Firefly Open at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club

Bright sunshine and a gentle SW breeze greeted five visiting and ten home boats to the annual West Oxfordshire S.C, Firefly Open Meeting on Saturday 19th October.

OOD Roger Postbestchild set an Anaconda like course with four short beats across the lake with the onus on sailors to keep in pressure and avoid being snookered or swallowed up approaching, rounding or leaving the pink, blue, yellow or red windward marks!

Race One was lead from start to finish by Jono Pank and Emily Sanderson having found clear air on the right side of the first upwind and managing to slip away from the pursuing fleet on the subsequent downwind. Andy Mckee and son Oli eventually broke free to finish second with Angus Cook and Lucie Hopkins in third. Behind Oli Burrows and Lucy Cox, James Nicoll and Chris Bellew and old-timers Tony Thresher and Mike Radford battled it out for fourth and WOSC bragging rights. Oli and Lucy held their nerve having been put under severe pressure by the other two aforementioned teams.

Race Two saw the whole fleet staying much closer together for the duration of the race. Initially Jono and Emily seemed to have got away far enough from the rest to defend themselves from being snookered or swallowed up but Angus and Lucie had other ideas and having skillfully broken away from the rest of the fleet halfway through the race got themselves in the fast lane and passed the leaders with a lap to go and hung on for the win. Behind Oli B and Andy Mckee fought it out for third place with Oli winning out.

After lunch Race Three got underway with all to play for throughout the fleet. Tony and Mike made a good start but were always pinching to make the first mark allowing Jono and Emily to sail over the top of them and round first. After a couple of laps, Jono and Emily stretched away and Tony and Mike came under pressure from Angus and Lucie. After some creaky tacks Tony and Mike were snookered on the yellow and Angus once again set off in hot pursuit of Jono who this time managed to hold on for the win. Behind Tony and Mike held grimly on to third until they were passed by the Mckees and Oli B on the final lap. However they managed to get back to third at the top of the last upwind and despite some team racing moves by the chasing Andy and waving Oli Mckee, defended to the line to take third.

Race 4 bucked the trend in that at the first mark Jono was not first. Angus and Lucie had slipped out of his reach, rounded first and sailed comfortably, as it ever gets at WOSC, away to take the win. James Nicoll held second for some time but was caught by Jono and was eventually pleased to have got two gusts away from the challenging bunch behind as they closed to within not too many metres at the end. Oli amd Lucy finished fourth, after Tony and Mike’s retirement due to a senior moment at the finishing mark.

WOSC continues to produce good young sailors who are introduced to fleet and team racing using Fireflies. Many of the fast-improving next generation were to be found fighting it out for the U16 prize in mid-fleet. Eventually James Bull and Rosie Speller won through from Kieron Bowsher and Katie by dint of being one place ahead in the last race. The Club also encourages single-handed Firefly sailing. Al Vines in seventh took away this prize.

Angus Cook, the winning helm, thanked everyone for putting on a fun day sailing and confessed that he hadn’t realised the Club existed even though he had spent his formative years in the area. Angus travelled from Devon and Lucie from Scotland for the event. Better late than never!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st3695Angus Cook Lucie HopkinsCastaways‑31214
2nd1954Jono Pank Emily SandersonImperial Poona Y C1‑2124
3rd1979Andy McKeeOli Mckee Rutland S C244‑510
4th792Oli BurrowsLucy Cox WOSC43‑5411
5th3895Tony Thresher Mike RadfordWOSC553(RET)13
6th4125James Nicoll Chris BellewWOSC66‑7315
7th3040Alastair Vines S/HRedditch S C  9‑106621
8thWOSC 4James Ball Jasmine SpellerWOSC8‑98723
9thWOSC 1Keiran Bowsher KatieWOSC78‑10823
10th3009Mark JenningsJudy Jennings WOSC107‑111027
11thWOSC 5Mark Peters S/HWOSC‑15129930
12thWOSC 3Paul Deane Harry MasonWOSC111112(DNC)34
13thWOSC 2Freya Halsall Rosie  EvansWOSC‑1313131137
DNQ2560Alex OgilvieLoni  Mayhew Regal Aardvartk12(DNC)DNCDNCDNQ
DNQWOSC 6Eddie EvansJim Evans WOSC1414(DNC)DNCDNQ