We had hoped to entertain South Bank Sailing Club to a race and refreshments. Late on Saturday afternoon they changed their minds on the grounds that the weather forecast for their return sail to Putney would be assaulted by horrible weather. As it happens, they were right: conditions later in the afternoon were pretty nasty, but the weather for our race, starting at 1130, were close to perfect.
Seven boats launched: two Enterprises with James Armitage crewed by daughter Ruth, and Lev Kolobov crewed by son David; Chris Greenwood in a Leader with Felicia; three Lasers with Rob Adams, Joseph Armitage and new member Keith Clarke; and Ian Nethersell in his Vibe. The wind was light before the start, coming from the SW, but promising to increase to mid F3 with gusts of F4. We set a short A-course with a start at Zoffany House, an upstream mark just below the Steam Packet, and a downstream mark at the top of the draw-dock.
For the first two laps Lev was ahead of James with Joseph in third place. Well done Lev. Then James crept ahead by a matter of seconds with Joseph close behind Lev for a further three laps. On his sixth lap Lev was caught by a nasty gust at the downstream mark and capsized. He and David then had to right the boat and get rid of gallons of water as he re-rounded the mark and headed upstream, bailing madly. So Joseph then slipped into second place and was abreast of his Dad at the seventh lap, and Ian was now in third place having sailed consistently and well, with Lev catching up in fourth place.
For a novice in our curious waters and with a new boat, Keith had sailed impressively, learning the hard way when to short-tack close to the bank out of the tide and when to benefit from the full tidal flow. But on his 9th lap, tailing the fleet and approaching the downstream mark, he was caught by a gust and capsized. Being a Laser he managed to right the boat without any water aboard and set off to complete the course but his unfamiliarity with the boat meant that the main sheet unthreaded itself from its blocks and flew off out of reach. At that point, all other boats having finished racing, he decided to retire.
So the finishing order was an Armitage affair with James/Ruth 1st, Joseph a minute behind, both on 10 laps; Rob 3rd, then Lev, then Ian on 9 laps; and finally Chris on 7 laps. On the PN handicap (Polly Prize) Ian advanced to 3rd place.
Back at the Arch it was like old pre-Covid times with a crowd of sailors, family and friends enjoying the feast that had been prepared for South Bank Sailing Club. An excellent fish soup from Chris and a lemon drizzle cake from Heather were star attractions.
Thanks to Mary B as OOD and to Tim Young for helping HB in the safety boat.
Next week we have a working party (1030) and an A-course at 1640.