The late Vernon Stratton, who will be remembered at a regatta this weekend. Picture by Jessica Dobbs.
SAILINGBEMBRIDGE Sailing Club is holding an Illusion class regatta this weekend in memory of the man who invented the class.
The Vernon Stratton Memorial Regatta, which starts at 10.30am and comprises two races, already has an entry of almost 50 boats, and will also feature a sail past Bembridge Sailing Club to salute Vernon’s widow, Pepe, and the many spectators expected to watch the action.
Vernon, who died last year aged 83, founded the Illusion class in Bembridge in the 1980s.
The Illusion is a one-design keel boat, based on a scaled version of Lionheart, the British 12-metre yacht.
These performance single-handed boats offer superb racing in nearly all conditions, by sailors of all weights and ages.
Vernon was also in charge of the British sailing team for the successful 1968 and 1972 Olympics, and was on course to do a similarly good job as team manager in 1980, before the team was withdrawn.
In 2010 the Princess Royal presented him with a RYA Lifetime Achievement Award. When not sailing Vernon worked as a leading advertising manager and photographer for many famous brands.
OPTIMIST sailors Haydn Sewell and Oliver Evans have stormed their class this winter, winning a handful of awards from Optimist Class Association south zone training and racing.
Haydn took the top prize as the overall winner of the series, and was the highest-placed sailor in the ten-years category. Oliver won the sailor with the most consistent results, and highest-placed in nine-years category.
The pair, who are members of Royal Victoria Sailing Club, took part in six individual days of training and racing over the winter months at Spinnaker Sailing Club in Ringwood, alongside almost 60 others.
During the course, they handled a variety of conditions varying from very light to winds gusting up to 30 knots, and certainly benefited from the expert coaching they received. and proved that they have sharpened their sailing skills by performing so well.
The pair were helped with their travel by Wightlink.
THE new sailing season stuttered into action in Gurnard Bay last Sunday, with only a handful of boats coming off their trolleys under a threatening forecast.
In the event, the racing was completed before the weather deteriorated and medium and slow handicap classes earned their bragging rights over the faster machinery.
There are more RS500s in the boat park this year but only two were tempted out in the medium group. Phil Wright was first home but ended third from Martin Bean and G. Crews on handicap.
The slow group was won by an improving Pete Bowen from Mike Peddar and Harry Carter over a shortened course.
James Downer was the lone RS400 finisher, after some useful gybing practice downwind.