SGSC Race Results – Sunday 16th July 2017
SGSC Race Results – Sunday 9 July 2017
Race Report by Ian Nethersell OOD
A warm and sunny day greeted 5 entrants for what initially promised to be a good B course with a South Westerly blowing on the nose at a good force 2-3.
As is often the way with our fickle race ground once the start whistle blew the wind decided to do some sun bathing and early promise turned to teasing as the wind became a breeze which sniggered at the frustrations of our crews.
Tim Young in Axolotl made an excellent start even challenging James to the protruding jetty which became for some the impassable object of frustration, but first past was James with Terry paying an impromptu but welcome visit from the West Country as his crew. Next was John Bull in his laser who managed to chase down Tim Y before all 3 made it beyond the Jetty.
Alex in Phoenix struggled to make way against the flood tide, not helped by a broken tiller extension just prior to the start whistle, whilst endeavouring to give valuable instruction and experience to his novice crew, Catherine, who is also hoping to challenge for the Ladies Plate in August, (could it be we have a race after so long? Let’s hope so and we wish her luck and fun in her sailing adventures at Strand)
Tim Wellburn & his crew Simon Young in his still un-named enterprise swapped places with Alex & Catherine as they made way on a close reach only to perform perfect dosey-does which saw them drift backwards on the tide as they tacked and moved out in the stream. Never the shrinking violet or wanting to miss a party, Tim Young managed to find himself too far out and drifted back to join the dancers and then continued under the railway bridge. Under slightly different conditions from last time Tim managed to land against the Middlesex bank just below the pub to retire himself from the race.
Alex and the remaining Tim continued their flirtation with the jetty only to have their advances rebuffed as James with goose winged sails rounded the upstream mark and took the eddy along bank before ferry gliding out to pass the jetty for a second time. 10 minutes later John pulled the same move, without the goosewinging to attack his second lap which proved to be a tour-de-force and a study in patience and stoicism. This stoicism and strength of character was shared by the lower placed crews who never gave up efforts although without the much deserved luck.
The race was finished as James crossed the start/finish line after 2 laps in 49:04 and John Bull finishing his second after 1:18:18.
Alex and Catherine eventually conceded as the tide turned and even though receiving some personal instruction from James, now solo in Porpoise, Tim gave in too after not managing to pass the jetty again.
All in all a beautiful but frustrating day which did see the wind filling in at times but in hindsight may have been better as a short A but one can only make a decision in the moment and ever in the moment was the watchful safety boat crew of Michael and Dave who cleared the course before collecting Axolotl and retiring to the arch for tea and jaffa cakes.
SGSC Race Results – Sunday 25 June 2017
Andy Ross [OOD] Race Report: 15.00 Sunday 23 July 2017: War Stories
When King Henry VII decided that the air quality of London was so foul [as today] and that royal country residences outside the capital were preferable, the need for upgrading palaces locally was met in Kew, West Sheen [Richmond], and at Hampton Court and Windsor – so establishing a conceit of royalty visiting the countryside as a classical “Arcadia” – the wilderness home of Pan the god of the forest and nature – in a landscape of grand riverside houses and gardens that both dignified and added a political and social importance to the river and its banks and gave the whole of the rural Thames valley a greater significance than just the mundane trading usage of the Thames.
The aristocracy quickly followed suite and Chiswick House and Grounds was created beside the river featuring a lake and a clean water cascade derived from Spring Grove, [so Greek!] with wilderness areas and woodland glades and with agricultural fields for food and ornamental gardens for recreation and kitchen gardens for cuisine, perfecting the idealized “sub-urbes” suburban style of the English Garden landscape, designed to interconnect the city with the countryside – and thereby setting a pattern for a domestic suburban house and garden that was then copied throughout Chiswick, and worldwide.
Without a river frontage of its own, Gunnersbury House and Park exploited a penthouse approach based on the hill line above Chiswick, thereby both seeing – and being seen – with wide horizon views out to Windsor and across to the Surrey Hills – ironically now increasingly obscured with the giant tower blocks of the Golden Mile, and their penthouses. Now, only Richmond Hill and Park with its sightlines to Windsor one way and to the City of London the other still exists as having legally-protected long views of London and Thames valley. As the suburbs spread and the open agricultural land was in-filled with houses, and less and less of the river and its landscape could be seen, or even accessed, so the demand evolved for clubs for rowing and boating and sailing, essentially for recreation and pleasure; the sports of the King brought to the people.
To try to conserve the original idea of the landscape scale and sense of place of west London, and the social significance of the river, the Thames Landscape Strategy [TLS] was developed by two landscape architects in 1994 with a 100-year plan to define and emphasise the value to society of the entire Thames river system. To photograph some current day aspects of a peaceful river scene for the TLS a former war-photographer, Paul Stewart and his wife Vivien, asked SGSC if they could watch a typical sailing race and record it for history and so, with David Jones as their driver, Tim offered them places on the Safety Boat.
A warm and gusty Westerly wind was quite inviting. James in his Enterprise [with Lev’s son David onboard] was joined by Lev and Tim [both in Gulls]. A long triangular ‘A’ course was set by Andy Ross [OOD] using the red rowing buoy and a brisk start ensured a first round lap of 10 minutes by James and 13 and 14 by Lev and Tim. Our photographic guests were relaxing in comfort, clicking away at their leisure.
It was then that the first in-coming wind bomb exploded. Having spotted the famous war photographer, and seizing the opportunity to strike with shock and awe, and fame in history, the wind went on the war path. SGSC was in its sights.
Sudden gusts turned a gentle leisurely pleasure into white-knuckled panic. A dancing set of quicksteps upstream on the windward tack – then crossing after the trots to the rowing buoy [becalmed for moments in the Surrey bank doldrums while slithering dangerously quickly on the tide up to the buoy] was followed by a rapid acceleration on a long reach to the upstream buoy; rounding it in a flash and rollicking and rolling downwind to the line. The second lap time of 7 minutes then shortened to 6 on the third. The intelligence from the eye-spies on the weather was that enemy big battalions were now maneuvering – and seriously threatening that it wasn’t going to end well.
As machine-gun bullets of wind began strafing long lines across the river, ripping off the tops of the incoming flood water, Lev was the first to fall victim of a sniper; capsizing at the downstream buoy on his third lap. Amazingly, he recovered, uninjured, climbed back in, baled out – and resumed racing! By then everyone was desperately spilling relentlessly rolling barrages of incoming mortar shell bursts of wind out of their sails to try and stay relatively upright. It was asymmetric guerilla warfare. Dramatic rocking around the river indicated a scattering and fleeing fleet. Suddenly enforced deviations off-track paradoxically meant that as the wind speed increased, so also did the lap times.
Though as secure and confident as a cavalry warhorse, charging at the enemy in full pomp and splendor, plumes waving aloft and galloping along the parapets, his finely-polished hull glinting in the spray, it was a long distance Big Bertha of a wind bomb that finally did for Tim in Axolotl, catching him at the top mark just as he was about to gybe. The wind had seen his intention far ahead and the big gun had roared – aimed directly for him. Irresistibly, and caught on a time-lapse, slow motion camera, he toppled over. It was a Frank Cappa photography moment.
As James rounded the same upstream buoy he performed not a balletic pirouette of a gybe but more of a double granny knot of turns of twisting sheets and flailing sails entailing desperate leaning-out – while young David was nonchalantly totally unperturbed in the belly of the boat, waving happily back at spectators; who were aghast at the peril he was apparently in.
As James crossed the line on his sixth lap he begged for the race to be finished early; without even a last lap flag. Acting like the Red Cross coming to the rescue, flying a white flag, the OOD did so. And rather than send Lev round another lap, as he was just 40 seconds behind James, but still two laps behind him, the OOD finished him too for Pity’s sake and to end hostilities.
Meanwhile, by then swept far upstream on the strong flood tide, Tim had managed to right his boat – but only to find himself confronted by the lowest arch of Kew Bridge. He had no option but to capsize again to avoid crashing his mast into it. By then the safety boat was beside him – but found it utterly impossible to stem the tide. Axolotl went under the bridge, dragging its mast on the riverbed – until ramming into and jamming the upturned hull underneath the steel pontoon. Tim, unable to hold onto the slippery hull was swept under the pontoon, fortunately uninjured, and eventually managed to scramble out and get ashore some five houseboats further down.
Having returned the guest photographers to the Club and with Andy and Lev now onboard the safety boat with David, they hurried back to rescue Tim. With the still-rising tide Axolotl was jammed hard under the pontoon, risking cracking its hull; until eventually the tide began to slacken and inch-by-inch the mast eased up – and the boat was maneuvered to the bankside beside the bridge walkway.
Baling commenced and Tim soon confidently announced: “Right, we’re OK now!” And he took a step forward. But he had no idea the vertical edge of the concrete bank was so close. Being quite unable [contrary to pre-conceptions] that he could walk on water, with a mighty explosion he plunged in like a depth charge – totally drenching Andy standing on the bow of the safety boat.
Spluttering to the surface and bobbing amidst a multitude of plastic bottles that were assembling in a small convoy, waiting to join the 10,000 tonnes of plastic the river Thames sends every year on a journey to eternity in the Pacific Ocean, and rather than go with them, he hauled himself ashore again. His previously immaculate salmon-pink trousers were now crimson-red and baggy-wrinkled with embarrassment, which drew applause and much laughter from spectators on the bridge above who took photo-journalistic pictures – possibly wondering if they had spotted a famous local celebrity in trouble with a wardrobe malfunction, and whether they had got the i-phone aspect-ratio right to sell a war-photo scoop.
Axolotl, having been de-masted and turned round alongside the safety boat, was towed under Kew Bridge and rather than collect Tim from the Indian Queen [Pocahontas] Slipway he re-embarked from Pier House Garden close by the Steam Packet [Café Rouge] Steps. On-board, the losses were assessed. The SGSC boathook pole had been snapped in two in attempting to stave off the collision with the pontoon.. “But at least I’ve still got my own favourite little boathook”, said Tim – as he dropped it into the river, – and just managed to catch it. But he’d lost a paddle, a bucket, a burgee, a rope – and, most upsetting, his SGSC sweater – and a certain amount of dignity.
In the arch, journalistic stories from exotic Foreign Fronts in Bosnia, Rwanda, Vietnam and the Middle East could in future be accompanied by a Home Front story of the day that a royal Arcadian gentle leisure river trip turned into a violent waterborne battle that pitted boatmen [and a shipsboy] against the elements; turning the tranquil Thames into a stormy and splattered battleground.
Frank Brazell with his crew Brian Ganly were also on the water for the first time, but very wisely decided to venture no further out than the side of Oliver’s Island and so lived to sail unperturbed another day.
The day ended with everyone thankfully safe and well and [relatively] happy; and were well comforted in the best of English traditions with big slices of home-made blackberry and apple crumble cake, washed down with a huge pot of China and Darjeeling Fairtrade Loose Leaf Fine Tea. It was probably just as King Henry VII himself would have wanted after enjoying the exceptionally bracing fresh air of a day out beside, and on – and actually in – the river Thames “Arcadia”.
Note by the Deputy Master of the Sums: The new scoring system was applied to this race, so that “Porpoise” gained just one point towards the Big Boats class cup, being the only boat to start, and “Pacman” just two points, being the winner out of the two Little Boats to start. – Nick
SGSC Race on Sunday 28th May Abandoned
In case you were wondering …
Andy and Tim W and their respective crews (Enterprises) and Lev (Gull) started on an A Course, but the race was abandoned after 44 minutes, no boat having completed a lap. Thanks to OOD Tim Y and the safety boat crew.
On a fine sunny day and perfect weather for the idyllic Isleworth course a fleet of 8 boats gathered. We welcomed Tim Wellburn for his first sail at SGSC in an Enterprise crewed by his brother. Kew bridge was navigated perfectly and safely by the whole fleet under the shepherding of Tim in the safety boat. The fleet set off into a light breeze and there were shouts of Starboard on a congested line. Alex timed his run to the line perfectly and took a 50 yard lead. Slowly the Enterprises and Laser reeled him in on the beat but there was great anticipation from the bank that the long run home would favour the 14ft flyer. It was not to be although close with Robert and Lucy taking the bullet with John in the Laser close behind but the consistently sailed Gull in the capable hands of Lev was not far behind.
Rob Adams OOD
Strand on the Green Sailing Club – Race Results – 23rd April 2017
Course: C; Race number: 5; OD:Heather Adams; Safety Boat: Rob Adams with Alex Pape, David Jones
Boats that sailed in the race are marked in bold type.
Rob’s account of events (slightly modified from the original facebook version)
It was an eventful C course and a beautiful day for pottering on the Thames. Henry’s unmanned Enterprise capsized whilst moored to the goose-guano encrusted pontoon upstream of Kew Bridge, while Henry was helping Nick to sail off. It was rescued by the combined efforts of Rob, Alex and Dave – the safety boat team. Then a very competitive race ensued with Lev, Ian, John, Henry and Tim all in strong positions at some stage. But it was Nick who crossed the line first, waved over the line by 9 month old Hugo with the yellow flag in hand, Heather supervising.
When nearly all the boats were safely back under the bridge, there was an emergency: a man had jumped into the river off the wall by the old Pier House Laundry building and was in danger of drowning. Henry, on seeing the commotion, manoeuvred his Enterprise alongside the bank under sail to where the man was floundering. He reinvigorated the man’s natural instinct to survive by offering a handy jib sheet which he grabbed with such vigour that the Enterprise nearly capsized again, and would have done so without help of good Samaritans on the wall, who seized a shroud. Luckily the rescue boat heard the hail and sped over to help. David and Alex hauled the man on board and landed him safely into the hands of the police at the Kew Bridge slip, who then took over.
The race, as outlined above, was a beat up the river into a gentle SW breeze of F2 and sometimes F3. John Bull and Ian Nethersell established a healthy lead upstream in the tacking battle leaving the Gulls and the Lightning behind. Henry, unusually solo in Big Polly due to a 4th birthday party elsewhere, started about five minutes late after Rob and Alex had kindly scooped most of the water out of the hull, but he gradually worked his way up the fleet to be third around the buoy at Isleworth. The mostly downwind downstream leg presented the familiar dilemma of which bank to run down in the continuing flood tide, and when to cross the river to find better conditions. Nick read the conditions right or, as he would insist, capitalised on the downwind performance of the Lightning: from being last at Isleworth he was first back at Kew Bridge. But after the handicap sums Lev and Tim in the gulls took the honours.
The expert safety boat team got most of the fleet safely under the bridge – Tim demonstrating the virtues of his tabernacle to pass through unassisted. Many thanks to Heather and Hugo for supervising the race from the Kew bank.
Strand on the Green Sailing Club – Race Results – 16th April 2017 Easter Egg Race
Course: A; Race number: 4; OD: Tim Young; Safety Boat: Andy Ross, Alex Pape.
By Andy Ross
James wrapping his arms around the furled jib prevented his boat bucking off its trolley in the stiff grey NW gusts that bowled down the river, and with an optimistically sun-creamed nose turned to the sky calmly contemplated single-handedly venturing forth. Joseph’s Laser wagged its boom with mad enthusiasm to be off. But no others did, or even showed up.
Easter Day had promised April showers to the roots; and, as the duty OOD had also taken shelter elsewhere, Tim boldly stood up against the elements and declared a long triangular A course was preferable to a B – and so Andy and Alex laid the buoys on a milk chocolate brown river with cold silver foil rippling horizontally across its surface. The obvious intention was not to please but see which survived; the boats or the breeze.
Immediately it was neck and neck. After 7 minutes James strode into a 12 second lead but 7 minutes later it was Joseph 4 seconds ahead, a lead he repeated on the second lap. But on the third James tacked into the windy but tide-free Strand bank and returned – so to pip Joseph at the grid buoy, and screamed off upwind to sneak a 3 second lead.
Meanwhile a commotion on the Surrey bank caught the attention of the safety boat. A dog was in the river, scrambling to get up the steep and muddy slope; and its family was distraught. Even, most unwisely, some men were beginning to remove shoes and trousers to get in and join it! Easing the bow of the boat alongside, the dog’s harness could be grabbed but the power of a big dog doggy-paddling was more than the boat’s steering could cope with and it took the combined effort of Andy and Alex to heave it onboard. Then with a MOAB [Mother of All Bitches] shake this Dulux dog distributed a cloudburst of spray that totally drenched its rescuers – before leaping ashore up the steps.
Re-joining the race for the 6th lap finish and in an easing wind with a glimpse of blue edges to the cloud, now allowing 9 minutes round, Joseph finished 18 seconds ahead on the water – later adjusted on handicap to 8 seconds ahead.
The wind and the rain and the river won the Easter Day prize for Bank Holiday unpredictability, but the Easter egg prize for persistence and perseverance was shared amongst all at SGSC.
Boats that sailed in the race are marked in bold type.
Strand on the Green Sailing Club – Race Results – 9th April 2017
Course: A; Race number: 3; OD: Heather Adams; Safety Boat:Alex Pape, David Jones.
There were blue skies, spring warmth and, for some, a perfect sailing breeze of (in Kew Gardens) F4 with gusts, from the south. Seven boats started but an eighth boat, Tim Wellburn’s Enterprise, was also on the river getting to grips with local conditions.
It was a day for the big boats and the fleet split accordingly: three Ents and a Laser followed by two Gulls and a Lightning. David and Alex in the safety boat set a longish two-mark A-course with the downstream mark abreast of the draw dock. In general it was a fine reach or a beat down to the bottom mark and a broad reach or run back towards Kew Bridge.
The big boats were in the lead at the first lap: James Armitage and Rob Collingwood (both solo in their Ents) less than a minute apart at the front, followed by Rob Adam’s Laser and Chris Greenwood (crewed by Laura) in close company. Nick Floyer led the little boats, about two minutes astern, closely followed by Lev Kolobov and then Tim Young.
The big boats continued to benefit from the conditions and by the end completed seven laps. James and Rob Collingwood swapped the lead several times but on the last lap James drew ahead by about 4 minutes. Rob Adams followed about 3 minutes behind. Chris suffered the only capsize of the day – a nasty jibe at the top mark on his 6th lap. After righting the boat Laura got back aboard with great agility but was not able to control the water-laden craft across the line as her father urged and suffered a second dunking.
In the little boats Nick Floyer had a close battle with Lev Kolobov but drew ahead in the end to finish three laps about 4 minutes ahead. Tim was content to stay upright and finish two laps.
So, an exciting day to entertain the basking throngs on the tow path. Many thanks to Heather for keeping score and to Alex and David in the safety boat.
Next week there will be an Easter Egg for a prize.
Boats that sailed in the race are marked in bold type.
Strand on the Green Sailing Club – Race Results – 2nd April 2017
Course: A; Race number: 2; OD:Nick Floyer; Safety Boat: Andy Ross, David Jones.
Sunday’s race should really have taken place a day earlier and been a true April Fool’s event.
On the day we decided against the scheduled D-course because some other Boat Race was dominating the river downstream of the Railway Bridge, and the PLA had officially closed the river. Those present at the morning’s working party decided that delaying to a top-of-the-tide race – high water at 19:30, sunset at 19:34 – was not a good alternative, so we decided to make the best of a low-tide race somewhere upstream of the Railway Bridge.
It was a lovely spring day but with not much in the way of wind. Our ambition was to start on a line opposite the Arch, using our new flag pole (thanks to David Jones), and attempt to sail up to Brentford Lock. If we got up there in good time we would do a turn or two around some buoys and then return to finish on the start line.
Five boats started: Rob Adams (Laser), Chris Greenwood with Henry Brown (Ent), Ian Nethersell (Vibe), Lev Kolobov and Tim Young in their Gulls, and they all set off upstream in the channel between Oliver Island and the Surrey bank. What little wind there was came mostly down the river, so the fleet tacked between centre-board grabbing shallows downstream of and alongside the island and the increasingly brisk ebb tide on the Surrey bank side. Tack and tack and tack again, creeping up the side of the island to be swept back down again. And again, and again. Rob was in the lead for much of the first half hour, by which time he almost got half way up the island, but in the frequent reprises of this move all boats had a turn at being in the lead, between being locked in a tight confusion of boats.
After half an hour Andy Ross and David Jones in the safety boat saw the way things were and dropped a buoy about two thirds of the way up the island to give some hope. After about 40 minutes they shortened the course even further to about half way and a lucky patch of wind enabled all boats to struggle up to and around it, to return to the line with a collective sigh of relief. All boats finished within about four minutes of each other after around 50 minutes on the water on what must be the shortest course we have ever sailed – about 150m from start to turn.
Nick Floyer as Officer of the Day witnessed most of this excitement from the start line, apart from the odd times we were hidden by the trees.
The results of such a race are pretty arbitrary and more a reflection of each boat’s handicap, but for the record, the finishing order was Ian, Rob, Tim, Chris and Lev, and the adjusted time order was Tim, Lev, Ian, Rob and Chris. April Fools maybe, but an enjoyable spring afternoon on the river nevertheless.
Boats that sailed in the race are marked in bold type.