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Bembridge Sailing Club Early June Keelboat Racing

by Mike Samuelson 5 Jun 05:25 BST 3-4 June 2023

Although we certainly can't complain about the wall to wall sunshine, the persistent NE'erly F4 breezes are getting a bit tedious!

On Saturday all 12 One-Designs headed off to Seaview (via the Lifeboat Station) for lunch and then had a nice sail back afterwards - the majority to the Under Tyne mooring ready for three short races on Sunday. Great organisation by Charles Evans and Andrew Eddy - thank goodness for WhatsApp! Four Redwings meanwhile decided against risking a race to include the Solent Forts for the now mythical Nicholson Trophy, however they opted for two races rounding St Helens Fort on each round.

Starting close to the harbour at Pepe, the first race had Janson as the windward mark, Drum as a wing mark back to Pepe twice. Rory Morrison in Paroquet nearly got away with a port tack flyer at the pin end of the line but either thought he had over cooked it or had to take a penalty after Mike Toogood in Tara reckoned that he had to alter course to avoid a collision.

Start of first Redwing race

After an excellent beat to Janson, Tara lead the way by a healthy margin; Paroquet was second with Alex Andreae (junior) helming Prawn and Robin Ebsworth helming Quintessence quite close. After a course change at Pepe that swapped Britten for Janson and Nainby for Drum, Mike had a bit of a brainstorm and overstood on the beat to Britten. This put both Rory and Alex ahead and despite best efforts he was unable to catch them.

After a quick discussion over the VHF, it was agreed that the second race should be a bit more ambitious with Ruthven as the windward mark and Britten as the wing mark so as to 'round' St Helens Fort for the third time. Unfortunately Alex Toogood now helming Tara got too close to the line and when bearing away to correct cut across Quintessence and although Robin did his best to avoid contact they got intertwined and took a minute or so to get themselves sorted. Fortunately both boats were able to continue the race albeit in catch up mode.

Start of second Redwing race

The beat to Ruthven provided some great sailing and Paroquet was first to round about a minute ahead of Prawn and Tara with Quintessence a bit further back. There was little the back three could do to rein Rory in and to make it two wins for the day. Alex in Prawn sailed very well and certainly deserved his two second places. Just a pity that there were not more boats out racing; also that despite best efforts to purchase the Nicholson Trophy when it came up for sale after RNC& RAYC sadly went into Administration in 2021, there is no actual trophy!

Sunday was again wall to wall sunshine but with a reduced F3 NE'erly that made for a slightly smoother sea. Eleven One-Designs, as part of the Eddy/Evans weekend, had shortish three races and the only two Redwings (both with under 25 helms) out racing had just the one race. What with the Club organising a Prep Schools challenge weekend and the Harbour a Gig rowing event, who needs to go abroad!

With the One-Designs starting an hour earlier than the Redwings, Races 1 and 2 involved short sausages from Tara, to Fitzwilliam, then a leeward mark close to the moorings and back to the finish at Undertyne, all to Port in the first race and Starboard for the second race. Race 3 was just a beat to Fitzwilliam and a run to the finish at Pepe.

Race 1 started in their usual well-mannered way with a well-ordered procession established in the run back to the inflatable. No 9 flew her spinnaker to good effect. The final result was first No 9, second No 2 and third No 8.

Start of the first One-Design race on Sunday

The start of Race 2 was much better and it was good to see No 3 sailed by her new owner Stefan Ludwig up with the leaders. After another testing beat to Fitzwilliam, the run back to the inflatable was a bit of a procession, but the short beat back to the line caught a few out. The final result first No 10, second No 5 and third No 3.

Start of the second One-Design race on Sunday

Aside from No 3 trying to start a minute early and having to mark time, the third and final race saw another good start. The first leg to Fitzwilliam remained as testing as the previous two races but then the long run to the finish at Pepe saw No 1 consolidate their lead over No 7 and No 9. The next five places (No 8, No 10, No 11, No 3 and No 2) all finishing within a minute. This meant that No 1 (helmed by Russ Fowler & Simon Allocca) won the bottle of wine for being the overall winner, with the Wooden Spoon going to Susie Beart!

Start of the third One-Design race on Sunday

Starting fairly soon after the second One-Design race, Libby Butler helming Prawn started at the favoured committee boat end of the line. However it was Will Toogood helming Tara who tacked into an early lead on the long beat to Ruthven.

Start of the Redwing race on Sunday

In an uneventful race in champagne conditions Will extended the lead to finish 8 minutes ahead of Prawn at the Pepe finish line via Garland and Britten. Sadly for Libby, although originally programmed for the Mercedes Trophy (a lady helm), the decision had been made earlier in the week to move it to another day when more lady helms were likely to be around.

Difficult tides again next weekend so its another Friday night Challenge next Friday evening with afternoon starts on Saturday & Sunday from Undertyne.

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