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Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD

First races of the summer over the weekend for the Bembridge Redwings and One-Designs

by Mike Samuelson 13 Jul 06:26 BST 11-12 July 2020

It is clearly going to be a very different summer this year and fleet numbers, particularly of Redwings are going to significantly lower than 'normal' years. However, although it had been hoped to start racing last weekend, the weather was so dire that racing was cancelled, it was therefore great to see seven Redwings and five One-Designs heading out the harbour at Saturday afternoon in the bright sunshine and light airs.

Despite the forecast NW'erly F2 breeze only materialised in fits and starts, the Race Officers eventually managed to set up a course in the vicinity of Fitzwilliam utilising the SE'erly F3 breeze that tantalisingly offered a reasonable first beat to Tara. Olav Cole in No 21 Redwing and David McCue in No 47 Musicus got the best start but except for Richard Jessel in No 6 Blue Jay who had started a bit late, by the time they reached Tara there was not much between them. As they rounded Janson the breeze dropped off and any of the front six boats could have crossed the finish line ahead. In the event its was No 5 Snowgoose helmed by Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore who just came in ahead of Musicus and Redwing.

After numerous course options for the second race had been considered by the Race Officers as the breeze swung round the compass, it was eventually decided to keep it very simple using Tara again as the windward mark, then back to the ODM and the finish at Spy Alarm (the new name for 'E', Under Tyne). Although without Snowgoose who had headed back to the harbour after finishing the first race, the remaining six boats made a pretty good start as the SE'erly breeze increased nicely. With the leeward mark changed to Janson to give a longer final leg, it then subsequently dropped a bit as they tacked back to the finish line; however it held long enough to bring smiles to everyone's faces! Olav in Redwing built up a nice lead and finished ahead of Joe Robertson in No 24, Red Gauntlett II and Ed Eddy in No 40, Plover. Mike Toogood in No 20 Tara was fourth.

The One-Designs had the same courses for their two races. There were five boats in the first race and four in the second (No 5 headed back in after the first one). Hugh Doherty with his socially distancing crew of Oli Laughton-Scott in No 10 won both with Penny Stanley and her socially distancing crew Mark Grzegorczyk in No 9 second in both. Susie & Syd Beart in No 5 was third in the first race and William Bland sailing single handed in No 12 was third in the second race. Although they finished both races smiling and were never far behind, the Mathieson's in No 1 were the days back markers.

Sunday's forecast was for sunshine and light airs; in the event we had sunshine and lovely F3 to F4 Southerly breeze which made for champagne sailing. With the start line set up just to the east of St Helens Fort, all five Redwings made an excellent start and had a testing short beat to Garland.

Start of Sunday's Redwing Race:

It was then a longish run to Ruthven followed by a beat to Tara. Olav Cole in Redwing led the way with Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II and Jonathan N-L in Snowgoose pressing hard. After Tara they ran to Janson, beat back to Spy Alarm (aka Undertyne), then another long run to Derrick and a testing final beat to the finish at Pepe. Although it looked at one stage that Red Gauntlet II was going to end up as the winner, Olav held his nerve and crossed the line a couple of boat lengths ahead of Snowgoose with Joe a similar distance behind. Andrew Eddy with his social distancing crew Willie Clegg in Plover was fourth just ahead of the Toogood's in Tara.

There were only three One-Designs racing, which of course given the lovely conditions was obviously a pity. They followed a similar but slightly shorter course (missing out the Tara to Janson to Spy Alarm legs) and there was little between them throughout the race. Indeed, all three led at one stage or another. On the long leg from Tara to Derrick, it looked as if Russ Fowler in No 1 was home and dry, however things do not go as planned as he rounded Derrick and Mark Grzegorczyk in No 9 and Jos Coad in No 8 became the front runners. Split tacks all the way to the finish at Pepe made for some exciting racing, but in the end it was Jos who crossed the line first three boat lengths ahead of Mark.

In the meantime, the Race Officers were able to set three Scows who turned up for a race a simple windward leeward five leg course that finished at Pepe prior to the arrival of the keelboats. Close stuff with Oliver Morgan crossing the line just ahead of Rob Orr and Anne Barlow.

It was great to be back on the water and racing; hopefully numbers will build as we move forwards to whatever the new normal brings us.

Next Saturday morning is the joint Redwing & One-Design Zanen (Long Distance) Trophy, with normal racing on Sunday morning.

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