After a week of nice breezes for the One-Designs, Saturday’s morning’s forecast was not very promising, however in the event there was just enough of a N Westerly breeze to make for some challenging racing for the fourteen Redwings and eight One-Designs who appeared at the start line at Under Tyne. Although the line was heavily biased due to a 15° wind shift durin g the start sequence, everyone made a clean start with the majority deciding to head upwind to Derrick on starboard. However half way up th e beat the fleet split as helms juggled with the fickle breeze and the tide. No18, Harlequin helmed by Matt Alexander was well ahead as they rounded Derrick and began the run back to Under Tyne; James Wilson on No 30 Quail was second and Robin Ebsworth in No 41 Quintessence was third. The second beat from Under Tyne to Brittan required considerable patience as the breeze dropped and the ebbing tide from Seaview strengthened; despite looking as if he had sailed into a hole, Matt in Harlequin crossed the line a couple of minutes ahead of Edward Nainby-Luxmoore in Snow Goose who made up two places on the second round; James in Quail was third some way ahead of Robin in Quintessence. In view of the paucity of wind, the Crew race that was due to then be run was postponed to another day.
The eight One-Designs were set the same course and not surprisingly followed similar tactics. Despite split tacks, the first seven boats rounded Derrick quite close together. On the run back to Under Tyne the front two boats, No 7 helmed by Norman Marshall and Mark Grzegorczyk in No 10 managed to keep No 10, helmed by Hugh Doherty, No 8 helmed by Charles Abel Smith and No 12 helmed by William Bland, at bey. On the beat back up to Derrick, the breeze dropped off and opened the way for an upset which was duly delivered by Penny Stanley in No 5 who was last on the first round so decided to take a punt and remain on starboard almost to Priory Bay. With the prospect of the fleet becoming becalmed, the Race Officers wisely decided to head up to Brittan and finish them there – much to Penny’s delight as her off the wall tactics put her first the cross the finish line. Charles Abel Smith in No 8 crossed the line second and Mark in No 9 was third as the breeze picked up enough for them to stem the tide.
The final race of the day was a Cadet helmed race in Redwings for the Norman Phillips trophy. Six cadets put their names forward and were duly allocated a boat and a mentor; additionally Tx Finney was helming No 21 Redwing with Peter Grimaldi. The first start was AP’d with one minute of the sequence to run when the breeze died completely. After a 20 + minute postponement, a light S Easterly breeze materialised and racing was re-started. Although a close but clean start, Geordie Ross in No 40 Plover had to take a penalty after being trapped by Tx on the Committee Boat. Having rehearsed it during the pre-start, Lachlan McLucas in No 30 Quail immediately headed inshore out of the tide and was well ahead at the windward mark Tara. On the second round everyone followed a similar track and although there was some close racing mid-fleet after the wing mark was changed to a leeward mark in an attempt to provide a short beat to the finish, few if any places changed. Well done to Lachlan who crossed the finish line nearly two minutes ahead of No 18, Harlequin helmed by Patrick Clegg; Geordie Ross in Plover was third.
Sunday saw sixteen Redwings & eight One Designs on the start line in another gentle N Westerly F2 breeze. The Redwings were all pretty neatly lined up along the line with James Wilson in No 30 Quail closest to the pin end of the line and No 6, Blue Jay II, helmed by Chloe Crisp and No 24, Red Gauntlet II helmed by Joe Robertson well placed at the Committee Boat end. After a slow beat to Derrick, Tom Scott in No 36, Siskin rounded just ahead of James in Quail and Matt Alexander in No 18 Harlequin. The fleet then had a long run down to Tara with the majority keeping well over to the Bembridge side to reduce the tidal effect. By the time they reached Tara, Matt in Harlequin had moved up second and Meri Benham in No 1 Paroquet was secure in fourth. A change of course to Nainby gave the fleet a testing beat as the breeze fluctuated in both strength and direction and although the front three remained unchanged, there was quite a bit of movement lower down in the fleet. Robin Ebsworth in No 41 Quintessence moved up to fourth and although the front half a dozen were evenly spaced, there were some close finishes mid-fleet.
Unlike the Redwings, the eight One-Designs were surprisingly close despite split tacks and split runs. Despite being well over the line at the start and having to come back, James Palmer sailing in No 3 single-handed was first round Derrick and then held his nerve for the rest of the race and took first place. Jos Coad, also single-handed in No 6 and late starter (got his timings wrong) Robin Joy in No 10 did their best to catch him but in the end had to be satisfied with second and third. Peter Summerhays in No 1 was fourth just ahead of Charles Abel Smith in No 7 & James Row in No 8.
Six Redwings then had a second race for the Chetwood Under 30 helm cup. Although the gentle breeze held up for the first round, frustratingly it dropped off on the second round which the Race Officers decided to shorten at the windward mark Britten. Bel Robertson in No 24 Red Gauntlet II and James Bunbury in No 30 Quail were well ahead of the remainder at the start of the second round however they both then came to a halt just short of Britten and had to watch the back markers catch them as the first zephyrs of a S Easterly breeze tantilisingly reached them. However, none of them were able to reach the line before the cut off time of 13:45 that had been announced 20 minutes beforehand, so Bel in Red Gauntlet II was announced as the winner of the cup having been first at the end of the previous leg. Typically, a F3 breeze reached Britten 5 minutes later!