South African Nationals 2017

10 January 2018

2017 Fireball National Championships

Venue: George Lakes Yacht Club Dates: 30, 31 December 2017, 1 January 2018


Whereas last year, the South African Fireball National Championships was sailed at Mossel Bay as part of the Fireball Worlds Pre-Worlds, this year it was sailed on an inland water without the presence of the international contingent. The Fireballs joined the GP14 class in staging their National Championships at George Lakes Yacht Club, as part of the annual New Year Regatta.

A fleet of ten Fireballs was assembled, with entrants from East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town joining GLYC’s small Fireball fleet. Racing commenced on Saturday in a very light, patchy south westerly breeze. Four races were completed in these conditions. At the day’s end Georgou Divaris & Ferdinand Holm had the lead, ahead of Ant & Di Parker. In 3rd place was the team of Theo Yon & Jay D’Engle, doing well with an old (leaky) wooden, narrow boat.

On Sunday, conditions improved, with a more steady south easter setting in, with 8 to 15 knots. Four more races were sailed on the day, with Divaris / Holm reeling in all the first places again. David Laing & Chris du Toit could do better in these conditions and started moving up. Yon / D’Engle were still there to contest the top places, with Cundell Statt and Rory Laing also in the mix.

On the final day, New Years Day, a passing front brought in a strong westerly wind, with gusts over 25 knots. While the GP14 and club fleets opted to stay ashore in these conditions, six of the Fireballs went out to sail two more races. In the first race, Ant Parker, sailing with David Shilton, had the initial lead until a capsize let Divaris / Holm through. Parker / Shilton avoided such mistakes to win the final race. Divaris / Holm had to settle for a 2nd place, but they discarded it anyway.

Ten races were sailed, permitting two discards. This left Georgou Divaris & Ferdinand Holm with a straight series of wins, for them to retain the S.A. Sailing National Championships title for the Fireball class, that they won last year at Mossel Bay. Second place went to David Laing & Chris du Toit, a scant point ahead of Theo Yon & Jay D’Engle in third place.

 Full results are available from the SailRSA website - click here