Despite the weather forecast and many people with family commitments 18 sailors made it last weekend to the start line for the aptly named Illusion Christmas Cracker – The trophy is scale model of an Illusion.
In 22-26 knots of breeze on the committee boat race officer Mike Samuelson set a long course out across the harbour. All sailors were warmly wrapped up to face the worst of British winter weather. At the leeward end of the course significant waves could be encountered which necessitated in lots of pumping action to keep afloat.
Downwind sailing was especially exciting and it was the giants in the class we mastered this skill best, 6’4' Bruce Huber, 6’8' Mark Downer and even taller Edmund Peel fought it out in front of the fleet with many others just goose winging it downwind under white sails only. Mark Downer however showed he is best in this kind of weather and took home the winner’s trophy. Bruce Huber was second and Edmund Peel third.
Due to favourable tidal pattern the Christmas Cracker was immediately followed with the Ice Breaker Trophy, the oldest this class has race for in its 30 year history.
On Monday 31st December however the weather was so bad that racing was cancelled a rarity for this class. After a night of celebrations to welcome 2013 18 sailors came to play on first of January.
The make up for loss of previous day cancellations five races were held in West North Westerly winds, 12-16 knots of breeze and SUNSHINE! Perfect conditions for sailing although the winds where very shifty.
Professional sailor Graham Sunderland worked it out best and won 3 out of 5 races and two second places. An impressive scorecard. Although normally James Meaning only comes out to sail his Illusion in very light winds he showed that in this wind he can also perform and came second overall, Bruce Huber came a close third.
Quite a few new sailors have appeared in the class, at present making up the back of the fleet but they regularly showed an impressive turn of speed and tactics but these are tricky boats to handle so hopefully they will come out more often to hone their skills.
No doubt we will sailors like 18 year old Robbie Southwell and Steve Warren Smith in the top rankings soon. They have already made a name for themselves in other classes.
Next event is the Piers January Jacket 12-13 January.
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