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Bembridge Illusion Team Racing

by Mike Samuelson 17 Dec 2023 22:09 PST 16-17 December 2023

Slightly later in the programme than usual, this year's Inter Club team racing certainly had a Christmasy feel to it for the 16 entries.

Although there was a light drizzle on Saturday, the Force 3-4 SW'erly breeze provided almost perfect conditions and once there was enough water over the central sandbank in the harbour the first of seven flights got under way.

Flight 1 saw the stronger teams winning with the RYS team (White) of Bruce Huber & Ed Peel beating the Army Sailing Association (Grey) of David Peerless & Andy Snell.

Flight 2 saw the SVYC (Purple) team of Raymond Simonds & Tiger Tellwright beating BSC 1 (Blue - Mark & Jo Downer) after Jo had a bit of a brainstorm as she came up to the finish and unnecessarily held back from crossing the line.

In Flight 3, Charlie Egerton-Warburton sailing for BSC 2 (Pink) had to retire with gear failure in their match against the ASA team only for Andy Snell to also have a problem after his mast clashed with another boat and he was pulled along sideways and filled up. Despite best endeavours it was not possible to empty Andy's boat and so the other member of the BSC 2 team, Alastair Speare-Cole, kindly offered up his boat to Andy so that the ASA could continue to participate in subsequent matches.

Flight 4 saw the re-boated ASA team beat BSC 1, again after a tactical misunderstanding close the finish. With no BSC 2 team, and to save a bit of time, the start sequence was amended; unfortunately the message failed to get through to the RTYC team of Richard Ambler & Mike Issaias who subsequently asked for redress after they started a minute or so behind the CCCA team. In the key match between the RYS and BSC 1 team, Ed Peel lost his steering and thus the match.

RTYC had a bye in Flight 6 so Ed borrowed Richard Ambler's boat only for an incident at the start of their match against SVYC which saw him heading back to the Club in the hopes of being able to tape up the hole. Raymond meanwhile received a black flag which meant another win for the RYS team.

In the final flight of the day, Ed was re-boated in Mark's boat and took the RYS tally to 6 wins. In the re-run race between CCCA (Owen Pay & David Russell-Jones) and RTYC (Richard Ambler & Mike Issaias), the former took the honours.

Similar but drier weather for Sunday's racing which initially started with another (and accumulative) round robin, albeit with only 6 teams as RTYC & RORC were unavailable to race both days. Flight 1 saw first and second place wins by BSC 1 and RYS with the ASA beating CCCA with a first and a third.

ASA (Grey) v CCCA (Green)

Flight 2 saw further first and second place wins for BSC and RYS with SVYC beating ASA with a first and a third.

ASA (Grey) v SVYC (Purple)

ASA (Grey) v SVYC (Purple)

Flight 3 saw first and second place wins for RYS (against BSC 1), ASA (against BSC 2) and SVYC (against CCCA). In the penultimate flight RYS was well ahead of CCCA when Ed's main halyard came undone and he had to complete the last leg and a bit under just his genoa. Bruce almost slowed down the CCCA team enough to allow Ed to not come in last, but his carefully choreographed move against Mike at the finish received a green flag.

RYS (White) v CCCA (Green)

Although they were all close races, the final flight saw first and second place wins by BSC 1, RYS and CCCA.

Combining both days scores put RYS and BSC 2 into a best of three final, and ASA and SVYC into a best of three 'petit' final. In the event, Bruce & Ed proved too consistent for Mark & Jo and by coming in first and second in the first two races became the 2023-2024 team racing champions.

BSC (Blue) v RYS (White)

Meanwhile, ASA won the first of their matches; SVYC won the second and ASA won the third with another first and second place.

ASA (Grey) v SVYC (Purple)

ASA (Grey) v SVYC (Purple)

ASA (Grey) v SVYC (Purple)

Two excellent days of team racing; as always a huge thank you to the Race Officer team and of course the Umpires/Assistant Umpires.

Join us for four days of racing leading up to the New Year (Christmas Cracker - 28th & 29th December and the Icebreaker 30th & 31st December).

Additional photos at

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