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Bembridge One-Design early June racing

by Mike Samuelson 3 Jun 03:59 PDT 1-2 June 2024
Bembridge One Design race start on 2nd June © Mike Samuelson

The plan had been for a group of Redwing and One-Designs to race to Fishbourne on Saturday morning, have lunch at RVYC and then return to Under Tyne ready for Sunday morning's normal racing.

In the event, the forecasted and actual F5 Northerly breeze put paid to this as it was sensibly concluded that anchoring just outside Wootton Creek while crews went ashore for lunch was simply not practical or for that matter, safe.

It was therefore agreed to have two races for anyone wanting to race. As there was no enthusiasm within the Redwing fleet to take on the sporting conditions, it was left to five One-Design crews to take up the challenge. The first race saw all six boats starting at the pin end of the line after a 5 degree wind shift half way through the starting sequence. No 11, helmed by Mark Adams was first round Britten with D Orange in No 9 and Russ Fowler in No 1 not far behind. Mark was still ahead after the first round however most boats forgot that the course had included the £ sign which means to go through the line on the upwind leg. D took advantage of this and took over the lead with No 7 helmed by Charles Abel Smith in No 7, second and Martin Bonham in No2 third. No 4 helmed by Simon Allocca retired with 'mechanical failure' and headed back into the harbour.

Having re-set the line to accommodate a significant windshift, the second race headed to Britten, then it was back to Garland, Britten to starboard and the finish at Under Tyne. All boats started on starboard at the pin end of the line. With the exception of No 1 helmed by Russ Fowler who was a bit late starting they then tacked onto port. Mark Grzegorczyk helming No 9 was first to get round the windward mark and held onto the lead initially ahead of Charles Abel Smith in No 7 and Martin Bonham in No 2 although on the second beat, No 2 moved up into second.

With no Redwings wanting to race, it was agreed on Saturday evening to delay Sunday's One-Design start by an hour. Initially still quite lumpy from the previous day, and with some forecasts suggesting at least a F3 Northerly, normal sails were the order of the day. In hindsight probably the wrong decision as the breeze veered to the SE and dropped as the morning wore on. With No 2 helmed by Roy Burrows opting for a sail rather than a race, the other four boats made a reasonable start at Undertyne (well if you discount the slight bumping between No 11, helmed by Susie Beart and No 1 helmed by Alexander Ross) with Fitzwilliam as the windward mark.

Start Sunday

Alexander tacked early and headed offshore, the other three stayed on starboard as the breeze played with them. After 26 minutes, No 1 rounded Fitz with No 9, helmed by Penny Stanley next round two minutes later. The gap to No 7 helmed by Sarah Marshall and No 11 was 'considerable! The course was changed at Undertyne to Tara and back to E with a final short beat to a laid finish line. Things initially looked good with No 1 seemingly with victory in the bag after heading inshore; however the fickle breeze and strengthening ebbing tide had other thoughts! Indeed at one stage it looked as if No 11 would avoid the fate of the other three as the tide took them backwards towards the Ledge, however in the end, with it looking like a stalemate, it was decided to abandon the race. By then, No 7 was closest to the hastily laid line at Tara so although in the end a non-scoring race, Sarah and Charles viewed it as a moral victory!

Next Saturday its the Redwing Edwardian race for the Bembridge Harbour trophy, with normal racing on Sunday. The One-Designs have normal racing on Saturday and the Ed Burrows single handed race on the Sunday.

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