Race Report, 17th May 2020

Race report, 17th May 2020

On Sunday late afternoon, on the 17th May, three Crews gathered for our first sail under social distancing regulations. It was a warm sunny afternoon with a light North Westerly. It was decided to change the scheduled D course to a short course between the pier at the East end of Strand on the Green and the rowing marker buoy on the Surrey side at the downstream end of the Island. This could safely be sailed without having to launch the rescue boat. Rob Adams our officer of the day set the starting line on the upstream face of the railway bridge with an upstream start against the wind and current.

Down at the bottom of the river bed, the wind was erratic and the shallowness of the water was a constant challenge to our centre plates, but it was great to be back on the water. Porpoise crewed by James led the way, Distant Thunder crewed by Chris and Mary followed and SY2 crewed by Sam was third on the water.  He was struck by a doldrum below Strand End and self-towed along the foreshore back to the ramp.

Successfully hauling the boats back up to the arch was the final challenge for the afternoon.


The next sail/race is an A-course, start 15:10 on Sunday 24 May. See you there – at a safe distance!

Racing suspended until further notice: PLA Covid-19 Notice

This notice says it all. We must suspend our racing activities until the emergency is over. When that will be is anybody’s guess, and we will be ready. The Covid bug caused the Dance to be cancelled, but it merely postpones our sailing.

Port of London – River Thames
24 March 2020

We are issuing this in line with current Government coronavirus guidance, placing restrictions on movement.
To reduce social contact, travel and potential strain on emergency services, we strongly recommend that all recreation and leisure activities on the tidal Thames are avoided until further notice.
Our priority at the PLA is to help ensure the UK continues to receive essential supplies of food, fuel and medical goods at this time.
As a result, we expect to have a reduced capability in responding to recreational incidents on the river.
To support our essential port operations, we are reducing the operating hours of our harbour service patrols between Putney and Teddington.
We are grateful for your co-operation in these exceptional circumstances.

First Race Report, 8th March 2020

Not for the first time the First Race was more a whimper than a bang, or even a splash.  A handful of helms took stock of the conditions, which were gusty and threatening with rain (the Met office said it was F4-5, gusting F5-6 from WSW at Kew), and all but James decided not to launch.   Lev was keen to get on the water and so crewed with James for a couple of laps from the ramp up to the Bell and Crown and back, but on the third pass the threatened rain swept in and they retreated to the arch.  But the honour of the Club was saved.

Next week there is no race.  Only a D-course is possible, and a rowing event means that the river downstream of Chiswick Bridge will be closed by the PLA.  But there will be a working party to do general tidying.

Summary of Race Results, 2019



A word or two of explanation:

No.PR means the number of points races sailed by each boat.

Hcap means the individual boat handicap at the end of the season.

SSS stands for the Strand Senior Salver, awarded to helms older than 70 on the basis of their accumulated results.

Paul’s Prize for Persistence is from Paul Williamson and rewards the helm who has sailed the most points races but not won any prize.

Race Report – the Last Race – 10 November 2019

Race Report, 10 November 2019, the Last Race

Sunday was a lovely sunny autumn day.  All it lacked was a steady sailing wind.  But then this is Strand on the Green.  The incoming tide was almost swamped by the flow of rainwater coming down the river, which meant that there was little or no beach for rigging the boats.  And the rigging was interrupted by the two-minutes silence, orchestrated by Tim on the starting horn.

Eight boats turned out for short A-course from the Zoffany start line, with an upstream buoy opposite the Bell and Crown and the downstream buoy below the grid.  Once Jane and Tim had disentangled themselves from the bank all the boats got away without recalls, and had a sort-of run downstream driven by a fickle wind with quite a lot of north in it.  Making the downstream mark was quite a struggle for the little boats but the Laser, Enterprises, Leader and Alex’s lugger managed to keep going pretty well.

Rob Adams in his Laser was first around the downstream mark and was well up the course before the Browns in their Enterprise, followed by Lev Kolobov (solo in Enterprise), Alex and Chris Greenwood (with Mary in the Leader) got around for the beat back upstream.

Rob was almost 2 minutes ahead of the Browns and Lev on the first lap; on the second lap he was followed by Alex and then the Browns, who then overtook Alex and maintained second place with Lev in close pursuit.  At the end of five laps Rob was 9 minutes ahead of the Browns with Alex and Lev within two minutes astern.

The shifty wind on the downwind leg caused Chris and Ian to complete only four laps with the two Gulls, Tim and Jane, both doing three laps.

After the handicap sums were done Rob was the clear winner with Alex in second place followed by the Browns.

Mary Short got back to the arch in time to fire-up the barbeque and cook some very spicey sausages.  Sam, who manned the safety boat, had orchestrated the classic Beer and Bangers feast with home-brew beer, as usual, courtesy of Steve Newell and a variety of other treats from sundry members.

So that was the end of the 2019 season.  What will we do with Sundays in the coming bleak winter days?

Race Report, 3 November 2019

It was, I am told, a quiet day on the river, one for contemplation and the exercise of patience on a two and a half hour D-course.

Five boats set off on the augmented drift and all finished within 10 minutes of each other.  First was Ian Nethersell, very pleased with having flown his spinnaker and having overtaken Nick Floyer in the closing stages.  He led by four minutes with Lev Kolobov about 3 minutes behind Nick.  Chris Greenwood was fourth in the Leader 2 minutes later, and finally after another 2 minutes there was Sam Shemtob  in his Wayfarer.

The handicap sums almost reversed the finishing order in the Handicap points with Sam then Nick then Chris.  But the finishing order was restored in the Big Boats ( Lev then Chris then Sam); Ian then Nick in the Little Boats points; and in the Polly Prize (Ian then Nick then Chris).


Race Report and results 27 October 2019

Race Report, 27 October 2019

After some really nasty weather during the week it was a great relief that Sunday came as a perfect autumn day – sunshine, autumn colour starting to appear in the trees, and a gentle 6-7 mph wind from the north west.

Seven boats started on an A-course a bit further downstream than usual, starting at the Zoffany House short A-course line but with the downstream buoy outside the City Barge.  The north west breeze was straight down the river and gave a run all the way down and a beat back to the Bell and Crown.

The two Lasers (Rob Adams and John Bull) and two Enterprises (the Browns and Lev sailing solo) established themselves as the leader-pack from the start.  There was only 15 seconds between them at the first lap with Lev in the lead.  Lev swapped first place with the Browns for the next two laps with only seconds between them, but by the fourth lap the Browns had opened a 2-minute lead, and Rob was in second place.  The Browns maintained their lead for the next three laps and finished just under the hour about two minutes ahead of Rob and Lev, who were about 30 seconds apart.  John was about 3 minutes behind Lev and was the last to complete 7 laps.  Interspersed in a tight finishing order were Alex Pape in his lugger, Sam and David in the Wayfarer and Tim Young in his Gull, all on 6 laps.

The handicap sums gave the Browns first place in all three series, with Tim second in the Handicap, Little Boats and Polly Prize points.  Lev was second in the Big Boats; Rob was third in the Handicap and Big Boats; and Sam was third in the Handicap.

Many thanks to Inna Kolobov for volunteering to be the Race Officer at short notice and for an immaculate results sheet disentangling seven boats coming over the line within minutes if not seconds of each other.  And thanks to Andy Ross and David Kolobov in the safety boat.

The boats, including the safety boat, almost floated into the yard on a high spring tide and, even at lunch time, warming tea was on hand.

Next week it’s a D-course starting at 1330.


Race Report 20 October 2019

Race Report, 20 October 2019


The race was ‘D’ Course to Hammersmith, with light winds in the area of the Clubhouse but, inevitably, more wind downstream.

Only two boats started, Nick Floyer’s Lightning and Lev Kolobov’s Enterprise.

Both easily passed the jetty and headed off at a good pace, helped by the still outgoing tide.  Some little way downstream of Barnes Bridge, Nick decided that the increased wind and choppier conditions already encountered there argued against proceeding further, and so retired.

The safety boat chased Lev downstream and caught up with him near Corney Reach, where the race was truncated at 32 minutes.  He sailed back, just catching the ebb, and completing the round trip in just over an hour and a half, while the safety boat gave Nick a stately tow back to base.


Tim Wellburn

Race report, 6 October 2019

Race Report, 6 October 2019

Despite an unpleasant forecast, a growl of thunder and a scatter of raindrops at around 1400, five helms prepared for a 1510 start of a D-course.  The wind was forecast to be NW, F3, gusting F5 or more, with quite a lot of fresh rainwater in the ebb tide.  Mary Brown delayed the start by 5 minutes or so as Sam Shemtob (and crew David) struggled with his Wayfarer and Jane Watkins debated whether or not to go downstream under jib alone in her Gull (she didn’t).  It was a running start with a fitful wind, but by Chiswick Bridge Lev Kolobov was well in the lead, followed by Ian Nethersell and Rob Adams in close company and with Sam and Jane bringing up the rear.  Those relative positions remained much the same all the way through the varying wind conditions of our bendy river down to the Hammersmith reach.  Henry Brown in the safety boat was keeping a close eye on the tidal flow but the ebb was still strong when the leaders approached the Corinthian’s line with a stiff following wind.  First Lev, then Ian and Rob rounded the buoy about ¾ hour after the start and started the long beat back to Strand.  Rob’s years of experience showed as he short-tacked up the Surrey bank into the tide and wind.  The others struggled to master the conditions.  Ian beached and waited for the ebb to diminish in strength.  Lev demonstrated how challenging it is to tack an Enterprise single-handed – he capsized twice on the way back.  Sam also capsized and beached to bail and change to a storm jib.  And Jane, after getting tangled with a rowing 4 and its attendant, decided to call it a day.  She accepted a tow back to Strand.

Rob’s break-away at the turn took on a familiar pattern: he found he was continually struggling against the ebb tide while those behind him were lifted by the flood and almost threatened to overtake him.  Ian, having spent some time beached at Hammersmith, was able to catch up first with Lev and then to get within sight of Rob.  In the end Rob finished in just over 2 hours, after a hard beat of 75 minutes, 20 minutes ahead of Ian, who was 7 minutes ahead of Lev.  Sam returned in the fading light just after 6pm.

The worst part of a D-course is the struggle to recover all the boats and kit up into the arch at the end.  But at least there was hot tea and Mary’s rock buns to ease the pain.

Race report, 15 September 2019

We had a good turnout of 6 boats, including Dave and Sheila Burger making a rare but welcome visit and dusting off the cobwebs from Big Polly.  Dave was ahead on the first lap but Rob Adams overtook on the second and held the lead for the next 7 laps.  John Bull and Dave swapped 2nd and 3rd places for a few laps before Dave overtook Rob an the 9th lap and finished a mere 20 seconds ahead of him, with John about 2 minutes behind in third place.  Lev Kolobov was up with the leaders until he capsized on his fourth lap.  So it was a busy race for Nick Floyer as OOD, and plenty to keep an eye on for Dave Jones in the safety boat with David Kolobov.