by Rudy Jurg
On early Saturday morning the sky was overcast, a biting north easterly cold wind saw temperatures around freezing. Most people probably stayed in bed, turning over once more dreaming of sunshine and warm temperatures. Not so for 11 Illusion sailors who had to be on the water for a 0930 start. Multiple layers of thermal clothing, balaclavas, skiing goggles and neoprene waterproof gloves are essential pieces of kit to survive sailing in these conditions.
Some close racing despite the cold - Saturday 23rd February
A good sense of humour too! With only six inches of free board these boats are wet, you sit most of time in a puddle of icy cold water! With Bembridge Harbour clear of all obstacles Race Officer Mike Samuelson set the longest possible course out. It was a tricky course with the tides and wind shifts playing with the competitors although left hand side of the course proved to be favourite most of the time.
Rudy Jurg won three out of four races having match race style battles with Edmund Peel who unfortunately had to retire twice due to gear failure. This gave Philip Bown the chance to score a few second and third places. New comer Andrew Blundell hoisted a new set of sails which gave him some extra speed and height and no doubt will see his name appear more regularly in front once he gets a handle on the many different controls.
After de-frosting overnight on Sunday morning the wind had swung a little to the north, still very cold. Edmund Peel had fixed his boat and showed that when everything works he is very, very fast and easily took the gun in race one.
In race two the black flag was hoisted and Edmund Peel and Bill Daniels fell victim to it and where out of the race. Mark Downer and Rudy Jurg crossed tacks a few times but Mark would eventually takes the winners gun.
The Commodore battling it out with new helm Andrew Blundell
In race three it was busy towards the pin end everybody having held back and sailing along the line as the black flag was raised again.
This time it was Andrew Blundell who fell foul of it being a little out with his timing. Mark Downer went hard left on the beat building up a commanding lead and took the winners gun again. In last race of the day the wind eased of a little with some big shifts. Edmund Peel read them best to take first place.
After the scores where added up Rudy Jurg won the weekend, a very consistent Phillip Bown second and Edmund Peel third, the latter having suffered gear failure and a black flag not helping his points tally.
This weekend proved excellent training for the National Championship of the Illusion Class coming weekend. Between 25-30 boats are expected on the start which will be a real spectacle to watch. Saturday start 1300 and Sunday 1330.