A GROUP of young skippers battled it out against seven interstate opponents recently when the Lindisfarne Sailing Club (LSC) hosted the Co-op Sydney/Hobart Firebug Challenge.
Sponsored by Co-Op Toyota, the event saw the young LSC team take out the interclub trophy after defeating Sydney-based Concorde Ryde Sailing Club (CRSC).
LSC life member Des Clark said the idea for the challenge originated from a leadership program that saw LSC members build their own 2.4-metre yachts with help from parents and grandparents.
“A group of our young members thought it would be a good idea to test their creations and sailing skills by challenging another club,” he said.
“That was when Sydney-based Concorde Ryde sailing club (CRSC) vice-commodore Ross Venner came up with the idea of a Sydney/Hobart challenge, which involved competing in eight-feet Firebug dinghies.”
Mr Clark said the two-day event saw 16 boats sail in varying conditions.
“On the day, we had 16 boats on the water racing and the bay was a sea of colour from their brightly coloured sails,” he said.
“LSC’s Ollie Pritchard sailed ‘Portia’ and finished on eight points, followed by fellow member Max Gluskie sailing ‘Junior G’ on 11 points.
“Thom Hardman from CRSC finished third on 24-points.
“LSC member Adele Aucherlonie sailed ‘Lighting Miss’ and tied for fourth place overall alongside fellow LSC sailor Oscar Pritchard sailing ‘Millennium Finch’.
“The best-placed junior from CRSC was Luke Franklin who sailed exceptionally well, receiving two third-placings in the final two races to finish 10th overall.”
The series also included the Tasmanian Firebug Championships, with first place awarded to Ollie Pritchard, second place to Max Gluskie and third place to Oscar Pritchard.
The first-place female title went to Adele Aucherlonie, who earned the name “Flipper” after intentionally cartwheeling her Firebug.
Mr Clark said that despite competing against a team of adults, the young Lindisfarne team still managed to win the interclub trophy.
“The kids had lots of fun throughout the series, as well as during the social events held at the club,” he said.
“A team from Christchurch, New Zealand has also challenged us to an interclub challenge at the Wooden Boat Festival in February 2017 and an Australian National Championship is proposed in Sydney sometime in December 2017.”
If anyone is interested in building a Firebug or purchasing a second-hand boat, contact Des Clark at email@example.com.
For more information about Firebug racing, visit www.firebug.co.nz or www.firebugdinghiesaustralia/weebly.com.
Caption: The Co-op Sydney/Hobart Firebug Challenge saw 16 boats sail in varying conditions during the two-day event. Photo credit: Elise Clark.