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The Offshore Race Crew's Manual by Stuart Quarrie
The Offshore Race Crew's Manual by Stuart Quarrie

Bembridge Redwing 80th Anniversary Regatta

by Mike Samuelson 18 Aug 2018 17:35 BST 14-16 August 2018
Bembridge Redwing 80th Anniversary Regatta © Mike Samuelson

To celebrate the current 1938 design, the Redwings held an 80th Anniversary Regatta at Bembridge last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. With five of the original wooden boats coming up from Poole to join in and made it a very special occasion.

Conditions on Tuesday afternoon were pretty similar to the previous day (when three of the Poole Redwings had sailed up) with a SW'erly F4 gusting F5 which backed and then dropped a bit towards the end of racing. The main difference however was that unlike the previous day, there were twenty three Redwings racing!

As expected with such a large fleet and quite gusty conditions, the start was certainly quite interesting. Although Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II just over cooked it and was OCS he was able to correct quite quickly; at the pin end of the line, Alex Tidbury in Enigma took a penalty having hit the outer mark (Fitzwilliam).

Start of Tuesday's race:

The first beat was to Garland and although most headed in towards the Bembridge shore, a few tacked onto port in an attempt to find clear air. David McCue in Musicus was first round with Colin Samuelson in Toucan hot on his heels; indeed for the rest of the race there was never much water separating them. Nick Wakefield in Bizarre was third to get to the mark and although he was subsequently overtaken by Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snowgoose and Rory Morrison in Skua, there was not a lot in it.

Three boats retired soon after the start, Quail, Goose and Cappercaille; the only other 'casualty' was the Class Commodore, David Swinstead in Vera following a problem with their jib on the final run out to Moreton.

The initial windward/leeward course between Garland and Moreton was changed to Under Tyne and Moreton for the final two rounds when the breeze backed to the SSW. This provided some testing beats and all credit to the five Poole boats who although at the back of the fleet persevered in and gusty conditions and at times confused seas and all finished with smiles on their faces!

Having managed to get ahead on the third beat, Toucan (sailing three up) was able to cover Musicus (sailing two up) for the rest of the race and finished twenty five seconds ahead; Snowgoose was third, fifteen seconds later and Skua was fourth a mere four seconds behind.

An excellent first day of the Regatta with some very close and exciting racing.

Wednesday afternoon started with a sail past of all the Redwings racing in the Regatta, along with a few that weren't! The salute was taken by the BSC Commodore, Jos Coad embarked on Chris Andrea's beautiful launch - Lady Agnes that was anchored just outside the harbour entrance. The sail past was lead by one of the original 1896 Redwings, Banzai, helmed by her new owner Nick Rowton-Lee.

On completion, those intending to race headed out to the start area off Fitzwilliam. Two separate races had been programmed; the first was the Princessa Trophy for the GRP boats and the second was the Commodore's Trophy for the Wooden boats. Although initial thoughts were that the F4/F5 SW'erly would be too much for the GRP boats to make the West Princessa safely, having re-assessed the conditions at Ftizwilliam, the ROs decided that as it was a reach to and from the buoy it should be alright for the twelve GRP boats competing to go out to the West Princessa.

The start saw a number of boats very close to being OCS, but the only one that was obviously the wrong side of the line was Sophie Janson helming Goose. After a short beat to Under Tyne, the fleet then headed off to the West Princessa via Tara. As they crossed the Ledge the tide caused quite confused sea conditions on the way out so quite a lot of pumping was seen, however it was not so bad on the way back to Moreton. Rory Morrison in Skua, David McCue in Musicus and James Wilson in Quail lead the way. After an excellent first beat back to Under Tyne (the course had been changed to Under Tyne - Morton twice), Musicus had taken over the lead, however on the second and final beat, she was overtaken by both Quail and Skua who finished a second apart - impressive after nearly an hour and a half's racing. Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II was fourth.

Start of Wednesday's Princesssa Trophy:

In the meantime, the nine 'wooden' boats had a similar inshore course to the previous day - Under Tyne, Moreton three times round with the finish as Under Tyne. After a good start it was not long before Colin Samuelson in Toucan was in the lead and never looked like relinquishing it. Although Andy Pearce in Rosetta was initially in second place, Jeremy Cuddigan in Capella II, having been only seventh to round the first windward mark, soon got back into the groove and worked himself into second during the second round. Rod Thorpe in Redwitch was a consistent third. Mid-fleet the five boats from Poole had some close racing with Rosetta taking fourth place and Ursula helmed by Keith Workman in fifth.

Start of the Wooden Redwing race:

Another excellent day's racing with both fleets finishing together.

The original plan for the final race of the Redwing Regatta on Thursday afternoon was to try to do something a bit different. However, after a morning of heavy rain and the prospect of a weather window, the five Poole Redwings wisely decided to head for home whilst it lasted, leaving a reduced fleet of nine boats to race.

Starting in the light W'erly breeze from Fitzwilliam, the first beat was to Nainby; Colin Samuelson in Tarpon was first round with quite a gap to David Swinstead in Vera with Ed Peel (getting in some last minute bit of practice with two Aussie ringers before the 5.5 Worlds in Cowes) in Quail close behind. On the very long run to St Helens, Ed overtook David and reduced Colin's lead. There was then quite a gap to the chasing fleet lead by Nick Wakefield in Bizarre with Mary Luxmoore-Styles in Capercaille. With the breeze backing more Southerly, the course was changed to give a beat back to the finish at Under Tyne. A challenging leg particularly the westerly running tide and 10 degree wind shifts! The front two matched tack for tack and with less that an hundred metres to go to the line it looked as if Ed was going to take first place but he was then headed and had to put in an extra tack which allowed Colin to take his third win of Regatta. Close stuff! Although nearly six minutes behind the front two, David in Vera was third and despite trailing at the back of the fleet at St Helens, Rod Thorpe in Redwitch got the breaks on the beat back and came in fourth. Having all been close at St Helens, it was by no means a procession and there was some very close finishers lower down the fleet.

Photos of the three days racing can be seen at flic.kr/s/aHsmqKdgfv

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameSkipperR1R2R3R4Pts
1st11ToucanColin Samuelson1 113
2nd5SnowgooseJonathan Nainby-Luxmoore36 514
3rd35BizarreNick Wakefield510 924
4th113RedwitchRod Thorpe19 3426
5th30QuailCaroline Peel/James Wilson/Ed PeelRTD1 229
6th21RedwingPeter Grimaldi/Philip Bown129 829
7th47MusicusDavid McCue23 DNS31
8th42SkuaRory Morrison42 DNS32
9th17VeraDavid SwinsteadRTD 6335
10th24Red Gauntlet IIJoe Robertson74 DNS37
11th6Blue Jay IIRichard Jessel95 DNS40
12th41QuintessenceRobin Ebsworth8DNS 640
13th40PloverAndrew Eddy138 DNS47
14th46EnigmaAlec Tidbury1011 DNS47
15th119UrsulaKeith Workman17 5DNS48
16th103Prawn IIMalcolm Bentley15 9DNS50
17th104RosettaAndy Pearce20 4DNS50
18th110FortunaVictoria Barlow16 8DNS50
19th105SnowgooseHeather Culpan18 7DNS51
20th8Capella IIJeremy/Hugo CuddiganDNS 2DNS54
21st18HarlequinJohn Raymond6DNS DNS58
22nd22CapercailleMary Luxmoore-StylesRTDRTD 759
23rd38GooseSophie Bradford/Olav ColeRTD7 DNS59
24th1ParoquetMeri Benham11DNS DNS63
25th4RosettaJames Tate14DNS DNS66

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