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Ger Owens Fireball Training Weekend at Dun Laoghaire

22nd May 2017
Extremely short races, with no respite in between gave the participants a thorough workout & tested that ‘muscle memory’ to the limit Extremely short races, with no respite in between gave the participants a thorough workout & tested that ‘muscle memory’ to the limit

When Ger Owens’ 'Loopies' replace Adam Bower’s 'Woompatah' you know it must be Fireball Training Weekend writes Neil Cramer.

With generous sponsorship from the ISA Class Training Scheme and hosting by the DMYC, the Fireball Class assembled in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday for the first day of its annual training camp under the coaching of Ger Owens, the renowned 470 Olympic and GP14 sailor.

Under bright, clear skies with only the odd passing shower to dampen the mood, the weather was perfect for a full-on day of training. The group of 12 sailors started the day in classroom mode where Owens managed to condense the entire world of race-winning strategy into five concise pointers designed to instill a belief in one’s ability to hit the front of the fleet without wondering how one got there and how long one could hang on before being passed out by ‘better’ sailors!

Once, these topics had been unravelled, the fleet took to the water to undergo Ger’s infamous ‘Loopies’, created to induce ‘muscle memory’ for all points of sailing. Maybe, Ger thought the fleet was suffering from mild dementia because they were certainly dizzy and sweaty when they came out of ‘loopie’ mode and moved on to point-to-point circuit sprints.

Following a brief lunch ashore combined with detailed de-briefing, the fleet proceeded to the end of the harbour where a testing sequence of ultra-short races had everyone’s stress levels reach limits not seen in even the most difficult of event conditions. What is it about the sound of a whistle or hoot that gets Fireball crews all wound-up & ready to take no prisoners? Extremely short races, with no respite in between gave the participants a thorough workout & tested that ‘muscle memory’ to the limit.

As a result of the session the participants now understand why:

* the Kicker could sometimes become a liability,
* why the most important piece of equipment on the boat is a €10 piece flimsy material &
* why what goes on under the boom is a vital source of information.
* The way up is not necessarily the way back down

Want to know these secrets too? Why not acquire a Fireball and join the fray ? For as little as little £2k you can be the new owner for an “all white” Winder foam sandwich boat or as little as £800 for a restored timber boat. Then come along to our 2nd Fireball Training date later on this summer & learn why you too belong at the top of the fleet looking back...

Published in Fireball
Cormac Bradley

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Cormac Bradley

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Dublin Bay Fireballer Cormac Bradley was appointed Rear Commodore of the International Fireball Class in 2017. He is a regular dinghy and one design correspondent on Afloat.ie

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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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