The last race, 4 November 2018
An early start at 1000 did not deter 11 boats from turning out – the largest number for any race in 14 years. It was an overcast morning with a fitful SE wind of F3 coming straight up the river adding to a moderate tide. Rob Collingwood and David Jones put the downstream buoy just above the grid and the upstream one well clear of Kew Bridge.
The Enterprises, tacking down against the tide, trying to make the best of the slower inshore waters, reached the downstream buoy first and the Browns, taking advantage of a slight wind shift, tried an oblique attack on it from upstream. The gamble failed, the wind dropped and the tide pushed them onto the buoy and forced a penalty re-rounding. James, crewed by grandson Ayanda, took the more cautious approach tacking downstream of the mark and established a lead which he maintained and increased throughout the race. At the end of the first lap James led the Browns by about 2 minutes followed by Andy and Enoch with Lev close on their transom. At the second lap James’ lead over the Browns was nearer 5 minutes and Rob Adams was less than half a minute behind. By the third lap Rob was 10 seconds ahead of the Browns with Lev in fourth place, and it was on the third lap that Chris Greenwood, on his second race in a Solo, capsized and took some time to get sailing again – wet and cold. That was the only drama of the morning, apart from the disappointment of Jane who had to be rescued by the safety boat from the perils of Kew Bridge.
Rob maintained his narrow lead over the Browns for the next two laps and there were some interesting inshore tacking battles on the downstream legs. By the fifth lap of the leading ‘also rans’, James and Ayanda had worked their way through the fleet to lap everyone. A lap later the Browns had regained their narrow margin over Rob which they maintained to the end, and Lev, also on seven laps, finished fourth.
So James was the decisive winner with 8 laps, followed by the Browns, Rob and Lev on 7 laps, Ian and Andy on 6 laps, Chris and Alex on 5 laps, Tim on 3 laps, Sam Shemtob (late starter) on 1 lap and Jane a reluctant non-starter.
Meanwhile, Mary Short was at work on the barbeque and a sumptuous feast was being prepared. Founder member Marthe Armitage was present as well as Margaret Berger with a delicious chocolate cake.
Many thanks to Enoch for an immaculate record of a very crowded finishing line (he suggests that next time sailors should space themselves out more evenly), and to Rob Collingwood and David Jones for standing by in the safety boat.
Race report, 21 October 2018
Sunday was a glorious day for a sail with blue sky and enough wind coming straight down the river from the Kew Bridge for a good race. David Jones, on advice from James, set a downstream buoy just above the City Barge and the upstream mark at the Café Rouge.
The fleet of seven set off on the run shoulder to shoulder and there was some inevitable barging at the downstream buoy with quite a strong tide flooding. James, crewed by David Kolobov, got an inside line on the mark and was around and in the clear while the rest of us struggled to avoid each other and the mark. James completed his first lap in under 9 minutes, followed by three other Enterprises: first Rob Collingwood (sailing solo), then the Browns, then Lev Kolobov (also solo), all within a minute of each other. Chris Greenwood, having abandoned the rotting hulk of his Enterprise, tried out David Jones’ almost pristine Solo and duelled with Ian Nethersell for the rest of the race. Tim cruised contentedly in their wake.
The course offered the choice of a long starboard tack across the river upstream of Oliver’s Island, mixing it with the rowers and a manoeuvring RNLI boat, or shorter tacks on the Strand side of the moorings. Neither showed a decisive advantage but most of the fleet tried the long one if only for the variety.
James, as is his wont, gradually increased his lead and by the end overtook the three tail-enders and was only one second short of catching Lev. He completed 7 laps in the hour, followed 8 minutes later by Rob, a mere 11 seconds ahead of the Browns, with Lev about a minute behind. After 6 laps Ian finished fifth just over a minute ahead of Chris, with Tim about 6 minutes behind.
The various handicap calculations gave Chris the winning Handicap points, Tim the Little Boat points, and James the first position in the Big Boats and the Polly Prize.
Many thanks to Tom Broadhurst for officiating, and to David Jones in the safety boat.
Only two boats turned out this lunchtime despite the lovely autumnal sunshine, perhaps because of the tame conditions: a light wind from the SW.
A very short B-course was set with a downstream buoy almost opposite the Strand End pier and the upstream buoy outside No. 7 Strand. It was clearly a test of patience and making the most of whatever wind there was. Rob Adams in his Laser was ahead from the start, as you would expect from the Laser’s handicap, but Ian Nethersell in his Vibe gave him a hard time. Rob was ahead by 9 minutes on the third lap but Ian managed to cut that down to a mere minute by the sixth and last lap, which gave him a win on both the Handicap and Polly prizes.
David Jones and Mary Berger were in the safety boat to see that nobody drifted into danger, and Chris Greenwood looked after things from the bank.
Race report, 30 September 2018
There were only three takers for a race on Sunday: Nick Floyer (Lightning), Tim Young (Gull) and Jane Watkins (Gull). It was cloudy but dry with a steady NW wind of around F3.
Nick was ahead almost from the start on the run down to Chiswick Bridge and had stretched quite a lead by the time he went under the bridge. The Gulls expended lots of energy gybing and poling out their jibs as the wind veered and backed from dead astern. Nick had only one sail to worry about and that probably gave him a smoother ride.
Once all three were under the bridge it became apparent to the safety boat that the tide was no longer ebbing, and the first red rowing buoy below the bridge confirmed that the flood had started. It was clear that there was no realistic prospect of running all the way down to Hammersmith against the incoming tide and the safety boat decided to turn the fleet before the struggle became too great. Not having had the foresight to load a buoy, we dropped an anchor and instructed first Nick and then the Gulls to turn around the safety boat, less than 200m below the bridge. At the turn the Gulls were neck and neck.
It was a beat back to Strand with quite a brisk wind on some parts of the course. Nick kept his lead with Tim closing on him, but although dropping back Jane was clearly learning fast, and determined that the safety boat should keep a respectful distance and keep its advice to itself. It is, after all, the best way to learn. And the number of rowers and pleasure boats on the river made the learning quite critical at times.
So it was a very short D-course with Nick finishing in 40 minutes, Tim 4 minutes behind and Jane 10 minutes behind Tim. After the sums Nick won the Handicap points but Tim came first in the Class and Polly Prizes.
Thanks to Heather for supervising the start and finish and preparing a warming cup of tea after the slog of recovering the boats at the end. Rob and Henry took the executive decisions on the water.
Nick invited someone to submit a race report, which I will gladly publish.
Meanwhile, here are the results in numbers.
Hopefully someone will submit a proper eye-witness report of the event, but since Nick has been good enough to supervise the race and prepare the results I thought it best to publish as soon as possible.
It was our annual team-racing event against LCSC and SBSC and on paper it looks like a classic of its kind. 16 boats were out, 8 from Strand, 3 from South Bank, and 5 from Corinthians. There was enough wind for 5 boats to do 5 laps, 5 boats to do 4 laps, and the slow boats to finish 2 laps. Nick had the un-enviable job of keeping tabs on them all.
There are two team trophies at stake, one for SGSC v. LCSC and one for SGSC v. SBSC. The results are computed on the sum of finishing positions of each of the pair of teams. In the case of SGSC v. LCSC, as LCSC brought five boats upriver the sum of the finishing places of their 5 boats are compared with the sum of the first 5 Strand boats. In the case of SGSC v. SBSC, the first 3 of Strandies were compared with SBSC’s three boats.
The end result was a decisive win for the home team for both trophies. Three of the first four positions were taken by James Armitage, Dave and Sheila Berger, and Rob Collingwood, with Val from LCSC, in his Laser, in third position. That gave the us a score line of 8 SGSC against 39 SBSC (lowest score wins) and 21 SGSC against 40 LCSC.
Race Report plus activities Sunday 2nd September 2018
A Special Sunday Tidefest and SGSC Working Party and Race.
Strand on the Green Tidefest – Fishing competition, Boat trips, paddle boarding foreshore talks, RNLI plus other activities. A lively day at Strand.
Meanwhile, in the Sailing Club a working party was in progress. It was well attended and resulted in a great deal of reorganisation and a massive clear up of the boatyard. The Race followed the WP at 18.15. Late in the day but with plenty of sunshine and a blue sky but unfortunately very little wind. The lack of wind resulted in the programmed “B” course being changed to a short “A” with the start and finish line being Zoffany House.
Four dinghies were prepared to endure the light and fickle conditions.
The course was set by the OOD and Enoch Rodriguez and Dave Jones in the safety boat with the usual buoy positions for a short course.
James and David (LEV’s son) in Porpoise and Tim in Axoloti started well but Jane in Pacman struggled to find the wind at first but eventually moved forward. Lev in his unnamed Enterprise surprisingly got wedged on the bank at the start line. He soon got away, caught Jane and was then chasing James and Tim.
The first lap was expertly sailed by James and David in 6.18 mins followed by Tim at 10.39 and Lev 11.18. Jane followed at 21.30.
The race quickly settled into a pattern, the two Enterprises easily completing lap after lap but the slower Gulls struggling with the tide and lack of wind.
Tim eventually sailed to the Surrey Bank for a change of scenery and Jane spent time investigating a Willow Tree at Strand before visiting Kew Bridge. Well we have all experienced this, except for James. Both Tim and Jane eventually quit, sensibly deciding to take a tow and retire. Thanks Enoch and David for the Tow.
James and David continued to sail smoothly round the course, sweetly roll tacking along the Strand followed by Lev.
James and David completed 7 laps in 50.15 mins with Lev 5 Laps in 54.01mins
John Bull OOD
Race Report, 26 August 2018
This Sunday’s race followed the excitement of the Ladies Plate and the relaxing pleasures of the summer party, and perhaps that combination was enough to exhaust the usual turnout. Or perhaps it was a weather forecast of F3 southerlies, gusting 4-5 with continuous heavy rain and low temperatures. Whatever the cause, four hardy souls were willing to test their skills: Dave and Sheila Berger, who appropriated the Brown’s Enterprise (they being down for race officer and safety boat duties), James Armitage and Lev Kolobov, who decided to pool their resources in Jame’s Enterprise.
Before the launch the wind was steadily propelling the rain almost straight up the river and flapping rather than flogging the hoisted sails. Not too scary. And so it continued: a quick run up to the start, some frisky reaches before the whistle, then a beat down to the downstream mark by the City Barge, both boats keeping in the relatively slack water by the bank. They rounded neck and neck to run back up to the line with James a mere 2 seconds ahead of Dave. It was a 10 minute lap, as was the second with James’ lead increasing to 25 seconds. And still the rain came down. From then on James gradually got ahead so that by the time Mary took pity on them and hoisted the yellow flag it was clear that the pattern had been set. James and Lev finished about 4 minutes in the lead.
Margaret Berger came down on her bike to join Mary and see fair play while Henry got wetter and wetter with no one to rescue in the safety boat. But there was Mary’s flapjack in the arch to supplement the hot tea.
Race Report, Ladies Plate, 25 August 2018
Four dinghies turned out for the Ladies Plate, a record in recent years. Lucy, nursing a broken foot, was crewed in the family Enterprise by Rob Collingwood; Catherine was crewed by Alex Pape in his dipping lugger; Jo was crewed by Tim Young in his Gull; and Jane was crewed by another Alex in her Gull.
The wind was around F3 from the NW giving a run down the A-course and a beat back. The wind was steady enough for all the boats to keep going without the doldrums that often occur at the turning marks. Catherine, Jo and Lucy, in that order, were all within a minute of each other at the end of the first lap with Jane (with rudder problems) a minute behind. Catherine increased her lead, even with a reef in her sail, for the next two laps, but then something mysterious happened to slow her down, despite shaking out the reef. Jo then took the lead with Lucy close behind in second place about a minute ahead of Catherine. Jane by this time had tangled with the PLA midstream moorings – there was a choice of making a long tack to the Surrey side or tacking up the Strand side of the moorings and Jane got caught by a wind shift at the critical moment. After accepting help from the safety boat, she decided to retire from the race but carried on sailing anyway.
During the fifth lap Lucy’s foot gave enough trouble to hand over the helm to Rob, and she gracefully retired.
That left Jo and Catherine battling it out on the sixth and final lap. Jo maintained her lead in the well-ballasted Gull and finished almost three minutes ahead.
Congratulations to all concerned and especially to the very infrequent, if not novice, helms for very seawomanlike performances.
And now for the Andy Ross account …
LADIES RACE REPORT Saturday 25 August 2018
Marvellously breaking the drought of the last few years, four boats helmed by ladies [all crewed by men] took to the water on Strand for the Ladies Race – all still in the afterglow of the warmth of the summer heatwave and possibly induced to take part by a warm and sunny afternoon with just a whisper or two of wind from the West.
As the boats ventured around in an approach to the Start Line, Steve Newell, acting as OOD, rather like an Umpire assembling stray running horses to get them under Starters Orders, – and seeing them all facing in different directions, and with a missing boat – put the Red Flag up and called a 3-minute Delayed Start.
Jane [with Alex] in her Gull 2196 had put into the bank to fix a problem with a troublesome rudder. But she soon joined the fleet; and after some random bumping and thumping between them and Lucy [and Rob] in the Enterprise, Jo Broadhurst [and Tim] in his Gull 2929, and Catherine [and Alex] in his No Name – they were off!
Dave Jones was in the Safety Boat, fully equipped and with the old boarding ladder stowed – and ready for action with its extendable arms, together with young David as his assistant, carefully keeping in his pocket his latest archaeological foreshore finds.
They were still all bunched together at the downstream buoy, set well before the grid. Jo eased round first, followed by Catherine, then Lucy – and finally Jane. Catherine then made a bold decision to head off over to the main channel for a long tack back to the upstream mark while the others all kept to the inner channel. Whose strategy would win?
Triumphantly, Catherine’s strategic vision worked out really well. She rounded the buoy and came up to her first lap first. Then Jo, followed by Lucy and Jane – thereby setting a pattern that would broadly define the race.
Two laps in and Jane was tempted to follow Catherine’s mid-channel manoeuvre – but found she was becoming becalmed at the head of the trot and in danger of being swept onto it and held fast at the end of the line. Time for the Safety Boat to power into action! Dave eased them back off, pulling them back upstream [thus not in any way giving them any kind of advantage over the other racers]. But it appeared that it maybe took the edge of Jane’s confidence as when she came round again to the Start Line she said she was retiring. However, this was quite unnecessary – and, indeed, she still persisted in carrying on sailing around the course, even when on the next lap she ventured too far off down towards Kew Bridge before managing to return; and in time she successfully completed the entire Ladies Race.
Catherine, meanwhile, had discovered that a quirk of Strand sailing can be encountering inexplicably calm spots. So it was that having established a 2 ½ minute lead the rest of the fleet caught up and overtook her, despite completing another adventurous sprint across to the main channel.
That idea was then also taken up by both Jo and Jane who, although on different laps, and simultaneously racing in equivalent Gulls, streaked off in a freshening wind apparently in order to scatter a long line of 250-300 Common Gulls that were drifting upstream, minding their own business on the far bank. Sequentially, in flocks of 10 x 10, they all took off – obviously annoyed at this intrusion into their mid-afternoon social gathering.
Young David was then landed ashore – anxious to find faster action in prospect with Arsenal v West Ham.
And there was then a discussion amongst those onshore about the reason for the loss, and the apparent theft, of the boat cover. Who could possibly have a use for a cover that was tailor-made to fit on only this boat? Except to cut it up for some other use? How pathetic. The immense time and skill that David has put into making this cover fit so easily and exactly is something that should surely be considered as a potential claim on insurance; and if he can be persuaded to make it again!. Let’s hope so; or be prepared for sitting on sloppy goose poo!
Chris joined everyone including Henry and Mary at the Start Line – and said that his Mary was in Amsterdam at a jazz violin improvisation workshop and concert, but would also have sailed if he had been here. It could have been a fully female fleet!
As Steve signalled for the last lap, Rob took over the tiller from Lucy in a sudden breeze as the Enterprise came by, and thereby retired disqualified, explaining that Lucy had been sailing with a broken foot! How incredibly courageous and stoical! Later, Lucy said that she hadn’t enjoyed the race at all, she was in real pain – and all she wanted was to get home and rest and have a cup of tea! But what great spirit on heroic display for the Ladies Cup!
Tim sailed by, sitting squarely as ever amidships on the thwarts and adding such substantial ballast that all Jo had to do was steer the boat in the right direction; with no need at all for either of them to change their position when tacking.
Subject to the Master of the Sums later calculation on handicap it appeared that Jo had clearly won, followed by Catherine, and then by Jane – in a performance on her first ever race that surely puts her in the running for Paul’s Prize for Persistence.
On the way back to the Club, we saw a huge 42-gallon blue plastic barrel floating in the water. It said “Pickled Limes. Product of India”. 42-gallon blue-painted barrels were the colour-branded product of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio in 1870, to distinguish its oil from those of its competitors. And 42-gallon barrels themselves had been defined by Richard III as a standard size and weight, made by the Worshipful Company of Coopers, that one strong man could reasonably easily lift, with eight to be fitted on a cart, drawn by one horse – in order to carry eels, salmon, herrings, honey, soap, butter, rum, wine, beers – and oil. And here and now, Pickled Limes!
It was wondered if this empty 42-gallon Pickled Lime barrel had held special ingredients for the SGSC Summer Party? Perhaps there was a new signature dish to add to the wonderful cooking repertoire of Marian? Were we perhaps going to be treated to a trial run for her much-anticipated entry featuring Shetland products with a Pickled Lime twist that everyone would love to see her make, served of course on an SGSC Ladies Plate, on Masterchef? We’re off to find out!
© Andy Ross 26.08.2018