These graphs show the times and places recorded by the Fireball & Int 14 Fleets in the 1991 and 1992 Pompey Perisher Events. The Pompey Perisher is a major handicap event held in the Solent off Portsmouth Harbour, England every January and normally attracts a high quality entry, especially of the trapeze classes. Entry is restricted, and there are usually about 120 entries in the monohull fleet. At that time the Int14 in the UK had fairly recently adopted asymmetric spinnakers, and the class had increased dramatically in popularity. Consequently it would not be unfair to say that there seemed to be quite a wide range of sailing ability in the fleet.
In these races the Fireballs were racing off a (UK) PY number
of 105, the Int 14s off 97. As can be seen the two fleets were
pretty much mixed up in finishing times on the water, even though
the 14s were handicapped as being around 10% faster, and an overall
difference in performance is quite obvious.
As I recall the wind for the 1991 race was about 15 knots or so, and the 1992 race around 10 knots.
These are shown as a percentage of the mean corrected times
of the entire fleet in each race.
Here its interesting to note that there doesn't seem to be very much difference in the range of performance of the One Design Fireball and the more varied setups of the International 14s. It is interesting to note though that the 14s seem to have finished in bunches, whilst the Fireballs seem to have been more spread out. Quite what that signifies I have no idea!
The bunching in the 14 fleet seems even more marked in final places!
You would have to be a little braver than I to make firm conclusions from a handful of statistics like this. However it seems to me unlikely that even the fastest of Fireballs is a faster boat on the water than a middle-of-the fleet Int 14, so I can only presume that the tremendous range in finishing times in the two fleets is principally due to variation in sailing ability. From the graphs it would also seem difficult to claim that the one-design Fireball enjoyed closer racing than the more varied 14s. Incidentally the same degree of range in performance was observable in all the classes in those races - the Cherubs, at that time much more varied in design and rig than the 14s, showed no greater spread of times and placings.