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Nationals Day 3

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Firefly Crews battle for RAFSA trophy

Ben and Jenny Vines are still leading the fleet on the fourth day of the Craftinsure Firefly National Championships in Tenby.


Today’s race was won convincingly by husband and wife team Rob and Mel Sherrington. They made a comeback on the second beat of the fourth race and moved up from fifth position to first, taking pole position from John Greenland and Ruth Verrier-Jones. Paul Kameen and Hannah Lennon were third overall. Only six points currently seperate the top three boats.


The beats were challenging again due to the off-shore northerly force three breeze. “It was difficult. The wind was shifty,” said Kameen. Finding the right path upwind was key. Greenland and Verrier-Jones were out the gate early and held a top three position at the top mark, whereas Roger Morris and Jo Bailey started much later and followed the right-hand side of the course into pole position. Downwind the tide turned the first reach into a goose-winged run and a puff of breeze from behind made the fleet bunch up on the gybe mark. The mark rounding sounded like a set of skittles going down and it was Mark Tait and Sally Wakefield who took the first set of penalty turns. Championship contender Jono Pank in the newly restored ‘Pogie’ was unfortunate to lose the plastic bobble on the main halyard while near the front of the fleet and despite his crew Lucy Smith’s attempts to swim the sail back up the mast they were forced to retire.


In the end Rob and Mel Sherrington took a gamble with the shifts on the second lap that paid off well and saw them take a lead that they kept until the gun. “They had a great second beat,” said Ruth Verrier-Jones in the dinghy park after racing.


In the all-important off the water antics, scholar James Greenhouse was wearing the Duckhams dress for a series of under/over-achievements. Not only did he give the wrong sail number to the race committee upon registration because he had checked the sail in somebody else’s boat, he then showed astonishing persistence in pursuit of a lost flip flop. After somehow launching it up a tree on his wobbly walk home from the club on Sunday night, he returned the next morning having bought an extendable rake to recover the flip flop. The cost of the rake was more than replacement shoes. Misguided perseverance was the verdict, and punishment metered out accordingly.


The fleet is now gearing up for the epic Gore Challenge cup which incorporates the Marlow Ropes silver-fleet trophy. Normally sailed on the Wednesday of the champs, the trophy rules dictate that the race must be at least twelve nautical miles long, with a time limit of four hours. To make it even more challenging, this year the crews-union social club meeting takes place the evening before, while the helms challenge themselves to a strong curry.


News of that and hopefully some more pictures tomorrow…

The overall results can be seen via the link on the homepage