Keelboat Racing – 23rd & 24th July 2022

Twelve Redwings and six Bembridge One Designs crept to the start line in light and variable winds on Saturday morning and the line was reset three times before a meaningful course could be set! What wind there was remained constant long enough for the Committee Boat to be positioned between ‘Hello Sailor’ (E) and JJ with an inflatable ODM and a windward / leeward course set: E, JJ, line, twice round.

The first beat to E worked well but the run to JJ turned into a beat and the beat back to the line turned into a run with the boats in the middle of the course sitting in irons where the southerly breeze from the shore cancelled out the northerly breeze from the sea! Mark Downer in Enigma was leading after the first round, followed by Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II. Fortunately the southerly breeze eventually took over to give a good beat to the finish, with Enigma remaining in first place, closely followed by Red Gauntlet II in second place. Rory Morrison in Paroquet was third.

The six Bembridge One Designs sailed the same course with the leading boats starting to overtake the last of the Redwings until they too were becalmed half way between E and JJ. Jos Coad in No 8 was ahead after the first round, followed by Charles Abel Smith in No 1 and D Orange in No 12. Benefiting from the strengthening wind from the south and the prolonged lull which becalmed the fleet in the middle of the race saw the places changing at the finish. John Suffield in No 4 was first, Susie Beart in No 5 was second and Jos Coad was third.

The wind settled into steady force 4 from the south for the start of the second race and there were nine starters in the Redwing fleet. Having rigged genoas for the light winds, the Bembridge One Designs were over-canvased and returned to their moorings.

The Committee Boat moved once again to set up a start line at Janson and the course was E, JJ, twice round with a finish at E. The excitement of a steady fresh breeze caused several Redwings to be OCS at the start and a General Recall signalled. There was better behaviour on the second attempt and all boats were clear of the line. At the end of the second beat, Mark Downer was in the lead, Rory Morrison was in second place and Michael MacInnes in Avocet was in third. The final positions of the leaders didn’t change and Engima finished 13 seconds ahead of Paroquet. Avocet was third.

Sunday morning conditions were much more stable and provided arguably the best conditions so far this season. With the start line based on Janson, ten Redwings made a good start and were all pretty close rounding the windward mark (Hello Sailor) before heading off on a long run to Warner.

Start of Redwing Race 1 (Sunday) –

Initially Paroquet lead the way but Enigma and Capella II helmed by Mike Orange were not far away however by the time they were approaching Footprin to finish, Mark had built a significant lead and never looked as if he was going to be overtaken. Indeed over a minute separated him from Mike Toogood in Tara who just pipped Capella II and Paroquet after the long and challenging beat back from Warner. Although five Redwings then sailed back to the Harbour (just beating the tide), the remaining five had a second race. Starting from Footprint, the first leg was a beat to a laid inshore windward mark, then a run to Derek and beat back back to Footprint twice round. Plover, helmed by Ed Eddy had a narrow lead as they doubled back past the Committee Boat, with Tara, Snowgoose, Quintessence and Enigma not far behind. Tara was first round Derek but by the time they got back to the windward inflatable, Enigma had moved into an unassailable lead leaving Quintessence and Plover to fight it out for second and third. After a second beat in from Derek, it was Plover who finished second over half a minute ahead. With four firsts over the weekend, Mark therefore was the clear winner of the Mackinnon Trophy.

The five One-Designs also had two races; the first with Derek instead of Warner. After a good start, John Suffield in No 4, Charles Evans in No 10 and No 8, Jos Coad, had moved ahead of D Orange in No 12 and Alexander Ross in No7. Although still quite close after the beat to the finish at Footprint, John crossed the line ten seconds ahead of Charles with Jos a further ten seconds later. As the first race had been a bit short, the second race was the same as the Redwings (indeed they actually started before the Redwings got back from Warner).

Start of the One-Design Race 2 (Sunday) –

Jos in No 8 was well ahead after the first round and never really looked under pressure, finishing nearly two and a half minutes ahead of D in No 12 who beat John in No 4 by twenty seconds.

Daily racing starts on Monday 25th July and goes through to the August Bank holiday.”

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