The British team of Matt MEE and Richard WAGSTAFF emerged victorious at the 2008 Fireball World Championship concluded with another fantastic day of sailing at Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand.
The day started with Matt MEE and Richard WAGSTAFF (GBR) holding a four-point lead over Nathan STOCKLEY and Sam MUIRHEAD (AUS) and 12 points ahead of David WADE and Ben MCCRANE (GBR).
In the first race MEE and WAGSTAFF decided to take matters into their own hands and luffed STOCKLEY and MUIRHEAD at the start putting them under pressure. Both boats were back in the pack on the first beat, which allowed Tomas MUSIL and Jan STANTEJSKY (CZE), 2006 European Champions, to get ahead of Greg ALLISON and Richard WATSON (AUS) and Richard ESTAUGH and Rob GARDENER (GBR), 2007 World Champions. On the second beat, MEE and WSAGSTAFF caught up to the leaders, but Heather MACFARLANE and Chris PAYNE (AUS) got past ESTAUGH and GARDENER for third. MUSIL and STANTEJSKY beat ALLISON and WATSON to the finish, and MEE and WAGSTAFF piped MACFARLANE and PAYNE on the line. This gave MEE and WAGSTAFF the World Championship with STOCKLEY and MUIRHEAD back in 17th and WADE and MCCRANE in sixth.
As per normal the second race was slightly windier than the first, but with the championship in the bag, MEE and WAGSTAFF sat it out. WADE and MCCRANE led around the first mark with STOCKLEY and MUIRHEAD only just in the top ten. On the last mark rounding Eric MOSER and Ruedi MOSER (SUI), 2006 World Champions, just led from Robin INNS and Joel COULTAS (AUS), WADE and MCCRANE and Richard MASON and Simon HEXTALL (GBR). At the finish INNS and COULTAS managed to get ahead of MASON and HEXTALL and WADE and MCCRANE. STOCKLEY and MUIRHEAD had a disastrous race including a swim which put them back to third overall. ALLISON and WATSON finished a consistent series to finish a strong fourth ahead of MUSIL and STANTEJSKY, who were probably let down by minor gear failure. The final positions between sixth and ninth couldn't have been closer with four boats being separated by one point, with MACFARLANE and PAYNE beating ESTAUGH and GARDENER on countback for sixth and MOSER and MOSER beating Vince HOREY and Andrew THOMPSON (GBR) on countback for eighth.
Congratulations to MEE and WAGSTAFF who won the championship in superb style and class, and showed that they had a little extra when required over the other seventy boats.
Results - www.fireball-international.com