First Race of the season, 10th March 2019 , race report

The first event of the day was a ceremonial naming and anointing of our new safety boat, the ‘Kurt Berger’.  The old Dory had been swapped for the new, bright yellow, Whaly 435 the previous Sunday and she lay under the bridge swathed in black polythene throughout the week.  Today around a dozen sailors and friends wheeled it onto the top of the ramp where Margaret Berger did the naming honours in appropriate style with a thimble or two of champagne.  She (the boat) had been immaculately inscribed with her new name by David Jones.

Despite the number of sailors on hand there were, at first, no volunteers for the First Race.  A cold F4 gusting F5 or 6 was blasting straight down the river against an incoming tide, and those present soon decided to launch and test the ‘Kurt Berger’, and nothing else.  That was before Rob Adams heaved into sight in a dry suit and with an appetite for a challenge.  So as the ‘KB’ was put through her paces with a crew of four including Margaret, Rob’s laser skated across the choppy water in an abundance of spray in an exhilarating display of seamanship.  The safety boat served only as the platform for an admiring audience: rescue was not required.

After 40 minutes or so both boats retired to the ramp where the ‘KB’ was man-handled up by a team of 6 or 8 into the yard.  She is significantly lighter than the Dory.  Rob Adams was, of course, awarded the First Race honours – it wasn’t his fault that no-one else joined in – and the assembly warmed up with tea, Margaret’s drizzle cake and Mary Brown’s flapjack.

Next week it’s an early start (10:05) for an Isleworth race.