Please select your home edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Bembridge Illusion Icebreaker Trophy

by Mike Samuelson 29 Dec 2018 09:52 GMT 27-28 December 2018

Breaking the ice off the boats before launching for the oldest trophy of the Illusion Class - the Icebreaker - has often been necessary, however this year, conditions were reasonably warm with lots of sunshine and only light N/NNE breezes.

With the first race on Thursday programmed for 13:30 and little or no wind in the harbour, the decision to set a course off Silver Beach was an easy one to make. As an added Christmas bonus, Graham Sunderland had kindly agreed to come along to provide some on-water coaching; it was great to see him back at Bembridge.

After a short postponement, the first race started in 7 knots with Bruce Huber over cooking it and having to return to the pre-start side of the line.

Start of Race 1

It was good to see Mike Toogood & John Raymond rounding the windward marks first; also that Serena Gosling was third just ahead of Mark Downer with Bruce & Jo Downer not far behind. By the time they reached the windward marks again, Bruce had moved up to second and was champing at John's heels. As they closed on the leeward gate, cries of 'protest' could be heard as Bruce powered into the lead and John stalled rounding the other gate mark; indeed by the time he crossed the finish line he missed out coming second by inches to Mark. Serena was fourth, again only by inches. Lower down the fleet, there was also some very close racing with Andy Christie just beating Bill Daniels, and at the back, only inches separated Charlie E-W, Olly L-S and Philip Russell.

The second race saw the 1st Sub having to be displayed as there were too many 'over the line' to make it a fair start.

Start of Race 2 (General Recall)

Flag U was brought into play for the second start; at the pin end Jonathan N-L got his timing spot on and crossed the line with inches to spare, as did Mark who was at the Committee Boat end.

Re-Start of Race 2 (Flag U)

It did not take long for the fleet to separate as they split tacks. John's blue Illusion was the first to reach the windward marks and with Mark not that far away there was no let up on the run back to the leeward gate. Behind them Simon & Bruce traded gybes as they battled for third place with Bruce just taking it on the final tack to the line. There was a similar battle between Serena & Jo for sixth & seventh place just behind Andy who managed to stay ahead of them.

With the breeze looking as though it was going to die off, the length of the windward leg was reduced for the final race of the day. Bruce again over cooked it at the start and having had difficulty getting back, he was last to cross the line. Mind you it did not seem to matter as it did not take him long to get back into contention.

Start of Race 3

Indeed by the start of the third and final round, he had overtaken John and moved into second place behind Mark. Jonathan N-L had a good race and took fourth. Philip Russell and Mike Issiais tied in eighth place.

Still no ice on Sunday! Indeed, as the nineteen Illusions were being readied for the second day of the Icebreaker Trophy, there was hardly a breath of wind! However, as the boats began to launch, a gentle north westerly breeze began to establish itself and it was sensibly agreed that staying in the harbour was likely to offer the best racing.

The first race got away cleanly and it was not long before the fleet split tacks.

Start of Race 5

However, with the lead boats half way down the run, the breeze backed at least 30 degrees which meant that the windward marks would have to be moved if there was going to be a second round. In the event, this was not possible as there were a number of back markers who had still to complete the first leg as the lead boats, Mark, Jo and Mike Issiais were finishing their first round, so the race was cut short after just one round which was obviously a bit of a pity.

With the breeze holding reasonably steady and the course re-set, the second race saw another close but clean start.

Start of Race 5

Mark made it to the windward marks first closely pursued by Jo and Andrew Eddy; they, and the majority of the fleet, kept to the Embankment Road side of the course on the run to the leeward gate in the hopes of picking up the favourable current; meanwhile Bruce's green spinnaker cut a lonely track on the opposite side of the course, however having picked up a better breeze he reached the leeward gate well ahead. He consolidated his lead on the second round with Mark having to be content with second ahead of Alastair Speare-Cole, Mike Toogood and Andrew. Alex Downer & David Peerless had an excellent duel and tied in eighth place.

The start of the third and final race of the day was another example of the quality of the Illusion racing at Bembridge.

Start of Race 6

Although most of the fleet stayed on starboard for as long as they could, a few tacked early in the hopes of finding clear air. Bruce rounded the windward marks in the lead with Alastair, David & Mark not far behind. However as the race continued into a third round, Bruce was able to extend his lead; on the final run Mark moved into third and despite Alastair's best efforts to hold him off, he managed to keep his Illusion moving slightly faster to cross the line in second place.

Although both days could have done with a few more knots of breeze, there was still some excellent close racing. Congratulations to Bruce who won the Trophy on a count back; also to Mark who was second and Jo who was third. And all credit to David who came over from the mainland to race on the second day with his arm in plaster after breaking it on the first day of the Team Racing Championships in early December.

The next Regatta is for the January Jacket over the weekend of 5th & 6th January.

Additional photos can be found at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Bruce Huber10113211118
2Mark Downer1642211228
3Jo Downer166771126628
4Serena Gosling12246131410538
5Andy Christie14985510111239
6Mike Toogood14261012134941
7Rosie Gosling130118157121153
8Mike Issiais152121583181656
9John Raymond151313SSS57
10Olly Laughton‑Scott801411616171562
11Simon Cooper85547SSS66
12Charlie Egerton‑Warburton8313141415131969
13Jonathan Nainby‑Luxmoore15810124SSS76
14Bill Daniels689910SSS78
15Andrew Eddy27SSS551785
16Alastair Speare‑Cole135SSS83386
17Philip Russell15315138SSS86
18Alex Downer123SSS481087
19David Peerless140SSS69490
20Will Toogood142XSSS971391
21Owen Pay105SSS121514102
22Monty Irwin147SSS17148106
23Patrick Cochran125SSS18167109
24Jos Laughton‑Scott80SSS191918113

Related Articles

Final 2020-21 weekend for the Bembridge Illusions
St George's Day, Woodford Long Distance Race and Bill's Barrel Saturday, the penultimate day of racing of the 2020-2021 Illusion season was a frustrating one! The forecast was for light cyclonic conditions and that was exactly what was delivered! Posted on 3 May
Bembridge Illusion Stratton Memorial Trophy
Another excellent turnout for the penultimate weekend's racing Another excellent turnout for the penultimate weekend's racing for the Bembridge Illusion fleet with 24 boats on Saturday and 22 on Sunday, and that was without the Downers or some of the other regular helms! Posted on 26 Apr
Bembridge Illusion Prince Philip Memorial Trophy
A four race no discard regatta sailed on Sunday afternoon As the tides on Saturday did not allow racing to be moved to the morning, the decision was made to cancel the afternoon racing as a mark of respect to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Posted on 19 Apr
Bembridge Illusion Spring Plate 2021
Another good turnout for the Island-based helms Another good turnout for the weekend's Spring Plate especially as it was again restricted to Island helms only to be on the safe side particularly shore side. Posted on 12 Apr
Explore. Dream. Discover.
The Easter weekend was a time to get on the water around the globe for many The Easter weekend was a time to get on the water around the globe for many. Lockdown restrictions in the UK have eased somewhat, allowing the return of grassroots sports, and the fine weather resulted in sailors heading to their local clubs. Posted on 6 Apr
Bembridge Illusion Easter Egg Cup 2021
Great to be able to get back on the water again! Although entry was restricted to Island sailors only and we used a RIB as the Committee boat rather than Sea Breeze, it was great to be able to get back on the water again. Posted on 5 Apr
Bembridge Illusion Christmas Cracker 2020
A superb 19 entries race in the harbour Last year there were 10 entries for the Christmas Cracker, this year there were 19 racing on Saturday and 18 on Sunday, which, given current circumstances, again shows the strength and resilience of the fleet. Posted on 21 Dec 2020
Illusion Guy Fawkes Trophy & Picnic Hamper
Bembridge sailors back on the water after the 4 week enforced break Although the weekend was originally scheduled for the annual team racing championships, the uncertainty over lockdown saw these being postponed to late February and fleet racing programmed in lieu. Posted on 7 Dec 2020
Illusion Nationals at Bembridge
Fantastic entry of 29 boats despite the forecast of strong winds and heavy rain The lockdown last March put paid to last season's Illusion Nationals, however, by some careful programming it was reschedule to this year's Halloween weekend. Posted on 2 Nov 2020
Illusion Trafalgar Trophy at Bembridge
A record fleet for the event What extraordinary times we live in! Despite all the doom and gloom, the Bembridge Illusions saw a record fleet, certainly for this long standing Regatta, racing over the weekend for the Trafalgar Trophy. Posted on 19 Oct 2020