This year’s Spinnaker Firefly Weekend started inauspiciously with the cancellation of Saturday’s Twisted Tube random pairs team racing. Racing was canned due to force six gusting nine winds battering the UK in aftermath of Hurricane Pablo and Storm Amélie. Fortunately, the breeze and torrential rain eased overnight. Sailors arrived on Sunday for the second day to sunshine and no wind – a total contrast to the day before! By 11am the breeze materialised, enabling PRO Peter May to set the fleet a series of short sharp Olympic course races. The shifty northerly made the beats tricky and put a premium on boat handling.
Race one saw the fleet pushing the line with three boats over. Two of the three, Rob and Mel Sherrington in F3617 ‘Iris’ and Ben Pym and Maria Stanley in F3713 ‘Barry Girl’, restarted. However, the third, Jono Pank and Lucy Smith in F1954 ‘Pogie’, didn’t realise they were OCS and carried on. realising their mistake Jono and Lucy retired after the first lap. No prizes for guessing what Jono’s going to be practising this winter! Local superstar Stuart Hudson and daughter Elizabeth in F2850 ‘Fursty Ferret’ led round the windward mark from Chris Guy and Henry Keegan in F3095 ‘Mensonge’. Tom Clay sailing singlehanded in F3784 ‘Spin’ had a brief moment of glory as he sailed into the lead on the first reach. However, this wasn’t to last and the Hudsons managed to take back the place on the final run to win the race. Tom hung on to second with Chris and Henry third.
In Race two, four boats arrived at the first mark simultaneously. The result of which was the Sherringtons coming out in the lead and the Hudsons doing a spin. Rob and Mel went on to take the win with Jono and Lucy second. Nigel and Camilla Wakefield in F3674 ‘Flo’ were third and the Hudsons fourth.
Races three and four saw the Hudsons winning from the Sherringtons with the remaining places closely contested. In Race three Ben and Maria came third with the Wakefields fourth. In Race four Jono and Lucy took third and Tom fourth.
Race Five saw a new winner with Jono and Lucy sailing away from Nigel, now sailing with daughter Pippa, in second and Ed Morris and Ellie Assinder in a borrowed boat in third. The Hudsons were back to their winning ways for race six. They glided in in front of Ben and Maria and the Wakefields for a fourth race win.
Their four race wins meant a convincing victory for Stuart and Elizabeth Hudson from Spinnaker Club in F2850 ‘Fursty Ferret’. No doubt Spinnaker will be the answer to the future pub quiz question “Where did champion sailor Elizabeth Hudson win her first open event aged eight?” Clubmates Rob and Mel Sherrington in F3617 ‘Iris’ were a similarly decisive second. Jono Pank and Lucy Smith from the Imperial Poona YC, Sailing F1954 ‘Pogie’ completed the podium in third.
Congratulations must also go to Spinnaker junior Henry Keegan sailing in his first Firefly event. Henry ditched his Oppie to crew for Chris Guy, even took the opportunity to helm in two of the races. We can’t wait to see him at more Firefly events soon.