While most people will be sitting down on Christmas Day digging in to their Christmas dinner, the 22-strong British Fireball team will jumping into an aeroplane and heading off down under
While most people will be sitting down on Christmas Day digging in to their Christmas dinner, the 22-strong British Fireball team will jumping into an aeroplane and heading off down under for the 2004 Fireball World Championship.
Hosted by Adelaide Sailing Club, this event looks set to be one of the most open championships for many years, with none of the recent World Champions attending. European Champions Andy Smith and James Meldrum and UK National Champions Kevin Hope and Rob Gardner head a strong British team. Representing Ireland will be the Irish National Champion and UK Open Champion Shane McCarthy.
From the Czech Republic there will be Tomas Musil, who is currently doing a 470 Olympic campaign. France have a very strong team this year with Franc Juin who finished 5th in the 2003 Worlds and the always popular pairing of Frederic Mouches and Jean-Francois Nouel. The brothers of Eric and Ruedi Moser will be heading up the Swiss challenge along with Kurt Venhoda and Sonja Zaugg who finished 7th in the 2003 World Championships. Entries are also expected from Germany, Canada, South Africa, Japan and the US.
However, the big unknown are the Australians. Having not been at the last couple of World Championships the question is who’s going fast from down under? Rumours have been heard that Brett Young and Alan Blenkle are aiming to win on home territory and then there’s the challenge from the ever-consistent Chris and Heather Payne. Ben Schulz and his Australian crew, Adam Parker are aiming for a place in the top ten and Robin Inns and Philip Bowey are setting their sights on the top five. They’ve got some real unknowns too, fast crews from other fleets who’ve joined the Fireballs for a crack at the title – Gregg Allison and his crew from Australian Sharpies and juniors, Shane and Andrew Hughes from the 470 Development Squad.
The pre worlds incorporating the Australian Championships will be held from the 29-31 December 2003. The 2004 International Fireball World Championships will be run from the Saturday 3 January to Friday 9 January 2004. The lay day on the 6 January is reserved for sightseeing, winery visits or just relaxing. The programme is being prepared to cater for everyone’s needs with the aim to provide close competitive racing, with time available to make the most of everything the region has to offer.
Andy Smith and James Meldrum
Kevin Hope and Rob Gardner
Mike and Kim Goldby
Ian and Penny Gibbs
Mel and Kyle Hourigan
Malcolm Davies and Russell Thorne
Derian Chandler and Olly Goldsmith
Alex and Jon Bale
Keryn and Gary Henwood-Fox
Paul Cullen and Gavin Tillson
Dave Wade and Richard Wagstaff
Vince Horey and Jonny Mildred
Martin Scarth and Andy Scott
Doug Shaw and Tom Truman
Andy Pearce and Dave Mason