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Bembridge Illusion Flying Dutchman Trophy 2019

by Mike Samuelson 14 Jan 06:32 GMT 12-13 January 2019

Although we had seen Rudy for a fleeting outing over Christmas, sadly there was no sign of the 'Flying Dutchman' defending his trophy this year! Nonetheless, it was great to have fifteen Illusions out racing on Saturday afternoon in the F3-4 Westerly breeze.

With plenty of room and reasonably smooth waters, the course was set up in the harbour. Three boats over cooked the start of the first race; Jo Downer was able to get back quite quickly but Bruce Huber and Kass Schmitt had more difficulty.

Start of Race 1 on Saturday

Simon Cooper's black spinnaker was the first to fly on the run to the leeward gate with Mark Downer, Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore and Jo Downer close behind. Simon held his nerve and managed to extend his lead on the 2nd & 3rd rounds to finish a convincing first. Although he could not get himself close enough to Mark who finished second, Bruce did an excellent 'catch up job' after his problems at the start and finished third ahead of Jo. As always, the racing lower down in the fleet was close with Serena Gosling & Robin Ebsworth tying for 9th place.

It was an easy call at the first start of the second race;too many boats were OCS when the hooter sounded for a fair start, so it was a General Recall. The second start was under Flag U and with everyone holding back a few metres, there was no need for any disqualifications.

Re-start of Race 2 on Saturday

With the breeze flicking 10 degrees plus at times, it was a bit of a lottery which side of the course was the best one to go for. In this case if you had followed Bruce you would have been at the top end of the fleet! He established an unbeatable lead by the time he reached the windward marks and then simply extended it on the next two rounds. It was particularly good to see Philip Russell leading the rest of the fleet and holding off Mark's mid-fleet charge to secure second. Mike Toogood was fourth.

The third race was again started under Flag U and with the forecast for Sunday not looking too promising, and with Bruce again well out in front, it was decided to shorten the race to just two rounds. Mark was second a similar distance ahead of Simon; it was good too see Andy Christie in fourth.

Start of Race 3 on Saturday

Mark got his own back in the fourth and final race of the day and having been first at the windward marks never looked under any pressure. Simon held second ahead of Jo and despite it being a three rounder, Bruce had to make do with fourth having found himself well down the fleet on the first round.

Conditions in the harbour on Sunday afternoon initially looked a bit bouncy, but this was mainly wind over tide and by the time the first race got under way, it had smoothed off considerable even though the Westerly breeze was gusting 18 knots. After a clean start the fleet soon split tacks; Mark was first round the windward marks with Jo, Simon, Mike & Bruce close behind. In the second & third rounds Bruce moved up to second leaving Jo & Simon to battle it out for third & fourth. By the end of the third round, it was Jo who finished ahead by inches.

On the 'run' during Race 5

There was another excellent start for the second race with Mark close to the pin and Bruce mid-line. Mark was in front for most of the first round, however Bruce kept up the pressure and having benefited from a couple of wind shifts, took the lead during the second round and extended it in the third. Although at one stage it looked as Simon was also going to overtake Mark and claim second place, the challenge came to nought as Simon concentrated on securing third ahead of Mike & John.

Start of Race 6

With the sun setting in the distance and the breeze gusting between 15 to 21 knots, the third and final race of the weekend saw another excellent start by most of the fleet. Given their form in the previous six races, it came as no great surprise to see Mark's white and Bruce's green spinnakers flying first as they headed back down the course to the leeward gate.

Start of Race 7

The chasing group was lead by Jo, with Simon, Mike and John close behind vying for the best line to the leeward gate. After a slight altercation and problems dropping his spinnaker to take a penalty, John decided to retire and head back to the Illusion Quay leaving the other three to battle it out for third. With Mark well in front and only a chatastrophic gear failure likely to stop him gaining his second first of the day, it was decided to shorten the race to two rounds. Bruce held onto second well ahead of Simon who was third less than a boat length in front of Jo. Mike was fourth.

As always some excellent racing throughout the fleet; congratulations to Mark who finished first one point ahead of Bruce; Simon was third with sixteen points.

Bill's Barrel next weekend (19th & 20th January); on completion of the last race on Sunday, the plan is to finish off the Team Racing final between RVYC & SVYC that had to be aborted in early December due to boat damage.

More 'Flying Dutchman' photos can be found at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1Mark Downer16423211219
2Bruce Huber101311421210
3Simon Cooper85173243316
4Jo Downer166459336425
5Mike Toogood142548554528
6Andy Christie149894689641
7Jonathan Nainby‑Luxmoore158666111111949
8Robin Ebsworth12101011767S51
9Serena Gosling1221081010108753
10Philip Russell1537279SSS59
11Mike Issiais1529141213R101068
12Hugh Doherty124141315S712869
13Monty Irwin147131558SSS75
14John Raymond151SSSS95R82
15Olly Laughton‑Scott8012111312SSS82
16Kass Schmitt1415121414RSS89

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