Five Redwings & four One-Designs made it to Itchenor and back over the weekend in very mixed conditions. The passage race on Saturday morning never happened because of the lack of wind however the Redwings hitched a tow with the BSC Commodore behind his yacht Sea Fever while the Club Committee Boat, Sea Breeze towed the One-Designs. Plans to let them sail part of the way were binned when it was clear that there was no chance of them making Itchenor by lunchtime under sail.
With the signs that the forecast SWesterly F2 sea breeze kicking in after lunch looking good, the decision was taken for the afternoon racing with mixed Itchenor/Bembridge crewing in the Swallow, Redwing, Sunbeam, X-OD and Bembridge One-Design fleets to go ahead. A good call as there was just enough of a breeze for some very enjoyable racing. One of the most important lessons when racing in Chichester is to not go aground and although the One-Designs achieved this, two Redwings paid the penalty, No 41 Quintessence for rather longer than No 30 Quail! Colin Samuelson in No 11 Toucan was soon out in front of the Redwing fleet and never looked liked being caught; Joe Robertson in No 24 Red Gauntlet II was second for most of the race but was unable to hold off Jessica Speare-Cole in No 2 Avocet on the final run to the finish line. Although none of the One-Designs had to struggle with the Chichester mud, Peter Summerhayes in No 1 and Martin Bonham in No 2 did both miscalculate the strength of the flooding tide and have to take penalties after hitting one of the marks. Fortunately Peter was so far ahead that it made no difference to the final places. No 8 with Itchenor helm Caroline Marriage helming and Class Captain Jos Coad crewing was second and Martin was third.
Nearly sixty members of BSC & ISC enjoyed a delicious dinner on Saturday evening which culminated in the afternoon winner’s (Colin & Peter) being awarded the special picture trophies by Gayle Palmer who had had them painted a couple of years ago.
Sunday opened with heavy rain and a F5 south westerly which dampened a few spirits, however conditions in Chichester harbour were reasonable and with seven X-ODs, who were racing to Bembridge for lunch leading the way, the One-Designs & Redwings were soon on their way home. Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence & Colin in Toucan were neck and neck as they passed Hayling Island Sailing Club and found themselves trying not to intimidate the large numbers of Oppies who were making their way out of the harbour to their start area to the west of the entrance spit in the fairly rough seas. With the wind on the nose and the tide going eastwards, the three fleets then had a long beat all the way to Under Tyne. Although a few decided to try their hand and follow a middle course, most stayed on the port tack and kept inshore to minimise the tide. First across the finish line at Under Tyne was the X-OD Class Captain John Tremlett in a time of 2 hours 50 minutes; second just under a minute later was the Redwing Class Captain Colin Samuelson in Toucan with Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence about four and a half minutes later. After them it was a mix of X-ODs & Redwings with the One-Designs bring up the rear with their Captain, Jos Coad coming in first after 3 and a half hours. All agreed it had been a challenging race!