2013 Fireball World Championships
9th - 20th September 2013
It was always forecast to be light and shifty for the final day of the Fireball World Championships in Portoroz Slovenia. The AP flag was raised early with competitors held on the beach until just after 12pm.
At that time the PRO decided it was now or never and sent the boats out on to the course. Initially it was hoped that the breeze would fill into the bay but when it was clear it wasn't going to happen the PRO used the last lifeline and sent the fleet to a new location to try and get a start.
While there was breeze enough to get a start in, the large wind shifts mad it impossible to get a race under way.
With just 25 minutes until the time limit of 3pm the PRO made an attempt to get a race underway. Unfortunately with 2 minutes to the start there was another major wind change and the start abandoned.
The race committee continued to strive to get a race in but were beaten by the time limit.
As a result yesterdays results stand.
Tom Gillard and Simon Potts are the 2013 Fireball World Champions - Congratulations guys. Especially to Tom who retains the title he won last year with Sam Brearey who comes in a valliant second this year sailing with Christian Birrell. Third place goes to Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff, our European Champions from last week.
It was another beautiful, sunny and warm day here in Portorož today, just the wind kept us waiting again. Our race officer Tonko postponed the start for an hour at first, and at 1pm the fleet was called on to the water.
Although a light breeze could be felt inside the bay, he decided to go for a safer option and invited the sailors to follow him in front of the old medieval town Piran. A really backdrop for taking photos, but unfortunately not that good for sailing - at least not until around 2.30 pm, when a South Westerly picked up suddenly with more than 12 knots.
The first race started with the Oscar flag raised . The fleet was already eager to race... too eager. The general recall and a black flag set the standards for the second successful attempt.
When the race got under way on the second attempt it was the left side of the racing field that helped the sailors reach the top mark first, and most of the leading pack of British sailors picked the right side.
The second race followed soon after, with a clear start and the wind, dropping through the race.
There were six different British crews that secured the first three positions in today's races; Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey finished first in the first race, Tom Gillard and Simon Potts were second and Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff third. Nathan Batchelor and James Clark were the winners of the second today's race in front of Tim Rush and Dan Ellis, Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend were third.
Before tomorrow's last day of this Worlds with, hopefully, at least one more race to go.
The top 11 places are now held by British teams. Tom Gillard and Simon Potts still hold the top position with 25 points, Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey move to second with 27 and Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff are in third with 34. If at least one race will be sailed tomorrow, the two discards will apply, and a lot can still change.
Tonights entertainment is the GO GAMES with competitions planned between teams from each country. We have 9 teams entered so should be a fun evening.
The breeze for tomorrow is predicted to be light and shifty so we are sure that many of the top teams will be tucked away in their appartments for an early night watching the Americas Cup.
Morning rain didn't look promising, but the weather forecast luckily proved to be right. NE bora wind, usually coming with a nice, sunny weather, woke us up this morning with more than 30 knots. A bit too much, so our race officer postponed proceedings for 2 hours after which he signalled that the fleet should go afloat.
The start got under way at 2 pm, when the wind dropped to a pleasant 12-16 knots. Nevertheless, wind shifts and typical bora gusts were not at all easy to handle, so the two today's races were again tough ones.
Race 5 started under Oscar flag with the left and middle of the course favoured. Spinnaker reaches were exciting in these winds and good waves. The second race heavily favoured the right hand side, when a big shift came in from that side, leaving those, who went left, a major challenge to get back into the frame.
As the wind had dropped from the first race, the Oscar flag was put away for the afternoon. However, the reaches and the run still provided lots of excitement with the run in particular, providing lots of options to get to the leeward mark.
At the end of the third day the British still dominate the top of the leaderboard but the sequence of places has been shuffled. Now Tom Gillard and Simon Potts lead with 15 points from Dave Wade and Tim Hartley on 17 and Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey on 19 points.
Joerg Nolle and Roger Leemann lead the continental charge in the first race of the day behind a top ten British boat sequence. The first non-British boat in the second race was Milan Cap and Filip Prochizka from Czech Republic. Jaroslav Verner and Jakub Napravnik also finished inside the top ten.
After his 9th place in yesterday's second race, Fireballs most senior competitor Louis Smyth (76), took the competition to his fellow Irish Fireballers in today's first race. By the end of proceedings four Irish boats followed each other over the line, occupying places 19 to 22.
Swiss Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser first to beat the Brits
Finally, after today's races it doesn't look like Portorož is hosting the British Nationals any longer! Wind conditions were again on their lowest end, not picking up more than 10 knots and dropping to around five, with huge wind shifts. It was one of them that was responsible for the general recall of the first of today's race. The second start was quite exciting, with lots of forbidden body-pumping and the jury proved to be efficient. Slovenian crew Marko Kocjančič and Aljaž Jadek were the first to round the upwind mark, but lost some places until the end of the race and finished sixth after GBR Ian Dobson and Ben Ainsworth. European champions, GBR Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff were second and GBR's Dave Wade and Tim Hartley came in as third.
Huge wind shifts postponed a start to the second race for almost an hour. There were two crews over the course line unfortunately, Slovenians Marko Kocjančič and Aljaž Jadek, who sailed a very good second race and would, without the OCS, finish fourth, and the leaders from day one Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend, who would without the OCS finish fifth. It's been a bad day for the four times world champions today, since they had a collision just after the first start and had to clear a penalty. Anyway, these are still early days of this championship and we're pretty sure the two experienced sailors haven't said their last word yet. The win of the second race went to a non-British boat, Swiss Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser, GBR Alan Krailing and Tim Linsell finished second and GBR Ian Dobson and Ben Ainsworth as third.
There are new names in the lead after four races: Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey hold first with 17 points from Alan Krailing and Tim Linsell (23 points) and Tom Gillard with Simon Potts in third with 24 points.
Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser: "It's great to win the race and it's too bad that we had to do the 720 in the first race due to a penalty. We had a very good start in the second race, a good lift on a first leg and were second on the top mark behind the Slovenian boat. The second reach slowed the whole fleet down, so the whole pack was there together at the leeward mark, then we got some good shifts and could control the other boats. We won with a big lead, safely. We hope the wind will last and grow stronger in the following days. So far the organisation is great and we're looking forward to more racing. We'd like to finish this Worlds in the top ten and I wanted to win one race, at least, and it worked!"
Marko Kocjančič and Aljaž Jadek: "We had a good first start, worked the shifts well and rounded the first mark first. After that they were only our mistakes that cost us places. We dropped to sixth in a first race and to fourth in the second. Unfortunately we were a bit too fast on the second start, the jury saw us and we earned the OCS. The British sailors are very good competition, but this is just a beginning of this championship and everything is still possible. We haven't been training a lot in heavy winds, so we hope for lighter conditions in the future races. Anyway, we can't be good with the OCS's."
SUI Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser: »It's great to win the race and it's too bad that we had to do the 720 in the first race due to a penalty. We had a very good start of the second race, a good lift in a first leg and were second on the top mark behind the Slovenian boat. The second reach slowed the whole fleet down, so the whole pack was there together at the leeward mark, then we got some good shifts and could control the other boats. We won with a big lead, safely. We hope the wind will last and grow stronger in the following days. So far the organisation is great and we're looking forward to more racing. We'd like to finish this Worlds in top ten and I wanted to win one race, at least, and it worked!«
SLO Marko Kocjančič and Aljaž Jadek: »We had a good first start, worked the shifts well and rounded the first mark as first. After that they were only our mistakes that cost us places. We dropped to sixth in a first race and to fourth in the second. Unfortunately we were a bit too fast on the second start, the jury saw us and we earned the OCS. The British sailors are very good competition, but this is just a beginning of this championship and everything is still possible. We haven't been training a lot in heavy winds, so we hope for lighter conditions in the future races. Anyway, we can't be good with the OCS's.«
After a very successful Fireball European Championship, which gathered 62 crews from eight countries, Portoroz, Slovenia, is now hosting the Worlds (13th-20th September). 78 crews sailed today in the first two races of the championship.
Although the European Championships didn't offer much wind, and especially sailors from Britain wished for more, it looks like things are going their way. A nice 'jugo' breeze made racing exciting and, because of regular shifts, not at all easy. Up to 16 knots of wind in the first race and a little less, around 10, in the second were enough for some nice trapezing.
"We had a nice breeze and two good races, the second race on the black flag on the second attempt due to a major wind shift just after the first start. I believe sailors are happy and I really hope the next days will provide similar conditions," said Croatian race officer Tonko Petesic.
European champions Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff, who are ranked sixth overall after these two races said, "It was extremely difficult again, it was nice to stretch our legs and go a bit faster, so I think everyone enjoyed the sailing. It was easy to gain places, but was even easier to lose them. For us it was a big battle, but eventually we got somewhere near the top five, which was good enough for what we need, Chips is looking good, but these are early days."
Lighter winds are forecasted for tomorrow, with some rain showers possible during the day.
It was another light day for the final fay of the 2013 European Championships in Portoroz Slovenia.
The day started under the now familiar AP flag and as in previous days a light breeze filled in mid afternoon.
Racing got under way after three general recalls.
The configuration of the fleet was quite different to the first two races ensuring some shuffling on the leader board.
Robert Gullan and Ben Ainsworth improved on yesterdays third by winning the race bringing them up to seventh overall.
Dave Wade and Tim Hartley continued their consistency with a second, guaranteeing them second overall.
Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff managed a ninth which was enough to hold on for the overall victory.
The light conditions again allowed only one race to be sailed.
Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff said after the event, "It was very difficult racing, extremely tricky. Although there were only three races, that was probably one of the hardest events we've done, because it was so easy to sail a bad result in all three races. There was no consistency, you just had to always get in pressure and the shifts, wherever that was. And yes, we're really pleased. Naturally we wouldn't be fully happy until hopefully we win the Worlds next week, but this is surely a good start. We think this is probably one of the most competitive events in many years in the Fireball, there are a number of people that have won the championships in the past, who all seem to be here, so yes - to win here is perhaps extra special, so I just pray that we can try to do that again. But we've done it this week, so there's no reason we can't do it next week, we'll just push it on and try to do it again. Thanks to everybody, the event has been perfectly organized, GoSailing is great, you definitely get the sense that it's been done properly."
Dave Wade and Tim Hartley: "The championship has been very very good so far, very light, very shifty. We tried to stay consistent, play the middle, sometimes it worked, sometimes it hasn't. We're happy with a result. For the Worlds, let's hope we'll have a few more races, not quite as light, but it's been fine so far, no complaints."
Matt Rainback and Simon Foskett: "We had quite a few boats very close to us before today's race, within one or two points, so we knew we had to push a little bit more. We had a good start and from then on we were just protecting third and keeping up with the two guys in front of us and hopefully, since we came third overall now, is looking good to come top five in the Worlds next week and that's our goal."
Eva Peternelj and Valentina Baruca: "We usually sail on a 470, but decided to participate in this championship because they're held here in Portorož, and provide a great opportunity to sail in bigger fleet with strong competitors. We're happy with a result, although it could be better. We did make some mistakes we shouldn't have done, so we're really looking forward to the worlds, hoping for light wind again and hopefully we'll sail better then."
Four times World Champions Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend: "We're not too happy with our result. We're surprised how light the wind has been, we only trapezed in one race. In the beginning of the week we had terrible thunderstorms and after the thunderstorms the wind has never had time to settle down. I have a lot of sympathy for the race officer, he did well to get three races in for us, but this was supposed to be a nine race series, so he's really struggled. It's been extremely light and hasn't been a good preparation for the worlds, because we haven't seen the true conditions across the course area, but it's been good fun, a lot of practice with so many recalled starts. But we're still hoping for the next week to be a little bit windier with hopefully a little bit more steady conditions. We think we're going ok, fast enough, we're not strategically sailing so well at the moment, but we'll work on this for the next week."
It was another tricky day for both the sailors and officials at the 2013 Europeans in Portoroz Slovenia.
Sailors woke to glorious sunshine with yesterdays thunderstorms having moved on. Unfortunately there was also a distinct lack of wind.
The AP flag was raised and the waiting game began. Not all considered this a bad thing with sailors enjoying a pasta lunch and a beer while lounging around the pool.
At 2:30pm the breeze began to slowly fill in and the sailors hit the water .
Around 7 knots of wind was just enough to set the course for today's only race.
It would be all about the Brits, if Czech Eva Skorepova and Roman Roček didn't come in as fourth.
2011 World Champions Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff stay unbeatable, followed by Matt Rainback and Simon Foskett, Ian Dobson and Robert Gullan as third and Dave Wade with Tim Hartley on fifth. Four times world champions Chips Howarth and Vyv Townend (in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2010) scored 5th and 6th and hold fifth.
The best Slovenian crew today were our lovely girls Eva Peternelj and Valentina Baruca on 23th.
After two racing days Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff lead the fleet with only 2 points, Tom Gillard and Simon Potts hold second with ten points and Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey are third with eleven.
The equipment checks took place on Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday; the team did a slick and professional job under the leadership of Pam Johnson, the Championship Measurer. The Measurement check was completed this morning with late arrivals including two boats from Shetland. Their journey started on Saturday and included two overnight ferry crossings arriving here in Portoroz late yesterday afternoon ~ a long journey, well done Maggie Adamson & Steven Leask, John Manson / Ivan Fraser.
The Skippers briefing was at 10.30 and soon after the storm came, the PRO has no choice but to hoist "AP". Whilst the sailors were waiting a pasta lunch was provided for them.
Once the squals had passed through "AP" came down and the fleet went afloat in light airs.
Conditions were tricky with sailors commenting on large shifts.
After four false starts the fleet finally got under way sailing one race.
The results were: 1st Burge & Wagstaff 2nd Birrell & Breary 3rd Gillard & Potts 4th Rumball & Rumball 5th Howarth & Townend