Strand on the Green Sailing Club – Race Results – 2nd April 2017
Course: A; Race number: 2; OD:Nick Floyer; Safety Boat: Andy Ross, David Jones.
Sunday’s race should really have taken place a day earlier and been a true April Fool’s event.
On the day we decided against the scheduled D-course because some other Boat Race was dominating the river downstream of the Railway Bridge, and the PLA had officially closed the river. Those present at the morning’s working party decided that delaying to a top-of-the-tide race – high water at 19:30, sunset at 19:34 – was not a good alternative, so we decided to make the best of a low-tide race somewhere upstream of the Railway Bridge.
It was a lovely spring day but with not much in the way of wind. Our ambition was to start on a line opposite the Arch, using our new flag pole (thanks to David Jones), and attempt to sail up to Brentford Lock. If we got up there in good time we would do a turn or two around some buoys and then return to finish on the start line.
Five boats started: Rob Adams (Laser), Chris Greenwood with Henry Brown (Ent), Ian Nethersell (Vibe), Lev Kolobov and Tim Young in their Gulls, and they all set off upstream in the channel between Oliver Island and the Surrey bank. What little wind there was came mostly down the river, so the fleet tacked between centre-board grabbing shallows downstream of and alongside the island and the increasingly brisk ebb tide on the Surrey bank side. Tack and tack and tack again, creeping up the side of the island to be swept back down again. And again, and again. Rob was in the lead for much of the first half hour, by which time he almost got half way up the island, but in the frequent reprises of this move all boats had a turn at being in the lead, between being locked in a tight confusion of boats.
After half an hour Andy Ross and David Jones in the safety boat saw the way things were and dropped a buoy about two thirds of the way up the island to give some hope. After about 40 minutes they shortened the course even further to about half way and a lucky patch of wind enabled all boats to struggle up to and around it, to return to the line with a collective sigh of relief. All boats finished within about four minutes of each other after around 50 minutes on the water on what must be the shortest course we have ever sailed – about 150m from start to turn.
Nick Floyer as Officer of the Day witnessed most of this excitement from the start line, apart from the odd times we were hidden by the trees.
The results of such a race are pretty arbitrary and more a reflection of each boat’s handicap, but for the record, the finishing order was Ian, Rob, Tim, Chris and Lev, and the adjusted time order was Tim, Lev, Ian, Rob and Chris. April Fools maybe, but an enjoyable spring afternoon on the river nevertheless.
Boats that sailed in the race are marked in bold type.