Monday, 8 May 2017

Firebowl 2017

This was pretty good, considering there was not much wind for quite a lot of it. I think it helped that it was also the Firebowl personal handicap event, so we had a great turnout (11 boats, oh yes!) and a good reason to get on with it rather than just sit around to see if the weather would improve.
Nevertheless, my morning was rubbish. Having started a mere minute behind Mo & Paul and Pete & Steve and Martyn & Daniel, some twist of fate meant they all did a horizon job and ended up in the top 5, whereas Paul & I bobbed around at the back with no wind and nobody to keep us company. Worse, we kept meeting Eleanor & Richard at the same crossover point every lap, rubbing in the fact that they were half a lap ahead of us and not getting any closer. We eventually overtook only Helen & rookie crew Nathalie, and then only when the latter fell out of the boat for the 2nd time. However, everyone else apparently had a great race, with reports of multiple overtaking manoeuvres and last minute disasters aplenty. Pete & Steve, for example, suffered a particularly interesting kite-won't-come-down episode about 20 yards from the finish line, losing them 3 places. Ellie and Richard won that one, but not by much.
Gordon & Bryan couldn't take the pressure and packed up at lunch time, which was a shame as it only got better from there.
The afternoon was windier, and this time nobody did a horizon job on me although it did take us the entire race to catch anyone. Apart, that is, from Paul & Ian who capsized while trying a port tack approach to the windward mark. Quel surprise, who would have thought that the other 2 adjacent boats might have been approaching on starboard at the same time? Incidentally Paul, the bottom of your boat is filthy, please clean it up if you're going to show it off like that. Anyway, we spent ages looking at Mo's transom, and finally got past only on the very last run from X down to OL. We also got Jane & Pat there, then Ellie & Richard on the next leg, a tiny but exciting 3-sail beam reach across to J, all of us somewhat overpowered. About 20 secs ahead, Pete & Steve had pulled a fast one on both Peter & Ellen and Helen & Nathalie in the bit between J and the gate, winning the race by a whisker. Bob & Paul then came in 4th just ahead of me and the rest of the posse. So the whole lot finished in the space of about a minute, which is pretty impressive for 9 boats over an hour's race, not to mention damn good fun too.
I'd have done the 3rd race too if I'd realised that 6 other Fireballs would be staying on for it (surely a sign that the end of days is drawing nigh). Anyway, I watched a bit of it, and it was sunny with a decent F3, which facts combined managed to make even the windward-leeward course look like a worthwhile way to spend half an hour.
At the end of it all, Bob did some number-crunching on the finish times of the third race (which is run as a conventional handicap rather than a pursuit) and it turned out that Peter & Ellie had won the overall event, with Ellie & Richard 2nd, and Pete & Steve taking 3rd on count-back from Mo & Paul. Well done everyone, and I trust y'all enjoyed it as much as I did.
Round 2 is the Marriott Bucket in September.