OOD: Henry Brown,  Safety Boat: Dave Baker

After what felt like weeks of miserable cold weather the sun shone at the start of today’s early morning race and the wind was from the North at 5knots, gusting 10knots: perfect for a B-course.

Six boats launched: Lev Kolobov solo in Porpoise (Enterprise); Felicia Bierkark with husband and son in Chris Greenwood’s Distant Thunder (Leader); 3 Lasers – Ben Chappell (Envy); Keith Clarke (Kaia) and Toby Hicks (Cip…); and Nick Jeffery in his jolly, red-sailed Duckling (Eeyore). For the first time the safety boat was manned by Dave Baker with James Armitage showing him the ropes at the start.

The down-wind, up-tide start meant that helms had to choose between catching the cleaner wind in the middle or the slacker current at the edge of the river.  Nick, from the perspective of the OOD, shot into the lead from the start by favouring the Middlesex side, but the rest of the fleet followed Lev’s lead down the Surrey side and got there first.  It took around 8 minutes for the run towards Chiswick Quay and around 5 minutes for the beat back.  Lev was first at the first lap followed by Toby about 30 seconds behind and then Felicia.  Lev and Toby remained as first and second throughout the race while Felicia and Keith alternated as 3rd and 4th.  Ben had some mishaps including some horticulture in the branches on the Surrey bank which cost him around 20 minutes.  Nick had three consistent laps against the others’ four and ended up winning the Handicap points and coming third in the Polly.

All this in a river full of motor boats, canal boats, rowers, scullers, kayaks etc. and a good range of wildlife including an egret.  Welcome to the summer.

Next week is a D-course starting at 11:40.