Keelboats – Mid-July (16th & 17th July)

A dozen Redwings came out to race on Saturday under beautiful sunshine, with light airs improving to a steady 12kts from the SE by the first start at 13.30. The start line was set at JJ, with Cochran as a windward mark followed by a run back to Derek, twice round.

After a clean start the fleet initially covered both sides of the course, but soon most tacked to the right, in by the lifeboat Station to avoid a weak foul tide. At the mark the fleet was still well bunched, with James Wilson in Quail holding a slim lead over Matt Alexander in Harlequin, with Rory Morrison in Paroquet and Tom Scott in his beautifully rebuilt Ibis both in hot pursuit. Redwing touched the mark, and their 360 left them with some catching up to do! During the run a shorter second round was announced, and this time the offshore boats fared better in the slackening tide. On the final beat Matt worked his way through James to take first, with Rory third and Tom fourth.

The second Redwing race was for Instructor helms, with eight boats competing on a course from JJ upwind to Tara, run to Derek, and a beat to finish at Hello Sailor! The start mixed slightly with the Swallow fleet racing nearby, but they were quickly into a clear beat in beautiful conditions. Redwings are challenging to helm, and unsurprisingly the fleet spread out pretty quickly before the windward mark. However all the young helms were having a great sail, especially Thalia Chetwood who won in Enigma.

Just two One-Designs had a single race today, over a course from JJ to Cochran to JJ to Fitz and back to JJ. Tad Ross was solo in No 8, and there were all four Cottrells in No11. Tad quickly established a good lead, but the Cottrells closed the gap to finish less than 3 minutes adrift.

On Sunday, with conditions similar to Saturday – an easterly 4 with lovely sunshine – nine Redwings raced a course from Nainby to Fitz and back twice round. This was dictated by the Swallows National Championships taking place further out to sea and the wish to avoid interfering with their racing. As the wind dropped the course was reduced to one round to enable a timely second race. The fleet went inshore to keep out of the tide; at the top mark Matt Alexander in Harlequin was leading from Jocky Wilson in Quail, Tom Scott in Ibis (third) and Joe Robertson in Red Guantlet (fourth). They finished in this order after the run back to Nainby.

The wind had picked up again for the second race so the seven boats still out were sent to Fitz again, back to Drum and through the line, twice round. Jocky Wilson in Quail beat Matt Alexander into second place with Mark Downer in Enigma (third) and Tom Scott (fourth). The wind held consistently which enabled them to complete the course in just over an hour.

There were four One-Designs who sailed the same course as the Redwings and again their course was shortened to once round. Tad Ross in No 8 lead the fleet home, followed by James Beart in No 5, Russ Fowler in No 1 and Charles Abel-Smith in No 7.

The second race was scheduled to be the Bavarian Tankard to be raced by 9 cadets with BOD helms crewing them as most were first timers in a One-Design. Three boats were late arriving so an impromptu race was included for those present (6) and hanging around, simply going to Garland and back. When the last 3 arrived the course was set to Footprint and back, three times round, a short course mindful of the start being delayed to 4.15pm. Although a very short course it was felt that the cadets would be tested by the three beats and negotiating the marks in attendance with other boats. Each round took 15 minutes so they were well tested over 45 minutes. Chris Chetwood took the honours in No 8, followed by Alex Huber in No 6.”

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