Please select your home edition
Allen Brothers

Bembridge Illusion January Jacket 2020

by Mike Samuelson 13 Jan 2020 07:19 GMT 11-12 January 2020

A windy weekend! Indeed an hour or so before the programmed start times in both Saturday & Sunday it had looked dubious whether racing was going to be possible.

However after a short postponement on Saturday morning fourteen Illusions launched into the brisk SSW'erly breeze. The first race got away to a clean start - indeed most held back to be on the safe side as gusts of 22 knots came over the Embankment Road.

Start of Race 1 Saturday

Bruce Huber was first round the windward marks with Mark Downer inevitably not far behind with Jo Downer and David Russell-Jones hot on their heels. The front runners and a few lower down the fleet risked spinnakers, but the majority decided that goose winging their genoas was a safer bet. Bruce and Mark were never far apart for the rest of the three round race but Mark got the break with a favourable wind shift on the beat up from the leeward gate to cross the line first. Jo was a good third and David R-J was fourth.

First run Race 1 Saturday

The breeze was down to around 15 knots at the start of the second race. Bruce was again first to get his spinnaker pulling on the first run; Mike Toogood as second and Mark was third.

Start of Race 2 Saturday

Bruce was still ahead as they approached the leeward gate for the second time, but Mark got another favourable wind shift on the third round and took over the lead, but it was certainly close with only a boat length in it at the finish. Jo worked herself up into third ahead of Mike. Mid-fleet David Peerless just pipped David R-J.

With the breeze holding around 15 knots, the third and final race of the day got away to another clean start.

Start of Race 3 Saturday

For the third time, Bruce rounded the windward marks ahead with Mark & Jo in his wake. David Peerless led the chasing fleet with Mike Toogood, Philip Russell and Olly Laughton-Scott close behind. Jo got a useful wind shift as they were finishing the first round and almost found herself in the lead, but it was not to be and she had to just watch Mark and Bruce battle it out over the next three rounds. Although Mark was well ahead at the end of the third round, Bruce kept up the pressure and having rounded the opposite gate mark to Mark he might well have take overtaken him on the final beat to the finish, but it was not to be. Jo took her third third of the day with Andy Christie fourth.

Although it was a lovely sunny day, conditions in the harbour mid-morning on Sunday were very marginal even for Illusions. It was therefore decided to delay launching for half an hour to see if it settled down; also to see how the BHYC 'Icebreaker' dinghies got on! In the event a wise decision as the eleven Illusions were able to pick their way through the carnage as they headed up to the slightly calmer water off Bembridge Outboards!

The first race of the day got away cleanly even though it was gusting 25 knots; Mark & Jo Downer both had excellent starts close to the Committee boat and Mark was the first to round the windward marks.

Start of Race 4 Sunday

As an indication of the breezy conditions (highest gust was 27 knots), even the experts decided against flying their spinnakers on the runs! Jo and Bruce had a close battle for second & third and it was good to see Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore and John Birchenough not far behind them. Bruce got ahead of Jo during the second round but had to be content with second as Mark was just too far in front for him. In the meantime, Alastair Speare-Cole had closed up on Jo but missed a third by inches.

Although still very breezy (gusting 23 knots), the second race of the day saw another clean start.

Start of Race 5 Sunday

Having rounded the windward marks in front, Bruce decided to risk flying his spinnaker. Jo who was second at that stage eventually followed suit, as did Mark in third, along with a few lower down the fleet. Despite a few broaches everyone made to the leeward gate safely. Bruce and Mark traded places a number of times as they completed a further two rounds; indeed either could have won. However Mark yet again got the break and finished inches ahead. Jo was third a considerable way ahead of Alastair.

The third and final race followed a similar pattern to the previous one, albeit for four rounds rather than three. Bruce was first to the windward mark with Mark snapping at his heels; they then proceeded to 'match race' for the rest of the race with less than a boat length separating them for most of it. Very exciting and despite Mark already having won the weekend's trophy with five first's, there was no quarter given!

Run Race 6 Sunday

Although it was by less than half a boat length, the results show Mark ending with a clean sheet of six wins. Jonathan N-L meanwhile put paid to Jo finishing with six thirds by finishing just ahead of her.

Although the winners (Mark, Bruce and Jo) inevitably get most of the glory, congratulations are also due to all who competed over the weekend is the very breezy conditions.

No racing next weekend, but it's the annual Match racing Championships the one after (25th & 26th January).

Additional photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Mark Downer164111115
2Bruce Huber1012222210
3Jo Downer1663333315
4Mike Toogood1427467427
5Robin Ebsworth1261176733
6Hugh Doherty12488S10641
7Alastair Speare‑Cole135SSS4550
8Mike Issiais15211131011951
9Jonathan Nainby‑Luxmoore158SSS5852
10David Russell‑Jones155475SS52
11Andy Christie1491054SS55
12Philip Russell153598SS58
13John Birchenough13013141381058
14David Peerless140969SS60
15Monty Irwin147SSS91164
16Olly Laughton‑Scott80121012SS70
17Matt Solan131141211SS73

Related Articles

Bembridge Illusion Bailey Bowl
23 boats arrived at the start for the first race in glorious sun 23 boats finally arrived at the start for the first race, with 7-9knts from the NE and gloriously sunny. The weather stayed the same for the 3 races completed on the Saturday. Posted on 23 Jan
Bembridge Illusion Fleet Racing
Held in lieu of Team Racing due to the high winds Firstly of course, a very happy New Year! Disappointingly the weather put paid to this year's Team Racing weekend that was programmed to start off 2023 with a flurry of activity. Posted on 8 Jan
Bembridge Illusion Icebreaker 2022
Challenging conditions, particularly for the lower half of the fleet No ice to break for this year's 'Icebreaker', the oldest trophy raced for by the Bembridge Illusions, however the F4-5 SSW'erly on Tuesday did not take prisoners and provided some challenging conditions particularly for the lower half of the fleet. Posted on 28 Dec 2022
Bembridge Illusion Christmas Cracker 2022
Some great racing on Christmas Eve for the fleet Strong SW'erly winds and rain were forecast for the first day (Friday) of this year's Christmas Cracker and indeed this was exactly what the weather God's delivered! Posted on 25 Dec 2022
Bembridge Illusion 40th Anniversary Regatta
Scraping the ice off the boats for a weekend of celebration With the Illusions first starting to race at Bembridge over the winter of 1982-83, it was too good an opportunity not to include to include a 40th Anniversary Regatta in this winter's programme. Posted on 12 Dec 2022
Bembridge Illusion Picnic Hamper 2022
A number of 'first timers' join in the racing Not really picnicking weather, however at least it did not rain on Saturday and it was great to see so many boats out for this season's Picnic Hamper Regatta; well done to Bruce and Ed who brought along a number of 'first timers'. Posted on 28 Nov 2022
Bembridge Illusion fleet sail January Jacket early
Next year's event moved forward to accomodate Inter-Club Team Racing Sailing for the 'January Jacket' in mid-November seemed slightly odd, however it was slipped in to fill the void when the Inter-Club Team Racing was moved to early January. Light breezes and sunshine provided almost champagne conditions. Posted on 14 Nov 2022
Bembridge Illusion Guy Fawkes Trophy 2022
Better than expected conditions for the 19 helms The forecast for the weekend was pretty dire, and with 09:00 starts both days, we were not expecting too many boats out for this year's Guy Fawkes Trophy. Posted on 6 Nov 2022
Bembridge Illusion Flying Dutchman Trophy
Sadly there was no guest appearance by Rudy Sadly there was no guest appearance by Rudy, our Flying Dutchman, but then it's a long way to come from Finland to Bembridge to race for 'his' trophy! Posted on 31 Oct 2022
Bembridge Illusion Trafalgar Trophy
Initially the RO thought the chances of getting any racing were slim With the racing for this year's Trafalgar Trophy programmed for Saturday afternoon and a 35 knot squall hitting the harbour at about midday, the Race Officer thought that the chances of getting any racing were slim. Posted on 16 Oct 2022