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Bembridge Illusion Vernon's Easter Egg Cup 2024

by Mike Samuelson 31 Mar 03:10 PDT 29-30 March 2024

Gale warnings, icy rain and cancelled ferries on Maundy Thursday was enough to put off some of the hardy Illusion fleet helms from sailing the first day of Vernon's Easter Egg Cup on Good Friday. However, the sixteen who did come along to race were treated to lots of sunshine and a manageable F 3-5 SSWesterly breeze.

With Mark Downer at the pin end of the line over cooking the start and nearly half the fleet taking his lead, it had to be a General Recall! The re-start under Flag U went better even if some (especially Raymond Simonds) were within inches of being disqualified.

Start of Race 1

Re-Start of Race 1

Possibly to his slight surprise, Monty Irwin was the early leader with Mark, Bruce Huber and Raymond breathing down his neck. As the four round race settled down, Mark & Bruce powered into the lead; by the finish Monty had moved well down the fleet to replaced by Jo Downer, Oliver Morgan and Mike Toogood. Hugh Doherty and Will Lowe had a bump which resulted in Hugh heading back to the cranes to check out the extent of the damage. Suffice to say he did not re-appear!

The second race, started under Flag U again, was another win for Mark, however during the early stages of the race it was Bruce's green spinnaker that was the first to show after the spreader mark.

Start of Race 2

With the breeze gusting to 18 knots there were a number of near broaches on the runs but everyone survived. With conditions almost perfect, the Race Officers decided to go for another 4 round race.

Run Race 2

Mike T and Mike Issaias enjoyed a close race with Mike T just coming out ahead.

The third and final race of the day, started on Flag P, saw Raymond and Oliver as the early leaders

Start of Race 3

However Mark and Bruce were hot on their heels. Raymond held his nerve and although he had to watch Mark power through and develop a substantial lead over the third and fourth rounds, he managed to hold onto second, ahead of Bruce. Mike I was fourth and Oliver (without a spinnaker) was fifth.

With a very promising forecast and more people around, the fleet swelled to 22 boats for the three races on Saturday. Remaining in the harbour as BHYC and the One-Designs were also racing, worked pretty well albeit the light and variable S/SE'rly breeze made for some tricky decision making. Arguably the start of the first race of the day probably should have seen the X-flag being displayed, however the line was called clear and everyone headed upwind to the windward marks.

Start of Race 1 (4) on Saturday

Raymond was first round with David Peerless, David Russell-Jones and Bruce tucked in behind. On the first run, David P moved into the lead, however as the four round race developed, Bruce found another gear and finished well ahead of David R-J, Raymond and David P who just pipped Mark.

Lots of yelling 'up' at the start of the second race of the day put too many boats over the line for anything other other than a General Recall! The re-start under Flag U was much better with a number of boats within inches of the line. Impressive sailing.

Start of Race 2 (5) on Saturday

Re-start of Race 2 (5) on Saturday

Raymond was again first to reach the windward marks with Bruce, Monty, David R-J and Simon Birchenough close behind. Mark had a poor start so was very much in catch up mode and although he did just that to finish 2nd, he was unable to dent Bruce's lead. Simon was third having surprised everyone by holding his own on the run despite not being able to fly his spinnaker. Raymond was fourth.

Starting again under Flag U, the final race of the day, saw Bruce pick up his third win by finishing a long way ahead of his nearest rival Mark, who had again found himself very much in the chasing group after the first beat and had to work hard to eventually move up into second ahead of Oliver with Monty in fourth.

Start of Race 3 (6) on Saturday

Two excellent days of close racing with Bruce taking the cup on a count back; Mark was second and Raymond was third. Although the cup is fairly ordinary, apparently the base was the original base for the Finn Gold Cup that Vernon Stratton presented to the Class many years ago.

Early starts next weekend for the Flying Dutchman Trophy.

Additional photos at

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Bruce Huber1012231117
2Mark Downer1641115227
3Raymond Simonds16568234722
4Oliver Morgan169465106324
5Mike Toogood142531279529
6David Peerless1401156471032
7Monty Irwin1479119175438
8Jo Downer166377816R41
9Mike Issaias15274418111642
10Simon Birchenough136129111631146
11Owen Pay160101081312646
12Olly Laughton‑Scott808121015181863
13Andy Christie 14913131311211565
14David Russell‑Jones155SSS2141377
15Tim Lyle163SSS617879
16Rosie Gosling130SSS148979
17Rory Morrison120SSS9101279
18Alastair Speare‑Cole135SSS12131790
19Jamie Scrimgour172SS1422182098
20Serena Gosling122SSS192014101
21Richard Ambler156SSS211518102
22Will Lowe150RRS202221111
23Hugh Doherty124RSSSSS120

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