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Ocean Safety 2023 - New Identity - LEADERBOARD

Firefly Itchenor Burgee

by Nigel Wakefield 8 Jul 14:06 BST 6-7 July 2024
Itchenor Burgee prize winners © UKFA

Saturday's forecast was "fresh to frightening". The sensible members of the fleet stayed at home while the rest of us rigged up. There was 1 hour postponement before wetsuits were donned, the expression on faces was an even split between bravado and fear.

Despite a brief respite, the wind speed was up again and now averaging 25 knots; the race officer Roddy Bridge rightly cancelled sailing for the day. The fleet retired to the bar and the small matter of the Euro quarter final vs Switzerland.

Sunday's wind was supposed to be under 20 knots. As the fleet turned the corner into Chichester Harbour, it was very fresh and moderately frightening. It was definitely more autumnal than one would expect for July.

For the first race Alex Davey and Amy Bowden slyly identified that with tide on the bow it was possible to hold station indefinitely. At two minutes to go they put their bow 1m down from the committee boat and stayed exactly there. The rest of the fleet were totally wrong footed, Tom Davey and Cam Bowden sharing their parents' guile lined up as the next boat down, followed by Nigel Wakefield and Freddie Pank as the third boat down. The rest of the fleet opted for the second rank. Alex/Amy converted their perfect start and good upwind speed into a lead that was never challenged. Nigel/Freddie lost a few lengths avoiding a i14 in full downwind flight but got second. Dom and Sophia Johnson sailed through to third.

The line was re-set to have a port bias for the second race but it was still definitely a "go right" beat. Dom/Sophia pulled off an audacious planing port flyer, this author has destroyed all the photos to minimise the fleet's well-deserved humiliation. Dom/Sophia were never crossed. Nigel/Freddie were second and Barny Smith and Alannah Hebbert third.

The tide turned for the third race and was now under the boats on the start line. This caused a general recall, made the sea state rougher and added an extra couple of knots to the effective windspeed. This race was the closest and windiest. Five boats succumbed at the first gybe mark. At the second windward mark three boats arrived near simultaneously. Dom/Sophia hit the top mark and performed a very good 360 given the conditions. Stuart/Lizzie tried to nip around the inside but nose dived. Alex/Amy avoided crashing into their transoms and set off down the run, followed later by Nigel/Freddie. Nigel/Freddie sneaked inside at the bottom mark followed by Alex/Amy, which was the order at the finish. Dom/Sophia, Sebi Schmidt/Rachel Cross and Jenny Smallwood/Phil Aldous were the only other finishers.

After the end of the race Dom Johnson sailed around telling everyone including the race office that it was too windy to continue, so we all duly sailed in.

The results were incredibly tight, Alex/Amy had a first and second. Dom/Sophia had first and third. Nigel/Freddie had a first and second but had crucially won the last race. Freddie Pank retains his "I've won all the Firefly events I've ever done" flex. Thanks to Itchenor SC for hosting the fantastic weekend and we look forward to next year.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1stTip Top Too3007Nigel WakefieldFreddie PankNetley / Lymington Town SC‑2213
2ndMustard2649Alex DaveyAmy BowdenRoyal Harwich YC1‑1023
3rdGemini3154Dom JohnsonSophia JohnsonDowns SC‑3134
4thFursty Ferret3850Stuart HudsonLizzie HudsonRLYC44(RET)8
5thFourwood Thinking3023Barny SmithAlannah WitherbyHamble River SC63(RET)9
6thDignity2925Sebi SchmidtRachel CrossBowmoor SC‑109413
7th 2282Jenny SmallwoodPhilip AldhousWest Oxfordshire SC‑98513
8thMutsy3690Tom DaveyCam BowdenRoyal Harwich YC / RHS85(DNC)13
9thBonkers2065Jason AldousJosephine MasonRoyal Harwich YC76(RET)13
10th 3318Guy DavidsonSally WakefieldLlangorse SC5(RET)DNC17
11thWillow3739Rachel CrebbinTozeDell Quay SC117(RET)18

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