A fleet of 17 Fireflies competed in the South Staffs SC Firefly Open Meeting on Sunday

A fleet of 17 Fireflies competed in the South Staffs SC Firefly Open on Sunday 1st July. A dozen home club youth sailors competed, emphasising the healthy nature of the Firefly fleet at South Staffs. Conditions were perfect for close Firefly racing with variable Force 2-3 winds and sun.

Three races were held with the race officer doing an excellent job of moving marks and startlines to ensure fair racing throughout the day.

In the first race visitors Barney Smith and Nina Hartley managed to escape from the pin end of the line to lead at the first mark. Will Mason and Marina Munnings rounded second, but were soon passed by the local team of John Billington and Sue Mellor. Smith and Hartley extended their lead showing great downwind speed to take the win. Billington and Mellor took second after a tight battle with Bill Bradburn and his son Edward.

Race 2 saw the pin end of the line pay again. This time Billington and Mellor made the best start and despite the best efforts of Smith and Hartley, who were never more than a few metres away, managed to hold on for the win and set up a last race decider. Hugh Smallman and Polly Cowan made their way through the fleet to finish third.

With the meeting result resting on the final race, the two teams of Billington/Mellor and Smith/Hartley kept a close eye on each other during the pre start period. As the gun went for the start of race 3, it was the local boat of Billington and Mellor who read the first shift correctly to take the lead, and that was how it stayed for the next five laps. However, on the last leg the leaders lose cover was a bit too loose and Smith and Hartley took advantage of the biggest shift of the day to snatch the race win and the overall meeting on the finish line. Billington and Mellor just managed to hold onto second from the Bradburns.

1st F3133 Barney Smith and Nina Hartley Rickmansworth SC 2pts

2nd F3519 John Billington and Sue Mellor South Staffs SC 3pts

3rd F3683 Bill and Edward Bradburn South Staffs SC 6pts

4th F2629 Will Mason and Marian Munnings Rickmansworth SC 8pts

5th F3687 Hugh Smallman and Polly Cowan Budworth SC 9pts