Despite many being more than 120 years old, time has not diminished the Thames A Rater’s ability to cause a stir and instantly be centre of attention on the river. They were designed when raw racing speed was delivered with grace and style and they look fast even standing still.
This last factoid was important today as, due to a chronic lack of wind, the A Raters were struggling to make consistent forward progress. However, their imposing presence quickened the pulses of 10 of the club’s Junior sailors who climbed aboard to find out what the A Raters are all about.
Thanks to the generosity of the A Rater owners, many of our Juniors not only had the chance to take a ride, but also to helm, in some cases coaxing their historic steeds to achieve speeds that would have been welcomed by the teams racing earlier in the afternoon. One shoreside Merlin sailing wag wondered whether an A Raters rig might be legal for their boat given its excellent light wind performance.
Yes, it might have been a bit of a drift but there were tales a-plenty when the Juniors came back on shore, accompanied by big smiles and some enquiries about the possibility of an A Rater to be added to our collection of club boats.
The A Rater fleet has instantly created a whole new fan-base and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2022 when we hope to have the opportunity to come out for another sail on these majestic beasts.
Tamesis Club would like to thank the A Rater syndicates for allowing our Juniors to experience this truly unique sailing experience, it is much appreciated by Juniors and parents alike.
Finally, thank you also to Chris Wade and Jonathan Key for taking the excellent photos that accompany this article.