Things are hotting up for the Fireball class. As their World Championship in Lough Derg YC this August draws nearer entries have already broken the 50 boat barrier and indications are that this will be a 60 boat plus fleet. The local class has been very busy all winter with organisation and has confirmed sponsorship from Carrickcraft and Tipperary County Council along with support from Irish Sailing and Fireball International. The class has literally got the lead out to make this event work as nine local boats took the opportunity last weekend to get their boats officially re-weighed to make sure that they are down to the minimum hull weight of 76.4kg. As well as supporting the event measurement process Fireball International have initiated a grant scheme to subsidise youth sailors at the event. Details for this are at xxxxx. The class has also organised a professional coaching weekend at LDYC on May 7th and 8th with top dinghy coach Thomas Chaix. This event is open to all Fireballers and the idea is to get everyone up to speed and to allow competitors test the conditions at the Worlds venue. And in recent weeks the buy and sell section of the Irish Fireball website has been busy with boats selling almost as soon as they go on the market. The big advantage of older boats made from FRP (foam reinforced plastic) is that they remain fully competitive for very many years, probably up to thirty years in fact, once they are maintained. A fully competitive older FRP Fireball typically sells for around 2.5k with boats needing a bit of tlc selling for less. With the Worlds on the horizon a number of sailors from other classes have acquired Fireballs, in particular sailors wishing to graduate from 420s and GP14s. Internationally there is big interest in this event with sailors coming from Australia, South Africa, Canada, the Czech republic, France and Switzerland, as well as a big contingent from the UK and from the local fleet. Amongst the entries are already at least two former World Champions, Tom Gillard from the UK and Swiss sailor Rudi Moser. There are other top class sailors entered well capable of pulling off a win at the event, not least Heather and Chris McFarlane of Australia and local top dogs Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella. And nobody could rule out the newbies coming from a 420 background if conditions are light given that the set-up and technique for both boats is very similar. Besides the May coaching weekend the class has regional events at Sutton, Blessington and Killaloe lined up and plans to compete in the main Dun Laoghaire club regattas as well as DBSC throughout the summer.
For more information on the class go to fireball-ireland.com/ and for Worlds information go to ldyc.ie