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Bembridge Illusion Trafalgar Trophy 2019

by Mike Samuelson 21 Oct 06:24 BST 19-20 October 2019

With a F4 initially gusting F5 West South Westerly breeze, bright sunshine and still a few moored yachts in the middle of the harbour, it was decided to set the course on Saturday outside the harbour for the 13 Illusions wanting to race.

After a 20 minute postponement (too much nattering in the Illusion Park!) the first race got away with the breeze probably gusting 18 knots which was quite testing for the first Regatta of the new season.

Although there were a number of boats OCS, including Bruce Huber in 101, all came back and re-started.

Start of Race 1 (Saturday)

Class Captain Mark Downer (164) who is invariably unbeatable in the stronger winds rounded the windward mark first ahead of Bruce with Andy Christie (149), sporting a new set of Hyde sails, and newcomer Simon Birchenough in Raymond Simmonds' boat (165) not far behind. On the second round Mark extended his lead with second and third being played out between Bruce and Ed Peel (out in his new boat (161) for the first time). Andy was fourth and Jo Downer (166) was fifth.

Start of Race 2 (Saturday)

The breeze steadied and dropped slightly in time for the start of the second race. Mark down at the pin end probably had the best start, however it was Bruce's green spinnaker that was the first to fly on the run from the spreader to the leeward gate. Ed, Mark & Andy led the chasing fleet with Mark moving into second by the end of the first round. However as the race unfolded, Ed managed to get himself into second and during the third round even started to put Bruce under pressure, leaving Mark and Simon to battle it out for third and fourth.

Sadly for Simon, he overcooked the start and then failed to return, so despite finishing the third race in a very creditable fifth, he picked up an OCS.

Start of Race 3 (Saturday)

With the wind strength continuing to suit him, Bruce quickly established himself as the boat to beat. Andy, Simon, Ed & Jo tried their best but after rounding the leeward gate, Ed and Mark (who earlier in the race had had a couple of 'incidents' including one with Jo!) got tangled up which took them out of contention. At the finish at the windward mark after three and a half rounds the top four were Bruce, Andy, Jo and David Peerless (140).

Conditions on Sunday afternoon were very different; it was overcast with a cold NNEasterly F3-4 breeze so racing for the 15 Illusions was confined to the inner harbour. The wind direction (which regularly saw 10-15º shifts throughout the afternoon) and moored boats meant that the course had to be quite short, so all three races had four rounds. In the first, Raymond Simmonds in his own boat (165) was first round the windward mark and managed to stay ahead of Bruce Huber until the final run, when calls of 'proper course' reverberated around the harbour, and Bruce moved into the lead and finished a boat length ahead. Jo Downer was 3rd and after a very close race, David Peerless (140) just managed to hold Robin Ebsworth (12) off to finish in fourth.

Three boats (including Andrew Eddy (27)) were called OCS at the start of the second race; all came back and re-started. Bruce was again the boat to beat and despite pressure from Ed Peel (161) and Raymond he held on to take his second win of the day. After a good start by all (sadly the ROs did not take any video!), a similar pattern to the previous race developed with Bruce showing no mercy and making it another win ahead of Ed & Raymond. Alec Downer (helming his father's boat (164) as Mark was chairing an EWCC Committee meeting) was fourth just ahead of his mother Jo.

With five wins, the Trafalgar Trophy was obviously Bruce's to take home. Ed Peel was second and father and son Downer were third.

Early-ish starts (10:00) for next weekend's Picnic Hamper Regatta.

Additional photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Bruce Huber1012111115
2Ed Peel16132762215
3Mark/Alec Downer16413575418
4Jo Downer16654338520
5Simon Birchenough/Raymond S16569D23323
6David Peerless14087444726
7Andy Christie149462119627
8Robin Ebsworth12786510935
9Olly Laughton‑Scott8010581071040
10Andrew Eddy2791098111247
11Mike Toogood142DDD96855
12Tim Haslam1671113R12121159
13John Birchenough(W)12121014151462
14Sue Hampton1513111113141562
15Owen Pay105SSSS131374

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