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Bembridge Illusion Prince Philip Cup 2023

by Mike Samuelson 6 Mar 06:23 GMT 4-5 March 2023

No lie in for the sixteen hardy Illusionists (and the Race Officers!) who turned up to race on Saturday morning! Despite a plea by the ROs to speed up the time to get all the boats into the water for a 10:00 start as HW was at 09:43, there were still a few late comers and the first race started fifteen minutes late! Mind you with the F3 NE'erly flicking 20 degrees at times, it allowed the ROs the opportunity to fine tune the course!

After a good start with Owen Pay inch perfect at the pin end of the line, it dod not take the front runners long to reach the windward marks.

Start of Race 1

Mark Downer was first round with Owen, Tiger Tellwright, Oliver Morgan, David Peerless and Jo Downer not far behind. In the second round Mark and Tiger moved into a commanding lead ahead of Oliver and Owen, David and Jo. Things remained tight during the third round but in the fourth, Mark moved ahead of Tiger, Oliver finished ahead of Owen and David crossed the line ahead of Jo. The next two, Sam Christie and Richard Ambler also had a great battle with Sam finishing a couple of inches ahead.

Jo and Sam were both OCS at the start of the second race so had a bit of catching up to do.

Start of Race 2

Although Hugo Mills from Seaview in Olly Laughton-Scott's boat was first to reach the windward mark, sadly for him he was not able to hold onto the lead for long. After a big windshift to the right Mark, despite taking a penalty following a port & starboard with Owen, moved into the lead ahead of Owen, Tiger, Oliver, David and Mike Issaias. However, another windshift, this time to the left, Tiger moved into the lead well ahead of Owen with Mark third.

After a course re-set with the windward marks moved further left, the third and final race of the day got away cleanly under Flag P. Mind you it did appear from the Committee Boat that Richard Ambler was a bit kind and resisted pushing Mark over the line!

Start of Race 3

Mark and Tiger were first to the windward marks, but after a prefect rounding of the spreader outside and keeping his spinnaker filled, Tiger moved into the lead; indeed by the time he came to run down wind to the leeward gate he had developed what seemed to be an unbeatable lead. However the old addage of it 'not being over until.....' proved to be all too true as Mark reeled him in and they entered the leeward gate with Tiger just ahead only to see his slender lead evaporate on the final short leg back to the finish line. Owen was third.

Sunday morning's forecast was for a very light breeze from the NW. In the event, the direction was pretty accurate but strength wise was a bit out with a steady (well initially) F3 (10 knots). In the knowledge that BHYC were racing in the harbour at roughly the same time as the Illusions, it was decided to set the course up outside the harbour off Silver Beach. A bit bumpy at times but it allowed a longer and potentially more flexible course. With Owen being given the benefit of doubt, the first start (only 10 minutes late!) was called as 'all clear'.

Start of Race 4

David was first at the windward marks with Mark and Oliver closely behind. It was pretty level pegging on the run down to the leeward gate and although David managed to hold onto his lead, it was close at the finish after two rounds with Oliver just coming in ahead of Mark. Lower down the fleet there were also some very close finishes.

The start of the second race of the day saw both Mark & Owen overcooking it and having to turn back; mind you although by the finish after two rounds, the former had moved back into his usual position at the front of the fleet! Mid-line at the start was quite noisy with David P and Tim Lyle having a slight altercation!

Start of Race 5

Hugo was first round the windward mark just ahead of John Birchenough, Mike Issaias and Sam Christie. Despite not flying a spinnaker, Sam managed to keep up with the others and finished in fifth behind Owen, Mike, Hugo and Mark.

Despite the breeze coming and going, it was a clean start to the third and final race of the day. Mark found the best of the clear ait and was soon in his usual position in front of the fleet.

Start of Race 6

However at the leeward gate Oliver had closed the gap and at one stage looked as if he might be able to take the lead, but it was not to be and by tacking off half way up the beat, he not only lost touch with Mark but also let Hugo through to finish in second place. Fifth to eighth (Mike, Jo, Sam and David) all finished within boat lengths of each other and ninth was a tie between Robin Ebsworth and Richard Ambler.

Although he was certainly given a run for his money on Saturday by Tiger and in the last two races on Sunday by Hugo, it was no great surprise that the winner of the replica 'Edinburgh Cup', won by John Raymond & Nicky Eaton's (neé Raymond) father in 1949 and presented as an Illusion Trophy by John in 2021 following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, was won by Mark. Owen was second and Oliver was third. As the top placed Under 30 helm, Hugo won the Edinburgh Cup memento silver ashtray won by John & Nicky's father in 1955.

Next week it is the Illusion Nationals, so fingers crossed for some nice sailing weather.

Some additional photos:

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Mark Downer1641313117
2Owen Pay16042344417
3Oliver Morgan16935627319
4David Peerless140544110721
5Hugo Mills80991062228
6Jo Downer166675511629
7Mike Issaias1521388S3537
8Richard Ambler156867108938
9Tiger Tellwright87212SSS41
10Sam Christie14971311117743
11John Birchenough37111213761147
12Robin Ebsworth12101012129950
13Tim Lyle163121198141252
14Crispin Kenyon125141489131458
15Will Lowe15015161413151471
16James Row22SSS14121577
17James GasperR161516SSS83

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