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What Were the Winning Priorities at the Fireball World Championships on Lough Derg? The Top Ten Answer Below

28th September 2022
Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson were the 2022 winners of the Fireball World Championships on Lough Derg. Read how they prepared for the event in the Q and A below
Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson were the 2022 winners of the Fireball Worlld Championships on Lough Derg. Read how they prepared for the event in the Q and A below Credit: Oisin Higgins

The GUL Fireball World Championship 2022 took place last month at Lough Derg Yacht Club. The event was a huge success, with 79 boats from eleven countries competing.

While the Irish Nationals pre-event was distinctly windy, with gusts of over thirty knots at times, the Worlds were mainly sailed in winds between eight and twelve knots.

The sailing on the large lake was tricky and technical, with shifts and bends, gusts and light patches, with a premium on boat speed and clean starts. But what were the actual experiences of sailors at the event, and in particular what were the winning techniques and priorities which saw the top teams make it to the podium?

Irish Fireballer Frank Miller conducted a Q&A with the top ten boats

10th Place Derian and Andy Scott GBR

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. In the run-up – attended open meetings and Nationals and paid attention to how we were doing on speed & height. Worked to improve on things from that. Boat: Checked all the fittings were secure & working (replaced worn pulleys); replaced worn mainsheet & strut rope; replaced one side of the slot gasket (half came off 2 weeks before the event); replaced the Astro-turf on the trolley; cleaned and polished the hull; checked the mast settings; checked the spare mast settings; used pro-lube on pulleys & cleats; made sure we had a good spares tool kit. Us: Did a lot of work overcoming shoulder injuries (both of us!); made sure we had basic snacks and electrolyte drinks at the event to ensure we kept fed & hydrated while on the water; did less fitness training that we’d have liked!

Q. What was your rig and sail combination? What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed. Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making?

A. Mainsail: Hyde, Jib: North (Hyde was too tired!) Spinny: North We knew our boat speed was ok. The conditions were very variable, so we made sure we were regularly questioning if they’d changed and upwind were making a lot of use of changes to jib tension & kicker. I don’t remember raking once during the Worlds! We sailed on 22’6” – that’s our upright.

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A.53Kg & 80 Kg

Q. What boat make did you use?

A. 2006 Winder

Q. How difficult were the starts? How hard was it to get into clear air, and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. Hard!!! We generally started up the committee boat end as often going right paid, and the line was mostly square. When there was pin bias, we moved towards the pin, but not all the way down.

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. We did off and on! Definite bends up the right when the wind was WSW … when it went further right, this didn’t work! We noticed Tom Gillard quite often came in from the left. There were differences in pressure too – Right, but not too far right seemed to have good pressure as did coming in on port at the top of the beat.

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue or frustrated?

A. Loved it!

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. A good start with clear air, play the shifts and keep an eye out for pressure changes.

9th Place Christina Haerdi and Cederic Landerer - SUI

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. Preparation was minimal. I cleaned the hull and checked for damages. Same for the foils. I missed the problem with the slot gasket, therefore, Ruedi and Cedric did the job of repair during the meetings Monday evening :-(

Q. What was your rig and sail combination? What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed. Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making?

A. From the Swiss Nationals, I knew the settings pretty well: Cumulus mast, Spreader length 38cm (according crew weight of 118kg) prebend 2.5 cm (ideally 3cm) therefore with strut position 0.5cm above neutral (e.g., slight pull). Sails North T10 main, North jib, North Spinnaker. Most importantly, I found the constant check of the mainsail leech tension: less wind = less kicker tension = open sail. Opposite in gusts. Less adjustment of jib, but in parallel.

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. Helm: 53kg, Crew: 65kg

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Duvoisin 2004

Q. How difficult were the starts? How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. The line was most often perfectly perpendicular to the wind, and the length adequate to find a nice space. I mostly preferred to stay in the middle; thanks to the opportunity to estimate the transit, the line sagging was minimal. By doing so, we normally had the option of choosing the better side even after the starts. However, whenever we missed getting a clear start, we had to sail to the extremes until getting into clear wind. The chance to be on the correct side was still ok, so even the extreme could pay!

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. Except for the last day, we could not find a pattern. Even within one race, the preferred side could change. The middle normally did not pay. On the last day however, it was very obvious, that the gusts came from the right side. We, therefore, chose to start at the windward side and tack as soon as possible.

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue or frustrated?

A. We were positively surprised about our starts and the general boats-peed, which allowed us to get and mostly stay at the front. Anything but frustration :-)

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. Self-confidence in us and our boat! If we failed, we could clearly nail the reason. And go on. There were usually good chances to get through to the top flight.

8th Place Isaac Marsh and Ollie Davenport - GBR

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. Unfortunately, this year we had not been able to find the time to prepare as well as we would have liked, so other than the British nationals, we had not really been in the boat. We took the tactical decision to not touch anything after the nationals as we felt our setup felt fast :)!

Q. What was your rig and sail combination? What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed? Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making

A. We used a full suit of P&B sails (cross cut main) & M7+ mast and stuck to our normal setup of as per the P&B tuning guide. We have always used these and just crossed checked our measurements once in Ireland to check the fairies had not been in the boat and changed anything!

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. Olly was 82kg, and Isaac hasn't dared stand on the scales for serval months! at a guess, we would have been around 150-55kg, possibly.

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Winder hull and foils with a P&B fitout

Q. How difficult were the starts? How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. Starts were crowded and at times it was tricky to hold a clean lane, the important bit was to always have a bail-out plan - the main thing to take off the start was being able to get back over to the side of the course where the boats were getting lifted inside you (which ever one that was)

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. The wind pattern could only be described as shifty! Knowing that there were huge shifts of about 60 degrees at times helped us to stay focused when down the pan as there was always a chance you could convert the race back into a counter!

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue or frustrated?

A. The club did a great job of hosting and the race committee did well to get the number of races in they did. Having everything so compact such as camping and the dinghy park made everything quite relaxing. A wavy sea venue with 20 knots each day would always go down well with us however, I know other teams may have different views!

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. More hours on the water training and racing in various conditions at various venues will always pay off!

7th Place Dave Hall and Paul Constable - GBR

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. We knew it could possibly be a light wind week and tried to get a mindset so we were prepared mentally. The problem we have is that we love a good breeze and are very fast in it! So, this was a tough one. At our club we made an effort to race and sail when it was light (and not always fun) to focus our thoughts. We know our boat is fast – it was going to be a mind game.

Q. What was your rig and sail combination? What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed? Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making

A. We use an M7 with P&B sails – a recent change that some may have noticed. We were on our upright setting all week, and only once before a race went to change it before putting it back again. Rake- 6920 we are metric. 25mm prebend.

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. I am 68 kg, and Paul is 78kg

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Weathermark of course! In case people are not aware, seven of the nine races were won by teams in a Weathermark. Tom & Shandy, Steve & Tom Goacher, Martin & Dan Lewis. The other 2 were won by Claude and Ruedi in a Duvoisin, which is actually the same as the Weathermark

Q. How difficult were the starts? How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. We tended to go for the middle of the line, it was hard to choose an out and out end because the direction was often different along the line’s length. It was hard to get off the line – never being able to see the ends, difficult to get a transit and not able to hear the sound signals! We got it right sometimes but also very wrong a few times which shows in the results. One had to get clear to get the first bend or shift – if not it meant a lot of tacking often to the wrong side of the course and the inevitable mid-fleet mess followed by a slow climb back to a respectable position (for us, you understand!). Otherwise, it was standard stuff, trying to ensure there is a gap to leeward and not getting rolled while not being over.

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. It reminded me of Chew Valley. Rolling shifts coming over or around the headland just to the right of the windward mark. One knew a shift would come and it wasn’t always the one you would want. I’m not sure there was a pattern, sometimes the clouds gave a hint but sometimes they would just approach, and we would have no idea until they hit. We had one shift that was so abrupt that it tacked us into a capsize (we weren’t the only ones from the top 10 I understand). The last day was interesting. After a mediocre start, we found ourselves on the wrong end of the massive bend up the first beat. After a good reach, we found ourselves in a better position at the leeward mark and got into a rhythm with the wind to claw back some places.

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue or frustrated?

A. It was what we expected. I did hope we might get a couple of days like the Nationals with an Atlantic low sweeping across the country just to have a sort out! The club as a venue was great, all together meant there was good chat and lots of chances to meet new people and get reacquainted with people we had not seen since 2018.

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. Better ask Tom (Gillard); while we struggled a lot of the time, he was on top the game and rarely seemed to put a foot wrong. When he did his attention to what was going on brought him back.

6th Place Martin and Daniel Lewis - GBR

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. What with Covid and my university/work commitments, my father and I hadn’t sailed together since the French Worlds in Carnac about four years ago! So, when we agreed to do the worlds in Ireland, we decided we should probably get some practice in to see if we remember how to sail. So, in preparation, we sailed the 60th-anniversary regatta at Hayling Island and the Irish Nationals / pre-worlds at (of course) Lough Derg. Neither of these were particularly helpful for the wind conditions we saw at the worlds; both were very heavy wind events. However, they were certainly a good reminder of what it felt like to be on the water again.

Q. What was your rig and sail combination? What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed. Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making

A. We sailed a Cumulus mast, a North Sails t-10 mainsail, North Sails jib and North Sails spinnaker. Our rig setting was anywhere between 22”4 and 22”8 depending on wind, though the settings we tweaked during the pre-worlds (22”4) were mostly useless during the worlds as we tended to be bolt upright for the majority of the Worlds. Saying that, there were a few times we would adjust the rig for more bend (22”6) when a squall would come through before a race or let the rig off slightly during a race as a temporary fix. We have seen an intriguing contraption which allows you to fully adjust the rig during racing though, which seemed to work on the off-wind legs of the particularly light days.

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. We sail a somewhat untraditional weighting where the majority of the weight is in the back (Helm: 83kg), but we still have the height on the wire (Crew: 70kg). Note: only useful when putting the kite up and down in big breeze and waves...

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Weathermark

Q. How difficult were the starts? How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. I come from fleets which tend to sail flights in big events, but I must confess, I much prefer a single start line; it makes for far more exciting and close racing and seem like much less fuss to organise for the race committee, even if we do push the line a bit! One thing a long line does provide though is a massive line-sag, so we found it fairly easy to trigger early and find a clear lane in the middle to take us up the first beat. On those occasions where we didn’t have the greatest of starts, our strategy had to be finding the earliest opportunity to tack off into a lane and go out right into the clear air (especially important in a light breeze).

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. Though we do not profess to be experts in meteorology and topography, we had some theories that we relied on in those days where the wind was blowing a south-westerly. The first thing we noted was that the shifts were big and usually lasted a good enough amount of time to tack on each one as they arrived so you could benefit from every lift up the beat. It is true that there were some races where banging the favoured corner would put you on top but as a rule, we tended to read the compass and take the shifts up the middle, and it seemed to work! Secondly, we saw an island right at the top of the beat and concluded that the breeze seemed to funnel either side of said island, so (again only as a rule of thumb) mid right seemed to be favoured on the beats. On the off-wind legs, it was important to keep your head out the boat and stay in the gusts of breeze that were coming down the course, usually either side of that island. The gusts were quite easy to see on the water, but missing one was usually the decider on who made it to the bottom mark first.

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue, or frustrated?

A. Though we are lake sailors so this may be slightly biased, we were extremely satisfied with the venue. It had an abundance of sailing area and the wind was good for the majority of the event. It is also hard to be frustrated when you knew you had free beer tokens waiting for you onshore!

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. In our experience, the most important thing for a good result was a good start where you can take the first big shift and cross the fleet so you weren’t dragged out to one side. It was also important to check for weed, it’s hard to go fast when you’re dragging!

Fireballs converge on a leeward mark on Lough derg Photo: Oisín HigginsFireballs converge on a leeward mark on Lough derg Photo: Oisín Higgins

5th Place Jiri Paruzek and Jakub Kosvica - CZE

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. No special preparation. We just visited as many Fireball events in our homeland as we could to get as many hours on the water under our belt as possible. So mainly much smaller lakes than Lough Derg!

Q. What was your rig and sail combination? What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed. Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making

A. Super Spars M7 and North Sails. We use the figures from general NS tuning guide, no fine-tuning on our side - we don't have conditions to do so and we like just to sail more. It worked to an expected level - what we're used to. (Btw. North Sails have a nice all-round tuning guide for Fireballs.)

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. 68 / 90 kgs

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Weathermark Sailboats.

Q. How difficult were the starts? How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. I would say it was not that important to start close to an end, which was clearly helpful, probably because of the length of the beat, as you still had a lot of room to make up for that slight advantage - and you could find a less congested spot down the line. We had like four good, two OK and three not so good starts - don't know if you can draw some conclusion from that.

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. We found approaching the windward mark from left wing helpful more often than not, though it definitely wasn't always the case (ask Heather and Chris!). It was better to ignore shifts of 10 or less degrees if the wind direction was more or less from the windward mark - which we sometimes didn't and ended up overstanding.

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue, or frustrated?

A. It was nice. The shifts were nowhere near as brutal and frequent as they can be in Czechia. We also got lucky with the wind direction being mostly the same and possibly best there can be, I guess. We would have liked a bit more wind, though. Not sure if we could get a better result, as there were more crews who do better in stronger winds, but we would have definitely enjoyed it more.

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. No surprise there: boat speed at/right after start. It didn't always guarantee a good result and you could still do well with a bad start, as we had few (e.g., in our first race), but it is the best way to get top results consistently - and that's the absolute key.

4th Place Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella - IRL

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. Myself and Conor bought a boat again at the end of 2021 after a few years out of class from Carnac Worlds 2018. We did UK Inlands to learn where the fleet was at then did some winter Frostbite dinghy racing (when it was on) in Dun Laoghaire until March 2022. Barry was away with work in the US for 4 months then until July when resumed some sailing once more. We both lost some lockdown weight pre-empting a lighter regatta and practiced mostly on lakes in Ireland - Blessington then Lough Derg approx. 4 weekends with a few other Irish teams when there was wind. This was before the Irish Nationals/Worlds were scheduled mid-August. We both kept fit outside of sailing by some cycling and running, plenty of walking the Tullamore show and at times practising pints of Guinness too! :P

Q. What was your rig and sail combination?

A. M7 Superspar rig with chocks and puller. P&B sails crosscut ODL06 mainsail, full jib and standard P&B spinnaker (in brilliant green!). No issues, all worked well and was quite happy with setup.

Q. What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed. Did that work, and if so, how well?

A. Standard Fireball tuning guide, light week <12knots so was in 22'8" full rake all week, tension 400lbs, prebend 27-30mm, chocks neutral mostly. Settings were fine, boat felt balanced, setup for max power while still able to hold lanes if needed. A bit more wind would have suited us a bit more compared to some of lighter teams but we were okay.

Q. What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making?

A. On the water sometimes played the jib cars in/out from centreline and used the jib up/down depending on slot shape, focus on keeping the jib tell-tale flying/edge of stall. Centreboard down mostly or up a little when full trapeze wishing to go lower & faster e.g., to a side of course if thought it may be favoured.

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. Helm 68-69kg, Crew 80-82kg so around 150kg combined weight so a good in-between weight for various wind ranges. As it turned out, it was a lighter event so a spread of conditions may have suited us more.

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Winder Hull built 2013 in the UK, standard fitout by Allen with chocks & puller, winder foils, boat no. 15093.

Q. How difficult were the starts?

A. Start-lines had 80 boats on a line start. There was generally enough room but certainly got crowded on the ends when one was favoured. The key was to ensure to have the correct timing, be in front row, accelerating before the go to ensure you were not spat out the back. On the starts due to the long line, (1.5 boat lengths x80 Fireballs) there were large fluctuations in bias due to the wind moving 10-30 degs and often more made it hard to pick which end would definitely be favoured at gun-go. Getting away from the start clear, with options to get to better pressure one side, or getting onto lifted tack early was vital.

Q. How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. If we had a good start, it was easier to maintain clear air but even still boats 10 lengths to weather could pick up better breeze than you. We often went towards a middle side on starts so as not to be too affected by a large shift and prioritised where we wanted to be 100-200m up the first beat in terms of wind pressure, ensure we were sailing in clear air and sailing the lifted tack. Don't be afraid to duck a few boats if it means getting on the lifted tack/into a better breeze. As helm I could focus on speed & Conor as crew was great at boat balance & making calls. The couple times we didn't do that i.e., sail towards a side that looked like it was working early on for boats-we ended up sailing a header in and header back out in reality which meant we got eaten up by the fleet. Instead, one had to trust instincts sailing in pressure, and on the favoured tack and trust that eventually the oscillation would come back (80% of time it did)

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. Wind was oscillating typically back and forth, first day 5-20degs, other days 20-40degs and last day close to 80degs. It typically did follow the forecast predicted direction throughout the day but maybe the timing could never quite be predicted. A few times the wind did hold certain direction or stayed one side was maybe when close to an island. It was hard to follow and important to keep eyes out of boat, further up the course for any breeze/clouds coming (which certainly Gilly did better than anyone else since he was always fast)

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue, or frustrated?

A. Overall we really enjoyed the event. It was great to sail in a big fleet of 80 boats in an international, competitive, rewarding boat to sail such as the Fireball and especially in our case since we were in Ireland, our home nation so was extra special. The Irish hospitality was second to none and even I was amazed at the effort put in by LDYC and the Irish Fireball Association so job well done. Sailing wise, the Pre-worlds were on the upper wind of sailing 20kts+ but lots of fun even though capsized too many times! The main week of worlds was much lighter <12kts all week and suited lighter teams but meant more tactical & probably closer racing. Due to the big shifts, it meant a lot of boats made their way to the front at different points so kept it interesting compared to a pure boat speed, little tactical decision-making racing (even though we would have enjoyed that too as we normally sail on the sea and waves!) :)

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. Enjoying ourselves, not taking it too seriously and remembering even if the racing wasn't going so well, we were choosing to be there and could not pick many better places than Lough Derg. No matter what place we were in, we were sailing a terrific boat against other great sailors, getting to know many more people on the water and had great craic! Easily beats 1-1.5 weeks of work, that's for sure and after looking forward to it for so long, just have fun! However, the most important thing was of course the love and support of our wives and girlfriends! (Well just 1 each in reality but they kept us honest and our egos in check throughout the last few months!) :P

3rd Place Heather MacFarlane and Chris Payne - AUS

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. We prepared by sailing by ourselves in Melbourne and tried to get out on the water 3-4 days a week but we often had issues with conditions. We worked mainly on boat handling on each leg type: upwind, run, wiring run, reach; mark roundings and lots of slow boat speed manoeuvres.

Q. Weights, Rig and Sails

A. Simple answers are Heather is 52 kg and I am 74kg. We used winder hull super spar M7. P&B cross cut main and Irwin (Australian) jib and spinnaker. We were on upright rake for almost all races (should have been all). Had a lot of rig tension to induce bend and had strut all the way forward. We measure that as 22’8” rake. Pre-bend is 45mm at neutral and strut forward making it bigger.

Q. How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. We discovered right seemed to pay with bigger lifts so we often started at the starboard end and tacked as soon as possible. This sometimes worked against us when the shifts came in from the left. We felt like the edges of the fleet were easier to get clear wind, so close to port end or close to starboard end.

2nd Place Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser - SUI (based on a phone conversation)

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. Claude acknowledges that their lake sailing experience was a big advantage at Dromineer, though they actually prefer strong winds. He feels comfortable making judgements about shifts and felt that primarily the wind pattern on Lough Derg was oscillating winds. However, they were conservative during the much windier pre-event/Irish Nationals at LDYC where gusts reached 30 knots – this was due to a back injury suffered by Ruedi earlier in the year, and to protect the boat, mast and themselves from injury or damage just before the worlds. During one very windy race at the Pre-worlds they discovered they had rigged the spinnaker sheets the wrong way through the ratchet blocks, making spinnaker adjustment somewhat difficult.

Q. Weight and rig, sails.

A. Crew weight 64kg/80kg Rig - Mast upright, Pre-bend 2.5 Interestingly they used a P&B sail from 2018 stored since Carnac Worlds and not used since. Sails cross-cut main and standard jib. They use older sails for local and regional Swiss events and still get top results with those (!).

Q. How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. Found starts difficult enough, they opted to stay away from crowded areas for a clean start. In the event of a messy start, they had enough boat speed and good handling to get into clearer air in a few tacks. Asked how they managed to hold height in their lane with good speed after the start Claude put it down to experience and careful steering through any waves, mainsheet in hand all the time being played and avoid being stopped by a wave at all costs. Claude puts a big part of their success down to teamwork, moving together to make the boat work – “like ballet!”

Q. Choice of boat

A. Their Duvoisin boat, one of the first wide-bowed boats, is nearly 20 years old.

*Glitch - They had an interaction with the jury during one race. While playing the small waves during a race, moving their weights to help balance and steer the boat down the waves, they were aware that the jury was watching but confident that their movements were legal. However, they were penalised by the jury and had to drop their spinnaker and do a 720. Claude is still perplexed by this and feels the jury were wrong in this case. Happily, their lead on the nearest boats meant that they didn’t actually lose a place.

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. The single most important thing for Claude was self-confidence and being settled in the boat. On the penultimate evening of the worlds, with everything to play for, he received a motivational call from his son Yves Mermod, a top 470 sailor, which helped spur them to their second race win in the final race of the Worlds.

Fireball Championship winners Tom Gillard and Andy ThompsonFireball Championship winners Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson

1st Place Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson - GBR

Q. How did you prepare for the event?

A. We only prepared with boat work. Making the boat as close as possible to what we used to use many years ago.

Q. What was your rig and sail combination?

A. North sails full standard suit. Selden Cumulus mast

Q. What kind of settings/tuning did you use to get up to speed. Did that work, and if so, how well? What kinds of adjustments did you find yourself making.

A. We were confident that old numbers would work in this class

Q. What was your approx. helm/ crew weight?

A. Helm 75kg approx., Shandy 79kg

Q. What boat maker did you use?

A. Weathermark

Q. How difficult were the starts>? How hard was it to get into clear air and what kind of strategy did you use to ensure clear air and maximum speed?

A. Wind shifts were everything. We had a poor start in almost all the starts.

Q. Did you identify a wind pattern and were you able to make the most of that knowledge?

A. wind patterns were very readable.

Q. Were you satisfied overall with the venue, or frustrated?

A. Venue and hospitality were absolutely on point with what is expected of a world championship.

Q. What was the most important thing in your experience for a good result at LDYC?

A. Head out of the boat at all times. Judging angles of other boats can assist you greatly in picking the correct side of the course to head to. We normally prefer the windier conditions so pretty happy with our result.

Published in Fireball
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At A Glance – Fireball Dinghy Specs

Crew 2 (single trapeze)
LOA 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)
Beam 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Hull weight 175 lb (79 kg)
Mast height 22.3 ft (6.8 m)
Mainsail area 108 sq ft (10.0 m2).
Jib / Genoa area 35 sq ft (3.3 m2).
Spinnaker area 140 sq ft (13 m2).

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