A lovely Autumn evening tempted 8 boats out onto the river.  The wind forecast was a light 4 knots from the north, with gusts of 8 knots, and from time to time the sails were fluttering encouragingly as we rigged.  Chris in his Leader was crewed by Felicia, who provided two more of her family for the race: daughter Tamina crewing for James Armitage in his Enterprise, and son Aerial helming Joesph Armitage’s Laser. The Browns provided another Enterprise; there were two other Lasers helmed by Keith Clarke and Rob Adams;  Leona Shepherd in her Lightning; and Tim Young in his Wanderer.

The course was a triangular ‘A’ starting at the Bell and Crown, a downstream mark at the slip dock, an upstream mark on the Surrey side provided by the rowing buoy, and an upstream mark on the Strand side opposite the Steam Packet.

The north wind gave a choice of starting down the Strand side in the slack water by the footpath or stemming the tide on the Surrey side of the river where the wind and tide were stronger.  Most boats took the latter choice and James and Rob took the lead on the first lap with a run down to the downstream mark, a beat back to the rowing buoy (which gave the best sailing of the day) and a reach across to the Steam Packet. There was nasty doldrum at that point in which several boats unintentionally rafted up and started the drift back to Kew Bridge. At the end of the first lap James was narrowly ahead of Rob, closely followed by the Browns, Aerial, Keith and Chris.  By the second lap James had gained six minutes over Rob who was still followed closely by Chris but by the third lap James was lapping everyone but Rob.  Keith was caught in the upstream doldrum and had to be rescued by David Jones in the safety boat from Kew Bridge.  In the end James and Rob both completed 4 laps with Chris, the Browns and Aerial on three laps, and Leona (only her second time out in a race) and Tim on two laps.

Thanks to Enoch for doing the timekeeping and Dave Jones for safety boating.  It was a strong spring tide and the boats practically floated into the yard at the end. 

Next week is a C-course at 12:15.