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RS Elite Open at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 19 Jun 2017 09:31 BST 17-18 June 2017

Well what a stunning summer weekend and although the racing for seven RS Elites who came over from Hayling Island and three boats from Cowes to Bembridge was certainly not physically demanding, patience and an eye for the breeze shadows was certainly required.

The plan was for three races on Saturday and two on Sunday and that was exactly what was achieved, albeit the last race was intentionally shorter then the rest so that everyone could get back home.

After a short postponement to allow the last boat to make it to the start from Seaview, the first of Saturday's three races got off to a clean start in the gentle F2 SSE'erly sea breeze that had come in a couple of hours previously. To be on the safe side a relatively short course was set just in case the breeze dropped. On the first beat to a laid windward inflatable, the fleet split tacks however having rounded the windward spreader all held a port gybe on the run down to a leeward gate and ended up going round the same gate buoy. Colin Smith in Shaken not Stirred (No 7) built a good lead and by the finish was a minute and a half ahead of Ossie Stewart in More Tea Vicar (No 67) who just held off Nick Peters in Way to Blue (No 24). Paul Fisk in Legs Eleven (No 11) was fourth.

With the breeze holding but moving slightly more southerly, the course was extended slightly and moved westwards a bit. The second start really was a cracker with the fleet evenly lined up along the line. Again the fleet split tacks as they tried to work out where the numerous wind shifts were going to serve them best. On the second round most went inshore to try to keep out of the tide. Nick Peters in Way to Blue held his nerve on the final run to the finish and crossed the line just under 20 seconds ahead of Colin Smith in Shaken not Stirred with Ossie Stewart in More T Vicar a minute later. Robert Holbrook in Centurion (No 101) was fourth.

The start of the third and final race of the day was not quite as good as the first two races and the winner of the previous race (Nick Peters) was last to cross the line having been shut out on the approach close to the Committee Boat. Interestingly most went for the centre of the beat in the first round but split on the second. Despite best efforts by the chasing pack, Colin Smith in Shaken not Stirred picked up his second win of the day; Paul Fisk in Legs Eleven was second 22 seconds behind and Nick Peters in Way to Blue was third 8 seconds later. Ossie Stewart in More T Vicar was fourth.

With an earlier start programmed on Sunday (11:00) for the first of two races, and minimal wind forecast, the likelihood of getting any racing at all was always in doubt, however after a 90 minute postponement a 5 knot SSE'early breeze kicked in and the Race Officers were able to set a reasonable course and racing got underway. The start of the first race was a close run thing but only Colin Smith in Shaken not Stirred had to return after being pinged OCS. All credit therefore that by the end of the race he had pulled himself up to third. With split tacks not only on the beat but also the run, a keen eye for the stronger side of the course was very much where places were won and lost. Nick Peters in Way to Blue was second, over half a minute behind Andy Partington in Lazy Daisy. Ossie Stewart in More T Vicar was fourth a second or so behind Colin.

With two of the Cowes boats, co-organiser of the weekend Charlie Egerton-Warburton in Soak Therapy (No 100) and Paul Crean in Swan Song (No26) deciding that they needed to start for home, there were only eight boats for the final race. In order to speed things up slightly and reduce the distance to Hayling Island, a windward finish was set. After a clean start, and with a shortened windward leg, the top end of the fleet were all quite close as they rounded the windward mark. However, Nick Peters again hit the front and could not be dislodged. Ossie Stewart in No T Vicar was second forty seconds behind and Any Partington in Lazy Daisy was third just in front of Paul Fisk in Legs Eleven.

Two excellent days racing and hopefully we will see the fleet in the Eastern Solent again next year. The overall winner was, after a tie break, Nick Peters in Way to Blue with Colin Smith in Shaken not Stirred the runner up on equal points. Ossie Stewart in More T Vicar was third.

Overall Results:

PosHelmBoat NameSail NoR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Nick PetersWay to Blue24313217
2Colin SmithShaken not Stirred7121357
3Ossie StewartMore T Vicar672344211
4Paul FiskLegs Eleven114526415
6Robert HolbrookCenturion1015458620
5Andy PartingtonLazy Daisy666661316
7Peter CopseyThe Doctor4681085728
8Andrew ArchibaldFreebie Knot257777828
9Paul CreanSwan Song269899S35
10Charlie Egerton‑WarburtonSoak Therapy1001091010S39


Start of Race 1 Saturday

Start of Race 2 Saturday

Start of Race 4 Sunday

The Redwings & One-Designs also had some nice racing. On Friday evening in almost perfect conditions, James Row in No 8 was the first of the five One-Designs. Nick Rowton-Lee in Banzai was the only Redwing so not surprisingly finished first. On Saturday morning, after a half an hour postponement waiting for a sailable breeze, Tom Scott in Siskin won the first race and was second in the second. Joe Robertson took a second and a third and Nick Rowton-Lee in Banzai a third and a first. In the One-Designs, John Deacon in No 6 won the first race very convincingly but had to make do with a fourth in the second race. Susie Beart in No 5 did even better and finished with two seconds, with Jos Coad in No 11 taking third in the first and a first in the second. On Sunday, there was just enough zephers around for a race. Tom Scott in Siskin was first round Tara by quite a long way with Joe Roberston in Red Gauntlett II the only other boat to make it. After a makeshift course change to finish at Under Tyne, which unfortunately Tom in Siskin did not hear being announced on the radio and therefore continued to Footprint; in the meantime Joe in Red Gauntlet II had heard the broadcast and was finished at Under Tyne. Having successfully claimed redress, Tom was scored as 1st equal. The only two One-Designs wanting to race in fact decided against it and so return back to the harbour.

More photos of the weekend can be found on flickr here.

Next weekend it is the Redwings 'Round the Forts' race for the Nicholson Trophy.

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