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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

Bembridge SC early August keelboat racing

by Mike Samuelson 15 Aug 2022 06:38 PDT 3-14 August 2022

Wednesday 3rd August

Initially overcast and looking a bit gloomy, three One-Designs rigged up normal sails and headed out to the line to the west of Fitzwilliam. After some discussion ashore it had been decided that one longer course race would be the order of the day. Pepe made a perfect windward mark and after a good start by all three boats, Jos Coad in No 8 soon established a healthy lead rounding well ahead. Russ Fowler in No 1 and D Orange in No 12 were much closer together; indeed up until the final few tacks to the eventual finish there was never much water separating them. After Pepe they had a long run to Ruthven, then back to Pepe, a run to Fitz and a final beat to at Hello Sailor! No 8 finished at least three minutes ahead of No 12 who crossed the line 30 seconds ahead of No 1.

Thursday 4th August

With the Cadets using Garland as their base, the seven One-Design were started from Fitzwilliam to keep their racing well clear. On a day with a fickle W3/4 that then moved from WSW settling on a WNW direction which enabled a course for the first race of Britten, Moreton and back to Fitz to be set. With the breeze settling to F3, twice round was clearly too optimistic. Charles Perry in No 8 was first round Britton with Mark Grz in No 9 following; unfortunately Charles headed off towards Tara whereas Mark set course for Moreton, all bar one of the others following him. Conscious that a second race was programmed, the RO advised the boats headed for Tara of their error as they got to E (to make sure they finished in time for a second race!). Mark was well in the lead at Moreton and finished ahead of Charles, with William Bland in No 12, Susie Beart in No 5 and Russ Fowler in No 1 following.

As the first race had taken the best part of an hour, the second race was a beat to Britten and run back to Fitz. No's 8 and 9 were again first round Britten, Mark in No 9 overtaking Charles in No 8 on the run back to Fitz, coming home with Russ Fowler (1), Charles Abel-Smith (7) and D Orange (11) following them.

Friday 5th August

Almost a cloudless sky and a F3 NE'erly offered some lovely sailing; after the previous day's turnout, it was therefore a pity there were only three takers. No 8 helmed by Charles Perry made trhe best start (off Hello Sailor!) and was the first to round the windward mark (Britten) and the leeward mark (inflatable) but No 6, helmed by Xander Shaw tacked early to get back to the line and with the other two taking the offshore route, it was a move that paid off in spades and they crossed the line nearly a minute ahead of No 8 with D Orange in No 12 a couple of minutes later.

With the breeze backing slightly, the second race used Drum and Tara. Xander made the best start after Jos Coad now helming No 8 was blocked by William Bland helming No 12 as they approached the Committee Boat. With little to loose, Jos tacked early and went out while the other two headed towards the St Helens shore. It was pretty even at both rounding marks, but as in the previous race, Xander made the best choice of tacks on the beat back to the line and finished just under a minute ahead of Jos with William some way behind.

Saturday 6th August

The One-Design's race for the Brinton Cup over this weekend but, as the forecast is for very limited wind on Sunday, it was agreed there should be two races on Saturday morning. Given the Northerly F3/4, that was due to drop to next to nothing by midday, the first race was from Hello Sailor! to Janson (due north), back to an inflatable leeward mark laid at the eastern end of the mooring trots with a final beat of several hundred yards back to E. In the first race, Charles Evans in No 10 had a major tussle with Mark Grz (9) but held him off to win; D Orange (12) and Susie Beart (5) followed them home, with Charles Perry (8), who had started late, retiring on the downward leg. The wind held to enable the race to be completed in 30 minutes.

The same course was retained for the second race as the wind was beginning to soften and the RO was anxious that they should complete their two races before it died altogether. As in the first race, No 10, piloted by Hugh Doherty this race, and Mark in No 9 were ahead at Janson and were nip and tuck at the leeward mark after the run, with the others in close order behind them. Hugh got too close to the wind after rounding the mark, which enabled Mark to overtake him and get away to win. Susie Beart in No 5 came through to be second, followed home by Hugh in No 10 and D Orange in No 12 who just pipped Charles Perry in No 8. The race took 37 minutes as the wind was softening, and within 20 minutes of the finish had died altogether.

Sunday 7th August

With 5/6 knots of wind from the East, there were 3 enthusiastic helms who were determined to get their sail in beautiful sunny conditions. Starting from E (Hello Sailior!) the course was Tara, Garland and E to port, a rather optimistic 3 times round - in case the wind got up further but close inshore in case it died. This was duly reduced to twice round as anticipated giving a race of exactly 90 minutes. D Orange in No 11 lead at the first mark and Garland but she was caught by No 8, Lavinia and Charles Perry, on the beat back to Tara. They were neck and neck rounding Garland the second time but the Perrys got away on the final beat to the line to win, with D second and Mark Grzegorczyk some way behind third.

Following Mark's success on Saturday he was declared winner of the Brinton Cup.

Monday 8th August

It was another cloudless sky and a light NE to SE breeze on Monday morning; the first day of Bembridge Race Week. There were eleven Redwings, three of which are here from Poole (via Cowes) to help celebrate next Saturday's 125th Anniversary of the Redwing Class. The original plan for the first race was twice round a fairly short course starting at Hello Sailor! (E) with Fitzwilliam as the windward mark and an inflatable leeward mark. After a short postponement to ensure everyone made it to the start line, and given a less than perfect line following a 10 degree windshift it was good to get them away without any recalls. Colin Samuelson in Toucan demonstrated again how well she goes in light airs and lead the fleet as they rounded Fitz. On the run to the leeward inflatable, the decision was made to change the course, swapping Tara for Fitz and finishing on the run at Hello Sailor! The beat to Tara was certainly a better one and although well ahead, Toucan had her work cut out staying ahead of James Wilson (single handed) in Quail and Mark Downer in Enigma. Well done to family Chetwood in Ladybird who finished a very creditable fourth. Although at the back of the fleet, Snowgoose (R105) & Fortuna (R110) finished within a second of each other.

For the second race, the windward mark remained Tara, but the leeward one was changed to Nainby. After rather a lot of bumping as boats tried to keep clear of the Committee Boat, the first beat saw split tacks with Enigma going in towards the shore out of the tide quite early. A good tactic as she rounded ahead of Toucan, Quail and Capella II helmed by Jaffa Orange. On the slow run to Nainby, the fleet spread out left and right of the rumb line trying to find the best of the breeze. The beat back to the finish line at Hello Sailor! was quite a tricky one to get right. Mark managed to hold off Colin who just pipped James by a couple of seconds. As always some close racing throughout the fleet especially between Fortuna (R110) and Prawn II (R103) who were only a second apart.

There were three One-Designs and with genoas, they certainly held their own with the Redwings in the light and fickle breeze. In the first race, D Orange in No 12 was first to round Fitz but James Beart in No 5 dominated the second half of the race and finished nearly a minute ahead. However, he overcooked the start of the second race and from then on was always in catch up mode. As Redwings did, they spread left and right on the run to Nainby which D rounded well ahead and then successfully held her lead to finish almost a minute and a half in front of Charles & Lavinia Perry in No 8.

Tuesday 9th August

An overnight North Easterly made for quite lumpy conditions initially for the second day of this year's 'Bembridge Week' on Tuesday morning. Indeed had it been a bit rougher, transferring crews to their boats from could have been a bit of a show stopper. As it was, the crews for ten Redwings and six One-Designs were safely transferred by Rod and Assistant Boatman Sam. Having initially thought that the Redwings would have a good race to St Helens Channel Buoy and the One-Designs to Ruthven, by the time the Race Officers (Mike & Robin) had set the start line up off Hello Sailor!, the breeze had dropped to around 5 knots so for the second day running the windward mark was Fitzwilliam and the leeward mark was the inflatable.

Heather Culpan in Snowgoose (R105) and Andrew Eddy in Plover were both OCS and although Plover made it back pretty quickly, Snowgoose took longer and rather sealed her fate for the rest of the race. It was a testing beat to Fitzwilliam as everyone tried their hardest to read the zephers; given their previous track record it was no surprise that first to round was Colin Samuelson in Toucan; the surprise was that it was by quite such a large margin! The next four (Andrew Eddy in Plover, Tom Chetwood in Ladybird and David Swinstead in Vera) were all close and the finishing order was up for grabs. After a slow run to leeward inflatable and beat back up though the moorings, Toucan finished five minutes ahead of Ladybird with Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore coming through in third a second or two ahead of Vera with Plover a second later!

The second race was the 'Crew Race'; in other words the helms had to be someone who does not normally helm. All ten Redwings came to the line and set off in the light Easterly breeze to Tara. Toucan (helmed by Becky Samuelson), Snowgoose II (Alex Andreae jnr) and Vera (Lottie Pink) tacked early and went inshore to find the weaker tide; definitely the right move as all three rounded Tara well ahead. They then had a very slow run to a leeward inflatable before beating back to the finish at Hello Sailor! Becky held her lead and crossed the line nearly a minute ahead of Alex with Lottie a couple of minutes later.

Despite only sporting normal sails, the six One-Designs certainly did not disgrace themselves. Set the same course as the Redwings, the leading boat, James Beart in No 5, actually finished ahead of the back markers. Penny Stanley in No 9 was second and Charles Perry in No 8 was third. Having found the going very slow and with a very young crew, Jos Coad in No 2 decided to forgo a second race; as did James in No 1 an Sarah Marshall in No 7. The three remaining boats (No 9, No 12 & No 8) set about trying to catch the Redwings. Mark Grzegorczyk taking the helm of No 9, worked his usual magic and finished ahead of the last two Redwings and a minute ahead of D Orange in No 12 with Lavinia Perry third, a minute later.

Wednesday 10th August

Ten Redwings and one One-Design congregated off Hello Sailor! in the hopes of of a competitive long distance race for the Zanen Trophy. With a forecast of a steady F2/F3 NE'erly, the obvious course was to St Helens channel buoy, back to Hello Sailor! and then a short loop to Fitzwilliam and a running finish back at E. All went well to start with; the Redwings were spread out along the line and the sole One-Design (No 8 helmed by Jos Coad) went for a port tack start at the pin end; however with the breeze dropping off at the critical moment, he had to tack to avoid Toucan helmed by Colin Samuelson.

Start of the Zanen Trophy race:

The combined fleet then split tacks as they sought to find the best breeze. With most making it at least to half way to St Helens, the breeze then dropped and further progress became rather torturous; by 11:30 a number decided that enough was enough, so the Club launches were tasked to pick up the back markers. After some discussion with the front three (No 41 helmed by Mark Grzegorczyk, No 6 - Blue Jay helmed by Richard Jessel & No 11 - Toucan) all who were kedged it was decided to abandon the race and tow everyone back to their Under Tyne moorings. Naturally five minutes later the first zephyrs of the forecast S/SE'erly could be seen ruffling the water!

Thursday 11th August

Another frustrating day - mind you we should not really be complaining about the wall-to-wall sunshine; just a pity about the fickleness of the breezes. Sadly the F2 NNWesterly with put paid to any possibility of the ten Redwings wanting to race setting off to the West Princessa for the Princessa Trophy. Instead it was agreed to go for two shorter local races. The first was from Hello Sailor! to Britten, a run to a leeward inflatable and and a beat back to line - optimistically twice! The start saw most of the boats neatly spread out along the line. The majority stayed on starboard almost all the way to the entrance channel; initially it looked as if Ashley McLucas in Tarpon had played a blinder by tacking early and making the best use of the tide, however by the time everyone came together at Britten, it was Colin Samuelson in Toucan in the lead yet again. The slow run to the leeward mark saw Avocet, helmed by Mike MacInnes, Plover helmed by Andrew Eddy and Enigma helmed by Mark Downer trying to find the best route to the inflatable leeward mark. Although there was not a lot in it, Andrew took second, nearly 3 minutes behind Colin with Mark in third, ten seconds ahead of Mike.

With the 4 knot breeze backing to the WNW, the second race had Footprint as the windward mark, Hello Sailor! as the leeward mark and a finish back at Footprint. However, just after the start (which had Enigma OCS), the direction backed even further which meant the first leg was a close reach; with Garland looking as if it would offer a short beat, the course was changed and Sea Breeze set up a finish at Garland. Toucan was again the first to drift across the line, followed by Mary Luxmoore-Styles in Capercaille three minutes later. Plover was third. With Delta primed and ready to help tow boats back to the moorings at Under Tyne, within minutes the 'midday SE'erly started to move in and most boats had an excellent beat back to their moorings!

There were only three One-Designs; all tacked soon after the start and made slow but steady progress to Britten. No 5, helmed by Susie Beart and No 8, helmed by Charles Perry got away from No 7 helmed by Charles Abel Smith and were always close. Indeed as they came up to the finish line they were so close that either could have won, however No 8 failed to keep clear and took a penalty which left Susie finishing a minute and a half ahead. All declined the offer of a second race!

Friday 12th August (BSC Regatta)

For the first day of the BSC regatta the hot weather continued to provide uncertain sailing conditions, with the lack of wind sadly preventing any Mermaids coming to join us from Seaview.

Sixteen Redwings started into a 10 knot SE from a start line just inshore from Janson, with Hello Sailor! as a windward mark and Britten as the leeward mark giving a short course with three rounds to aid shortening if needed. Colin Samuelson and crew in Toucan continued their recent excellent form and quickly established a healthy lead, but were very nearly caught on the final run by David McCue in Musicus and James Wilson in Quail, who had both elected to gybe inshore out of the adverse tide. Colin however managed to hold on to win from David, James, and Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet.

The five One-Designs were sent on the same course, but just for two rounds; however they made such good progress that their second beat was extended to Tara. The right hand side of the beats paid off for Sarah Marshall in No7, and she led the fleet home ahead of Charles Perry (No 8) Susie Beart (No 5), Mark Grz (No 9) and a solo John Suffield (No 4).

Three Squibs from RVYC were given the final start of the day, on the same course as the One-Designs, with their spinnakers helping them in the light running conditions. Unfortunately Panther did not pass through the start line at the end of the first round, leaving Philip Russell in Icarus to win from Chris Gear in Osprey.

Saturday 13th August (Redwing 125th Anniversary Sail Past)

A key part of the 125th Anniversary celebrations of the Bembridge Redwings was a sail past of as many Redwings as possible. Led by the Bembridge Lifeboat (RNLB Alfred Albert Williams - Tamar Class All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17), thirty-three Redwings 'sailed past' in numerical order the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Mrs Susie Sheldon, embarked on Lady A anchored off Silver Beach. An amazing site to behold and blessed by the weather God's who came up trumps!

Saturday 13th August (BSC Regatta)

A firmer and steadier SE breeze on Saturday raised hopes of better racing, and happily seven Mermaids from Seaview were able to join us.

After their 125th Anniversary parade, over twenty-two Redwings started from near Janson on a longer beat to Cochrane followed by a run via Janson down to Derek with a planned subsequent Tara - Derek round to follow. After a highly competitive start and beat, the wind died near Cochrane, with a choppy sea slowing progress further. The lead group of Quail, Ibis, Red Gauntlet II, and Enigma were crossing tacks and were closely bunched at the mark. The downwind leg into the tide was also very slow going, and getting the launches back into the harbour after racing added to time concerns. Therefore a course change to a beat from Derek to a Hello Sailor! finish was signalled. James Wilson brought Quail home in 1st, followed by Red Gauntlet II, Enigma, and Tom Scott in Ibis who unfortunately missed the course change message.

The Mermaids followed the same course as the Redwings, and suffered the same frustrations rounding Cochrane. A couple of boats called it a day on the slow run, but James Burridge in Bluebell persevered to win from David Carter-Johnson in Cynthia and Jeremy Spencer-Cooper in Scuttle.

The One-Designs course was also shortened, to end up being a beat to Tara, a run via Janson to Derek, and then a beat to finish at Hello Sailor! Penny Stanley in No 7 started well and led all the way, winning from Alexander Ross in No 8, Lavinia Perry in No 5, Martin Bonham in No 2, and Jos Coad in No 6.

The same three Squibs as Friday raced over the same course as the One-Designs, with Kestrel sadly becoming becalmed in Priory Bay and unable to get to the start line. After a long slow race only 1 minute covered the three boats finishing, with Icarus again winning, from Panther and Osprey.

Sunday 14th August (SVYC Regatta)

Another day of fickle breezes and there was initially a general postponement. After numerous WhatsApp messages, and the One-Designs deciding to remain on their moorings at Under Tyne, it was agreed that there would be a Redwing race at 14:50 for any boats who wanted to race (Bizarre, Enigma, Red Gauntlet II and Ibis). Sadly the breeze that had picked up around midday started to drop off near start time and with a strong westerly tide, progress around a triangular course was slow in the extreme. Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II took the win after the race had to be shortened.

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