Stuart Hudson takes the title for the fifth time

The final day of the 56th Firefly class national championship saw the fleet of 71 boats competing for the Chris Lynham Cup on Friday afternoon.

This ninth and final race of the championship concluded a great week of racing organised by the Hamble River Sailing Club in conjunction with the National Firefly Association. With six boats still capable of winning, an exciting end to the championship was in prospect and PRO Jamie Wilkinson ensured a fair conclusion by setting a two hour four lap race in wind conditions of a blustery Force 3-4 with a large Solent chop.

A gate start saw the fleet away first time with no clear leader emerging for the first three laps. Finally on lap four, four times previous winner Stuart Hudson crewed by Toni Corlett (Spinnaker) emerged from the pack in their borrowed Canford School Rondar glassfibre boat. Hudson and Corlett held the lead to the finish to take overall first position in the Sir Richard Fairey points series. Hudson gaining his fifth national title, equalling the record set by both Mike Arnold and Dave Derby. Second overall was taken by Roger Morris and Sally Cuthbert, also from the Spinnaker Club in Hampshire, Morris and Cuthbert were sailing a 30-year-old wood Fairey Mark 2. Ed Smith and Lucy Holmes from Rickansworth took third overall in their 40 year old Mark 1. The Rondar boats of Ian Sanderson and Linda Eadie (Royal Lymington) and Mason Woodworth and Katie Lyndon (Hamble River) took fourth and fifth overall respectively, with the top six rounder out by the 2001 champions Jono Pank and Sally Wilson (The Band) in their 45-year-old Mark 1.

Slightly lower down the fleet, some great battles took place amongst the 17 under 21 helmsmen with a notable result being achieved in the under 18s by Henry Arnold from Waldringfield, crewed by father Mike who was champions helmsman five times between 1962 and 1982. Henry claimed that he’d ignored his Dad’s advice all week!

The final night’s prizegiving took place in a packed Hamble River SC clubhouse. The generous support afforded by the many sponsors of the week meant there was something for almost everyone. A barbecue and Disco rounded off the week, with many of the fleet still on the dancefloor in the early hours. Numbers were swelled by the arrival of many from the RS Championships, some of whom who’d also visited on the Wednesday for the River Boat Shuffle Cruise round the Solent. Clearly the traditional classes can still beat the newcomers hands down for activity off the water!

The Firefly class would like to thank Hamble River for organising a fantastic championship, both on and off the water.

Hamble River Sailing Club and the National Firefly Association would like to thank the sponsors who have donated prizes for the championship week; Helly Hansen, Crew clothing of Hamble, Fat face, Henri Lloyd, Dinghy Sailing Magazine, Rondar boats, Hyde Sails, Andark Diving, and Aladdins Cave.

Overall Results – Sir Richard Fairey Points Series (Firefly Class National Championship, 9 races, 2 discards)

1st F3681, Go Ballistic, Stuart Hudson and Toni Corlett, Spinnaker, 19 pts

2nd F3119, Horror, Roger Morris and Sally Cuthbert, Spinnaker, 22pts

3rd F2803, Grendel, Ed Smith and Lucy Holmes, Rickmansworth, 23pts

4th F3690, Waynetta, Ian Sanderson and Linda Eadie, Royal Lymington, 25pts

5th F3616, Top Dolly, Mason Woodworth and Katie Lyndon, Hamble River, 30pts

6th F1954, Pogie, Jono Pank and Sally Wilson, 30pts

1st Under 16, Bryony Meakins and Nick Smallman, Hamble River

1st Under 18 Henry and Mike Arnold, Waldringfield

1st Under 21 Andy Cornah and Wendy Carlin, West Kirby

1st Lady, Amy Morris and Gilly Ansell, Spinnaker

1st Over 40, Guy Davison and Frances Davison, Llangorse