Firefly Weekend 2023
Published 19:34 on 7 Nov 2023
Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November saw our annual Firefly Weekend, two action packed days of close, tactical racing! Each day is a separate event, with prizes for the sailors who do best across both days as well.
The Saturday is the "Twisted Tube," a random pairs, bring your own boat team racing event. One of the things which makes this event so fun, and different to many others, is the random pairs element. Boats compete in teams of 2, but change teams for every race! 15 boats competed this year, ranging from the experienced teams of Ed Morris/Ellie Assinder and Ben Ainsworth/Maria Stanley to 4 boats of under-18 sailors, and three boats crewed by some of our 10 year old Optimist sailors!
In the run up to the Twisted Tube most of the sailors (and race management team) were expecting cut down sails to be needed as gusts in excess of 30 knots were forecast. However, this forecast largely didn't come true (apart from one memorable squall in the afternoon), and so the day was sailed on full rigs. As the day progresses sailors adjusted to the tactics of 2-boat team racing, and got used to each other's abilities. Equally as the umpires and experienced racers offered words of wisdom to those newer to team racing it was fantastic to see their sailing improve.
At the end of the day Ben Ainsworth and Maria Stanley had clearly taken victory with only a single race lost, followed by Jonathan and Alexa Pinner in second, and a great result for the under-18 team of Spinnaker sailors Max and Bede as they claimed 3rd overall and 1st under-18 boat!
On the Sunday we welcomed 12 visitors and home sailors to the Open Meeting. A day with 7 short fleet races planned, this format emphasising good quality starts, and keep the fleet bunched up allowing for lots of tactical racing.
Race Officer Neil Franklin set a two beat course using the whole lake for the winds of Force 3, gusting 4. The wind stayed reasonably constant all day, occasionally going into lighter patches, and offering plenty of scope for picking the shifts and pressure areas on the race track.
It was clear from the first horn that returning champion Jono Pank, crewed by Issy Bretherton sailing the famous Firefly 1954, had the pace. In the first two races Spinnaker's Ed Morris crewed by Lewis took second place, starting their very tidy scoreline of 2,3,4s. It was noticeable that the second beat offered place changing opportunity too with the Island wind effect another variable. Race 3 saw returning visitors Jason and Jo take the first of their second places and putting some pressure on the front runners Jono and Issy. Race 4 was the turn of visitors Harvey and Sophia who once settled after the first two races secured a neat scoreline.
After 4 races the lunch break was earned. Afternoon conditions were similar though more Autumnal and either bright sun or threatening cloud covered the course.
Jono and Issy continued their winning streak, with Jason/Jo, Ed/Lewis, Harvey /Sophia siling well for podium results. By Race 7 Jono and Issy started the pack-up, and Jason/Jo lead a good race for the final first of the day.
Congratulations to all the competitors for a great day of competitive and friendly racing. Jono and Issy claimed overall victory for the open meeting, closely followed by Jason and Jo in second place and Ed and Lewis in third.
For the overall weekend results the final positions from day 1 and 2 were added together. In total 6 boats competed on both days. Ed Morris and his crews of Ellie and Lewis claimed the overall prize for both days, with fellow Spinnaker members James and Bella claiming second, and the Spinnaker/Lymington Town team of Sam and Fi claiming third.
A big thank you to everyone who made the event happen. In particular on the days of racing thank you to David Bickerton who kindly volunteered as an umpire for the Twisted Tube, Robert Marshall for spending both days afloat on the Start Boat and Mark Laying. Also thank you for the behind the scenes work of our resident Firefly sailors of Tom Clay, Neil Marshall and James Oborne who organised the event, a particular mention to James for finalising the entry lists and Twisted Tube schedule while on paternity leave (and Emma for letting him do this).
Last updated 19:45 on 7 November 2023