Pank and Small claim Firefly win

Sailing: THE Royal Harwich Yacht Club hosted a major event for Firefly Dinghies last weekend. Competitors travelled from Budworth, Dabchicks (West Mersea), Llangorse, Rickmansworth, Royal Lymington, Spinnaker (Southampton) and Wembley clubs, as well as more local entries from Waldringfield.

THE Royal Harwich Yacht Club hosted a major event for Firefly Dinghies last weekend.

Competitors travelled from Budworth, Dabchicks (West Mersea), Llangorse, Rickmansworth, Royal Lymington, Spinnaker (Southampton) and Wembley clubs, as well as more local entries from Waldringfield.

Royal Harwich provided the oldest boat in the fleet and possibly the oldest Firefly still racing. Called "Hilary" and numbered F13, she was build for the Torquay Olympics in 1948 and was sailed by Nick and Cathy Dickinson.

Racing started on Saturday afternoon in a gusty and very unsteady north westerly. The course was set upriver towards Ipswich and then doubled back over the shallows against the strong flood spring tide. Jono Pank/Sarah Small in 'Pogie' from 'the Band' club lead after the first lap followed by Nigel Wakefield/Claire Upton-Brown (Spinnaker Club) in 'Florence' and Alex Davey/Elaine Goodman (Rickmansworth) in 'Mustard' and finished the race in that order.

The second race course was modified to allow for the breeze shifting more westerly and also in anticipation of a change in tidal direction following high water. 'Mustard' and 'Florence' got away first and in the early stages of the race three of the lady helms, Jane Stamp in 'Puree', Rosie Brown in 'Swift' and Belinda Kerridge in 'Ed Boat' were well to the front using their local knowledge as former members of Royal Harwich. However, they could not hold back Barney Smith/Jess Brown in 'Fourwood Thinking' who finished third behind 'Mustard' and 'Florence'.

Most of the fleet camped the night on the Royal Harwich lawn and enjoyed some excellent hospitality and some aggressive games of croquet. Breakfast was served in the club before racing recommenced on Sunday. Due to low water, the morning race was set in the main river channel, zigzagging up the river and running back against the flood. 'Pogie' and 'Florence' again dominated but this time 'Falken' sailed by Steve Greaves from Rickmansworth got a podium place.

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After an early lunch, two further races were sailed in a strengthening westerly breeze which provided some vicious gusts, several capsizes and some exhilarating planning.

In race four, "Pogie" again took the lead but this was wrested from her on the last lap by Ian Sanderson/Linda Eadie (Royal Lymington) in "Waynetta" closely followed by Tony Gunstone/Luck Buck (The band) in "Growler". In the final race the tables were turned by "Pogie" leading home "Waynetta" and "Growler", although the latter subsequently retired over a rule infringement on the starting line.

Final Overall Results:

1. Pogie Jono Pank/Sarah Small The Band SC

2. Florence Nigel Wakefield/Claire Upton Brown Spinnaker Club

3. Mustard Alex Davey/Elaine Goodman Rickmansworth SC

4. Waynetta Ian Sanderson/Linda Eadie Royal Lymington YC

5. Fourwood Thinking Barney Smith/Jess Brown Rickmansworth SC

First Lady Helm

L'Enfant Susan Winter/Jane Collyer Rickmansworth SC

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