WITH restrictions being eased by the government and guidelines put in place by sailing's governing body, the Royal Yachting Association, there was a return to action on the water last weekend for Isle of Wight clubs.

Bembridge Sailing Club, Yarmouth Sailing Club and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club held race competitions.

For Bembridge Sailing Club, last Saturday morning's forecast of sunshine and a Force 4 breeze was certainly encouraging.

The weather attracted nine Redwings and three One-Designs, which headed out of Bembridge Harbour to the start area off Garland, for the joint long distance race, the Zanen Trophy. 

After a good start and a shortish beat to Pepe, newlyweds, Chloe and James Bunbury, in Blue Jay II, led the way on the long run to the St Helens channel buoy, with Joe Robertson (Red Gauntlet II) and Colin Samuelson (Toucan) in close attendance.

However, as the race progressed, Olav Cole in Redwing (with James Wilson crewing) moved into the lead ahead of Red Gauntlet II and John Raymond (Harlequin). 

By tacking early onto starboard, he extended his lead on the final long beat from St Helens channel mark to the finish at Pepe — finishing a couple of minutes ahead of Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore (Snowgoose) and Toucan.

Red Gauntlet II had to retire about half-way back from St Helens when a lower shroud broke.

Meanwhile, the three One-Designs had an excellent race.

Although they finished well after the Redwings, they very nearly took the top three places on handicap.

Jos Coad (No.8) was ahead for most of the race, but Mark Grzegorczyk sailing single handed in No.9 overtook him on the second run to St Helens and extended his lead on the long beat to the finish.

On corrected time, Olav won by 20 seconds, with Mark second and Jos third.

After the keelboats had started, a windward leeward course for half a dozen Scows was set up.

After a good start, it did not take long for the two Morgan boats (helmed by Oliver and Francesca respectively) to establish an unbeatable lead.  

After some very close racing, Oliver crossed the finish line a couple of boat lengths ahead.

There was little or no wind an hour before the scheduled start of racing on Sunday morning and — to make matters worse — it had started to drizzle, so racing was cancelled.

With their annual Scows Week Regatta due this weekend, Yarmouth Sailing Club took advantage of the weather on Saturday to hold its Allcomers 3 event.  

With warm sunshine and a brisk 15knt SW breeze, 17 Scows with three other dinghies
made the start line.

Martin Palmer was away first, with a group of several others close behind — and all beating hard in the shifting winds up to the B mark.

Those who got the shifts right did well.

Around the mark first was Joy Mowles (in a Laser Pico), then Palmer, Graeme Bowen and John Smith.

The four pulled ahead to leave the others in their wake.

The fleet behind had an exciting race, with Niall Wallace, Bill Ford, Rob Selby, Chris Jones and Chris Parsloe exchanging places several times.

Melinda Measor was unlucky with shroud failure — and an early christening for her new sail! 

The final result on corrected time saw Palmer claim line honours, followed by Mowle, Bowen and Smith.

Palmer won the overall July Series trophy.

On Sunday, the Top of River Race began in drizzle, which put off a few competitors, but the wind filled to a 5-10knt northerly.

Three dinghies and nine Scows made successive starts.

In the scow fleet, Palmer again got a clear port start and was off.

The pack got entangled in starboard to port starts, but eventually got away around the E mark together, then followed Palmer to the top of the river.

The eight-Scow pack was largely together — gybing and seesawing to gain an advantage on the long downwind run.

At the King's Manor pinch point, eight Scows could barely get through line abreast.

But it was Bowen using his experience to take advantage of the situation and pull ahead, with Paddy Lord in hot pursuit.

At the finish, Palmer won comfortably, ahead of Bowen, with Wallace a game third, ahead of the chasing pack.

In the handicap fleet, Mowles, in a Pico, came first, followed by Patrick Tate (Feva) and Bryan Locke (Laser).

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club was finally able to open its 175th racing season stared. 

Following Covid-19 guidelines, the fleet consisted of single-handers or family duets, with courses set using fixed marks where possible. 

The NW Force 4 breeze provided great conditions for a first 2020 outing.

Nigel Talbot displayed his usual cool skill single-handing his Farrier 28 trimaran, Sanity, to take the cruiser race. 

The two nautical mile leg from NE Ryde Middle to Kemp's Quay was a fast reach, which showed off the trimaran's pace.

The squibs were crewed by couples, a six year old and his dad, plus the fleet captain,  Phil Russell, who also sailed single-handed. 

All flew spinnakers on the fast downwind mile from Peel Bank to SCRA buoy, Liam, with Steve Warren-Smith's Rhapsody pulling ahead with an unassailable lead ahead of solo sailor, Russell (Icarus), fending off the rest.

The dinghies were set a windward-leeward course, with more laps for the fast handicap. 

This was a showcase for a variety of RS dinghies. 

However, they could not hold their time against the Laser Radials of Harry and Charlie White.

In the slow handicap, the usual Feva pair, Charlotte Andrews and Charlotte Osborne, took on each other in a Feva and a Pico respectively — and finished in that order. 

Sam Osborne in his Tera did well in the increasingly 'lumpy' conditions as wind against tide conditions increased.

In the magic of a British summer, RVYC’s second summer series race took place on Sunday, in an unseasonal chilly northerly five to ten knots of wind (and rain). 

However, two squibs and a selection of RS dinghies were happy to brave the elements.

The race started the fleet from the club line in Victoria. 

The RS400 and RS200 were first away and had very close racing, tacking and manoeuvring around the tight course.

But it was Steve and Luke Sheridan who took line honours in the RS400 from Peter Hayward and crew in the RS200.

The slow handicaps were next away, with Charlotte Andrews in a Feva taking line honours ahead of Sam Osborne in a Tera and Charlotte Osborne, a Pico.

Squibs were last away on the same course, with much place-swapping in between in the fleet, but Ray and Julie Prime’s Liz Whizz beat Russell’s single-crewed Icarus across the line.

The club has revised its race programme for July and August, with a summer series replacing all others. 

Other new events for July include Simply Sailing tomorrow (Saturday) and Family Sailing on Friday, July 31.