The UK fleet is a key player in Fireball sailing worldwide, providing 20 boats at this year's world championship in Kenya
The UK fleet is a key player in Fireball sailing worldwide, providing 20 boats at this year’s world championship in Kenya and will send nearly 30 boats to next year’s worlds in Adelaide in January. In recognition of the contribution that the UK makes to the class internationally, the worldwide body, Fireball International, has awarded the 2005 worlds to the UK.
After giving careful consideration to several venues Teignmouth in Devon has been selected to host the event. This represents the best all round venue in terms of good sailing, close proximity to the South Coast ferry terminals for those coming from Europe, good logistics for containers for those coming from further afield and great holiday opportunities for families and the non-sailor.
Although still over two years away, the UK Association has already started working closely with Teignmouth Corinthian YC, Teignbridge District Council and Teignmouth Town Council to ensure that the sailing, on-shore facilities and infrastructure befits an event of this standing.
The Fireball is particularly popular in Europe with the French and Italian nationals often attracting 70 entries and other numerically strong fleets are to be found in Ireland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Entries are also expected from further afield including Australia, Canada, South Africa and the US.
Domestically the Fireball is enjoying a period of growth. The 2002 Nationals attracted an entry of 68 boats (which was more than the Laser 4000 and RS800) whilst this years Nationals to be held at Paignton in August has already over 60 advance entries. It is expected that the Worlds will be a further boost to what is already a popular and thriving Class.
In the UK, the Fireball has always provided some of the most competitive sailing outside the Olympic Classes and has been sailed by many of the sport’s top names and the list of past National and World Champions includes Lawrie Smith, Phil Morrison, John Merricks and Ian Pinnell. Just within this years America’s Cup GBR Challenge squad Ian Walker, Andy Beadsworth, Adrian Stead and Jim Turner all have a Fireball Junior, National, European and/or World title on their sailing CV with Turner flying straight from Auckland to Kenya to compete in this year’s worlds.
With 2005 being a year after the Olympics, it is hoped that some of the UK’s top sailors will be tempted into the class before gearing up their Olympic campaigns for China. Of the current Olympic campaigners Sydney Silver Medallist Simon Hiscocks is a veteran of two Fireball worlds whilst fellow 49er campaigner Stevie Morrison is a previous Fireball European and world champ.
For further details on the Fireball go to the class website (www.fireball-dinghy.org.uk). Information on the 2005 worlds can be obtained from the Class Chairman, Phil Popple (email@example.com)