OOD: Tim Wellburn, with the very welcome assistance of Francis Skrzezewski.
Safety Boat: Ben Chappell, assisted by Leona Shepherd & Keith Clarke.
Wind: NNE, light but variable with lulls & gusts.
‘A’ Course, with two buoys laid.
Start time 14:15.
6 boats racing, with visitor, David, cruising to try out Leona’s boat.
The start was immediately marked by an inter-mingling of some of the boats jockeying for position on different tacks and/or headings. Eeyore having been retrieved from a considerable way upstream, never made it to the start, but later rowed past with some dignity.
Joe established an early lead in his Laser (Punt), completing the first lap in just under 6.1/2 minutes, followed by the Enterprises of James (Zephyr) and Lev (Porpoise), either side of 9 minute. The other boats, becalmed at various points, took between 17-20 minutes to do so.
Joe held the lead until the 4th lap when James pipped him by a mere 16 seconds and then retained the lead to the end, completing 7 laps in just under 50 minutes.
Chris (Distant Thunder, Leader) almost caught up with Lev, sailing increasingly quicker lap times until the 5th (& final one for both of them) when, just short of the line, he fell victim of a lull in the wind, completing the race just 30 seconds over the hour.
Nick (flo, Gull) and Ollie (Spinosaurus, Mirror), sailing the two remaining smaller boats, were more challenged by the conditions, both completing 3 laps in just over 50 minutes, Ollie pipping Nick to the post by just 1.1/4 minutes.
All boats suffered to a greater or lesser degree from the frustrating conditions, especially around the upstream mark which, although it was laid very close to the start line, was felt by some to be a little too close to the shore. However, wind & tide conditions further out into the stream in this reach were equally challenging, with many practicing backward sailing, keeping the two timekeepers on their toes as to which boat had already crossed the line on any given lap, and which had still to do so.
As it was a warm, sunny day, both Armitages washed their boats in the course of the race, but only Joe elected to do so rounding the downwind mark, to earn an ovation from our Bell & Crown audience for his very swift recovery.
Tim Wellburn (OOD)