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The Rules of the National Firefly Association (NFA) which all Firefly class owners and sailors abide by.

The Rules of the National Firefly Association (2014 Update)

  1. Definition and Title

Owners and sailors of the National Firefly class sailing dinghies (Fireflies) and others who wish to be associated with each other because of their common interest in the Firefly dinghy and who pay an annual subscription shall collectively be known as the Association, the full title of which shall be the National Firefly Association.

  1. Objects

The objects of the Association are to manage the affairs of the Firefly-class and to promote, further and represent the interests of the class as follows:

a) to maintain the one-design character of the Firefly,

b) to keep costs of the Firefly as low as possible, to keep all variations and nonessential fittings to a minimum and to standardise to factory production whenever possible, but at the same time to consider modifications to the boat and to look after and represent the interests of all boat owners,

c) to arrange for the licensing of builders and manufacturers for the class, and to negotiate modifications with them,

d) to submit for approval the decisions of the class concerning alterations to the class rules to the Royal Yachting Association (RYA),

a) to generally promote and foster interest in the class and in particular to organise the administration of sailing and social events,

f) to inform members of all events, developments concerning the class and rule changes,

g) to maintain the measurement rules of the class.

h) to represent the class on both class and national sailing matters through the RYA.

g) to maintain a general administration in order to perform the above functions.

  1. Membership

a) Persons who wish to join the Association may apply for membership of which there are three classes as follows:

Option 1

  • Full member, boat owner, sailor or associate of the class. 1 AGM vote per membership.

Option 2

  • Family membership
  • Membership x 1.5 although this value can be altered by NFA committee decision.
  • Definition of a family:

The basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children and also any of various social units of differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family.

a. Married couple
b. Single parent
c. Co­habiting couple (any gender mix)

Definition of children:
Direct, adopted and stepchildren
Age of children: 17 & under or those who are still in Full Time Education

Family Membership = Parents (any of the above definitions) + children (not limited in number, but has to be as defined by the above definition of children) + one or more Firefly dinghies sailed (helmed or crewed) by the family.

A family may own and register up to a maximum of three Fireflies and have one vote per boat owned & registered.

Each family will receive one copy of the Firefly Bulletin.

Option 3

  • Schools / Universities / Sailing Clubs and Universities category.
  • 2x membership fee per institution (unlimited number of boats)
  • The School or University can register any number of Firefly boats, but the institution must own them. (If there is any doubt about the ownership and registration of a boat, this will have to be verified by the production of a valid RYA Registration Certificate).
  • The maximum number of votes allocated to a single UK School or University will be as follows:
    i) 1 to 2 boats owned & registered – one vote per boat.
    ii) 3 or more boats owned – maximum of three votes.
  • Each School or University will receive one copy of the Firefly Bulletin.
  • If an individual borrows a registered School & University boat for the National Championships, they will be deemed to be Honorary Members of the NFA for the week of the Championships

Additional Notes

i) Any member who paid a life subscription prior to January 1972 shall continue to be a full member for life.
ii) Any previous ‘associate’ member, paying by direct debit prior to The AGM 2013 will continue to receive a discounted subscription rate.
iii) At least one sailor in a boat must be a National Firefly Association member to compete in the National Championships and other events convened by the class.
iv) All members shall be bound by the rules of the National Firefly Association
v) Boat owners must register their boat details with the class

  1. Subscriptions

a) Membership fees are as per advertised. A change in the monetary value is a committee decision

b) Subscriptions payable for all classes of membership shall be due and payable annually on the 1st of January of the following year.

b) Members who have not paid their subscriptions by 31st January will be deemed to have resigned.

Current Subscription rates for 2014
£20 membership fee (£18 discount rate for those paying prior to January 31st by direct debit)
£30 family membership
£40 School/University/Sailing Club category.

  1. Management

a) The affairs of the Association shall be managed by a Committee that shall consist of members elected at the Annual General Meeting to hold office until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting. The Committee shall include a Chairman, Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer, Hon. Membership Secretary, Hon. Technical Secretary, Hon. Sailing Secretary and if required Publicity Secretary, RYA Representative and representatives from such areas and sources (e.g. Universities) as the Committee or members in General Meeting determine in order to provide all owners with representation in the management of the Association as far as is possible..

b) The Committee shall have the power to appoint additional technical advisers and to coopt additional members to the Committee or to sub~ Committee. Such appointments shall only extend to the following Annual General Meeting but may be renewed.

c) Six elected members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum.

d) Voting at Committee meetings shall be on a show of hands and in the event of an equality of votes the Chairman of the meeting may exercise an additional vote. Coopted members and technical advisers shall have no votes at Committee meetings.

e) All payments from association funds shall be approved by the Chairman and at least 2 other committee members.

  1. Meetings of the Association and Voting Procedures

a) The Association shall hold an Annual General Meeting of members every calendar year. The place, date and time are left to the discretion of the Committee. The business to be transacted at the Annual General Meeting shall be:

b) To consider the reports of the Committee on their activities since the last meeting, ii) to consider the Accounts of the Association, iii) to consider proposed rule changes, v) to elect a Committee for the management of the Association, vi) to elect an Honorary Auditor vii) any other business

c) The NFA recommends that:

The Annual General Meeting of the firefly class shall be held at 1900 on the Monday of the National Championships unless the membership is notified with at least 6 weeks' notice by mailshot.

All motions for the AGM shall be proposed to the committee at least 30 days prior to the meeting.

A notice detailing the motions to be put to the meeting shall be circulated to members with at least 14 days' notice prior to the AGM.
The NFA suggests that any topics for discussion, ie subjects that need debating to discard or form a formal motion for the following year, are also detailed. This does not prevent a member from raising any topic under any other business.

d) Any other General Meeting of the members shall be called an Extraordinary General Meeting and may be called either by the Committee or by a request in writing by not less than twenty voting members.

e) Any motion put to a General Meeting of the Association shall be proposed and seconded by class members. (Note full members have one vote, family membership carries 2 and school/club/university membership carries 2). Motions not included in the notice of the meeting shall not be valid.

f) At General Meetings of the Association the presence of twenty full or corporate members shall constitute a quorum.

g) Decisions at General Meetings of the Association shall be carried by a majority vote on a show of hands. Evidence of membership shall be confirmed by the class committee in the manner they see fit. The Chairman at any meeting shall have an additional or casting vote.

h) Any alteration to the Firefly-class measurement rules approved by the Association shall be made as a recommendation to the RYA for consideration and approval unless approval in principle has been given in advance. The Association shall be represented when affairs of the class are under discussion by the RYA.

i) The RYA or the Committee may institute a postal ballot of all members of the Association if desired to determine the views of members on any issues affecting the class or the Association.

  1. Accounts

a) Accounts giving a true and fair view of the affairs of the Association shall be presented to the members at every Annual General Meeting, and be reported on by an Honorary Auditor who shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting.

b) Such accounts shall be made up annually each year.

c) The accounts shall be prepared from the books of account of the Association that will record:
i) all assets and liabilities of the Association
ii) all receipts and payments of the Association
iii) all purchases and sales by the Association.

  1. Trophy Details

This details the provenance of our main trophies, the awarding rules and previous winners.

Trophies awarded at The National Championships:

A. Sir Richard Fairey Points Cup

Presented in 1947 by the chairman of Fairey Marine Ltd.

For the winner of the points series during Firefly week. Since the late 1950's the winner is also the National Champion, previously the Champion was the winner of the Gore.

B. Colin Whittle Trophy
Presented in 2012 at Felixstowe by a close friend to commemorate Colin Whittle. For the crew of the boat winning the Sir Richard Fairey Points series.

C. Sir Ralph Gore Challenge Cup

Presented in 1947 by Sir Ralph Gore when president of the YRA (predecessor of the RYA).

From 1947 to about 1958 the Gore was held on the final day of Firefly week and the winner was also the National Champion. The Cup was originally presented in 1936 by Sir William P. Burton and had been won by Sir Ralph Gore.

The race is currently sailed on the Wednesday morning of Firefly week by the top half of the fleet based on the preceding points races. It is sailed from a line start over a triangular course with legs in excess of 3/4 mile and a total length of 10 12 miles.

Gore Cup conditions are as follows:

a. This trophy is to be raced for by boats of the R.Y.A. Firefly one-design class on open water.

b. In view of the small size of the boats, the water in which the race is held should be reasonably sheltered.

c. Length of course 1012 sea miles.

d. Start to windward.

e. The length of each leg of course should not be less than 3/4 mile, with the exception of the first leg which may be extended. The course shall be a triangle.

f. Time limit 4.5 hours for the first boat home.

g. In the event of the Club deciding that the number of starters is too great for the starting line, the race may be sailed in heats with a final, every effort should be made to avoid this.

h. In view of the possibility of very light or very bad weather, which may necessitate the postponement of the race, it can be sailed on the Thursday or Friday of the event and the programme should allow for this. This race shall take precedence over other points races.

i. Subject to a sufficient number of entries trophies should be given to at least the first three boats home.

j. The trophy is a permanent challenge trophy. It shall be held for one year by the winning team. And shall be brought by the winner or appropriate representative to the National Championships on registration day the following year.

N.F.A. Guide for fleet selection

The Gore fleet shall be chosen as follows:

i) Chose any entered boat that came in the top twelve in the preceding year's Gore Race.
ii) Then in all points races in the days preceding the Gore Choose:
Boats who came 1st, 2nd 3rd 4th etc until a fleet numbering half the number of entrants for that year's championship is reached.
iii). Anyone who has ever been a Gore winner and not an entrant to the current championship is entitled to enter that race. Racing costs may be charged as appropriate.

D. Marlow Trophy

Presented in 1960 by Marlow Ropes who also give a mainsheet to each year's winner.

For the winner of a race by those boats not qualifying for the Gore and held simultaneous to the Gore Challenge Race.

Marlow Trophy conditions are as follows:

i) The boat must be entered for National Firefly Week.
ii) The boat must not be eligible to sail in the Gore Cup.

Individual Race Awards
NFA advisory note, each race is given a number which is like a title and therefore the trophy stays allocated to that race in whatever order the races are held in. For example, if Points Race 2 is abandoned and resailed on the Thursday it remains Points Race 2 with its allocated trophy.

E. Port of Plymouth Trophy

Presented in 1959 by the Plymouth local authority on the occasion of Firefly Week being held in Plymouth. For the winner of points race No. 1.
F. Sussex Silver Firefly

Presented in 1965 by Arun Y.C. and previously their open meeting trophy. For the winner of points race No. 2.

G. Felixstowe Ferry Trophy

Presented in 1966 by Felixstowe Ferry S.C. on the occasion of Firefly Week being held at the Ferry. For the winner of points race No. 3.
H. R.A.F.S.A. Trophy

Presented in 1967 by the R.A.F.S.A. The R.A.F. has owned over 100 Fireflies and kept an active interest in the class for its entire history.

For the winner of points race No. 4.

I. Mike Nye Memorial Trophy

Presented in 1964 by Medway Y.C. in memory of Mike Nye who had served on the N.F.A. committee until his death in 1964.

For the winner of the last points race in Firefly week.

Other Trophies

J. Rothmans Trophy

Presented in 1971 by Rothmans who sponsored that year's championship held in Ireland.

For the best helmsman in Firefly week counting all races sailed with no discards. That includes the practice race and any other non-points race.

K. Veterans Trophy

Presented in 1954 by W. P. Bush.

For the best-placed helmsman in the Sir Ralph Gore Trophy who was over 50 years of age on the preceding January 1st.

L. Geriatric Trophy

Presented in 1961.

For the best-placed helmsman in the Sir Richard Fairey Points Cup aged over 50 years on the preceding January 1st.

M. The Ultimate Trophy

Presented by Phil and Jill Slater on the occasion of the 1987 National Championships held at Felpham. This trophy is to be competed for by the five most senior crews entered in the Firefly National Week. The Seniority of the crews will be judged by adding up the ages of the helm and crew.
If however, the combined ages of more than five crews exceed one hundred then all shall qualify for the trophy competition.

The trophy will be awarded to the qualifying crew who are best placed in the Sir Richards Fairey Points Series.

N. Deben Ladies Trophy

Presented in 1972 by Felixstowe Ferry S.C. and replaced in 2014 by the NFA due to wear.

For the helmswoman "fastest Lady" with the best position in the Sir Richard Fairey Points Cup series.

M. Restronguet Ovaloid Trophy

Presented in 1969 by Restronguet S.C.

For the helmsman under 18 on the preceding January 1st who has the best position in the Sir Richard Fairey Points Cup series.

O. The Chris Lynham Trophy

Presented by his family as a previous firefly sailor involved in a serious motorcycle accident. It replaced the missing Insurance Trophy presented in 1975 by Bryant and Shaw Insurance.

For the helmsman under 21 who has the best position in the Sir Richard Fairey Points Cut series. Cannot be won by the winner of the Ovaloid Trophy.

P. Tolly Cobbold Cup

Presented 1982 by Tolly Cobbold plc the sponsors of the 1982 National Championships at Felixstowe Ferry.

For the Club who have the lowest aggregate points in the Sir Richard Fairey points results for their four best-placed helms.

Definition of club: Affiliated with RYA or equivalent if non-UK club.

Other Event Awards

Q. Chichester Smith SingleHanded Challenge Trophy

Presented in 1949 by Colin Chichester Smith D.S.C.

For the winner of the singlehanded championship. Conditions are as follows:
Previously this race was a copy of The Sir Ralph Gore Challenge Cup but with only one crew to replicate the previously singlehanded Firefly.

The venue and timing of this race is decided by the committee and shall be a fair, single-handed race in suitable conditions. It currently is held as part of the South Western Championships

R. Uffa Fox Memorial Trophies

Presented in 1973 by the N.F.A.

For the under-18 winner of the Junior Championships. (under 18 on January 1st of the year of sailing). (Currently sailed as part of the Inland Championships.)

Under 16 Trophy

Presented in 1973 by the N.F.A.

For the under-16 winner of the Junior Championships. (under 16 on January lst of the year of sailing).

S. Royal Corinthian Yacht Club Trophy (Silver Firefly)

The Inland Championship was initiated by the N.F.A. in 1978 in recognition of the fact that most Fireflies were now sailed inland where different skills were needed to win than on the sea in the National Championships. This trophy is now used for the winner.

The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club was at that time holding a Silver Firefly Trophy which was no longer being sailed for. They loaned it to the N.F.A. as a perpetual trophy for the Inland Championships with the following conditions:

a) It shall be called the R.C.Y.C. Trophy.
b) If it is not awarded for four consecutive years it shall revert to the R.C.Y.C
c) It may be sailed for as a special event or as part of a major open meeting.

T. Vines Trophy (Updated with Vines family permission in 2012)
Presented in 1965 by the Vines family

For the boat with the best performance on the Open meeting circuit. Vines Trophy conditions are as follows:
Rules For The Vines Trophy

a. The trophy shall be called the Vines Trophy.

b. It shall be held by the winner for a year.

c. It shall be awarded to the Helmsman scoring the least number of points in the four or five open meetings selected from the open meeting circuit by the committee of the National Firefly Association.

Such meetings shall be referred to as having Vines Trophy status.

The National Championship will not be nominated to have Vines Trophy status. Clubs may apply to the committee to be considered for Vines Trophy Status.

d. Vines Trophy Status will be granted by the National Firefly Association with the aim to spread across the calendar year, support current sailors and clubs and promote the class. A nominated club can opt out of the arrangement if they so desire (not within 8 weeks of the proposed date of the event)

e. In order to qualify for the trophy a boat/helmsman must sail in two meetings.

f. Clubs running Vines Trophy Events shall notify the final results to the Sailing Secretary of the National Firefly Class within 2 weeks of the event except the last event of the year where the results must be available on the last day of sailing to enable prize presentation.

g. Open meeting with Vines Trophy status.

i) will be expected to conform to RYA rules and recommendations wherever practical, and failure to do so will jeopardise the status of their open meeting for the following years.

ii) The event races shall have a fair start and course.

iii) Entry shall be restricted to members of the Firefly Association as defined in the rules of the Firefly Association. (At least one sailor in each boat shall adhere to this rule)

iv) Boats used must have a certificate valid at the time of each race.
h. Points will be awarded to Helmsmen/Boat in each designated event on final results as follows: 1 st … 1 2nd … 2 3rd … 3 4th … 4 … etc.
For an event not sailed the points shall be n +1, where n is the entry number of the Vines event with the largest number of boats sailing.

i. In the case of a tie, it shall be broken by the event with the largest entry.

j. In nonracing matters the decision of the National Firefly Association committee is final. In racing and race administration appeal to the R.Y.A. must be permitted.

k. Vine Trophy events postponed on the day of the event to a later date will only retain their status if they do not clash with another Vines Trophy meeting.

U. M25 Trophy

Initially presented in the autumn of 1987 by Guy English and Peter Lanham for competition by members of the National Firefly Association based on Open Events held at Clubs within reach of the M25 Motorway. Initially included opens at Tamesis, Laleham, Upper Thames, Rickmansworth, Chipstead and Wembley Sailing Clubs with the Trophies to be presented after the final event of the season, or as is convenient.

Since 2012 it has been awarded as per Vines Trophy rules for all other open meetings with 5 or more entrants whose results are submitted to the sailing secretary of the association by the Inland Championships when it shall be presented.

  1. History of the Firefly and the Association's Role

The History of the 12ft National Firefly

The chief attractions of the Firefly are that it is a true one-design, one of the strictest in the world, and is a thoroughbred racing dinghy giving a first-class sailing performance. It is significant that many of the country's top helmsmen have sailed (and still sail) Fireflies and helmsmen who leave the class almost always do well in other classes.

During 1938 sailors connected to Oxford and Cambridge Universities asked Uffa Fox to design a dinghy similar to the National 12, but one design and more suitable for team racing. Uffa completed this design in 1939 and called it the Sea Swallow. Then came the war and nothing happened. During this time Colin Chichester­Smith, who was a director of the Fairey Aviation Company, often thought about a production dinghy based on the principles used for the manufacture of wooden Mosquito aircraft fuselages, which were formed on a mould and cured by electrically heated bands holding the laminate in position.

Early in 1946 Uffa Fox was asked by Chichester­Smith, in conjunction with Stewart Morris, to design a one­design twelve-foot dinghy. About this time Charles Curry joined Fairey to develop the marine section at Hamble. It was easy for Uffa to design such a dinghy; he just scratched out the name 'Sea Swallow' and replaced it with 'Firefly', so named after the famous Fairy aircraft.

1946 - F1 takes to the water for the very first time.

The initial boats were 1/16" birch plywood and, through aircraft connections, Tony Reynolds was asked to produce a metal mast with spruce for a wooden top.

The initial cost of a boat was just £65, and the first four were bought by Sir Geoffrey Loules, Commodore of Itchenor Sailing Club, and Christened Fe, Fi, Fo and Fum.

There were a few tweaks after the initial batch of boats were produced, which lead to the boat being selected for the single-handed class at the 1948 Olympics to be held at Torbay. After a very windy week, the boat proved a handful for just one and was replaced in 1952 by the heavier, more expensive Finn class.

However, the class grew rapidly as a two-person class, winning favour with schools, universities, the forces and many team racers. None of the early development and success would have been possible without the backing of Sir Richard Fairey, Chairman of the Fairey Aviation Company, who had a lifelong interest in sailing and was a distinguished helmsman. The points cup for the overall National Champion bears his name.

The Y.R.A. as it was then, gave its full support to the class, and Sir Ralph Gore, chairman at the time, presented the trophy for the Individual Championship Race.

The Sixties

In 1959 Terylene sails were introduced, as cotton sails were virtually out of production. These gave the boat a slight increase in speed but were more durable and required less attention to avoid deterioration in performance.

An interesting quirk of the early days was the production of around 100 boats with aluminium decks. This was caused by the unavailability of 6mm marine-grade ply!! By 1965 the Firefly looked dated compared to the new classes that were springing up. Consequently, the need was felt for a revised deck layout, named the MkII. The side decks were reduced to 4" and the foredeck camber was increased, removing the need for a spray deflector. Performance was unchanged. Another important change introduced in 1967 was the introduction of a light alloy centre plate to replace the galvanised iron plate. This did affect speed, making the boat slightly faster downwind, but also much easier to handle out of the water.

A further important change was made in 1968, the introduction of G.R.P. construction. Although wooden Fireflies only required minimal maintenance, it was felt any further reduction would benefit the institutions.

The Fireflies were responsible for one or two other historic innovations. The gate start invented by Bee McKinnon, a master at Eton College, was first used during the Firefly Championship Week at Torquay in 1955. This was highly operation, and is used today throughout the world.

The Seventies & Eighties

To further improve the one design characteristics, and reduce costs, the class moved to sails made from Ratsey and Lapthorne's Vectis sailcloth. These changes were made in 1970, and at the same time, the Reynolds mast was replaced by a one-piece rotating mast from Proctors.

Following negotiations at the end of 1972, Vic Lewis Boats were appointed as sole builder from January 1st 1973, thus ending the Firefly's long association with Fairey Marine. Vic Lewis worked with Craft Mouldings and the class to produce a new G.R.P. mould. A boat available with either G.R.P or wooden decks was introduced in 1976.

In 1975 with inflation rampant, the cost of producing a rotating mast specifically for the Firefly became prohibitive. It was decided to adopt a fixed mast of standard design that could be purchased anywhere in the country.

In 1976 Knight and Pink Marine started producing wooden boats again, the first since Fairy stopped production in 1973. The new boats were cold moulded, and the side decks changed in design, but not width, to be named the MkIII.

In 1982 three changes were made. Dissatisfied with the consistency of Ratsey's sails, and the quality of the boats produced by Craft Mouldings. Hyde Sails were appointed as sailmakers, and the class association bought the Firefly moulds from Craft Mouldings. This proved to be essential in the longevity of the class. They were given on loan to Omega Boats to produce a foam sandwich GRP boat. Finally, in 1982, a deep rudder was allowed in place of the swept-back design, to give more stability downwind in waves.

Modern Times

Porter took over production of the G.R.P. boat up until 1995. It was decided that the boat needed an overhaul. The cost for Porters to do this would have driven the boat away from its low-cost principle, so it was decided to work with another builder.

After development with Hyde sails windows were allowed in sails for the first time in 1997, increasing visibility and hence safety whilst sailing upwind.

At the Firefly's 50th anniversary National Championship, the first plug from Rondar Raceboats was seen. In 1997 they took over production of the boats. As with all good one-designs, subtle evolutionary changes are made to keep the boats relevant, and this was no exception. Buoyancy was increased and the mast height was increased very slightly in 1997.

This negated two of the Firefly's bad points in one go, allowing novice sailors to sail without worry of sinking, and larger crews to sail the boats comfortably. A slightly more contentious issue was to replace the slot in the boat's alloy centre plate, with a hole. This was to prevent the plate from falling out of the bottom of the boat when upside down. This was passed by the class association in 1998.

Since these changes the Firefly has seen a great revival, becoming the boat of choice for team racers across the land. Roll on the next fifty years!! In particular our 70th anniversary in 2016.