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September 2022

Firebird Championship at Flushing Sailing Club

by Peter Stephens 15 Jun 2017 10:50 BST 10-11 June 2017
Firebird Championship at Flushing Sailing Club © Peter Stephens

For almost the whole week prior to the scheduled two-day championship the wind blew trees down and scattered yachts to safe havens.

The Class and the race team met on the Thursday prior and decided that the weather forecast for the Saturday showed too much wind for the safety of catamarans but that on Sunday 4 races might be possible in the sheltered Falmouth Roads with the race officer exercising his right to require one reef in all competing boats.

After further consultations on Sunday morning racing began on schedule with 5 boats on the line. The first start was a confused affair with all boats bunched at the Pin end due to slightly faster approaches to the line in unexpected gusty winds of between 18 and 32knots. The fleet got away to a three-lap race. Ultra Violet left the fleet on the first lap being a clear 4 minutes ahead of the chasing bunch. A shipping movement then caused the race to be shortened to two laps. Ultra Violet first followed by Fiery and Firefly who had exchanged places on the second lap.

The second race started as soon as the ship cleared with a good spread on the line and Ultra Violet leading the fleet. Fiery broke a jib halyard and Cornish Meadow both retired from the race. Fiery was unable to repair the halyard.

Race three started in considerable wind in the high 20's knots with Mirri building a good lead to finish a good 2 minutes ahead of a close bunch.

The final scheduled race started in winds at the higher end of the days scale with Mirri again leading approaching the lee gate only to stop as the spinnaker fell in the oggin, so Ultra Violet gained the lead leaving the gate on starboard tack. Mirri recovered (no fish in the kite) and left on port. The committee boat crew advised Ultra Violet to tack to cover Mirri as they realised the championship depended on the last race result. Ultra Violet could not hear the advice so carried on. At the gate next time round Mirri was again in the lead, which was held to finish seconds ahead of Ultra Violet.

Calculation afterwards show that the fastest Firebirds averaged about 10.5 to 11 knots for the races which equates to between 13.5 and 14 knots after the zig zag course is allowed for.

Altogether testing racing in sometimes very strong winds exhausting the crews and restricting the consumption of amber fluid at the prize giving.

Overall Results:

1st Mirri, Mike Wigmore
2nd Ultra Violet, Peter Stephens
3rd Firefly, James Parker & Colin Gladwell
3th Cornish Meadow, Steve Hutt
4th Fiery, Rupert Kidd