Although numbers were limited for the first trophy of the second half of the 2016-2017 Illusion winter programme – the January Jacket – held over the weekend in Bembridge Harbour, there was some very close & enthusiastic racing on both days.
Saturday was a lovely sunny day but with a cold NW F4 breeze that gusted to F6 towards the end of the third race, it was certainly not the place to be if one was harbouring a cold or sore throat. The first race saw Mark Downer take an early lead with Alastair Speare-Cole and Andy Blundell left chasing; George Downer was fourth. The second race saw Andy, out for the first time this winter, just manage to keep out ahead of Mark and Alastair; George took fourth again. In the final race of the day, Mark put down an early stamp on first place and gave little if anything away to George or Andy who had to make do with second & third. Jo Downer was fourth.
Sunday was overcast & damp, however the rain had stopped by the time racing started at just after midday and with the breeze down a bit and a more westerly than the previous day, conditions were certainly not as bad as forecast. George Downer stole pole position off the line on port just ahead of his father, however Mark was just ahead at the windward mark and it was not long before he had his mother Jo breathing down his neck. Indeed second & third went down to the wire with Jo just squeezing in ahead on the line. Mike Toogood had a good race and came in fourth not far behind. The start of the second race certainly looked good from the Committee Boat with everyone on starboard pretty close up on the line. The first round was close with the Downer family and Mike within boat lengths of each other, however on the second round Mark left the others in his wake and at the finish George managed to hold off Mike with Jo in fourth. For the final race of the day it was decided to show solidarity with Brading Haven YC at the top end of the harbour who had had a good fleet out for the start of their frostbite series so the windward mark for the first round was their turning mark in front of the Club. Mark rounded just ahead of George with Jo a bit behind, however on the long run back down to the leeward gate, George took over the lead which he managed to hold onto for the second conventional round.
So overall a Downer first (Mark), second (George) & third (Jo) – many congratulations.
The next Regatta is the Match Racing Championships over the weekend of 28th & 29th January.
Start of the first race on Sunday:
Start of the second race on Sunday:
Start of the third race on Sunday: