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Bembridge Illusion January Jacket

by Mike Samuelson 22 Jan 07:12 GMT 20-21 January 2018
Raymond Simonds wins the Bembridge Illusion January Jacket © Mike Samuelson

Although not really needed on Saturday as there were only spots of rain, a waterproof jacket was certainly required on Sunday in the steady drizzle - very apt given that it was the January Jacket Regatta over the weekend!

After a short postponement waiting for the twelve Illusions to make their way down the harbour to the start line, the first race in a light SW'erly breeze saw Mark Downer and Mike Toogood over cooking it and having to extract themselves from the middle of the line to return after being called OCS.

Bill Daniels was first round the windward mark closely pursued by Raymond Simonds, Steve Warren-Smith and Philip Bown. As the race unfolded Bill extended his lead and although he looked safe, he was nonetheless very relieved when the Race Officers decided to finish the race after only two rounds.

During the second round, Bruce Huber moved up into third place and by the time he and Raymond rounded the leeward gate they were neck and neck; indeed at the finish they could not be split so were scored second equal. Philip was fourth.

The start of the second race was extremely close with Bruce mere centimeters from being OCS. With split tacks to the windward marks, it was Mark's pink spinnaker that was first to appear, closely followed by Raymond's red and Bill's white spinnakers.

Mark extended his lead over the next two rounds and finished well ahead. On the second run Bruce and Raymond had some close racing with a number of vocal exchanges as they ran towards the leeward gate, however in the third round Bruce missed the best wind shifts and could only watch Raymond & Bill move ahead of him to take second & third. Indeed on the final beat back to the line it was Steve Warren-Smith who took fourth place inches ahead of Bruce.

The start of the third race probably should have been a General Recall, however the three obvious boats OCS, Mark, Bruce and Rupert Holmes (who had joined in time for the second race) all came back correctly so it was no surprise to see Raymond first round the windward mark.

It was good to then see Mike Toogood with Steve Warren-Smith not far behind. On the second and third rounds, Raymond extended his lead and although Mike managed to hold onto second place, Steve was relegated to fifth place when Bruce & Mark overtook him towards the end of the race.

With strong winds and heavy rain forecast for the following day, it was decided to have a fourth race. With the sun making a brief appearance, the start was the best of the day.

Raymond was first to the windward mark with Bruce & Mark hot on his heels. By the time they crossed the line to start the second round, Raymond was back in third and although a couple of misread windshifts would have changed things, Bruce managed to keep Mark at bey and so took first place. Fourth was Rupert who had had a close tussle with Bill.

Sunday's forecast was still showing the wind increasing during the early afternoon, so it was with some trepidation that some of the less experienced took to the water. Although five from the day before did not race, there were seven who had not raced, so the first race of the day got underway with fifteen boats vying for a place on the line.

With the light breeze oscillating between South & South East, the Race Officers had quite a problem with the course; although there were no trot moorings to worry about the mid-harbour pontoons meant that there was little opportunity to tweak things. Indeed, it was made even harder when it became clear that the Committee Boat anchor had snagged on one of the trot mooring ground chains so could not move. Despite this the first race got away to a clean start (just); first to the windward mark was David Russell-Jones who managed to hang onto his lead on the run to the leeward gate, however on the second round he was overtaken by an ecstatic Justin Biddle and in the third round by Bruce & Mark so he had to make do with a fourth.

With the drizzle making everything on the Committee Boat very damp and the fickle breeze coming and going, the sixth race saw the 1st Sub displayed and the fleet recalled.

The second start was under the Black Flag and went off without any further problems.

George Downer, timing his run in to the line on port at the pin end perfectly, was the early leader, however as the race progressed he was overtaken by Raymond who then built up a nice lead. George and Bill had a close battle for second and third, as did Mark, Justin, David & Bruce for the next four places.

With light breeze backing to the South East and looking as if it would hold, the course was quickly re-set and slightly surprisingly got away to a clean start. The fleet initially made reasonable progress to the extended windward marks and so things were looking good for a close race. However, instead of increasing as forecast, the breeze dropped and left most of the fleet becalmed.

Those at the front, lead by Raymond, decided to continue while those at the back wisely decided to call it a day. With it looking unlikely at one stage that even a one round race was going to be possible, Raymond, Justin and David persevered and took the first three places. A delighted Andy Christie nearly beat Bruce into fourth and finished ahead of Mark.

It was great to see a total of twenty boats racing over the weekend. Congratulations to Raymond who finished eight points ahead of Mark & Bruce and took home the January Jacket Trophy picture.

No racing next weekend as the tides are wrong. The following weekend (3rd & 4th February) is the Valentine Trophy with starts at 11:30 & 12:00 respectively.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1Raymond Simonds165221371110
2Mark Downer164514224618
3Bruce Huber101253137418
4Bill Daniels68138553825
5Mike Toogood14267291011741
6Andy Christie149891111810551
7Hugh Doherty1241010981212R61
8Philip Bown1304666SSS64
9Steve Warren-Smith1467457SSS65
10Justin Biddle131SSSS15271
11David Russell-Jones155SSSS46376
12Mike Issiais152111312131414R77
13Rupert Holmes14S874SSS82
14Philip Russell1539111010SSS82
15George Downer163SSSS62R92
16Chris Stone125R121312SSS100
17Alex Downer123SSSS99R102
18Olly Laughton-Scott80SSSS138R105
19Ben Richards40SSSS1113R108
20John Claxon8SSSS1515R114

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