A spring tide, not much wind, rumbles of thunder, at least one heavy shower. Six boats started a short “A” course from the Zoffany line. OOD Steve Newell regretted later not starting from the Bell & Crown as the towpath gently flooded and the times of the later laps were recorded initially in ankle deep and finally calf deep water. For reference it was predicted to be a 6.9m tide at London Bridge.
Fortunes fluctuated as the calms, eddies and occasional weak gusts triggered faint hopes and despair in almost equal measure. The ever present fear of drifting too near the jaws of Kew Bridge eventually got the better of Tim who accepted assistance from safety boat driver Ian Nethersell but the other five kept going and all but Jane (3) completed four laps in rather more than an hour.
James was always at or near the front and was the first to cross the finish line and then immediately ordered his young crew to start paddling. Chris made up for a poor start and was second to finish followed by the erratic Rob.
With the ramp well awash the safety boat was floated back into the arch and safely locked up for another week.
A sunny afternoon with promising perspectives on wind, only two boats set off at low tide heading to Hammersmith Bridge. James crewed by Ayanda sailing the Enterprise “Zephyr” and Chris crewed by Felicia sailing the Leader “Distant Thunder”.
Race started with Zephyr in the lead being over-taken by Distant Thunder only between Chiswick and Barnes bridges.
There were some nice gusts of wind coming and going, moments of good speed alternating with some floating with the current, combining great sailing with enjoyable sightseeing.
The boats made the turn at Chiswick Pier, 56min into the race. With the tide turning and a persistent state of no wind, reaching Hammersmith Bridge was not possible. Rounding a rowing buoy and heading back to the club, James took off and made the best of both the incoming current and the scattered gusts.
All in all, a brilliant Sunday ride along London waters!
(edited from an original report submitted by Andy Ross)
Following a well-attended and productive but hardworking work party to restructure the storage racking in the morning brought hopes that the same would be for the afternoon’s A course race which would incorporate the annual Ladies Plate race. This was unfortunately not to be as four boats, helmed by James, Ian, Chris and Tim waited rigged on the foreshore for the forecast 9 knot northerly to appear. The wait for our female contingent to arrive to contest their annual trophy also proved fruitless as the prepared helms took to the water to contest what would be a conventional points race. The southerly wind, caressed the houses on the north bank which gave just about enough for James to start first and creep along the bank – while leaving the other three to limp backwards. The fickle wind eventually gave just enough for them to creep past the start line to win the applause of a single spectator, Tim, a former Corinthians sailor – who very generously thereupon bought the OOD a pint. A well-earned result and thoroughly deserved. After 10 minutes, Chris & Felicia followed James by two minutes on the first lap followed by Tim after one minute and Ian who appeared to be flagging in the very inconsistent wind. James, in his usual position ahead of the fleet made a rare mistake by driving into a mooring line holding a rubber dinghy to its buoy and came to a stop, however, by his third lap he was a lap ahead of Chris & Felicia with both Ian and Tim a lap behind them. Ben, David and Leona confidently handled the safety boat and maintained a vigilant watch over the fleet whilst being slightly distracted by the immense bulk of a barge, with a long sloping stern like a 125-train heading backwards for Kew bridge. Surely it was far too big to get under it? They sped off thinking they could first call Lloyds of London – and then offer it a David and Goliath rescue tow as it slipped through the bridge with barely inches to spare and the fleet slowly crept past the finish line with James completing 7 laps, Chris and Felicia on 6 and Tim and Ian both completing 5. Thanks got to Andy for diligently performing OOD duties and Ben, Dave & Leona for being a comforting presence in the safety boat.
Race Report Showers during the day, a long course and a relatively late scheduled start time of 17.10 were probably reasons for only two dinghies launching: James, crewed by Ema, in the Enterprise “Zephyr” and Rob in his Laser “Phoebe”. After a close match-race start (see photo) beating towards Hammersmith on Course D, with a favourable ebbing tide, the pair soon disappeared beyond Chiswick Bridge, ably watched over by Tim and Dave in the safety boat. A gust in the blustery conditions saw Rob demonstrate his nimble recovery skills, “Phoebe” leading around the buoy (laid at 17:35, opposite the London Corinthian SC) passing it at 17:36 closely followed by “Zephyr” at 17:41, watched by Tim and Dave who noted that the tide appeared to be half-an-hour late turning. About an hour and three-quarters after the start the blue goose-winged sails, trimmed by James and Ema, appeared out of the grey with, soon after, the white sail of Phoebe and the yellow safety boat visible for the final stretch to the railway bridge finish line. “Zephyr” crossed 1hr:51mins:18secs after the start and “Phoebe” less than nine minutes later, precisely two hours and three seconds after the start, as the OOD – who had had ample time to prepare – took a photo, checked his new sailing watch, noted the time and blew the end-of-match whistle. Nick Jeffery
I found that I had omitted a few points last week, now corrected in the above. If anyone notices, I will explain and apologise. Best wishes, Nick Floyer
There was a feeble wind, nominally from the NE, meaning that the river was mostly sheltered by houses. The OOD controversially changed the course from an A, where there was no wind, to a B, where was just a little. Rob (Laser) and Lev (Enterprise) managed to cross the start line immediately despite the strongly flooding spring tide, and went on to complete their first lap in 17 minutes, at the end of which they were dead level. Chris (Leader) and Jane (Gull) made several attempts to get started before a helpful puff took them over the line. Chris went on to complete his first lap, but Jane, having made it past the jetty, was swept back into it by the tide. She was rescued by the safety boat and retired. Ian (Vibe) found himself hemmed in and windless, and went home. Fortunes changed on the second lap. While Lev went slowly but steadily ahead to finish first, Rob became becalmed and stuck; Chris caught up and briefly overtook him, and although Rob rounded the final mark on the inside and finished just ahead, Chris easily took second place on handicap. Thanks to Sam and Dave in the safety boat, and to Nick’s family who supported him on the bank. Nick Floyer
Season’s greetings. All of us here at SGSC want to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. Wishing you the best this coming year.
We want to give warm holiday wishes to all of our members and friends that have helped us this year. From all of us at SGSC, thank you so much for your endless support. Members like yourself are what makes our club possible. Thank you!
More information will come shortly. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want take part in it. Picnic time: Wednesday 12th August, starting around 1850 to clear Kew Bridge well before high water. Thank you.
Update: picnic was canceled, not enough light. Next time.