111 boats compete for the Sir Ralph Gore Trophy at Abersoch 10/8/06

Championship Wednesday is normally a big day for the Firefly fleet and 2006 proved no exception as the 111-boat fleet competed for the principal prize of the championship week, the famous Sir Ralph Gore Trophy.

The Gore race is defined by a deed of gift which states that it must be round a 13 nautical mile triangular course and off a line start. Race Officer Barry McGill carried out these instructions to the latter getting the fleet away first time and setting prefect angles for the one-mile reaches. A number of boats took their GPSs with them although results are still coming in we can exclusively reveal that Fireflies are capable of considerably more than 10 knots!

With 25 plus knots regularly recorded it was a day for the hardy and the skillful. After a three-hour epic and following some incredibly tight racing at the front of the fleet Stuart Hudson and Lisa Keenan sailing Fursty Ferret took the winner’s gun. Two times National Champions Antony Gunstone and Lucie Hopkings in Growler finished a close second with the weeks points leader Steve Tylecote and Sally Wilson in Grasshopper third.

Stuart and Lisa were awarded the Gore Trophy last night at a packed South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club and promptly filled the cup with Champagne to pass round the fleet.

Wednesday is also Marlow day, a trophy for the lower half of the fleet, basically anyone who finished outside the top 30 in the four preceding races. The popular Marlow winners was our visiting American Colin Gordon from the New York Yacht Club sailing with Angus Armstrong.

If all that wasn’t enough the Firefly Class also put on a special race later in the afternoon for over 60 helmsmen. With the course set just off the club balcony the eight competing boats had a huge number of spectators shouting encouragement at them. The popular winners were Ray Smith (builder of wood boats), who has rebuilt at least 30 of the boats on the beach at Abersoch, sailing with supercrew Giles Bradford. Ewen and Mary Stamp were second with Peter and Dawn Langdon third.

Race 5 Sir Ralph Gore Trophy

1 3850, Fursty Ferret, Stuart Hudson and Lisa Keenan Spinnaker Club
2 3747, Growler, Anthony Gunstone and Lucie Hopkins Castaways
3 3037, Grasshopper, Steven Tylecote and Sally Wilson Spinnaker Club
4 3844, The One, Dom Johnson and Debs Kershaw Spinnaker Club
5 3892, Sailboat Deliveries, John Greenland and Pippa Williams Hayling Island
6 3841, Genesis, Ian Sanderson and Claire Wood Royal Lymington YC

Marlow Ropes Trophy

1 USA1 WKSC Training No.1, Colin Gordon and Angus Armstrong New York YC
2 8 Bukkake Loveship, David Royse and Nikki Russell Oxford University SC
3 3627 Highfly, Douglas Patterson and Helen Farr Itchenor SC