Youth Triumphs Over Experience

The West Oxfordshire Sailing Club Firefly Open meeting on 25th October saw 10 club boats joined by 5 visitoirs for some close racing under generally sunny skies in good if shifty breeze. The meeting was the last of the Vines Series which this year has been sailed at four venues with 38 different helms competing for the famous trophy and a brand new set of sails.

The West Oxfordshire Sailing Club Firefly Open meeting on 25th October saw 10 club boats joined by 5 visitors for some close racing under generally sunny skies in good if shifty breeze. The meeting was the last of the Vines Series which this year has been sailed at four venues with 38 different helms competing for the famous trophy and a brand new set of sails.

Race one got under way at the first attempt with current Inland champion Stuart Hudson crewed by his son Robbie leading at the windward mark. Over the next two laps the leader of the race must have changed five or six times with just about everyone in the fleet thinking they were going to win at some point. By lap three the race had settled down with Alex Baxter and Olivia Balfour eventually seeing off challenges from Guy Davison crewed by Claire Postbeschild and Rob and Karen Bell to take the win or so he thought! It transpired that A lex and Olivia had failed to round the 2nd last mark of the course on the last lap correctly so leaving Guy and Claire to take the win followed by Rob and Karen with Stuart and Robbie in 3rd.

Alex and Olivia made no mistake in race 2 leading from start to finish and not wilting under the pressure from Tony Thresher and Bridgit Thurley who try as they might could not unseat the youngsters.

Going into Race 3 any one of five boats could win the event. Once again Alex and Olivia made the right calls up the first beat to lead from Tony and Bridgit and Ben Burrows crewed by his daughter Bea in the recently renovated Rizza F792. Alex and Olivia sailed away to take the win and the Open Meeting overall. Tony and Bridgit finished 2nd but this was not enough to take 2nd overall losing out to Guy and Claire courtesy of their win in race 1. By finishing 5th overall Stuart Hudson just did enough to retain the Vines trophy from Alex Baxter by 2 points.

Overall the Open meeting showcased what a fantastic boat the Firefly is for small lake clubs such as West Oxfordshire. The 6 Club owned Fireflies are used regularly by juniors, youths and adults a like for Club and team racing. Five boats from the Club attended this year’s Nationals most of the sailors being U18 and a youth and Junior team sailed at the WLYC 24hr race using one of the Club Fireflys. Our younger members learn by crewing but can also helm these little boats born out by the fact that the winner of the U16 helm at the event was Ben Nicoll aged 13 crewed by Frankie Penton aged 12. Alex and Olivia are aged 15 and 16 and are clearly learning far too quickly for the chasing more elderly and experienced sailors.

 

1st Alex Baxter Olivia Balfour WOSC 2pts
2nd Guy Davison Claire Posbeschild Llangorse/WOSC 4pts
3rd Tony Thresher Bridgit Thurley WOSC 4pts
4th Rob Bell Karen Bell Emberton Park SC 6pts
5th Stuart Hudson Robbie Hudson Keyhaven 8pts

 

1st Lady Lucy Boreham/Rachel Crebbin (6th)
1st U15 Crew Robbie Hudson
1st U15 Helm Ben Nicoll/Frankie Penton