It was a beautiful sunny spring day but as we stood on the hard the wind began to build from the NW.
Four boats rigged but as the wind increased John Bull made what proved to be a wise decision not to go afloat in his laser.
The remaining three, two enterprises and one gull, were all fully crewed with SGSC newcomers: welcome to Josh Mellor (crewing for Rob Collingwood for the second time), Caroline Watt (with Lev Kolobov) and Glenda (with Tim Young).
There was a subtle rig difference between the enterprises: Lev with a full rig and Rob sporting a firefly mainsail.
All started on the Bell and Crown line with the customary running start and Heather firmly in control thanks to young David Kolobov lending her a watch. My apologies to Paul Williamson who had canvassed me to set a beating start during the week which I failed to do. May be next time. The three boats set off on a long A, single “sausage” course running down to a buoy off the City Barge. A good run it was too, the first lap completed in 18 minutes. Lev was in the lead to the upstream end of the island when he was caught out by a gust and elegantly pirouetted, including a controlled gybe, letting Rob through to a lead he was to hold, more or less, to the end. But a great race between the two enterprises. The canny reduced sail of RC just out witting Lev with speed on the run but less control on the beat back.
All seemed comfortable with sailors and rescue boat. The rescue boat was full of spectators including my grandson, Billy, Louis from Corsica, Lev’s son David, and David Jones as assistant rescue.
But drama was to unfold with Tim charging for the upstream buoy in a stronger gust. He dipped his bow and created an instability that resulted in capsize. The new Kurt Berger was on hand to rescue. Tricky rescue too. The first part, to haul Tim’s crew aboard Kurt Berger, was easy. Did she say “I haven’t been manhandled by men like this for a long time”? But on the second attempt the Gull was towed to the shore, righted, and then with expert seamanship from Tim, with mast lowered, she was towed back down stream through the bridge and back home. What Tim had not realised at the time was that he had lost his shorts including some weighty keys during the swimming (essential dignity and warmth was preserved by leggings). SGSC residents please look out for them at low tide.
Rescue over we were to see the two enterprises level at the final mark only for RC to pull away in a personal wind to the line for the line honours.
Thank you for all my assistants. Next time we have a Corsican on board I need to look up the Corsican word for “painter”! The Kurt Berger did its job well and safely.