Firefly Inland Nationals 2017

Boom! What a regatta! Firefly Inland Nationals at Rutland – a close run affair

Over the weekend of 4th 5th November, Rutland Sailing Club and the NFA ran the Firefly Inland Nationals Championships. Pulled together by Fiona Tylecote and Ben Green, the organisation was amazing and the quality of racing was as good as I can ever remember.

My weekend started with a puncture and so had to swap my boat onto a different trailer in the pitch black of rural Wales.. when it became light I realised I could have tied my boat on a bit better so pulled over..if I was running late before I was definitely now! Crew Ella Marston picked up, we timed our run to the start of the first race 4 hours later to perfection turning up at the starting line with our Chairman Ed as the 5 minute gun went, and then we were off.

After a 3rd at the nationals I was keen to make amends and had Nigel and Emily firmly in my sights (old habits die hard!) and we won the first race. Wow! That makes it sound much easier than it was. The trapezod course kept the chasing bunch close on your heals, and Jamie McEwan and Jonquil gave us an indication of what was to come by edging us as we closed in the bottom mark, but we managed to just hold them off.. Nigel and Emily then smoked us all in the next couple of races getting 2 bullets… I guess National champions can make a habit of that! The rest of us scrapping it out with place changes frequently on almost every leg.

At the end of day 1, 8 or so boats were all in the mix and all still with a chance of winning. With a night in the Wheatsheaf to contend with and Emily unable to sail on Sunday and slightly more breeze forecast it was all to play for.

I was knackered after hiking and plaining most of Saturday, so wasn’t very happy when lying 3rd in Race 1 we went for the Hudson roll… trying out the fast centreboard spot in gusty 20 knots plus on the run didn’t end up that quick and so we ended up retiring. It took us a whole lap to get rid of the water.. Must blow my bags up a bit better!

As the day wore on past champions Paul Kameen sailing with Hans, Steve Tylecote and son Jamie, Stuart Hudson and Charlie Turnbull (Eric Twiname winner and son of  The RO!) were starting to get more consistency in the top 5. Myself and John Greenland just not quite doing enough to properly get into the chocolates again though always there or there abouts. Unmentioned though was Jamie and Jonquil who mastered the art of consistency and never posted a result outside of the top 4.. Wow! seriously impressive.

Without a shadow of a doubt this was the best fleet racing competition I have sailed in, in a good 10 years. The competition was strong throughout the fleet – a fleet bolstered by the 12- 15 club boats that were sailing. There is talent in depth at Rutland and it won’t be long before we see a new Firefly Strong hold I’m sure.

I’m sure that someone can write a better report than this, and add to it.. I just noticed that we didn’t have one so wrote it! It also gives me the opportunity to gloat that I finally beat Nigel in an event for the first time I think since before he got Flo!