These photos were taken at Tamesis during total immersion seamanship training on Sunday 18 October. They were sent in by a friend of Uffa and show the Commodore and Assistant Harbour Master testing the effectiveness of dry wetsuits – or should it be wet drysuits?
The RNLI Day race at Tamesis on Sunday 25 October, the first day of the winter series, was won by Ken Duffell and Joe Woods in Avenger, Merlin 1004, Progress was slow in the light north easterly wind and the 11 competitors, who had paid a £5 entry fee, were soon widely spread round a short course between Trowlock Island and the Albany.
Meanwhile, non-sailing members visited the Twickenham branch’s RNLI stall to buy Christmas cards, calendars and other gifts, including pots of home-made marmalade. All the proceeds from the day go to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
The Trafalgar Trophy inter-class pursuit race on Sunday 18 October was won by Berry Ritchie and Sue Harris in their Merlin Crescendo (607) after a close contest with Peter and Richard Mason, the previous year’s winners, in Bambusa (847).
Third, after leading for almost all the race, was Donald Forbes in his Laser, Storm (146120). He had started at 11.15, almost ten minutes before the Merlins, and skilfully built up what seemed like an unchallengeable lead only to be overtaken in the final minutes as the race was finished on the water at 12.45 from the Club launch by Race Officer Jon Redding.
A long course, set to make the most of the light to moderate north easterly wind, took the competitors down river to a Lensbury buoy set near the southern end of Trowlock Island, shortly followed by an east-west dogleg near the Tamesis Clubhouse, and a long reach and run past Steven’s Eyot to a Canbury buoy near Hampton Wick Bridge. The 11 competitors struggled to hold their places in the challenging conditions and were widely spread round the course by the finish.
The race is held on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Sondown Cup and the Elizabeth Bowl (for the first vintage boat) were both won by Martin Hunter of Upper Thames SC in three keenly contested races at Tamesis Club’s Merlin Rocket open meeting on Sunday 11 October.
Sailing Quiver (774), crewed by Margarethar Van Dam, in the Silver Tiller series best two of three race event he beat the other 17 competing boats, winning the first and third races and finishing fifth in the second.
The closest challenge came from Richard and Harry Harris in Passing Cloud (1079), who won the second race and finished second in the first and last races.
Rob Wilder and his nine-year-old daughter Milly, who had won the Porteous Cup for vintage Merlins the previous day, were third, scoring a third, second and third, with Ian Ramage taking Milly’s place as crew in the last race.
A light to moderate cold easterly wind, which backed and veered a bit during the day, provided ideal conditions for competitive racing and Race Officer John Harris sent the fleet off on a beat downstream to a Lensbury Mark near Trowlock Island followed by an upstream reach and run to a Canbury mark well up-river of Steven’s Eyot.
Merlins from other clubs were fourth and fifth overall. Wild Card (3656), sailed by Olly Turner of Salcombe YC and Hamish Kilburn, who had driven up from Exeter, was fourth with three fifths, and Hullabaloo (1692), sailed by Patrick Rayner and Maisie Williams, of Thames SC, was fourth in the second race.
The prizes were presented by Commodore Stewart Colley, with help from Vice Commodore Carolyne Vines.
Thanking Tamesis on behalf of the visitors, Martin Hunter paid a moving tribute to the excellent work done for the Merlin Rocket class by Richard Mourant, the club’s Merlin Class Captain, who died earlier this year. Joe Woods, who crewed for Richard and has succeeded him as Class Captain, donated a keg of beer for participants to have a drink in his memory.
John Harris was assisted in the starting box by Colin Stokes, Chris Simon was the rule 42 on-the-water judge, and Clive Mence and Henry Defries operated the club Patrol boat.
Rob Wilder and his nine-year-old daughter Milly won the Porteous Cup for vintage Merlins at the de May series open meeting at Tamesis on Saturday 10 October. Sailing Flinkidink (1097), they scored clear firsts in the first two races and, with the best two of the three races to count, did not take part in the third.
Eight boats competed in a light easterly wind round a short course between the Albany and Trowlock Island, making the most of occasional gusts identified by welcome flurries on the surface of the river.
Flinkidink’s closest challenge came from Berry Ritchie and Sue Harris in Crescendo (607), who were second in both races and first in the final race after a very close contest with Martin Hunter, from Upper Thames SC, and Margarethar Van Dam in Quiver (774).
After the application of handicaps to allow for the different ages of the boats and their masts and sails, Flinkidink was first, Crescendo second and Nick Crickmore and Richard Holmes of Waveney and Oulton Broad YC third in Nitro (2972).
The Southcott Cup, awarded to the winner of the last race, was won by Berry and Sue.
The prizes were presented on Saturday by Vice Commodore Carolyne Vines. Brian Southcott was Race Officer, assisted by Hugh McLaughlin, Chris Simon was the on-the-water judge, and the patrol boat was operated by Doug Pope.
Ralph Anderson, Commodore of Ariel SC for 10 years from 1880 to 1990 passed away in hospital on 17 September. He was 89. His funeral at Leatherhead Crematorium on Thursday 1st October was attended by many old friends and sailing colleagues. Tributes to his leadership were paid in an address by Alan Woolford who said Ralph and Ruby were regular sailors in their Enterprise dinghy and joined other members at the visit to the two regattas run by Salcombe Yacht Club. They started an annual pilgrimage to Devon which lasted over 40 years and only ended three years ago when he was too frail for the journey there.
Ralph was also Chairman of the Association of Thames Valley Sailing clubs and took the helm of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Thames Valley Region. He served on the RYA Council for two terms. He later joined Papercourt Sailing club which was nearer his home.
Jon Redding won the Laser Barometer for the second year in succession at Tamesis on Sunday 4 October. Jon, normally a Merlin sailor, borrowed Rusty Old Bones (203991) from Mike Goldsmith and out-sailed 13 other Lasers in light winds, convincingly winning the first two races and deciding not to sail in the third. In so doing he missed the best wind of the day.
His main competition came from 16-year-old Nick Forbes in Greylag (188044), who scored two seconds and a first. Nick had the misfortune to miss out the two east-west cross river doglegs while he was leading in the first race and then having to unwind, losing valuable time.
Race Officer Colin Stokes wisely set a short course to allow for the lightness of the southerly wind, with an upstream start to a turning mark opposite the Albany and a downstream mark close to Trowlock Island. The competitors enjoyed the warm sunshine and made the most of the occasional gusts of wind it brought.
Nick’s closest rival was his grandfather, Donald Forbes, who had two fourths and a second in Storm (146120), finishing third overall. Fourth place went to visiting helm Mark Sancken, from Queen Mary SC, in (204678), with three thirds, scoring the same six points as Donald Forbes.
The prizes were presented by Commodore Stewart Colley, who had also taken part in the racing. Colin Stokes was assisted in the starting box by Fiona Bolwell and the club patol boat was manned by Ken Duffell and Richard Mason.
Caroline Croft, a former Tamesis Cadet, won the Felucca Trophy in light winds at Hollingworth Lake SC’s two day open meeting for Merlin Rockets on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September. She was crewed by Jane Clayton in Revolution (3657). There were 23 entries.
For a full report with pictures please see the Yachts and Yachting website at http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/185872/Merlin-Rockets-at-Hollingworth-Lake.