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.

Race report, 8th September 2019

It was a very light breeze for a C-course, and a nice clean start from Kew Bridge. Four boats out, two Enterprises (James and Lev), One leader (Chris), and Alex in his lugger.  James was in the lead until Syon Park when Alex just slipped into the lead for a few minutes but James stayed in front for the rest of the race.

Tim Young, OOD and Safety Boat.

Strand Challenge trophy, 1 September 2019

Race Report,  1 September 2019, SBSC and RSC visit

It was quite an intimidating sight for the hosts to see a fleet of 11 dinghies beating up the river towards us.  There were 11 from SBSC and one from Ranelagh.  We managed to muster six on the foreshore but Tim had to retire before the start with a bad case of gravel in the centreboard slot.

We set a B-course, downstream of the Railway Bridge, and the wind was a brisk F3-4, and mostly F4. Quite challenging for the mixed fleet of mostly single-handers.

Una-Jane Winfield (Ranelagh), solo in her RS200, led almost from the start. On the first lap she was followed closely by Lev, solo in his Enterprise, with Rob Adams (Laser) close behind.  Lev had a spectacular capsize at the upstream mark on the second lap, was swept under the bridge and spent some time bailing on the foreshore before re-joining the race.  Rob passed the line in second place on the second lap and continued close to Una-Jane’s transom to the end of the race. At this stage Ian (Vibe) was in third place but with a flock of SBSC boats in hot pursuit.  On the third lap Henry Cook (SBSC, Laser) was in third place with Ian in 4th, and on the fourth and final lap Henry in 3rd place was followed by Jacob Grunig, flying Estonia’s Olympic colours (Laser), Allen Munro (Enterprise),  Nick Ives (Xenon), and then Ian.

Eleven of the 16 boats completed 4 laps with the remainder completing 3, and despite at least eleven capsizes (before the safety boat ran out of fingers), in very frisky conditions, no one sought help and retired.

After the Yardstick sums were done, the finishing order was Rob (SGSC) 1st, Una-Jane (RSC) 2nd by about 6 seconds on corrected time, and Ian (SGSC) 3rd.  The team trophy was award to SBSC: it’s awarded on the sum of the positions of, this year, the first five boats in each fleet.  Lowest score wins.

The after-race socialising, initially wading in ankle-deep water, centered around Stephen Newell’s excellent home brew and mounds of cake, soup, cheese and biscuits from many volunteers.  As usual, a good time was had by all.

Please note: The results below have been corrected to reflect the fact that Sarah Bennett did 4 laps, not 3.  Many apologies to her.

Race report 18 August 2019

Race Report Sunday 18th August 2019

OOD John Bull           Safety Boat  Dave Jones

A sunny, dry day with blustery WSW winds, F3 gusting F4 – 5.

Three boats prepared for the race. Lev sailing solo in White Angel (E), Ian in Backwash (V) and Tim Wellburn and crew in Ixon (E).

After a discussion regarding the blustery conditions and the need for keeping the boats within easy reach of the safety boat, a 3 buoy, “A” course was set. Starting at the Bell and Crown, down stream to the Grid and then over to the rowing buoy on the Kew Bank. David Jones ably supported by Tim Young and his canine companion laid the course. The Dog approved so Tim was Happy.

Conditions were gusty and proving testing as the boats made their way to the start line.

The start was delayed as Tim had some rigging problem. However, after a 13-minute delay, we started without Tim.

Lev and Ian raced speedily to the first buoy together and continued closely for the first lap in just over 6 minutes. For the next two laps the race pattern was repeated both Lev and Ian lapping in approx. 6 minutes. By now, Tim had sorted his problem and was quickly making his way around the course. His first lap being at 21.50.

Lap 6 saw Ian taking the lead over Lev and there was only two seconds between them at the Bell and Crown line. They continued to race closely with Tim rounding the course quicker each lap.

The gusting wind conditions made it very testing and all three boats experienced near capsizes much to the entertainment of the landlubbers at the Bell and Crown. However, all three boats mastered the conditions and continued with Lev and Ian completing 9 laps and Tim 6 laps.

Timings:  Lev 56.27 and Ian 58.32. Tim 62.38.


Race results 11 August 2019

Race Report 11 August 2019

It was a bright but blustery day and 4 boats, all sailing single-handed set out for a mid-morning B course.  The conditions were challenging  due to the ever-changing, unpredictable wind.  3 boats completed the race, each doing 4 laps but Tim had retired after his first lap and a stop on the riverbank to bail out.

Alex was first to complete the second lap. Lev then overtook him and finished the race first,  despite having to do a significant amount of bailing out while sailing along.   An equally tenacious Ian finished third and all the sailors showed their skills by avoiding any capsizing despite the fickle winds.

Mary Short

Race Report 28 April 2019

A windy morning, which saw just two dinghies, Ian’s Gull and Alex’s boat, in a face off.  Ian’s almost capsized off the ramp as a gust came up just as she was getting in the water.  They quickly tacked down to the start where the 6 minute warning was reduced to a 1 minute warning, with 10 second reminders and a countdown from 5.

Alex got off to a good start and maintained his lead around the top marker, which both boats turned in under 3 minutes.   Ian stayed on Alex’s tail and, with the bottom marker just 20 yds away, caught up just enough to set a collision course with Alex’s boat.

Alex had right of way, being on a starboard tack vs. Ian’s on port tack and overtaking.   But Alex blinked first, turning away to give Ian the lead. Alex laid chase, but as they completed lap two, Ian pulled away as they again neared the back marker.

By lap 4 Ian was a full course length away.  In lap 5 Alex began to catch up but foundered again at the back marker, leaving Ian with a convincing win.  A very frisky sail which both sailors enjoyed.

Sam Shemtob

Race Report 21 April 2019

Race Report 21 April 2019


A race characterised by fickle light and dying winds and an increasingly strong Spring tide.  Only two marks were set, aiming (unsuccessfully) to keep the competitors clear of Kew Bridge.  As the river was still quite low at 15:30, the start was delayed for 15 minutes awaiting more water.

James’s and David Berger’s (on loan from Rob Collingwood) Enterprises both achieved prompt starts, but an almost immediate lull stranded the other four boats, putting them a lap behind.  After 40 minutes James had completed 4 laps and David two, but it was clear that the elements were now against us, and the race was ended at that point.  In fact nobody else managed to complete more than one lap, and ultimately the rescue boat was fully occupied retrieving stranded boats from the environs of Kew Bridge.


Tim Wellburn

Race Report 14th April 2019


D Course, 4.40pm start.

Four boats started the D-course on this afternoon with North Easterly blustery wind, two Enterprises (Porpoise sailed by James, and Rob Collingwood’s Tiamat sailed by Josh and Caroline), a Vibe (Backwash, Ian Nethersell), and a Laser ( Phoebe, Rob Adams). In the first few minutes all were together, however by Chiswick Bridge Rob and James had broken away and the fleet began to stretch out. Conditions meant for much leaning out on the beat downstream and although the fleet was somewhat becalmed by Chiswick Pier, progress was only halted momentarily. The buoy was laid just downstream of the Corinthians starting line, with Rob coming round first, followed by James soon after.  Ian and Josh rounded without difficulty some time later and began their sail back upstream, which was uneventful and all four boats finished in the order that had emerged soon after the start.

The total time was quite fast for a D-course:  89 minutes for Rob, and 108 minutes for Josh and Caroline.  After the handicaps were taken into account Rob still won in all three series, with Ian sneaking into second place in the Handicap series ahead of James.

Next week, Easter Sunday, it’s an A-course at 15:30 with the added incentive of an Easter Egg prize.

Alex Pape

Race Results 7 April 2019


An overcast day of very light and fickle winds, demanding some tactical sailing from the three entrants, James, Henry & Mary and Jane.

We set a shortish two-mark course, allowing a fairly slow run downstream and a brisker beat back up, with the tide.

On the first lap, all three boats reached the downstream mark in close echelon formation, but thereafter, Jane’s Gull lacked the sail area to make the best of the light wind conditions. The water immediately after the upstream mark, in particular, seemed plagued by the doldrums.

On the first lap, Henry found the wind here whereas James, seeking it on the Surrey Bank, was disappointed for a while and the lead switched. However, Henry was less fortunate with the doldrums thereafter, allowing James to steal almost a lap on him by mid-race.

This pattern of lulls and relative spurts continued, dampened by intermittent light showers, until James crossed the line on his seventh lap 10 seconds short of the hour, Henry on his 6th a couple of minutes later, followed by Jane just a lap behind him a minute or so afterwards.

Tim Wellburn