Race Report 10th March 2024 – the First Race

OOD: Leona Shepherd

Safety Boat: Keith Clarke with Frankie Skrzesewski

Weather: Wet with very light to no wind.

Course: A

Five boats launched with James Armitage and Billy Adams in Zephyr (Enterprise); Rob Adams (new owner!!) and Henry Brown (old owner) in Big Polly (Enterprise); Ollie Adams and Felicity Adams in Spinosaurus (Mirror); Ben Chappel in Envy (Laser) and Lev Kolobov in Porpoise (Enterprise). At 13.10 all the boats were holding steadily into the tide/wind, while the safety boat repositioned the buoys to shorten the course due to the lack of wind and the strength of the tide.

The race was started at 13.21 with all 5 boats eventually crossing the start line. Ben in Envy crossed first and held the lead for almost 30secs until Lev overtook him and held onto it for most of the next hour. It was a day for light boats that could accelerate in the slightest gusts – as with single-handed Lev, and Ben’s Laser.  Even James with a light-weight crew failed the test, and the Rob/Henry combo didn’t even make a lap.  The trickiest and therefore, slowest section for the leaders was the upstream end after rounding the 2nd buoy. Here the lack of wind left the tide dominating which proved challenging for all the boats. At the end of the 2nd lap, Ben in Envy crossed the finish line first, just ahead of Lev in Porpoise in 2nd place.. James in Zephyr came 3rd. Spinosaurus and Big Polly after heroic commitments retired.

The water came from all directions: a spring tide from the East; a fluvial flow from the West; and the opened heavens above. By the end of the race even the OOD’s party were perched on steps above in crotch-deep waters on the footpath. Due to a dead calm spot near the 2nd buoy, the last quarter of the last lap took up to 30mins, and so it was declared time to stop.

Keith took on towing duties and delivered dinghies back to the Arch and a reception committee of Tim Young and Heather Adams, all well over welly-height of cold water.

Ultimately it was a soggy start to the sailing season with exceptionally slow times and very wet sailors, safety boaters, OOD and assistants.

Thank you to everyone who helped on shore, on the water and back at the club.

Leona Shepherd (OOD)