Race Report, 15 October 2017

race 15 Oct

Race Report for 15 October 2017


The morning was overcast with a barely perceptible breeze from the south to south-west as five boats assembled on the muddy foreshore.  A B-course was scheduled but the consensus was to switch to an A because of the difficulty of beating with a feeble or non-existent wind against the flood tide.  And for the same reason everyone agreed on a short course starting outside Zoffany House.

The fleet started with a flourish, catching a zephyr that took most boats down to the willow, whereupon it (the wind and the fleet) got into a familiar state of confusion.  Rob Adams in his Laser was the first to make an attempt on the downstream buoy, positioned just upstream of the slip-dock which was occupied by a large boat.  Unfortunately for Rob the tide triumphed over the wind at just the wrong moment, causing him to touch the buoy and re-join the queue.  Ian Nethersell, in his Vibe, was next to make the attempt and continued successfully to round the upstream mark.  As he passed the start line he put in a polite request for a one-lap race.  His time for the first lap was 13 minutes.  He was followed at 15 minutes by Chris Greenwood’s Enterprise and then by Alex Pape’s Lugger and Rob at around 16 minutes.

The breeze gradually filled in as the race progressed giving a second lap of around 10 minutes for the leaders – they being Chris followed by Rob, Alex and Ian.  Tim, meanwhile was still stuck in the doldrums opposite the willow.  By the third lap Rob had gained the lead which he retained to the end leaving Chris and Alex to contest second place for the next few laps as Ian progressively slipped behind.

Rob finished his seventh lap just before the hour was up followed in ten seconds by Chris and another minute or so by Alex.  Ian finished at about the same time but a lap behind, and Tim brought up the rear, after 64 minutes, having completed 5 laps.

So Chris won in the Handicap series and the Big Boats, and Alex won on the Polly Prize and Little Boats.  David Jones wasn’t given much to do in the safety boat and Tim Wellburn, assisted by Henry Brown, supervised from Zoffany House.

The more perceptive of you may have noticed some anomalies in the total scores and numbers of races sailed as recorded in recent results sheets.  The Master of Sums apologises for any errors and is confident that the latest results show the correct numbers.

Race report, 8 October 2017

race 20


Race Report: Sunday 8 October 2017

The Autumn Equinox combined with the ‘Harvest Moon’ brings forth the largest tides. And with them, the greatest yearly loads of silt in the river which floods the foreshore and the footpath with vast swathes either of deep nutrient-rich soil – or sticky sludge.

Onto this treacle-coloured and slippery water sailed Rob, Lev, Alex, Chris, Ian, Nick and Tim.

Rob was in the lead by a minute at the end of the first round of an ‘A’ course, followed by Lev, then at one-second intervals by Alex, Chris and Ian – with Nick and Tim one-second apart at the rear.

On lap 2, Rob was still leading the pack. But out of nowhere Nick had burst into second place. He had overtaken Lev, now 3rd, followed by Alex, then Ian, Chris [now 6th], and Tim.

After lap 3 there was no change in the running order. Rob still first, Nick second, Lev 3rd, Alex 4th, Ian 5th, Chris 6th and Tim 7th.

But a change of the established order was soon to come. Rob was still far out ahead. But Lev and Ian were tied for second on lap 4. Alex was still 4th. And  Nick had dropped down to 5th, with Chris and Tim still 6th and 7th.

Lev who, though joint 2nd with Ian on the preceding lap, touched the upstream buoy on his 5th and final lap, and so did a 360 degree turn; thus dropping to 4th over the line; preceded by Alex [now up to 2nd] then Ian [3rd] followed by Chris [5th]. Nick came across the line 5th. Tim resolutely defended his last position to the bitter end; refusing even to use his gaily-whipped and spliced port and starboard beautiful new oars. Rob, though, was a full lap ahead of everyone, completing 6 in total.

Meanwhile, Sam very kindly brought out half pints of lager shandy for David Jones on the Safety Boat, and for the OOD.

Abridged from Andy Ross – full version below



12 October 2017

Race Report: Sunday 8 October 2107: ‘Harvest Moon’

The Autumn Equinox combined with the ‘Harvest Moon’ brings forth the largest tides. And with them, the greatest yearly loads of silt in the river which floods the foreshore and the footpath with vast swathes either of deep nutrient-rich soil – or sticky sludge.

Onto this treacle-coloured and slippery water sailed Rob, Lev, Alex, Chris, Ian, Nick and Tim: testing the hypothesis whether a swollen silty river slows boats down – or maybe speeds them up with a soft lubrication with solvents in delicate suspension? But how could they see the difference?

For several October evenings, the moonrise comes soon after sunset. With a low Moon seeming huge many people assume that this common effect is caused by our atmosphere magnifying the image, but the explanation is far simpler. When the Moon is high overhead, it is dwarfed by the vast hemisphere of the heavens. By contrast, when the Moon is low at the equinox, it is viewed in proximity to earthly objects, such as buildings and trees, whose size and shape provide scale. This results in an abundance of low and bright moonlight early in the evening, which was a traditional aid to farmers [and their children] harvesting their summer-grown crops. Hence, the tradition of Harvest Festival. And its hymns.

But where did the hymns originally come from?

Akhenaton, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC, is noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten, the Sun, giving the solar deity a status far above a plethora of mere gods. He is regarded as the world’s first environmental science political philosopher King.

Akhenaton composed the Great Hymn to the Aten.

How manifold it is, what thou hast made!

They are hidden from the face (of man).

O sole god, like whom there is no other!

Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,

Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,

Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,

And what is on high, flying with its wings.

Similar incantations by the SGSC fleet enabled Rob to be in the lead by a minute at the end of the first round of an ‘A’ course, followed by Lev, then at one-second intervals by Alex, Chris and Ian – with Nick and Tim one-second apart at the rear.

Akhenaton established a court of unprecedented luxury and magnificence that placed great emphasis on a solar-centric theology. And that’s before you consider his marriage to Nefertiti, known as the Mona Lisa of antiquity, the “Great Royal Wife”; a celebrity star in her own right – famous in turn for being the mother of Tutankhamen.


Akhenaton oversaw the construction of some of the most massive temple complexes in ancient Egypt. In these new temples, orientated towards the east, facing in the direction of the sunrise, Aten was worshipped in the open sunlight rather than in dark temple enclosures as had been the previous custom. As well as being considered to be the first monotheist and environmental scientist in history, it is thought the stylistic similarities between Akhenaton’s Great Hymn to the Aten and the Biblical Psalm 104 subsequently gave rise to Judaism and then Christianity and the concept of a single creator God as the ultimate force of Nature;  the astrophysicist of all time.

And by this time, on lap 2, Rob was still leading the pack. But out of nowhere, like a new bright star being formed, Nick had burst in second place! He had overtaken Lev, now 3rd, followed by Alex, then Ian, Chris [now 6th], and Tim.

As great rivers do, the fundamental reality of the annual flooding of the Nile was both feared and counted on as the deliverer of massive sediments brought down from Ethiopia. Crops thrived on the rich soil left behind as the waters receded. On Strand on the Green the floods leave behind loads of chemical nutrients that have been swept into the drainage canals and ditches from over-fertilised farmland, ploughed and tilled and sprayed up and down because it is far easier and more profitable to do that with CAP farm subsidies based purely on maximising output than running tractors and machinery sideways across fields; which would prevent run-off and conserve the soil, just as horses and ploughs did. What then gets swept into the river are the billions of corpses of the mesofauna [beetles, springtails, bugs and mites] that eat and break down organic debris in the soil, keep roots clean and enable nutrient uptake through beneficial mycorrhizal fungal networks that connect individual plants together and transfer water, carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients and minerals. All that is killed off with pesticides and fungicides. And so we see the viridian green mats of algal growth on the foreshore, heaving with chemicals.

After lap 3 there was no change in the running order. Rob still first, Nick second, Lev 3rd, Alex 4th, Ian 5th, Chris 6th and Tim 7th.

But as for the question of who is the real true leader, others [such as Freud] have likened some aspects of Akhenaton’s relationship with the Aten to the relationship, in the Christian tradition, of Jesus Christ with God. Akhenaton did call himself the son of the sole God: ‘Thine only son that came forth from thy body’. He described himself as the son of the Sun-Disc and he acted as the chief mediator between god and creation. Freud said that the close psychic relationship between father and son is such that only the king truly knows the heart of “his father”, and in return his father listens to his son’s prayers on behalf of the nation. He is his father’s image on earth, and as Akhenaton is king on earth, his father is king in heaven. So as high priest, prophet, king and divine, he claimed the central position in the new religious system.

Because only he knew his father’s mind and will, Akhenaton alone could interpret that will and the environmental consequences for the entire nation with true teaching and leadership coming from him. But Akhenaton discovered that silver linings are often accompanied by dark clouds; and continuing catastrophic floods undermined his solar-centric scientific predictions. He was deposed and his teaching abandoned.

And a change of the established order here too was soon to come. Rob was still far out ahead as first. But Lev and Ian were tied absolutely equal for second on lap 4. Alex was still 4th. And for unseen and unknown reasons, except no doubt to him, Nick had dropped down to 5th, with Chris and Tim still 6th and 7th.

Also the colour of the water has always been seen as significant. Just as colourless water mysteriously turns blue [due to absorption of other wavelengths] so the ruffles and ripples of cats’ paws on the water darken and lighten the surface. And just such patterns were spotted by the two children of a Swedish couple – who confidently and accurately told the OOD that they were due to wind going upwards into the clouds!

This inconveniently confused Lev who, though joint 2nd with Ian on the preceding lap, and approaching the upstream buoy on his 5th and final lap, inconveniently touched it, and so nobly did a 360 degree turn; thus dropping to 4th over the line; preceded by Alex [now up to 2nd] then Ian [3rd] followed by Chris [5th]. Nick had by then lost all his cats’ paws and came across the line 5th. With Tim still ensuring that no-one should be left behind, resolutely defending his last position to the bitter end; refusing even to use his gaily-whipped and spliced port and starboard beautiful new oars. In the light of a Harvest Moon handicap, however, maybe paradoxically he was actually first? Rob, though, was a full lap ahead of everyone: completing 6 in total.

Meanwhile, as the Harvest Festival would not ever be so jolly without sufficient to drink, Sam very kindly brought out half pints of lager shandy for David Jones on the Safety Boat, and for the OOD.

So what would a modern day Akhenaton make of the river-borne rites and rituals of SGSC’s celebration of the Harvest Moon? Who really owns the water? And will the science of climate change lift all boats, or rejections of it swamp them – and us all?

Given the floods, hurricanes and wildfires plaguing the planet, and the intonations of Mark Carney, High Priest of the Financial Stability Board foreseeing massive climate change disruption to financial markets [a message only amplified by Donald Trump] we may consider this attempt to connect these ideas together in this post-COP21, pre-Brexit, Harvest Festival Hymn. And, as Akhenaton did; hope and pray it works.

As the trade winds blow over thirsty plains,
My soul will sing to the Lord,
And the storm clouds pour with reviving rains,
My heart gives thanks to Him.
Every season whispers the mystery,
The glorious rhythm of life,
Till the harvest comes from the boundless goodness
Of the Father’s hand.

When the crops have failed and the fields are bare,
My soul will cry to the Lord.
When the hungry know only death’s despair,
My heart will look to Him.
For the call goes out from the heart of God
To share with those in need;
As we feed the world we reflect the goodness
Of the Father’s hand.

©Stuart Townend





© Andy Ross

12 October 2017

Race Results – 01 October 2017

SGSC Race Results on Sunday 1 October 2017

Race Report by Terry Atkins OOD
On a bright sunny morning a C course beckoned and 5 boats took to the water. With no wind the safety boat assisted a couple under the bridge including Lev who was stuck by cafe rouge.
The squeaky green trumpet was used to count the 6 and 3 and the start however possibly due to the wind only the start was loud enough so there was a slight confusion from James who was nowhere near the start line when the race started proper at 10:47.
Needless to say he quickly sprinted through the field and led all of the way. In the meantime Sam and friends were tacking and gybing nicely and efficiently carving nicely as the wind picked up.
Alex quietly plied his trade in the middle of the pack and the OOD and safety boat went on ahead to drop the buoy up by the london apprentice.
Surprisingly there wasn’t any nasty gusts from kew and syon house to startle anyone and the peleton of 4 boats behind james were swopping places regularly all the way up to the buoy.
James with Tom on board rounded first with Ian on the side wishing he had come out for a sail on what was quite a mild day. Tim was sailing neatly in his pretty pink boat.
As the tide turned all boats took roughly half the time on the return leg as they did getting to the buoy in the first place and James came home to cross the line by the tower in just a smidgin over the hour mark.
The rest of the fleet came in soon after with all boats safely back through the line. A little assistance was required getting under the bridge but well done to all who came out to sail and or support.
Note by the Deputy Master of the Sums
Using personal handicaps for the Handicap Cup, Lev beat James into last place by 6 seconds; both had won too many races previously. Using Portsmouth Numbers, which depend only on the type of boat, for the Polly Prize, James beat Lev by 3 seconds to take first place.
Race Results

Race Results – 24 September 2017

SGSC Race Results on Sunday 24 September 2017
Race Report by Nick Floyer OOD
It was a warm and pleasant evening for this race over a triangular A course. Initially there was enough of a breeze to make tacking down to the windward mark by the City Barge, against the strong spring flood tide and SE wind, quite possible. Rob A and John in Lasers completed a lap in thirteen minutes, and Ian in his Vibe in eighteen. Only Lev’s friend Victor, in a borrowed Solo and without much small-boat experience, failed to get to windward at all, and had to be rescued several times from Kew Bridge by Dave in the safety boat. However the wind then became increasingly light, and it was the rounding of the leeward mark, the red channel buoy, and making it back to the line, that proved difficult for everyone. Lev in his Gull and Alex in his 14ft lugger were swept away to Kew Bridge and later retired. Next came Tim, who with considerable skill managed to tack up to the line and complete a lap in twenty-three minutes. Close behind were Rob and John coming round for the second time, and I raised the yellow flag in order to finish the race early, but they and Ian behind them failed to make it across to the finish line. Their various attempts to creep up along the wall did not succeed, and I eventually sent word that I would just use the first lap times for the results. After the best part of an hour the tide slackened, the wind perked up a bit, and the three boats were able to sailed home to the club. I timed them as they completed a nominal second lap, but the results below are based on the first-lap times of the four boats that made it round.
The so-called Burton rules for fishing a race are very sensible. However, this race shows that an OOD may need the option of ending a race on the basis of whatever laps have been completed, in the event that even the leading boat fails to finish a further lap within reasonable time.
Race Results

Race Results – 17 September 2017

Race Report by Steve Newell OOD

On a cool autumn day with only a light NW breeze, seven dinghies optimistically came to the start line outside no 1 Strand-on-the-Green and set off towards Chiswick Bridge.  The rescue boat with David Jones in command placed a buoy half way down Hartington Road on the Middlesex bank in the hope that a three lap race would be possible.  Unbelievably, a PLA patrol boat requested that the buoy should be moved mid race as other “shipping” was being inconvenienced but David assured the PLA that such an action would be unfair at such a late stage.  One rowing eight trying to return to the London University boat house attempted to break up our fleet with a manoeuvre reminiscent of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of the Nile but our sailors kept defiantly focused on reaching buoy once more.  The final obstacle observed, after about half an hour, was a gaggle of kayakers accompanied by a Canadian canoe propelled with a single paddle which seemed to be in charge.  They almost drove John Bull (laser), who by this stage had opened up a useful lead onto the buoy placed opposite 4/5 Strand-on-the-Green but any embarrassment was skilfully avoided – or maybe the 270 degree turn executed was simply to avoid an involuntary jibe.  I realised that our leading boat was not flying a racing flag so a letter of complaint to the canoe club is probably not appropriate although I might have a word nevertheless.

As the minutes ticked by the sun appeared to shine a little stronger, the breeze freshened a little to provide a bit of exhilaration and our sailors were still racing keenly.  On the river (before the application of the handicapping factors) the laser’s lead was cut although never seriously threatened but the fortunes of the commodore in his ‘shanghai’ rigged craft improved dramatically.  He “gently touched” the second mark after being caught in a very congested melee and to set a good example performed a second rounding which left him in last place.  He then purposefully gave chase and as conditions improved over the next few minutes fought his way through the fleet to be second over the finish line at the end of the third and final lap.

It was remarkable that after an hour of racing the whole fleet crossed the finish line in a span of just seven minutes.  I was assisted with the time keeping by Horatio.  When racing is close it helps enormously to have another pair of eyes on the action.

Race Results

Race Results – 3 September 2017

SGSC Race Results on 3 September 2017

Race Report by John Bull OOD

A dry but overcast day with a scheduled “B” course with a start time of 12 noon programmed.

The Met forecast for the race period was SSE 7mph gusting 16mph. OOD discussed with the fleet the possibility of changing to an “A” course as the wind direction SSE and flood tide would be hard to beat against. However, after consideration it was decided that the wind was sufficiently strong enough to tackle the “B” course.

Two buoys were skilfully laid by Chris Jones in the safety boat, the buoy closest to the railway bridge being laid down stream to avoid dinghies being swept onto the bridge.

Surprisingly six dinghies were prepared to endure the gusts and the fickle conditions. All dinghies made good starts and all made it around the pier without any mishaps.

Tacking, as was expected, was difficult along the rowing club bank with most dinghies tacking out into the mid-stream tide to take advantage of the stronger wind conditions. The wind direction with gusts and with a flood tide was at times demanding but all managed to stay upright. Chris stayed close to the action in the safety boat.

Rob Adams in his Laser soon raced away from the fleet. Rob Collingwood with crew Lucy followed in his Enterprise closely followed by Nick, Ian, Lev and Alex.

It was a “Laser day” and Rob tacked over to the Surrey bank and with the help of a wind shift made even more ground over the fleet. He eventually tacked back to the Middlesex bank and shortly rounded the downstream buoy. On rounding the buoy he was away, on a run with the flood tide.

At this point the sky turned black and looked threatening but the wind strength dropped. The fleet struggled to reach and round the buoy. Eventually, Rob Collingwood and Nick rounded the buoy and were now on the run and breaking away from Ian, Lev and Alex.

Ian, lev and Alex persisted with their approach to the buoy and although the wind seemed to drop further they rounded the buoy.

Meanwhile, Rob in his Laser had completed the first lap in 24.39 with Rob Collingwood (Enterprise) and Nick (Lightning) 31.28 and 32.50 respectively.

Ian (Vibe) completed his first lap in 41.02 and Lev(Gull) 50.20 and Alex (GP14) 52.52.

The race continued in a similar pattern for the second lap with Rob Adams finishing at 50.37, Rob Collingwood 59.59 closely followed by Nick 63.50. Ian finished ahead of Lev 78.25 and 94.40 respectively. Alex sensibly decided one lap was enough at 52.52.

Race Results

Race Results – 27 August 2017 – Gins Week

SGSC Race Results on Sunday 27 August 2017

This race was a substitute for the cancelled annual visit to the RSYC base at Gins on the Beaulieu River, and not a points race. The results are contentious, but I have spent some time studying the various reports and timings, and I hope that I have correctly deduced what happened. If I have made errors, please reply to me in the first instance, and I will discuss them with the participants.
Race Report by Terry Atkins OOD:
“After much discussion about exactly where the zoffany line was or is the race albeit with very little wind got off to a slow start ebbing slowly up the eddies. Towards the end of the 1st lap there were 3 boats vying to turn 1st at the buoy all bunched together with Ian in mid channel. Much was the same for the 2nd lap as the GP14, Pacman and Comma passing together. With James clear of the rest he decided to pull over on the bank adjacent to Kew bridge, Lev retired after being swept away. The OOD finished the race as the rest of the fleet came through to finish their 4th laps. Well done to all who participated.”

I deduce that the OOD, in view of the conditions, decided to finish the race as Ian, then lying second, finished his fourth lap. The race sheet shows times after four laps for Ian with crew Sophie, Alex, and Andy with crew Steve; Lev had retired earlier. However, there is no finishing time for James and crew David after either their fourth or presumed fifth lap. Luckily Steve recorded the end of James’s fifth lap, which was when he next crossed the line after the finish, and the results below show that despite his long final lap he still wins on handicap.
Elapsed Average lap time
Class Sail no. PY Laps min sec Elapsed Corrected Posn
James A E 21408 1113 5 85 52 17.17 15.43 1
Andy R E 18172 1113 4 74 7 18.53 16.65 4
Ian N Vibe 1140 4 72 13 18.05 15.84 3
Alex P 14 1170 4 72 37 18.15 15.52 2
Lev K Gull 2192 1363 2 Retd
Andy Ross has published an alternative race report, which I can forward to anyone on request if they have not already seen it. It is clear from the relevant parts of this that he, Ian and Alex did not understand that they had finished, and sailed a further lap. There were significant changes of fortune, and the finishing order was Andy, Alex, the recovering James, and Ian. They had each done five laps (not four as in Andy’s report), and times were recorded by Steve. Unofficial results based on these are:
Elapsed Average lap time
Class Sail no. PY Laps min sec Elapsed Corrected Posn
James A E 21408 1113 5 85 52 17.17 15.43 4
Andy R E 18172 1113 5 79 0 15.80 14.20 1
Ian N Vibe 1140 5 87 22 17.47 15.33 3
Alex P 14 1170 5 85 20 17.07 14.59 2
Lev K Gull 2192 1363 2 Retd

Race Results – 20 August 2017 – Strand Challenge Regatta

After a week of blustery winds Sunday promised to be somewhat quieter.  The flotillas from London Corinthians Sailing Club and, more distant, South Bank Sailing Club started assembling around the Railway Bridge just before mid-day, and continued to arrive up to the race start time.   The foreshore was chaotic with the 24 boats that eventually started the race landing and launching – 9 from SGSC, 8 from SBSC and 7 from LCSC.  A triangular A-course was set using the rowing buoy as the Surrey bank mark and with the downstream buoy below the slip-dock.  The wind recorded at Kew Gardens was W or WSW through the afternoon at F3 but on the river, as usual, it was all over the place.  The very crowded start line at the Bell and Crown got away with a tail wind but against the tide after a delay to wait for stragglers.  Two Lasers struggled to disentangle themselves from the tree outside the Bell and Crown but eventually re-joined the fleet.

James Armitage showed his familiarity with these waters, amongst other skills, and established an unassailable lead on the first lap.  He romped around in 17 minutes leaving a batch of three followers (Alan (LCSC); Sarah (SBSC); Joseph (SGSC) completing in 21 – 22 minutes, and with the rest of the fleet in bunches giving the OODs (Stephen and Henry) a recording nightmare thereafter.  By the second lap James was 7 minutes clear of his son Joseph, with Val (LCSC); Sarah (LCSC); Tom (SBSC); and Alan (LCSC) breathing down his neck.

The main blockage was approaching the downstream buoy, which was perhaps set a bit far down, and much of the fleet was in a complex weaving, drifting raft at that end of the course for much of the race.  The upstream Surrey buoy gave others some grief: Nick (SGSC) and Sam (SGSC) both got caught by the tide on the wrong side of it in a lull of the wind.

James did 10 minute laps for his third and fourth and finished with a (fifth)15 minute lap, by which time he had overtaken everyone at least once.  Val, working his way up through the fleet after his tangle with a tree at the start, was just ahead of James as he (Val) completed his 4th and was thus sent around to do a fifth – the only other boat to do so.

According to the hard-pressed OODs five boats made a fourth lap, Sam only managed one (four crew in a Wayfarer), Tim made two in his Gull and the rest did three laps.  The OODs apologise unreservedly for any laps they failed to record – there must be some they missed.

PS October 2017 … Sally Pierce of SBSC  has told us she did 4 laps not 3, which puts her in 6th place and means that SBSC beat SGSC in the team points.  The corrected results are below.

The result was a clear win for James (Ent, SGSC) and a clear second place for Val (Laser, LCSC).  The third place was very closely contested on corrected time by Sarah (Solo, SBSC), Alan and Steph (Ent, SBSC) and Joseph (Laser, SGSC) in that order – a good spread of clubs and boats.  Two team prizes are awarded for this event, both based on the aggregate positions of the first six boats in each club.  The SGSC/SBSC Challenge Trophy went to SBSC, and the SGSC/LCSC Challenge Trophy went by a slightly wider margin to SGSC.

And afterwards there was a sumptuous tea including barbequed sausages and burgers with all the trimmings.  Many thanks to Mary S and Mary B and an army of helpers and providers.

Please note that, in place of the Gins weekend, there will be an A-course points race on 27 August starting at 17:40.