Tamesis Club

Firefly Open – Elizabeth Cup – 2021

Sunday morning dawned to overcast ‘light’ conditions. The forecast was for a consistent F2 easterly and for the sun to break through mid-morning.

Far from ideal conditions for the rescheduled Elizabeth Cup race of 2021. However, after 18-months of pandemic uncertainty, a cancellation and a six month delay, it was good to see the Tamesis Firefly Open meeting finally open for business again on Sunday, the 5th of September 2021 for the first time since April 2019.

The weather duly delivered in line with the forecast with the sun appearing around 11 – in time for the Elizabeth Cup races. The wind ‘settled’ to a variable F1 to F3 (mostly the former, unfortunately). Some may say classic river conditions; others would think ideal paddle boarding ones.

Two Tamesis boats (Genesis, F3841, Tanner & Dalton; Ella, F1698, Wagners) were joined by a visiting crew (son and father, Oliver and Chris Perkins representing Papercourt Sailing Club) who were keen to try their hand in a Firefly at an open event and made the journey up from Guildford for the day. Fortunately, class stalwart Sue Harris generously lent the visitors her boat for the day. Through a feat of engineering worthy of many a ‘scrap heap challenge’ F2480 was duly prepared with a jury-rigged centre main and some judiciously applied gaffer tape to prevent leakages.

Our officer of the day, Charles Fox, set a medium-length course S.

Griff Tanner, helming Genesis, with owner and class captain Matthew Dalton crewing, managed to pull out an early lead in the first race. Despite intense competition, they managed to hold off the visiting Oliver Perkins and cross the line nearly a minute in the lead of the two laps completed. Behind them, the father and son crew of Johannes and Luzius Wagner were not letting their first lap hold them back and duly made up over a minute and a half deficit to draw tantalisingly close to the Perkins, crossing the line a mere 6 seconds adrift.

Fresh from taking the first race, the competitors lined up for race two. Tanner and Dalton, clearly basking in their moment of glory, got off to a strong start once again. Only to find that the Perkins had got the hang of things. Equally, the Wagners remained close throughout, and the tension was mounting with only 16 seconds separating the three boats at the end of the first lap. The second lap produced some ‘interesting’ conditions, with boats three lengths apart finding the wind in very different conditions and remarkably inconsistent pressure. The Wagners saw their chance and powered away from Tanner and Dalton at the final mark and took a well-earned second with Oliver and Chris romping away with the win.

With all three crews somewhat frazzled from the unseasonably hot conditions, it was a relief to take some time out to have lunch and sink a quick pint at the bar.

There was an extended rest for some of the crews whilst the Firefly Junior Cup was battled out on the river (see the Junior Cup report for full details).

At 2:15 pm, the Perkins squared up against Tanner and Dalton for the final race. With both crews knowing that a win would seal the victory, it was a tense start. The wind had picked up marginally and managed to provide a more consistent F2 – still light, but the increase in pressure came with a slightly more consistent direction. The first lap saw Tanner and Dalton start well and hold a slight lead as the line was crossed for the first time. All was looking good until Tanner and Dalton rounded the bottom mark and, through the most desperate bad luck, managed to snag the helm on the mark and so need to execute a penalty 360. The Perkins saw their chance and pounced. At that point, the race was neck and neck. The Perkins showed their class and shut down every trick in the book that Griff Tanner threw at them. Despite coming very close at the final mark, Griff could not quite best Oliver, who made great use of the final few metres, drew out a solid winning margin, having headed off their competition with a fine rounding of the mark.

So, with all the results in the Perkins, under the excellent helming of son Oliver and far from shabby crewing of dad, Chris took the series win and lifted the Elizabeth Cup to once more have Papercourt Sailing Club members triumphant at the Tamesis Firefly Open.

We want to thank Charles Fox (OOD), Robert Blakeborough (Box), Rupert Fletcher (Patrol driver) and Sophie Harrison (Patrol crew) for helping make this Junior Cup one to remember for all the right reasons on the water, our Commodore Chris Pollard for prize giving, and Josephine and Nick in the kitchen and bar keeping people refreshed and fed on a wonderfully hot and sunny Sunday.

We hope that we will see the Perkins again next April to defend their title and be able to welcome a bigger fleet once the tail end of the pandemic is in the past (we hope).


Elizabeth Cup – Tamesis Firefly Open

1st Oliver Perkins (crewed by Chris Perkins) – F2480

2nd Griff Tanner (crewed by Matthew Dalton) in Genesis – F3841

3rd Johannes Wagner (crewed by Luzius Wagner) in Ella – F1698

Firefly Junior Cup – 2021

Sunday morning dawned to overcast ‘light’ conditions. The forecast was for a consistent F2 easterly and for the sun to break through mid-morning.

On paper, near-perfect conditions for the Firefly Junior Cup race of 2021.

After 18-months of pandemic uncertainty, two cancellations (2019 was cancelled due to storms) and a six month delay, we were into the Tamesis Firefly Open meeting for the first time since April 2018. Quite a long wait in anyone’s book, but all the more so for the reigning Junior Cup holder Josie Tanner who was planning on an appearance at lunchtime to contest the Junior Cup race at a scheduled 2 pm.

The weather duly delivered with the sun appearing around 11 – in time for the Elizabeth Cup races (more of that in another report). The wind ‘settled’ to a variable F1 to F3, swinging wildly from a southerly to a northerly and all points in between, sometimes at the same time on different parts of the course!

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Tamesis Firefly Open – Elizabeth (Vines) M25 qualifiers) & Junior Cups

We’re looking forward to welcoming Firefly sailors from across the UK to Tamesis to compete for the Elizabeth and Junior cups on the 5th of September.

Tamesis is a welcoming club providing many compelling reasons to bring your Firefly for a day of sailing – not least the challenges of sailing on the best stretch of the river Thames.

Here are the NoR’s for the event: FIREFLY Open Meeting NoR 2021. Here are the latest version of Tamesis Club’s sailing instructions: Tamesis-SIs-June 2021

CANCELLED Firefly Elizabeth Cup – 2020

Unfortunately, in light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and restrictions on movement we have had to cancel this event. Should we be able to reschedule to later in the year we will! Stay safe.

Come along to Tamesis and join us for the Elizabeth Cup Open (M25 & Vines event).

Sailing will commence at 11am, with arrivals from 9:30am. Entry fee includes bacon rolls, and fine sailing!

3 races, 2 to count.

See here for NOR: FIREFLY Open Meeting NoR 2020

CANCELLED Firefly Junior Cup – 2020

Unfortunately, in light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and restrictions on movement we have had to cancel this event. Should we be able to reschedule to later in the year we will! Stay safe.

Firefly Junior Cup – Tamesis – Saturday, 25th April 2020

Come and enjoy a delightful afternoon event with the focus very much on fun and competitive sailing for the juniors of the Firefly fleet (under 14’s – crewing or helming… or both!). There will be three races and many prizes, including the cheering award, wettest feet and loudest laugh.

Tea and cake served after sailing events completed. Challenging but achievable courses will be set.

Bring a picnic lunch and tea to enjoy the best seat beside the Thames on Saturday the 25th of April. Come for the weekend and leave you boat securely in the boat park overnight and make an evening of it in London.

See here for NOR: FIREFLY Junior Cup NoR 2020.

Firefly Elizabeth Cup – Full report

The week leading up to the Firefly Open (Elizabeth Cup – 28th of April 2019) and Junior Cup was a far from stress-free week. Storm Hannah was beating its way into the South East of the UK and the weather forecast changed rapidly day to day. By lunchtime on Thursday it became clear that unless there was a miraculous change on the day the sailing conditions for Saturday’s Junior Cup would be beyond challenging – hard in open water, but with the swirls and eddies often found on the Thames too much to make sailing safe. So, with a heavy heart we cancelled Saturday’s racing and hoped that Sunday would see the promised improvements.

Fortunately that proved a wise decision. Saturday’s conditions were indeed treacherous with squally conditions producing numerous vortices on the water and heavy overcast conditions. Sunday morning dawned brighter and altogether more conducive conditions on the Thames prevailed with a ‘steady’ North-Westerly F3-4, gusts in the F5 range, and whilst clouds were present there were the odd patches of sun.

Seven Fireflies were in attendance, four from the home fleet and three visitors. Had the conditions been better, and without clashes in various training programmes, we would no doubt have seen more. Nevertheless, a respectable and able fleet assembled for the first race of the day scheduled for 11:10. Returning to defend his Elizabeth title of 2018 was Nigel Wakefield, this year crewed by Pippa Wakefield (F3674 – Flo). Joining them were the visitors Roger and Finian Morris (F3119 – Horror), Alex Ogilvie and Fi Edwards (F2560 – Fuzzy Duck) and the home crews of Tim and Ed Medcalf (F2103 – Scallywag), Griff and Louis Tanner (F3287 – Tin Bin), James Berry and Rupert Fletcher (F3552 – Slippery Skin) and Matthew and Anna Dalton (F3841 – Genesis). Course K was sailed – an up and down with dog-leg on the return to the top mark at Canbury.

In the first race Roger and Finian led from the start, with a belting first leg down the river toward the Lensbury mark, hotly pursued by Nigel and Pippa, then Tim and Ed. Conditions were sparkling, with some significant gusts to test the boat handling and skills of the crews on the river. The first three positions remained firmly established through the rest of the race, but with gaps being small people were kept on their toes. Unfortunately, conditions proved a little too challenging for Anna and Genesis retired in the first race with the crew changed for Cathy Dalton in subsequent races. James Berry, in his newly acquired Slippery Skin, began tentatively but soon got into the swing of navigating the river in a Firefly and Griff and Louis remained calm and deliberate as they made up ground throughout the race.

The second race started promptly at 12:10 and saw Tim and Ed sit out after a tiring first race to recuperate ready for the afternoon. Unfortunately after a somewhat slow start James and Rupert in Slippery Skin retired after the first lap – but with big smiles to accompany them. Once again Roger and Finian set the pace managing to eke out a lead of just under thirty seconds from Nigel over the first lap and kept trying to pull themselves free of the Wakefields who held on tenaciously through the four laps to finish within 40 seconds of Roger and Finian. Matthew and Cathy in Genesis sailed a blinder of a second lap to take third position and held that through the remaining laps. Behind them a tight battle between the Tanners and Alex and Fi saw their positions change with each lap, with Griff and Louis managing to pull away by 20 seconds on the final lap to take fourth.

With boats pulled out of the water all the crews made their way to the clubhouse for lunch. A wonderful atmosphere was tangible in the clubhouse with smiles all round following near perfect river conditions in the morning – described as ‘Prosecco sailing’ (I think that’s a compliment!)

For the third and final race Finian declared independence from his dad and took the helm of Flo with Nigel relegated to crewing (and perhaps thinking that this was a good opportunity to help Finian with some boat handling tips – more on that later). Roger was joined by his wife to crew the final race. With family bragging rights at stake there was an air of tension in the fleet.

Once again the fleet were sailing course K, and after a frenetic countdown to the start all got away cleanly. Obviously Nigel’s advice on starting position hadn’t quite produced the flier that Finian was hoping for and Dad Roger led the first lap by a mere six seconds. Behind them the next three positions were separated by less than a minute at the end of the first lap, but the Daltons trailed by over 2 minutes after a being a little over optimistic about the width of the river (you’d expect a home crew to be a little wiser) and running aground on the far bank.

By this stage Finian had obviously decided that advice from the older generation needed to be heeded with caution and set about a masterful exhibition of Firefly handling to not just catch his father but get ahead, putting some clear water between himself and the older Morris generation, establishing a lead of 18 seconds at the end of the second lap. Behind them the next three boats were separated by 9 seconds, with the Daltons bringing up the rear but managing to eat into the self-inflicted deficit.

The third lap saw Finian continue to execute well timed and effective tacks and defend his lead – but with the clock ticking Roger was becoming increasingly competitive and, dare we say it, nervous. Throwing every bit of skill and ability that he had Roger was firmly set on trying to unseat his son from the lead. Behind the fleet the Daltons had reduced the deficit to a mere minute and had the bit between their teeth – with much complaining that races should be longer (in marked contrast to the situation when they find themselves in contention and desiring the course to be shortened!). The middle of the pack remained close with positions changing a number of times.

Roger’s persistent paid off. He took the lead (obviously in a humble and not too celebratory way… not!) and finished the fifth and final lap to win by a ‘comfortable’(?) margin of 7 seconds. Tim and Ed held onto third, with Alex and Fi in fourth, and Griff and Louis in fifth. The Daltons finished six but had reduced the gap to 20 seconds, producing a warm glow with dreams of what could have been…

As boats were packed away there was a brilliant atmosphere with congratulations all round and not a little worry from the older generation that the sun was soon to set on their mastery of the race course. Positions were analysed and final rankings checked. As ever with the Open at Tamesis there were prizes for the Open, but also for junior crews. Matthew Dalton introduced the prize giving which was carried out by the day’s OOD, Carolyne Vines (with quite some history in the Firefly class to her name).

Junior Crew results

1st – Finian Morris

2nd – Pippa Wakefield

3rd – Louise Tanner

4th – Ed Medcalf

5th – Anna Dalton

Elizabeth Cup results

Pos Sail Number Boat Name Helm Crew Club R1 R2 R3
1 3119 Horror Roger Morris Finian Morris Papercourt Sailing Club 1 1 -1
2 3674 Flo Nigel Wakefield Pippa Wakefield Spinnaker Sailing Club 2 2 -2
3 2103 Scallywag Tim Medcalf Ed Medcalf Tamesis Club 4 DNC 3
4 3287 Tin Bin Griff Tanner Louis Tanner Tamesis Club 4 4 -5
5 2560 Fuzzy Duck Alex Ogilvie Fi Edwards Netley Sailing Club -5 5 4
6 3841 Genesis Matthew Dalton Cathy Dalton Tamesis Club Ret 3 6
7 3552 Slippery Skin James Berry Rupert Fletcher Tamesis Club 6 Ret DNC

It was a wonderful Open meeting and all at Tamesis Club would like to thank those visitors who bought with them the fun family atmosphere that pervades the Firefly class. It was a real joy to be a part of it. We are also very thankful to Carolyne Vines for setting out a great course and running sailing through the day and all those others who served the class so well during a super day’s sailing. We look forward to welcoming many next year for the Junior and Elizabeth Cups at Tamesis.

Finian and Roger Morris collect the Elizabeth Cup from Carolyne Vines

Photo credits: Carolyne Vines and Garrie Mallen

Firefly Open – Elizabeth Cup – Results

What a great day we had on Sunday contending for the Elizabeth Cup at the Tamesis Firefly open meeting following the cancellation of the Junior Cup on Saturday (the result of squally conditions in the middle of Storm Hannah). But the Elizabeth Cup enjoyed amazing conditions – a fairly consistent (yes, for the river it really was!) F3-F4 North / North-westerly (under grey skies with the occasional outbreak of sun!) to test the abilities of helms and crews alike. Three visiting boats were in attendance along with four from the home fleet.


  1. Roger Morris & Finian Morris in “Horror” – representing Papercourt
  2. Nigel Wakefield & Pippa Wakefield in “Flo” – representing Spinnaker
  3. Tim Medcalf & Ed Medcalf in “Scallywag” – representing Tamesis

The deserving winners – Roger Morris and son Finian presented with the Elizabeth Cup by Carolyne Vines.

A huge thank you to the duty team for the day led brilliantly by Carolyne Vines.

We’d also like to thank Ronstan who sponsor the Firefly class open meetings for the additional prizes – wonderful!

Further reporting to follow – along with lots of pictures! Check back for updates on the Tamesis website – www.tamesisclub.co.uk.

Matthew Dalton – Firefly Class Captain