Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Bembridge Illusion Bailey Bowl 2021

by Mike Samuelson 6 Dec 2021 16:41 GMT 4-5 December 2021

There were mixed forecasts as the week progressed so it was something of a relief that conditions in the harbour, particularly on Saturday morning were almost perfect for the weekend's Bailey Bowl.

Unfortunately there were no Bailey's among the sixteen enthusiastic Illusionists rigging their boats up, but it was particularly nice to see Anna Row with her recently purchased boat that she had bought back to the Island, brimming with enthusiasm.

The Westerly F3-5 breeze allowed a pretty long course to be set up in the harbour. The first race started 20 minutes later than planned however with a large Spring tide, there was plenty of water to play with. After a close start (spotting was certainly not easy in the bright sunshine) the fleet was soon spread out as they made their way up the harbour to the windward mark. Ed Peel was first round with Mike Toogood, Serena Gosling and Mark Downer not far behind however during the second round Ed moved into a commanding lead and during the third round Mike had to retire when his steering broke. David Peerless and Oliver Morgan both managed to find some extra speed and finished third and fourth. As always, some close finishes mid-fleet with only inches separating Olly Laughton-Scott & Mike Issiais and John Birchenough & Robin Ebsworth.

The start of the second race was very close with Owen Pay and Ed Peel called OCS at the pin end. Although it took Ed a bit of time to extract himself and return to the pre-start side of the line, he clearly thrived on the challenge and had caught up to third by the time he crossed the finishing line after three rounds. Although Mark led the way and never looked like being overtaken, it was great to see Oliver secure a very convincing second and Alastair Speare-Cole a fourth. John Raymond meanwhile had an argument with his boom and came off worse; despite lots of blood he somehow managed to continue racing (and smiling!).

Start of Race 2 Saturday

There were just too many boats OCS to allow for a fair start to the third race, so once the 1st Sub (General Recall) had been removed and the start sequence begun again, it was no surprise that Flag U was used as the Preparatory signal. Only one boat subsequently over cooked it and was therefore disqualified - Mark should have known better!

Race 3 General Recall

However not realising that his race was washed up, he completed two and a half rounds as the leader before coming close enough to the Committee to be told the bad news! This left Ed as the winner with Oliver Morgan picking up his second second and David Peerless picking up his second third. On the second run the breeze got up to just over 20 knots which caught a few out. Simon Birchenough broached and filled up and was towed back to the Quay and a number of other boats also headed home early.

Initially there was not a lot of enthusiasm to go racing on Sunday morning with a cold NW'erly F5/gusting F6 forecast. However, conditions in the harbour were not too bad and once the first few had launched, the rest soon followed. After a clean start to the first race of the day, Mark Downer took up his normal position at the front of the fleet; Bruce Huber, who had not raced the previous day, led the chasing group with Mike Toogood, Monty Irwin, Ed Peel and David Peerless not far behind.

Start of Race 4 (Sunday)

Wisely the majority of rest decided to play safe on the downwind legs and did not fly spinnakers. As it was a relatively short course the Race Officers decided to go for four rounds; although it did not effect the leading two, there were a few place changes elsewhere in the fleet and Ed took third ahead of Monty who proved that in the gusty conditions keeping to white sails was no slower. Sadly Oliver Morgan had to retire when a genoa cleat pulled out of the deck. The only other boat to head back to the Quay was Anna Row who found the stronger gusts difficult to handle; however all credit to her she did finish the race before heading home.

The second race of the day saw two boats over the line at the start at the pin end. Mark was one and it was not long before he was able to get back into the race; the other was a white boat with white sails who got away with it!

Start of Race 5 (Sunday)

Ed was first to round the windward mark with David & Bruce and Mike T & Mike Issiais battling it out behind. By the third round, Mark had caught up and the top three went into the final round with it all to play for.

Race 5 - Leaders at the Leeward Gate

Mark's spinnaker control in the gusty conditions (26 knots at one stage) proved too consistent and he found the extra pace to get him across the line less that a boat length ahead of the other two. At the bottom end of the fleet, John Birchenough, Robin Ebsworth and Serena Gosling also finished only a boat length apart.

The final race of the day saw a similar pattern to the first race develop with Mark, Bruce and Ed establishing a substantial lead; but this time it was Olly Laughton-Scott who battled it out with David Peerless for fourth and fifth places after Mike Toogood had had to retire when his steering failed again. Perhaps not surprisingly, finishing after three rounds drew no complaints!

Start of Race 6 (Sunday)

Despite his disqualification in the third race on Saturday, Mark retained the Bailey Bowl with 6 points; Ed was second with 10 points and David was third with 21 points.

No racing next weekend as the tides are wrong. It is then the Christmas Cracker the following one (18th & 19th December - 10:00 starts both days)

Additional photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Mark Downer16421D1116
2Ed Peel16113132310
3David Peerless14035355521
4Serena Gosling122675912734
5Olly Laughton‑Scott80811R127442
6Robin Ebsworth1211941011842
7Bruce Huber101SSS23249
8Oliver Morgan169422RSS50
9John Birchenough371012913101152
10Alastair Speare‑Cole13513478RR53
11Mike Issiais1529RR761053
12Monty Irwin14714R649R54
13John Raymond15151010SSS67
14Owen Pay1051288SSS70
15Mike Toogood142RSR64R73
16Anna Row8016131114SS75
17Simon Birchenough13676RSSS76
18Justin Biddle85SSSS8677
19Hugh Doherty124SSS11R983
20Andy Christie14916RSSSS100

Related Articles

Bembridge Illusion Bill's Barrel 2022
Post racing quiz decides any tied placings The Notice of Race for the annual Bill's Barrell sponsored by Bill Daniels with support from Goddards Brewery with its tongue in cheek mischievousness is always awaited with baited breath and this year's version was no exception! Posted on 24 Jan
Bembridge Illusion January Jacket 2022
High turnout despite the light to non-existent wind Saturday was set up, thanks to Olly Laughton-Scott and Graham Sunderland, as a 'coached' racing day with Graham kindly offering the benefits of his wide ranging racing experience to everyone who could make the early start. Posted on 17 Jan
Bembridge Illusion Icebreaker 2021-2022
Early start on New Year's Day due to early tides brushes away the cobwebs As the tide 'waiteth for no man (or woman)', the programmed start of the first race for this winter's Icebreaker Trophy (the oldest Illusion Trophy, first competed for in 1982) had been planned for 09:30 on both days. Posted on 3 Jan
Illusion class Christmas Cracker at Bembridge
14 boats enjoy an empty harbour There was not quite as good a turn out for this year's Christmas Cracker as last year, but with Omicron on the rampage and at least one regular stuck abroad, one injured, and a few others committed elsewhere, it certainly could have been worse! Posted on 19 Dec 2021
Making the world smaller
They used to say any publicity is good publicity They used to say any publicity is good publicity, but that has been severely tested in recent times by celebrities and sportspeople who wish they were anywhere but the limelight when things go pear shaped. Posted on 30 Nov 2021
Illusion Team Racing at Bembridge
A full house of eight teams take part Although it was a full house of eight teams of two Illusions per team for this year's inter Club Team Racing, the field arguably lacked some of the previous winners; that said there was some very close racing. Posted on 22 Nov 2021
Illusion National Championship at Bembridge
A superb turnout of 34 helms for the event on the Isle of Wight We were locked down earlier in the year when the 2020-2021 Nationals had originally been programmed, so rather than not hold them at all, the decision was made to hold them over the weekend of 6th & 7th November. Posted on 8 Nov 2021
Bembridge Illusion Trafalgar & Guy Fawkes Trophies
No shortage of water with big spring tides Mid-morning Saturday, Chimet was recording 0 knots so on the face of it things were not looking too good for the Trafalgar Trophy that this year was programmed for just 4 races on Saturday afternoon. Posted on 25 Oct 2021
Bembridge Illusion Picnic Hamper & Invitational
October sunshine and a fickle breeze in the harbour 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. Posted on 11 Oct 2021
Final 2020-21 weekend for the Bembridge Illusions
St George's Day, Woodford Long Distance Race and Bill's Barrel Saturday, the penultimate day of racing of the 2020-2021 Illusion season was a frustrating one! The forecast was for light cyclonic conditions and that was exactly what was delivered! Posted on 3 May 2021