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Illusion Team Racing Championships at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 18 Nov 2019 08:58 GMT 16-17 November 2019
2019 Illusion Team Racing Championships at Bembridge © Mike Samuelson

Sunday afternoon saw the closest team racing final for many years with Jo & Mark Downer beating Julia & Graham Bailey by inches in the fifth and final race.

With Saturday's essentially NorthEasterly F3-4 breeze flicking like crazy, the Chief Race Officer, Jonathan Peel left setting the course up until the last moment only to then find it necessary to postpone the start of this year's Team Racing Championship so that the windward marks could be re-set yet again. However, it was worth it as there was subsequently some excellent racing between the eight 2 boat teams, with quite a few of the finishes only being decided in the finish line.

Although the outcome of many of the 28 matches on Saturday could be predicted, there were a few surprises and a number of notable moments. As expected, the top two teams, BSC 2 (Mark & Jo Downer) and Cowes Corinthian YC (Julia & Graham Bailey) finished the day ahead of the others (with six and five wins respectively), but on the way there, Mike Toogood & Olly Laughton-Scott (BSC 3)'s only scalp of the day was to resoundingly beat Jo & Mark! Third overall for the day was Owen Pay & David Russell-Jones (AKA the Medway Mudhoppers) who also finished with five wins.

Deciding who was the fourth team through to Sunday's finals was not easy as there were three teams in the running; BSC 1 (Jonathan Naiby-Luxmoore & Hugh Doherty), SVYC (Raymond Simonds & Alastair Speare-Cole) and the visiting team of Mike Wigmore & Roger Yeoman from Itchenor SC. As each had beaten each other, it came down to a points countback which put Itchenor ahead with 9 points, to SVYC on 11 and BSC 1 on 13.

Although sadly for them they did not win the race, the match between the ASA team of David Peerless & Tom Barker and SVYC was notable for Tom managing to come in a very creditable third having hand-steered the whole of the race after his steering broke just before the start!

Also notable about half-way through the racing on Saturday was to see HMS Prince of Wales on her way into Portsmouth for the first time!

Unlike last year when Sunday's racing had to be curtailed half way through because of the strong winds and damaged boats, the issue this year was whether there was going to be enough of a breeze to get the teams round the course. In the event the NorthNnorthEasterly behaved as forecast and provided almost perfect conditions for team racing.

The two semi-finals were between BSC 2 (Jo & Mark Downer) and the visiting team from Itchenor SC (Roger Yeoman & Mike Wigmore). Although it was two straight wins for the Downers, the visitors put up a strong defence and it was certainly not a walkover.

The same applied to the second semi-final between Julia & Graham Bailey (CCYC) and David Russell-Jones & Owen Pay (Medway Mudhoppers) which the Baileys also won with two straight wins, albeit not by much!

In the first race of the 'first to three wins' final, the Downers came in first and second to go one up. However despite Julia being OCS and having to take a penalty immediately after starting, the second race went to the Baileys after Mark picked up a penalty close to the finish. The third race saw probably the closest finish of the Championships with only inches separating the rear two boats.

The Baileys took charge of the fourth race and having secured a first and a second levelled the score off at two each. The fifth and final race was extremely close with positions changing on each leg. It could have gone either way as the four boats closed on the finish line; Jo was just ahead of Julia and Mark was ahead of Graham who although he was closing the gap fast, just ran out of space and finished inches behind Mark.

In the first to two wins 'petit final' between the Medway Mudhoppers and Itchenor SC, the former were the more consistent and won both races with a first and third place in each. But full marks to the Itchenor team, they gave the Medway Mudhoppers a good run for their money!

Additional photos:
Lots of videos of starts, exciting moments, and finishes at:

An excellent weekend's racing and as always grateful thanks to the Race Management team and the Umpires and Assistant Umpires.

No racing next weekend; its the Bailey Bowl the following one (30th November & 1st December).


1. Jo & Mark Downer (BSC 2)
2. Julia & Graham Bailey (CCYC)
3. Owen Pay & David Russell-Jones (Medway Mudhoppers)
4. Roger Yeoman & Mike Wigmore (Itchenor SC)

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