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Ovington 2021 - ILCA 2 - LEADERBOARD

First six Ovington Fireflies delivered

by Fi Edwards 11 Nov 2023 23:29 GMT

The six boats, F4403-F4408, which have been delivered in time for the BUSA Fleet Championships this weekend (11-12 November), were welcomed by the delighted student sailing club who have fundraised for them alongside their studies for several years. Commodore Maisie Russell, an environmental science undergraduate, said "I'm really happy, really proud of myself and the club and still can't believe the moment has actually come".

Ovington Boats were appointed sole builder for the Firefly in March this year, becoming only the seventh builder in the nearly 80-year history of the class. The decision meant the world's first Single Manufacturer One Design joined some of its most famous descendants; the ILCA and the 49er at the world-renowned race boat builder. Builder approval was completed by the RYA in August and production was able to commence in September. The Dundee boats are the first to ship with a second batch due out next week and further deliveries expected before Christmas.

Fireflies are the backbone of British and Irish team racing - there's no more ideal boat for schools and universities to train and compete in. The construction of these "next generation" boats has been considerably updated to reflect this. The layup has been changed with the use of vacuum bagging, more modern materials and additional glass on the inner skin. The new boats also benefit from improved bulkheads which add rigidity rather than just separating buoyancy chambers and significantly strengthened gunwhales to resist impact damage while also being more comfortable to hike off.

The result is boats which are stronger and more durable for an increased useable lifespan, whilst also maintaining equal competitive performance with the existing fleet.

It's not just the build that's been given an upgrade by Ovington. Sailors have been quick to comment on how striking the classic design looks in the new modern light grey finish (dubbed "sexy grey" by the fleet) with it's complimentary black anodised aluminium steering gear, traveller bar and space frame. "They look like a Firefly should, the grey makes the most of the beautiful lines so they retain the feeling of traditional and contemporary at the same time, in line with what the Class has aimed to do since the very start" commented Al Vines who led the Technical Working Group responsible for managing the builder transition.

Despite the improvements, the price of a new boat has been kept competitive in line with the Firefly Class's affordable ethos. A basic spec boat ready to sail is priced at around £7,700 ex VAT - virtually the same price as the original Fairey Marine boats when adjusted for inflation!

For those wanting to try out an Ovington Firefly, F4400, the class-owned demo boat, is currently touring the country with its next stops the BUSA Fleet Championship at Helensburgh and the UEA Unicorn team racing event before returning to Spinnaker Club on the South Coast for the winter. The demo boat will also be on display at the RYA Dinghy Show in February.

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