Worlds Final Day and Overall
Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey have closed out the 2014 Fireball World Championships with one race to spare.
The day started with a three knot out going tide with four knots of wind battling into it. PRO Mike Rogers and his team elected to keep the fleet on the beach until the breeze settled in.
At 12pm the AP flag came down and the fleet headed out in 8 knots of breeze.
After one general recall the fleet got under way with the tide having a huge influenece. The left side was paying but the trick was to tack well under the lay line and let the tide carry you up to the mark.
Allison / Blenkle did well to lead around the first mark closely followed by Birrell and Brearey. The latter quickly took the lead down the run and were never headed. The rest of the fleet were tightly bunched with some notable placings at the top mark. Goacher and Crossley in third, Jalina and Cameron in fifth and the Swiss in sixth.
Bachelor and Schulz were on the back foot and had to work hard to climb up through the fleet. On the second lap Bachelor movewd to second and by the third lap Schulz was up to third.
In a last ditch effort to take the title Schulz and Sheppard gybed away down the run but it backfire sending them back to fifth.
So after heat nine the top four were secured not needing to sail the last race.
Brearey and Birrell headed to the beach while Bachelor and Gordon set off for a tight battle for the last race win.
Bachelor came out in front with Gordon second and Schulz in third bringing the 2014 worlds to a close.
Worlds Report Day Four
Day four of the Fireball Worlds belonged to the Aussies of Schulz / Sheppard who managed a first and a second and now move within three points of the lead with two races to be sailed. Bachelor / Pascoe had a first and a fourth and Birrell / Brearey a second and third.
Gordon and Fletcher had a solid day with a third and a forth to move into forth overall.
Whilst the front of the fleet is fighting out the podium positions, the real race among the league of nations in the middle to bottom of the fleet is just as hard fought with places changing on every beat and small mistakes proving very costly. Conditions in Race 7 were very similar to race 6 with the advantage up the left hand side into the steep chop. The reaches proved quite challenging, with many instances of being on the edge, and the slightest mistake resulting in the loss of a position.
Race 8 started in a mild increase in wind with the whole fleet being well bunched on the weather mark. The leaders then went off to play in front and our mid fleet race started with a capsize on the mark by Christina and several out of control boats on the reach. The run settled everyone down except for Bryan and William who did us a great service by capsizing and allowing the chasing pack to get away. The last reach was very tight with the more intelligent of us opting to white sail reach, with no speed loss and a bunched finish ensued.
Tomorrow last two races with all to play for for the big boys, and positions to be defended for the rest of us. Conditions are forecast to be slightly lighter which should suit all the broken bodies in the mid fleet. We have an early start at 11h and then packing up and prize giving in the evening.
Worlds Report Day Three
Day 3 race no.1 provided another post card day at the Fireball World Championships in Thailand with an increasing 15 knots @ 210 degrees and a tactical 3 knots of tide running across the course.
After a clean start Schulz/Sheppard came from the left in pressure to lead the first mark ahead of followed by Birrell / Breaery then Batchelor/Pasco two boat lenghtes behind.
The fleet order remained unchanged for the triangle, loop, triangle course with the top three boats rounding each mark within less than six boats apart.
Allison/Blenkle had a catastophic end by losing their rudder and retiring from the race. Jelina broke a main halyard and Kevin spent time swimming again.
The second race uncharacteristically matured into a firm and unstable tropical reaching 20 knots in gusts.
After the start the fleet eveningly split up the first beat with boats converging from the port and starboard lay lines. The oportunitist Nathan/Sam from the left in the last 200 metres gained that essential lift and round in first place followed by Schulz/Sheppard and Tom/Fletcher from the right.
Ben hit the lead on the second lap ahead of Nathan but surrendered the lead on the run. This seems to be the order of things this week with the Aussies super quick upwind and the Poms having the advantage downhill. The two boats had a great scrap until Ben's gasket peeled off acting as a sea anchor and leaving them to limp to the finish.
Nathan and Sam went on for a solid win. Jack and Tom snuck in to second just ahead of the wounded Ben and Doug who rounded out the top Three.
After six races Brearey / Birrell lead, Bachelor / Pascoe are second and Schulz / Sheppard are third. Any one of the three can still win so the last four races should be exciting.
Worlds Report Day Two
Race 1 - Triangle, sausage, triangle. Another beautiful sunny day. About 10 knots of breeze, with 15 degree shifts at the bottom of the course and 20 degree shifts at the top. which sounds nice, but the 90 kg French and Canadian crews would beg to differ. Low tide was about an hour and a half before the start, so the against-the-tide windward legs were a bit of a slog, with everyone feeling that they were having to work very hard just to keep the boat moving forwards. True to form, Birrell/Breary were first around the windward mark, and took off on the first reach. The following pack consisted of Batchelor/Pascoe, MacFarlane/Payne, Schulz/Sheppard, Allison/Blenkle, Gordon/Fletcher and Jospe/Egli. The positions held through the first two reaches and the next windward/leeward, until Birrell/Breary decided that they wanted to practice their match racing tactics with Batchelor/Pascoe. A couple of dozen tacks ensued, letting MacFarlane/Payne slip through and get ahead. In their hurry to catch up, Birrell/Breary decided to get physical and ended up getting whistled for kinetics. Their penalty turns on the starboard lay line were some cause for concern (eventually leading to a DSQ), but Allison/Blenkle and Batchelor/Pacoe somehow managed to get through and power away on the first reach. Batchelor/Pascoe managed to pass by Allison/Blenkle towards the end of the second reach, but lost out to them on the final hitch to the finish. Sounds exciting, but nobody gave MacFarlane/Payne any trouble, and they took a well-deserved first. One point for old age and opportunism.
Race 2 - Sausage, triangle, sausage. The breeze built a bit, which made it up to about 14 knots. The French and Canadian crews were happier, but were exhausted from the first race. With a nice tidal flow again keeping sailors behind the line, the fleet got off cleanly, and most boats headed off to the left side of the course, where there seemed to be a bit less flow and less wave stacking. Schulz/ Sheppard rounded in front followed by Birrell/Brearey. The rest of the fleet rounded the windward mark withing a couple of boat lengths from one another, and there was a bit of a split down the first run, with some going for the gybe set. It paid off for Gordon/Fletcher, but not for others. The second beat saw some of the early front runners fall back and let the usual suspects make their way to the front. The two reaches were pretty static apart from Schulz/ Sheppard breaking a kite sheet and dropping to third and Allison/Blenkle having to Aussie drop their spinnaker to make the gybe mark. The last windward/leeward saw a number of position changes. Schulz/ Sheppard recovered from their breakage to sneak up to second agaian, and Allison/Blenkle came out of the right hand side of the course to get back in the game. Birrell/Breary managed to hold the lead with Schulz/Sheppard in second and Batchelor/Pascoe kept MacFarlane/Payne at bay down the run to take third.
After racing, the RVYC boat boys helped everybody get their boats out of the surf (very civilized) and up the hill, and the fleet repaired to the verandah for some well-deserved beverages.
Worlds Report Day One
The first day of the Fireball World Championships belonged to Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey. They ended the day with a perfect score sheet after two great starts allowed them to dictate play in both races.
The breeze was a little lighter than expected - only around 8 to 12 knots but the pumping flag was still up. As a result there are a lot of very tired sailors at the bar tonight having had to pump and ooch their way around the course all day.
The left side of the course was the way to go again but the tide was making decisions a little tricky. Coming in for the first time during a race so far.
Nathan Bachelor and Sam Pascoe again sailed well for two seconds. They held off some tough challenges from a number of the Aussie teams.
Tomorrow looks like it will have similar conditions to today so stay tuned for some great racing in paradise.
Preworlds Report Day Four
It was all up to play for on the final day of the preworlds with three points separating first and second.
The best breeze so far presented itself - averaging around 14 knots. The pumping flag was up and everyone was keen to get going. everyone except for a few of the Aussies who after a bit of a dodgy meal were staying on shore close to the amenities.
Ben and Doug showed the same form as the last race yesterday powering off the line to lead at the top mark closely followed by Christian and Sam then Nathan and Sam.
Ben and Christian changed places three times over the next lap with Ben leading up the second beat and Christian up the third. Going into the final gybe they we dead even parking up and letting Nathan close in with Greg close behind.
Christian managed to hold on just over Nathan while Ben got spat out after an untidy gybe allowing Greg to get through to third.
Christian and Sam finally won a race after having previously needing to retire from two races for over pumping.
It seems their ability to play within the rules both on the water and off are slowly getting better.
Ben and Christian were worn out after their battle in race one so headed to the beach for a rest leaving Nathan and Sam to close out the regatta. In the stronger breezes they maintained superior speed to Heather and Chris. They achieved a comfortable win with Greg and Allen second and Heather and Chris rounding out the top three.
This means that Nathan and Sam walk away as winners of the preworlds with Heather and Chris Second then Ben and Doug third.
Now the fleet gets to relax for two days before the main event begins on Sunday.
Final Preworlds Results
Preworlds Report Day Three
The day belonged to Nathan Bachelor and Sam Pascoe who came away with two wins and now lead the championships.
The weather again was near perfect. The first race took place in a ten knot south wester which then built to around thirteen knots for the second allowing the pumping flag to be raised before the start.
The left paid as it had the day before. Greg Allison and Blenkle had a great start and led at the top mark closely followed by Nathan and Sam then Christian and Sam. Heather and Chris were stuck back in the pack but moved forward on the run to fourth. Behind them Ben and Doug got caught up in a pile of boats rounding the bottom mark in a rather kaotic fashion.
On the second beat Nathan and Sam broke left to take the lead. Chris and Heather went to the right with Sam and Christian and Greg and Allan lost out in the middle.
Positions remained close but unchanged to the finish.
With more breeze in the second race and the pumping flag up the fatter crews came back into the hunt. Ben and Doug blasted off the pin and led to the first mark only to break a trap wire after setting their kite. As they tried to fix it Nathan and Sam took the lead, followed by the usual suspects. Ben and Doug recovered to fifth before breaking a kite sheet showing it definitely wasn't their day.
Nathan and Sam go in to the final day in the hotseat. They are proving to be the boat to beat and will be hot favourites for the worlds next week.
Royal Varuna Yacht Club continues to lay on the hospitality with sensational food, cold beer and a great atmosphere. Everyone is having a great time with many wishing they could stay forever.
Preworlds Report Day Two
The fleet experienced a glorious day on the water today. Sun, 10 knots of breeze from the south west and a bit of tide made life challenging but tight through the fleet.
The left side of the course favoured off the start in both races. In the first race Heather and Chris rounded in front closely followed Nathan and Sam, then a big bunch behind.
Christian and Sam moved through to second on the second lap but were quickly moved back after their second pumping infringement for the week. They held on to third in front of Ben and Doug who just crept through Tom Gordon and Jack Fletcher who rounded out the top five.
In the second race overlaying the first mark on the left was an advantage. Again Heather and Chris came in hot but were just pipped by Nathan and Sam. Both got bouy room on Ben and Doug who rounded out the top three. Christian and Sam moved into third after going high around the top mark and Jack and Tom moved from fifth to fourth at the gybe mark.
The only change from here on came when Christian and Sam goit thirsty and headed for home. Nathan and Sam went on for a comfortable win followed by Heather and Chris. Tom and Jack held on to third just ahead of Ben and Doug.
So after four races Heather is still on the Margaritas. Ben and Doug have moved to second and Veronica and Ben have slipped to third.
Finally before we call it a day Fireball International woukld like to wish Lance a speedy recovery and hope he will be on the water later this week.
Preworlds Report Day One
It was a tricky day on the water in Pattaya for the first races of the 2014 Pre-worlds. With the breeze in the north west and a forecast swing to the south west the only question was when it would happen.
The fleet headed out for a 1pm start in 8 knots, a short chop and a strong outgoing tide. After a short postponement racing got under way with the left side appearing favoured. For those who went this way things started to look pretty ordinary half way up the beat when the pressure dropped and the boats on the right moved forward. All was not lost though as the breeze came up again and the fleet coming back together.
It was Nathan Bachelor and Sam Pascoe who held out on the right to round the top mark first, followed by Heather McFarlane and Chris Payne who had come from the left. These two would hold their positions throughout the race to finish first and second respectively.
Veronica and Ben Felat sailed well to round in third and only fell back to forth when hot favourites Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey picked some nice shifts to sneak up through the fleet.
The talking point at the bar tonight will be the 40 degree wind shift to the left on the second lap which resulted in a change of the course and a number of position changes in the middle of the fleet. Mike Rogers and his team did extremely well to swing the course mid race and ensure that racing remained fair.
The start of race two was held up by a breeze struggling to settle into the new south westerly direction. The changing conditions made it had for PRO Mike to set a line and as a result the fleet kept pushing too hard. After six general recalls and four line changes the fleet finally managed to get away.
Numbers were on the low side as a number of boats could hear the bar calling and headed for shore. The reduced fleet raced towards the top mark with a split between the left and the right.
Those on the right came out best with the Swiss couple of Christine and Cedric Landerer rounding in front followed by Heather McFarlane and Chris Payne then Veronica and Ben Felat rounding out the top three as all women helms.
The racing at the front was tight with Heather and Chris sialing to a narrow win followed by the Felats and Ben Schulz and Doug Sheppard.
Heather was spotted at the bar later drinking Margaritas to celebrate a near perfect start to the regatta. Veronica and Ben have sailed extremely well to sit in second and Ben and Doug who only came together for their first races today rounding out the top three.
The forecast for tomorrow is a south westerly breeze in the low teens and then building as the week goes on so stay tuned for some exciting racing over the coming days.