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27 February 2003, 09:37 am
Day 4 - More Send-Offs in Race 8
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Howarth/Townend in action</br>Event Website

Fireball World Championship

Races 7 and 8 of the Safaricom World Fireball Sailing Championships set off today in light winds again, hovering around 10 knots and low wave height.

Roger Bebbington, crew on the Kenya boat of son Joachim and father Roger, was unable to sail today being laid low by a bout of malaria. He was replaced for the day's racing by another father - Mike Allport, visiting Kilifi to watch his son Rob competing with Don White for Kenya.

Race 7 got off to a good start with no recalls; Rowan and Butler (Ireland) were unlucky enough to have a capsize shortly after the start giving themselves a hard task to catch up again. Alex Bale and his brother Jonathan Bale (GBR) had one of their best races to date, being with the leaders all the way and finishing in a satisfactory 6th place. Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend remain at the top but were chased closely for the first two legs by Malcolm Davies and Fiona Jump who finished a well-deserved 2nd, followed by Wade and Wagstaff at 3rd. The French were held to 4th place taken by Juin and Loyal.

Trundell (KEN) played his customary game of billiards on the first reach after a fairly slow beat, potting the other spinnakers one after another: red, blue, yellow, white, black. As ever he made good work to finish 11th overall and first for Kenya: though one wonders where he would finish if his beating were as good as his reaching.

Race 8 took three starts to get going. The second start was black-flagged and after this was recalled seven boats were sent in for being on the course side: Alex and Jonathan Bale (GBR), McCarthy and McCusker (IRL), Hemmings and Chesney (GBR), Popple and Shore (GBR), Woods and Bush (KEN), Mackenzie and Hall (IRL) and Smyth and Mugan (IRL). The remaining boats got off to a clean start; the top UK boats started to pull clear. Don White and Rob Allport were the first boats for Kenya at the first windward mark but after two reaches were overtaken just before the leeward mark by Trundell and Hime who had had a worse than usual first beat rounding the windward mark second from last. With their fast reaching they caught up many places to finish the race 8 at 17th. White and Allport were second for Kenya in 23rd place.

After Howarth/Townend in top place, Malcolm Davies and Fiona Jump took second place again, twice in the day; Cullen and Tillson were consistent with two 5th places. France's boats were both brilliant and erratic: Juin and Loyal took 4th and 20th; and Mouches/Nouel could not match yesterday's excellent second place, finishing the day with a 21st and a 7th. Kurt Venhoda and Sonia Zaugg were first of the two Swiss boats with 7th and 12th places.

Omar Mbithi and Steve Ogada (KEN)

These two young men are both from Mombasa families. Omar is 21 and Steve is 23. At the age of 12 they both joined the Sea Scouts and learned to sail Toppers and later 420s and Lasers, under the care and training of Mombasa Yacht Club and most particularly through the efforts of Marylyn Barnes who has created the cadets programme at MYC and put an enormous amount of work into its realisation.

Omar's father is an accountant and his mother has a small fabrics business. Steve's father lectures at the Mombasa Polytechnic and his mother is a nurse with the Kenya Ports Authority. Although the families belong to the coast and live within reach of the sea, the boys are the first in their families to take to the water.

For both Omar and Steve this is their first international event. They have travelled to Naivasha to take part in the Naivasha Yacht Club Laser Open events, but the Fireball Worlds is a new experience.

The Kenya Fireball Association provided a boat for Omar and Steve to sail by buying a Fireball that was available at Naivasha with the plan to sell it again after the event. Fireball International have provided a new mast and sails for the event. Don White, the Worlds organiser, transported the boat down to Mombasa a week before the start of the event, and Omar and Steve, having never sailed a Fireball before, took to the boat at once and proceeded to win the day's racing at Mombasa Yacht Club. Once at Kilifi they started to perform well, gaining 21st place in International Week.

All here at Kilifi and no doubt elsewhere wish Omar and Steve well for the remainder of the event, and hope that they will be the leaders in getting young Kenyans into this great sport.

Results after 8 reaces

Place Sail No Crew race 1 race 2 race 3 race 4 race 5 race 6 race 7 race 8 points (inc discard)
1 GBR 14708 Chips Howarth/Vyv Townend 1 1 1 BFD/39 1 1 1 1 6
2 GBR 14809 Dave Wade/Richard Wagstaff 3 2 4 1 9 6 3 3 16
3 GBR 14770 Vincent Horey/Jim Turner 6 4 BFD/39 5 2 9 8 4 29
4 GBR 14783 Paul Cullen/Gavin Tillson 9 6 2 9 18 3 5 5 30
5 FRA 14693 Franck Juin/Bertrand Loyal 7 7 9 3 5 10 4 20 35
6 GBR 14791 Angus Hemmings/Steve Chesney 5 8 3 BFD/39 3 5 12 BFD/39 36
7 FRA 14793 Frederic Mouches/Jean-Francois Nouel 12 10 15 4 7 2 21 7 42
8 GBR 14789 Penny Gibbs/Ian Gibbs 2 5 6 12 14 14 9 9 43
9 IRL 14816 Shane McCarthy/Phil McCusker OCS/39 3 8 2 12 8 13 BFD/39 46
10 GBR 13945 Malcolm Davies /Fiona Jump 20 17 BFD/39 BFD/39 4 7 2 2 52
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