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Nationals Day 6

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Ben and Jenny Vines crowned Firefly Champions

The last day of the Craftinsure Firefly National Championships saw racing cancelled in a squally force 7.  The day was set for an epic battle between two long-time Firefly teams but the weather forecast had always foretold a frustrating finish to the week.

At the close of play yesterday Ben and Jenny Vines sailing F2144 Featherlite and representing Imperial Poona YC were tied on points with Mel and Rob Sherrington, sailing F3617 Iris, a more modern Rondar boat. Although the Sherringtons, from Ringwood in Hampshire discarded a 10th place, 1 place better than the Vines (also from Hampshire) the racing rules stipulate that a tie is broken on ‘countback’ i.e. the result from the last race where both boats met. Yesterday saw an epic comeback for the Vines who had been trailing the Sherringtons marginally since they only managed a 9th place in the Gore Trophy on Wednesday.

Two convincing race wins on Thursday sealed the championships for Featherlite, although the result could not be confirmed until racing had been cancelled today. With a squally force 5-7, frequent showers dropping visibility to less than a mile and 4-5 foot seas, the team at Tenby Sailing Club had to reluctantly admit that safe and fair racing would be impossible. This would have been gutting news for the Sherringtons, who were unable to challenge the Vines one final time this year.

It is the first win for the Vines team who have been chasing the title for many years and sailing Fireflies since infancy. Both the top 2 helms team raced Fireflies at university and Rob and Mel have also sailed the boat in World Team racing championships. Newcomers John Greenland and Ruth Verrier Jones finished third after a steady string of results in a series that was more hotly contested than any recent champs. Race wins were seen all the way down to seventeenth in the overall standings and the Vines were the only boat to score a first place more than once.

More news and analysis will follow and the daily reports will be amalgamated into a summary. For a full range of photos, a full report and an interview with the winning team, Firefly Association members will be eagerly awaiting their next Bulletin Magazine.

Check the website for more news on the up and coming events, which kick off with an open at Chipstead on the 5th September. Many of the competitors here have already booked their slot at the 2011 Championships, in Felixtowe Ferry Sailing Club during the last week of July next year.

The prizegiving will be held at 1600 today where the team at Tenby Sailing Club will be rightly praised for an excellent week.