On a brisk Saturday morning with a Northerly breeze of 3-4 Beaufort with occasional sunny spells 20 Illusion sailors came out to play in Bembridge. Water temperature is still 3C and the air was not much warmer so it was multiple layers of thermal gear.
Race Officer Mike Samuelson decided to race outside the harbour just of Silver Beach. There was a small chop which made things interesting and just as some of the marks were set the rescue boat broke down. It was therefore decided to sail inside the harbour. With a fast mark laying boat missing a course was set which was not entirely square so at the first start pin end was the place to be and Rayomond Simonds took off. However, he was closely followed by the Baileys, 1st Julia and then Graham. Despite various attempts by Graham to overtake Julia held husband back right to the finish line.
In race two James Axtell discovered the importance of a good start and together with Graham Bailey, Philip Bown and Rudy Jurg sailed away from the fleet. Graham build up a considerable lead, followed by James Axtell. Rudy Jurg just beat Philip Bown on the finish line to his delight.
In the last race of the day it was the Baileys again who took the lead. This time however it was Julia Bailey who beat her husband to the finish. Rupert Holmes who despite some spinnaker troubles took third place and Barnaby Edwards, who had been released from family duties, a fourth place.
On Sunday the breeze had increased a bit to 4 Beaufort from North North Easterly direction, overcast and grey (typical English winter weather). However this did not stop the enthusiasm on the water. Race Officer Hugh Eddows set an almost perfectly square course and port, middle and starboard up the beat seemed to work on different occasions. In race one it was the ‘Flying Dutchman’ Rudy Jurg who nailed the pin end at high speed and together with Raymond Simonds and Graham Bailey sailed away from the fleet. It’s ‘easy’ when you have clear air! Rudy Jurg held on and took the gun. In the second race all the top boys and girls decided for pin end again. Mark Downer and Graham Bailey looked good, Rudy Jurg who was with them but could not hold on, tacked early, ducked 4 boats but came out first at the top mark to his own amazement. He did not give this position away and took the gun for a second time on the day. Mark Downers other half, Jo Downer had tacked across early with Rudy Jurg on the first beat and finished a very credible fourth place. Note that each race consists of 3 beats and two runs so you have keep working hard as there are so many mark rounding’s and shifty winds that there is plenty of opportunity too loose on tactics and boat handling .
Graham Bailey had already pretty much secured the series but still needed a top placing in the last race, however 2-4th place would need to be fought for. Despite a square line the pin end always seems to attract the top talent. It compromised of many of the aforementioned names but with shifty winds there was plenty of place changing between Graham Bailey and Mark Downer who had the lead and Raymond Simonds and Rudy Jurg who were fighting for third place. It was a close race between this group but never under estimate the ladies because with some good tactical sailing Julia Bailey joined the top group and passed Raymond Simonds to take a fourth place. Eventually Mark Downer would take the gun followed by Graham Bailey in second and Rudy Jurg in third.
Overall victory for the Piers January Jacket went to Graham Bailey, second Dutchman Rudy Jurg and third on count back, Julia Bailey.
Photos and videos to follow on http://www.bembridgesc.net/
Next regatta is the Invitational Match Racing on 5-6th February and rumour has it that some top international match racers will decent on Bembridge Harbour.
For more information go too: http://illusionclass.org/ http://www.bembridgesc.net/ /pages/Illusion-Class/248612339896?nid=79528