Saturday was not for the feint hearted with gusts over 20 knots on a regular basis. Not helped as it was from the NW which means there is not much shelter to be had, however the forecast was to drop to f4, so four Redwings & eight One-Designs decided to rig up head out to find the Committee Boat, Sea Breeze, anchored just to the South of St Helens Fort. Philip Bown in No 21 Redwing wisely decided that it was not for them so turned back to the harbout leaving Colin Samuelson in No 11 Toucan, Rosie Gosling in No 45, Gosling and Hugh Martin in No 27 Flycatcher to get on with it.
Sensibly the Race Officers used the triangle, sausage, triangle course format using Drum, Nainby & Footprint as the three marks. The three Redwings made a clean start and headed inshore to try to find calmer water; first round Drum was Colin in Toucan, with Rosie in Gosling not far behind. However, on the second round down wind leg to Footprint he had a problem with the boom getting caught in the check stays when they gybed and almost filled up. Fortunately they were able to recover and continue racing but not before Rosie in Gosling had taken the lead which they held onto to cross the line nearly three quarters of a minute ahead. Although always at the back, Hugh in Flycatcher did well with his inexperienced crew to survive the marginal conditions and finish only a couple of minutes later.
The eight One-Designs meanwhile had an equally challenging race in the boisterous conditions. Andrew Palmer, crewed by brother James in No 3 was first round Drum after the first beat having taken the offshore route to take advantage of the tide rather than the slightly flatter water inshore. John Deacon in No 6 who was somehow managing to sail single handed, Robin Joy with Hugh Doherty in No 10 and Jos Coad with his brother Ross in No 4 were all second at one stage of the race but at the finish the order was Jos in No 4 followed by John in No 6 with Robin in No 10 coming fourth. Well done to Ross’s in No 11, the Bonham’s in No 2, the Marshall’s in No 7 and to Penny Stanley & Susie Beart in No 5 who all finished with smiles on their faces! Andrew therefore won the Coronation Cup which is normally raced for during the BSC’s annual Regatta which this year was cancelled because of the strong winds.
Sunday started with a combined Barts Bash race with BHYC with the keelboats starting off a line one side of the BHYC’s Committee Boat and all the dinghies off a line the other side. After a lengthy postponement waiting for some breeze, both fleets set off on a reaching start around the short course. It was quite a sight particularly as Sea Fever, the Commodore’s Dufour 405 helmed by his youngest son Robert joined in, along with lots of scows and other dinghies. It did not take them long to complete the 1.28km course; the first of the six Redwings home was Toucan, helmed by Colin Samuelson and the first of the nine One-Designs was No 5 helmed by Susie Beart three minutes later. The bulk of the other One-Designs all finished within a few seconds of each other – the recorders onboard Wight Rose certainly had their work cut out!
As it turned out to be such a short race, and with the light breeze holding, the Redwings & One-Designs all headed off the Footprint for a second race. Despite having been shut out at the start and therefore crossing the start line last, No 11 Toucan, helmed by Becky Samuelson soon caught up the rest of the Redwing fleet and just held onto first place ahead of Rosie Gosling in No 45, Gosling. Jim Connybeare Cross in No 37 Gannet was third a second ahead of No 27 Fly Catcher helmed by Miranda Devas. After a crafty port tack start which got him into clean air, Norman Marshall in No 7 One-Design rounded the windward mark Nainby well ahead of the rest of the fleet and never looked as if they were going to catch him even on the slow run to Under Tyne. Indeed it almost looked as if he was going to catch the Redwings who had, as normal, started 5 minutes before the One-Designs. Hugh Doherty in No 10 was second just over three minutes behind with Jos Coad in No 4 a minute later. Norman also won the Chetwynd Trophy that had also not been raced for during the annual Regatta; particularly fitting as his wife Sarah was née Chetwynd!
No racing at BSC next weekend, but is is to be hoped that some of the local sailors will go over to Seaview on Saturday to race in Mermaids in support of Isle of Wight Day. Although the programme has both Redwing & One-Design racing in a fortnight’s time, I am not holding my breath for many takers!