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Nationals Day 2

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The 64th Firefly National Championships are wide open after the second day of racing, after Ed Smith and Anna Boulton and Will and Sophie Shepherd won the second and third races.

A inconsistent force two greeted the Firefly fleet on Monday morning building to a steady force three by the afternoon.

Both races were trapezoid and sausage format, with the race officer Mark Dashfield making the brave decision to have a line start. With a strong left-to-right tide and a fluky breeze, three attempts had to abandoned because the 66 boats were pushed down towards the port end. “There was a massive bias on the line. It was impossible,” said one frustrated helm. In the end the PRO sensibly plumped for a gate start with husband and wife team Rob (32 today!) and Mel Sherrington acting as pathfinder.

The Sherringtons led to the first mark, with father and daughter team Dan and Ella Vincent close behind. The wind remained shifty and patchy throughout the first race, with the fleet split between left and right on both upwind and downwind legs.

There was no attempt at a line start for the second race, with Will and Sophie Shepherd in Mojo as pathfinder.  The brother and sister team held their winning position until the finishing line, although positions up to 10th shifted throughout. Pete Tait and Penny Hooper only lost one position when Pete thought he saw a dolphin and did a backflip off the side of the boat on the run. Others jostling for the top positions were Ben Lumby and Liz Evans, Damian Boreham and Izzy Atkin and husband and wife team Ben and Jenny Vines.

The fleet was preparing for dinner and dancing later this evening. Speculation is mounting in the dinghy park about how the fleet will manage on Wednesday for the epic Gore and Marlow Challenge trophies. Tradition dictates they require a line start for these historic races…

Video from today’s sailing