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.