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Late June weekend keelboat racing at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 1 Jul 06:14 BST 29-30 June 2019

Racing at Bembridge on the Saturday morning of the Round the Island Race is normally quite exciting as the leaders head across our normal race area from the Bembridge Ledge back towards their finish at Cowes. However this year with the slightly later start than normal and a light SE'erly, there was not a boat in sight by the time everyone was back at the Club!

Seven Redwings and two One-Designs made it to Garland just in time for their starts; David McCue crewed by his son Andrew in Musicus had the best start while Alastair Spear Cole sailing Avocet, with some very fancy steering, managed by inches to avoid getting shut out and colliding with the other starters. By the time they reached Tara, Musicus had established a useful lead ahead of Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II with the remainder not far behind. After a short run to Under Tyne, the final leg was a testing beat out to Cochrane with differing views on the best way to go as the tide had started to set to the South and the sea offshore was quite lumpy. Musicus held onto first place with Red Gauntlet II close behind. Having stayed out to the north, Avocet made the most of the favourable tide as they approached the finish and came in third. Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence was fourth.

With the expectation that the Round the Island fleet would complicate any further racing towards the Bembridge Ledge, the second race explored other waters with the start line re-set at Under Tyne for a running start to Pepe. Most boats arrived for the gybe at Pepe at the same time. Close tacking and covering was the order of the day up the beat to Tara with the fleet trying both sides of the race course. Henry and Rod Thorpe in Redwitch found good speed and were ahead at the Windward mark but were chased closely by Joe in Red Gauntlet II and Musicus now helmed by Andrew McCue down the run. Meanwhile Blue Jay helmed by Crispin Kenyon and the Toogood's in Tara were tussling to avoid being in last place. By Garland, Musicus was ahead; split tacks up the shore were defining - 4 boats went left, 3 boats went right. Redwitch on the North side found good boat speed and crossed ahead of those boats on the Bembridge side and won by 4 seconds, ahead of Musicus with Red Gauntlet II coming in third 40 seconds later. Quintessence was again fourth.

Sadly there were only two One-Designs, perhaps the others were on the Round the Island Race as in previous years? Set a shorter course, Garland to Cochrane, Sarah Marshall in No 12 crewed by her daughter Sophie made a good start and developed a clear lead over Charles Abel Smith (sailing single-handed) in No 7 throughout the beat up the shore to Cochrane with the wind across the tide against them. Set the same course as the Redwings for their second race, the start had to be postponed just before the 1 minute gun as big waves on the Committee Boat unseated the anchor and Sea Breeze started drifting. On the re-start, Sarah & Sophie made another good start and built up an unassailable lead ahead of Charles as the race progressed.

As forecast, the breeze on Sunday morning had gone round to the West/South West and picked up to a good F4. What a shame for the majority of Round the Island Race competitors that it had not done this 24 hours earlier. Although there were no One-Designs (Russ Fowler joined as an extra crew on Tara and Peter Summerhayes on Quintessence) and one less Redwing (six), those that did make the start at Under Tyne had an excellent race. After a tight start with Avocet just managing to keep clear of the pin by millimetres, and split tacks as they made their way to Pepe. First round were the Thorpes in Redwitch with the Robertsons in Red Gauntlet II and McCues in Musicus not far behind. On the long run to Moreton, the fleet compressed a bit before it came decision time whether to go inshore or remain out on the beat back to Pepe. Redwitch again got it right and rounded well ahead. With the breeze veering more to the West North West, the ROs announced a course change with Tara the new leeward mark. Redwitch was still just ahead for the final beat back to Pepe but Red Gauntlet II played the tide and the windshifts to perfection and finished a minute ahead of Musicus with Redwitch in third, thirty seconds later. Quintessence was fourth just ahead of Avocet.

This meant that the McCues in Musicus won the weekend trophy, the Svana RYS Quaiche.

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