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Bembridge Illusion weekend racing - 18 November 2023

by Mike Samuelson 19 Nov 2023 20:23 GMT 18-19 November 2023

Although racing was originally scheduled to be for a new Trophy, the disappointing forecast kept numbers down (eight boats on Saturday) and with no racing on Sunday because of the strong winds, it was decided to just call it a 'normal racing' weekend.

After a half hour postponement on Saturday late morning to allow the WSW breeze to drop slightly, the fleet of eight hardy sailors made a clean start to the first of three races. Having boxed themselves into a bit of a corner with the pin end rather too close to Selwyn Pontoon, as soon as all the boats had cleared the start line, the RO team in Sea Breeze moved moorings to provide a more space.

Mark Downer's grey spinnaker was, not surprisingly, the first to fly after he had rounded the spreader; initially Mike Toogood was not far behind but as the three round race developed, Mark pulled well ahead. Third was Jo Downer just ahead of David Russell-Jones. Monty Irwin and Xander Shaw helming Hugh Doherty's 124 but with his own sails (15) had a very close race finishing well ahead of Anna Row.

As the last half a minute of the start sequence for the start of the second race counted down, the breeze increased to 21 knots which put so many boats OCS that there was little option but to signal a General Recall.

The re-start under Flag U was also very close with a couple of boats risking all (and getting away with it!)

Mark proved too strong for the rest of the fleet and soon developed a huge lead; Xander was second and after another significant gap, David was third. The next three places (Jo, Mike & Alastair Speare-Cole) were very close. Anna finished ahead of Monty but subsequently admitted she had not taken a penalty so it was agreed to score Monty beating her on the results spreadsheet.

The third and final race of the day saw Flag U flying again; as in the previous race, the first start had too many boats over cooking it which saw another General Recall calling them back.

The re-start went better, and with the tide dropping it was decided to just have two rounds. Mark was again well out front with Jo the closest of the chasing fleet. The next four were very close and their finishing order (David, Xander, Alastair & Mike) only became clear in the last 25 metres.

With Chimet reading F8, and a nasty wind over tide chop in the harbour, Sunday afternoon's racing was cancelled. This meant that with only three races completed the overall results were based on all three races counting and no discard. With three 'firsts', Mark was the clear winner; Jo was second a point ahead of David.

Early starts for next weekend's Picnic Hamper!

Overall Results:

PosnHelmSail NoR1R2R3Final Total
1Mark Downer1641113
2Jo Downer1663429
3David Russell‑Jones15543310
4Xander Shaw1572413
5Mike Toogood14225613
6Alastair Speare‑Cole13556516
7Monty Irwin14767720
8Anna Row9188824

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