The Last Race of 2023
OOD: Enoch Rodriguez and Andy Ross
Safety boat: Keith Clarke and David Jones
The drizzle that threatened the overcast day stopped well before the 12:20 start. Several bodies were around in good time to make ready the safety boat but the amount of rainwater in the river meant that the foreshore was awash before most of the nine dinghies could launch in dry feet, and the exceptional number attempting to launch meant a lot of shuffling of boats and trolleys in the yard. The wind was a light SE, blowing with the weakened flood tide that was pushing against the flow coming down river. But all boats made it to the Bell and Crown on time.
James Armitage with Kiren Biekark in Zephyr (Enterprise) made good progress in the beat downstream to a mark just off the slip-dock and ran back easily to finish his first lap in under 10 minutes. He was followed by Lev, solo in Porpoise (Enterprise), then Dave and Sheila Berger in Entre Nous (Enterprise), Rob Adams in Phoebe (Laser), Chris Greenwood and Felicia Biekark in Distant Thunder (Leader), Toby Hicks in Cid… (Laser), and Ben Chappell in Envy (Laser). Olly Adams and Billy in Spinosaurus (Mirror) were about 12 minutes behind, with Sam Shemtob solo in his Wayfarer bringing up the rear.
After his first lap Lev picked up a crew in the form of half a tree. The OOD reported that “the new crew slowed him down – they were just dead wood really! Once ruthlessly casting off the new crew he started catching up with the leaders” but didn’t quite make it. James completed five laps in just under the hour followed closely by Dave and then Rob. Lev, Ben and Chris completed four laps, Olly and Toby three, and Sam two.
The water was welly-boot deep on the ramp and much warmth-creating energy was expended by all in recovering and parking the fleet in preparation for the main event – Beer and Bangers.
B&B lived up to its high reputation. Steve Newell had brewed an exceptional beer and Mary Short had barbequed the sausages well on the way to perfection by the time the cold and weary competitors were ready for them, and there was several tables-full of delights contributed by too many members to mention to satisfy every palate.
Mention must, however, be made of the OOD team of Enoch and Andy. Keeping tabs of 9 boats, making 35 separate crossings of the line, with rising water and falling temperature, is no mean feat.
So that was the last race. A report on the sailing season will follow shortly, but please note that the Dinner and Dance will be held on 23rd March 2024. Mark in your diary and contact Marian for tickets.