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Velsheda Trophy, Off Season Points and Bart's Bash at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 16 Sep 15:10 BST 14-15 September 2019

Whilst they say that we are not going to have an Indian Summer at least it was wall-to-wall sunshine for most of the weekend. Saturday afternoon's sea conditions were quite lumpy after the previous night's strong easterly breeze, however, as the afternoon wore on it did begin to settle down and by the time racing had finished, it was actually not 'half bad' for the six Redwings and four One-Designs sailing.

The Redwings were programmed for one race and the One-Designs for two so given the light easterly breeze it was decided to set up a line between Garland and Under Tyne so that the no one had sail too far to get to it. The Redwings had a simple windward-leeward course with the Windward mark as Tara and Garland as the leeward mark. Although Tara, Red Gauntlet II and Snowgoose were all OCS, it did not take them very long to re-start and join the other three boats as they headed inshore to try to find the easterly going tidal stream.

Joe & Annie Robertson in Red Gauntlet II was first round Tara closely followed by the 'old man of the fleet' Robin Ebsworth sailing single handed in Quintessence and Mike & Katherine Toogood in Tara. On the run to Garland, Jonathan & Sarah Nainby-Luxmoore took the inner track which paid off and put them ahead of Red Gauntlet II. On the beat back to Tara via the line (that had been moved closer to Under Tyne), Snowgoose consolidated her lead and Jim Conybeare-Cross with Bella Janson in Gannet moved up into fourth ahead of Quintessence. With the sea smoothing off a bit, the second round enjoyed considerably nicer sailing.

For their first race, the four One-Designs only had to go as far as Under Tyne for their first leg, however it was enough to spread them out with large gaps between them! After a port tack start that took him inshore ahead of the rest, Charles Abel Smith sailing single-handed in No 11 rounded the windward mark and subsequently crossed the finish line well ahead of Jos Coad with Anna Row in No 8. Sarah Marshall, single-handed in No 7 was an equal distance behind with Tim & Hessie Bonham in No 2 at the back.

After a quick turn around thanks to No 7 & No 2 both returning to the start area without rounding the leeward mark, they headed off to Tara. Sarah in No 7 and Charles in No 11 both had good starts, and although Charles was well ahead, the gap when they rounded the windward mark was not as large as the first race; No 8 with Anna Row helming was not far off either. There were no place changes on the run back to Garland and beat back to the line with No 11 finishing just under two minutes ahead of No 7 with a rather larger gap to No 8 who was third. No 2 took advantage of an offer of a tow from Rod back to the mooring having got caught by the tide off the Lifeboat Station.

There were two races on Sunday; the first, run by BHYC was the annual Bart's Bash race. Disappointingly there were only two Redwings (no One-Designs) and about a dozen dinghies. As previous years the keelboats started on one side of the Committee Boat and the dinghies on the other. Although there had been a gentle breeze as boats were making their way to the start area off Silver Beach, annoyingly it disappeared almost completely during the start sequence. The two Redwings (Tara & Snowgoose) were the first to pick up a 180 degree wind and were the first to reach Under Tyne; however it was not long before the lead was taken up by Orca, a Flying Fifteen.

Better progress was made to Britten via Janson but wind holes started appearing on the leg to Pepe. Tara, crewed by Michael & Katherine Toogood initially established a healthy lead over the Nainby-Luxmoore's in Snowgoose, but lost it all when they got stuck in a windless hole. The final leg back to the line could have gone either way but with yards to go, Snowgoose got her bow in front and crossed the line just over 10 seconds ahead. It will be interesting to see how the Redwings fare on corrected time, but it will be surprising if the single-handed Heron that finished a few seconds after Tara does not come first!

Although Snowgoose headed back into the harbour, Tara joined in with three other Redwings for a second race that started at Janson in a pleasant 7 knot SSEastly breeze and after a clean start headed to Tara. Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II was last to cross the line but then read the tide and likely windshifts best to round a minute ahead of Jim Conybeare-Cross in Gannet with Robin Ebsworth, again sailing single-handed in Quintessence not far behind. The gap between the leaders reduced a bit on the run to Britten but Red Gauntlet II got away again on the beat to Under Tyne which also saw Tara move up to second ahead of Gannet. The run to Nainby and short beat back to Garland ended a nice race with Tara just managing to hold onto second.

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