THE Bembridge Illusion Valentine Trophy sailed smoothly last weekend after a week of unfavorable weather, with husband and wife sailors Mark and Jo Downer dominating the racing.

After a spell of wet and windy weather, there was a window of opportunity for sailing on Saturday morning, which attracted 17 Illusions competitors.

Mark Downer, who had successfully manoeuvered a port tack 'flyer,' was swiftly overtaken by John Raymond, who got a better wind sailing down to the leeward gate and first to clear it.

Isle of Wight County Press: Mark Downer leads the way in the second race on Saturday.Mark Downer leads the way in the second race on Saturday. (Image: Mike Samuelson)

Raymond's strategic moves in the subsequent rounds positioned him well ahead of Downer by the end of the race.

In the second race, Jo Downer led the fleet around the windward marks, closely followed by Rory Morrison.

Their standings were disrupted when her husband found better winds on the first downwind run, and claimed the lead.

To everyone's surprise, despite wind variations, the third race took off cleanly.

Downer dominated right from the pin end of the line, eventually leaving the rest behind to emerge first with Owen Pay in the second position.

Vying to make the most of their harbor, BHYC planned their Frostbite races on Sunday morning, aligning thirteen Illusions off Silver Beach, taking advantage of the F3-F4 North Westerly breeze and sunny conditions.

It was a tough race between Jo and Mark Downer, but Mark surged ahead in the second round.

To use the increasingly westerly wind without wasting time moving the windward marks, the race course was altered to make a starboard rounding.

Isle of Wight County Press: From left: Serena Gosling (special prize); Mark Downer, Jo Downer and Rory Morrison.From left: Serena Gosling (special prize); Mark Downer, Jo Downer and Rory Morrison. (Image: Mike Samuelson)

The green spreader and the red windward mark were swapped, for more strategic sailing.

This decision turned in Jo's favor, who brilliantly managed to hold the lead despite slight turbulence at the start, and maintained it until the end of the three-round race.

In the third and final race of the Valentine Trophy on Sunday, the windward marks were rapidly shifted back to port rounding for the 13 Illusion racers.

The fickle breeze throughout the race made it a game of luck.

Oliver Morgan was poised for his first win of the weekend, until the last minute changes around the leeward gate placed him fourth, trailing behind Payne, Morrison, and Christie.

Mark and Jo Downer took the first two places in the competition's final standings.