July 25, 2017
Martin’s boat, #1205, on a shake-down cruise on the Salish Sea.
Martin Herbert of the Saltspring Island Sailing Club shares his memories as he prepares for the FireBall Dinghy Regatta, Canadian National Championship.
“In 1962 English designer Peter Milne drew up the plans for the Fireball Dinghy and the prototype was featured in Yachts and Yachting Magazine. My Father, Alf Herbert, saw the pictures of it planning along at speed and ordered plans, building the first two Fireballs to sail in Canada. In 1965 My brother, Graham Herbert won the first Canadian National Championships with me as crew. The next year my Father, Brother and I built two more boats out of better materials and in 1967 I won the Nationals with my brother as crew. Fifty years later I learned that the Nationals were being held in Cowichan Bay, a mere 20-mile sail from my home club on Saltspring Island. I decided to dig the boat out of storage, refinish her and sail her to the regatta. The best sailor in our club, Greg Slakov, immediately signed up as crew and we have been putting ourselves and the boat through the paces for four weeks. Since moving to Saltspring ten years ago I have been sailing the venerable Flying Fifteen Keelboat so it was a learning curve to step back into a dinghy. I had forgotten how exciting the Fireball is to sail. The regatta starts on July 23rd and our sail to the event is on the 22nd.”
The Fireball Dingy Canadian Championship has three days of racing on the West Coast in Cowichan Bay. The regatta will be based at the Cowichan Tribes’ Boathouse area at the east end of Cowichan Bay village, at the end of Botwood lane. Sailing will take place in Cowichan Bay and the entrances thereof.
Race coordinator Rob Thompson is still building boats, most recently of Kevlar, foam core, and epoxy. His newest boat is 15098, “Infallible”