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GJW Direct 2020

Late May Bank Holiday Keelboat Racing at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 1 Jun 06:53 BST 29-31 May 2021

It was nice to be able to welcome the sunshine over the Bank Holiday weekend even if it was accompanied by light Easterly/South Easterly breezes, particularly on Saturday and Monday.

Although it had been hoped that Saturday's two race programme could have been modified to allow both fleets to race to Fishbourne and back to show support to the RVYC 175th Anniversary Regatta, the forecast light airs and spring tides scuppered these plans so racing remained at Bembridge.

Instead, twelve Redwings congregated at Nainby and after an interesting start with James Bunbury in Blue Jay and James Wilson in Quail a bit over zealous and having to double back, the majority initially stayed out in the slightly stronger breeze but stronger tide, but as the race progressed, most kept close to the Lifeboat Offshore Boathouse en route for Cochrane - always a challenging mark in light airs! First to reach it was Mike Toogood in Tara, however sadly for him, his decision to remain out in what should have been better tide and wind, saw him drop down the order and Colin Samuelson in Toucan establish an unbeatable lead as they headed down wind to Drum.

There was little to separate the chasing pack of Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II, Ed Eddy in Plover, Rory Morrison in Skua and Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snowgoose, however after them the fleet became pretty spread out. With the first round taking just over an hour, consideration was given to finishing the race it as they came back up through the line, however in the end it was decided to go for a second round but with the windward leg halved to E. Although they found a hole when they reached E which got then worried, Colin & Becky in Toucan eventually finished some 5 minutes ahead of Ed Eddy in Plover; Snowgoose was third a couple of minutes later and Red Gauntlet II was fourth.

Seven One-Designs meanwhile also has a challenging race with Tara as their windward mark. Closest to the line at the start (the majority of the rest were some way off), Sarah Marshall in No 7 led the way and by the end of the race was a very relaxed minute ahead (her crew Charles Abel Smith taking in the sunshine on the foredeck!) ahead of Jos Coad in No 8. Rob Mathieson was third in No 1 and Susie Beart was fourth.

The start of the second One-Design race was certainly better than the first one and with a shorter course that finished off Under Tyne where they were mooring overnight, it was touch and go whether Sea Breeze was going to able to re-position in time for the finish. In the event, James Row dashed up to E in a RIB to set up a line. Jos in No 8 led the way and finished half a minute ahead of Sarah with Mark Grzegorczyk (helming single handed having dropped off his crew, Penny Stanley to race in the Redwing Mercedes Trophy) was third and Russ Fowler helming No 1was fourth.

Six Redwings, all with lady helms, made an excellent start for the Mercedes Trophy and followed a similar course to the One-Designs. Becky Samuelson in Toucan was first round E but not by much - indeed there was not a lot separating the whole fleet. On the run to Nainby, there was still not much separating them and with the breeze continuing to drop, a course change to Garland was gratefully accepted! On the final beat back to E, Becky was able to stay in front to finish half a minute ahead of Chloe Bunbury in Blue Jay II; Jessica Speare-Cole in Avocet was third and Penny Stanley in Plover was fourth.

A further two races for both fleets was the order of the day for Sunday afternoon in the SE'erly F3 breeze; starting from E with the windward mark of Tara, eleven Redwings had a 'competitive' start; most went inshore although a few did stay on starboard for quite a long time. James Wilson in Quail and Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II were close throughout, with Quail finishing just under 20 seconds in front. Rory Morrison in Skua was third and Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence was fourth just ahead of Jessica Speare-Cole in Avocet.

They had another close start for their second race but this time Rory in Skua became the boat to beat as they all headed inshore to take advantage of the tide. Quail and Snowgoose had a close race for second and third, although not as close as Tara and Plover who finished a second apart in seventh and eighth places.

Eight One-Designs followed similar courses; both races saw 'competitive' starts with lots of 'up, up' heard on the Committee Boat. In the first race Sarah Marshall helming No 7 found the best of the breeze and having lead a bit of a procession inshore finished just under a minute ahead of Mark Grz in No 9; Rob Mathieson in No 1 was third nearly a minute ahead of James Beart in No 5. The second race had the leeward mark as Garland rather than Nainby; this time the lead was taken up by Lizzie Mathieson helming No 1 who finished a minute ahead of James in No 5. A number of places changed mid-fleet on the beat from Garland to E with Jos Coad in No 9 third just ahead of Jacs Cottrell in No 11.

The forecast for Monday was for a SE'erly 11-15 knots, so it was a bit disappointing when the best it could do was 8 knots dropping at times to 4 knots predominantly from the East. After a short postponement to allow Sea Breeze to re-position after the breeze had backed, twelve Redwings headed off very slowly towards Moreton; some stayed out, some went right into Under Tyne and some preferred to try a middle course.

Start of Monday's Redwing race:

Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snowgoose was first round after well over half an hour with Mike Toogood in Tara not far behind. They were followed by Rory Morrison in Skua and Meri Benham in Paroquet. The run back to the inflatable pin mark was slow but slightly better progress was made back to Fitzwilliam before another slow and challenging run to the finish at Nainby. Snowgoose retained her lead and crossed the line 40 seconds ahead of Tara with Skua getting the lucky puff to move ahead of Paroquet in the last couple of boat lengths and take third - one hour and fifty minutes after the start!

Although originally programmed for one race, the One-Designs asked for one short and one slightly longer race so that was exactly what they got! The first race was Fitzwilliam and back to the line. Not the best of starts with Jos Coad in No 8 closest to the line and always the boat to beat. Russ Fowler in No 1 was the only real challenger and he finished 3 minutes behind; third was Penny Stanley in No 9. The second race, again with Fitzwilliam as the windward mark, saw an 'interesting' start with Mark Grz in No 9 steal a march on the rest of the fleet when they bunched up at the Committee Boat end of the line. Finishing at Nainby, Mark was two and a half minutes ahead of Russ in No 1, with Jos in No 8 half a minute later.

Congratulations to Rory Morrison who won the Redwing Gunston Trophy and to No 1 One-Design who won the Lowry Corry Cup.

Early starts again next weekend!

Additional photos at

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