Race Report 27 may 2018
The only two sailors to turn up for this windless Isleworth race were so underwhelmed by the conditions that the whole thing was very nearly not bothered with.
Eventually Lev’s enthusiasm prevailed and two Enterprises were launched, Rob C collecting Lucy as crew on the way.
Through the bridge there was no question of sailing against the current so it was a hang-on start , managed by Michael Somerville from the safety boat , which was operated by Tim and Dave.
In the total absence of any wind to speak of, Rob and Lucy seemed to drift with the tide slightly faster than Lev – perhaps the extra weight of a 2 person crew made their boat catch the water better than Lev’s single handed displacement- but anyway by Syon they had a 50 yard lead.
Puffs of the lightest wind then materialised occasionally, and by skilful use of these Lev managed to make up all the ground he had lost . The two boats rounded the mark at Isleworth together. With a strong flood still running the two boats made for the still water near the quay where they waited for the turn- Rob anchored, and Lev somehow managing to keep sailing against the tide in zero wind and eventually ghosted decisively into the lead.
A dramatic snails pace battle then developed – initially in the tide dead spot along the quay and in front of the pink house using occasional puffs that came randomly from ahead, astern and abeam. As the tide eventually slackened enough for the boats to be able to use more of the river they started to make progress, sailing in the puffs and drifting in the calms as far as the Brentford dock housing, neck and neck, with the lead changing continually.
Here Rob made a lucky choice and took the Brentford bank where he found a tiny but useful breeze and a strengthening tide. Lev, on the Kew bank, had neither.
Rob’s luck held as he rounded the bend to Kew Bridge where the finish line swept up past him while he happened to be 50 yards ahead of Lev.
The total time taken to get to Isleworth and back was something like 2 hours. Is this a record?