Race Results 30 August 2020

It was a four-boat B-course, Nick Floyer having retired before the start, on a calm grey day with a light wind. James Armitage, with crew, led from the start and steadily increased his lead. At the first lap he was followed two minutes later by Alex Pape, then Ian Nethersell and Jane Watkins in close order. The order remained the same but the intervals extended so that at the end of four laps, and an hour of sailing, James was a good 10 minutes ahead of Alex with Ian 5 minutes behind him. Jane in her little Gull was finished after 62 minutes and three laps.

Mary Short kept order and the race sheet, and Chris Greenwood was on safety boat.

Race Report 23rd August 2020

OOD John Bull

A spring tide, dry, sunny late afternoon race with the wind blowing from the west at F2 with gusts of F4.

A “B” course was set with the downstream buoy shortened to enable more laps to be achieved. Five boats were prepared to tackle the gusty conditions. It was a pleasure to see our new member Nick Jeffery in his delightful boat “EEYORE”, a Fairy Duckling, sailing with traditional Tan sails. A brave first sail appreciated by all on the water and the towpath.

After Tim and Chris making last minute adjustments to their rigging on the start line a good start was made by all boats.

James with Ayanda quickly showed the way along the rowing club bank and pulled away rounding the downstream and returning to Strand.

James completing the first lap in 14:37 minutes. Chris and Mary and Alex were neck and neck at 22:23 and 22:40 for the first lap. Tim and Emma were close behind in 25:36 and Nick finishing the 1st lap in 31:54 minutes.

The race order remained the same for the following laps with James unchallenged. Chris and Alex swopping places with little between them and Tim and Nick bring up the rear.

James completed 4 laps in 54:22 minutes.

Chris and Alex 4 laps in 65:13 and 65:46, respectively. Chris just pulling clear of Alex on the last lap. A close race between these two throughout the race.

Tim completed 3 laps in 61:02 and Nick 2 laps in 55:10.

A very testing and watchable race. A spring tide with gusty conditions with all the boats handling the conditions brilliantly and throughout, carefully monitored by Dave and Tim in the safety boat.

Next week is an A-course starting at 12:00 noon.


Race Report 16th August 2020

The C-course race took place in warm sunshine and a light variable wind, starting at 11:45.

With all sailors and supporting members ready early and a weak tide the fleet assembled on the far side of Kew Bridge without undue excitement. Holding on until the three minute warning, to avoid the risk a premature departure to the London Apprentice, we set off together with the wind behind us.  All, that is, except Nick who had drifted over the line and had to work back to re-cross.

Family crewed Enterprises Lev and Inna and Tim and his daughter Emma, Chris and Mary in a Leader, Lightning Nick and Ian with his spinnaker jostled for position until the wind ran out just after Brentford Marina and eventually re-established itself in the opposite direction. Despite his false start Nick reached the buoy at the London Apprentice with a long lead only to find, when he turned the mark, the tide still flooding strongly, so he stopped while everyone else caught up.

Everyone else then reached the buoy opposite the pub and started off again with a following wind; Nick in the lead followed by Chris and Mary. The Middlesex side of the river offered the best wind on the way home and the tide turned for the leaders when they were almost at Brentford Ait.

It was a long race – an hour and three quarters for Nick, followed 5 minutes later by Chris and Mary, 9 minutes later by Lev with Ian close behind, and 6 minutes later by Tim.  Which was also the finishing order after the sums were done.

Thanks to David Jones for standing in for Tim Young on the safety boat and Jane as OOD who went the extra mile to retrieve the Blue Peter flag from the river at the end of the race.

Next week it is a 17:10 B-course.

CG with additions from NF and HB

Race Report 9th August 2020 and Ladies Plate race

On a hot sunny afternoon the Met Office said the wind would be light and from the east.  It was certainly light at times, and Steve Newell set a short A-course from the Zoffany House start line with a sometimes consistent wind coming up-stream from east south east.  Chris Jones set the top mark just above the Bell and Crown and the bottom mark was at the downstream end of the slip-dock, where a barge was somewhat inconveniently moored for the duration of the race.

There was another good turnout of 9 boats which made for a congested start from the short start line.  The well-positioned ones headed off downstream hugging the Strand bank and a leading trio of James Armitage (solo in Enterprise), Joseph Armitage ( a stranger in his Laser, determined to beat his dad), and lev Kolobov (also solo in his Enterprise) made it to the mark with little difficulty.  The big dilemma was whether to tack within the slip-dock, with the added hazard of the barge, or to beat against the stronger tidal flow midstream.  Those three made it around and were practically back at the top mark before the Browns (Enterprise), Ian Nethersell (Vibe) and John Bull (laser) worked out the best way around the bottom mark in the contrary wind and tide. 

Joseph completed his first lap in less than 9 minutes followed by Lev and then James, after which James gained, maintained, and added to his lead.  John Bull was fourth at the first lap and held his position to the end with the Browns in close pursuit.  James and Joseph proceeded to lap everyone at least once, and all but Lev twice.  They did 7 laps with James 11 minutes ahead of his son at the end.  Lev did 6 laps and John, the Browns and Ian did 5. 

While all this was going on a much more notable event was taking place: the SGSC Ladies Plate.  In the absence of the Summer Party it had been decided to sail the Ladies Plate concurrently with a suitable A-course points race, and this was the one.  It was strenuously contested by Jane Watkins (ever growing in confidence in her Gull) and former winner Mary Short (in Chris Greenwood’s Leader).  As luck would have it, Jane had a bad day.  She tangled with the bank and got caught by a series of doldrums which drifted her towards Kew Bridge – the stuff of Strand nightmares – to be rescued by Chris Jones and towed home.  Which left Mary in control of the field.  She completed 3 laps of challenging conditions in considerable style and wins the coveted prize.

Many thanks to Stephen for keeping a clear record of the fleets’ many line crossings – no easy feat.  And to Chris Jones for keeping an eye on everyone from the water.  And to Andy Ross for helping the many weary mariners, and the safety boat, ashore at the end.

Next Sunday is a C-course starting at11:45, and there may be a picnic sail on Wednesday 12th August, starting around 1850 to clear Kew Bridge well before high water.  If it happens you will be contacted by email soon.

Race Report 2nd August 2020

It was perfect weather for a race: sunny on the whole and a F3 westerly wind, which couldn’t help but be gusty in the strange conditions of Strand.  And perhaps because of the COVID restrictions we had a good turnout of 8 boats on a long A-course – top mark opposite the Steam Packet (yes, it’s a pub again!), bottom mark opposite the City Barge.

As usual James Armitage showed the way around the course (solo in his Ent) and established a lead before the bottom mark by keeping well into the lesser tidal flow by the Strand bank.  It was a run with minor variations all the way down.  James was goose-winged with his jib-stick most of the time.  The return leg was a beat to windward and although several boats tried a long tack across to the Surrey bank, shorter tacks between the PLA moorings and Strand proved the best route.  The gusty wind meant that the fleet made steady progress against the tide most of the time on the downstream legs with some exhilarating beating on the upstream bits.

The Browns (Enterprise) followed James at increasing distances throughout the race – a minute at the first lap increasing to 11 minutes by the 9th  after a doldrum-patch just below the slip-dock on the last lap.   Alex Pape (Lugger) was in third place for most of the time followed by Nick Floyer (Lightning) who capsized in a gust at the end of his fifth lap and had to retire (towed home by David Jones).  His place was taken by Tim Wellburn (Enterprise, crewed by Wellburn jnr.),  Ian Nethersell (Vibe) and Tim Young (Gull) who completed seven laps, and Jane Watkins (Gull) who did six laps.

After the handicap sums the Handicap points were won by Tim Young, followed by the Browns and then Jane; the Big Boats points were won by James, then the Browns, then Tim Wellburn; in the Little Boats the winner was Tim followed by Alex and then Jane; and in the Polly Prize James was the winner followed by Tim Young and then the Browns.

Mary Short kept an immaculate record of the race, aided by Chris Greenwood.  Eight boats doing up to 9 laps each takes some keeping up with.  Thanks also to David Jones for shepherding the fleet on the water.  Apres-race at the arch was masked like the Venice Carnevale but with less extravagant costumes.

Next Sunday’s race is an A-course at 1730, following a working party in the morning.

Race results 26 July 2020

Race Report 26 July 2020

Sunday’s race was scheduled as a D-course, down to Hammersmith and back, but under the COVID-19 circumstances we had decided to race a series of low-water laps between Chiswick Bridge and the railway bridge.  This enables the safety boat to keep everyone in sight. 

Four boats took to the water with a warm and gusty north-west wind and headed downstream to a buoy set by David Jones opposite the late Tony Smith’s house.  It was soon clear that the gusty wind was going to cause problems but Ian Nethersell (Vibe) managed the first lap in 22 minutes, followed by Chris and Mary (Leader) and Jane (Gull) in about 26 minutes.  Nick was having less luck and was lapped by Ian before he made his first lap.  He then got caught by a gust and capsized just below the pier and accepted a tow back.

Ian completed his second lap after 34 minutes, 5 minutes ahead of the Leader and 8 minutes ahead of Jane.  That was almost it for Jane who struggled with the fickle wind and a flooding tide to make the bottom mark.  After a creditable struggle she called it a day and retired.

Ian meanwhile completed a third lap after 48 minutes of sailing and set off on a fourth lap.  Chris and Mary followed about 8 minutes later, almost an hour from the start, and Andy Ross (OOD) signalled the end of the race. 

Next week is an A-course at 14:10.

Race Results 19 July 2020

Race Report 19 July 2020

Sunday was a sunny day with a light breeze from NNE.  From the immaculate results sheet prepared by Inna Kolobov the race worked out something like this.  Seven boats took to the water but Tim Young retired before the start.  The remaining six fell into a leading group of Alex Pape (Lugger), Lev Kolobov (solo in his Enterprise) and Ian Nethersell (Vibe), who led from the first lap, swapping first place between them until on their fifth and final lap Alex crossed the line a mere 2 seconds ahead of Lev, with Ian under 6 minutes behind.  Chris and Mary (Leader) followed Lev, having been lapped once, and both Sam Shemtob (Wayfarer) and Jane Watkins (Gull) were a lap behind on 3 laps.

After the sums were done Alex was first in three of the Series (Handicap, Little Boats and Polly); Lev was first in the Big Boats and second in the Handicap and Polly; and Ian was second in the Little Boats and third in the Handicap and Polly.

Thanks again to Inna for keeping a clean score sheet, and to David Jones for doing safety boat duty and allowing Lev to sail.

There’s nothing on the calendar for next week but it could be an A/B-course at 1810 or a downstream D/B-course at 1445 (or later).  We’ll let you know as soon as possible.


Race Report 12th July 2020

Race Report 12th July 2020

Seven boats competed on a 2-buoy A course, the light breezes being deemed inadequate for the scheduled B course.

Ian, James and Alex all managed the first lap in just over 10 minutes, the rest of the field being slightly detained in the vicinity of the downstream mark.  

Ian and James each achieved a total of four laps, the latter taking Ian’s lead on the second; Alex and Chris managed three laps.  The other two boats retired in the face of too little wind or/or sail area.

The award for perseverance went to Chris who, surprising the race officers, determined to finish his third lap and, despite an almost complete lack of wind, managed to do so, setting the day’s endurance record.

The Gentleman of the Day award went to Ian for graciously letting Alex go ahead of him to cross the finishing line, only to have the wind fail a boat-length’s short of it, a piece of gallantry that cost him a further 6 minutes’ sailing.

Tim Wellburn

Race Results 21 June 2020

  Race Report Sunday 21″ June 2020

Seven sailors arrived, eager to rig their dinghies on this breezy Sunday afternoon. After launching three more sailors joined, Chris & Mary, Distant Thunder and Sam SY2.

A long “A” course was set with the buoys being laid up stream of the Bell and Crown and just off the City Barge by Chris Jones in the safety boat.

The scheduled Start of 14.15 was delayed for Chris & Mary and Sam to get to the start line. Chris & Mary managed to make the start line but Sam joined after the start on lap 2.

With the wind gusting 3-4 in a general WSW direction, a good start was made by all with the fleet bunching at the first buoy. James with his crew Ayanda rounded first, followed by Rob and Lev. Not far behind the others all rounded the buoy successfully.

The second lap showed the same leadership pattern, with the gusting wind causing a great deal of uncontrolled listing and Lev in his Enterprise capsized off Oliver’s Island. Lev being Lev quickly righting and continuing to sail plus bailing with his trusty bailer.

Tim had the misfortune to be swept onto the buoy at the Bell and Crown.

The leading dinghies were now lapping at about 10 minutes per lap and generally keeping to the Strand side of the trot. However, others tried crossing over to the Kew side of the trot to have a fast reach to the Bell and Crown buoy. On some laps this appeared to gain ground on the leading dinghies.

The race continued with James and Rob lapping at about 8 minutes and eventually finishing 7 LAPS. Lev, Alex and Ian finishing within 28 seconds of each other at 6 LAPS and Henry & Mary and Chris & Mary 4 minutes behind, also on 6 LAPS.

Tim and Sam completed 5 LAPS.

Many thanks to Chris for manning the safety boat single handed, not easy. This was a testing race, with strong gusts of variable wind typically “STRAND”.


Race Report 14 June 2020

Race Report 14th June 2020

Sunday was a sunny day with a good F3 wind coming straight up the river from Chiswick Bridge, against the river flow.  A high-water race being out of the question a D-course had been programmed (downstream to Hammersmith and back), , but Rob Adams, who was in charge of the safety boat, wisely decided that we should sail as many laps as possible of our B-course, between the Railway Bridge and Chiswick Bridge, so that he could keep all the fleet in sight.  The Covid-19 constraints were a consideration.   The downstream mark was set well down towards Chiswick Bridge opposite Putney Rowing Club and the upstream mark was just below the Railway Bridge.

Most of the fleet set off on time with the Browns a few minutes late (lack of concentration) and Nick Floyer (Lightning) even later with rigging problems.  The beat down to Chiswick Bridge favoured the Enterprises and James and Lev (both solo in their Ents) established a lead which they maintained throughout.  Chris and Mary (Leader), Ian (Vibe) and Alex (lugger) formed a following pack at the bottom mark by which time the Browns (Ent) had worked their way up through the fleet.  They kept in close company on the way back up river where Alex’s lugger showed its paces on the run and Ian tried to intimidate the rest by flying a spinnaker.  He had already tried more direct intimidation over a sculler – or perhaps it was the other way round.  There was a seeming multitude of scullers and paddle-boarders enjoying the river and adding to the excitement of tacking.

At the end of the first lap James was about 3 minutes ahead of Lev with the two crewed Ents, Alex and Ian within a minute of each other and two minutes behind Lev.  Jane in her Gull was another two minutes behind with Tim (Gull) to the rear.  Nick had already retired by this stage and Tim was shortly to follow.

The second and final lap was much the same.  James increased his lead over Lev to 7 minutes who maintained his 2 minute lead over the rest, although he was almost caught around the bottom mark.  The Browns were a whisker ahead of Chris and Mary (Leader) at the end, Alex and Ian followed 2 minutes later with Jane bringing up the rear.

When the handicap sums were done Jane was shown to have triumphed in the Handicap Series and the Little Boats cup.  Well done to her.  And James was first in the Big Boats and the Polly Prize.

The race was the fun part with excellent sailing throughout: close tacking battles, nail-biting stuff on the runs, wearing times for the centre-board. The hard work then took over with the recovery of 9 dinghies and the safety boat up the slimy foreshore, up the ramp and into the yard.  Without, in these plague-ridden times, the consolation of tea and buns.

Many thanks to Heather Adams for officiating over the race and to Rob for ensuring our safety.

Next week’s race is and A-course at 15:10. Let’s hope for similar conditions.