Race report, 29 April 2018
B course, 13 50 start. OD Rob Collingwood, Rescue Boat James Armitage
Another ridiculously cold April day- Overcast and just about remaining dry. Hats and gloves weather at a 7 degrees which felt cooler in the good force 3 North westerly breeze. This made it a dead run down towards Chiswick bridge on the B course, with a brisk tack coming back, the apparent wind strength sharpened by a quite strong opposing tide.
Only two contestants: Tim and Lev; the battle of the Gulls.
On the first lap, Tim rounded the Chiswick Staithe buoy first, but Lev pulled ahead on the tack back- his tactic of frequent short tacking to stay in the strongest wind and tide paying off against Tim’s fewer but longer tacks into the easier conditions at the bank.
Both boats had a blustery sail back and Lev completed his first lap in 18 minutes against Tim’s 22. The Bulls Head buoy was set quite close in under the lee of the pub giving both boats the opportunity to grind to a halt in true Strand style even with this very adequate wind.
Then, just after completing his first lap with a small lead, Lev’s Gull got rolling in mid-river opposite the pier, and that was the end of his race. While Tim ploughed steadily on to complete a second lap in about another 19 minutes, Lev struggled with the slippery and buoyant hull of his boat which allowed him to right it about 4 times but each time re-capsized in protest at his efforts to climb back on board. Eventually Lev outwitted the uncooperative boat by climbing in over the stern . However as he was almost under the railway bridge by then, the rescue boat manned by James and David Kolobov, pulled him away from this hazard and Lev decided he should not continue, though whether a sideways tow towards the bank really constituted assistance might have been a fine point .
This left Tim the sole contestant and undisputed winner after making no mistakes in a textbook sail under testing conditions.