OOD: Nick Jeffery

Safety boat: Frankie Skrzesewski, Henry Brown

It was a fine afternoon for a sail, but England were in the knock-out phase of the Euros, which perhaps provided an alternative to serious competition on the water.  Four helms made it to the foreshore of which one, Keith Clarke, found he had a broken block on his Laser and had to retire.  That left Chris Greenwood and Felicia Biekark in Distant Thunder (Leader), Commodore Tim Young in Ait Knots (Wanderer), and Nick Floyer in flo (Gull).

There was a good 7knot NNW to NW breeze, gusting (according to the Met Office) to 18 knots, but we didn’t experience many gusts of that strength on the water.  At the start the NW wind took two of the fleet, Distant Thunder and flo, down river on a brisk run to Chiswick Bridge.  The same breeze trapped Ait Knots against the beach for a while.  She soon got afloat and seemed likely to overtake flo but, with a cautious reef in her main, she was not able to match flo on the several upwind sections of the serpentine D-course.

Distant Thunder made good time both running and beating and made the Corinthian’s starting line in Hammersmith, our downstream mark, after 45 minutes.  By then it was clear to the Safety Boat that the other two boats would also make the mark on the ebb tide.  Distant Thunder rounded the mark and made steady, if slow, progress back against river and wind.

Flo was next at the mark about 5 minutes later and had to beat hard even to stand still against the mighty river.  And 5 minutes later Ait Knots was in the same position, only with her reefed main she couldn’t help but slip downstream towards Hammersmith Bridge.  So flo and Ait Knots both crept upriver against the continuing ebb while Distant Thunder disappeared round the bends upriver.

About an hour after the start the flood tide eventually started to dominate, first to the benefit of Tim, then Nick, and finally at Chiswick Bridge, Chris and Felicia.  Chris finished first two hours after the start with Nick seven minutes later and Tim after another seven minutes.

The handicap sums gave the honours for Handicap and Polly prizes to Nick.

And that’s when the hard work of the day began: hauling 3 dinghies and the safety boat up the muddy foreshore, up the ramp and into the arch.

Next week it’s an A-course at 15:00