Illusions – Designer Trophy 2024 – Saturday & Sunday 20 – 21 April

At the end of the 40th Anniversary dinner in December 2022, Joe Richards, the designer of the Illusion generously presented the Class with a drawing of his original concept for an enlarged single handed model yacht which was foot steered and coincidentally look like a scaled down 12 metre! With no other trophy earmarked for the weekend and with the picture now framed, it was decided to allocate it, to be known as the Designer Trophy for the weekend’s racing.

After a week of very mixed weather, Saturday morning’s conditions were almost perfect with a Force 3-4 N/NE breeze and a cloudless sky. That said it was quite chilly! After a short postponement to allow the last few boats to reach the start area in the middle of the harbour, the first race got away to a clean start. Some interesting tactics by Alastair Speare-Cole who just missed the outer limit immediately after the starting signal and doubled back and then wove through the starboard tack boats on port!

Start of Race 1 Saturday –

Split tacks on the way to the windward marks set the scene for some close racing. Mike Toogood lead the way down the run closely pursued by Oliver Morgan, Alastair and Bruce Huber. With the breeze veering 10-15 degrees, Alastair took over the lead on the second round, however on the third round Bruce switched his engine on and just surged into a substantial lead. Mike moved into second and Alastair was third just ahead of Oliver.

Another clean start for the second race. Most stayed on starboard tack until they had covered half the distance to the windward mark.

Start of Race 2 Saturday –

Bruce was soon ahead and never looked under pressure from the chasing fleet, led by Mike T with Monty Irwin tucked in close behind and Owen Pay and Oliver similarly in close proximity of each other. As the three round race unfolded, Monty moved into second with Owen third and Oliver fourth.

After a short postponement to allow the windward marks to be moved even further to the right, the third and final race of the day, saw another clean start. It also saw Bruce move into the lead ahead of Tim Lyle.

Start of Race 3 Saturday –

While Bruce never looked like being overtaken as the three and a half round race developed, Owen had a great race and at least stopped him getting too far ahead. Mike Issaias also had a good race to take third ahead of Oliver.

Conditions on Sunday morning looked a bit breezier and were certainly not for beginners; mind you compared to conditions outside the harbour, it was relatively smooth water inside. With only one One-Design crew turning up to race, their Sunday morning race was cancelled. Voted a good move by the Illusion ROs who therefore were able to use Sea Breeze rather that Zeta! After a 10 minute postponement to allow the late comers to join in, the first race got underway first time with a clean start in 16 knots of breeze.

Start of Race 4 (1) Sunday –

It was no great surprise to see Bruce’s green spinnaker the first to fly; followed by Monty (black), Oliver (blue and white) and Mike T (red/orange). Despite best efforts, particularly by Monty, to stay with him, the second round saw Bruce move further ahead of the rest of the fleet, many of who enjoyed some very close racing. Mike T was third just ahead of Oliver.

With Mike Issaias and Jamie Scrimgour rejoining the fleet, the second start was another clean (but close) one.

Start of Race 5 (2) Sunday –

For the fifth time over the weekend, Bruce was again the first to round the windward mark with a safe lead. Monty was just ahead of Mike T and Oliver with Owen and Mike I not far behind. Bruce extended his lead over the next two rounds and Mike T moved into second until the final rounding of the leeward gate when he dropped down to last after getting his spinnaker halyard caught in his rudder. This left the way open for Oliver to take second and Owen third. Monty and Mike I were next with less than a boat length separating them.

1st Run Race 5 (2) Sunday –

2nd Run Race 5 (2) Sunday –

The final race of the day started in 13 knots with yet another clean start – the sixth of the weekend. The fleet split tacks soon after the start and with Bruce staying on starboard, arguably that was always going to be the best way to go!

Start of Race 6 (3) Sunday –

No surprise therefore that Bruce was his customary five or six boat lengths in front by the windward mark. Monty was second with Mike T, Caroline Simonds and Oliver close behind. As the race developed Bruce extended his lead ahead of Monty with Oliver moving into third. The next five were all close with Mike I, Caroline and Mike T finishing within a boat length of each other and Owen finishing just ahead of Tim.

Two excellent days of racing and although the winner of the Designer Trophy for the first time was never in doubt with 10 points separating Bruce (5 points) and Monty (15 points). Oliver was third with 17 points.

Additional photos:

Next weekend sees the final two days of Illusion racing at Bembridge until early October. On Saturday its the St George’s Day Trophy (four races. all to count) and on Sunday its the Woodford Long Distance race.

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