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GJW Direct 2024 Dinghy

Bembridge Redwings & One-Designs Mid-May Racing

by Mike Samuelson 13 May 04:39 BST 11-12 May 2024

The weekend after a Bank Holiday, a Club Meeting's weekend and Walk the Wight on Sunday meant low numbers were out racing, despite early afternoon tides, and for the Redwings, the weekend trophy of Lt Col Sloane Stanley's Inkwell.

After the previous evening's spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis, there was a light breeze from the ESE awaiting the three Redwings and three One-Designs for the first of their two races when they eventually made the start area between Footprint and Garland. Snow Goose helmed by Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore and Blue Jay helmed by Bruce Huber were both close to the line at the start; Harlequin helmed by Xander Shaw less so! However having tacked once clear of the line, at one stage it looked as if he was going to trump the other two at the windward mark (E), but it was an optical illusion and Bruce and Jonathan rounded well ahead. In the run to Nainby, Bruce established a commanding lead and Xander caught up so that Snow Goose and Harlequin rounded very close together. Blue Jay extended her lead on the beat back to the finish line and Snow Goose moved well ahead of Harlequin.

After a very quick turn around and with the breeze increasing to 9 knots the second race started with Xander being shut out at the Committee Boat and subsequently crossing the line well behind the other two. Again tacking early paid off and although still behind Bruce at Under Tyne, Harlequin rounded in second. On the run to Nainby all three boats were neck and neck and from afar it looked as if Harlequin was first round, however she then took a penalty turn after barging in without rights. On the beat to Footprint and subsequent run to the finish at Pepe, Bruce developed a two minute lead over Harlequin with Snow Goose a couple of minutes behind.

Use of genoas instead of normal jibs would have been a sensible in the light airs, however the three One-Designs were still able to maintain a bit of momentum. No 8, helmed by Charles Perry and No 9 helmed by Mark Grzegorczyk made reasonable starts with No 1, helmed by Simon Allocca a bit off the pace. However they were all pretty close at the windward mark and with No 1 and No 9 quickly flying their spinnakers it was interesting that No 8 without one did not drop that far behind. Rounding Nainby close together, Mark motored into a convincing lead on the beat back to the line. After a good start to their second race, Alexander Ross, now helming No 1 tacked early, Mark took the middle route and Charles decided to stay our for as long as possible. No 1 and No 9 rounded Undertyne very close together with No 8 not too far behind. Spinnakers took a bit longer to fly on the run but it was similar to the first race with No 9 establishing a substantial lead by the time they reached Nainby. With the Redwings already on their way to the finish at Pepe, it was decided to shorten the course for the One-Designs and so they did not do the extra beat to Footprint. Suffice to say no one complained! Mark finished three minutes ahead Alexander with Charles a minute later.

Conditions on Sunday afternoon were pretty similar to the previous day, although with a bit more north in the wind direction. This allowed the start to be based on Pepe with Moreton (for the Redwings) and Tara (for the One-Designs) providing good long first beats. Although Bruce Huber, helming Snow Goose for the race managed to put pay to Xander in Harlequin getting a perfect start, both boats were close to the line when the hooter sounded. Both then beat up the Bembridge shore try to dodge the tide. Having lead most of the way Bruce over stood on the final long tack and Xander rounded Moreton just ahead. On the long and slow run back to Pepe both boats took slightly different routes and Snow Goose rounded a few boat lengths ahead. With Harlequin then appearing to then find every hole there was on the beat to Garland and back to the finish at Pepe, Snow Goose crossed the line six minutes ahead.

The three One-Designs made a good start and as they had rigged normal jibs were set Tara as their windward mark.

Start Sunday 12 May

All three went into the Bembridge shore. Charles Perry in No 8 rounded well ahead and then had a frustrating time as Mark Grzegorczyk in No 9 got their spinnaker flying nicely and not only overtook Charles but then rounded Pepe well ahead. Unfortunately Mark missed a course change so over stood which allowed Charles to round Garland just in front. With Mark deciding against flying his trusty spinnaker as it was not that far back to Pepe, it was nip and tuck between the two as they ran down towards the finish. A duel that went down to the wire with Charles somehow managing to hold on to take a well deserved first. Sarah Marshall in No 7 meanwhile found every hole there was so had a frustrating race, but full marks to her for perseverance.

Early tides and therefore early starts next weekend (09:00/09:10 on Saturday & 08:30/08:40 on Sunday)!

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