Race result, 7 October 2018

Only two boats turned out this lunchtime despite the lovely autumnal sunshine, perhaps because of the tame conditions: a  light wind from the SW.

A very short B-course was set with a downstream buoy almost opposite the Strand End pier and the upstream buoy outside No. 7 Strand.  It was clearly a test of patience and making the most of whatever wind there was.  Rob Adams in his Laser was ahead from the start, as you would expect from the Laser’s handicap, but Ian Nethersell in his Vibe gave him a hard time.  Rob was ahead by 9 minutes on the third lap but Ian managed to cut that down to a mere minute by the sixth and last lap, which gave him a win on both the Handicap and Polly prizes.

David Jones and Mary Berger were in the safety boat to see that nobody drifted into danger, and Chris Greenwood looked after things from the bank.

Race report, 30 September 2018

Race report, 30 September 2018

There were only three takers for a race on Sunday: Nick Floyer (Lightning), Tim Young (Gull) and Jane Watkins (Gull).  It was cloudy but dry with a steady NW wind of around F3.

Nick was ahead almost from the start on the run down to Chiswick Bridge and had stretched quite a lead by the time he went under the bridge.  The Gulls expended lots of energy gybing and poling out their jibs as the wind veered and backed from dead astern.  Nick had only one sail to worry about and that probably gave him a smoother ride.

Once all three were under the bridge it became apparent to the safety boat that the tide was no longer ebbing, and the first red rowing buoy below the bridge confirmed that the flood had started.  It was clear that there was no realistic prospect of running all the way down to Hammersmith against the incoming tide and the safety boat decided to turn the fleet before the struggle became too great.  Not having had the foresight to load a buoy, we dropped an anchor and instructed first Nick and then the Gulls to turn around the safety boat, less than 200m below the bridge.  At the turn the Gulls were neck and neck.

It was a beat back to Strand with quite a brisk wind on some parts of the course.  Nick kept his lead with Tim closing on him, but although dropping back Jane was clearly learning fast, and determined that the safety boat should keep a respectful distance and keep its advice to itself.  It is, after all, the best way to learn. And the number of rowers and pleasure boats on the river made the learning quite critical at times.

So it was a very short D-course with Nick finishing in 40 minutes, Tim 4 minutes behind and Jane 10 minutes behind Tim.  After the sums Nick won the Handicap points but Tim came first in the Class and Polly Prizes.

Thanks to Heather for supervising the start and finish and preparing a warming cup of tea after the slog of recovering the boats at the end.  Rob and Henry took the executive decisions on the water.

Henry

 

Race report, 9 September 2018, LCSC, SBSC visit

Hopefully someone will submit a proper eye-witness report of the event, but since Nick has been good enough to supervise the race and prepare the results I thought it best to publish as soon as possible.

It was our annual team-racing event against LCSC and SBSC and on paper it looks like a classic of its kind.  16 boats were out, 8 from Strand, 3 from South Bank, and 5 from Corinthians.  There was enough wind for 5 boats to do 5 laps, 5 boats to do 4 laps, and the slow boats to finish 2 laps.  Nick had the un-enviable job of keeping tabs on them all.

There are two team trophies at stake, one for SGSC v. LCSC and one for SGSC v. SBSC.  The results are computed on the sum of finishing positions of each of the pair of teams.  In the case of SGSC v. LCSC, as LCSC brought five boats upriver the sum of the finishing places of their 5 boats are compared with the sum of the first 5 Strand boats.  In the case of SGSC v. SBSC, the first 3 of Strandies were compared with SBSC’s three boats.

The end result was a decisive win for the home team for both trophies.  Three of the first four positions were taken by James Armitage, Dave and Sheila Berger, and Rob Collingwood, with Val from LCSC, in his Laser, in third position.  That gave the us a score line of 8 SGSC against 39 SBSC (lowest score wins) and 21 SGSC against 40 LCSC.

Race report, 2 September 2018

Race Report plus activities Sunday 2nd September 2018

A Special Sunday Tidefest and SGSC Working Party and Race.

Strand on the Green Tidefest – Fishing competition, Boat trips, paddle boarding foreshore talks, RNLI plus other activities. A lively day at Strand.

Meanwhile, in the Sailing Club a working party was in progress. It was well attended and resulted in a great deal of reorganisation and a massive clear up of the boatyard. The Race followed the WP at 18.15. Late in the day but with plenty of sunshine and a blue sky but unfortunately very little wind. The lack of wind resulted in the programmed “B” course being changed to a short “A” with the start and finish line being Zoffany House.

Four dinghies were prepared to endure the light and fickle conditions.

The course was set by the OOD and Enoch Rodriguez and Dave Jones in the safety boat with the usual buoy positions for a short course.

James and David (LEV’s son) in Porpoise and Tim in Axoloti started well but Jane in Pacman struggled to find the wind at first but eventually moved forward. Lev in his unnamed Enterprise surprisingly got wedged on the bank at the start line. He soon got away, caught Jane and was then chasing James and Tim.

The first lap was expertly sailed by James and David in 6.18 mins followed by Tim at 10.39 and Lev 11.18. Jane followed at 21.30.

The race quickly settled into a pattern, the two Enterprises easily completing lap after lap but the slower Gulls struggling with the tide and lack of wind.

Tim eventually sailed to the Surrey Bank for a change of scenery and Jane spent time investigating a Willow Tree at Strand before visiting Kew Bridge. Well we have all experienced this, except for James. Both Tim and Jane eventually quit, sensibly deciding to take a tow and retire. Thanks Enoch and David for the Tow.

James and David continued to sail smoothly round the course, sweetly roll tacking along the Strand followed by Lev.

James and David completed 7 laps in 50.15 mins with Lev 5 Laps in 54.01mins

John Bull OOD

 

Race Report, 26 August, 2018

Race Report, 26 August 2018

This Sunday’s race followed the excitement of the Ladies Plate and the relaxing pleasures of the summer party, and perhaps that combination was enough to exhaust the usual turnout.  Or perhaps it was a weather forecast of F3 southerlies, gusting 4-5 with continuous heavy rain and low temperatures.  Whatever the cause, four hardy souls were willing to test their skills: Dave and Sheila Berger, who appropriated the Brown’s Enterprise (they being down for race officer and safety boat duties), James Armitage and Lev Kolobov, who decided to pool their resources in Jame’s Enterprise.

Before the launch the wind was steadily propelling the rain almost straight up the river and flapping rather than flogging the hoisted sails.  Not too scary.  And so it continued: a quick run up to the start, some frisky reaches before the whistle, then a beat down to the downstream mark by the City Barge, both boats keeping in the relatively slack water by the bank.  They rounded neck and neck to run back up to the line with James a mere 2 seconds ahead of Dave.  It was a 10 minute lap, as was the second with James’ lead increasing to 25 seconds.  And still the rain came down.  From then on James gradually got ahead so that by the time Mary took pity on them and hoisted the yellow flag it was clear that the pattern had been set.  James and Lev finished about 4 minutes in the lead.

Margaret Berger came down on her bike to join Mary and see fair play while Henry got wetter and wetter with no one to rescue in the safety boat.  But there was Mary’s flapjack in the arch to supplement the hot tea.

Race Report, the Ladies Plate 2018

Race Report, Ladies Plate, 25 August 2018

Four dinghies turned out for the Ladies Plate, a record in recent years.  Lucy, nursing a broken foot, was crewed in the family Enterprise by Rob Collingwood; Catherine was crewed by Alex Pape in his dipping lugger; Jo was crewed by Tim Young in his Gull; and Jane was crewed by another Alex in her Gull.

The wind was around F3 from the NW giving a run down the A-course and a beat back.  The wind was steady enough for all the boats to keep going without the doldrums that often occur at the turning marks. Catherine, Jo and Lucy, in that order, were all within a minute of each other at the end of the first lap with Jane (with rudder problems) a minute behind.  Catherine increased her lead, even with a reef in her sail, for the next two laps, but then something mysterious happened to slow her down, despite shaking out the reef.  Jo then took the lead with Lucy close behind in second place about a minute ahead of Catherine.  Jane by this time had tangled with the PLA midstream moorings – there was a choice of making a long tack to the Surrey side or tacking up the Strand side of the moorings and Jane got caught by a wind shift at the critical moment.  After accepting help from the safety boat, she decided to retire from the race but carried on sailing anyway.

During the fifth lap Lucy’s foot gave enough trouble to hand over the helm to Rob, and she gracefully retired.

That left Jo and Catherine battling it out on the sixth and final lap.  Jo maintained her lead in the well-ballasted Gull and finished almost three minutes ahead.

Congratulations to all concerned and especially to the very infrequent, if not novice, helms for very seawomanlike performances.

And now for the Andy Ross account …

LADIES RACE REPORT                                                   Saturday 25 August 2018

Marvellously breaking the drought of the last few years, four boats helmed by ladies [all crewed by men] took to the water on Strand for the Ladies Race – all still in the afterglow of the warmth of the summer heatwave and possibly induced to take part by a warm and sunny afternoon with just a whisper or two of wind from the West.

As the boats ventured around in an approach to the Start Line, Steve Newell, acting as OOD, rather like an Umpire assembling stray running horses to get them under Starters Orders, – and seeing them all facing in different directions, and with a missing boat – put the Red Flag up and called a 3-minute Delayed Start.

Jane [with Alex] in her Gull 2196 had put into the bank to fix a problem with a troublesome rudder. But she soon joined the fleet; and after some random bumping and thumping between them and Lucy [and Rob] in the Enterprise, Jo Broadhurst [and Tim] in his Gull 2929, and Catherine [and Alex] in his No Name – they were off!

Dave Jones was in the Safety Boat, fully equipped and with the old boarding ladder stowed – and ready for action with its extendable arms, together with young David as his assistant, carefully keeping in his pocket his latest archaeological foreshore finds.

They were still all bunched together at the downstream buoy, set well before the grid. Jo eased round first, followed by Catherine, then Lucy – and finally Jane. Catherine then made a bold decision to head off over to the main channel for a long tack back to the upstream mark while the others all kept to the inner channel. Whose strategy would win?

Triumphantly, Catherine’s strategic vision worked out really well. She rounded the buoy and came up to her first lap first.  Then Jo, followed by Lucy and Jane – thereby setting a pattern that would broadly define the race.

Two laps in and Jane was tempted to follow Catherine’s mid-channel manoeuvre – but found she was becoming becalmed at the head of the trot and in danger of being swept onto it and held fast at the end of the line. Time for the Safety Boat to power into action! Dave eased them back off, pulling them back upstream [thus not in any way giving them any kind of advantage over the other racers]. But it appeared that it maybe took the edge of Jane’s confidence as when she came round again to the Start Line she said she was retiring. However, this was quite unnecessary – and, indeed, she still persisted in carrying on sailing around the course, even when on the next lap she ventured too far off down towards Kew Bridge before managing to return; and in time she successfully completed the entire Ladies Race.

Catherine, meanwhile, had discovered that a quirk of Strand sailing can be encountering inexplicably calm spots. So it was that having established a 2 ½ minute lead the rest of the fleet caught up and overtook her, despite completing another adventurous sprint across to the main channel.

That idea was then also taken up by both Jo and Jane who, although on different laps, and simultaneously racing in equivalent Gulls, streaked off in a freshening wind apparently in order to scatter a long line of 250-300 Common Gulls that were drifting upstream, minding their own business on the far bank. Sequentially, in flocks of 10 x 10, they all took off – obviously annoyed at this intrusion into their mid-afternoon social gathering.

Young David was then landed ashore – anxious to find faster action in prospect with Arsenal v West Ham.

And there was then a discussion amongst those onshore about the reason for the loss, and the apparent theft, of the boat cover. Who could possibly have a use for a cover that was tailor-made to fit on only this boat? Except to cut it up for some other use? How pathetic. The immense time and skill that David has put into making this cover fit so easily and exactly is something that should surely be considered as a potential claim on insurance; and if he can be persuaded to make it again!. Let’s hope so; or be prepared for sitting on sloppy goose poo!

Chris joined everyone including Henry and Mary at the Start Line – and said that his Mary was in Amsterdam at a jazz violin improvisation workshop and concert, but would also have sailed if he had been here. It could have been a fully female fleet!

As Steve signalled for the last lap, Rob took over the tiller from Lucy in a sudden breeze as the Enterprise came by, and thereby retired disqualified, explaining that Lucy had been sailing with a broken foot! How incredibly courageous and stoical! Later, Lucy said that she hadn’t enjoyed the race at all, she was in real pain – and all she wanted was to get home and rest and have a cup of tea! But what great spirit on heroic display for the Ladies Cup!

Tim sailed by, sitting squarely as ever amidships on the thwarts and adding such substantial ballast that all Jo had to do was steer the boat in the right direction; with no need at all for either of them to change their position when tacking.

Subject to the Master of the Sums later calculation on handicap it appeared that Jo had clearly won, followed by Catherine, and then by Jane – in a performance on her first ever race that surely puts her in the running for Paul’s Prize for Persistence.

On the way back to the Club, we saw a huge 42-gallon blue plastic barrel floating in the water. It said “Pickled Limes. Product of India”. 42-gallon blue-painted barrels were the colour-branded product of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio in 1870, to distinguish its oil from those of its competitors. And 42-gallon barrels themselves had been defined by Richard III as a standard size and weight, made by the Worshipful Company of Coopers, that one strong man could reasonably easily lift, with eight to be fitted on a cart, drawn by one horse – in order to carry eels, salmon, herrings, honey, soap, butter, rum, wine, beers – and oil. And here and now, Pickled Limes!

It was wondered if this empty 42-gallon Pickled Lime barrel had held special ingredients for the SGSC Summer Party? Perhaps there was a new signature dish to add to the wonderful cooking repertoire of Marian?  Were we perhaps going to be treated to a trial run for her much-anticipated entry featuring Shetland products with a Pickled Lime twist that everyone would love to see her make, served of course on an SGSC Ladies Plate, on Masterchef? We’re off to find out!

© Andy Ross 26.08.2018

Race Report, 19 August 2018

 

Race Report: 19 August 2018: INVISIBLE WIND

There was a pungent smell of rotting seaweed on the beach at Strand which floated on an Invisible Wind and lazily flapped around the sails of Nick, Tim, James and Lev and Michael and Alice on hot and humid Sunday as they prepared for a ‘D’ course down to Hammersmith.

Perhaps it came from the churned-up stones as the Safety Boat was grumbled and graunched on broken rollers down the shore accompanied, as if in an awful concert, by the groaning cries of David who every winter has to repair the damage to the hull – and who was coming on board with Andy [standing in for Enoch, who was taking Zena to enrol at the University of Amsterdam].

A generally Westerly wind occasionally stirred itself up into a brisk gust – and then dropped away.

Henry was OOD, and by the time he had whistled for the start Michael was only just afloat on the water – and was having trouble with his rudder. He came ashore again at the start line to attend to it while the others sailed off. By the time he had fixed it [temporarily as it turned out] the fleet of three were still only a quarter of the way to Chiswick Bridge.

The mid-channel course was an empty conveyor belt with barely a ripple on the water, though ominously the tall trees of Hartington Road were swinging about quite wildly. Something was up there.

But it appeared it was going to be a long and slow journey to Hammersmith.

David leant back in the bow and got out his pipe and while he recounted stories of his son Robert filming with Tom Cruise in Budapest he repeatedly failed to light it while, in a premonition of things to come, pernicious little gusts of Invisible Wind blew it out – and he wished he’d brought along the yachtsman’s all-weather butane torch lighter that Norbert had given him.

While the blue Enterprise sail of James and Lev was now out of sight, the tips of Tim and Nick’s white sails could just be seen going round the Barnes brewery bend as Michael and Alice meandered their way gently towards and under Chiswick Bridge.

Then my mobile phone unexpectedly rang!

Not anticipating David for company, luckily I had it with me; planning to do little else than peacefully drink some iced tea from a picnic flask and listen on my headphones to the competition of the Eurovision Young Musicians of the Year 2018 on Radio 3. Will this continue post-Brexit? Where will young musicians’ and composers travel grants and their funding come from in future? Do Brexiteers listen to anything other than Land of Hope and Glory? Will they play it from loudspeakers on every lamppost, every morning – like a call to prayer?  Or is that, absurdly, to fear Fascism?

It was Tim! He’s capsized! And could the Safety Boat please come and help him?

How could that happen? Where was he? And, extraordinarily, how did he manage to call me while in the water? Was his i-phone amazingly waterproof? Tim is recognised as a magician of everything electronic, and an expert trader on E-Bay – but this matter was not up for auction. We sped off to find him.

As we came further round the Barnes bend, there was indeed a boat in the water.

But it was not Tim’s overturned Axolotyl, thankfully not embarrassingly displaying a very large and very pink Englishman’s bottom, looking as if it was sun-blushed with too much overexposed backside of flesh on a nudist holiday beach.

No! This was an oyster-white and rather smaller hull at right-angles to the waterline. It was Nick.

And around the bend coming the other way was the RNLI lifeboat at full speed with a huge bow wave and its blue lights rotating. Where were they going – and how were we going to manage the wash as they sped by?

The RNLI stopped by Nick. They were there for him!

Nick was clinging to the bow. As we edged in closer to him the RNLI boat backed off, and went around us in a circle. Were they going to help; or just observe us? David caught Nick’s bow line, while the Safety Boat was gently manoeuvred alongside – and the RNLI man shouted loudly that we should mind out as there was a man in the water; which was very obvious, and was actually the whole point of us being there!

Nick was not saying anything much at all. This was a bit worrying. Was he OK? The step ladder was fixed alongside – and Nick was invited to climb up it. But he couldn’t. He said he couldn’t lift his legs. Was he injured?  He didn’t reply. He said: “You’ll have to lift me out”. I really wondered about the risk of this. What was wrong with his legs – or perhaps even his back? I was suddenly glad the RNLI was there, hovering. This might be a very real emergency. But Nick was trying to float his legs up, parallel to the surface – and he was bending his knees, and kicking the water, so he seemed to be uninjured. But it’s difficult to do anyway. And he was obviously quite exhausted.

So grabbing onto his life jacket and his trousers and with a mighty heave he was brought slithering and sloshing like a large Labrador dog into the Safety Boat. But still he was not saying anything. It seemed to me that he was perhaps in shock. I turned to the RNLI boat and asked if they could take him onboard; telling them also that Nick was hard of hearing – if only to help to justify hitching a lift with them, and saying that the Safety Boat had to catch up with the other sailors. They said they would – and asked where to take him; and I said back to SGSC.

Meanwhile, Michael had very slowly passed us by; virtually un-noticed. So as the RNLI motored off up-river, with Nick safely wrapped up in a thermal blanket, and with his boat tied alongside, the Safety Boast anxiously sped off to find the others.

And immediately, there was James and Lev coming back!

How could they possibly have got all the way down to Hammersmith, and back, against the tide? Was the wind down there that strong? We came alongside and James said they had turned: “at the green buoy” – but without saying which one. And half a mile later we found Tim and Michael were virtually side by side of each other; – and completely becalmed, in the open water just after Barnes Railway Bridge.

And there was a green buoy, against which the tide had turned. This must be it.

And for the next 20 minutes the two of them played a ceaseless game of hide and seek with an Invisible Wind that sometimes appeared to roughen the water with small cat’s paws – always out of reach just two or three boat lengths away – and sometimes within the slack eddies by the river bank under the trees by the bandstand – which solemnly refused to play any water music. But, inch by inch, they crept forward until, with a great tiller-waggling flourish, Tim turned round the buoy. And five minutes later, after showing micrometer judgment and with nano-second fine-timing against the now fast-running tide, Michael turned round the buoy too.

So now then for the easy run home; high-speed assisted with the tide!

Not a bit of it.

For Michael in particular it was totally extraordinary that no matter which way he pointed the boat, it was always going to go head-to-wind a moment or two later.

Again and again Michael crossed the river, searching for a steady wind. But it was invisible. And it was constantly twisting about. A stalling struggle through Barnes Railway Bridge was not helped with the recurring difficulty of controlling the rudder; which kept popping up.

And it was clear that the Invisible Wind that had done for Nick, [and had, apparently, almost brought Tim to grief too, while someone on the bank had seen Nick capsize and had called 999], was blowing in a line from Chiswick Bridge to the White Hart, and it was very much stronger than it appeared. Michael was now in danger of an imminent capsize – which could have been perfectly timed, if it was going to happen, with the leisurely return of the RNLI lifeboat. Do it now, Michael – and get a lift home!

But he persisted with his zigzag course; often stalling, and with his hand on the boom; ineffectively cross-set with the jib that Alice correctly held open, but against the wind.

With the swiftly-rising tide there was now a question of whether he would get under Chiswick Bridge. He had to approach it diagonally to be in the middle of the arch. But he started in the middle, stalled – and so headed straight for the inside of the bridge. It was a pure fluke of the current that at the last moment the boat spun around and he cleared the bridge by going backwards through it, with not an inch to spare.

This was all to exhausting to watch; let alone do!

Back at SGSC around 7pm it was remarkable that the race had taken over two hours – but over only half the distance to Hammersmith.

Ranking with the many quixotic experiences of sailing at Strand it had been both with and against an entirely unpredictable and totally Invisible Wind.

© Andy Ross                                                                                                 19 August 2018

Race Report, 12 August 2018

Race Report, 12 August 2018

Many sailors were away on holiday and the forecast was for a showery afternoon.  Nevertheless James (sailing his Enterprise solo) and Tim (Gull) turned out together with a new member, Jane Watkins, sailing her first race in Lev’s old Gull.

The wind was from the south but very variable in strength and gusty at times.  We set a short A-course with the downstream mark just above the grid and the upstream mark just above the Bell and Crown.

James was in the lead from the start.  He finished his first lap in under 7 minutes and he’d completed another lap before Tim arrived back at the start line.  The big surprise was that Jane, in her first race at Strand and her second time in the Gull, was a mere 15 seconds behind him – an impressive debut which included shipping a lot of water from a near capsize.  Her luck ran out at the upstream mark on the next lap and she found herself in the familiar position of drifting helplessly towards Kew Bridge.  She had to accept David Jones’ offer of help to get her back downstream out of the strong flood tide but carried on to finish another lap on her own.

James finished 7 laps before rain threatened and the race was ended, and Tim struggled in light airs at the downstream mark before completing his fifth lap 20 minutes later.

Thanks to David for looking after the fleet and to Andy for tea and biscuits afterwards.

Next week is a D-course at 1700.

Race results 22 July 2018

Race Report
Course – C, start – 10.00 am; wind – light, mostly westerly; weather – warm & sunny; OOD – Chris Greenwood; rescue boat – Steve Newell.
The Berger family made a major contribution to the race with David and Sheila taking Ho Ho Ho for a spin, Mary Berger crewing for James and a host of family members helping to haul out at the end of the race. A hot morning with little wind and a modest tide turned out six dinghies. Hanging on to prevent a false start proved challenging, but the fleet found wind to tack down to Isleworth with James and David having some close quarters contests. At the Isleworth mark James was just ahead of David and Rob Collingwood and John Bull as the second pair, Alex turned slightly later with the wind helping them against the flood tide. Tim was a little later at the buoy, at which time sadly the wind dropped completely and the tide took him down to the London Apprentice steps. The way back to Kew Bridge was a run against the incoming current which only slackened as the leading boats finished. James was first on the water with David and Sheila second, John Bull
third, Rob Collingwood fourth, followed by Alex and Tim.
Chris Greenwood