Illusions Bailey Bowl 4 & 5 December 2021

There were mixed forecasts as the week progressed so it was something of a relief that conditions in the harbour, particularly on Saturday morning were almost perfect for the weekend’s Bailey Bowl. Unfortunately there were no Bailey’s among the sixteen enthusiastic Illusionists rigging their boats up, but it was particularly nice to see Anna Row with her recently purchased boat that she had bought back to the Island, brimming with enthusiasm.

The Westerly F3-5 breeze allowed a pretty long course to be set up in the harbour.  The first race started 20 minutes later than planned however with a large Spring tide, there was plenty of water to play with.  After a close start (spotting was certainly not easy in the bright sunshine) the fleet was soon spread out as they made their way up the harbour to the windward mark. Ed Peel was first round with Mike Toogood, Serena Gosling and Mark Downer not far behind however during the second round Ed moved into a commanding lead and during the third round Mike had to retire when his steering broke. David Peerless and Oliver Morgan both managed to find some extra speed and finished third and fourth. As always, some close finishes mid-fleet with only inches separating Olly Laughton-Scott & Mike Issiais and John Birchenough & Robin Ebsworth.  

The start of the second race was very close with Owen Pay and Ed Peel called OCS at the pin end. Although it took Ed a bit of time to extract himself and return to the pre-start side of the line, he clearly thrived on the challenge and had caught up to third by the time he crossed the finishing line after three rounds. Although Mark led the way and never looked like being overtaken, it was great to see Oliver secure a very convincing second and Alastair Speare-Cole a fourth. John Raymond meanwhile had an argument with his boom and came off worse; despite lots of blood he somehow managed to continue racing (and smiling!).

Start of Race 2 Saturday –

There were just too many boats OCS to allow for a fair start to the third race, so once the 1st Sub (General Recall) had been removed and the start sequence begun again, it was no surprise that Flag U was used as the Preparatory signal. Only one boat subsequently over cooked it and was therefore disqualified – Mark should have known better!

Race 3 General Recall –

However not realising that his race was washed up, he completed two and a half rounds as the leader before coming close enough to the Committee to be told the bad news! This left Ed as the winner with Oliver Morgan picking up his second second and David Peerless picking up his second third. On the second run the breeze got up to just over 20 knots which caught a few out. Simon Birchenough broached and filled up and was towed back to the Quay and a number of other boats also headed home early.


Initially there was not a lot of enthusiasm to go racing on Sunday morning with a cold NW’erly F5/gusting F6 forecast. However, conditions in the harbour were not too bad and once the first few had launched, the rest soon followed. After a clean start to the first race of the day, Mark Downer took up his normal position at the front of the fleet; Bruce Huber, who had not raced the previous day, led the chasing group with Mike Toogood, Monty Irwin, Ed Peel and David Peerless not far behind.

Start of Race 4 (Sunday) –

Wisely the majority of rest decided to play safe on the downwind legs and did not fly spinnakers. As it was a relatively short course the Race Officers decided to go for four rounds; although it did not effect the leading two, there were a few place changes elsewhere in the fleet and Ed took third ahead of Monty who proved that in the gusty conditions keeping to white sails was no slower. Sadly Oliver Morgan had to retire when a genoa cleat pulled out of the deck. The only other boat to head back to the Quay was Anna Row who found the stronger gusts difficult to handle; however all credit to her she did finish the race before heading home.

The second race of the day saw two boats over the line at the start at the pin end. Mark was one and it was not long before he was able to get back into the race; the other was a white boat with white sails who got away with it!

Start of Race 5 (Sunday) –

Ed was first to round the windward mark with David & Bruce and Mike T & Mike Issiais battling it out behind. By the third round, Mark had caught up and the top three went into the final round with it all to play for.

Race 5 – Leaders at the Leeward Gate –

Mark’s spinnaker control in the gusty conditions (26 knots at one stage) proved too consistent and he found the extra pace to get him across the line less that a boat length ahead of the other two. At the bottom end of the fleet, John Birchenough, Robin Ebsworth and Serena Gosling also finished only a boat length apart.

The final race of the day saw a similar pattern to the first race develop with Mark, Bruce and Ed establishing a substantial lead; but this time it was Olly Laughton-Scott who battled it out with David Peerless for fourth and fifth places after Mike Toogood had had to retire when his steering failed again. Perhaps not surprisingly, finishing after three rounds drew no complaints!

Start of Race 6 (Sunday) –

Despite his disqualification in the third race on Saturday, Mark retained the Bailey Bowl with 6 points; Ed was second with 10 points and David was third with 21 points.

No racing next weekend as the tides are wrong. It is then the Christmas Cracker the following one (18th & 19th December – 10:00 starts both days),

Additional photos –

Photos and videos courtesy of Mike Samuelson


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make this site work and others help us to gain insight into how it is being used.
These cookies are set when you submit a form, login or interact with the site by doing something that goes beyond clicking some simple links. We also use some non-essential cookies to anonymously track visitors or enhance your experience of this site. If you're not happy with this, we won't set these cookies but some nice features on the site may be unavailable. To control third party cookies, you can also adjust your browser settings. If you wish to view any policies or terms of usage that you cannot find on this website, please contact us. You can change your mind and opt-out at any time by clicking the ✻ icon above.
I consent to cookies
I don't consent to cookies