Please select your home edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Illusion Spring Plate at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 25 Mar 2019 05:55 GMT 23-24 March 2019

After the strong winds over the last couple of weekends, the calmer weather of the last few days helped draw sixteen 'Illusionists' to Bembridge on Saturday morning for the opening day of this year's Spring Plate.

With conditions outside the harbour looking favourable, the Committee Boat headed out and anchored off Silver Beach to wait for the fleet to beat out against the strong incoming tide. After nearly a twenty minute postponement the first race got away to a clean start bar Jamie Scrimgour who got himself stuck mid line and took a long time to get back.

Start of Race 1

It was good to see Rolly Wilson (who was back for his first race of the season) tack off to the right side of the course and taking advantage of the 20 degree wind shift round the windward mark well ahead of the rest of the fleet. With the breeze holding North Easterly, the course was reconfigured as they headed to the leeward gate; sadly for Rolly he misunderstood the 'change of course sound signal' but he took it in good spirit as he lost his lead to Philip Russell, Rosie Gosling and Jo Downer. Fourth to sixth place saw some very close finishes with Andy Christie just coming in ahead of Mark Downer and Charlie Egerton-Warburton.

With the breeze settling down to just over 8 knots, the second race got away to a clean start. Going right appeared to be the most favourable route to the windward mark although lots stayed to the left. First round was Mark Downer just ahead of Julia Bailey & Jo Downer with Owen Pay, Hugh Doherty and David Peerless close behind.

Start of Race 2

On the first run to the leeward gate Jamie Scrimgour, Rolly Wilson and Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore had a slight altercation which ended with Jamie retiring. On the second round, Mark extended his lead while Julia & Jo battled it out for second and third place. With a slight increase in the breeze and the sea building slightly, it was decided to go for a third round and to then stick with three races. With Mark too far ahead to worry about, Julia & Jo continued the battle for the next two places. In the end Jo got ahead to take second with Julia third. David Peerless was fourth and Hugh Doherty was fifth.

Having looked as if the breeze was going to continue to build during the third and final race of the day, in fact the opposite happened and after a good start with most of the fleet remaining on starboard, it dropped back down to 6 knots. This made keeping the boats moving through increased 'slop' quite hard work.

Start of Race 3

Rosie Gosling and Mark Downer led round the windward mark with Rolly Wilson, Olly Laughton-Scott and Julia Bailey not far behind. With no sign of the breeze picking back up again, the race was concluded after 2 rounds with Mark picking up his second win of the day. Rosie was a very good second ahead of Julia with Rolly just beating David to the line for fourth place.

Bright sunshine and a gentle Northerly, forecast to back to the West greeted seventeen enthusiastic sailors on Sunday morning. Like the previous day, it was decided to head outside the harbour to allow more flexibility if/when the wind changed. After another fairly lengthy postponement while the fleet beat out to the Committee boat anchored off Silver Beach, the first start got away smoothly and boats headed towards the windward mark set for the 6 knot Northerly breeze.

Start of Race 4

Those who stayed on starboard soon realised the error of their ways as the breeze disappeared on the left side of the course allowed those on the right to make the windward mark without undue difficulty. First to round was John Raymond with Mark Downer in hot pursuit, however on the run to the leeward gate John was swamped by the chasing fleet and found himself well down the order. As they began the second round, Jo Downer was in front with Mark well down to leeward and Andy Christie & David Peerless not far behind. Unlike the previous round, it paid to stay left which meant that Mark took over the lead with Philip Russell, Andy, Alastair Speare-Cole & Robin Ebsworth close behind. As they headed back down the course the wind backed 45 degrees which meant a reach to the leeward gate and the line where the race was finished. Mid-fleet Rosie Gosling and Mike Issaias tied for 10th place.

With the breeze now Westerly, the course was re-set before the start of the next race. John Raymond just over cooked it at the start so had to return; the remainder soon split tacks in the hopes of finding the stronger breeze.

Start of Race 5

Mark was again first to the windward mark, with Alastair, Hugh and David ahead of the rest of the fleet. In the second round Mark extended his lead over Alastair while Hugh and David battled for third and fourth. As they approached the leeward gate David got his nose in front but Hugh ended up crossing the line a couple of boat lengths ahead after choosing the left side of the course back to the line.

The breeze held fairly steady for the start of the third race of the day; Rolly Wilson got away with being called OCS as the sun made spotting extremely difficult and as in the previous race the fleet soon split tacks and enjoyed some 'champagne sailing' as the breeze picked up to 10 knots - it really was almost perfect.

Start of Race 6

Although it was Julia's pink spinnaker that was the first to appear after the spreader mark, Mark, Jo, Rosie and Bill were not far behind. As the two round race developed it looked as if she was going to hold onto her lead, however on the final beat back to the line she had a problem stowing her spinnaker which let Mark through for his third win of the day. Bill Daniels was third just ahead of Jo.

Having decided that it was just too nice not to go for a fourth race, it then turned out to be something of a mission to get the race started! There was a General Recall for the first start and although the second start saw Flag U being flown, this too was terminated with a General Recall!

Start of Race 7 (1) - General Recall

Start of Race 7 (2) - General Recall

Start of Race 7 (3)

This brought out the Black Flag for the first time this season! Although there were a few who risked all, in the end no one was disqualified in what was an excellent start. It was no great surprise that Mark was again first to round the windward mark; Bill and Julia were not far behind and although at one stage on the first run it looked as though Julia was going to get ahead, it was not to be and Mark finished at the windward mark after two and a half rounds well ahead. Trading tacks with Bill, it was nip and tuck for second, but in the end she crossed the line a few inches ahead. David Peerless, Andy Christie and Jo Downer also had a very close finish with only inches separating them.

Overall some excellent racing; Mark retained the Stratton Spring Plate for the second year running with Julia second, a point ahead of Jo.

No racing next weekend. The following Saturday (6th April) is the St George's Day trophy with the Woodford Long Distance race on the Sunday.

Additional photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1Mark Downer16451111116
2Julia Bailey15712331782230
3Jo Downer1663297104631
4Andy Christie149496399536
5Philip Russell153161121210838
6David Peerless140104514415441
7Rosie Gosling1302821017131045
8Hugh Doherty124135816361247
9Jonathan N‑Luxmoore158911105571647
10Owen Pay1814168611956
11Alastair Speare‑Cole135SSS4251162
12Robin Ebsworth12111012614141366
13Bill Daniels68SSS12113369
14Rolly Wilson1467R41515161572
15John Raymond151SSS1378775
16Jamie Scrimgour50114R14913121779
17Mike Issaias15215R121016171484
18Charlie Egerton‑Warburton8361313SSSS92
19Olly Laughton‑Scott8015127SSSS94

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