in the hamper
An unusual name for a trophy but the price is an actual picnic hamper which gets filled by last year’s winner. In 2009 it was Mark Downer and this year he filled it with wine and chocolates which seemed to encourage the lady sailors to do their best because in almost every race they featured in the top three of the 6 races sailed over the weekend.
Bembridge Harbour is now nearly empty of all the boats which get moored there in summer and this allowed race officer Mike Samuelson to set a course across the harbour in a East-North-Easterly wind in a 4-5 Beaufort wind. All sailors are now fully dressed with the latest fashion and technology in thermal clothing and balaclavas. Anybody planning a sailing trip into colder climates would do well talking to Illusion sailors first!
In the first race it was Graham Bailey who took the honours closely followed by Mark Downer and Rudy Jurg. In race two most people started of the ladies tee and the race officer decided to raise the black flag which held everyone back accept Carl Whitewood who got black flagged. Speed of the line is essential and Jo Downer seemed to have lots of it. However more impressively she stayed in close contact with her first placed husband, Mark Downer. The ever smiling Graham Bailey finished third and his wife Julia 4th. Despite being single handed yachts couples seemed to want to stay close to each other!
In the last race of the day the black flag had to come out again. With 19 boats on the line it’s almost the only way the race officer can give the fleet a fair start. However no matter what colour the flag it is Graham Bailey always seems to shoot off and in this race no exception and build up a big lead. A few places back Rudy Jurg and Raymond Simonds match raced each other but got tangled up losing a few places in the process.
On Sunday the wind had swung a little to the left reading North-North East, overcast blowing 4-5 Beaufort. Slightly down on numbers with 15 sailors but no less competitive. Mark and Jo Downer took the first and second place respectively in race one and the coaching from Mark after every race seems to work well for Jo.
Raymond Simonds and Rudy Jurg seemed to continue their match race battle in all three races of the day although Rudy seemed to have the upper hand in upwind performance extending just far enough to beat him.
Yachting journalist and author Rupert Holmes, who has just returned from an extended cruise in Greek Isles, got his competitive streak back by finishing 3rd in the second race of the day. His partner, Kass Shmitt, also sails Illusions and had a eventful regatta being involved in a big collision with David Franks.
A surprise performance of the day came from Serena Gosling who so far had some back of fleet results but fine tuned her boat handling and kept her nerve to finish an impressive 4th place in the last race of the day. A cry of joy could be heard when she finished just in front of championship sailor Robert Holbrook.
After 6 races over the weekend in some challenging conditions which involved plenty of pumping of water out of the boats (except for the over 65’s who have electric pumps) congratulations and Pick Hamper went too Mark Downer, Jo Downer in second (first time for her to finish in this position overall) and Rudy Jurg in third. Big thanks to Rudy for the article.