“The Bembridge One Designs always start their season at Easter – this year was no different. What was different was the much better than normal weather!
On Good Friday, the sun was out and there was a very pleasant westerly F4 providing perfect racing conditions for the ten boats that rigged up and headed out the harbour for two short races. Sadly No 11 helmed by Alexander Ross lost the pin on one of their stays at the start of the first race so had to retire shortly after the start. The other nine boats has a long beat from Fitzwilliam to Old Church followed by a run down to Moreton and beat back to finish at Fitzwilliam. It was a close race with No 1 helmed by Rob Mathieson leading the way with Hugh Doherty in No 10 in hot pursuit. They finished ahead of a group of six boats who finished in close order; No 9 (Pete Truman) just beating No 7 (Sarah Marshall), followed by Nos 8 (Peter Harvey) & No 4 (John Suffield) almost in a dead heat for 5th place and Nos 6 (John Deacon) and 12 (D Orange) after them.
In the second race, the wind had moved to a SW 4, and a course of Tara, Moreton, Ruthven followed by a long beat to finish at E was set. The first leg was a single tack which saw John Deacon in No 6 lead at Tara, which he never lost thereafter. They were followed home by Nos 10 (Hugh Doherty), 8 (James Row), 9( Penny Stanley), 4 (John Suffield) and 12 (D Orange), after a fascinating final beat which saw the fleet split between those who went inshore and those staying out hoping to benefit from the tide. However, as the first four to finish proved, it paid to go inshore after Ruthven.
Saturday’s race schedule was also for two races; not a brilliant start by most for the first one, and the beat from Under Tyne to Nainby and then back to the line via Tara, called for some interesting decisions to be made in the sparkling F4 WNW’erly breeze. Although Jos Coad in No 4 & John Deacon in No 6 were never far apart, it was John who read the final short beat best and crossed the line just over 10 seconds ahead. Robin Joy in No 10 was third, five seconds ahead of Peter Harvey in No 8.
The course was extended for the second race with Cochrane as the leeward mark and the finish at Footprint. After a better start with everyone crossing the line within 30 seconds, John Deacon in No 6 was soon out in front and by the time he reached Cochrane he was well ahead of Alexander Ross in No 11, Hugh Doherty in No 10 and Jos Coad in No 4. By the finish, John was almost four and a half minutes ahead of James Row in No 8 who had tacked early after Cochrane and gone inshore. Alexander in No 11 was third and Martin Bonham in No 2 was fourth.
Although earlier in the week rain had been forecast for Easter Day, in the event it was another lovely sunny day. Unlike the previous two days, only one longer race was programmed, so the WNW’erly F3 breeze meant that Drum & Cochrane would be ideal windward & leeward marks. The initial decision that helms had to make was to decide whether to risk crossing the shingle bank between St Helens Fort and the shore. No one did, at least for the initial beat! However John Deacon in No 6, who had again established a healthy lead did lead everyone back down the run across the bank without anyone going aground. The long testing beat back from Cochrane took rather longer than the Race Officers had expected so it was decided to shorten the course and finish after the first round particularly as the fleet had become quite spread out from front to back. As expected, John took line honours about two and a half minutes ahead of Rob Mathieson in No 1, with Peter Harvey in No 8 third about 20 seconds later. It was great to see No 10 helmed by new provisional member Oriol Espinet having a close race with Norman Marshall in No 7; also close were Martin Bonham in No 2 and Penny Stanley in No 9.
With overall victory for the Oppenheim Trophy already sealed by John Deacon in No 6 providing James Row did not win and no 6 did not come last, the pressure was on David Shaw who took over as No 6’s helm for Monday’s final race. Set a target time of an hour and a quarter as a number of people had ferries to catch, the Race Officers choose Moreton as the windward mark and Garland, via Footprint as the leeward one. After a reasonable start with all eight boats crossing the line within half a minute, progress against the tide was slow not helped by the decision to race with normal jibs rather than genoas. However, everyone eventually made it and on the run down to Footprint the lead two, Peter Summerhayes in No 1 and James Row in No 8 were well ahead of the chasing group of Robin Joy in No 10, Martin Bonham in No 2 and David Shaw in No 6. With the lightish ENE breeze backing to the NE a course change was made at Footprint and the windward mark for the second round became Janson and the leeward finish mark Old Church. A testing and at times frustrating beat against the tide which saw a number of place changes. However there was no stopping James in No 8 who crossed the line a minute and a quarter ahead of Robin Joy in No 10; Alexander Ross in No 11 was third. David Shaw was fourth which secured the Oppenheim Trophy for No 6.
No racing next weekend; the following one is the early May Bank Holiday which sees the One-Designs racing for the Woodroffe Bowl and the Redwings for the Quail Trophy.”
Start of the second race on Easter Saturday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p50WkBcoHZM
Start of Easter Monday’s race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgCjmgYO7tI