Report on the 2021 Poole Osprey/Fireball Open

Tue 8 Jun

The forecast was for light winds but warmer than the arctic spring we have endured.
In fact, it was "Champagne Sailing". Anyone who did not come because of the forecast missed a treat. Outside of the harbour, the wind was 4 knots but inside, the sea breeze gave us 14 knots in the sun. Registration was very swift thanks to the online booking and no grubby notes had to change hands. Tracey Lee, our vice commodore welcomed us to the first open meeting at Poole for a long time. Race Officer Steve Thompson led a superb team and explored our stamina with 4 races on the Saturday (in case the forecast for Sunday came true) and 2 on Sunday similarly perfect conditions. 15 Ospreys set off 5 minutes ahead of the 3 Fireballs on each occasion with very little waiting between races and perfect reaches, occasioning many whoops of joy.

Matt Burge and Vyv Townend took the honours with 3 firsts and 3 seconds, narrowly edging Terry Curtis and Peter Grieg into second place whose 6th and a discarded 8th places to held them back. Previous victors, Piers Strong and Phil Angrave were third coming fairly consistently second or third but were hampered by a seventh place in the first race and fifth in the third race.

Places changed very frequently and there was competition throughout the fleet, with a few Poole boats battling it out at the rear but having no less fun. When asked what happened in the races quite a few competitors admitted to knowing they had enjoyed a memorably wonderful series of races but the details were a blur. This was possibly due to the salt-water spray we enjoyed on the reaches.

Mike Atkinson was most upset to find his sail obeying the laws of gravity during the third race but in the end, it was academic as he had failed to follow the laws of starting (he was OCS). Robber’s Alley treated us to a spectacular capsize as their new spinnaker ropes escaped from their cleats. Pete Smith decided to exchange Osprey Sailing for a spot of water skiing when his trapeze wire snapped. Basher did not seem to notice and carried on regardless. It was probably the crew’s fault anyway! Ian Hart and Andy Edmonds were desperate to climb up the rankings but their equipment put them out of the final race, just as they were about to reach warp speed on the reach. Nick Willis, with local guest helm, Andy Brewer, were never far from the front, and showed great form given that they met for the first time on Saturday morning. Also, Roger and Jamie Blake showed their potential with a couple of really strong races, including leading the fleet around the first 2 laps of race 3, until a couple of shifts went against them.

One very welcome competitor was Richard Hartley who joined his son Mark and came seventh overall. We are eternally indebted to Hartley Laminates for injecting new life into our fleet and delighted to hear Richard saying that he enjoyed it so much he would be back. He also put in a plug for his (excellent) boats!

The Fireball's under Derian and Andy Scott had hoped for a strong fleet but in the end only 3 boats joined us. They contacted the rest of their fleet to tell them what they had missed. Derian and Andy won all of their 6 races. It was great to sail with the Fireballs and in the hope that Covid fears will be gone by next year, we have pencilled in a repeat event, dates to be confirmed