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Bembridge Redwing Fortuna 1924 Cup at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 26 Jun 2022 21:45 PDT 25-26 June 2022

It was the Round the Island Race on Saturday so the task for the Race Officers was to get two races completed before the endless stream of boats carved their way from the Bembridge Ledge to No Mans Land Fort.

Although certainly enough of a breeze (SSW F4/5) for the twelve Redwings, who had two excellent races, the RTIR fleet could probably have done with a few more knots. After a short postponement to allow the last couple of boats to reach the start line off Britten, there was the usual 'tight squeeze' at the Committee Boat end of the line.

Start of Race 1 Saturday

Start of Race 1 Saturday taken by Serena Gosling

The fleet soon split tacks as they headed to the windward mark (Garland). Matt Alexander in Harlequin was first round with Rory Morrison in Paroquet and Colin Samuelson in Toucan hot on his heels. There was very little in it as they headed down wind to Derrick which Rory rounded just ahead. On the beat back to Footprint, Toucan went left and Paroquet & Halequin went right. Matt was just ahead as they ran back to Derrick, however Paroquet got the lead back and by the time they crossed the finish line were just over 30 seconds ahead of Harlequin who pipped Toucan by a single second. In the meantime Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II and Richard Jessel in Blue Jay battled for fourth place with only a second separating them as they finished close to pin end of the line with Joe just managing to keep clear as he crashed tacked to cross the line a couple of inches ahead.

Finish (2nd & 3rd places) of Race 1 (by Xander Shaw)

The start of the second race saw Toucan inch perfect as she crossed the line at full throttle.

Start of Race 2 Saturday

Harlequin (now three up having picked Xander Shaw off the Committee Boat between races) was again first round the windward mark (Garland) and held onto a slender lead as they reached to Janson ahead of Toucan and Redwitch, helmed by Henry Thorpe.

Leeward Mark Race 2

Although the beat to E (Hello Sailor) was a bit of a procession as everyone headed inshore, it was a nevertheless quite challenging in the Force 5 gusts. The run back to JJ and the beat back to the finish at E saw Harlequin consolidate her lead and finish over thirty seconds ahead of Toucan. Paroquet also moved u into third with Redwitch fourth. Seven to eleventh were extremely close (sadly no video!) with Tara (Mike Toogood), Blue Jay (Crisin Kenyon), Quintessence (Robin Ebsworth), Avocet (Alastair Speare-Cole) and Snowgoose (Jonathan N-L) separated by mere seconds.

As predicted, the breeze got up overnight, however as it was from the SW, the boats were well protected on their moorings at Under Tyne. Come mid-morning and with the wind at SW/S 20 knots gusting 23 knots, nine crews rigged up and headed out to the start area of Fitzwilliam ready for their 10:00 start. Seawitch, helmed by Henry Thorpe had a problem with a jig sheet and as they were only two up, wisely decided to retire and return to the harbour. Once on their way to E (Hello Sailoir) the sea state improved and the remaining eight doughty competitors had an excellent race as they zig zagged back towards the harbour.

Those who spotted that the first leg was not a dead beat caught up those on Starboard heading for the Nab Tower. Paroquet helmed by Rory Morrison rounded E to starboard first; on the long run down to Derrick the fleet spread out a bit with Harlequin, helmed by Matt Alexander and Red Gauntlet II helmed by Joe Robertson close behind. The long beat to Garland offered various routes though inshore was favoured in the bumpy conditions. Harlequin, Paroquet and Blue Jay, helmed by Class Captain Richard Jessel were the first three as they rounded G to starboard. The final two legs, first a run to Drum and then a dead beat to the finish line at Pepe saw some try the offshore route outside St Helens Fort, and some go for the smoother waters inshore. At the finish Harlequin had stretched out her lead, winning by nearly minute; second to cross the line was Paroquet, however she subsequently retired after it was pointed out that she had rounded Drum the wrong way. This meant that Blue Jay moved up to score a second. Third, fourth and fifth places were hotly contested with only 5 seconds between Avocet, helmed by Michael Macinnes, Tara, helmed by Mike Toogood and Red Gauntlet II.

Three keenly contested races and with two firsts and a second, the Fortuna 1924 Cup was won by Harlequin. There were no One-Designs either day. Afternoon tides next weekend so hopefully we will see another good turnout of Redwings and a few One-Designs.

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