Monday was the second day of the SVYC Regatta; with a fairly gloomy forecast it was no surprise that entries (from BSC) were lower than the previous day. That said, it was still good to see seven Redwings and two One-Designs make the trip to Seaview in the F4-5 WSW’erly breeze and occasional spots of rain. As he did the previous day, Mark Downer was the pathfinder and led the way round the challenging (but quite complex) course from start to finish; Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II and Henry Thorpe in Redwitch were close at times in second and third, although by the finish Joe had moved well ahead. Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence was fourth. At the back of the fleet Ladybird, helmed by young Christopher Chetwood and Richard Jessel in Blue Jay II had a close race with Richard managing to get ahead of Christopher on the final beat in from Seaview Lollipop.

The two One-Designs had a slightly different, but equally challenging course. Charles Abel Smith in No 7 was just ahead of No 1 (helmed by Richard Hall) at the first mark, however his greater experience in keeping a One-Design going in the quite tricky conditions soon showed as he extended his lead on each subsequent leg of the course. However full marks to No 1 for perseverance.

Despite a forecast of a decent south-westerly for Tuesday afternoon, there was no wind inside the fort and around Under Tyne so Sea Breeze moved out to Fitzwilliam where we found 12-14 knots blowing from SSW. The One-Design helms had requested two races which seemed reasonable given the glorious weather, bright sunshine and a reasonably calm sea, after the gloom and drizzle of the previous two days.

Four Redwings and six One-Designs lined up for the first starts, their races taking them to Cochrane, Moreton and JJ all to port. Billy Clegg in Lady Laetitia and Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore in Snow Goose were first out of the blocks for the Redwings. Unfortunately it soon became clear to the race officers, squinting into the bright sunlight reflecting off the sea and struggling with their angles, that the fleets were going to get almost all the way to Cochrane on starboard. Should it be of any consolation to their crews, the boats looked amazing both upwind and with their jibsticks out to the wing mark, as they swept round the course in only just over 30 minutes. Three minutes separated the four finishers, Lady Laetitia leading Snow Goose and Blue Jay just squeaking ahead of Plover.

Susie Beart in No 5 and Sarah Marshall in No 7 made the best starts of the One-Designs in race 1. The fleet, all two up with the honourable exception of Martin Bonham who was solo, headed up to the windward mark and confirmed the wonkiness of the course. In a really close finish, the first five boats were all recorded as finishing at 15:13 and the sixth at 15:14. Sarah Marshall took line honours while Jos Coad in No 8 pipped Susie Beart to second place with Susie third.

Given the fabulous conditions, the second race was longer. From Fitzwilliam, the boats started downwind to Ruthven and then returned to Tara for two laps finishing at Tara. Both fleets were tentative at the start; Jonathan in Snowgoose II was the best of the Redwings while Jos Coad (No 8) and D Orange (No 9) were the first One-Designs over the line albeit at opposite ends. Snowgoose retired during the first upwind leg to Tara leaving Lady Laetitia and Andrew Eddy in Plover to match race over the rest of the course as Blue Jay had returned to Under Tyne before the start. Lady Laetitia ultimately won her second race of the day, three minutes ahead of Plover.

Jos in No 8 won the One-Design race in what was a close finish following the retirement of No 1. Sarah in No 7 managed to catch D in No 9 and squeezed over the line inches ahead for second place. No 5 and No 2 followed within a couple of minutes.

Although it had been established that there were only going to be a couple of Redwjngs out on Wednesday afternoon competing for the Mercedes Trophy (Lady helms), the gentle (F2-3) SSE’erly breeze and bright sunshine provided almost perfect match racing conditions. Alice Clegg helming Lady Laetitia got the slightly better start and tacked quickly to get inshore first. Vicks Wilson in Quail followed but Alice rounded Tara just ahead and was able to keep her nose in front on the long run to Derrick and beat back to the line and finished sixteen seconds ahead. In the second slightly shorter race Vicks got the better start and led round Tara and Britten, but on the beat back to the finish at Undertyne, Alice split tacks and with about 100m to go took the lead only to loose it one tack later. At the finish, there was less than ten seconds between them. Although equal points, Vicks won the Mercedes Trophy with her first in the second race.

Martin Bonham (No 2) and D Orange (No 9), both sailing single handed, potentially had the best starts in the first of the One-Design races, however it was Sarah Marshall in No 7 who ended up as the lead boat having started a bit later but close to the Committee boat, and was first round Tara. She held her lead on the run to Britten and the beat back to line and finished nearly a minute ahead of Martin, and three seconds later, D. In the second race, No 2 and No 7 (helmed by James Petit) were never very far apart but Martin, having rounded Tara and Britten first, sailed a canny race and was rewarded with crossing the finishing line at Undertyne almost a minute ahead.

On Thursday afternoon there were two Redwing takers and three One-Designs with several Redwings just wanting to sail, or be towed, back to the harbour. The sea was very rough (Easterly F5) and the Race Officers took the sensible decision that it was too dangerous to race in the conditions. Sailing was obviously possible but, if anything had gone wrong, any rescue would have been very perilous. Friday was a similar scenario; it really was very lumpy and although Jos Coad, the boatmen Charlie & Sam were just able to pump the One-Designs out and three Redwings sailed back into the harbour, Sea Breeze remained firmly tied up on the pontoon.

Saturday afternoon saw five Redwings and six One-Designs rig up and sail over to the J70 race area to the north of St Helens Fort. After a short delay to allow the J70s to finish their fourth race, the Redwings made a good start in the SWesterly F4-5 breeze (well, save for Rory Morrison in Paroquet who was just OCS and therefore had to return), and having rounded Drum where soon on their way to Janson; initially it was then twice round a loop between Janson and Garland, however this was subsequently changed to three times before Fitzwilliam and the finish at Undertyne.

Start of Saturday’s race –

Mark Downer in Engima appeared to be in another gear and led throughout, finishing over two minutes ahead of Blue Jay II, helmed by Bruce Huber. Paroquet was third. James Wilson in Quail was fourth but no doubt would have been higher had they not had to untie themselves after rounding Garland the wrong way!

The six One-Designs had the same course but only twice round the Janson-Garland loop. Keenly contested with a number of place changes as the race progressed, No 1 helmed by Russ Fowler had held his nerve and finished just over twenty five seconds ahead of No 12, helmed by Jos Coad. Susie Beart in No 5 was third and after a port and starboard as they came up to the finish line, Alexander Ross in No 8 fourth and Penny Stanley was fifth.

Conditions on Sunday afternoon were considerably less boisterous (SSW F3 occasionally F4) for the eight Redwings and seven One-Designs who sailed out to the J70 start area to the north of Fitzwilliam. With Nab East glinting in the sunshine and the beat into Undertyne looking pretty spot on, they were set Undertyne, Moreton, Nab East and a finish at Undertyne. After a good start the fleet all headed inshore towards the Lifeboat Station. Mark Downer in Enigma rounded first ahead of James Wilson in Quail, however on the long run to Nab East Quail moved into the lead and after numerous wind shifts held it to the finish, crossing the line half a minute ahead of Enigma. Bruce Huber helming Blue Jay II was third and Rory Morrison in Paroquet was fourth. A lovely sail in champagne conditions (at last).

Having decided against the One-Designs following the Redwings to Nab East, the were set a loop between Undertyne and Moreton three times round. In the event it was shortened after 2 rounds with No 8, helmed by Alexander Ross finishing just under a minute ahead of the early leader Sarah Marshall in No 7 with Jos Coad helming No 6 half a minute later in third.

One-Design Start of Sunday afternoon’s race –

Additional Photos:

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