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Racing and Invitation Day for Illusion class at Bembridge Sailing Club

by Mike Samuelson 10 Oct 2022 12:03 BST 8-9 October 2022

After a breezy couple of days, there was barely a breath at times on Saturday morning for the ten Illusions who took to the water for three 'normal' races. However after a quarter of an hour postponement mostly due to too much nattering in the Dinghy Park, they got off to a slow start in 3 knots of breeze with last week's overall winner, David Peerless having to return after finding himself crossing the line too early.

Video: Start of Race 1 Saturday

Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore was first round the windward marks and looked to be so far ahead that no-one was going to overtake, however sadly for him, the breeze came & went and it wasn't always where he was! David Russell-Jones meanwhile found himself in the right place and took over the lead to finish 10 seconds ahead of David P who just pipped Jonathan.

Despite the fickleness of the breeze, everyone agreed it was worth continuing with a second race, so despite a significant wind shift to the right just prior to the start, they slowly made their way towards the windward marks.

Video: Start of Race 2 Saturday

With a course re-set looking essential, Sea Breeze moved about 500m southwards and the pin and leeward gate were moved to provide a better run and final leg, however annoyingly the breeze dropped off yet again and the run became more of a drift. Having been ahead for most of the race, Oliver Morgan was able to stay just ahead but with the chasing fleet bunching up and with little or no wind in the offing, it was wisely decided to finish the race as they came down wind through the line.

There was little between the next four or five boats with David P, Olly Laughton-Scott and David R-J finishing only seconds apart.

Although a couple of boats decided against a third race, the remainder were determined to give it a go. With yet another windshift soon after the start the first beat began to look like a fetch, however in the event only Oliver, who was the windward boat, somehow managed to avoid being headed and rounded the windward marks a long way ahead. With what little breeze there was veering to the east, the decision was made to change the course after the leeward gate and finish back at the Club.

Unfortunately for him, Oliver tacked into a hole and by trying a different route, David P and Matt Solan found themselves crossing the finishing line ahead of him. This meant that the top three overall were David P, Oliver and David R-J.

It was the annual Invitation Day on Sunday, organised as always so efficiently by Olly Laughton-Scott. This year there were 13 'newbies' trying out an Illusion, most for the first time, in almost perfect conditions - a F4 Southerly and bright sunshine. After some assisted rigging and a safety brief, boats were launched and headed to the middle of the harbour.

After a short period to allow everyone to get used the somewhat different Illusion controls (and as usual life was made a little easier with no spinnakers), a practice start got everyone concentrating hard; this was followed by a one round practice race that set the scene with Hugo Mills from SVYC, Lisa Guy from CCYC and Tony Burton from BHYC leading the way.

The start of the first scoring race saw Chris Preston perfectly placed on the line only to have a problem unfurling his genoa.

Video: Start of Race 1 Sunday

Paul Jennings from BHYC, Hugo and Lisa were always close at the front and only inches separated them at the finish after two rounds; indeed although Paul, helming Vernon Stratton's old boat 'Illustration' just crossed the line ahead, it was so close that Hugo and Lisa were scored a tie.

The breeze had dropped slightly (11 knots) at the start of the second race, another two rounder. In now almost perfect conditions, there was little in it as Hugo and Chris lead towards the leeward gate, however as they settled into the second round, Hugo moved well ahead and Roger in 105 found himself moving into second ahead of Tony.

Video: Start of Race 2 Sunday

The final race of the day again saw an excellent start by the front runners in about 12 knots of breeze that had backed over 20 degrees and required the windward marks to be adjusted. Hugo's superior boat handling proved again to be a winning factor and having been ahead after the first round, he extended his lead over the next two rounds. Tony held onto second ahead of Chris.

Video: Start of Race 3 Sunday

An excellent morning much enjoyed by everyone on the water. Hopefully we will be seeing many of them back in an Illusion before too long. A huge thanks to Olly Laughton-Scott (the Recruiting Sergeant) who organised it all.

For more photos taken by Serena Gosling on Sunday see

Next weekend (early afternoon starts) its the Trafalgar Trophy.

Top six overall:

1st - Hugo Mills
2nd - Paul Jennings
3rd - Tony Burton
4th - Lisa Guy
5th - Crispin Kenyon
6th - Chris Preston

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