The Boat

from RYA Dinghy Show 2021

SEVEN DINGHIES FOR SEVEN DECADES with David 'Dougal' Henshall : Fireball - The Dinghy of the Sitxties


"On a breezy day on us with sunshine and waves there is no boat quite like it for going out and having an amazing blast and having fun. This truly is the boat for that decade and I think it will stay with us for many years to come." 


The fireball is a high performance two-person sailing dinghy offering exciting sailing, intense competition and a great social life off the water. It has a wide appeal as it is simple to build, reasonably priced and not too demanding to sail.

The Fireball stands out from other similar dinghies as it is -

  • High performance, yet relatively forgiving,15027 Reaching
  • Can sail in almost any wind strength,
  • Is suited to both lake and sea sailing,
  • Can be sailed by a wide weight range of crews,
  • Can be sailed by all male, all female and mixed crews,
  • Age is not a restriction with sailors from 14 through to 75,
  • Entry level boats are available from around $1000.00,
  • Boats remain competitive for many, many years,
  • The class is sailed in over 30 countries worldwide,
  • Fireball sailing is as much about social as racing,
  • Fireballs are great fun to sail.

With an excellent race program, including club, regional, national and  world championships, you'll never be short of good competition, boat on boat, crew on crew. With a social side to match you'll have just as much fun off the water. Perhaps this is why over 15150 Fireballs have been sold worldwide.

If you're looking to get more out of your sailing then the Fireball could be the boat for you, a genuinely international sailing dinghy with a single trapeze and spinnaker. An adjustable rig rules out the need for complex racks or weight equalisation systems and class rules allow flexibility to fit the boat out to suit you, making it ideal for smaller helms or crews to sail the boat that they want.

She is good for inland water or the sea. Her performance has proved intriguing for expert helmsmen, yet she is stable enough to be kind to the clumsy novice. Fireball planes at the drop of a hat. Peter Milne of Norris brothers in designing the prototype threw aside the old tradition that a boat sails upright. Fireball is intended to sail best at an angle of about three degrees.

Many Fireballs are amateur-built, a good indication of the simplicity of the design. The Fireball hull and sail plans have strict limitations in design, but the class rules allow you to adapt the position and design of gear to suit your own weight and style of sailing.

Anyone can sail a Fireball. Age or sex does not determine one's ability to be competitive. Some countries leading fireball sailors are women. The class also has a strong contingent of sailors over forty.

Winning Fireball races is not really a question of having an amateur or professionally built, plywood or fibreglass, old or new boat, but rather comes down to mastering the art of tuning, and sailing better than your competition.

Fireballs are a delight to sail in strong winds. The thrills of trapeze and spinnakers are hard to match in any type of sailboat or board. If capsized, the boats are easily righted, and can be sailed without bailing. The weight and strength of the crew is not as important as the tuning of the boat. The trapeze and sail handling requires skill rather than strength.

The Fireball is an International Class, with fleets in every region of the world, and associations conducts yearly World, Continental, National and State Championships.

Barbados Starting.jpgFleet Run 10 knots.jpg


Peter Milne from UK

Year first built






Length over all

4.93 metres


1.40 metres

Hull weight

76.4 kg

Overall weight

100 kg

Fixed sail area

11.43m square

Spinnaker sail area

13.01m square


Timber or Fibreglass, Kevlar, foam sandwich

Combined crew weight

120 - 180kg

Sailor's age range

14 - 75 years

Median age

35 years

Boats built


Current numbers