Earlier in the week, the forecast for the weekend looked so gloomy that there was talk of the Guy Fawkes Trophy having to be abandoned, however, after a very wet & windy Friday night, conditions on Saturday morning were actually not bad at all for the fifteen Illusionists who turned up to race.
Perhaps swelled in the knowledge that the Downer family were elsewhere this weekend!
The SSW’erly F4 breeze and with most of the moored boats now tucked away for the winter allowed the race officers to set a reasonably long course in the harbour. Sadly for Raymond Simonds who was out for the first time this season following an injury earlier in the summer, he was called OCS and failed to come back, so despite coming in first ahead of Bruce Huber, it did not count. David Russell-Jones had an excellent race and finished ahead of Bill Daniels and Mike Toogood.
In the second race, it was Mike’s turn to be OCS and not come back; although the right side of the line this time, Raymond was hindered by two port tack boats and was unable to make up for lost ground. This left Bruce well out in front with newcomer Simon Cooper picking up second, ahead of Alastair Speare-Cole. Although not in contention, at the bottom of the fleet there was still some close racing with Hugh Doherty just finishing in front of Olly Laughton-Scott and Mike Issaias crossing the line inches ahead of Charlie Egerton-Warburton.
The start of the third race was spot on with the front echelon inch perfect – not easy as the breeze was gusting 20 knots as they set off. Raymond led at the windward marks but found it difficult to control this spinnaker in the gusts with his injured hand, so by the start of the second round, Bruce was back out in front and finished ahead of Mike Toogood who, after some very close racing, crossed the finish line inches ahead of Raymond.
As the forecast for Sunday was not looking very promising, and anyway everyone was enjoying the racing, it was decided to have a fourth race. After another good start, it was perhaps not a great surprise to see Bruce’s green Illusion out in front again; what was slightly more surprising was that not far behind was Hugh Doherty, who had a very close race with Mike Toogood and held on take his first podium place. Mid-fleet, Alastair and Raymond were never far apart and only inches separated them at the finish.
Conditions on Sunday morning turned out to be a lot better expected and as it was such a very special anniversary, racing was delayed half an hour so that those who wanted to could attend the Act of Remembrance in the Village. When the first race eventually started, it was Simon Cooper’s turn to be OCS and fail to return. Mike Toogood was first round the windward marks just ahead of Bruce Huber and these two never looked as if they were going to be caught by the chasing fleet. Although they traded places a couple of times, Bruce managed to work his way into the lead on the final run. Alastair Speare-Cole was third and Raymond Simonds was fourth.
The start of the sixth race was too close to call particularly as the majority of the fleet were at the pin end, however it made for some interesting video!
Bruce led at the windward marks but with Mike & Raymond close behind; indeed Mike took over pole position on the second round only to relinquish it on the final long beat. In the meantime Simon was never far off the pace and finished third ahead of Raymond.
Having decided to go for four races, the seventh race was finished after only two rounds with Bruce again well ahead of the rest of the fleet. Bill Daniels had a much better race and picked up a second and Simon another third. David Peerless, who was out for the first time this season was fourth.
In the final race of the weekend, another two rounder, Bruce had to make do with coming second behind Simon with Mike third and Bill fourth. Unfortunately Raymond had a ferry to catch so had headed back to the Illusion Quay after the previous race and therefore picked up a DNS.
Two excellent days racing; congratulations to Bruce Huber who was the overall winner with seven firsts. Mike Toogood was second and Simon Cooper was third.
See more photos at flic.kr/s/aHsmvAQTtd
No racing next weekend because of the tides; the next Regatta is the Bailey Bowl (24th & 25th November).
by Mike Samuelson