The boys from UEA extended their picket fence with a third win at the 2023 Firefly Nationals in Felixstowe Ferry.
Conditions were very shifty with waves interesting and unpredictable causing more than one catastrophic capsize. Despite a hangover described as ‘basically death’ after a 3am sesh in the Pank Palace, Will Pank and Steve Carver in F999 ‘Alarm’ claimed their third win of this year’s Champs. The pair didn’t have quite as easy a time of it today. Chased hard by Jamie and Ben McEwen in F3615 ‘Skirmish’ (cleaned and shined especially for the event, they must have read the runners and riders!) right to the line, they were handed a lifeline courtesy of an ill-timed roller. Jamie and Ben took a swim but still managed to hold on to second. Nigel Wakefield and Emily Saunderson in F3007 ‘TipTopToo’ came home third with Jono Pank (sporting a very eye-catching Duckhams dress) and Emily Batterton in F1954 ‘Pogie’ snapping at their heels in fourth.
An approaching weather front led to the postponement of the crews race so the fleet headed in for a well-deserved rest and a bit of boat work. Barney Smith and Kat Wolfe-Barry in F3023 ‘Forewood Thinking’ provided the drama on the way in, narrowly managing to avoid a broach capsize on the bar but getting completely swamped by a wave from behind in the process.
Ashore the evening’s entertainment was proceeded by the AGM where the new builder decision was ratified by a unanimous vote and Ben Green handed over the Chairman reigns to Chris Kameen. A touch to class was brought to the always notorious Firefly Quiz by our quizmasters for the evening the “men in hats” – boater-wearing Cambridge Alumni Alex Baxter and Callum Farndeen – who, despite raging hangovers, offered to give up the answers for beers. The quiz ended in a tie, a plank-off then another tie before the MIH handed over to freshly minted Hon Sec Jason Aldous to award the Craftinsure Buddies – to riotous applause – to Will and Zoe Mason and Ollie Meadowcroft and Ollie Fellows (who, in classic student style, immediately filled their bottles with booze!). A special once-a-year Ed Smith Duckhams followed and the fleet enjoyed his searingly dry wit as the dresses (should they still be dresses in this age of equality) were handed over by the ‘old timers’ to four fresh victims for a range of misdeeds.
Day three will see two races, including the Crews’ Race, out in the bay followed by the raucous Crews Union and civilised Helms Dinner.