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Redwing & One-Design late-July racing at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 31 Jul 09:51 BST 24-28 July 2023

Keen to get some practice in before Cowes Week, three Redwings had a frustrating afternoon on Monday (24th July) when, prior to the start the initial SE breeze died and turned into a SW'erly before dying off completely and the Race Officers abandoning. Typically it returned, albeit from the NE however as it was by then raining hard, so no-one was too disappointed.

Tuesday afternoon was more promising and four Redwings and initially three One-Designs had some nice sailing in the SW F4 breeze. Starting at Fitzwilliam, the simple windward-leeward course was a initially twice round Under Tyne and Ruthven and finishing at Under Tyne.

After a good start, Hugo Cuddigan in Capella II headed inshore while Alex Downer in Enigma, David McCue in Musicus and Alex Andreae in Prawn tacked onto port and headed towards St Helens Fort. Although not a lot in it, Capella II rounded Under Tyne just ahead of Enigma and Musicus. The run to Ruthven saw no change in the order but by the time they got back to Under Tyne, Musicus had moved into 2nd place.

With the breeze going right a bit, the course was changed after rounding Ruthven for the second time to Garland before finishing at Under Tyne. Not only did this provide a better beat but also extended the course slightly. Although it looked at one stage that Musicus had moved into the lead, this was not to be and Capella II finished two seconds ahead.

Three One-Designs set off on the same initial course; Simon Allocca in No 1 was the only one to be close to the line at the start, however it was at the pin (F) which meant that Charles Perry in No 8 and Jos Coad, sailing single handed, in No 2 starting close to the Committee Boat were well to windward. No 8 rounded Under Tyne safely ahead of the other two. On the long-ish run to Ruthven, No 1's blue spinnaker looked to be pulling well in the fairly boisterous conditions.

However it took them a bit off course and after an unplanned gybe and Russ Fowler getting a bang on the head they decided to call it a day and head back to the moorings. In the meantime, No 8 developed a substantial lead and despite best efforts by Jos to narrow the deficit, finished over three minutes ahead.

There was a nice 13 knot Southerly on Wednesday afternoon so it was disappointing that there were only three Redwings and no One-Designs. After a very gentlemanly start at Janson, the first beat to Under Tyne was close with Rupert MacInnes in Avocet just rounding ahead of Hugo Cuddigan in Capella II and Libby Butler helming Prawn. Although the rest of the race, which took them to Derrick and Garland twice with a finish at Under Tyne, looked like being a bit of a procession, in fact it proved to be quite testing with Hugo trying hard to find a way to get ahead of Rupert.

However it was not to be and Avocet was nearly a minute ahead at the finish. Libby did very well and made up a bit of ground on the final beat into Garland.

Windy and heavy drizzle on Thursday afternoon put paid to any racing. However conditions were better on Friday morning for the Redwing passage race to Cowes. Seventeen boats made a good reaching start from a line off Footprint in a F3 SWesterly.

Rosetta, helmed by James Tate was the first to turn westerly to Cowes at the Red Post off No Mans Land Fort with Matt Alexander in Harlequin and Billy Clegg in Lady Laetitia close on his heels. The breeze held and at the finish on the RYS line, the order was Harlequin, Lady Leatitia, Musicus, Quail, Tarpon, Paroquet, Gosling, Tara, Plover and Blue Jay II.

Having been lying fifth, Engima turned back to the moorings before crossing the line so was a DNF. The remainder retired and went straight to the moorings. With D Orange the only One-Designer wanting to race, she decided to remain ashore.

With the Redwings away at Cowes three One-Designs came to the start on Saturday, with a stiff south-westerly dictating small mainsails. The wind direction gave Garland-Janson as a good windward/leeward course, so a start line was laid between them. A cautious start to Race 1 featured Stefan Ludwig in No3 (in his first One-Design race) nudging the ODM and taking a 360 penalty.

Russ Fowler in No1 led D Orange in No9 at the windward mark, and despite Stefan splitting tacks from the leaders on the second beat he could not catch up, and the order remained unchanged at the finish. For Race 2 the first windward leg was extended to Pepe, then downwind to Janson, a beat to Garland, with a finish by the moorings at Under Tyne. A better start saw the three boats quite closely bunched as they approached Pepe, but then Stefan's jib sheet came to grief, and remedying this put him out of contention.

The breeze was now freshening towards 25 knots, and Russ again managed to build a lead over Monty Orange, now helming No 9, and came home a clear winner. However, as the only contender for the family pairs, the Orange family in No 9 won the Margetson Trophy.

Drizzle and a forecast of strengthening winds (F5 SW'erly) was enough to persuade even the hardiest of One-Designers to remain ashore on Sunday morning. There was no racing at Cowes for the White Group.

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