(edited from an original report submitted by Andy Ross)

Following a well-attended and productive but hardworking work party to
restructure the storage racking in the morning brought hopes that the same
would be for the afternoon’s A course race which would incorporate the
annual Ladies Plate race.
This was unfortunately not to be as four boats, helmed by James, Ian, Chris
and Tim waited rigged on the foreshore for the forecast 9 knot northerly to
appear. The wait for our female contingent to arrive to contest their annual
trophy also proved fruitless as the prepared helms took to the water to
contest what would be a conventional points race.
The southerly wind, caressed the houses on the north bank which gave just
about enough for James to start first and creep along the bank – while leaving
the other three to limp backwards. The fickle wind eventually gave just
enough for them to creep past the start line to win the applause of a single
spectator, Tim, a former Corinthians sailor – who very generously thereupon
bought the OOD a pint. A well-earned result and thoroughly deserved.
After 10 minutes, Chris & Felicia followed James by two minutes on the first
lap followed by Tim after one minute and Ian who appeared to be flagging in
the very inconsistent wind.
James, in his usual position ahead of the fleet made a rare mistake by driving
into a mooring line holding a rubber dinghy to its buoy and came to a stop,
however, by his third lap he was a lap ahead of Chris & Felicia with both Ian
and Tim a lap behind them.
Ben, David and Leona confidently handled the safety boat and maintained a
vigilant watch over the fleet whilst being slightly distracted by the immense
bulk of a barge, with a long sloping stern like a 125-train heading backwards
for Kew bridge. Surely it was far too big to get under it? They sped off thinking
they could first call Lloyds of London – and then offer it a David and Goliath
rescue tow as it slipped through the bridge with barely inches to spare and
the fleet slowly crept past the finish line with James completing 7 laps, Chris
and Felicia on 6 and Tim and Ian both completing 5.
Thanks got to Andy for diligently performing OOD duties and Ben, Dave &
Leona for being a comforting presence in the safety boat.