SAILING clubs from opposite ends of the Isle of Wight held their first racing of the summer at the weekend. 

Yarmouth Sailing Club held its first official race of the season, run under the government's stringent social distancing procedures, in a pleasant 10-15 knot south-westerly breeze, which attracted ten Scows and an RS Zest.

Martin Palmer was first away, with Graeme Bowen close behind — but contending with some overzealous barging at the pin end.

By the upwind B mark it was Palmer, followed by Bowen.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The second time around the same mark, the order remained the same, with John Smith settled in third place.

The order remained the same at the finish line.

Conditions were similar on Sunday, although the breeze was coming in from the west.

This time, ten Scows and three mixed class dinghies raced.

Starting from the E mark in Mill Creek, Palmer started well again, much like the previous day, with Niall Wallace and Alan Toms in hot pursuit.

Isle of Wight County Press:

After negotiating the A and D marks, Wallace briefly passed Palmer, but by the C mark, Palmer had re-established control.

By the second time around the B mark, Bowen had passed Wallace and was chasing down Palmer to the finish.

John Smith, who moved extremely well downwind, also caught and passed Wallace to come third behind Bowen in second.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Despite the prediction fleet numbers would reduce significantly this summer due to coronavirus, Bembridge Sailing Club welcomed seven Redwings and five One-Designs for their first races of the season on Saturday.

Both classes ran two races.

In the first Redwing race, No.21 (Redwing) and No.47 (Musicus) got the best start, once the south-easterly Force 3 breeze had kicked in.  

The breeze subsequently dropped off a bit leaving it open for any of the front six boats in the mix to win.  

Isle of Wight County Press:

In the event, it was No.5 (Snowgoose), helmed by Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore, who just sneaked in ahead of Musicus and Redwing.  

In the second race, Olav Cole (Redwing) built up a decent lead to finish ahead of Joe Robertson in No.24 (Red Gauntlett II).

The One-Designs had the same courses for their two races.  

Hugh Doherty, with his socially distancing crew of Oli Laughton-Scott in No.10, won both, with Penny Stanley and her crewman, Mark Grzegorczyk, in No.9, second in both.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Sunday's forecast was for sunshine and a very light breeze, but there was sunshine and a Force 3-4 southerly breeze, which made for perfect sailing for five Redwings, three One-Designs and three Scows.  

After an excellent start, the Redwings enjoyed 90 minutes of racing, which culminated in a testing final beat from Derrick to the finish at Pepe.   

Although it looked at one stage that Red Gauntlet II was going to end up as the winner, Olav Cole held his nerve and crossed the line a couple of boat lengths ahead of Snowgoose and Red Gauntlet II.

Isle of Wight County Press:

There were only three One-Designs racing, which given the great conditions, was a great pity, said organisers. 

They followed a similar, but slightly shorter course, with little between them throughout.  

Indeed, all three led at one stage or another.   

However, after the challenging final beat from Derrick to the line at Pepe, it was Jos Coad in No.8 who crossed the line first —three boat lengths ahead of Grzegorczyk in No.9.

There were only three takers for the Scow race on Sunday afternoon.  

After a three-round windward, leeward course, Oliver Morgan crossed the line just ahead of Rob Orr and Anne Barlow. 

Senior club member, Mike Samuelson, said: "It was great to be back on the water and racing.

"Hopefully, numbers will build as we move forward to whatever the 'new normal' brings us."

  • A joint Redwing and One-Design Zanen (long distance) Trophy will be held this coming Saturday morning, with normal racing on Sunday morning.