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Bembridge Village Regatta and Club Keelboat Regatta

by Mike Samuelson 5 Aug 06:12 BST 3-4 August 2019

A busy first weekend in August with the Club's two day keelboat Regatta on Saturday & Sunday afternoon and Redwing & One-Design races on Saturday morning for the Village Regatta.

Ten Redwings and six One-Designs made it to the start line close to Janson for the latter; the Redwings were quite surprised to see that their first windward mark was the Bembridge Ledge!

After a clean start (in the case of Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snowgoose only just!) it proved to be an excellent choice with the fleet splitting tacks as they tried to find the best route to take in the F3 ESE'erly breeze.

Start of the Redwing race

The lead group as they rounded the Ledge included Andrew McCue helming Musicus, Colin Samuelson in Toucan, Meri Benham in Paroquet, Jonathan in Snowgoose and Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II. However by the time they reached the leeward mark, Derrick, Toucan and Musicus were ahead. The beat to Janson was not quite as straight forward as it looked as there was a strong westerly running tide. Maintaining boat speed and a keen eye for the best pressure was the key to success; something that Toucan made look easy and by the end of the final beat from Nainby to Under Tyne they finished nearly three and a half minutes ahead of Snowgoose; Red Gauntlet II was third twenty seconds later. Sixth and seventh place was very close with Andrew Eddy just pipping Chloe Crisp in Blue Jay. Although never in contention it was nevertheless great to see the Sarah & William Maltby out in Enigma for the first time in four years.

The One-Designs had a slightly shorter course with Cochrane instead of the Ledge and Britten in lieu of Derrick. After quite a good start with Mark Grzegorczyk in No 9 being only moderately successful with his pin end port flyer, the fleet soon split tacks as they also struggled to work out the favoured tacks.

Start of the One-Design Race

Mark was first round Cochrane and despite their best efforts was never really under much pressure from his closest rivals, James Palmer in No 3 and Russ Fowler in No 1; indeed he seemed to gain on each leg of the course and finished three minutes in front of James who was two minutes ahead of Russ. Although a bit of a procession, it was nevertheless a challenging race, fitting for a Regatta.

There were no Cruisers or Squibs and only ten Redwings, seven Mermaids and five One-Designs for the afternoon Regatta races. However, those that did make it had some interesting & challenging racing in the F2 occasionally F3 SE'erly breeze. With the start line set just to the south of Derrick, the Redwings & Mermaids had Cochrane as their Windward mark and Wreck as their leeward one. After a reasonable start, both fleets headed towards the Bembridge shore to get out of the strong westerly going tide and pick up the inshore easterly going one.

Start of the Redwing Race

Start of the Mermaid Race

Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II found the best of the breeze and rounded Cochrane with a considerable lead on James Wilson in Quail and Nick Woolgar in Goose. There was no change in the order when they rounded Wreck where the course was changed/shortened to get them to Fitzwilliam to finish. Again everyone headed back to the Bembridge shore and the trick was to get the final tack into Fitzwilliam just right. Although Red Gauntlet II was so far ahead that Joe could have got it wrong and still won, it was not the case for Quail and Goose with the former over staying and letting Goose through to take second. Andrew McCue in Musicus was fourth. Racing was close even at the back of the fleet; indeed so close that unfortunately Ladybird, helmed by Tom Chetwood and Paroquet, helmed by Meri Benham had a bump as they crossed the line.

The Mermaids followed the Redwings to Cochrane and interestingly appeared to have made up at least five minutes on the beat, however despite obviously flying their spinnakers the gap between the two fleets did not change much on the long run to Wreck. There was little separating Cynthia helmed by Noel Dobbs and Sheen helmed by John Edwards by the time they rounded Wreck where their course was changed to Derrick before the final legs (8, 3 and L) back to the SVYC line. With the tide still running westwards the beat to Derrick need a bit of careful thinking to get it right, but then the run to 8 was pretty straight forward. Noel in Cynthia finished ahead of John in Sheen with Ben Few-Brown in Halluff third.

The five One-Designs meanwhile had Tara as their windward mark and Derrick as their leeward one. As with the other two fleets, all went into the Bembridge shore to reach Tara.

Start of the One-Design Race

Unlike the morning's race which had become a bit of a procession, all five boats were surprisingly close by the time they reached Derrick where their course was changed, like the Redwings to Fitzwilliam to finish. Sarah Marshall sailing single handed in No 7 was first round Derrick with Suzie Beart in No 5 and Alexander Ross (also single handed) in No 11 not far behind. Sadly for Sarah she was subsequently overtaken by the other four boats and went from first to last. Alexander meanwhile found the groove and came in first, nearly two minutes ahead of Mark Grzegorczyk and Pete Truman in No 9. Suzie and Syd were third, twenty seconds later; and Rob & Helen Mathieson in No 1 were fourth nine seconds later.

The forecast for Sunday afternoon was for the breeze to go round the SW and increase to F4; initially however it was similar to the previous day so similar courses were planned. Fortunately it switched to the SW just before the start sequence for the Redwings and so after a short postponement to reposition the Committee Boat and lay an inflatable windward mark, racing got under way for the fourteen Redwings, five Mermaids, ten One-Designs wanting to race. The Redwings got away to an exciting but clean start and all initially headed towards to Bembridge shore before a few tacked off in the hopes of picking up a more favourable tide.

Start of the Redwing race

Jockey Wilson in Quail was first round, a couple of boat lengths ahead of Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snowgoose, Colin Samuelson in Toucan and Nick Wakefield in Bizarre. On the long run to St Helens Channel mark the fleet became quite split as they tried to work out what the tide was doing. Quail was first round ahead of Snowgoose with Toucan a boat length behind. Toucan tacked early and got ahead of Snowgoose and although they could not get ahead of Quail on the beat back to the Windward inflatable, nor the subsequent run to Ruthven and beat back to Under Tyne, it was certainly not for want of trying. At the finish Quail was a minute ahead of Toucan with Snowgoose just under a minute later. Nicko Robertson in Musicus was fourth.

The five Mermaids had an excellent race; the first half was the same as the Redwings but after rounding the Windward inflatable for the second time, they headed back to finish on the SVYC line via Derrick. Although Noel Dobbs helming Amthyst lead almost from start to finish, the race for second and third was certainly interesting particularly on the challenging beat in from St Helens. Having been in fourth place on the first round, Adastra, helmed by Richard Bowtell moved up to second ahead of Sirena, helmed by Helen Birchenough.

Start of the Mermaid race

St Helens was a bit far for the ten One-Designs, so they went to Ruthven instead. After an exciting start they were all quite close as they rounded the inflatable Windward mark.

Start of the One-Design race

Mark Grzegorczyk sailing single handed in No 9 led for most of the race with John Suffield, also single handed, not far behind in second, however Jos Coad in No 8 managed to move up during the final beat from Ruthven to Under Tyne from fourth place to cross the line thirty seconds ahead of Mark. Alexander Ross in No 11 was third just ahead of John who crossed the line a foot or so in front of the Bearts in No 5. Some interesting moments as the Redwings and One-Designs ended up both rounding the Windward inflatable for the second time at the same time!

Some excellent racing even if numbers where a bit lower than normal. Over the two days there were 51 boats racing with 116 competitors.

Additional Photos at

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