OOD: Tom Broadhurst;   safety boat: Tim Young and Dave Jones

It was a fine autumn afternoon – perfect for a downstream race to Hammersmith and back, were it not for the lack of wind (a light SW) and the abundant rainwater that filled the river and threatened to overcome the incoming tide, on which we rely for the return journey.

Seven boats launched – James Armitage and Kiran Biekarck (his first ever race) in Zephyr (Enterprise); Chris Greenwood and Felicia Biekarck in Distant Thunder (Leader); Rob Adams in Phoebe (Laser); Ben Chappell in Envy (Laser); Joe Armitage in Punt (Laser); Toby Hicks in Cip (Laser); and Olly Adams and Billy in Spinosaurus (Mirror).

The downstream half had the benefit of the ebb and the light SW wind.  After a 14:30 start James reached the downstream mark at Chiswick Eyot at 15:05, followed at one-minute intervals by Joe, Rob, Chris, Ben and Toby, and finally Olly at15:16.  From then on it was a slow struggle against the river, which was doggedly reluctant to admit the flood tide, and the wind.  This is illustrated in a brilliant graphic from Olly plotting his course around the buoy and, eventually, the start of his slow beat back up-river.

Tim tells me that James and Joe swapped the lead at several points, and both were becalmed at Barnes Bridge for a time.  Rob and Chris kept similarly close company through much of the return.

The end of the ordeal came for James after 3 hours 5 minutes from the start with Joe 5 minutes behind.  Rob was third after 3 hours 22 minutes with Chris on 3 hours 35 minutes.  Olly and Billy were 4 minutes short of 4 hours – heroic endurance.  Both Ben and Toby had decided that enough was enough and accepted a tow from Tim and Dave.

Next week is a A-course at 13:00.


The course of Spinosaurus, 22 Oct 2023