Strand on the Green Sailing Club – Race Results -26th March 2017
Course: A; Race number: 1; OD:John Bull; Safety Boat: Alex Pape
A bright sunny day, with seven boats eager to get afloat for the first “B” course of the season.
However, looking downstream from Kew Railway Bridge, there was a mass of rowers preparing for their respective races below Chiswick Bridge. Although the racing was showing signs of ending, the OOD after discussion, decided to alter the proposed “B” course to an “A” to avoid the rowers. A typical three buoy race, starting at the Bell and Crown and incorporating the Surrey rowing buoy was set. The wind direction was E – NE 1-2 but gusting 3-4.
A good start was made by all boats with six boats racing and our new members Tim Wellburn and his crew Horacio in their Enterprise testing their boat and cautiously sailing the course.
The race split 50/50 between the Surrey Bank (stronger wind) and the Strand, coming together at the Grid buoy. Ian, sailing on the Strand Bank with his jib furled, rounded the buoy first closely followed by Rob who had chosen the Surrey Bank. Henry and Mary were close behind. Lev with Chris and Laura following and Tim a little further back. The wind strength was building and gusts of 3-4 were being experienced on the Surrey Bank. The conditions were testing and Tim in Axolotl and Tim Wellburn both capsized. Both boats were helped to safety by Alex in the Safety Boat.
The race continued with Rob leading Ian after two laps followed closely by Henry. Lev was just keeping ahead of Chris although approx. 8 minutes behind.
The third lap produced a rare moment. Henry capsized and unfortunately broke his mast as his Enterprise inverted and dragged along the riverbed. Alex, with assistance from Horacio, took Mary into the safety boat and skilfully towed Henry to safety at the slipway at Kew Bridge, so that he could return to shepherding the remaining racing boats, aided by Tim.
Lap 3 also saw Rob and Ian battling for the lead and Chris and Lev, further back, only 5 seconds apart. The race continued with this pairing until Rob and Ian lapped Lev and Chris with Rob just keeping ahead of Ian.
On lap 5, the gusty conditions persuaded Rob to call it a day and retire to the Arch. Ian then went on to complete the final lap in the lead and finish 5 laps in 52.03. Chris and Lev finished after 4 laps in 61.30 and 73.06 respectively. Lev dropped back after a dramatic capsize at the rowing buoy and then executed a very impressive recovery over the transom and fought his way back to the finish line.
Thank you to Alex for the busiest safety boat duty for a long time.
An eventful and memorable second race this season at Strand.
Boats that sailed in the race are marked in bold type.