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Bembridge One-Designs Easter 2024 racing for the Oppenheim Trophy

by Mike Samuelson & Race Officers 2 Apr 17:43 BST 29 March - 1 April 2024

With ten One-Designs back in the water for the 2024 summer season it was perhaps a bit disappointing that only two boats rigged up for the opening races on Good Friday. Mind you gale force winds, icy rain and travel chaos the previous day (on Maundy Thursday) may well have had something to do with it!

However the two boats that did venture forth in the F5 SW'erly breeze enjoyed the challenging conditions. Keeping in the flat water a bit for the first race, a triangle was set round Pepe, Galand and Nainby. Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in No 11 made the pin end by a hair's breadth, with Mark Grzegorczyk in No 9 in hot pursuit. Unfortunately Mark suffered a jib shackle failure half way up the first beat and dropped out of contention, so the race was shortened to one round.

In the second race, started at Nainby with Pepe as the windward mark twice round plus an extra beat. Mark overcooked start and had to bail at the pin end. Jonathan therefore took a 50m lead and built this by heading off on port. Mark split away on starboard, but to no avail. Jonathan tried to let Mark catch up by losing his mainsheet, and then with a gybe taking him the wrong side of the leeward mark, but still managed to keep his reducing lead at the finish.

Eight One-Designs raced in a lovely sunny 10 kts South Easterly early on Saturday afternoon. The first race was a modest 2 rounds between Janson and Under Tyne, with the fleet splitting between the offshore and onshore routes. Jonathan again led the fleet home, with Sarah Marshall in No 7 finishing second. Jonathan then in fact retired, as he had unknowingly touched a mark, and learned of this too late to take a penalty. Just behind them Xander Shaw in No 6 kindly ceded his third place to Mark G (today sailing No 4) after a difference of opinion at the finish line. They were followed by Pete Summerhayes in No 1, Hugh Doherty in No 10, D Orange in No 9, and Martin Bonham in No 2.

There was a longer first beat up to Tara, followed by a zig-zag to Janson and Under Tyne with a running finish at Nainby for the second race. Despite a very timid start from most boats there was some crowding at the committee boat, and No 10 (with Charles Evans now at the helm) needed to take a penalty as a result. The fleet were tightly bunched for much of the race, with Mark winning by 40 seconds from Xander. Sarah was third, followed by Jonathan, Martin, Tad Ross (now helming No 1), and Penny Stanley (now helming No 9) were next, within a boat's length after 50 minutes racing, followed by Charles who was recovering strongly from his earlier penalty.

Disappointing turnout on Easter Sunday, probably due to family demands not to mention an easterly breeze and a lumpy sea. However the two boats that ventured out had a great sail, with blue sky and even the sun came out towards the end. The breeze abated to a steady F3 SE and the course was set as UnderTyne, Pepe and finish back at Garland. The first race saw D Orange helming No.9 take a port flyer avoiding scows from BHYC and led all the way. The finish was close with Martin Bonham in No 2 about a minute behind. The second race was similar but with an extra downwind leg to finish at Pepe. The start saw Martin in No.2 clear ahead on port at the Committee Boat end. Mark Grzegorczyk in No.9 started well to windward at the pin and had caught up by the windward mark. However some issues with the main sheet allowed Martin to retake the lead, which he held until the finish. In all, a great afternoon's sailing.

With a late start on Monday afternoon because of the tides, numbers racing were not as good as on Saturday, but at five boats were better than Friday and Sunday! The Easterley F3 breeze and sunny periods provided fine sailing conditions and after starting at Janson the first boat to Under Tyne was No 11 helmed by Jonathan Nainby Luxmoore who had ducked the starting line to be first away at the pin end. Mark Grzegorczyk sailing No 4 was not far behind. No 9, helmed by D Orange, touched No 1 helmed by Russ Fowler and took an early penalty which resulted in her being last at the windward mark. However, at the leeward mark, Derrick, she managed to get the inside berth to move up one place. This order remained for the balance of the race which finished at Pepe. Overall, the winning boat for the Oppenheim Trophy was No 9 and the winning helm was Mark Grzegorczyk.

No One-Design racing next weekend (6 & 7 April) or the weekend after (13 & 14 April).

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