Illusions – Flying Dutchman Trophy 2024 – 6th & 7th April


Storm Kathleen, early starts and being the weekend after Easter all contributed to lower than normal numbers racing for the Flying Dutchman trophy. In the event, the ten Illusions were the main users of the harbour on Saturday morning. After a short postponement to allow everyone to reach the start area in the middle of the harbour, the first race got away cleanly towards the houseboats in the F4 SSWesterly breeze. Mind you Mike Toogood was lucky to get away with not being called OCS!

Start of Race 1 on Saturday –

Most stayed on starboard tack initially and it was Bruce Huber’s green spinnaker that was the first to show after the spreader; Mark Downer, Mike T, Monty Irwin were close behind and at one stage it looked as if Mark would take the lead, but it was not to be and after four rounds Bruce had established a substantial lead. Mike T, despite not having a spinnaker for a couple of rounds, held onto third well ahead of David Peerless. Having finished, Monty headed back to the Pontoon to sort out a problem; although he missed the start of the second race, he was back in time for the third.

The second race, starting in 15 knots, was another clean start although Mike T ducked out to take a penalty so was very much in catch up mode as the four round race unfolded.

Start of Race 2 on Saturday –

Bruce was again the first to round the windward mark, albeit Mark was not far behind; indeed for the first couple of rounds was certainly within striking distance. However Bruce pulled away in the final two rounds to finish 20 seconds ahead. Oliver Morgan had an excellent race and finished a strong third ahead of Mike T. At the other end of the fleet, Robin Ebsworth, Tim Lyle and Owen Pay finished within seconds of each other.

The third and final race of the day saw a change of leader with Mike T holding off strong pressure from Bruce and Mark to win by 15 seconds.

Start of Race 3 on Saturday –

On the first run, the breeze gusted through at 23 knots which made for some interesting video! Despite having had quite a hard bang on the head from the boom, Jo Downer had a good battle with David P and Oliver to take fourth.

1st Run Race 3 on Saturday –

Rather depleted numbers for Sunday, but with a slightly stronger breeze to the previous day forecast, it was only to be expected. However those who did brave it, had some exhilarating sailing at times! The start of the first race of the day in about 15 knots saw Mike T again just overcooking it and having to return.

Start Race 4 on Sunday –

Bruce was first round the windward marks with David P just ahead of Mark. However by the time they reached the leeward gate, Mark had moved ahead of David who had decided to play safe and not risk using his spinnaker. Although Owen and Oliver were initially not far behind and had a close race finishing after 4 rounds within a boat length of each other, David ended up well ahead of them. The second race saw Mark out in front from the start and with the fleet spreading out it was decided to finish after three rounds. Bruce was second and Oliver was a safe third ahead of David. Mike T had a problem with his pump and retired early in the race.

Start of Race 5 on Sunday –

With Mike back in time for the start of the third and final race of the day and the breeze increasing to gusts of 24+ knots, conditions were certainly not for the feint hearted! Bruce and Mark lead the way and with neither prepared to give an inch, holding onto the spinnaker sheets in the stronger gusts was certainly quite challenging! Unlike Mike who risked all and came unstuck on the third run and had to retire full of water, Oliver played safe and by keeping his spinnaker doused secured a good third well ahead of David.

Start of Race 6 on Sunday –

Mike T enjoying the second run Race 6 on Sunday –

Six challenging races with Bruce picking up the Flying Dutchman Trophy with 6 points; last year’s winner Mark was second with 9 points and Oliver was third (on a count back with David) on 20 points. No racing next weekend (13-14 April); the one after (20-21 April) is normal racing, and the one after (27-28 April) is the last weekend of the season with the St Georges Day Trophy on the Saturday and the Woodford Long Distance on the Sunday.

Additional photos:


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