Stevie Morrison gained his first win of the 2001 Fireball European and World Championship by taking the European crown in excellent form. The second week at Lake Bracciano in Italy saw some brilliant sailing and competitive racing, with Stevie taking the world title to complete a spectacular double.
The Fireball European and World Championships were staged in the beautiful setting of Lake Bracciano in Italy. Teams had travelled from as far afield as Canada, Australia, Slovinia, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France and UK to take part. The level of sailors competing was as high and strong as ever with current and previous world, European and national champions from Fireballs and many other classes taking part. One notable absence from both the worlds and Europeans was the team of Thailand world champions DJ Edwards and Vyv Townend who had been unable to make it to this year’s championships.
Strong winds and glorious sunshine greeted the fleet of 90 boats during the first week’s racing and then settled down to much lighter breeze for the worlds. The lighter conditions suited the teams who came from Lake sailing countries but was not so popular with the Brits.
Race one started in a Force 4 after one recall. First to the windward mark was Tim Rush and Robert Gardner, followed by Jeremy Davy and Matt flint. The first reach was very tight and the boats could not carry their spinnakers all the ways down the reach, this made the second reach broad and the boats that went to leeward benefited with the whole fleet closing up. On the last beat Davy hit hard right and passed Rush. With only the run to do before the finish, Rush managed to pass Davy on the run and go on to win from Davy and Dave Wade, Richard Wagstaff in third. These two were later disqualified for OCS giving Thomas Musil from the Czech. Republic third.
At the beginning of race two Dave Wade and Richard Wagstaff came from the left-hand side along with Richard Estaugh and Simon Potts and Eric and Rudy Moser on the first beat, to go round the windward mark in first, second and third respectively. Wade and Wagstaff held first to take a comfortable lead with Estaugh settling for a second place. Steve Morrison and Liam Murray came through on the last beat to take third. Tim Rush & Rob Gardiner secured a sixth to see them leading overall at the end of day one with Estaugh and Potts in second.
The third race of the Europeans started on Tuesday morning and was to see the biggest winds of the championship. Wade and Wagstaff used their weight advantage to lead at the windward mark, but Morrison’s down wind speed soon gave him the leading edge. Horey and Rayner flew down wind to take four places on last run and finished in fourth place with Rush and Gardner finishing in fifth place.
In race four, the Dutch pair of Tilstra and Huiskamp led at the windward mark in a Force 5. They hoisted their spinnaker as did the first eight boats and sailed low. Morrison, Horey and Eastaugh sailed the reach and kept in that order up to the gybe mark. On the next broad reach Morrison and Horey pulled away from the fleet and held their own personal battle with Morrison keeping a a tight cover on Horey right to the finish. Tilstra recovered well to take third. When the boats got ashore Horey and the Dutch where found to have been OCS and lost their race positions as a result.
Race five started as it finished with Morrison leading from start to finish with Tim Rush in close contention. Peter Hay and Ewan Sellar sailed well in the big breeze which suited the Scottish pair and the steady Rush was fourth with Wade having had a new rudder fitted was fifth.
Again the Dutch where enjoying the big breeze during race six and rounded first in front of Eastaugh, Rush, Wade, Morrison and Horey. They went for their Spinnaker again but it was a costly mistake. On one reach Wade’s rudder broke, and both Morrison and Horey capsized as the breeze increased. At the finish it was the Cze