Mathematically, any one of the top four boats could have won the overall title on the final day of the 2018 Gul Watersports Fireball World Championships in Carnac.
A weak forecast with clear skies and a glass calm sea meant there was a tense wait ashore before the fleet was finally released into a light southerly breeze.
On arrival at the race area it was obvious they were going to wait some more as the unstable breeze hovered around 3-5kts. As time ticked there was only going to be time for one race, bringing in the crucial second discard for many and leaving a podium shootout for only the top three.
Patiently the race officer waited and as soon as the reliable westerly sea breeze arrived at a steady 8kts a course was set and the sequence was underway.
Remarkably the fleet started at the first attempt under the U flag for the first time this week, however there was one major casualty in the battle for the podium positions with Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff classified UFD. Sadly they found out as they crossed the finish line in first place.
Behind them the title fight was well underway. Tom Gillard and Geoff Edwards, lying third overall, were buried off the start line leaving Matt Burge and Dan Schieber free to match race class newcomers Penny and Russ Clark for the title. Neither boat had a second discard worse than sixth so provided Matt and Dan kept Penny and Russ behind them the title was theirs. As the two boats crossed for the first time up the beat, Matt and Dan were ahead by three lengths. A tacking duel ensued all the way to the top mark with Matt and Dan staying far enough ahead of Penny and Russ so that the latter pair were left fighting to stay in the top ten.
The lighter winds brought some familiar faces into the top ten and Race 9 was won by the experienced Australian duo of Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne to round off their summer in Europe in style.
David Sayce and Nick Rees finished second with Martyn Lewis third.
Overall, from a truly international fleet of 101 boats, Matt Burge and Dan Schieber are the deserving winners of the 2018 Gul Fireball World Championships, winning by 3 points from Penny and Russ with Tom and Geoff finishing off the podium in third. Four nations completed the top 10.
During the prize giving thanks were given to the 45 volunteers from YC de Carnac, the international jury and the Race Officer for making the Gul 2018 Fireball World Championships a superb event. The bay of Quiberon proved to be a great venue with some fantastic racing in a range of conditions from 5 to 25kts. What more could you ask for? Draycote Water in October for the Inlands I hear you cry!
Top ten results:
1st 17pts GBR15123 Matt Burge & Dan Schieber
2nd 20pts GBR15096 Penny & Russ Clark
3rd 30pts GBR15127 Tom Gillard & Geoff Edwards
4th 41pts GBR15141 Ian Dobson & Richard Wagstaff
5th 61pts GBR15122 Dave Hall & Paul Constable
6th 63pts GBR15112 David Sayce & Nick Rees
7th 65pts CZE15131 Milan Cap & Filip Prochazka
8th 70pts SUI14799 Claude Mermod & Reudi Moser
9th 71pts GBR15143 David Wade & Richard Pepperdine
10th 83pts IRL15114 Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella
Full results: yccarnac.com
by Russ Clark