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20 June 2011, 01:28 pm
Fireball Worlds Underway In Ireland
Opening Day Action In Sligo
Opening Day Action In Sligo

Fireball World Championship
Sligo, Ireland

The saying goes that a difficult day on the race course still beats a great day at the office and on a day when the sun shone and the wind provided everyone with a challenge, it was infinitely easier to be racing Fireballs than contemplating work in the morning.
Fifty seven boats launched from Sligo Yacht Club's slipway this morning en route to a 13:00 local time start. It was a great sight to see and must have provided the organisers of this event a huge sense of relief. The sleepless nights, the speculation as to how many entries there would be evaporated in the sunshine of Ireland's west coast.

Round 1 went to the Race Officer who, after two aborted starts, signalled by General Recall, brought out the Black Flag. Four boats went over the finish line to silence and for Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (GBR) it must have been particular disappointing as they led for most, if not all, of the race. The front three of Gillard and Brearey, Jonny McGovern and Max Capener (GBR) and Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff (GBR) seemed to have their own race such was their lead on the rest of the fleet.

Behind them the chasing pack consisted of Tim Rush and Richard Pepperdine (GBR), Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (IRL) and Andy Boyle and Brian Flahive (IRL) among others. An ebbing tide made course selection very important and right side of the beat seemed to pay in that respect.

Race 1 was thus claimed by Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff, followed by McGovern and Capener and Butler and Oram.

Race 2 saw the committee boat relocated to a more westerly location for two reasons - a wind switch and too much shallow water in the vicinity of the race track. The wind was also in decline, from an early morning high of 9 knots, it would eventually drop to 5 knots.

There was a 60/40 split between the right and left hand sides of the beat with those on the left being lifted around the outside of the course to their detriment and the advantage of those who had gone right. The right side continued to be the favoured side of the beat. Due to the dying breeze, the significant switch in its direction and probably the lateness of the proceedings saw the Race Management Team shorten the course to the third weather mark.

Burge and Wagstaff took line honours, followed by McGovern and Capener and Gillard and Brearey.

Top Ten After Two Races.
1. Burge and Wagstaff (GBR) 1-1 2pts
2. McGovern and Capener (GBR) 2-2 4pts
3. Rush and Pepperdine (GBR) 5-6 11pts
4. Tipton and King (CAN) 9-8 17pts
5. Krailing and Saunders (GBR) 15-4 19pts
6. Verner and Napravnik (CZE) 10-11 21pts
7. Boyle and Flahive (IRL) 4-18 22pts
8. Thuillier and Berthelot (FRA) 7-15 22pts
9. Scott and Scott (GBR) 12-10 22pts
10. Popple and Shore 16-7 23pts
Cormac Bradley
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