The race was originally set for a 1300 D-course but with so much rainwater coming down the river, the current wouldn’t be turning until a couple of hours before high tide, so a Hammersmith race wasn’t an option. We decided to try a delayed A course instead but by 3.45pm the current was still running fiercely downstream and darkness was not far away. We found a little eddy between the Bell and Crown and the steam packet. We set buoys at each end of it and managed short centreplate-scraping race round and round in lightish but usable wind until it got dark.
Despite all this, of the five boats that set off, Tim Young’s Ait Knots (Wanderer), Toby Hick’s Laser and Nick Jeffery’s Eeyore all drifted under the railway bridge on setting off and had to be rescued. Taking note, the others walked the boats towards the Bell and Crown, where a fair westerly wind was more pronounced.
With the start delayed to 1530, James advised adopting a ‘reverse A-course’, with boats setting off from the Bell and Crown towards Kew bridge and passing both buoys on the port side. So sailing in an anticlockwise loop, with the upriver boy halfway between the Bell and Crown and the Kew Bridge, and the downriver boy more or less opposite Zoffany House.
With Eeyore retired, the race eventually started just before 1600, with Dave Berger (with Sheila in Entre Nous, Enterprise) getting a great start but Tim and Toby getting recalled for being in front of the start line. James (Zephyr, Enterprise) did a 360 at the first buoy, presumably as he’d hit it.
With Dave Berger ahead after the first lap, James did an incredibly tight turn on the downriver buoy going into the second lap to beat both Dave and Tim. James completed the second lap two seconds ahead of Dave and wasn’t going to let him back into the race.
Tim then ran aground and retired after completing his first lap.
With the sun setting and the weather cooling, and some sage advice from Nick Floyer, we stopped the race after 6 laps, with James completing in 22.28 mins, ahead of Dave Berger on 25.18.
An interesting event!
Sam Shemtob (OOD) with additions from JA.