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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - YY LEADERBOARD

Bembridge Illusion Picnic Hamper 2022

by Mike Samuelson 28 Nov 2022 06:42 GMT 26-27 November 2022

Not really picnicking weather, however at least it did not rain on Saturday and it was great to see so many boats out for this season's Picnic Hamper Regatta; well done to Bruce and Ed who brought along a number of 'first timers' (well in an Illusion anyway!) to introduce them to winter Illusion racing at Bembridge!

For the first time for a number of years, there were no moored boats or pontoons in the sailing area in the harbour and with no visitor traffic expected, it was possible to set up quite a long course despite the F4/F5 Southerly breeze.

With so many boats to launch, a postponement was inevitable, however if nothing else it gave the 'early birds' lots of time to get into the groove. Getting the timing right at the start was certainly challenging as the wind strength fluctuated between 14 to 18 knots, and with at least two unidentified boats tucked to leeward of her, Julia Bailey was perhaps over generously given the benefit of doubt and not called 'OCS'!

Start of Race 1 Saturday

Mark Downer lead round the windward marks ahead of Ed Peel, Julia, Bruce Huber and David Russell-Jones. By the end of the second round, Mark had pulled well ahead of Ed with Bruce & Julia ready to pounce, however the opportunity did not arise and no places changed during the third round. Lower down the fleet there were some very close finishes which again just shows the quality of the racing.

Despite extending the length of the line, the start of Race 2 had all the makings of a General Recall with 15 seconds to go, so it was no great surprise that the triple hoots were sounded from the Committee Boat.

Start of Race 2 Saturday

The re-start under Flag U was much better controlled; mind you the front runners leave little room for error!

Re-start of Race 2 Saturday

Rounding the windward marks close together it was always going to be a battle between Bruce and Mark with Ed and Rory Morrison ready to step in if one of them got it seriously wrong; however, it was rather wishful thinking! Although some may not have been aware, the Race Officers ran into a few problems that resulted in the pin being off station when the fleet came back to complete the first round. Fortunately it was back in place for the rest of the race. Good to see Simon Birchenough in the top quarter - indeed if he had not been hampered by not being able to fly a spinnaker, he would have probably done even better. Also 'newbie' Wouter Stiphout, sailing Hugh Doherty's boat who finished in seventh place.

The final race of the day, again started under Flag U rules was another example of how to start with inches to spare. Mark and Bruce with Rory, David Peerless, Matt Solan and Olly Laughton-Scott soon established themselves as the leading group but with the breeze varying between 12 - 17 knots, it certainly was by no means a procession. Ed did not feature as he retired early in the race after his genoa got itself caught in a shroud.

Start of Race 3 Saturday

Sunday's forecast was for light and variable breeze from the SWest with occasional rain showers. In the event pretty spot on! However although no doubt frustrating at times for the twenty four sailors and three Race Committee, we did manage to get three races completed and everyone (well almost everyone) returned ashore with smiles on their faces!

Although the Committee Boat was not ideally located having had to be towed into position, it was decided to try and get the first race away and then move; interestingly it was a clean start so it can't have been too bad!

Start of Race 4 Sunday

Bruce lead the way and after the second round had established a substantial lead, although in the third round, second place Rosie Gosling did narrow the gap slightly. Ed was third and Owen Pay was fourth. Mark and Julia (5th & 6th), Rory and Wouter (8th & 9th), Mike Toogood and Matt (11th & 12th) and Simon and Oliver Morgan (14th & 15th) finished within inches of each other!

Although the video suggests otherwise (hindsight is a marvellous thing!), the start of the second race of the day was called 'all clear' once Owen was seen to be circling back, however as the camera is never exactly on the line and depending on the angle, its often a difficult call!

Start of Race 5 Sunday

With the breeze varying in strength (4-7 knots) and with regular 30 degree shifts, it certainly opens up the opportunity for others to pick up podium places in what had been declared as 'likely' to be a two round race. In this case, Oliver was a clear second at the end of the first round and Andy Christie found himself in with a chance even if Mark and Bruce did end up taking the top two places. As always, there were a number of very close finishes.

With just enough breeze to make it worth starting a third and final race, it was decided to shorten the course a bit by bringing the windward/spreader and leeward gate buoys in a bit and also to encourage a clean start by using Flag U as the preparatory signal. As the video clip shows, the latter worked well!

Start of Race 6 Sunday

Wouter was first round the windward mark with David P and Ed not far behind. On the slow run down to the leeward gate, Ed found better boat speed and developed a substantial lead ahead of Matt who had managed to find the zephers to keep his spinnaker filled. Rosie was also up there and crossed the line just ahead of Wouter.

Another excellent weekend of racing ending with Mark looking forward to eating (and drinking) the contents of the Picnic Hamper, filled by last year's winner Ed! Hopefully Bruce's Xanaboo crew enjoyed themselves and we will see them down here again soon.

No racing next weekend as the tides are wrong, but the weekend after (10th & 11th December) it's the 40th Anniversary (of the Bembridge Illusion fleet) Regatta; lunchtime tides (11:00 & 12:00 starts) so we are anticipating a great turnout.

Additional photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Mark Downer1641215138
2Bruce Huber10131312710
3Ed Peel16123R310119
4Julia Bailey157456691330
5David Peerless140917476632
6Rory Morrison1201242871233
7Owen Pay16015151044841
8Wouter Stiphout1247812914541
9Andy Christie14914149103945
10Mike Issaias152612813151049
11Rosie Gosling13017202028451
12Matt Solan106182171217256
13Oliver Morgan169816131552357
14Mike Toogood1421091111202161
15Simon Birchenough1361671514R1870
16Monty Irwin/Will Toogood14711131816211371
17Anna Row9122181618131580
18David Russell‑Jones1555617SSS86
19Olly Laughton‑Scott8013115SSS87
20Robin Ebsworth/1219191419161987
21John Birchenough3721221921111688
22Vicky Cowan12R10R23181191
23Dermott O'Flynn2723232217191798
24James OxenhamIll202321222322108
25James Row22RRR201220110
26Will Lowe80SSSR2224133
27Jamie Scrimgeour172R24RSSS140
28Crispin Kenyon125RSSSSS145

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