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Bembridge Redwing Gunston Trophy and Bembridge One Design Lowry Corry Trophy

by Mike Samuelson 27 May 21:36 PDT 25-27 May 2024

The late May Bank Holiday weekend traditionally sees the Redwings competing for the Gunston Trophy, and the One Designs for the Lowry Corry Trophy.

Saturday was a lovely sunny day with a gentle F3 ESE that was much enjoyed by nine Redwings and seven One-Designs. Positioning the Committee boat at E the Redwings were sent for their first race to Cochrane, back to Nainby with a beat to finish at E. After an 'interesting start' which saw Matt Alexander in Harlequin well over the line at the start and having to come back, James Wilson in Quail led the fleet from Cochrane, followed by Hugo Cuddigan in Capella II, Colin Samuelson in Toucan and Rory Morrison in Paroquet. After Nainby, James and Hugo retained their positions to be first and second, but Matt Alexander in Harlequin made up ground to come third and Billy Clegg in Lady Laetitia 4th. Rory came in 5th, followed by Richard Jessel in Blue Jay 6th, Colin 7th and Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore 8th with Rosie Gosling 9th. The lead boat came in after 43 minutes 20 which was pleasing as the course was planned to take 45 minutes!

For their second race, the wind had moved to SSE so, although Cochrane remained the windward mark, Britten was selected as the leeward mark which gave a more challenging beat back to E. Again Quail lead the fleet throughout, with Lady Laetitia taking an inshore running course for Britton and overtaking a couple of boats to finish 2nd, followed home by Paroquet 3rd, Harlequin 4th, Capella 5th, Blue Jay (now with Crispin Kenyon helming) 6th, Snowgoose was 7th, Gosling was 8th just pipping Toucan in 9th. Sending the fleet to Britton rather than Nainby increased the time taken by the winner to 52 minutes - the breeze remaining remarkably consistent throughout.

The course for the One Designs was Tara, Nainby and back to E. D Orange in No 9 was first round Tara followed by Alexander Ross in No 8 and Russ Fowler in No 1. No 9 deployed their spinnaker and simply left the rest of the field for dead - having gone from just rounding Tara ahead of No 8 to a lead of some 200 yards at Nainby. After the beat back to E No 9 won by a clear three and a half minutes from No 8; Russ Fowler in No 1 was third, followed by Robin Joy (No 10), Sarah Marshall (No 7), Martin Bonham (No 2) and Mark Hodgkinson (No 6). The course for the second race was altered to replace Nainby for Britton, as for the Redwings. D Orange in No 9 was third round Tara after Pete Summerhayes, now helming No 1, and Alexander Ross (No 8). Deploying the spinnaker, No 9 again sailed away to be well ahead (it looked like some 300 yards) at Britton. Pete made up very good ground on the final beat but it was not enough to catch D in No 9 who won by just under 2 minutes. Third was Robin Joy (No 10) who just pipped Alexander (No 8) with Sarah Marshall again fifth, Mark Hodgkinson sixth and Roy Burrows, now helming No 2, seventh.

It was good to have good turnouts on such a lovely day.

After heavy showers overnight, Sunday morning saw sunny periods, with a more boisterous breeze from the SWest. The Redwings were programmed for three races and the One-Designs just one. With the line set off Janson, the first Redwing race then had a challenging beat to Garland, back to Janson then Garland, a run to Ruthven and a final leg back to Janson. Split tacks on the first leg saw Matt Alexander in Harlequin just ahead of James Wilson in Quail and Rosie Gosling in Gosling. As the race developed, Quail moved into the lead to finish twenty seconds ahead of Harlequin. Paroquet (Rory Morrison) and Gosling tied for third place. Sadly the final beat back from Ruthven to the finish at Janson did not quite work as a well as had been hoped after the breeze backed 30 degrees. However...!

Start of Redwing Race 1 on Sunday 26 May

After a lengthy postponement to allow Lady Laetitia to join in the second race and an AP half way through the sequence when the breeze veered back to the SW, the start of the second race was close with Quail timing it to perfection.

Start of Redwing Race 2 on Sunday 26 May

Split tacks on both the long beats in from Ruthven in the slightly increased breeze were certainly quite challenging and although Quail led the way, one slip and any of the following three or four could have snatched victory.

Redwing Race 2 at Ruthven on Sunday 26 May

In the event, James gave nothing away and finished twelve seconds ahead of Rosie with Matt ten seconds behind.

In the meantime, the One-Designs set off for just one race on the same course. With their new very smart storm mains and normal jibs, they were obviously a bit slower than the Redwings, but not by much; indeed the sail combination worked well in the stronger gusts of around 22 knots. After a good start, Mark Grzegorczyk in No 9 sailing three up always looked to go the right way on the beats to Garland and sensibly decided to leave the spinnaker tucked away under the deck on the runs to Ruthven.

Start of One-Design Race on Sunday 26 May

Despite best endeavours, Hugh Doherty helming No 10 (two up) had to be content with second, a minute behind Mark. There was then quite a large gap to Jos Coad helming No 8. Having been ahead of No 3 helmed by Stephan Ludwig, with about 75 metres to the finish line, Martin Bonham in No 2 had to pull out of the fray when his jib sheet came adrift. No 1, helmed by Rob Mathieson retired about half way through the race.

The third Redwing race of the day had only three takers - Quail, Paroquet and Snow Goose. To make a change, it was a running start from E to Janson and then a beat to Pepe before running back to Janson and finishing back at E.

Start of Redwing Race 3 on Sunday 26 May

After a close rounding of Janson, Quail pulled out what looked like an unbeatable lead ahead of the other two boats on the beat to Pepe. However thinking that the race officers would never have set the leeward mark (Janson) to port as it was arguably 'looping', they rounded to starboard only to find that the race officers had indeed set it to port (Ed: Well we did think about it and decided that with so few boats it was safe!) By the time they had corrected themselves, Paroquet had overtaken them and Snow Goose was breathing down their necks. A good example of the old adage of 'its never over until the fat lady sings.'!

Monday's forecast was for sunny periods and a bit less wind than the previous day. In the event it started off that way windwise but then the gusts increased to 20 + knots as the afternoon went by. The Redwings had two races programmed; disappointingly only 4 boats wanted to race in the first race so it was decided to have a cup of coffee before heading out to the Under Tyne moorings. After a good start at Janson and split tacks to Garland, James Wilson in Quail got there just ahead of Matt Alexander in Harlequin and Rosie Gosling in Gosling with Rory Morrison in Paroquet a few boat lengths behind. Quail extended her lead on the run back to Janson but Harlequin got the next beat right and rounded Garland ahead. A lead that they held for the rest of the race to finish about a minute ahead of Quail with Paroquet a close third after just over an hour's race.

Although they came out to join in the second race, Toucan decided that it was too windy for them to enjoy racing so returned back into the harbour. After a quick re-location of Sea Breeze to Footprint, the second race started with a General Recall after three of the four boats over cooking it in spades. Use of Flag U for their second start ensured that they got away at the second attempt. Quail lead the way round the windward mark (Pepe) with Harlequin and Paroquet initially only boat lengths behind. However as the multi-round race progressed James moved into a commanding lead and left Harlequin and Paroquet to battle it out for second and third. At the finish at Pepe, Quail was almost a minute and a half ahead of Harlequin with Paroquet forty seconds later. Although Gosling was always fourth, it was only by a minute at the finish.

The five One-Designs, set the same course as the Redwings, made a good start but it was not long before D Orange in No 9 moved into an unassailable lead. As the previous day, they decided to sensibly leave their spinnaker in its bag.

One-Design start Monday

After the start Sarah Marshall helming No 7 was the only boat to go about and head towards the St Helens shore. Rounding Pepe last proved it was not thr right way to go! Although No 9 was always out in front, the other four boats changed places during the multi lap race. Initially in second after rounding Pepe for the first time, No 10 helmed by Charles Evans finished last after diverting to recover his crew's (Hugh Doherty) cat that blew overboard! Jos Coad in No 8 moved into second on the second round and Sarah did a lot of catching up on the final beat to come in third.

After a challenging weekend's racing, Quail won the Gunston Trophy and No 9 One-Design the Lowry-Corry Trophy.

Additional Photos at

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