AS AUTUMN draws ever closer, conditions at sea become that much more testing and enjoyable for Island sailors — as illustrated in Bembridge and Yarmouth's latest sailing reports.

                                           BEMBRIDGE SAILING CLUB

In what was traditionally the last weekend of racing for Redwings and One-Designs, the club tends not to see large numbers of participants.

But because of the early start due to the tides, with brisk north-westerly winds forecast, it was impressive to see three Redwings and four One-Designs raring to go.

Both fleets had the same course, with the Redwings off to a clean start — Joe Robertson (Red Gauntlet II) making the early running.

Isle of Wight County Press: Blue Jay battling with Red Gauntlett II off Bembridge Harbour. Photo: Mike SamuelsonBlue Jay battling with Red Gauntlett II off Bembridge Harbour. Photo: Mike Samuelson

However, it was not long before Tara had to retire and be towed into Bembridge Harbour when her jib became unusable after the forestay had broken.

Blue Jay and Red Gauntlet II, meanwhile, took different routes to the windward mark, with the former, having been well behind initially, led after the first round.

It looked as if the race was their’s, but it all went wrong on the final short beat to the line from the leeward inflatable, leaving Red Gauntlet II to snatch victory.

Understandably, neither fancied a second race.

Isle of Wight County Press: One Design (No.10) in action off Bembridge. Photo: Mike SamuelsonOne Design (No.10) in action off Bembridge. Photo: Mike Samuelson

The four One-Designs were well clear of the line at the start, although No.7, helmed by Sarah Marshall, eventually came back, with Hugh Doherty (No.10) the only boat to actually cross the line correctly.

It was not until later Jos Coad (No.8) and D.Orange (No.12) realised their error and gracefully retired.

As with the Redwings, there was little or no interest in a second race.

With the breeze more northerly and showing little likelihood of dropping, Sunday’s races — the last of the season — were cancelled.

In the next day's sailing on Saturday, the Illusion park was buzzing with enthusiastic sailors.

Things were certainly a bit different, with boats parked up in groups of six and everyone wearing masks until they were afloat.

After a short postponement, 13 Illusions made a clean start for the first race of the new season, with class captain, Mark Downer, not racing, which left the way clear for others to win.

Colin Simonds led the way in the first race and finished ahead of Ed Peel and Philip Russell. 

There was little separating the front three of Peel, Simonds and Rory Morrison in the second race.

However, as the two-round race unfolded, Morrison took the lead and finished ahead of Simonds and John Raymond, who managed to get ahead of Peel on the final beat to the line.

The third and final race saw another good start, with a new leader — Mike Toogood —

at the windward mark.

Toogood remained in front for most of the two-and-a-half round race — which finished at the windward mark to allow a short sail back into the harbour — but be had to watch John Raymond and Peel catch flyers and finish just ahead of him.

A great first days' racing and encouraging to see such an excellent turnout.

                                              YARMOUTH SAILING CLUB

A chilly, but bright and breezy early morning start, saw four Scows and two other dinghies take to the water in one of the club's most recent races.

John Smith got off to the best start at the windward end of the D mark line and, despite
the best of efforts, he could not be caught all race.

Behind him Niall Wallace exchanged places a few times with Rob Selby and Alan Toms, who also pushed hard, in some exhilarating 15-25 knot gusts.

Juniors were also out race training under Martin Palmer's tuition.

Most Scows decided it was a bit too gusty for a late evening race, with 25 knots blowing through.

However, one Scow and two other dinghies started, which finished Graeme Bowen first, followed by Patrick Tate, in a Laser, and Ollie Mayo, helming a Tera, third.

Saturday saw the first of the Saturday Allcomers races.

A light south-westerly breeze, in drizzly conditions, saw 14 boats on the start line — ten of them Scows and four Fevas, including two young ladies from the junior race training squad, Catherine and Laura Palmer.

Good starts were made by Bowen, Liz Mead and Derek Morris, which enabled them to battle it out at the front, while the rest of the fleet intermingled in tacking duels behind.

At the upwind C mark, Wallace and Rob Selby were together, but too wide of the starboard rounding mark, which enabled Martin Palmer, Tony Sceales and Peter Giles through with rights.

Palmer stayed ahead, while the rest of the fleet exchanged places several times during the race.

First home in his Feva was Tate, followed by Joy Mowles (Feva) then Bowen, the
first scow.

The overall result on corrected time, however, saw Bowen take the honours.

Sunday's racing was cancelled, due to the wet and windy weather.