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Firefly 'Ricky' Open at Rickmansworth Sailing Club

by Jono Pank 20 May 10:58 BST 18 May 2024

The third event of the Firefly season took place at on Saturday 18th May at Rickmansworth SC in Hertfordshire.

Twenty teams arrived for this years 'Ricky' Open, which has been running for over 60 years, to complete for the Troy Trophy, first awarded in 1961.

Following the complementary tea and bacon rolls, the 40 competitors were briefed by the PRO on the 5 leg, "figure of 8ish" course, covering all corners of the lake.

"Tricky Ricky" has always provided a challenge, and all four races were frantic affairs, the light north easterly rarely remaining steady, keeping the fleet constantly on their toes.

The first race, started on time at 11, under an immediate black flag. A hotly contested and clean start saw ILCA Youth National Champion Thommie Grit & Oli Jagger cross most of the fleet from the pin end to take the early advantage.

Class Secretary, Jason Aldous & Jo Mason, charged in from the right to grab the lead at the first mark followed by a tight bunch of protagonists jostling down the run.

At the end of the action packed first lap, Jason & Jo held a significant advantage followed by a scrappy bunch containing class legend & previous national champion Guy Davison & Issy Bretherton, current national champion Will Pank & Chloe Harding, last years Ricky winners Jenny Smallwood & Phil Aldhous and previous national champions Jono Pank & Emily Saunderson.

At the end of the 4 laps, Jason & Jo held their comfortable lead to take race 1 followed by Jono & Emily in 2nd and Will & Chloe 3rd. Jenny & Phil edged Guy & Issy for 4th & 5th respectively.

Race two started under black flag again, with a bunch of boats parked up at the boat end, a few bows appeared to be "well forward"...

Guy & Issy port tacked the fleet from the pin to lead the fleet at the windward and headed off down the first run. Alex Baxter & Zoe Thomas and Jono & Emily chased, but were both informed of early (OCS) starts as they passed the committee boat & headed ashore for an early lunch.

This left Dom & Sophia Johnson and Will & Chloe chasing. Dom & Sophia pulled ahead to lead at the end of the first lap, before being overhauled by Will & Chloe on the second round. Will & Chloe held on to win race 2. Dom & Issy chased hard but had to settle for 2nd.

Behind the front two, the battle for the final podium place raged, only being settled on the final beat to the line. Guy Davison edged ahead to grab 3rd. Race 1 winners JASON & Jo staged the comeback of the day, finding themselves on the wrong end of a Ricky snake at the start to round the first mark in last. They sniggled through the fleet, tagging onto the back of the podium group at the bottom of the final run, then aceing the last beat to snatch 4th in a photo finish from Jenny & Phil in 5th.

The fleet retired to the club for an awesome lunchtime spread prepared by the days volunteers. At the halfway stage, Will & Chloe and Jason & Jo both held 1 & 4's with Guy & Issy holding a brace of 3rds.

Post refreshments, sun cream was reapplied & the fleet headed out for the afternoons two race showdown. (Alex Baxter & Zoe Thomas being noted for taking their return to the track a little too leisurely...)

Race 3 got away cleanly with Thommie & Oli, Dom & Sophia & Jono & Emily leading the pack.

Dom & Sophia took the lead on the second beat to mark 4, with Jono & Emily in pursuit. Jono & Emily snuck past on the second lap & held on to the win. Dom & Sophia picked up their second 2nd of the day. Jamie Webb & Chloe finished third ahead of Thommie & Oli in 4th. Guy & Issy edged Jason & Jo for 5th.

Going into the final race, 5 teams were in contention for the event. The wind was easing and a few holes started appearing. Tricky Ricky was serving up its finest form for the finale.

The final start got away cleanly, the wind went, then returned and a lot of boats converged on the first mark together... Leading the fleet away downwind from the initial melee were Robbie King & Callum Farnden, Alex & Zoe and Jono & Emily with Jason & Jo and Will & Chloe in hot pursuit.

Approaching the bottom of the run, the wind faded for the leaders, then filled in from behind bringing most of the fleet into contention and 10ish boats overlapped, at a variety of angles and gybes...

Jenny & Phil rounded ahead, Jono & Emily managed to escape round the outside & the reshuffled fleet turned back upwind towards mark 4, set just off the club.

Robbie & Callum and Alex & Zoe stormed through to retake the front of the fleet and led down the light downhill leg with Jenny & Phil, Will & Chloe and Jono & Emily in close proximity.

Robbie & Callum still led at the bottom of the run from Alex & Zoe as the fleet embarked on lap two. By the top of the beat, Jono & Emily had squeezed through to take the lead with Alex & Zoe and Will & Chloe in pursuit downwind.

Will & Chloe breezed into the lead up the next beat back up to mark 4, then lost pressure on the run to be left becalmed, watching the fleet steam up behind in new pressure. The race officer then took pity on the fleet being tortured by the Ricky breeze and shortened the race to two laps.

At the finish, Jono & Emily took the win to take the event overall. Will & Chloe held onto to 2nd to take second overall. Dom & Sophia romped up to 3rd, having been 12th on the first round, to grab the final spot on the podium in 3rd overall.

Alex & Zoe finished 4th from Jamie & Chloe, whose 5th would see them tied on points with Jason & Jo, but losing out on count-back to finish 5th overall.

Back onshore for an awesome spread of home-made cake laid on by the club... and a fair bit of chat about mark 3!

A brilliant day's sailing, laid on by the brilliant team at Rickmansworth.

Caroline Webb, presented the prizes and thanked all the team for the awesome day's proceedings.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
11954Jono PankEmily SImperial Poona YC2BFD114
24379William PankChloe HardingUEA Sailing Club41827
33154Dom JohnsonSophia JohnsonWest Kirby SC62237
42065Jason AldousJosephine MasonPapercourt1461111
53318GuyIzzy BrethertonLlangorse SC3351011
6335Jamie WebbChloe MacaulayOCSS863514
73625Jenny SmallwoodPhilip AldhousWOSC5510616
84377Thomie GritOli JaggerUEA Sailing Club11104822
95Robbie KingCallum FarndenRoyal Thames YC1079723
102246Alex BaxterZoe ThomasOCSS9BFD12425
114234Izzy JohnsonOli Chambers 71315929
123739Lucy BorehamRachel CrebbinChichester Yatch Club12814DNS34
133616jonathan bickfordsian flemingupper thames149131234
144225Adam RathmellOlivia JacklinCindies SC151471435
15376/2777Ewan GribbinCharlotte McConnellPaignton SC1312111336
163353Richard WebbCaroline WebbRSC1611161542
17224Hugh TomkinsFreddie ScottOCSS1715171648
183340Ben DingwallDaisy DingwallRickmansworth SC181618DNF52
193534Chris MilnerEllen GuntonRickmansworth SC2018191754
203691Steve ForresterMel ForresterRickmansworth SC191720DNS56
21 Dom LewisLainey TerkelsenRTYCDNSDNSDNSDNS 

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