Spinnaker Firefly Open and Inland Championships 2016

Hudson & Bowden dominant in a light winds regatta

36 Fireflies converged on Spinnaker Club at Blashford Lake, over the weekend of the 29th-30th October for the Firefly Inland Championships. The fleet was made up of sailors from sailing clubs across the country stretching from North Wales to Falmouth. Light winds prevailed throughout the regatta which curtailed the schedule, allowing only 4 races of the scheduled 7 to be completed.

The fleet and race committee were ready for an 11 o’clock start on Saturday, but unfortunately the wind was not. Despite everyone’s eagerness to go sailing the wind failed to materialise and by 1415 the race officer cancelled sailing for the day. This gave everyone chance to get ready for the evening social, which was a 70th Anniversary Dinner held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, which included the raffle for F4270 Platinum Pam; a brand new Rondar Firefly. In the end the Firefly was won by Nick Whelan of Budworth Sailing Club. Sunday dawned with light fickle north easterly breezes and a few sore heads from the competitors who had thoroughly enjoyed the Anniversary Dinner, thankfully the 1130 start coupled with the extra hour from the clocks rolling back, meant that the full fleet were on the start line for the start of Race 1.

Race 1 eventually got away under U-Flag after 2 general recalls with the boats at the Committee Boat end getting the best starts. Rob & Mel Sherrington (Spinnaker) lead at Mark 1 closely followed by Fred Mainwaring & Jenn Bennett (Red Wharf) and Maria & Hermione Stanley (Itchenor) sailing their father’s newly and beautifully restored Mark 1 boat. The downwind leg from saw Ed Morris & Eleanor Assinder (Spinnaker) and Stuart Hudson & Amy Bowden (Spinnaker) use their local knowledge to gybe out early and avoid the wind shadows, thus sailing round the fleet and into first and second respectively. After 3 laps Stuart & Amy had reeled in Ed & Ellie to take the bullet. Ed & Ellie finished within 10 seconds of the leader and 5 seconds in front of Rob & Mel Sherrington. Fred Mainwaring & Jenn Bennett had a comfortable 4th place with hot shot youth sailors Miles Jones and TX Finney, who train regularly at Spinnaker as part of the Winchester College Sailing Team, leading the chasing pack home in 5th place.

Race 2 saw the race committee quickly rearrange the course to reflect the shifting winds, and racing was quickly underway with the start away first time, under U Flag. Unfortunately Ben Ainsworth & Isobel Walker (Itchenor) fell victim to the U Flag and had to sit out the race. Rob & Mel had the best start of the fleet by starting in the middle of line, away from the congestion at the committee boat, they were able to get into the pressure first and led the fleet around lap one. They were followed closely by Stuart & Amy and Ben Vines & his young daughter Annabelle (Imperial Poona YC). By the end of the third lap Stuart and Amy had done what seems to come so easily and had taken the lead, and were rapidly running way with the title. Further behind them Rob & Mel held onto second with Ben & Annabelle taking third. Nigel Wakefield & Emily Saunderson (St Denys Sailing & Rowing) had now found their form and sailed a consistent race to finish 4th ahead of Angus Cook & Amy Morris (North Devon YC) in 5th.

By Race 3 the wind had stabilised considerably which had allowed the race committee to set a much squarer line. The battle was now at the starboard end and predictably there was a hotly contested battle between many of the highly skilled team racers in the fleet. A starboard lay line tussle between Rob & Mel Sherrington and Hamish Walker & Toby Lewis (Royal Navy Sailing Association) lead to Hamish & Toby being called over under a U Flag start, and yet again Rob & Mel showed the fleet a master class in starting and powered away from the pack to lead at mark one. In the final lap Mel & Rob allowed the chasing pack of Stuart & Amy and Angus Cook & Amy Morris to split from them up the final beat. This proved decisive, and by the finish Stuart & Amy had again regained the lead to take their third race win closely followed by Angus & Amy, with Rob & Mel holding off a late charge by Nigel Wakefield & Emily Saunderson. Will Henderson & Liz Teaque (Hayling Island) led home the pursuing fleet in 5th.

With the Sailing Instructions prohibiting a start after the 1500, the race committee turned around the final race in double quick time. With no time for a recall, race officer Mike Greenland started under U Flag which unfortunately saw Angus Cook & Amy Morris caught On Course Side, which meant their late surge up the leader board was cut short. Again the battle at the start was for the pin end, which was won expertly by Roger Morris and son Finian (Papercourt) with a superbly judged the approach just below the starboard lay line. Roger & Finian consolidated their start to lead the fleet around lap 1. They were closely followed by Stuart, this time crewed by son Robbie, who took the lead in lap 2 and accelerated away from the fleet to win the championship with a clean sweep of bullets! Roger & Finian finished the race in second ahead of the ever consistent Nigel & Emily. Ben Ainsworth & Isobel Walker were 4th ahead of John Greenland & Katie Restall (Imperial Poona YC) sailing the beautifully restored Falken. A special mention should go to John who travelled from New York to compete in this championship!

Despite being unable to sail the final race Rob and Mel had done enough to take second overall ahead of Nigel & Emily, Ben & Annabelle Vines were fourth overall. Annabelle also took the Young Crew Title ahead of Finian Morris (9th Overall) and Sophie Smith (Papercourt) who was 14th overall sailing with her Dad and Class Chairman Ed Smith. The Ladies Trophy went to Maria & Hermione Stanley and the Youth Trophy to Miles Jones & TX Finney representing Royal Dart, Spinnaker & Winchester College. Although this event marks the end of the Firefly fleet racing season, it also marks the start of the Team Racing Season; the season starts off with two random pairs events at Budworth SC (26-27th November and the Twisted Tube also held at Spinnaker on the 12th November. Competitors at the Firefly Inlands can enter the Twisted Tube at no extra cost.


Words EdMorris, photos Jane Hudson

PlaceSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4DiscardPointsRemarks
13850Stuart HudsonAmy BowdenSpinnaker Club & Royal Harwich Yacht Club111113
23617Rob SherringtonMel SherringtonSpinnaker Club32337378
33674Nigel WakefieldEmily SaundersonSt Deny’s   Sailing and Rowing Club114431111
42144Ben VinesAnnabelle VinesImperial Poona YC6397916First Youth Crew
5784Ed MorrisEleanor AssinderSpinnaker Club2978917
62594Ben AinsworthIsobel WalkerItchenor Sailing Club737843719
73695Angus CookAmy MorrisNorth Devon Yacht Club / Spinnaker Club1452373721Tie Broken in Accordance with RRS A8
869John GreenlandKatie RestallImperial Poona YC1561051521
93119Roger MorrisFinian MorrisPapercourt Sailing Club1615621623Second Youth Crew
102319Will HendersonMandy HendersonItchenor Sailing Club9115181825
113095Chris GuyAl EwingCastaways Sailing Club81423102332
123671Fred MainwaringJenn BennettRed Wharf Bay Sailing & Watersports Club41316171733
13333Miles JonesTX FinneyRoyal Dart Yacht Club5212092134Youth Champion
142803Ed SmithSophie SmithPapercourt Sailing Club131211373736Third Youth Crew
158Maria StanleyHermione StanleyItchenor Sailing Club101812151837Ladies Champion
163892Rob HendersonLiz TeaqueHayling Island Sailing Club122214122238
173318Guy DavisonJonquil HackenburgLlangorse Sailing Club171015151740
186Albert WigmoreJeremie JoannesChew Valley Lake Sailing Club4832373744
192282Hamish WalkerToby LewisRoyal Naval Sailing Assocation3773763750
203784Tom ClayMatthew MasonSpinnaker Club272021112752
214000Will MasonPolly MasonPapercourt292713132953
224125James NicollJoe ScarboroughWest Oxfordshire Sailing Club251718202555
233023Barney SmithAlannah WitherbyHamble River Sailing Club203019193058
243920Mike SteeleDebs SteeleSt Edmondsbury Sailing & Canoeing372422143760
25BU3Anthony ParkeMatt GreenBournemouth Univeristy Sailing Club282817162861
263739Lucy BorehamRachel CrebbinChichester Yacht Club192324373766
273550David SincockHayley GoacherRestronguet Sailing Club231926373768
283009Ben NicollHannah JenningsWest Oxfordshire Sailing Club262525212671
293072Damian BorehamAlice GardnerChew Valley Lake Sailing Club211637373774
303893Anna KennedyJames KennedyKeyhaven Yacht Club242428373776
311943Stephen FryCharlotte FryNetley Sailing Club323130223283
321522Ben GreenFi EdwardsLymington Town Sailing Club312627373784
333120Jonathon HoweMark JenningsWest Oxfordshire Sailing Club373231233786
343005Joe LlewellynDaniel LlewellynSpinnaker Club183737373792
353615Jamie McEwenAngus McEwenPapercourt Sailing Club223737373796
361Matthew JonesAmy ParkesUniversity of Birmingham Sailing Club373329373799