Holt Fireball Worlds sets new records and standards

Some said it couldn’t be done, some even said it shouldn’t be done but the Fireball class decided to sail as a huge, single fleet with line starts for the 2005 Holt Fireball World, National and European Championships, rather than gate starts. There was a total of 119 entries for the UK National and European Championship and a record-shattering 176 entries from 12 countries for the World Championship.

The Teign Corinthian Yacht Club in Teignmouth, Devon hosted the event. Sponsorship came from Holt, Winder sponsored boat ,Speed Sails, Typhoon International, Brigantine Chandlery Living Heritage (marquee supplier), Wychwood Brewery, Teignbridge District Council and The Met Office. This sponsorship provided excellent prizes throughout the fleet, which was seeded into gold, silver and bronze classifications. Daily prize giving and morning briefings kept the competitors together and a comprehensive social programme ensured enjoyment for all, irrespective of results.

Week 1 – National, European and Open Championships

Sunday – Race 1 – In a steady Force 2-3 the fleet got away at the third attempt with a black flag. After a good start, Dave Edwards and Dan Newman (GBR) led the fleet from start to finish with Richard Estaugh and Rob Gardner and Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend having a battle for 2nd and 3rd, with Estaugh and Gardner gaining the upper hand. Mike Pearson’s black flag claimed 24 scalps this day but the grumpy victims were somewhat mollified when their tallies were exchanged for cans of lager on coming ashore.

Monday – Race 2 – after a short delay for the wind to steady and build, race 2 got away at the second attempt under a black flag, with DJ Edwards and Dan Newman (GBR) first to the windward mark. Penny and Ian Gibbs rounded in 2nd place but the Jury whistled them for pumping, the penalty turns pushing them back into the pack from which there was no escape. Behind the leaders, places changed frequently with 1st place eventually going to Edwards and Newman, ahead of Smith and Mildred and Newton and Stevens.

Race 3 – another black flag and few slow learners sent home. An increasing wind gave Vince Horey and Gavin Tillson a win, followed by Howarth and Townend, and Wade and Wagstaff.

Tuesday – Race 4 – with a 12 noon scheduled start, blue sky but no wind, the postponement flag was hoisted and an impromptu cricket match took place on the Den. Almost three hours later the wind kicked in and the boats got afloat. An ‘I’ flag start gave a lapse of concentration to a number of competitors and, yes, another recall leading to yet another black flag start. Simon Maskell and Jon Watkins (GBR) sailed a good beat with Kurt Venhoda and Sonja Zaugg (SUI) a close second. Maskell and Watkins increased their lead giving them their first win in the series, with Venhoda and Zaugg second and Edwards and Newman third.

Thursday – No wind – no racing.

Friday – With some catching up needed due to no racing, the race officer planned for two races on the final day and encouraged all to launch early and get to the start area on time.

Race 5 – shifty conditions gave the race team a nightmare setting a course in the wind shifts and gusts. With the course set, the boats erred on the side of caution and had a clean start. Edwards and Newman scored another win to keep them in the lead, followed by Smith and Mildred and reigning European Champions Thomas Musil and Jan Stantejsky (CZE).

Race 6 – with the discard coming in on the 6th race, this was the time to work out who you had to beat, or how far ahead you needed to be to improve your overall result. The race got away first time, again. Sam Mettam and Richard Anderton (GBR) sailed a superb race to win from Simon Maskell and Jon Watkins and Edwards and Newman. This result gave Edwards and Newman the title, Howarth and Townend second and Musil and Stantejsky third. The husband and wife team of Elaine and Warren Tudor won the Silver and the 14 year old twin brothers Daniel and Jamie Hare won the bronze fleet.

Overall Results

1st GBR 14908 David Edwards and Dan Newman 9 pts

2nd GBR 14830 Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend 26 pts

3rd CZE 14879 Tomas Musil and Jan Stantejsky 26 pts

Silver fleet winner: 32nd overall GBR 14893 Elaine and Warren Tudor 160 pts

Bronze fleet winner: 63rd overall GBR 14809 Daniel and Jamie Hare 308 pts

Holt Fireball World Championships

A mega-fleet of 176 Fireballs from the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Kenya assembled for the Fireball World Championship in Teignmouth. The entry list including many champions of the Fireball and other classes. During the first week the competitors had got to grips with 119 boat line starts, but now the start lines were set to get really interesting.

Sunday – Race 1. An offshore Force 4-5, blue sky and sparkling sea greeted the competitors, but the committee boat had problems with a dragging anchor. The first start had an ‘I’ flag and general recall, the black flag came out for the restart with another general recall. At the third attempt, they got away with Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend (GBR) gaining an early lead.

At the first gybe mark John Curzon and Pete Elver were second, Sam Mettam and Richard Anderton third. The prize for giving most entertainment value goes to Elaine and Graham Slater for the most spectacular capsize. Howarth and Townend won, followed by Mettam and Anderton and Musil and Stantejsky.

Race 2 – the race officer made the most of the wind, and a couple of general recalls later race 2 started. A win for Andy Smith and Jonny Mildred, ahead of Edwards and Newman and Musil and Stantejsky.

Monday – Race 3 – a clean start and Tim Rush and Fred Sotteau (FRA) got to the front followed by Edwards and Newman and Howarth and Townend. Close covering of the opposition meant that the leading boats were giving the opportunity for others to sneak in. Rush and Sotteau lost their lead, Justin Clark and David Aymes (RSA) got the shifts right to lead, but incurred a 720 penalty for pumping the wire. With Edwards and Howarth having their own ‘match race’, Rush and Sotteau won, Tipton and Tattersall second, Howarth and Townend third, Edwards and Newman fourth.

Tuesday – no wind – no racing but a big night in the Fireball village with a band sponsored by the Fireball Dentists association.

Wednesday – lay day

Thursday – Race 4 – determination and staying power by the race officer meant a scheduled start of 12 noon turned into an actual start after 5pm. It had been a long wait, but eventually the wind kicked in as the Met Office had said it would! The predicted Force 4-5 had arrived, and with it, there would be a number of breakages. The race was first lead by the Swiss team of Frederic Duvoisin and Laurent Grob, but they were overtaken by Andy Smith and Jonny Mildred who notched up their second win of the championship. Paul Cullen and Johnathan Ching (GBR) finished second, Penny and Ian Gibbs (GBR) third.

The evening entertainment was organised by the Canadian fleet to promote the 2006 Worlds in Victoria, British Columbia.

Friday – Race 5 – before going on the water, those at the top of the fleet were glued to the race results, working on their strategy for the final day. The race officer planned to get 2 races in, the first would trigger the discard and that would turn the result board around. The 2004 World Champions Smith and Mildred were leading the results at the end of day 5, with Howarth and Townend a close second. In the fresh force 4, local sailors Malcolm Davies and Ian Cadwallader took their chance and won, in a 19 year old boat, ahead of Dave Wade and Richard G Wagstaff (GBR) and Howarth and Townend. Smith and Mildred got stuck in the pack, finishing 23rd, this gave Howarth and Townend some security going into the final race.

Race 6 – with time edging away and the wind dropping, this would be the final race of the championship. Edwards and Newman took an early lead which they held to win the race, followed by Guy Tipton and Chris Tattersall (GBR), Musil and Stantejsky 7th place for Howarth and Townend being enough to win the title.

And so the largest ever Fireball World Championship concluded. The prize-giving ceremony included a splendid soul band and impressive firework display. The event will surely be remembered for the huge entry, the close racing throughout the fleet, a spectacular sight that will never be forgotten. The massive line starts proved successful and fair, once the competitors and race team had got their heads around them.

The only disappointment was that the bottle of vintage champagne, promised to the first boat to amass 1,000 points, went un-awarded because only 6 of the scheduled 10 races were completed. The beach team led by Derek Wyatt launched and recovered the fleet in a short space of time and with the minimum amount of fuss.

Overall Results

1st GBR 14830 Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend 19 pts

2nd GBR 14895 Andy Smith and Jonny Mildred 32 pts

3rd GBR 14614 Guy Tipton and Chris Tattersall 34 pts

4th GBR 14904 Richard Estaugh and Rob Gardner 38 pts

5th GBR 14908 Dave Edwards and Dan Newman 42 pts

6th CZE 14879 Tomas Musil and Jan Stantejsky 45 pts

7th GBR 14834 Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson 47pts

8th GBR 14880 Dave Wade and Richard G Wagstaff 48 pts

9th GBR 14898 Paul Cullen and Jonathan Ching 54 pts

10th GBR 13945 Malcolm Davies and Ian Cadwallader 68 pts

Silver Fleet Winner 32nd overall GBR 14851 Mark Jarred and Nick Collins 156 pts

Bronze Fleet Winner 82nd overall GBR 14873 Damian Abbatt and Stephen Digby 394 pts