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Ovington 2021 - ILCA 1 - LEADERBOARD

Early May Bank Holiday Keelboat Racing at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 6 May 10:32 BST 30 April - 2 May 2022
First weekend of the 2022 Bembridge Keelboat Season © Mike Samuelson

The early May Bank Holiday weekend traditionally welcomes the start of the Redwing season so it was good to see at least a dozen on the Redwing Quay waiting to be launched. Although not all actually ventured forth, there were enough for some good racing in the very light airs that dominated proceedings.

On Saturday morning five boats headed out for the first of two races. With the breeze light and varying from E to SE, the ROs decided to get them away in the hope of a steadier breeze settling in. From the start at Garland the windward leg to Fitz was followed by a run to Nainby with the finish back at Garland. Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet and Mike Toogood had the best starts and headed inshore on port tack.

However after 10 minutes the wind veered by 70 degrees, and most boats were able to fetch Fitz on starboard. Colin Samuelson in Toucan and Jonathan N-L in Snowgoose were the first two round and maintained these positions on the slow run and modest beat back to the finish. They were followed by Red Gauntlet and Richard Jessel sailing Quintessence. A navigational misunderstanding put Tara rather behind the others, so the ROs gave her a proxy finish and called her in so a short second race could be started.

With the breeze steadying a little, a quick beat from Garland to Tara was followed by a run back to Garland and then a reach in to finish at Pepe at least gave the fleet another start, with Red Gauntlet the winner by 3 lengths from Snowgoose. With the ebb tide away and the wind dying, boatmen Rod & Charlie were on hand to assist some of them back to their moorings.

Meanwhile six One-Designs had just enough wind to fill their genoas. In the first race, only Charles Perry in No 8 managed to find some wind on the start line and built up a lead before the others got going. The wind freshened enough to enable the beat to E before slackening again for a slow run back to N picking up when tacking back to finish at G. No 8 retained his lead and was followed home by Simon Allocca in No 1, Charles Abel Smith in No 7, Susie Beart in No 5 and Xander Shaw in No 6; Martin Bonham in No 2 never made the windward mark and retired.

The race officers set an even shorter course for the second race, beating up to E again and then a run back to Pepe via G. The wind had picked up by the start to F2/3 and Simon Allocca in No 1 got away from the others which left David Bennett in No 7, Xander Shaw in No 6, Jos Coad in No 8 and Martin Bonham in No 2 to battle it out for second and third. The wind held until just before the finish at Pepe when, after No 1 had won comprehensively, the rest of the fleet closed up making a tight finish, even though the placings remained the same.

With a 6 knot breeze swinging between 120 and 180 degrees setting a course on Sunday morning certainly had its challenges, but a start line using E (Hello Sailor) as a windward mark was laid for the seven Redwings; they then had a long run to Derek, a beat back to E, then Britten and back to the line. Colin Samuelson in Toucan led from Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet on the beat and first run with the light conditions spreading the fleet somewhat.

Shortly after rounding Derek the wind shifted 180 degrees, helpfully making the second beat into a run, and Harlequin and Gannet decided to call it a day in the very slow going. A course change was then made to give a windward leg from E to Nainby with a finish at Pepe. Colin maintained his lead and Joe just held off Jonathan N-Luxmoore in Snowgoose by less than a length to keep second. They were followed home by Richard Jessel in Blue Jay and David Bennett helming Quintessence.

After a beat to E, the four One-Designs only went as far as Britten for their leeward mark. Jos Coad in No 8 led at E closely followed by the other three3 boats. A very slow run to B resulted in all four boats arriving together. Having rounded the mark, the wind swung 180 degrees, so they ran back to the finish at Garland. With the fleet moving very slowly almost in a line, the finish saw Martin Bonham in No2 just beating Jos Coad in No 8, Charles Abel Smith in No 7 and Katie Mathieson in No 1, all finishing within a minute.

Despite the light winds everyone stayed for a second race which was set as E (with a running start), N and finishing at Pepe. A slow run to E resulted in all boats having a problem rounding the mark with a strong easterly flowing tide. Hugh Doherty in No 8, managed to get round, hitting it, but getting away and able to perform his penalty before any of the others had successfully rounded. He was well ahead when the race officers cancelled the rounding of N changing the course to finish directly at Pepe. Hugh was followed home by Charles Abel Smith in No 7, Martin Bonham in No 2 and Katie Mathieson in No 1.

Although Monday's forecast was no better than the previous two days, six Redwings decided to give it a go. A laid line to the east of Old Church provided a good first beat to E, then a slow run to Old Church before a shortish (and slow) beat to Garland with a run to Pepe to finish. After a good start, all headed inshore to keep out of the tide.

Although no one was going anywhere very fast, forward momentum was made by most, most of the time! Colin Samuelson in Toucan was first round with Mike Toogood sailing single handed in Tara reasonably close behind. On the slow run to Old Church, Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II, Jonathan Nainby Luxmoore, single handed, in Snowgoose, Crispin Kenyon helming Blue Jay and Xander Shaw in Harlequin closed the gap and there was not much between them as they began the shortish beat to Garland, however, Colin started his 'engine' and 'motored' into a huge lead!

With the breeze almost gone, Mike in Tara and Joe in Red Gauntlet II eventually managed to ghost over the finish line; the remainder (including Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence who got stuck in a windless hole) agreed to finish in the positions they were. With three firsts and a third over the weekend, Colin in Toucan was the clear winner of the Quail Trophy.

There were no One-Designs; they had wisely decided that there was not going to be enough breeze to make a race worthwhile. This left No 8 as the winner of the Woodroffe Bowl.

Next weekend (7th & 8th May), its mid-afternoon racing with the Redwings are competing for Lt Col Stanley's Inkwell and the One-Designs just for out of season points. Find out more at

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