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Bembridge Sailing Club Weekend Keelboat Racing

by Mike Samuelson 14 Jun 06:36 BST 12-13 June 2021

Another light airs weekend requiring patience and copious amounts of suncream to protect against the wall to wall sunshine!

Early on Saturday afternoon, eleven Redwings and four One-Designs drifted out of the harbour in eager anticipation that the forecast F3 southerly sea breeze would kick in as the mainland heated up. There would have been twelve Redwings but Gosling found themselves hanging under one of cranes on the Redwing Quay with no power.

After a chase off Under Tyne for the elusive breeze by the Committee Boat (Sea Breeze) and some judicious towing by Rod & Leo, the Redwings got away for their first race over half an hour late. Although Beetle Cole, helming Redwing was pushing his luck mid line, he was given the benefit of the doubt as Sea Breeze was swinging on the tide at the start.

Start of the first race on Saturday

Matt Alexander in Harlequin was first round E with Colin Samuelson in Toucan within striking distance; then there was a considerable gap which got longer on the run to Janson and back to the line. There was a similar story on the second round with Harlequin and Toucan sailing away from the rest of the fleet. Richard Jessel in Blue Jay II was third nearly three minutes behind the leading two boats.

The second slightly longer race, saw Toucan initially in the lead but then being overtaken by Harlequin as they rounded Janson.

Start of the second race on Saturday

Harlequin managed to remain ahead for the rest of the race that was finished at a windward inflatable laid between G and #. Toucan was second and Avocet, being helmed by Mike MacInnes,was third, forty seconds later. As always there was some close racing lower down the fleet; for instance, Redwing beat Quintessence by 5 seconds.

The four One-Designs had the same courses for their two races. In the first, Penny Stanley in No 9 had the best start and established a commanding lead ahead of No 1 helmed by Simon Allocca. William Bland in No 12 and Jos Coad, sailing single handed in No 8, were some way off the pace so were unable to challenge the front two. In the second race, after probably the best start, Jos in No 8 turned out to be the boat to beat.

Start of the second race on Saturday

Russ Fowler now helming No 1 was always in a challenging position but had to make do with second, 10 seconds behind Jos. Helen Mathieson helming No 12 was third and Mark Grzegorczyk helming No 9 brought up the rear.

The key decision on Sunday early afternoon was whether to risk the Redwings sailing round No Man's Land Fort as the third race for the Nicholson Trophy - a replica Redwing that was presented to the RNC & RAYC in Southsea by the class designer, Charles Nicholson, many years ago as a prize in their annual Regatta. Although over the years the format has changed, its become synonymous with a race 'round the Forts'! With the SE'erly F2 forecast to drop as the afternoon wore on, it was decided to play it safe and limit involvement with the 'Forts' to St Helens Fort!

Seven Redwings therefore started off a laid line just east of Old Church with Tara as their windward mark; favouring the inshore track, Colin Samuelson in Toucan was the first to tack, however the others soon followed suit and it was not long before there was a tacking duel along the shore towards the Lifeboat Station.

Start of Sunday's race

Matt Alexander in Harlequin was first round with Alastair Speare-Cole helming Avocet, Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snow Goose, Colin in Toucan and Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II not far behind. Harlequin extended her lead on the run to Britten and the reach to Nainby to complete the rounding of the Fort. A second round saw similar tactics and similar results, albeit Toucan moved up to third and Red Gauntlet II got ahead of Snow Goose.

After nearly an hour and a half racing and with the fleet quite spread out, a slightly short notice change of course was passed over the radio to get them to finish at Pepe. Harlequin got there first by over a minute and a half to convincingly win the elusive Nicholson Trophy; Avocet was second just under a minute ahead of Toucan and Red Gauntlet II finished thirty seconds ahead of Snow Goose. Nick Woolgar in Redwing had retired after one and a quarter rounds.

There were only two One-Designs; No 1 helmed by Peter Summerhayes and No 9 helmed single handed by Mark Grzegorczyk. After both had started on port close to the pin end of the line, they initially followed the Redwings inshore en-route for E, however Peter then tacked off and found the better breeze and rounded well ahead of Mark. Even if the order remained the same and Peter finished at Pepe nearly two minutes ahead, twice round (E-B-N) with a short third round using Footprint as the windward mark provided some perfect sailing.

Start of Sunday's race

Next weekend there is a race on Friday evening, a late afternoon race on Saturday and an early morning race on Sunday.

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