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

Race results, 31 March 2019

The 31 March race was switched from a scheduled B course to an A after brief assessment of wind, and word of an impending river closure downstream of the railway bridge after noon.

Four sailors turned out on a somewhat grey and occasionally blustery morning. Dave B, sailing Big Polly single-handed, rounded the downstream mark just outside the grid first and maintained the lead throughout the race.  Rob C sailing Tiamat single-handed and Rob A sailing Phoebe followed round the mark soon after, however a gust pushed Tiamat over moments after. It proved impossible to right her, Rob C opted to retire and was attended to by Lev and crew and in the safety boat. Ian N in the Vibe had a slow first lap but then settled into a rhythm and was frequently seen leaning out far near the Surrey bank, making the most of the NE breeze. Rob A’s Laser appeared to have ever declining freeboard and was stopped in the shallow water at Middlesex bank on several occasions to drain water from the hull, before resuming the race and finishing 3rd after 4 laps. Ian was 2nd on the water, also with 4 laps. Dave’s mast came dangerously close to horizontal at the upstream mark on his 5th lap but after that, victory was never in doubt, and the whistle went after 6 laps completed around the hour mark. Many thanks to Lev, and Dave (x2) in the safety boat and Chris and James off the water.


Next week it’s another A-course at 15:30

Race Results 24th March 2019

It was a beautiful sunny spring day but as we stood on the hard the wind began to build from the NW.

Four boats rigged but as the wind increased John Bull made what proved to be a wise decision not to go afloat in his laser.

The remaining three, two enterprises and one gull, were all fully crewed with SGSC newcomers: welcome to Josh Mellor (crewing for Rob Collingwood for the second time), Caroline Watt (with Lev Kolobov) and Glenda (with Tim Young).

There was a subtle rig difference between the enterprises: Lev with a full rig and Rob sporting a firefly mainsail.

All started on the Bell and Crown line with the customary running start and Heather firmly in control thanks to young David Kolobov lending her a watch. My apologies to Paul Williamson who had canvassed me to set a beating start during the week which I failed to do. May be next time.   The three boats set off on a long A, single “sausage” course running down to a buoy off the City Barge.  A good run it was too, the first lap completed in 18 minutes. Lev was in the lead to the upstream end of the island when he was caught out by a gust and elegantly pirouetted, including a controlled gybe, letting Rob through to a lead he was to hold, more or less, to the end. But a great race between the two enterprises. The canny reduced sail of RC just out witting Lev with speed on the run but less control on the beat back.

All seemed comfortable with sailors and rescue boat. The rescue boat was full of spectators including my grandson, Billy, Louis from Corsica, Lev’s son David, and David Jones as assistant rescue.

But drama was to unfold with Tim charging for the upstream buoy in a stronger gust.  He dipped his bow and created an instability that resulted in capsize. The new Kurt Berger was on hand to rescue. Tricky rescue too. The first part, to haul Tim’s crew aboard Kurt Berger, was easy.  Did she say “I haven’t been manhandled by men like this for a long time”?   But on the second attempt the Gull was towed to the shore, righted, and then with expert seamanship from Tim, with mast lowered, she was towed back down stream through the bridge and back home. What Tim had not realised at the time was that he had lost his shorts including some weighty keys during the swimming (essential dignity and warmth was preserved by leggings).   SGSC residents please look out for them at low tide.

Rescue over we were to see the two enterprises level at the final mark only for RC to pull away in a personal wind to the line for the line honours.

Thank you for all my assistants.  Next time we have a Corsican on board I need to look up the Corsican word for “painter”!   The Kurt Berger did its job well and safely.

Rob Adams

Race results, 17th March 2019

Race Report Sunday 17th March 2019

OOD John Bull           Safety Boat Ian Nethersell

Second race of the 2019 season and the first points race. A cold but dry day with a westerly F2 wind, gusting F4. A scheduled C course was changed to an A course to suit the wind direction and the lack of time to pass under Kew Bridge. The time of HWKB was checked, approx. 11am and it was agreed that a start of 10am would be fine. Three boats prepared for the race – Robert with Josh (new member) in Tiamat (E), Lev sailing solo in White Angel (E) and Tim in Axolotl (G).The course was set – 3 buoys, Bell and Crown pub, City Barge pub and the Kew Bank rowing buoy, with Ian in the safety boat with the assistance of Henry Brown and David Jones. The race started at 10.06. Tiamat and Axolotl raced away with Lev struggling to find the wind to cross the start line. Sailing was close between Tiamat and Axolotl rounding the first buoy together. Axolotl choosing to take the Kew Bank behind Oliver’s Island with Tiamat tacking upstream on the Strand. In the meantime, Lev in White Angle had capsized. However, Lev quickly righted his Enterprise, bailed out and continued on to round the first buoy.

Tiamat was moving further ahead of Axolotl, although Axolotl’s move behind the Island did not lose too much ground. Tiamat rounded the next two buoys and raced across the line at 14.16, Axolotl followed at 18.50.

Race conditions were becoming difficult with strong gusts of wind and strangely the tide was turning early, only 18 minutes into the race. Lev in White Angel capsized again and again he quickly recovered but decided to retire. Tiamat and Axolotl continued to fight the gusts and now the strengthening ebbing tide, and because of the change in the tide it was decided to conclude the race at two laps. Tiamat managed to complete the second lap at 29.15. Axolotl continued against the tide, but behind the trot moorings, trying to reach the Kew Buoy, had the added difficulty of avoiding numerous rowers. In particular a fast moving eight, scary. He eventually retired at 58mins. But a great effort.

An eventful race day, finished in the arch with the Commodore’PPs Rum and blackcurrant and good humour.

John Bull

First Race 2019, 10th March 2019

First Race of the season, 10th March 2019 , race report

The first event of the day was a ceremonial naming and anointing of our new safety boat, the ‘Kurt Berger’.  The old Dory had been swapped for the new, bright yellow, Whaly 435 the previous Sunday and she lay under the bridge swathed in black polythene throughout the week.  Today around a dozen sailors and friends wheeled it onto the top of the ramp where Margaret Berger did the naming honours in appropriate style with a thimble or two of champagne.  She (the boat) had been immaculately inscribed with her new name by David Jones.

Despite the number of sailors on hand there were, at first, no volunteers for the First Race.  A cold F4 gusting F5 or 6 was blasting straight down the river against an incoming tide, and those present soon decided to launch and test the ‘Kurt Berger’, and nothing else.  That was before Rob Adams heaved into sight in a dry suit and with an appetite for a challenge.  So as the ‘KB’ was put through her paces with a crew of four including Margaret, Rob’s laser skated across the choppy water in an abundance of spray in an exhilarating display of seamanship.  The safety boat served only as the platform for an admiring audience: rescue was not required.

After 40 minutes or so both boats retired to the ramp where the ‘KB’ was man-handled up by a team of 6 or 8 into the yard.  She is significantly lighter than the Dory.  Rob Adams was, of course, awarded the First Race honours – it wasn’t his fault that no-one else joined in – and the assembly warmed up with tea, Margaret’s drizzle cake and Mary Brown’s flapjack.

Next week it’s an early start (10:05) for an Isleworth race.