The Christmas Cracker that wasn’t! Although four races were in the end completed on Sunday, because of the complete absence of any wind on Saturday and the forecast for very light winds for Sunday it was decided to postpone the awarding the Trophy and race for it on the 28th & 29th December instead.
It was good to see the BSC Committee boat back in the water again, so it was a bit frustrating that racing was cancelled on Saturday – however it was a wise decision as the breeze never materialised. Sunday was slightly better and although it was certainly not perfect, four two round races were completed in the harbour by the eight Illusionists who had turned up for an afternoon’s racing.
After a short postponement to let the breeze settle and to ensure there was enough water over the sand bank in the middle of the harbour, Julia Bailey was first round the windward mark, with Bruce Huber, Mark Downer & Raymond Simonds close behind. On the second round Julia found all the right shifts and built up an unbeatable lead; Mark & Bruce started the run pretty level but chose different gybes which worked better for Mark who finished in a very safe second place.
The second race got away to another clean start however with the light breeze varying by as much as 45 degrees it was a bit of a lottery. At the windward mark, Mark was already well ahead and was never under pressure. The rest of the fleet were very bunched but as they made their way down to the leeward gate, it was young Alex Downer who was leading the pack just ahead of Julia who had caught up after an uncharacteristically poor start. With the breeze backing nearly 90 degrees, the second round became a follow my leader reach.
Having re-set the course, the breeze typically then reverted to its original heading so there was a short delay as the marks were re-laid. Although it was a clean start the majority were at the pin end; Mark & Bruce lead for most of it, however Raymond somehow managed to get himself back into contention having taken 40 seconds to cross the line at the beginning of the race. Having looked as if he was going to come in second behind Mark, he just missed out and let Bruce through on the final short leg from the leeward gate to the line.
The fourth and final race started with the majority of the fleet again at the pin end. At the windward mark, Mark, Raymond and Julia were all quite close but Mark pulled out ahead on the run and then found himself a long way ahead when the breeze backed yet again. Raymond meanwhile held his nerve and was able to get his revenge from the previous race and finish second ahead of Bruce & Julia.
A frustrating weekend but better than nothing. As previously mentioned, the Christmas Cracker has been rescheduled for the programmed racing on Wednesday & Thursday 28th & 29th December. This will be followed on Friday & Saturday 30th & 31st December with the oldest trophy competed for by the Bembridge Illusion fleet, the Icebreaker.
Start of the first race on Sunday
Start of the second race on Sunday