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Gipsy Moth IV: A Legend Sails Again by Paul Gelder
Gipsy Moth IV: A Legend Sails Again by Paul Gelder

Bembridge Illusion Picnic Hamper and Invitational Day

by Mike Samuelson 11 Oct 06:19 BST 9-10 October 2021

After the strong NE breeze earlier in the week, the forecast for the first weekend of the Bembridge Illusion fleet's 2021-2022 winter season looked much more promising with a steady F2/3 NE'erly and bright sunshine.

Well we certainly had the sunshine on Saturday, but the breeze was fickle and never got over 5 knots which was a bit disappointing as there were an amazing 21 boats out racing. The original plan was to have four races for a one day Picnic Hamper with more races on Sunday for the separate Invitational Day.

After a half hour postponement to allow all the boats to reach the start area off Silver Beach, the sequence for the first race eventually got under way, however with a 10 degree wind shift in the last minute and a mix up between the RO and the Mark Layer over re-setting the pin, it was decided to go for a General Recall.

Start 1 of Race 1 Saturday

The second start went smoother albeit with a couple of boats called OCS. Serena Gosling was first to round the windward mark/spreader with Mark Downer close behind. Although she managed to stay in the first three on the first run, by the end of the race she had to be content with 6th. Ed Peel meanwhile moved up into second place with Monty Irwin close behind in third. Behind them Graham Sunderland in his re-built boat and Colin Simonds had a close battle and were scored as tying for 4th place. Lower down the fleet there were a number of close finishes with Richard Ambler just coming out ahead of Philip Russell, and David Peerless inches ahead of Hugh Doherty and Andy Christie.

The start of the second race was not helped by the RO forgetting that he had to blow his whistle (the hooter having run out of power earlier)! However as time was getting short the race was allowed to continue and those OCS were given the benefit of the doubt.

Start 2 of Race 1 Saturday

Although what little breeze there was began to fade, there was just enough for Graham & Ed to complete the two round race out in front. Caroline Simonds had an excellent race and was third ahead of Monty. Again some close finishes with Colin just ahead of Richard and David P; also Hugh just beating Philip.

Start of Race 2 Saturday

With time running out for the impromptu 'sail past' in front of the Club in memory of David Bottom who had been one of the regular Illusion Race Officers in the late 90s/early 2000s, and who had died a month or so ago, it was decided to set the third race as a running start with the finish off the Club pontoon.

Start of Race 3 Saturday

In the event, the wind died off completely so although everyone made it back and David's family and friends much appreciated the very slow 'drift by', the actual race was abandoned. With only two races counting and no discard, Ed Peel took home the Picnic Hamper; Graham Sunderland was second and Monty Irwin was third.

After a briefing by the Class Captain, Mark Downer, twelve Illusions (nine new helms and three who have sailed a bit before) joined in the Invitational Day racing on Sunday afternoon. With more of a breeze (certainly to start with) and fewer boats to fit into the confines of the harbour, a course was set up off Selwyn Pontoon running north/south. Racing started with two practice starts to allow the complete newcomers a chance to get used to how the Illusion handles. These were then followed by two two round races and with the wind dropping, a third race with the finish at the windward mark after just one round.

Although the light airs provided almost perfect conditions for beginners, you still need to close to the line at the start line to be in with a chance of coming out on top and as can be seen the start videos of the first two races below, everyone caught on very quickly! In the first race Paul Adamson and Sam Christie were unstoppable and finished well ahead of the rest. In the second race Paul again led the way and although initially second, Sam had to be content with third behind Graham Wilkinson who did well to make up lost ground after being OCS at the start of the race.

Start of Race 1 on Sunday

Start of Race 2 on Sunday

The third and final race was reduced to one and a half rounds when the breeze dropped off completely. Paul was again the boat to beat and somewhat to her surprise this is exactly what Penny Stanley did! John Claxon was third. Overall this put Paul well ahead on points, with Sam second and David Jones third.

An excellent afternoon's racing and we look forward to seeing some of our guests returning to sail in a full Regatta. No racing next weekend as the tides are wrong; the one after (23rd & 24th October) sees the Trafalgar Trophy on the Saturday and the Guy Fawkes Trophy on the Sunday.

Additional photos at

Picnic Hamper Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2Pts
1Ed Peel161224
2Graham Sunderland21415
3Monty Irwin147347
4Colin Simonds986459
5Mark Downer1641910
6Caroline Simonds3810313
7Alastair Speare‑Cole13571017
8Richard Ambler15613619
9Olly Laughton‑Scott8081422
10Serena Gosling12261723
11David Peerless14017724
12Jonathan N‑L16891625
13Philip Russell153141226
14Andy Christie14919827
15Mike Toogood142121527
16John Birchenough37151328
17Hugh Doherty124181129
18Mike Issaias152111829
19Robin Ebsworth12161935
20 13212041
21Max Beddall126202141

Invitational Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3Pts
1Paul Adamson1581124
2Sam Christie14923914
3David Jones16575416
4Nick Wilkinson15082717
5John Claxon15596318
6John Reid80371121
7Ed Eddy2744R21
8Anna Row124610521
9Penny Stanley1421211124
9Emily Lyle122108624
11Peter Morton161512825
12Max Beddall1251191030

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