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
|1||3850||Stuart Hudson||Amy Bowden||Spinnaker Club & Royal Harwich Yacht Club||1||1||1||1||1||3|
|2||3617||Rob Sherrington||Mel Sherrington||Spinnaker Club||3||2||3||37||37||8|
|3||3674||Nigel Wakefield||Emily Saunderson||St Deny’s Sailing and Rowing Club||11||4||4||3||11||11|
|4||2144||Ben Vines||Annabelle Vines||Imperial Poona YC||6||3||9||7||9||16||First Youth Crew|
|5||784||Ed Morris||Eleanor Assinder||Spinnaker Club||2||9||7||8||9||17|
|6||2594||Ben Ainsworth||Isobel Walker||Itchenor Sailing Club||7||37||8||4||37||19|
|7||3695||Angus Cook||Amy Morris||North Devon Yacht Club / Spinnaker Club||14||5||2||37||37||21||Tie Broken in Accordance with RRS A8|
|8||69||John Greenland||Katie Restall||Imperial Poona YC||15||6||10||5||15||21|
|9||3119||Roger Morris||Finian Morris||Papercourt Sailing Club||16||15||6||2||16||23||Second Youth Crew|
|10||2319||Will Henderson||Mandy Henderson||Itchenor Sailing Club||9||11||5||18||18||25|
|11||3095||Chris Guy||Al Ewing||Castaways Sailing Club||8||14||23||10||23||32|
|12||3671||Fred Mainwaring||Jenn Bennett||Red Wharf Bay Sailing & Watersports Club||4||13||16||17||17||33|
|13||333||Miles Jones||TX Finney||Royal Dart Yacht Club||5||21||20||9||21||34||Youth Champion|
|14||2803||Ed Smith||Sophie Smith||Papercourt Sailing Club||13||12||11||37||37||36||Third Youth Crew|
|15||8||Maria Stanley||Hermione Stanley||Itchenor Sailing Club||10||18||12||15||18||37||Ladies Champion|
|16||3892||Rob Henderson||Liz Teaque||Hayling Island Sailing Club||12||22||14||12||22||38|
|17||3318||Guy Davison||Jonquil Hackenburg||Llangorse Sailing Club||17||10||15||15||17||40|
|18||6||Albert Wigmore||Jeremie Joannes||Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club||4||8||32||37||37||44|
|19||2282||Hamish Walker||Toby Lewis||Royal Naval Sailing Assocation||37||7||37||6||37||50|
|20||3784||Tom Clay||Matthew Mason||Spinnaker Club||27||20||21||11||27||52|
|21||4000||Will Mason||Polly Mason||Papercourt||29||27||13||13||29||53|
|22||4125||James Nicoll||Joe Scarborough||West Oxfordshire Sailing Club||25||17||18||20||25||55|
|23||3023||Barney Smith||Alannah Witherby||Hamble River Sailing Club||20||30||19||19||30||58|
|24||3920||Mike Steele||Debs Steele||St Edmondsbury Sailing & Canoeing||37||24||22||14||37||60|
|25||BU3||Anthony Parke||Matt Green||Bournemouth Univeristy Sailing Club||28||28||17||16||28||61|
|26||3739||Lucy Boreham||Rachel Crebbin||Chichester Yacht Club||19||23||24||37||37||66|
|27||3550||David Sincock||Hayley Goacher||Restronguet Sailing Club||23||19||26||37||37||68|
|28||3009||Ben Nicoll||Hannah Jennings||West Oxfordshire Sailing Club||26||25||25||21||26||71|
|29||3072||Damian Boreham||Alice Gardner||Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club||21||16||37||37||37||74|
|30||3893||Anna Kennedy||James Kennedy||Keyhaven Yacht Club||24||24||28||37||37||76|
|31||1943||Stephen Fry||Charlotte Fry||Netley Sailing Club||32||31||30||22||32||83|
|32||1522||Ben Green||Fi Edwards||Lymington Town Sailing Club||31||26||27||37||37||84|
|33||3120||Jonathon Howe||Mark Jennings||West Oxfordshire Sailing Club||37||32||31||23||37||86|
|34||3005||Joe Llewellyn||Daniel Llewellyn||Spinnaker Club||18||37||37||37||37||92|
|35||3615||Jamie McEwen||Angus McEwen||Papercourt Sailing Club||22||37||37||37||37||96|
|36||1||Matthew Jones||Amy Parkes||University of Birmingham Sailing Club||37||33||29||37||37||99|