Illusions – Icebreaker 2022-2023 (27th & 28th December 2022)

No ice to break for this year’s ‘Icebreaker’, the oldest trophy raced for by the Bembridge Illusions, however the F4-5 SSW’erly on Tuesday did not take prisoners and provided some challenging conditions particularly for the lower half of the fleet. Slightly disappointingly, given the large fleets earlier in the season, there were only 16 boats out but known family commitments and illness kept at least half a dozen regulars ashore. Sadly Wednesday was a write off with a F6-7 SSW’erly and rain so the overall result is based on Tuesday’s three races with no discard.

After a short postponement and with the sun trying hard to break through the grey clouds, the first race got away cleanly in a testing 17 knots;

Start of Race 1 on Tuesday –

First round the windward marks was Mark Downer with Bruce Huber, Jo Downer and Mike Toogood in hot pursuit. At the front end of the fleet it was definitely spinnaker conditions, lower down prudence was displayed by most as they goose winged down to the leeward gate. As the leaders began their second round Bruce moved into a narrow lead, however it was Mark’s grey spinnaker that was the first to fly on the final run. Jo wast third, albeit a considerable way back and Alastair Speare-Cole was fourth. Selecting the port gate buoy was not without its hidden dangers as Mike Issiais found out when he went aground on the St Helens shore and had some difficulty getting back into deeper water even with RIB assistance!

The first start of the second race was a very obvious General Recall with over half the fleet over cooking it!

Start of Race 2 (1) on Tuesday –

The re-start under Flag U went much smoother and although Jos Laughton-Scott just crossed into the penalty area with 5 seconds to go before ducking back, as a beginner he was not penalised.

Start of Race 2 (2) on Tuesday –

Mark again lead at the windward mark but it was Mike T who was in second just ahead of Bruce, Jo and Rory Morrison. The next two rounds saw little change other than Mark extending his lead and Mike dropping down to fourth place. Despite his grounding in the first race, it was good to see Mike Issiais back in the mix and having a very close race with Owen Pay.

Gusting 15 knots, the third and final race of the day was again started successfully under Flag U.

Start of Race 3 on Tuesday –

Mark again showed yet his prowess in windy conditions by rounding the windward marks ahead of the rest of the slightly depleted fleet; Bruce was second with Mike T, Alastair and Jo battling it out for third. The next two rounds saw Mark extend his lead and Jo just managing to get ahead and take third.

With racing cancelled on Wednesday, the overall results saw Mark, Bruce and Jo take the top three places.

No racing next weekend; the weekend after (7th & 8th January) is the Inter Club Team racing. In the meantime, a very Happy New Year.

Results: IB22_23

Photos and write up courtesy of Mike Samuelson

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