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Bembridge Illusion 2023 St George's Day Trophy & Woodford Long Distance Race

by Mike Samuelson 24 Apr 2023 05:59 BST 22-23 April 2023

Inevitably, being the last weekend of a very busy winter season, the numbers of boats racing for the St George's Day Trophy on Saturday afternoon and the Woodford Long Distance race on Sunday afternoon were slightly down on earlier Regattas. In the event there were nine for the former and ten for the latter.

Although initially it looked as if Saturday's gentle breeze was going to be predominantly from the South South West, no sooner had the course been set in the harbour than it backed to the South East which meant the course was a bit constrained. However the start of the first race was only five minutes after the programmed time. Last year's winner, Owen Pay, having sailed down the line was caught out and had to sail back to the correct side of the line and was then always in catch up mode.

Start of Race 1

Ian Southworth led from the start and despite best efforts initially by Matt Solan and Tim Lyle and on the third round by Robin Ebsworth, never looked as if he was going to be overtaken even when he had a problem with his spinnaker on the third round Matt was second, Tim was third and Robin who had to take a penalty on the last leg was fourth.

Owen was the only one to even be close to the line at the start of the second race and was well ahead of the others, lead by Tim, at the windward mark.

Start of Race 2

On the second round Tim closed the gap slightly and with both well ahead of the rest it was a two boat race. Ian was third despite again having spinnaker problems.

After a good start to the third race, it was again Owen's red spinnaker that was the first to fly on the run. Tim was never far away and for the first two rounds neither was Ian, however on the final round Mike Issaias moved up into third. Although she ended up fifth, it was good to see Anna Row in fourth in the early stages of the race

Start of Race 3

As the fleet moved into the final 10 seconds to the start of the fourth and final race, the breeze picked up and nearly caught out those closest to the line. However they were given the benefit of doubt and the X Flag was not displayed.

Start of Race 4

Owen was first again round the windward marks but having decided to take the left side of the run, found himself rounding the leeward gate in third behind Ian and Tim. As it was the last race, it was decided to finish at the windward mark after three and a half rounds. With the breeze now coming and going Ian established a substantial lead to take his second win of the day. Second (Owen) and third (Tim) finished inches apart which meant that Owen retained the Trophy on a count back. Ian was second and Tim was third. Anna was awarded the best endeavours glass.

Sunday afternoon's forecast was for rain and very light airs until mid-afternoon and then to increase from the South West. In the event, the rain held off and the breeze did get up about 5 minutes before the finish of the second race.

Ten boats, thought to be a record number for what is traditionally the final trophy of the Winter Season, rigged up and made their way to the start area in the middle of the harbour. After a short postponement the fleet set off on a broad reach to Old Church to starboard and the finish of the first race at the Tide Gauge.

Start of Race 1

Most managed to keep their spinnakers pulling in the fickle light breeze; those that stayed on the right of the course doing better than those on the left. Having pulled ahead as they left the harbour Ian Southworth lead the way with Monty Irwin and Jamie Scrimgeour following close behind; Tim Lyle was fourth some way behind.

The second race was essentially back to the harbour, albeit via a laid mark to the east of St Helens Fort and Pepe.

Start of Race 2

This provided a reasonable beat to the windward mark but an even better one to Pepe. The trick of course was to avoid the holes in the breeze that finally began to increase (from the South West) as they reached the entrance to the harbour. It was only with the finish line in sight that it became obvious that unless he had senior moment that Monty was going to beat Ian and take the Trophy on a count back. Anna Row was third which put her into third place overall, again on a count back with Tim. Will Lowe was awarded a prize for perseverance throughout the season.

So this ends the 2022-2023 Illusion programme; a few boats will be heading to Fishbourne to race in the RVYC summer programme. Otherwise, the 2023-2024 Programme starts on Saturday 14th October (normal racing) & Sunday 15th October (Newbies Invitational).

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4PtsPosR1R2Pts
St George's Day TrophyWoodford Long Distance Race
1Owen Pay16051129    
2Ian Southworth153134192123
3Tim Lyle1633223104459
4Matt Solan106266418    
5Mike Issaias15267362277714
6Robin Ebsworth1244882488816
7Anna Row918955273639
8Guy Lawrence86957728    
9Will Lowe1507899331091019
 Jamie Scrimgeour172     53710
 Monty Irwin147     1213
 Simon Birchenough136     65611
 Crispin Kenyon125     910919

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