A dry, sunny, breezy Sundav aftemoon with a North Westerly wind predicted blowing 4 but gusting 14 knots. A ′′C′ course was programmed and was accompanied by a strong tide flowing through Kew Bridge.
5 Boats assembled on the foreshore, being reduced to 4 when Chris in Distant Thunder experienced a problem and decided to withdraw.
The 4 boats, Porpoise (Lev and David), Ait Knots (Tim), Envy (Ben) and Pacman (Jane) headed off early to Kew Bridge with the safety boat in attendance. All 4 boats passed through the Bridge without a problem.
As OOD, l set up on the towpath in amongst the trees with greatly restricted vision.
The race start was set at 14:40 and the boats had to suffer a long wait in a fast tide and fickle wind conditions. This resulted, when the wind dropped, in some boats getting swept over the start line. The safetv boat assisted and brought some boats back over the start while others stemmed the tide.
The 6-minute start procedure commenced, but unfortunately 2min,15secs before the signal to start was given, the tide and/or the fleet decided to start, with confusion on the water. This resulted in all the boats being over the start-Iine before the two flags were lowered and the start whistle blown.
The only boat to stem the tide and tack back over the start line was Porpoise – Lev and David Iaughing as thev managed it.
Sam and Dave in the safety boat told me afterwards that the race continued up to the buoy off the London Apprentice pub but then haIted as the tide was so strong. I am toId a beer was taken.
As time marched on, the OOD, hidden in the tree-covered towpath, asked cyclists, runners and walkers with their dogs ”have you seen any sails?” “Sails?” they said – they thought l was mad.
Eventually a blue sail appeared through the trees. It was Lev and David in Porpoise, timed in at 87min,36 secs. The others (strictly speaking over the line at the start) were timed in as Ait Knots 92min,42; Envy 93min, 28sec and Pacman 96min, 5sec. The Master of Sums, in keeping with SGSC tradition, agreed that their times should stand, with an addition of the 2min,15sec that they jumped the gun. The charitable view was that they were confused by the strength of the tide, the invisibility of the OOD, and the urging-on of the safety boat.
A Iong day. With thanks to Sam, Dave and guests in the safety boat.