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FSC Nationals – series win for the Vines

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Championship winner beaten by buddy in bum breeze bonanza

Racing on day 5 of the Carbonology Firefly champs was a nail-biting day for the 53 boat fleet. Starting under grey skies and light wind, the race officer opted for a gate start due to a moderate crosswind tide. Gate boat crewed by Ed and Lucy Smith made a valiant effort at punching through the chop as the wind slowly died and it looked for a while as if the Fireflys would have a decent stab at the ‘Stern Light’ trophy awarded for this race.

Halfway up the first beat the wind became patchy and died completely on the left hand side of the course, leaving some boats stranded to watch the rest of the fleet pull away. This contingent included some high-ranking sailors who had some catching up to do as the boats turned round the buoy to face the full stream of the tide. Boats who went high managed to keep enough forward speed to make way while those who went low – the classic catch-up manoeuver – were punished. Some of the championship leaders managed to escape from the pack though Featherlite (Vines) were unable to catch their ‘buddies’ Sophie Shepherd and Sarah Lombard who finished in fourth place overall, behind Scruffy, Grendel (the pathfinder) and race winner The Fursty Ferret, all of whom went right up the first beat. The first 5 boats managed to get around the gybe marks of the trapezoid course and were on the down-tide second reach when the wind died completely, leaving the rest of the fleet with nothing to do but point straight into the tide to try and hold position.

In the event less than half of the fleet managed to finish within the 30 minute time limit which starts ticking when the first boat finishes.

Race Seven, for the Avon Bailer, was another opportunity for the competitors to follow the class tradition of racing for highly polished yet obselete fittings. Again things were looking promising as Barney Smith and Alannah Witherby opeed the gate for the fleet. Again however the wind died on the first reach, making what was now a run against the tide a fierce battle for velocity-made-good towards the gybe mark. This time it was Featherlite who made a break for it, leaving The Fursty Ferret  finishing in second place and moving up to second overall in the championship standings.

Going into the last day, Featherlite holds a score of 22 points including their discarded 12th place, so the best result  Hudson and Bowden can hope to achieve would leave Ben and Jenny Vines on eaqual points and winning on a higher number of race wins. Having high personal standards though, the husband and wife team team almost certainly want to bag a decent result on the last day and celebrate their win in style

Race 6

Race 7