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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

Bembridge Illusion January Jacket 2022

by Mike Samuelson 17 Jan 03:03 PST 15-16 January 2022

Saturday was set up, thanks to Olly Laughton-Scott and Graham Sunderland, as a 'coached' racing day with Graham kindly offering the benefits of his wide ranging racing experience to everyone who could make the early start. The 'everyone' turned out to be 21 Illusionists so it was very disappointing that the missing ingredient to an excellent morning of racing and coaching was the wind!

After a briefing just after 08:30, and with Chimet registering a F3 SW'erly, boats launched into the flat calm harbour and gently drifted on the tide waiting for the breeze to appear. Hopes were raised when a 5 knot SW'erly breeze kicked in, but were quickly dashed when it vanished both in the harbour and outside. Patience and water began to disappear after an hour and a half on the water and at 10:45 it was decided to call it a day and adjourn to the Club for Graham to show the photos he had taken - predominantly on achieving the correct trim. However before changing a number of boats, and their helms, were weighed!!

Weighing video

Nine o'clock on Sunday morning things were not looking promising - a flat calm, drizzle and Chimet showing 0 knots! However the weather radar was showing potential promise so a half hour postponement was agreed and half the fleet took to the water so as to ease the launching bottleneck if/when a breeze kicked in. By 10:15 a light NNE'erly breeze began to look promising so the decision was made to head out of the harbour and get as many races completed as the tide (and breeze) allowed.

The first start was abandoned when the breeze backed to the WNW; however it did not take long to re-set the course and get the twenty two boats away to a clean start (just!).

Start of Race 1

David Peerless was first to round the windward mark followed closely by Mark Downer and Justin Biddle. Mark had moved out in front by the leeward gate and there were some very vocal exchanges between Justin and David after they had rounded the same buoy at the leeward gate. Unusually Bruce Huber was always in catch up mode which left Raymond Simmonds, Ed Peel and Julia Bailey to battle it out for third, fourth and fifth.

After further minor tweaking of the leeward gate, the start of the second race saw too many boats over cooking their final surge to the line so it was a General Recall.

Start of Race 2 - General Recall

Re-start of Race 2

Use of Flag U as the preparatory signal concentrated minds and the re-start got away smoothly. Richard Ambler, back safely from his introduction to French Polynesia, was first to reach the windward mark but was quickly overtaken on the run to the leeward gate by Justin, Mark and Raymond. With the breeze dropping to under 5 knots, it was decided to limit it to a two round race which suited Raymond who had moved up into the lead on the second run. Mid-fleet as always saw a number of very close finishes with Richard crossing the line inches ahead of Hugh Doherty and a bit lower down Robin Ebsworth pipped Mike Toogood.

With the tide dropping quite fast, the decision was made to have a good third race and forgo a discard by trying to squeeze in a fourth race. It was therefore another Flag U start which got very very close in the final second!

Start of Race 3

As it was, David P was given the benefit of doubt and as it happened, the extra inch did him no favours! Raymond was first to the windward mark with Mark and Ed only boat lengths behind. There was then a gap to Bruce and the chasing fleet. On the second round, Raymond was able to remain ahead of Ed but Bruce moved up to third ahead of the husband and wife combo of Mark and Jo Downer. In the third and final round, it looked as if that was going to be finishing order, however on the final leg from the gate to the finishing line, Mark got the lucky wind shift and took third by less than a boat length. Again a number of very close finishes lower down the fleet.

With all three races to count, Raymond was first with 5 points, Mark was second with six points and Julia third with sixteen points.

Additional photos at

Bill's Barrel next weekend (22nd & 23rd January).

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3Pts
1Raymond Simonds1653112
2Mark Downer1641233
4Julia Bailey216379
3Justin Biddle854589
7Alastair Speare‑Cole13574911
7Ed Peel161911211
9David Russell‑Jones15589614
6Jo Downer166514510
3David Peerless14026198
10Bruce Huber1011115415
12Richard Ambler1561671320
11Hugh Doherty1241981018
14Mike Toogood14215131124
16Robin Ebsworth1214121526
15Owen Pay10513171225
13Matt Solan10621101222
17Philip Russell15310181828
17Mike Issiais15212201628
19Oliver Morgan16917221431
20Olly Laughton‑Scott80o20161733
21John Birchenough3718212038
22Anna Row80a22192263

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