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Bembridge Illusion New Year's Day Race

by Mike Samuelson 2 Jan 2018 04:35 GMT 1 January 2018

Although not a particularly early start, the last few days dismal weather, family commitments and "sore" heads from New Year's Eve parties meant that we only had ten Illusions out racing this morning, mostly in the rain! The original plan was to meet up with the BHYC dinghy fleets and have a drink at the end of racing, however although we managed the drink, the BHYC sailors decided conditions were not for them so remained ashore.

The first race got away to a clean start and it was no great surprise to see Mark Downer's pink and Bruce Huber's lime green spinnaker the first to be hoisted as they started the run to the leeward gate. However as the second round took shape, the light SSW'erly breeze dropped and the lead was taken up by Richard Ambler half way down the run. With the race officers deciding to finish after two rounds, it was a jubilant Richard who just managed to hang on cross the line ahead of Mark and Bruce. Alastair Speare-Cole was fourth.

The second race saw Richard being just too eager and having to return after being called OCS. On the run the breeze dropped even further and veered to the west, so the race was terminated after just one round with Mark finishing well ahead having taken a bit of a punt on the run and kept to the left side of the course and found the better zyphers; keeping a central track was a delighted Mike Toogood who ghosted into second place just ahead of Bruce. Fourth was an equally delighted Olly Laughton-Scott.

With the BHYC bar beckoning, the third race was a single leg from the adjusted line mid-way up the harbour to the turning mark off BHYC. Unusually Mark misjudged the start and so had to play catch up. With a couple of tacks to go, Richard had to take a penalty when he tried to cross Bruce who was on starboard. This not only secured first place for Bruce but also allowed Bill Daniels to squeeze into second place. Alastair was fourth just ahead of Mark.

After taking advantage of the Brading Haven bar, and thanking their Rear Commodore (Sailing), Anne Barlow, and other members for their hospitality, the final race of the day was a handicap Le Mans start. The Class Admiral, Robin Ebsworth set off first with Mark & Bruce the last to go. It was a run to a turning mark at the entrance of the harbour, a reach back to the original pin and a run to the finish off the BSC pontoons. The handicapping worked well with Robin leading the rest of the tightly bunched fleet to the finish. Alastair was second and Philip Russell was third.

No prizes but a fun morning, particularly when it stopped raining! Next weekend (6th &7th January) we have the oldest trophy of the season, the Icebreaker. Fingers crossed for some nice sailing weather.

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