Fireball Leinster Championships - Clontarf Y & BC
Neil Spain of HYC and crew Matt Treadwell win the Leinsters
Author: Neil Spain Posted on: 2/9/04 Print Version

As a club, Howth has a host of past champions and competitors in the Fireball class from years gone by, although many of them may have sailed at neighbouring clubs at the time.

As a class it has had it's ups and downs, just like most dinghy classes, but in the past few years the Fireball fleet both at home and abroad has bucked the recent declining dinghy fleet trends and now boasts healthy fleets and some of the best dinghy sailing in the country at present.

The boats are now equipped with Kevlar sails and also use Kevlar composite hulls. These days Howth's sole representative in the fleet is Neil Spain sailing with his crew Matt Treadwell. Recently they won the Leinster Championships which they added to their victory at the Ulster Championships earlier in the season.

Leinster Championship Report

Neil Spain and Matt Treadwell won the Fireball Lenister Championships on count back over locals Damien Bracken & Brian O'Hara at Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club on 21/22 August. Will Moody & Stephen Gill finished third overall. A 34-boat fleet was assembled after good planning allowed for the 8 Irish boats that travelled to the French Nationals the previous week to be unloaded at CYBC on the Friday evening.

Racing got off to a slow start on a wind-ward leeward course with a light breeze which quickly disappeared leaving 17 boats timed out at the finish. Frank Millar and Leo Bishop made the best of the conditions to lead home Bracken and Spain. After a short wait, excellent conditions arrived in a building sea breeze. Race 2 saw Spain lead around the course followed by Moody with Louis Smyth and Joe O'Reilly holding off Alistair Court and John Dunne to take third.

Again in Race 3 Spain showed the pace with Bracken taking second ahead of Noel & Hugh Butler. With gales forecast for Sunday the PRO wisely opted to run a fourth race. This time Butler lead at the windward mark but Bracken got in on the final beat of the shortened race to take first while Michael Murphy & Cormac Bradley from WHSC took third. Spain finished 13th after encountering problems at the leeward mark when trying to make ground.

Competitors were greeted with a freshening breeze on Sunday morning and the PRO decided to try and get a race in, however the abandonment flag was hoisted on the second beat in order to get the fleet ashore in the worsening conditions.

Overall Gold Fleet
14713Neil Spain & Matt TreadwellHYC5
14855Damien Bracken & Brian O'HaraCYBC5
14849Will Moody & Stepehn GillDMYC10

The fleet is going from strength to strength at the moment and if anyone was looking for very competitive dinghy racing in high tech affordable boats then look no further.

This years National Championships in Sligo YC were attended by 40 boats including visitors from Scotland, England and South Africa and the Irish Association has sent a container of boats to the Worlds in Australia, the French Nationals and another full one will be going to the Europeans in Slovenia later this month.