OOD: Mary Brown;   safety boat: Henry Brown and Andy Ross

The sailing conditions on Sunday belied the Met Office forecast, which was for a mere 4 knots from the north. The reality presented us with very sailable 6 knots, gusting 13 from NNW – perfect for a B-course, and enough to overcome a strong tide.

Five boats launched – James Armitage and Tamina Biekarck in Zephyr (Enterprise); Chris Greenwood and Felicia Biekarck in Distant Thunder (Leader); Rob Adams in Phoebe (Laser); Keith Clarke in Kaia (Laser) and Nick Floyer in flo (Gull).

There was quite a scramble at the ramp as the fast-incoming tide took away our foreshore, but all got launched in time for the scheduled start.  The downstream mark was laid opposite Chiswick Quay with the upstream mark well clear of the railway bridge.

The race was a simple run downstream against the tide and a beat back upstream with the flow.  James rounded first and completed the first lap in about 15 minutes, followed by Rob and Chris about a minute later, and then Keith at around 19 minutes.  The downstream leg was much more challenging for Nick in his Gull: it took him 24 minutes.

That pattern was maintained for the two remaining laps:  James, first in 48 minutes; Rob, second in 49:27 minutes; Chris, third in 50:06 minutes: Keith, fourth in 52:38 minutes.  Nick did an elegant pirouette at the end of his second lap to allow James to finish and thus avoid a lonely third lap.

There was another scramble as the boats queued to get under the railway bridge and onto the ramp, which was by this time immersed in a wellies-worth of water.  Wet feet all round. 

So it was a lovely sail on a lovely autumn day with a bonus of a delicious cake from Heather Adams to supplement Mary’s rock buns.  Thanks to Andy Ross for help in the safety boat and for launch and recovery assistance.

Next week is a D-course at 14:15.