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Bembridge Sailing Club Weekend Keelboat Racing

by Mike Samuelson 24 May 05:26 BST 22-23 May 2021

After two weekend's of N over A flying from the Club's sailing Flag Pole, it was good to see three Redwings and three One-Designs out racing very early on Saturday morning and two Redwings out early on Sunday morning!

With the tides dictating an early start of Saturday, it was even more noteworthy that the three Redwings actually started their first (of two) races at 07:45 with the three One-Designs five minutes later - a record surely!

Simple windward leeward courses from Garland to Pepe and Ruthven for the Redwings and Janson for the One-Designs provided almost perfect beats & runs in the 14 knot WSW'erly breeze. After a clean start Richard Jessel in Blue Jay tacked early, Mike Toogood in Tara went inshore and Rory Morrison in Skua split the difference which paid off and put them into the lead rounding Pepe. Although Tara started the run quite close, by the finish at Garland, they were over a minute behind. With the breeze veering more westerly, the windward mark was changed to Old Church and the leeward mark to Tara with the finish at Pepe. With minutes to the start, Tara dropped her main to sort out a problem with a batten; however unfortunately as it took a bit of time to get the sail back up and as they were upwind of the line, they were 10 seconds behind the other two starting.

Locating 'O' turned out to be a challenge with both Skua and Tara confusing it for the yellow South West Water sewer buoy close inshore. Blue Jay rounded the correct buoy and was well ahead at Tara but could not match Skua on the beat to the finish at Pepe and came in nearly two minutes behind. Tara meanwhile dropped back even further after suffering a POB (Pole overboard) just off the Under Tyne moorings.

The start of the One-Design's first race was not their finest! Russ Fowler in No 1 was the early leader however Charles Perry in No 8, crewed by Jos Coad, took over on the beat back from Janson and finished almost a minute ahead. The second start was a great improvement, however Russ Fowler in No 1 and Charles Evans sailing single handed in No 10 were determined to check out the inshore SWS buoy leaving Charles Perry who listened to his crew and rounded 'O' correctly to establish an unassailable lead to finish well ahead of the other two boats.

Sunday's forecast was not brilliant and deterred any One-Designs from racing; however Rory Morrison in Skua and Mike Toogood in Tara, optimistic that the SW'erly F3-4 breeze would make the effort worthwhile, rigged up and headed out to the start at Footprint. Mike over cooked it and was well over the line so had to double back; Rory meanwhile sportingly waited for Tara to re-start before setting off on the short beat to Garland. Although it looked as if Mike had the advantage, he had to put in an extra tack which let Rory get ahead and extend his lead on the run to Britten and beat back to the line. The start of the second race was more closely contested but Rory was again first to round Garland and then, as in the first race, he extended his lead on the leg to Britten and back to the line. Plans for a third race were abandoned as the breeze freshened to F5.

Hopefully, the weather will settle down in time for the Bank Holiday weekend's traditional Gunston Trophy for the Redwings and the Lowry Corry Cup for the One-Designs. Indeed if conditions allowed, there is the possibility of racing to Fishbourne and back on Saturday to support RVYC's 175th Anniversary Regatta.

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