After a pretty good turnout for the annual de-weed of Colonel’s Hard very early on Saturday morning, it was a bit disappointing that there were only three Redwings and one One-Design out racing a few hours later. With two races programmed, the first started at Britten with Garland as the windward mark and Derrick as the leeward mark. Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II had the best start however Tom Scott in No 36 Siskin was ahead at the first mark and Robin Ebsworth in No 41 Quintessence was second. On the run to Derrick, with each boat taking a noticeably different route, Joe took over second place and on the beat back to the line just managed to cross it one second ahead of Tom.
Fortunately the spots of rain did not turn into prolonged rain so a longer second race was then set up with Pepe as the windward, and after one and half rounds the finish mark, with Derrick remaining the leeward mark. After a close start, and a lot of tacking, Joe in Red Gauntlet II rounded Garland about 20 seconds ahead of Tom & Robin. Unlike the first race, the three boats followed a pretty direct line to Derrick; Red Gauntlet II rounded ahead with Siskin & Quintessence still a bit behind. On the long beat back to Pepe, Joe never looked as if he was going to be overtaken and finished 40 seconds or so ahead of Tom with Robin 7 seconds later.
In the absence of another One-Design to race against, Penny Stanley in No 5 initially thought she would just go out for sail with one of her weekend guests. However with a bit of arm twisting by her crew (who races on the Thames and in Salcombe) she decided to start both races with the Redwings and although of course a bit slower, nevertheless was not that far behind them. Indeed with Britten as their leeward mark No 5 was actually the first boat to finish at Pepe. Two firsts then!
The annual Edwardian Race took place on Sunday with competitors & race officers encouraged to dress suitably and complete a course that our ancestors might have been set. Although a harbour start is not longer considered safe, a start line just outside the harbour was established and with a light and variable easterly breeze, five Redwings & four One-Designs headed off to Garland. Robin Ebsworth in No 41 Quintessence had the best start with Xander Shaw in No 6 One-Design close on his tail. Reasonable progress was made but having cleared the entrance channel the wind died and great patience and a bit of luck was needed to catch the zephers. With the combined fleet spread out behind them Colin Samuelson in No 11 Toucan and Robin Ebsworth in Quintessence were closest to Garland when the easterly breeze did eventually reappear. Third round was Xander in No 6 One-Design with James Palmer in No 3 One-Design fifteen seconds behind in fourth. Fifth was Tom Scott is No 36 Siskin who rounded ahead of Joe Robertson in No 24 Red Gauntlet II with Penny Stanley in No 5 One-Design sixth. With an inflatable laid off Bembridge Outboards as the leeward mark and the fickle breeze coming and going, it was decided to shorten the course as they passed through the harbour finish line after one round. Having been almost caught up on the run inside the harbour, Colin in Toucan ended up finishing well ahead of Robin in Quintessence as the breeze died again. Xander in No 6 One-Design and Tom in Siskin were some way behind with Xander just ghosting over the line half a second ahead of Tom to come a very creditable third. James Palmer in No 3 One-Design and Crispin Kenyon in No 6 Redwing Blue Jay II showed their determination and also managed to complete the course. Penny Stanley in No 5 and Jos Coad in No 8 One-Design both ended up retiring.