The Pre-Worlds phase of the GUL sponsored Fireball World Championships started off yesterday morning in much the same way as it had concluded the day before – with lots of breeze, from a broadly similar direction – 240°. However, early on in the morning it brought in rain as well but by race time the rain had disappeared leaving us with the odd short sharp shower.

A reduced fleet came out to the race area and maybe by way of being a smaller fleet, the starts got off that much smoother though they were all under a “U-flag”. The majority of the fleet decided that left was the way to go on the beats, though conventional wisdom in these parts apparently suggests that “when it comes from Hare, go to Clare”, Hare being an island in the racing area and Clare being the right-hand shore of the Lough. Certainly, in one of the latter races of the day there was a noticeable difference in angle of sailing between the solitary boat who worked the Clare side of the course and the rest of the fleet.

In the first race of the day (Race 4) wind speeds in excess of 20knots were being regularly recorded on the committee boat’s anemometer, getting as high as 26knots is some of the more severe gusts that came through. That would explain some of the two-sail reaching across the top reach of the course after a 1-mile beat. However, the same three red spinnakers of Messrs Marsh & Davenport (15162), Paruzek & Kosvica (15141) and Bateman & Chaix (14750) dominated the occupancy of the leading bunch. Further back we could see the green spinnakers of another Czech boat and Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella (15093).  At the leeward mark for the first time the sequence of rounding was, 15162 (Marsh & Davenport), 14750, (Bateman & Chaix), 15141 (Paruzek & Kosvica), 14941 (Derian & Andy Scott), 15061 (Noel Butler & Stephen Oram), 15152 (Heather McFarlane & Chris Payne), 15093 (McCartin & Kinsella) and in eighth, 15091 (Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek). The approach to the second beat was mixed, some when right for a short period before heading left, others tacked immediately at the mark.

The downwind leg of the sausage was high speed stuff, some flew bags, others didn’t, deciding that discretion was the better part of valour.

The finishing order for the race was 14750, 15162, 15141, 15019, CZE 15163 (Milan & Matej Snajdr), GBR 15112 (David Sayce & Gareth Edwards), 15093, AUS 15152 (Heather McFarlane & Chris Payne), 15061, GBR 15145 (Steve & Tom Goacher).

Race 5 saw a slight abatement in the wind with less of the 20+ knots being registered though still in the high teens. Again, the favoured approach to the beat was to go left and the same three red spinnakers were broken out after the weather mark – Marsh, Paruzek and Bateman. Again, the action was fast and furious, even under two sails on the off-wind legs. The latter half of the race saw a further drop in wind strength but it had little impact on the placings on the water. The same three boats occupied the podium places with the finishing order being Paruzek & Kosvica (15141), Bateman & Chaix (14750) and Marsh & Davenport (15162). McCartin & Kinsella took 4th, ahead of Snajdr & Snajdr (15163), Butler & Oram, Kubovy & Rocek, Frank Miller & Conor Flynn (IRL 14915), GBR 15096 (Michael & Adam Whitehouse) and tenth, GBR14753 (John Cowper & Martin Mills).

By Race Six, the pace of the race started to become positively pedestrian compared to what had got beforehand. Wind readings on the committee boat were getting down to the mid-teens by mid-race but the high-octane and physicality of the preceding two races had taken its toll on the fleet and the start line length was halved for an 18-boat fleet. Yet again the fleet favoured going left and Marsh & Davenport revelled in the conditions building an insurmountable lead by the weather mark. Instead of three red spinnakers at the head of the fleet we could only see two followed by two green spinnakers and again some boats two-sailing the top reach. At the first rounding of the leeward mark the sequence was; 15162, 15141, 15093, 14750, 15061, 15163, 15019, 15145, 15096, IRL 14637 (Tiarnan Brown & Oisin McAllister), FRA 14950 (Charles LaCalves & Eloise Maussio), 14915 and IRL 14213 (David Evans & William Draper). For the downwind leg of the sausage the fleet favoured middle and (their) right and the pace of execution of this leg dropped with the reducing wind strength. It had a minimal impact on the occupancy of the podium places on the water which had been dominated by Marsh, Paruzek and Bateman, with Bateman & Chaix dropping out and McCartin & Kinsella getting into third place.

And thus, the Pre-Worlds and Irish Nationals were concluded, finished under a substantially blue sky and moderating winds, though they came back before the afternoon was out.



Pos. Sail No. Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Nett
1 GBR 15162 Isaac Marsh & Oliver Davenport 1 7 2 2 3 1 9pts
2 CZE 15141 Jiri Paruzek & Jakub Kosvica DNC 1 3 3 1 2 10pts
3 IRL 14750 Chris Bateman & Thomas Chaix 3 3 1 1 2 7 10pts
4 IRL 15093 Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella 7 4 BFD 7 4 3 25pts
5 CZE 15019 Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek 13 5 4 4 7 5 25pts
6 CZE 15163 Milan & Matej Snajdr 6 11 5 5 5 4 25pts
7 IRL 15061 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 10 9 8 9 6 8 40pts
8 GBR 15145 Steve & Tom Goacher 12 8 6 10 11 6 41pts
9 GBR 15096 Michael & Adam Whitehouse 16 12 9 11 9 9 50pts
10 IRL 14915 Frank Miller & Conor Flynn 24 14 13 18 8 12 65pts
13 FRA 14950 Charles LaCalves & Eloise Maussio 30 18 DNC DNS 13 10 126pts
19 RSA 14877 David Laing & Mark Dee 29 17 DNC 17 DNC DNC 173pts
21 AUS 15152 Heather McFarlane & Chris Payne 15 DNC DNC 8 DNC DNC 188pts
24 SUI 14863 Laura Markwalder & Tobias Frey 45 23 DNC 19 DNC DNC 197pts
30 CAN 14547 Richard & Liam Quinlan 32 RTD DNC 22 DNC DNC 219pts


 The prize-giving opened with a welcome from Irish Fireball Class Association Chairman, Neil Cramer (IRL 14938) and the prizes were handed out by Lough Derg Yacht Club Commodore Joe Gilmartin. Neil thanked all the volunteers who had worked to get the event to this point but especially mentioned (International) Race Officer Con Murphy for running the two-day event. Con commended the fleet for their efforts and said that it had made for very exciting viewing. Special mention and thanks were also made to recently appointed Class Measurer, Chris Henderson who had been on site from early in the week. As Chris will be en route to Canada for another major regatta from Ireland he won’t be in attendance for the Worlds themselves. Irish Class Measurers Owen Sinnott and Eddie Ferris were thanked for managing the local input to the measuring process.

The presentations for the Pre-Worlds and Irish Nationals were made as follows;

Perseverance Award (Discretionary)

David Evans & William Draper, IRL 14213, for their attempts to finish all six races. David had stepped into a Fireball for the first time the day before racing commences.

Classic Trophy (Irish Class Trophy)

David Evans & William Draper, IRL 14213.

Youth Trophy (Discretionary)

Tiarnan Browne & Oisin McAllister, IRL 14637.

Veteran Trophy (Discretionary)

David Hall & Paul Constable, GBR 15155.

First Lady Helm

Imogen Hauer & Hugo Micka, IRL 14740.

“Silver Fleet” prizes.

  1. Tiarnan Browne & Oisin McAllister, IRL 14637 (12th Overall)
  2. Charles LaCalves & Eloise Maussio, FRA 14950 (13th Overall)
  3. Ben Graff & Alexander Farrell, IRL 14378. (17th Overall)


“Gold Fleet” prizes.

  1. Isaac Marsh & Oliver Davenport, GBR 15162
  2. Jiri Paruzek & Jakub Kosvica, CZE 15141
  3. Chris Bateman & Thomas Chaix, IRL 14750.

Irish Nationals (Perpetual Prizes – which don’t leave the island of Ireland).

1st Place – Chris Bateman and Thomas Chaix, IRL 14750

2nd Place – Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella, IRL 15093

3rd Place – Noel Butler & Stephen Oram.

Silver Fleet.

1st Tiarnan Browne & Oisin McAllister, IRL 14637 (12th Overall)

2nd Ben Graff & Alexander Farrell, IRL 14378 (17th Overall)