Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend sailed an impressive series to clinch the Fireball inland championship at Draycote Water SC last weekend

A total of 56 Fireballs contested the five-race inland championship series over the weekend of 19-20 October at Draycote Water SC. Conditions were generally light with semi-trapezing breezes throughout the weekend.

In the first race defending champions Dave Wade and Richard Wagstaff led at the first mark, with Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend in hot pursuit and Vince Horey and Jon Mildred in third. Wade won by a comfortable margin. Howarth and Horey followed around in second and third respectively for most of the race. However, Kevin Hope and Rob Gardner positioned themselves on the inside of a lift on the last beat to overtake them both to take second.

For the second race, Howarth led from start to finish, with Wade second and Daren Fasey and Colin Davies third.

The forecast for Sunday was wet and windy but the conditions that greeted the fleet were overcast, cold and light.

In race three, Howarth squeezed around the first mark just ahead of John Curzon and Pete Culver. Howarth extended his lead throughout the race and Curzon had put himself into a fairly safe second until he fell out of the boat on the penultimate beat while trying to remove some weed from his rudder, gifting second spot to Andy Smith and James Meldrum. Richard Estaugh and Simon Potts were third.

Race four saw some new faces at the front. Mike and Ben Rayner, back in the fleet after a break, led at the first mark from Curzon and Fasey. The shifty conditions resulted in much place changing which benefited Howarth who sailed his way up the fleet throughout the race to steal the lead at the bottom of the last beat. He went on to win the race with Curzon this time able to remain in the boat to finish second and Fasey third.

Their third race win gave Howarth and Townend the championship with a race to spare and, with the rain beginning to fall, they elected to sit out the last race in the warmth of the bar. Horey seized his opportunity to win the race by three minutes in the increasing breeze. Jeremy Davy and new crew Norman Bird were second and Estaugh was third.

Overall Results

1st 14708, Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend (Hayling Island SC) 6 pts

2nd 14809, Dave Wade and Richard G Wagstaff (Northampton SC) 15 pts

3rd 14816, Richard Estaugh and Simon Potts (Chase SC) 15 pts

4th Jeremy Davy and Norman Byrd (Draycote SC) 18pts

5th 14770, Vince Horey and Jon Mildred (King George SC) 20 pts

6th 14780, Kevin Hope and Rob Gardner (Notts County SC) 21 pts

Silver Fleet: 1st Mike and Ben Rayner 2nd Mike Deane and Paul Disney

Bronze Fleet 1st Miles Thomas and Steve Digby 2nd Ray Steele and Phil Watkins