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.