, if only (tick as applicable)

We hadn't capsized so much

Our boat hadn't broken

We had sailed the right course

Graham hadn't turned up

We hadn't messed up the beat

We hadn't been given a hugely unfair handicap


Day 1, Race 1, Force 5

Beach starts were the order of the day, since the fleet has enough trouble managing a conventional start on a windy day, without having to work out how long has elapsed since datum.  Due to the conditions everyone but Mike / Paul retired from this race.


Day1, Race 2, Force 4

It is difficult to mess up starting if you only have to push off from the shore when the timekeeper shouts 'GO' at you. Jim and John managed it when their centreboard went all shy and refused to come out of the case. Nigel / Graham led the fleet for the entire race with Alistair / Tony pressing hard behind them. Mike caught them both at the gybe mark, but suffered a spot of 'fleet captains luck' on the gybe when the boat broached and Paul fell out. Nigel went on to win, with Alistair pipped for second place by Graham.

Day 1, Race 3, Force 2-3

Nigel and Graham manfully fought off Jim and John for first place, whilst (5 minutes behind them) Mike / Paul just managed third over Graham / Martin.

Day 2, Race 4, Force 0

We returned to conventional starts for the day. With so little wind, it was easy to lose whole minutes on the beat, and it quickly became a three horse race between Graham, John Tenney (Pete Badham crewing) and Mike. Graham took the race after John pulled a 90o roll tack (90o off vertical that is) and had to stop to bail out.

Day 2, Race 5, Force 1

The same principles applied to this race, with similar results except John stayed drier and took second to Graham.

Day 2, Race 6, Force 2

At this stage it was possible that Nigel, Graham or Mike would take the series, basically you had to win this race to do it. When Graham overtook Nigel for the lead with Mike way back, it was fairly clear how this one was going to end up. Then Graham (sporting fellow) went the wrong way round H and hoisted his kite. Huge tension in our boat; all Nigel had to do was go the right way round H and he would win. Immune to telepathy, Nigel went the wrong way, then came back but failed to 'unwind'. Graham woke up, came back, performed a tasteful unwinding duet with Nigel and took the lead again in less time than it took for me to eat my woolly hat. The final beat and reach went peculiar, so Alistair hit X, Nigel lost out big time and Graham won again. John came in second with Mike third.

Final placings:

1st  14449 Graham Wilson and Martin Gaskin

2nd  14226 Mike Deane and Paul Disney

3rd  13873 Nigel Imbush and Graham MacKenzie

Various people have said how much they enjoyed this series, and it has been suggested that we make it into a 4 day event over a longer period next year. Your comments on this idea (or any other ideas) would be appreciated.

Thanks are due to Geoff Huett and Andrew Martin (club ODs) for their help with the races.

And Finally

The Fireball Christmas Meal is to be held on Sunday the 13th of December at 6.00 PM. This is a family affair for the fleet and friends of the fleet, and is not restricted to fleet members (we have invited the Miracle fleet to join us again). However, we need to know in advance how many people are coming, and we need money up front. So fill in the form, write us a cheque and get it in the post ASAP.

See you there...