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Windy Warsash Fire Nationals Report

Sea Sure and Hartley Boats Fire Nationals 2024

By Pete Barlow

This year's competition, hosted at Warsash Sailing Club, was a two day event of extremes.  Race Officer Peter Knight recorded a first day with a steady 15 knots rising to a 22 knots by the final race.  The second day was lighter but with up to 60 degree swings and a wind range measuring between 0 and 15 knots. For both days the wind was blowing from a northerly quarter off the land which made for shifty conditions. 


Due to the infancy of the Fire class, some competitors had been lent sails and boats in order to join in the fun. Many of the regular boats were sailing with temporary numbers. By the finish of the first race Richard Hill's sail appeared blank but he explained to the race officer as he crossed the line 'the dog ate my numbers'.


With a fleet of 19 boats entered, it just goes to show that the Blaze Hull and Fire sail is an up and coming class. The age range of the competitors varied from 19 to 76 with weights from a slender 55 kilos to a more 'traditional' 107 kilos.  Whilst there were only two lady competitors they showed their skills are better than most, both being placed in the top ten.


A solid performance in all conditions from champion Christian Smart gave him the title for the second year running. Guest Abby Hire, who was second, commented how much easier the Fire is to sail than her usual boat (but perhaps was just being extremely modest re her skills!). Mark Ripley, another guest in a borrowed boat, did exceptionally well to come third despite missing a couple of races due to a broken rack. Sea Sure staff were able to fabricate a repair so he could continue with Sunday racing. Youngest sailor and the Endeavour prize went to Robbie Smart who completed all races.  Finally, the notorious Pink Flamingo prize was given to Dave Shafto for repeatedly misjudging the tide on the marks and completing an additional 360 without needing to.


A fun and challenging weekend with most competitors reporting a brutal first day of sailing. There was some good feedback for the Fire rig sailors. Regular Blaze sailor, Alexandra, borrowed a Fire sail for the event, commenting that the racing was much closer than expected and the boat always felt manageable with the smaller Fire rig.  First-timer Nationals contender Rupert Rhodes was impressed with the friendliness of the fleet. Boat park neighbours who helped him to sort his rudder after a few capsizes in the Saturday races just confirmed this to him.


Many thanks to Bob Cowan and Warsash Sailing Club for their amazing organisation. As a class we are always well looked after at this South Coast venue. The main sponsors Sea Sure and Hartley Boats provided a feast of prizes for all the finishers.

We look forward to the full rig Blaze Nationals in Pembrokeshire later this month.

Fire Nationals 2024 Results

Blaze Open Results

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