A total of 42 Fireball sailors still turned up for the open meeting at Brightlingsea SC last weekend

Despite a forecast of high winds and rain, 42 Fireball sailors still turned up for the open meeting at Brightlingsea over the weekend of 17-18 May.

Saturday was the lighter of the two races with the two races sailed in 15 knot breezes. In race one, Simon Payne and Vyv Townend led from the first mark and went onto to win the race from Vince Horey and Jonny Mildred in second and Kevin Hope and Rob Gardner in third.

The tide changed for the second race creating a nasty chop that caused a bit of swimming for even those at the front. Paul Cullen and Kevin Tillson had quite a ding-dong with Payne all the way round with the lead changing several times but Cullen was triumphant at the finish with Payne taking second and Shane McCarthy and Richard Wagstaff third.

The breeze had built to 20 knots by Sunday morning with more forecast for the afternoon. In race three Payne once again led from start to finish, with Horey second and Clive Goodwin and Chris Webber third.

Things got even more exciting for race four with some big gusts providing some wild rides down the three-sail reaches. Payne had a poor start but pulled through to win again, with Horey second and Cullen, the early leader third.

Payne’s continuing run of beginner’s luck in the Fireball gave him the meeting with a race to spare and he elected to go for an early shower. For those who stayed on the water for race five, the breeze had built to 30 knots. Spinnakers stayed in their bags and the race officer wisely shortened after a single lap. Horey won by three minutes by virtue of being the only boat to survive the gybe mark, Hope was second and McCarthy third.

Overall Results

1st 14830, Simon Payne and Vyv Townend (Hayling Island SC) 5 pts

2nd 14839, Kevin Hope and Bob Gardner (Notts County SC) 11 pts

3rd 14770, Vince Horey and Jonny Mildred (King George SC) 12 pts

4th 14834, Shane McCarthy and Richard G Wagstaff (Greystones SC) 15pts

5th 14634, Andy Bines and D Jasper (Brightlingsea SC) 28 pts

6th 14783, Paul Cullen and Gavin Tillson (Stokes Bay SC) 30 pts