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Illusion Trafalgar Trophy at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 19 Oct 2020 06:15 BST 17-18 October 2020

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.

Although the sea conditions outside the harbour on Saturday morning were quite bumpy in the NNE F3 breeze, it was certainly sailable and with quite a few boats still moored in the harbour, it was decided to set the course just off Silver Beach. Rather than hang about waiting for all 27 Illusions to reach the start line, the sequence was started with a few boats still some way off but with about 15 seconds to go the AP was displayed! The fleet, down to 26 (Hugh Doherty returned to the Illusion Quay with a hole in his bow) got away to a slightly dubious clean start second time round!

Second start of Race 1 (Saturday)

Last year's winner, Bruce Huber, was the first to round the windward marks and remained out in front for the rest of the two round race; Philip Russell did well to hold off Ed Peel and take second. Lower down the order there was some very close racing with a block of three (David Peerless, Colin Simonds and Monty Irwin) and a block of four (Andrew Eddy, Richard Ambler, Rosie Gosling and Robin Ebsworth) finishing within seconds of each other.

The first start of the second race rather set the scene for the rest of the morning's racing with a General Recall.

First start of Race 2 (Saturday)

The second start under Flag U saw a second General Recall which meant that those who were OCS had another chance. Fortunately the third start, under the Black Flag was successful and it was not long before Colin Simonds, Rory Morrison and David Rusell-Jones established themselves as the front three. Despite best efforts Ed Peel, Philip Russell and Bruce Huber could not reel them in. As with the previous race there was some very close racing lower down the order.

Yet again there were just too many boats over the line for the first start of the third race despite it being under Flag U. The second start saw the Black Flag yet again used as the preparatory signal and a clean start (just!).

Second start of Race 3 (Saturday)

Rory Morrison was first round the windward mark and never looked like being overtaken. Although unable to catch Rory, it was great to see Nigel Grogan battling it out with Bruce Huber for second and third.

Although sadly not everyone stayed on for a fourth and final race of the day, the majority did. The start was again under the Black Flag; mind you as you can see from the video, the front runners were certainly not holding back very far!

Start of Race 4 (Saturday)

Although not the first to round the windward mark on the second round, indeed he had to circle back to round it correctly, Raymond Simonds made up a lot of ground on the run to the leeward gate and came out ahead of Bruce Huber and John Raymond by the time they finished.

An excellent morning's racing in quite tricky sea conditions. Light airs are forecast for tomorrow, so at least if there is not enough for racing, then at least we got four races completed today.

A number of boats completed their annual buoyancy checks before being craned back up onto their trailers. They included Olly Laughton-Scott's which unfortunately failed and saw Olly having to go for an underwater swim to get her connected to the crane!

It was touch and go whether anyone wanted to race in the light airs that greeted them on Sunday morning. However, a few flags were fluttering so it was decided that racing was feasable. Unusually, given that there were 21 boats rigged up and light airs, it was decided to stay in the harbour as it would have taken an age for everyone to beat out against one of the largest spring tides of the year.

Two boats at the far end of the line were called OCS; David Russell-Jones came back but as it had been too far away for the RO's to identify the second boat, they got away with it!

Start of Race 5 (Sunday)

Having gone right, Robin Ebsworth rounded the windward marks a long way ahead, however on the slow run to the leeward gate was frustratingly overtaken by Colin Simonds, Bruce Huber, Rory Morrison and Richard Ambler. However, by the end of the slow second round, he clawed back into third behind Bruce and Raymond Simonds.

With the light breeze veering to the NE, the marks were adjusted before the start of the second race. Fortunately they got away (under Flag U) first time and with a knot increase in the wind speed, Ed Peel was first round the windward marks by quite a way.

Start of Race 6 (Sunday)

Although they were unable to reduce his lead on the second round, the chasing group of Nigel Grogan, Bruce Huber and Richard Ambler tested each other on every leg and had to work hard to hold off a late challenge by Colin Simonds.

With the breeze dropping to 3.4 knots, the third and final race was again started under Flag U; mind you, as you will see from the video the front runners did not leave much room for error!

Start of Race 7 (Sunday)

Although Raymond Simonds had established a big lead as he rounded the windward marks, he still had to work hard to remain in front as the breeze continued to drop and wind holes began to appear on the course. After an even slower 2nd round, Ed Peel's route to the finish paid off and he came in second ahead of Richard Ambler with Bruce finishing fourth.

Congratulation to all competitors, particularly those lower down the fleet for persevering in such light airs. To have no one returning back to the Illusion Quay early was very impressive and demonstrates again the strength of the Illusion fleet at Bembridge.

Well done to Bruce Huber who retains the Trafalgar Trophy for another year. Also to Ed Peel who was second and Raymond Simonds who was third.

No racing next weekend due to the tides; the weekend after (31st October/1st November) is the re-scheduled 2019-2020 National Championships.

More photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1Bruce Huber101163214415
2Ed Peel1613453151218
3Raymond Simonds1655127126122
4Colin Simonds138919495735
5Rory Morrison120621S4102043
6Richard Ambler156151181653345
7David Russell‑Jones15511311102071153
8Nigel GroganApr‑67RR25112554
9Mike Toogood14271315810181265
10Andy Christie14913810121791365
11Philip Russell1532513R12161866
12David Peerless140810122013R1073
13Alastair Speare‑Cole1354749SSS82
14Rosie Gosling130161718111912882
15Robin Ebsworth12171920133141985
16John Raymond15112963SSS88
17Andy Olding/Andrew Neill/8025242621711694
18Mike Issiais152211521188191697
19Oliver Morgan186222122R16139103
20John Birchenough3719181919181515104
21Monty Irwin1471016167SSS107
22Andrew Eddy2714141714SSS117
23Simon Birchenough/67242325R141721124
24Hugh Doherty124RSSS62014127
25Olly Laughton‑Scott8023201415SSS130
26Owen Pay105SSSSS817141
27Caroline Simonds98620242417SSS143
28 106182223RSSS150

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