After another week of heavy showers and occasional strong winds, conditions on Saturday were almost perfect with bright sunshine and a F2-3 North Westerly breeze. With the prospect of twenty boats and certainly enough water for three races, it was decided to head outside the harbour and set up a course off Silver Beach, hopefully keeping out of the way of BHYC’s fast and slow handicap fleets.

After a fifteen minute postponement (too much nattering in the Illusion Park!), the start of the first race saw Mark Downer, Mike Toogood and David Peerless all having to return to the pre-start side of line, however it did not appear to disadvantage Mark very much as he was second to round the windward mark, with Bruce Huber ahead of him and Raymond Simonds and David not far behind. Bruce extended his lead over the second round and by the time he crossed the finish at the end of the third round, he was well ahead; Raymond was second, Mark was third and Owen Pay was fourth.

Wanting to get two more races in before the breeze and the tide made it difficult to get back into the harbour, it was decided to start the second race under Flag U. A successful move –

Start of Race 2 on Saturday –

The leaders round the windward marks were not the normal front runners; instead they were Olly Laughton-Scott and Tiger Tellright. Mind you Mark, Bruce and Raymond were not that far behind! Although Olly dropped back over the next two rounds, Tiger was leading at the end of the second only to see his lead whittled away first by Mark, then Raymond and finally Bruce.

Before the start of the third race the fleet held a minutes silence at 11:00 in memory of the fallen. The final race of the day then saw another clean start under Flag U; perhaps a little further from the line than the previous race, but clearly better to be safe than sorry –

Start of Race 3 on Saturday –

Some close racing, and not only at the front end. Owen led the way closely followed by Mark, Raymond and Bruce; any of them could have won had it only been a two round race, however in the third round Bruce got away and finished well ahead of Owen; and Raymond just sneaked ahead of Mark in the last few metres to the line.

Sunday morning’s forecast was not the most promising but fortunately the rain held off until after lunch for the sixteen enthusiastic sailors. With sea conditions outside the harbour looking distinctly bumpy in the overnight F3 South Easterly, the ROs sensibly set the course up inside what is now a virtually an empty (of moored boats) harbour.

The first race was a little delayed thanks to a very shifty breeze, but they got going in the end! Raymond made an excellent start and then picked up a lifting wind shift, which gave him a handsome lead at the windward mark. The chasing pack of Bruce, Justin Biddle, and Mark never really got back on terms and Raymond was a clear winner. It was good to see Anna Row also in strong contention for a while (second at the first windward mark!). In lighter airs, the second race, which Mark won (with Raymond second & Bruce third), was stopped after two rounds for a planned 2 minutes silence, after which David Peerless recited the Ode of Remembrance.

Ode to Remembrance –

Several enthusiastic starters meant a general recall before the third race got away to the windward mark; relaid after the wind veered 25 degrees. Further wind shifts favoured first one, then the other half of the course. The lead changed hands a few times, with Raymond crossing the finish line first followed home by Mark & Justin. A fourth, non-trophy, race rounded off the morning, with Caroline Simmonds’s excellent start giving her a lead on the first run, but she couldn’t hold off the pack. Mark again came home first, followed by Bruce & Justin.

With five out of the first six races to count for the Guy Fawkes Trophy, Raymond was first on 8 points; Mark was second with 9 points and Bruce was third with 11 points.

Midday racing next weekend for the Illusion Trophy.

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