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Final weekend of the Bembridge Redwing and One-Design 2023 racing season

by Mike Samuelson 2 Oct 2023 06:01 BST 30 September - 1 October 2023

Seven Redwings and nine One-Designs enjoyed some champagne conditions on Saturday morning with lots of sunshine and a Force 3 Southerly breeze.

With BHYC hosting their leg of the Isle of Wight Junior Dinghy Championships, the first of two races started from a laid line south of Janson and went eastwards to keep out of their way. The first leg was a perfect beat to Undertyne; split fleets saw Colin Samuelson in Toucan and Matt Alexander in Harlequin play cat and mouse as they lead the fleet on a run to Ruthven and a perfect beat to Tara. However on rounding Tara, they were so eyes down on covering each other that they failed to spot Serena Gosling in Gosling powering through on the broad reach to Janson and onto the finishing line. Harlequin was second, less than a boat length ahead of Toucan with Mike Toogood in Tara a similar distance behind in fourth.

Start of Redwing Race 1 Saturday

Having originally cleared the use of Garland with the BHYC Committee boat, the second race went westwards with the finish at Pepe. The first leg was the same as the previous race, but then they headed off to Derrick before beating in to Garland, then a run to Drum and a testing beat to Pepe. As in the previous race, the front runners were Harlequin and Toucan, although by the time they reached Garland, Harlequin had established a substantial lead which they kept to the finish. Although in the event it actually worked out fine, the Garland to Drum leg was made a bit more complicated as it ran smack through BHYC's Tera and ILCA course which they had moved further to the east than expected! Good experience for the young sailors if nothing else! With Harlequin well ahead and Toucan securely in second, the question was who was going to be third and fourth with Tara and Gosling seconds apart. After some tense tacking, it was Tara who took third.

In the first One-Design race the long run from E to R was perfect for determining a handicap for boats using spinnakers. The two boats with spinnakers - No 9 and No 1 - were timed as against those without. No 9 (Penny Stanley) took exactly 12 minutes whereas No 11 (Jos Coad) which had rounded E with No 9, took 13 half minutes - an appreciable difference. Both No 9 and No 1, having rounded R together, were then caught on the beat back to Tara set as a starboard rounding. No 1 (Peter Summerhays) arrived first, rounding it incorrectly to port some 15 seconds before No 8 (Alexander Ross) came steaming down from the other side on starboard. Peter's race was lost due to the time taken to correct the error. No 9 and No 11 then followed No 8 correctly rounding to starboard. From then on, No 8 retained and extended their lead, followed home by No 9 and No 11 who finished a couple of seconds apart. No 2 (Martin Bonham) was fourth and Sarah Marshall in No 7 was fifth.

Start of One-Design Race 1 Saturday

In the second race, the course took the nine boats (including No 12 (Charles Perry) which had arrived too late for the first race) across the whole Bembridge area from Tara, near the Lifeboat Station across to Drum off Priory Bay. This gave rise to significant wind shifts which created havoc with the order on each leg. No 5 (Susie Beart) was comfortably first round Derrick but over the very tricky beat to Garland, went to the back of the fleet arriving there last! After the run to Drum she then made up to finish second on the final beat to Pepe!

As regards the winner, the race was decided on the beat to Garland, where having been sixth round Derrick, Jos Coad in No 11 put in a 200 yard tack after rounding the mark to get clear wind, and promptly overtook the whole fleet to arrive at Garland with a 200 yard advantage. Half way to Drum he received a major increase in wind speed which the following boats only received later, resulting in his lead extending to 400 yards at Drum. He was never going to be caught after that. While No 5 sailed through the fleet on the final beat others went into reverse; No 9 (Mark Grzegorczyk) dropping from second at Drum finishing sixth. No 10 (Robin Joy) was third, Russ Fowler in No 1 was fourth and Alexander Ross in No 8 was fifth.

Start of One-Design Race 2 Saturday

Not quite so much sunshine and in the event a knot or two less breeze on Sunday but still some of the best racing all season. With a Force 3 SSW'erly, starting at Janson provided the most flexibility. As the previous day, Undertyne provided a perfect beat for the seven Redwings and five One-Designs. Then it was twice round a Ruthven/Tara loop with the Redwings then running to Derrick with a final beat to the finish at Pepe and the One-Designs only going as far as Britten.

Although there was a bit of vocal encouragement on the line when the Redwings started, it was a clean start with the fleet then splitting tacks as they beat to Undertyne.

Start of the Redwing race on Sunday

Colin Samuelson in Toucan rounded Ruthven less than a boat length ahead of Matt Alexander in Harlequin with H|enry Thorpe in Redwitch snapping at their heels.

Redwing's rounding Ruthven for the first time

She was still ahead the next time they rounded R but on the third and final time Harlequin had moved into the lead and remained there for the rest of the race finishing nearly 2 minutes ahead of Toucan. Redwitch was third and Serena in Gosling was fourth.

There were only five One-Designs and having been shut out at the Committee Boat at the start, Sarah Marshall in No 7 had a bit of catching up to do.

Start of the One-Design race on Sunday

No 9 (Mark Grzegorczyk sailing single handed got ahead after the first mark and comfortably held his lead to the finish. No 8 (Alexander Ross) and No 11 (Jos Coad) were close together for much of the race with No 7 (Sarah Marshall) close behind until Britten, the final mark. On the final beat No 8 and No 7 had a close fight with No 8 just claiming second after No 9 and No 2 (Martin Bonham) got a lift after Britten and caught No 11 on the first element of the beat to the finish. A long course that took 2 hours 10 minutes and with all five boats finishing within several minutes showed what a wonderful day it was to finish our season.

Two excellent days racing to finish off what has been a rather mixed (weather-wise) season.

Next weekend the tides are wrong so the Illusion Winter season starts on Saturday 14th October and we look forward to welcoming some new helms having a go on the 'Invitational Day' on Sunday 15th October.

Additional photos at

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