Bembridge Illusions – Guy Fawkes Trophy 2022 (5th & 6th November)

The forecast for the weekend was pretty dire, and with 09:00 starts both days, we were not expecting too many boats out for this year’s Guy Fawkes Trophy. In the event and although it was drizzling on and off, the F3 to F4 SSW’erly breeze and smooth water in the harbour provided the nineteen Illusions on Saturday with better than expected conditions. The start of the first race was close, but the line was called ‘all clear’ as the fleet headed off towards houseboats.

Start of Race 1 Saturday –



Bruce Huber was first round the windward closely followed by Mark Downer with Mike Toogood, Caroline Simonds, Jo Downer, Owen Pay and David Peerless very much in touch. However at the half way stage, Jo had moved up to third and at one stage looked as if she might even overtake husband Mark, but it was not to be. Although a considerable way behind, Owen moved into fourth ahead of Mike. Sadly for her, Caroline lost boat speed (possibly weed or she had tightened everything up too much) and finished well down the fleet.




Race 2 saw another good start with the front runners mere inches off the line. Mind you, a 10 knot breeze does make it easier!

Start of Race 2 Saturday –

Bruce’s lime green spinnaker was again the first to fly with Mark, Mike T and Matt Solan close behind. With Bruce extending his lead as the race progressed, the tussle at the front was between Mark and Matt, with the latter slightly unexpectedly coming out on top! It was great to also see first time newbie Tiger Tellright from SVYC helming Vernon Stratton’s old boat, Illustration, coming in a very creditably eight.


With the breeze coming and going a bit the third race saw another clean start under Flag P;

Start of Race 3 Saturday –

Owen was first at the windward mark with Caroline and Mark initially neck and neck ahead of Bruce and Ed Peel. As they started the second round, Mark had moved into the lead leaving Owen trying, but failing to hold Bruce off, and Ed moving up into third ahead of Caroline. As always some very close racing all through the fleet.



Sunday morning’s forecast was for it to be wet and windy which certainly put a few of yesterday’s sailors off, however fifteen hardly souls came out to race. In the event it was certainly wet initially but not very windy. Indeed at one stage as boats were being rigged, the question was whether there was any wind at all! After a slightly protracted postponement as David Peerless’s hover was delayed, the first race of the day saw the first General Recall of the weekend.


Start of Race 1 (4/6) on Sunday:

The threat of being disqualified for starting early under Flag U had the desired effect with the front runners holding back; unfortunately a few of the second wave got caught at the pin end and so struggled a bit to start.



Restart of Race 1 (4/6) on Sunday:

With Bruce attending Committee Meetings in Cowes so unable to sail, it was no great surprise to see Mark’s grey spinnaker flying first. A little way behind Graham Sunderland ‘was getting used’ to sailing an Illusion again! They were followed by Owen, Ed, Jo and Tiger. As the race unwound, Mark extended his lead and won pretty convincingly with Graham holding off Ed.




The second race of the day saw a second General Recall, after the Race Officers decided to go back to a Flag P preparatory.

Start of Race 2 (5/6) on Sunday:

The subsequent restart under Flag U got away smoothly with Mark showing how to do it; powered up with a couple of seconds to go.



Restart of Race 2 (5/6) on Sunday:

At the windward mark, Mark and Graham were again out in front with Ed, David and Tiger in hot pursuit. However, try as they might, they watched in frustration the front two extend their lead. But a special well done to Tiger who picked up his second fifth of the day.




With the rain holding off and plenty of water, it was decided to make the third and final race of the day a four rounder. Started under Flag U, Mark and Graham were yet again first to round the windward mark, but with the breeze coming and going the second round saw Mike Toogood and Monty Irwin move into the lead. Despite offers by Mike to the Race Officers to shorten the race, he actually managed to extend his lead over the next couple of rounds and finished almost a minute ahead of Ed with Mark third and Caroline fourth. After such a promising second round, Monty was not quite so fortunate and could do no better than finish mid-fleet.



Start of Race 3 (6/6) on Sunday:

Another excellent couple of days racing. With Bruce scoring three DNS’s today, and Mark picking up two wins, Mark was of course well ahead on points so gets his name back on the Guy Fawkes Trophy. Ed was second and Mike was third, one point ahead of Owen




Although of course we are still in November, next weekend racing is for the January Jacket!   Lunchtime starts so hopefully there will be a good turnout.

Additional photos:

Photos courtesy of Mike Samuelson





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