Race Report 14th June 2020
Sunday was a sunny day with a good F3 wind coming straight up the river from Chiswick Bridge, against the river flow. A high-water race being out of the question a D-course had been programmed (downstream to Hammersmith and back), , but Rob Adams, who was in charge of the safety boat, wisely decided that we should sail as many laps as possible of our B-course, between the Railway Bridge and Chiswick Bridge, so that he could keep all the fleet in sight. The Covid-19 constraints were a consideration. The downstream mark was set well down towards Chiswick Bridge opposite Putney Rowing Club and the upstream mark was just below the Railway Bridge.
Most of the fleet set off on time with the Browns a few minutes late (lack of concentration) and Nick Floyer (Lightning) even later with rigging problems. The beat down to Chiswick Bridge favoured the Enterprises and James and Lev (both solo in their Ents) established a lead which they maintained throughout. Chris and Mary (Leader), Ian (Vibe) and Alex (lugger) formed a following pack at the bottom mark by which time the Browns (Ent) had worked their way up through the fleet. They kept in close company on the way back up river where Alex’s lugger showed its paces on the run and Ian tried to intimidate the rest by flying a spinnaker. He had already tried more direct intimidation over a sculler – or perhaps it was the other way round. There was a seeming multitude of scullers and paddle-boarders enjoying the river and adding to the excitement of tacking.
At the end of the first lap James was about 3 minutes ahead of Lev with the two crewed Ents, Alex and Ian within a minute of each other and two minutes behind Lev. Jane in her Gull was another two minutes behind with Tim (Gull) to the rear. Nick had already retired by this stage and Tim was shortly to follow.
The second and final lap was much the same. James increased his lead over Lev to 7 minutes who maintained his 2 minute lead over the rest, although he was almost caught around the bottom mark. The Browns were a whisker ahead of Chris and Mary (Leader) at the end, Alex and Ian followed 2 minutes later with Jane bringing up the rear.
When the handicap sums were done Jane was shown to have triumphed in the Handicap Series and the Little Boats cup. Well done to her. And James was first in the Big Boats and the Polly Prize.
The race was the fun part with excellent sailing throughout: close tacking battles, nail-biting stuff on the runs, wearing times for the centre-board. The hard work then took over with the recovery of 9 dinghies and the safety boat up the slimy foreshore, up the ramp and into the yard. Without, in these plague-ridden times, the consolation of tea and buns.
Many thanks to Heather Adams for officiating over the race and to Rob for ensuring our safety.
Next week’s race is and A-course at 15:10. Let’s hope for similar conditions.