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Bembridge Redwing & One-Designs Early May Bank Holiday Racing

by Mike Samuelson 7 May 05:57 BST 4-6 May 2019

After a windless Easter, the forecast for the early May Bank Holiday was not very encouraging with strong and despite some sunshine, cold Northerly breezes predicted certainly on Saturday.

It was therefore not surprising that save for 2 boats that had been pre-position on the Under Tyne moorings, no Redwings ventured out of the harbour for their first race of the season. However, the crews of four One-Designs did decide to give it a go using storm sails. The NNEast'erly F5 meant that the sea conditions were quite lumpy and frankly not very pleasant. Sea Breeze set up the start line at E (Under Tyne) and after a twenty minute postponement and a clean start, the four boats headed to the windward mark, Janson. No 10 helmed by Robin Joy made the best start and it was not long before he was in the lead with No 1, helmed by Russ Fowler a minute or so behind. No 7, helmed by Charles Abel Smith was third just ahead of No 2 helmed by Martin Bonham. On the second round, Robin (No 10) held his lead and finished a minute in front of Russ (No 1) with Martin (No 2) a minute later. Charles (No 7) retired on the windward leg after breaking a shackle. No one fancied a second race!

Bembridge Lifeboat passing Sea Breeze on her way back to the Offshore Boathouse

The wind had dropped significantly for Sunday morning's race and so with intermittent sunshine, conditions were considerably nicer than the previous day. That said, the variable breeze (in direction (340º to 030º) & strength (F1-3)) made course setting quite difficult and frustration for those who were not in the lead! With the two Redwings wanting to race needing to launch and sail out to Under Tyne, it was sensibly decided to start the four One-Designs first. The first round had Drum as the windward mark and Tara as the leeward mark, however for the second round, the windward mark was changed to Garland. No 7, helmed by Sarah Marshall with Norman crewing took an early lead and was able to extend it as the race went on to finish 5 minutes ahead of Simon Allocca & Russ Fowler (No 1). Susie & Syd Beart (No 5) were third a minute later and Martin Bonham (No 2) was fourth a couple of minutes later. The two Redwings had the same course and having started 15 minutes after the One-Designs did not manage to catch the leaders. Joe Robertson in No 24, Red Gauntlet II, caught Mike Toogood in No 20, Tara, on starboard at the start and was then able to maintain a comfortable lead for the rest of the race and finished about two and a half minutes ahead.

Although the Northerly F3 breeze on Monday morning was still quite cold, the seven Redwings & five One-Designs had an excellent race. The Redwings got away on time to a very good start and all bar No 5, Snowgoose, helmed by Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore, remained on starboard and headed in towards the St Helens shore prior to tacking out to the windward mark, Derrick.

Start of the Redwing race

Revelling in the light conditions, Colin Samuelson in No 11, Toucan, was first round after 17 minutes with Robin Ebsworth in No 41, Quintessence, Joe Robertson in No 24, Red Gauntlet II and Jonathan in Snowgoose hot on his heels. The run back to the leeward mark (E) was slow as the breeze began to drop and with the fleet compressing and catching up the One-Designs whose windward mark had been Britten, there was little in it. Red Gauntlet II rounded just ahead of Toucan, with Quintessense & Plover, helmed by Andrew Eddy, close behind. Having had the course changed & shortened to Britten, Garland (S) and Nainby, the majority went inshore again and it was not long before Toucan was back in the lead with Plover & Snowgoose not far behind. On rounding Britten, Plover & Snowgoose had a slight altercation and although no protests were lodged, there was an interesting discussion in the bar afterwards! Colin was still ahead at Garland and despite minor confusion at the finish mark Nainby when Sea Breeze drifted slightly off station, he held on to finish ahead of Jonathan in Snowgoose with Andrew in Plover third. Joe in Red Gauntlet II was fourth and having come first on Sunday therefore won the Quail Trophy.

The five One-Designs also had an interesting race with the mid-fleet order changing a number of times. After a rather hesitant start with everyone well back from the line (No 2 helmed by Martin Bonham was first to cross the line, some 25 seconds after the hooter) and a minor bump between Susie Beart (No 5) and Norman Marshall (No 7), the majority of the fleet followed the Redwings towards the St Helens shore as they made their way to their windward mark, Britten.

Start of the One-Design race

Rob Mathieson (No 1) was first round with Susie (No 5) close behind; there was then a bit of a gap before Hugh Doherty (No 10) and Norman (No 7) leaving Martin (No 2) as the last to make it. On the slow run to Under Tyne where the course was changed & shortened as the breeze was dropping, Susie (No 5) moved into first place, however Rob (No 1) made up the deficit on the beat back to Britten and held onto the lead for the rest of the race to cross the line at Nainby about 30 seconds ahead. Hugh (No 10) was third a minute and a half later, and Martin (No 2) was fourth. With two seconds and a first, No 1 won the Woodroffe Bowl.

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