Day two of the 2022 Firefly Nationals dawned bright and sunny with a gentle breeze and not a cloud in the sky. There were unconfirmed rumours of the AP flying (flopping?) from the club at 9AM which were soon confirmed. Nationals Organiser Jim explained that the morning breeze was forecast to disappear with the breeze not scheduled to return until 3pm and the Race Officer had called for an initial 2hr postponement with a plan to review at 12:30. Just like the breeze, 12:30 came and went. The Fleet were just beginning to crack open the beers when the Delta finally went up at 13:18 and we were going racing!
Race 3 – Kameen Sandwich
Race 3 was another classic Tenby snakes and ladders race – or should that be nadroedd ac ysgolion Dinbych-y-pysgod!
The order at the front was virtually set at mark one with leaders Chris Kameen and Jenny Johnson in F2937 ‘Smutty’ managing to hold on to the end to take the win – their second in quick succession after a great showing at the South Westerns earlier this year. They were followed by Stuart and Robbie Hudson in F3850 ‘Fursty Ferret’. Paul Kameen and Evie Snedker in F2018 ‘Biscuit Buffalo’ made it a Kameen sandwich.
Behind them in the mid-fleet competition was hotting up as the races ticked down to the division of fleets for Wednesday’s Gore. Despite starting third in the gate start, Duckhams wearing middle markers Jamie Webb and Olly Jagger in F2917 ‘Loosy Goosey’ managed to miss much of the first race action. Their decision to follow overnight leader Steve Tylecote and Alice Lucy in F3037 ‘Grasshopper’ off to the left hand proved almost as bad a choice as the one that put this Cambridge pair in the dresses as the wind shifted to the right. Unfortunately for the lads, any free speed that might have been provided by the additional canvas of the two Duckhams dresses was not quite enough to get them past Ewan and Eriskay Mclellen in F3609 ‘USA1’ and Guy Davison and Emma Hartley in F3007 ‘Lynestra’.
Race 4 – Day of Kameens
Race 4 is for the RAFSA trophy, originally sponsored by the Royal Air Force Sailing Association, back in the day when large squadrons of silver jets filled the British skies. Today a more accurate acronym would have been RAFted-up and Sailed Away.
By the time the fleet reached the first mark the wind was softening and the tide becoming increasingly relevant. While the leaders slipped away, the middle of the fleet got the joy (chaos?) of massive mark pile ups at both mark 2 and 3. Big losses and big gains for those with the skill and luck to navigate them!
A valiant effort overall by the race officials and the fleet and once again the breeze died on the second beat so the PRO Nigel Denchfield again made the great decision to shorten the course and finish the fleet at the closest point on the race course to bar!
First to cross the line was Paul Kameen and Evie Snedker – a win apiece for the Kameen brothers. Jono Pank and Tameake Diaz in F1954 ‘Pogie’ were 2nd and speedy students James Hammett and Tiger Tellwright in F2594 ‘Bloodhound’ crossed in third.
Monday night meant the first of the class meals and music from local band Elephant Guru. The Kameen brothers (and the rest of the fleet) celebrated their double success in Kameen style. This celebration was extra celebratory as, with the forecast looking even lighter for tomorrow, the PRO made an early call and posted a notice to change the schedule so that Race 6 (race 5 is the Gore and must be sailed on the Wednesday of Firefly Week) would be sailed today with the warning signal not before 15:55. With the promise of a late start, the fleet enthusiasticly drank the club dry of beer and rum and almost out of gin before heading to Jono’s to continue the party into the not-so-early-hours.
Their win and second place moves Paul and Evie up to overnight leaders with Steve Tylecote and Alice Lucy three points adrift behind them. Jono Pank and Tomeake Diaz round off the top three. With their win and 7th place Race 3 Ronstan Buddies were Chris Kameen & Jenny Johnson and Alex Baxter & Joe Scarborough and a 3rd and a 24th for Exeter’s James Hammett & Tiger Tellwright and Cambridge’s Callum Farnden & Hugh Tompkins made it a student shut-out for Race 4.
In the championship within the Championship -the Duckhams award for underachievement – the class’s very own Notorious OAP, Guy Davison was riotously clapped into the dress for embracing his villian era and shouting his way around the course. Reportedly pleading “age-related reasons”, Guy skipped the presentation forcing his poor crew Emma to have to wear both dresses for the rest of the evening – a guaranteed “worst helm” at Crews Union tonight!