SAILING BEMBRIDGE SC
DESPITE the weather forecast, 18 sailors made to the start of the Illusion Christmas Cracker.
In 22-26 knots of breeze, a long course out across the harbour was set, and the sailors wrapped up to face the worst of British winter weather. At the leeward end of the course there were significant waves, and downwind sailing was especially exciting.
The biggest sailors mastered the conditions best with 6ft 4ins Bruce Huber, 6ft 8ins Mark Downer and the even taller Edmund Peel fighting it out in front of the fleet.
Mark took the trophy in the end, with Bruce second and Edmund third.
The Ice Breaker Trophy should have immediately followed but the weather was so bad that racing was cancelled, a rarity for this class.
Instead, sailors did battle on New Year’s Day, with five races held in west-north-westerly winds, 12 to 16 knots of breeze and sunshine.
Professional Graham Sunderland worked it out best and won three races, and came second in the other two. James Meaning was second overall, with Bruce third.
Quite a few new sailors showed an impressive turn of speed and tactics, an encouraging sign for future events.
The new year dawned with a bright and sparkling day, with sailors revelling in the conditions.
The course took the racers away from the club to three different turning marks, with a beat back to A buoy after every turn.
Helen Sceales and Alex Gallimore took the inside turn forcing the rest of the fleet wide, and eased up Mill Creek.
After the first return to A, the faster boats settled into an unchanging order at the front with the Scows close behind. But the race was far from over — this was an Allcomers’ Race and time was crucial.
In the end, Helen was comfortably the first to finish with Alex close behind in second. Next Joy and Tim followed by the Scows.
But once the handicaps were computed it was actually Niall Wallace’s win, with Alex five seconds behind him and Graeme Bowen third.