The eigtht boats competing in the Autumn Trophy Firefly open meeting on 7 October enjoyed exhilarating racing in a southerly wind gusting to Force 6
An alarming weather forecast may have deterred some visitors, but the eight boats that took to the water for the Autumn Trophy Firefly open meeting on 7 October enjoyed exhilarating racing in a southerly wind gusting to Force 6. This was largely due to an inspired decision by race officers Geoff O’Neill and David Little to compress the event into three shortish races held back-back-back, making the most of the weather window between the morning downpours and the afternoon storms.
The first race was the closest of the day. Initial advantage went to those who braved a port-tack start, with both Douglas Maxwell and Jacquie Rhodes and Brian Whyte and Lotte Wakeling successfully crossing ahead of the rest of the fleet who were on starboard. However, by the windward mark Paul Beard and Tracey Hill were at the front. Nigel Wakefield and Rachel Crebbin would have been second round the mark had they not rammed Beard, the resulting 720 putting them at the back of the fleet. A capsize on the run then eliminated Whyte from contention, leaving Beard with a good lead which he was able to hold for most of the rest of the race. Meanwhile Wakefield worked his way through the fleet until he was able to challenge Beard again, overtaking him with one lap to go and then defending his lead to the finish.
The second race was a much simpler affair for Wakefield, who led from the start and was never seriously challenged, winning by a convincing margin.
With the event won, Wakefield and Crebbin swapped seats for the final race, and Crebbin soon showed that she too knew how to lead a race. Beard started prematurely and had to return, and spent the rest of the race fighting his way back through the fleet, finally taking second place at the end of the penultimate beat. There seemed no way that he could challenge Crebbin for the lead, but she retired at the finish leaving Beard to win the race with David Evans and Murat Erbug second.
1st 3674, Nigel Wakefield and Rachel Crebbin Spinnaker
2nd 792 , Paul Beard and Tracey Hill Wembley SC
3rd 3548, David Evans and Murat Erbug Wembley SC
4th 3557, Tony Wakeling and Kate Wakeling Wembley SC
5th 3163, Douglas Maxwell and Jacki Rhodes Wembley SC
6th 3558, Mary Faherty and Elaine Ng Wembley SC
7th 2796, James Rodgers and Jacqui Dyer Wembley SC
8th 3440, Brian Whyte and Lotte Wakeling Wembley SC