Action from the Ice Breaker Trophy races.
WHILE the IW was battered by storm surges, heavy rain and high winds, Bembridge Harbour provided just enough shelter for sailors to enjoy some quality action last weekend, as boats took part in its Illusion Ice Breaker Trophy competition.
Forecasts did not look promising, but the club made the most of a small lull in conditions to start the series. On Saturday, racing was delayed for a short while, and race officer Mike Samuelson laid a short course inside the harbour.
Overall, it was a battle between Mark Downer and Graham Bailey for top spot.
They regularly swapped places, although they both also ended up mid-fleet once. The real close battle was for third place overall between young gun Robbie Southwell, the brothers Colin and Raymond Simonds, and Rudy Jurg and in most races there was only inches between boats on the finish line.
No sooner had the boats returned to port after three races, it started to rain hard again.
The forecast for Sunday did not look promising either but again a lull in the weather conditions produced a SW Force 4.
Again Mark and Graham would have their own match race in front. The battle was in the middle and Robbie Southwell made some good starts and got a handle on his down-wind spinnaker technique to claim a fourth and two third places to claim third overall, while Mark edged out Graham to take the title.
Over the new year period, despite an atrocious weather forecast, eight boats took part in a series of races.
Mark Downer again showed his dominance, winning every race. However, it was not always clear cut with Jo Downer showing real girl power, being in the lead a few times and coming in second twice. She eventually came second overall, ahead of Rudy Jurg. Early challengers Bruce Huber and Mike Toogood retired.
In race three, dark clouds gathered and winds gusted to 25 knots. A New Year’s Day race was also planned but was cancelled in light of conditions.
• More pictures in the Friday, January 10, County Press.