Weathermark Sailboats
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Dave Hall (UK) 07802 611599
Mike McEvoy (CAN/US) 613-796-2122

dave@weathermarksailboats.com

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Crew on the Mainsheet - An Insight into the Fireball World Championships

November 2015


Fireball Championship

Many people have asked about the technique that James and Fynn used so successfully and with great effect at the recent Fireball World Championship in Wales. That is, having the crew take the mainsheet straight from the boom up wind and on two sail reaches. I spoke to James and Fynn to pick their brains and find out their thoughts and more importantly how they did it.

So over to you James and Fynn;-

We found the 'crew on the mainsheet' technique to be effective in strong wind conditions where the mainsheet needed to be played constantly and fluidly in such a way that it's sole purpose was to keep the boat at an angle of heel that the fireball hull responds positively to - which we think is close to flat but not quite. In conditions where the mainsheet is sometimes 'block to block' or pulled all the way in, we didn't find the technique to be as effective. This might be because we struggled to get enough leech tension (only pulling the mainsheet from the boom rather than coming down to the jammer), or it may have simply been because in these conditions the helm is just as capable of achieving the required mainsheet movement as the crew (In these conditions the mainsheet is played less and may often be very critically linked to rudder movements ie when a gust hits, to what extent do we feather the boat or ease the mainsheet?). When the mainsheet is always block to block, there is no gain to the 'crew on the mainsheet' technique what so ever. It's probably also worth mentioning other reasons we think this technique worked particularly well. Having the crew on the mainsheet upwind allows the helm to focus far easier on:

1. The steering of the boat (which in large waves at Pwhelli is particularly important)

2. Any tactical decisions that need to be made (not having the mainsheet allows freedom of body rotation to look around)

3. Hiking! The fireball is a very narrow boat. Therefore any given increase in displacement of body mass outwards from the centreline has a large % increase in moment compared to most other dinghies. A free forward arm (that would otherwise be used to hold the mainsheet) allows the helm to put this arm over the crews legs and effectively put weight through the crews trapeze wire rather than through the toe straps. You can actually flat hike the entire beat if you fancy it......

Fireball Championship

The following descriptions are referring to conditions in which we think you will see gains from employing this technique (roughly 16 knots +).

• Handing over the sheet off the start

Often straight after the start, there tends to be more of an emphasis on needing to 'hold high' rather than sail fast forwards in order to hold a lane. Of course what only some of the fleet realise is that by building speed and getting the fireball freely planing, the foils really start to work and we see a huge reduction in leeway resulting in being able to track higher. Therefore the first boat that is able to reach this mode is not only going to go forward on everyone else, but will end up higher too. The 'crew on the mian sheet' technique excelled in this faster mode where the boat responded positively to constant and fluid mainsheet movement. The problem is that you initially give away a boat length or so to leeward transitioning to this mode from the 'higher' slower mode. If we started with a decent gap to leeward, we knew we could sail the fast mode even from the trigger and therefore we swapped Fynn onto the mainsheet straight away (as we got more confident sometimes even on the start gun). If we couldn't sail the fast mode, James played the mainsheet for a while until either we had climbed off the boat to leeward, or they were a good quality boat and they themselves decided to bear away and kick the boat up onto the fast mode. In terms of the mechanics of the swap itself, James just took the mainsheet from the boom block and pulled it back through the jammer until the knot was against the cleat and then passed the mainsheet from the boom block out to Fynn.

• Tacking

This was easy, helm takes the mainsheet back from the crew and tacks with the mainsheet from the boom (see youtube for 29er tacking), crew tacks the jib as usual.

• Bear away

We wanted to get the helm back on the mainsheet from the jammer by the windward mark so as to be able to sail the fireball conventionally downwind. To begin with we kept dunking Fynn in the water as he basically dropped the mainsheet and James tried to pull the mainsheet through the jammer quickly! Clearly not the way forward. We ended up with James passing the tail of the mainsheet from the jammer out to Fynn, then James taking the mainsheet from the boom block whilst Fynn pulls the tail of the mainsheet all the way through the jammer until it was tight again down from the boom block to the jammer, then James takes the mainsheet back off Fynn from the jammer. Not the most slick system.....

• Rounding up hand over

much the same as after the start.......

So now the winter is upon us let’s all go and try it! Fynn and James think that the technique can still be refined and also helped by looking at alternative mainsheet systems.

Dave Hall


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Weathermark Fireballs on fire at the World Championship

August 2015


Weathermark Fireballs 2nd and 7th at the World Championship and 3rd. 5th and 7th at the National Championship. James Peters & Fyn Steritt put in a stunning performance with blistering speed to gain second place winning 4 races during the event. Jonny McGoven and Max Todd sailed solidly to end up 7th. Weathermark owner Dave Hall sailing with long time crew Paul Constable took a 7th in the Nationals along with the Masters trophy.

We are taking orders for new boats through the Autumn, Richard ( Waggers) Wagstaff will be constructing the hulls along with Dave so you can be assured of top quality fast boats.


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Victory for Weathermark in the North American Championship

August 2015


The 2015 Fireball North Americans were sailed from the Davis Island Yacht club, Tampa, Florida and sponsored by Weathermark Sailboats

Tof Nichol-Griffith and Peter Kelly showed the way with the first of three bullets on day 1. Tof, sailing a Weathermark boat, said, "Its easy to be smart when you're going fast."

Tof Nichol-Griffith and Peter Kelly continued to show the way with bullets through the event with three bullets from day 2 and two bullets from day 3.

With an amazing low score line the 2015 North American Fireball champions are Tof Nicoll-Griffith and Peter Kelly from the Pointe Claire YC in Montreal.

Fireball


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RYA Dinghy Show 2015 at Alexandra Palace

March 2015


Another busy weekend at the Dinghy Show, the boat looked great and the non slip floor paint made quite an impact.

Dave reported lots of interest in his new boat and looks forward to working it up at the World Championship in Wales this August.

Fireball

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Fireball on its way to Canada

Nov 2014


The next Fireball on its way to Canada - this time to Saskatoon on the west side of Canada. This time via a container full of RS Fevas and Aeros for West Coast Sailing.

FireballFireball

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2014 Fireball inland championships

Nov 2014


Ali Martin crewed by Russell Thorne in the 'Sailboats Speed' Weathermark Fireball take the first 'Lady'; prize at the 2014 Fireball inland championships.

Dave & Paul finished a close 3rd overall winning the last race.

Fireball

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Weathermark at the RYA Dinghy Show 2014

March 2014


The annual RYA Dinghy Show took place over the weekend of the 1st & 2nd March at Alexandra Palace.

The Weathermark Fireball took pride of place on the Fireball class stand attracting a lot of interest and potential orders.

Fireball owners particularly liked the simple jib sheeting and the flat top case allowing a choice of layouts.

Fireball

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Weathermark Fireball 15100 ready for RYA Dinghy Show

March 2014


Weathermark at the RYA Dinghy Show - Alexandra Palace 1st & 2nd March

Dave’s own boat fitted and polished ready to show at the RYA Dinghy Show.

For those who are long time Fireballers you will know the history behind Dave and sail numbers that end in 00. Having had 13800, 14100, 14200, 14300, 14400 & 14500 it is really pleasing for Dave to get 15100!

Dave will be at the show all weekend so come and say hello.

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Winter news update

Winter 2013-14


As we look back on the 2013 Fireball season it was a year of a few ‘if onlys’ . With more practice, more time and no illnesses it could have been a different story. The speed and race results were always there – just not the series.

So into 2014, with orders on the books and the knowledge we have a fast quality Fireball we are all looking forward to a full exciting season.

Weathermark have not only been busy with the Fireball fleet, the coaching, training and K6 promotion side of the company has also had a busy year. The K6 continues to be a strong competitive fleet with 2 very successful championships - the Eurocup at Lake Garda and the Nationals sailed from Parkstone in Poole.

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Summer news update

Spring 2013


Two boats were at this year's UK Fireball Nationals - Tim Rush in his boat and Vince Horey using Dave Hall's boat. Both had good speed and many good races but on their own admission had a few bad moments along with illness which meant the results did not reflect their performance.

Tim crewed by Dan Ellis and Dave crewed by Paul Constable will be back in their own boat at the worlds in Slovenia in September and are looking forward to some good racing.

At the end of the Worlds one or both boats will be available for sale – for details contact Dave

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Fireball at the 2013 RYA Dinghy Show

Spring 2013


One of the first boats out of the mould was on show over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of March at the RYA Dinghy Show held in Alexandra Palace. The boat had pride of place in front of the Fireball class stand and on the Spinlock stand by kind invitation. Dave was kept busy and it was good to speak to both UK and overseas sailors who were interested in the boat.

Production is now well under way with boats now available in all stages of completion.

Fireball

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Weathermark Sailboats acquire Fireball moulds from Duvoisin Nautique

Summer 2012


Dave Hall of Weathermark Sailboats is happy to announce that the Championship winning Fireball moulds built by Frederick and Antony Duvoisin are in the UK and ready to start production.

Weathermark will produce boats from moulds using the latest high tech laminating techniques to offer Fireball sailors a real choice of builders. The boat is very well proven having won World, European and National championships. It is a very clever quality mould incorporating some very neat and unique features. Click here for the Fireball page

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The Fireball UK National Championship at Pentewen Sands

Autumn 2011


The Fireball UK National Championship at Pentewen Sands was the first real racing the new Fireball has had a chance to take part in. At the hands of Dave and crew Paul Constable they put in a solid performance counting a string of 10th and 12ths, not bad for the first outing against some very good young sailors. The boat stood up well and it was noticed that it was on the pace - only the helm was not always on the pace!

Fireball

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Weathermark Sailboats Fireball at the RYA Dinghy Show

March 2011


The new Fireball from Weathermark made its exhibition debut at the RYA Dinghy show over the weekend of the 5/6 March. The Fireball class was showing 3 boats on their stand and it certainly caused a stir. Dave reported a busy stand with huge interest in the Weathermark boat from both current Fireball sailors and teams looking to move into the class. The simplicity of the hull construction and fit out was well received by many of the old Fireball hands. Dave will be sailing the first boat at the early open meetings with plans to sail at the Nationals and Worlds this summer.

FireballFireball

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Hot News About the Weathermark Fireball

January 2011


The new Fireball from Weathermark is on the water, launched at Thorpe Bay for their annual Frozen Sheets race. Dave can report it sailed and performed exactly as it was designed to. Finishing second to the Moth, Dave said that in the 8-10 knot breeze it planed early down wind and the vee'd bow saved him from getting so much water in the face! See the first pictures albeit sailing in rather cold conditions.

Click here for more information and photos.

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