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2024 Fireball World Championships

Published Tue 13 Feb 2024

From February 5 to 16, 2024, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club will be the epicentre of Fireball sailing excellence as it hosts the highly anticipated 2024 Fireball World Championships.

Nearly 20 months since the last World Championship in Ireland, the Fireball fleet is gearing up for a spectacular showdown, featuring almost 70 entries, including three containers from Europe and a multitude of loaned boats, taking on the Australian fleet.

Team GBR: Powerhouse on Paper

Team GBR looks like the strongest team on paper boasting a lineup of World and European champions.  The standout contender is Tom Gillard / Andrew Thompson, the current World and European Champion. Gillard is seeking an unprecedented sixth Fireball World Championship - a feat never achieved before in the class.

Challenging Gillard is DJ Edwards (GBR), a two-time world champion, joined by his crew Vyv Townend, boasting an impressive five Fireball World Championships himself. Their pursuit of a sixth world title for Vyv promises to adds an exciting narrative to the competition.

The rest of the British contingent, features the like of Dave Hall /Paul Constable, and Vince Horey, who bring formidable competition, each with a rich racing pedigree. Horey, fresh from a second-place finish at the European Championships in September, arrives with momentum, and will be teaming up with Richard Pepperdine.

European Contenders: Czech Strength and Swiss Precision

The Czech Team, renowned for its strength in the Fireball class, and intends to make its mark with a dedicated container housing competitive sailors like Johanna Napravnik Koranova / Jakub Napravnik and Jiri Paruzek / Jakob Kosvica.  Both teams have consistently finished in the top ranks at World and Continental events, making them strong contenders for the coveted World Title trophy.

The other European container features seasoned sailors, including Claude Mermod (SUI), previous European Champion, and Esteban Hernandez (FRA), presenting a robust challenge in the competition. Swiss sailors Kurt Venhoda and Sonja Zaugg, with recent success at the Europeans are also likely to show good form and will challenge the top boats.

French Entry and Dark Horses from Canada

France enters the fray with a robust team led by Jean Francois Nouel, rumoured to hold the record for the most World Championships attended.

Due to the prohibitive shipping costs from Canada, three teams have organised local boats, with Mark Cummings and Evelyn Chisholm standing out as dark horses to watch, bringing extensive Fireball experience to the competition.

Local Prowess and Australian Powerhouses

The local sailors are eager to take on the overseas competitors with Regatta Chair Brendan Garner, paired with Ben O’Brien leading the charge. Garner / O’Brien, previous winners of the Australian Championships and back-to-back Victorian Championships are in peak form. Other Victorian contenders Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne, who finished third in the last World Championship in Ireland, aim to be in the mix.

The South Australian contingent, includes recent Australian Championship winners Jalina Thompson-Kambas and Nathan Stockley, providing a competitive edge. Three-time Australian Championship winner John Heywood is anticipated to be a strong competitor, and this year teams up with Daniel George. Class stalwart,  Ben Schulz, sailing with young 470 talent Angus Higgins, fresh from winning the South Australian titles, is expected to be a formidable Australian contender.

Competitors from WA, NSW and Queensland, including previous Australian Champions (Peter More / Cambell Reid (NSW))  and international podium finishers (Mark Matthews / Peter Sinclair(QLD)) are also expected to feature prominently in the results.

Honouring Fireball Legacy

The Fireball class has a rich history in Australia with many amazing sailors, including World and National Champions. These sailors have provided an amazing legacy in a strong class that we all benefit from.

In recognition of this legacy, all Fireball sailors past and present are invited to join a gathering at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club on the night of February 13th.

Food trucks will be available, providing an opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones from across the Fireball world.  If you would like more information please feel free to reach out to

Gratitude to our Sponsors

The International Fireball Class of Australia expresses deep gratitude to the Victorian Government, Geelong City Council, and Ronstan for their invaluable support. Special thanks to Fireball International for facilitating the containers' arrival from overseas.

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