Fireball Worlds – Gillard and Thompson win with a race to spare

British Fireball sailors Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson have been crowned World Champions at the 2024 Fireball Worlds in Geelong, Australia. 

The duo sailed a near perfect regatta, rarely falling outside the top three and ending up winning with a race to spare. 

Gillard said he was proud of the achievement, especially given the fact the British container didn’t arrive on time.

“In the build up to the event we knew that we weren’t going to have our boat so we had to spend a lot of time working on the boat we borrowed,” he said.

“At pre-worlds we basically did one race a day, found out what was wrong with it, came back in, mended it and made sure it was good for the World Championships.”

His crew, Andy Thompson, said the regatta win was a special one for the pair considering they had not planned to attend the event initially.

“We shouldn’t really be here to be honest because we weren’t in the container to start off with, so we’re really lucky to be here.”

Gillard thanked the Australian Fireball Association and the committee members, who worked hard to ensure those left without a boat from overseas were able to sail borrowed Australian boats to get them through the regatta. 

In second place was fellow British sailors DJ Edwards and Vyv Townend, who also sailed an extremely consistent regatta, but ended up just short of the regatta leaders in most races. 

Third place, and first Australians, were local heroes Brendan Garner and Ben O’Brien who hail from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and had a really good start to their event to set up a successful result. 

The event was incredibly well run by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club with 10 races across a mix of conditions that threw up a few challenges for the race committee.

For final results, head to https://bit.ly/2024FireballWorldsResults 

For more information about the event, head to https://rgyc.com.au/on-water/regattas/2024-fireball-worlds/ 

Story author:              Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail
Photo credit:               Alex Dare, Down Under Sail
Video credit:               Alex Dare, Down Under Sail

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