2022 Fireball Nationals Portland Results

55th Australian Fireball National Championship 2022 held at Portland Yacht Club

New Australian Champions are Jalina Thompson-Kambas and Nathan Stockley!

Final Overall results

Final Handicap results

Photo gallery at Portland Yacht Club Facebook

Thanks to our Portland photographer.

Day 1

Day 1 was sailed in big waves and 15-20 knot ESE. While there were only 2 boats representing SA they both sailed exceptionally today. Ben Schulz / Joal Mackenzie were on fire and finished the day with 3 wins.Jalina Thompson-Kambas / Nathan Stockley were perfectly consistent and are lying in 2nd place with 3 3rd places.

Nick and Simon Gunner are revelling in the conditions and after a stirling 2nd beat in the last race they consolidated 3rd place after battling the day with fellow Geelong sailors Myles Gavin / Ben O'Brien. Myles and Ben started the regatta in great style to be 1st at the 1st mark, but gybing angle errors when wiring down the run saw them drop back significantly.

Brendan Garner has swapped places on his boat due to crew, Noddy being struck down with Covid. 13 year old son Josh Garner has stepped up to the mark to helm. At 115kg all up they did way better than might be expected and are currently lying in 9th place.

Day 2

Locals described the conditions as chop on a small swell. The wind started at 15-20 knots and built to 18-23 knots. As visitors we could definitely see the chop - making sharp backs perfect for fireballs to go smash off the back of the wave. Other times it was a nice smooth 5-6 foot back that the boat accelerated down. The underlying swell didn't feel small when it washed over your boat and nearly knocked helms of the side or took crew's feet from under them!! SA teams again dominated and shared the winning honours between them with Ben Schulz / Joal Mackenzie winning heat 4 and Jalina Thompson-Kambas / Nathan Stockley winning heat 5.

Many crews got stung by the steep waves going down the run and after nose-diving hit the drink with kites up, resulting in slow righting and kite tangles. NSW team Mark and Tom Jarred were forced to shore to unwind the 7 turns their kite did round their side stays. Nick and Simon Gunner recovered from breaking trapeze ropes in heat 4 to come back with power in heat 5. They might have been the only boat that carried the kite bouy to bouy across both reaches, while others 2 sailed those legs. Their work paid off with a 2nd place in heat 5.

Day 3

Today was sailed in lighter breezes, starting with 8 - 11 knots for race 1 and building to 12 - 15 knots for race 3. The different conditions saw ladiy helms having a good day. Heather Macfarlane / Chris Payne showing some form to conclude the day with 2 1st places and a 2nd place. Jalina Thompson-Kambas & Nathan Stockley showed great consistency across the range to again finish at the front with two 2nd places and concluding the day with another 1st place. Susannah Gillam & Andrew Butler also showed improvement race by race to finish with their best race so far in 6th place, despite having a hole in the back tank after interacting with a pacer on the course. 13 year old Josh Garner with father Brendan on the wire had a great race in the lighter winds to achieve 3rd place in race 1. The NSW team of Mark and Tom Jarred showed consistency across the day finishing with 6, 4 and 5th places respectively. The tips for the day were to be at the line but not over and go fast on starboard to start with as that was the longest side. A couple of boats were over the line and found it challenging to return to the pre-start side.

With 2 races left to sail and the 2nd drop due to take effect at race 9 the two SA boats Jalina Thompson-Kambas / Nathan Stockley are leading Ben Schulz / Joal Mackenzie by 1 point. Jalina and Nathan are dropping a 3rd and their 2nd drop will be another 3rd. Ben and Joal have a drop of 4th place to go. So that would put both boats on the same points. Tomorrow will be an interesting day for the tight competition to decide the overall national champion.

Day 4

Final day of racing started with an even lighter breeze of 6 - 9 knots ENE for race 1. It built nicely to an enjoyable 10 - 14 knot ESE breeze for race 10 of the series. Again the lady helms excelled taking out 1st and 2nd places. Results were a bit more mixed up in the lighter airs. Rod Barker and Darrell Ralph sailing in re-furbished Cop-U-Later started to show promise of future performances by being in the top few at mark 1 of the last race. As the culmination of 10 races sailing together in a short time frame their improvement was marked. Just needed the downwind speed to match ;). Phil Peverell and Bruce Shand revelled in the conditions of race 2. Sharper boat handling at the corners saw Heather Macfarlane / Chris Payne able to sneak through them.

Overall Jalina Thompson-Kambas & Nathan Stockley again showed great consistency and speed, finishing the day with 2 second places. They applied good race craft keeping a loose cover on championship contenders Ben Schulz / Joal Mackenzie to ensure they kept ahead after getting there with good downwind speed adding to their firepower. 

Overall Results

Handicap Results