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Bembridge SC Weekend Keelboat Racing

by Robin Joy & Mike Samuelson 10 Jul 09:03 BST 8-9 July 2023

Overcast conditions and a 10 knot southerly greeted five Redwings and three One-Designs on Saturday afternoon, but by the time a start line had been laid near the Fort the wind had almost disappeared.

Luckily just 15 minutes later it returned from the south-east, and the Redwings were sent to Tara, and then Britten, twice round. Billy Clegg in Lady Laetitia, Colin Samuelson in Toucan, Mark Downer in Enigma, and Matt Alexander had good starts, with Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet a little behind having wandered too far from the start line. There was a good sailing breeze by now and Mark led at the end of round one, followed by Matt and Colin. The windward leg was changed to Under Tyne, and Colin stayed out on starboard, which paid off handsomely, and he took 200 yards out of the fleet in a few minutes. Colin won, followed by Mark, Matt, Billy and Joe.

As it was nearly 17:00 a short race up to Under Tyne, back to Britten again, with a finish back at Under Tyne near the moorings was set. The dying breeze however turned this into a slow affair, with no real way of shortening. Mark took his cue from Colin's offshore tack success in the previous race, but exactly the opposite resulted, and he never recovered! Matt ghosted over the line first, Colin was second, followed by Joe, Billy and Mark.

The three One-Designs were given a shorter windward leg to Under Tyne, but this was mistakenly announced by the RO as Garland on the VHF. Which is where Charles Abel Smith in No 7 headed, with Charles Perry in No 8 and Simon Allocca in No 1 heading to neither Under Tyne or Garland. Check the course boards was today's lesson! Charles Abel Smith benefited from the others' confusion, and won convincingly from Charles P and Simon.

For time reasons No 8 headed ashore, while No 1 and No 7 (now helmed by Sarah Marshall) stayed for a second race. As with the Redwings this was very slow going, and an intended short Under Tyne, Britten, Under Tyne race became nearly an hour. Sarah led Simon over the finish by a few minutes.

Sunday afternoon's forecast was more promising with 12-14 knots from the South with sunshine as the afternoon wore on. And it was pretty accurate! Nine Redwings and three One-Designs gathered in the start area off Janson with the Redwings set Under Tyne, Ruthven (S), Tara (S), Derrick and finishing at Nainby, and the One-Designs had Fitzwilliam instead of Tara. After clean start with a couple of boats some way off the line, the Redwings soon split tacks with Mark Downer in Enigma staying on starboard and Colin Samuelson in Toucan tacking onto port as soon as he had crossed the line.

Start of Sunday afternoon's Redwing Race

Mark lead the way round Under Tyne with Matt Alexander in Harlequin, Mike Toogood (who had got up ridiculously early to get Tara out of the harbour), Digby Morrison in Lady Laetitia, Colin in Toucan and Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II hot on his heels. At Ruthven, Enigma had extended her lead, and Harlequin had moved ahead of the rest. After an excellent beat to Tara, Enigma rounded a minute ahead and by the time she finished at Nainby (via Derrick), she was a minute and a half ahead of Harlequin with Lady Laetitia third, forty seconds later. Red Gauntlett II was fourth.

No 8 One-Design helmed by Alexander Ross was closest to the line at the start of their three boat race. No 8 and No 7, helmed by Charles Abel Smith single handed, tacked soon after the start while No 1, helmed by Simon Allocca, stayed on starboard. Alexander rounded Under Tyne just ahead of Charles and Simon and looked as if he had the race sewn up, however by the time they came to round Fitzwilliam, it was No 7 who rounded first a good twenty seconds ahead of the other two. However, Alexander managed to get back in front during the final beat from Derrick to the finish at Nainby. Charles was second ten seconds later with Simon third by quite a long way.

All in all, champagne sailing conditions with a testing beat to get back into the harbour.

Early morning starts next weekend because of the tides!

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