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Bembridge Illusions first weekend racing of the 2020-2021 Winter Season

by Mike Samuelson 5 Oct 10:08 BST 3-4 October 2020

It was great to see the Illusion Park buzzing with enthusiastic 'Illusioners' on Saturday morning. Things were certainly a bit different with boats parked up in groups of six and everyone wearing masks until they were afloat, however this did not seem to spoil proceedings.

No Mark or Jo Downer but they were around when everyone came in; Jo with her left arm in a sling having probably broken her wrist the day before. With a light SW'erly and the occasional patch of blue sky, Sea Breeze and the mark laying RIB headed out to set up a course off Silver Beach rather than play dodge the moored boats still in the harbour hoping for an autumn outing.

After a short postponement thirteen Illusions made a clean start for the first race of the new season, mind you as you will see from the video, the RO was probably a bit generous as it was difficult to identify boats at the pin end!

Start of Race 1:

Colin Simonds was first round the windward mark but Ed Peel and Philip Russell were not far behind and although they kept the pressure up throughout the rest of the two round race they were unable to break through. Mid-fleet Mike Toogood and John Raymond were neck and neck and could not be separated at the finish so tied in 6th place.

The second race had another clean start, mind you with the hooter playing up there was a couple of seconds delay in the back up whistle being blown! Whilst technically of course the Flags provide the 'executive action' not the sound signal, you would need to be a contortionist if you are close to the line in an Illusion to see the Class Flag being removed!

Start of Race 2:

There was little separating the front three, Ed Peel, Colin Simonds and Rory Morrison, however as the two round race unfolded, Rory took over in front and finished ahead of Colin and John Raymond managed to get ahead of Ed on the final beat to the line.

The third and final race saw another good start and a new leader at the windward mark, Mike Toogood.

Start of Race 3:

Indeed he was in front for most of the two and a half round race (which finished at the windward mark to allow a short sail back into the harbour) but had to watch John Raymond and Ed Peel catch flyers and finish just ahead of him. Fourth and fifth places were also keenly contested with Hugh Doherty and Andy Christie inches apart at the finish.

A great first day's racing and certainly encouraging to see such an excellent turnout. Mostly regular 'Illusionists', but a big welcome back to Oliver Morgan after a fifteen year absence. With the Illusion dock full of seaweed, there were not many takers for completing their buoyancy tests after racing!

More photos can be found at

Sadly the forecast for Sunday looked so horrendous that not only was it decided to cancel the 'Invitational Day' but also any normal racing. In the event, a sensible decision as it was blowing a F6 Westerly and very wet! No racing next weekend as early/late tides so the next outing is the Trafalgar Trophy (11:00 17th & 12:00 18th October).

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3Pts
1Ed Peel1612428
2John Raymond15163110
3Colin Simonds13812811
4Rory Morrison12051713
5Andy Christie14947516
6Mike Toogood14269318
7Hugh Doherty124105419
8Philip Russell153361221
9Serena Gosling122811928
10Robin Ebsworth121310629
11Oliver Morgan186981330
12David Russell‑Jones15211131034
13John Birchenough3712121135

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