The annual Thames Tidefest is sponsored by Thames Water Plc ‘to help Londoners reconnect with their river’. For SGSC this also means a grant of £200 (to run our safety boat) and a silver cup for the winner of our Thames Tidefest Trophy Race.
This year, the Tidefest fell upon a beautiful, warm and sunny day with a light wind from the North-West – good conditions for bystanders watching an A course starting at the Bell & Crown.
A spectacular fleet of 10 boats charged across the start line, led by Lev and his son David with a goosed-winged flourish. Two new members – Clare Walker (with her son, Winter) in Paul Williamson’s Laser and Nick Jeffrey (plus his daughter Nicky on her first ever sailing experience) in a Red Duck boat named Eeyore – completed the fleet at the rear.
After reaching the downstream mark, Lev & David chose to turn out into the mainstream to go round the PLA trot and he kept his lead to cross the line first for the first lap, in eight minutes, just one second ahead of James. Clare & Winter rounded the course last, taking 16 minutes.
The second round saw most boats still taking the mainstream river route; however, James went straight for the upstream buoy and crossed the line this time one second ahead of Lev & David, a lead he then kept throughout race. Tim, meanwhile, was sailing cautiously with a reef in the sail and was becalmed at the downstream mark.
Rob, Alex and Nick (Floyer) took full advantage of the soft wind to stay within two minutes of each other with alternating leads over the next two laps, with Jane dipping in and out between them. The last three boats – Tim, Clare & Winter, and Nick & Nicky – were close together at the rear. A late entrant – Sam Shentob in his weather-beaten Wayfarer – then miraculously appeared and completed two laps.
James, Lev, Rob, Jane, Alex and Nick Floyer all managed five laps while Tim, Clare & Winter, and Nick & Nicky each completed three. Clare was unlucky to become stalled in a dead calm patch just before the line and was last to cross, after an hour of sailing well.
Back at the Club, James had a laptop with the algorithm to translate times into handicap-adjusted places. Many congratulations to:
- 1 James – winner of the 2020 Tidefest Trophy
- 2 Jane
- 3 Nick Floyer
- 4 Alex
- 5 Lev & David
- 6 Rob
- 7 Nick & Nicky
- 8 Tim
- 9 Clare & Winter
- 10 Sam
Thanks to Andy Ross for an impressive effort on the score sheet: keeping track of ten boats on several laps is no mean feat.
As well as the Tidefest Trophy the sailors were competing for the usual SGSC race series, for which the results were as follows: