Tamesis Club

Winter Series racing 6 February 2022

Whatever the reason, probably not last week’s fake news bluff of the weather gods, our plucky band of competitors had plenty on in the wind department today.  The simple up-down course came with some interesting additional features including a downwind leg which required competitors to sheet to close hauled to the make the leeward mark.  Equally perplexing were the turns, gusts and eddies that claimed a number of victims at the allegedly windward end of the course.

As ever, the Lasers were the first to test the conditions.  The daring duo of Matthew Valentine and Jim Hamilton gingerly crossed the line in to the fray.  Matthew found himself blown up the Surrey bank at one point which kyboshed his outing and allowed Jim to use his experience to pilot his craft safely across the finish line and take the win.

Next, the Enterprises had a go.  By this time there was a band of spectators on the lawn and a number of fruity exclamations were heard as the blue sailed racers tackled the windward mark.  There were more than a few wobbly moments and at least one crew stuck it in the tide.  Ed Mayley and James Budden took (yet another) bullet from Robin Broomfield and Paul Bloomfield in second, with Charles Fox and Robert Blakeborough in third.  Their win wraps up the series for Ed and James (and Sarah) who have shown their ability to adapt to a range of conditions on an unfamiliar stretch of the river.  Well done to them and it will be interesting to see if they can make it a clean sweep.

The N18 fleet decided to take a rain check.

Nine Merlin Rockets limbered up and addressed the line for a clean getaway.  However, there were a couple of early fallers and the windward mark claimed another victim.  By this time, the leeward mark was playing by a different set of rules, seemingly sitting in a capricious wind shadow of its own.  This made something that was already unpredictable only more so.

Charlie Morgan and Alexey Anatskiy took a dip, yes, the windward mark again, as the attritional conditions continued to challenge.

However, one man’s poison is another man’s meat (or something like that) and it was Andy Harris crewed by Matty Key who thrived in the maelstrom, pulling out a solid lead.  Behind them, Joe Mclaughlin and Sean Roberts took a hard-won second place, with Richard Harris and Emma McDonald in an unaccustomed third – the club keeper of records is checking when that last happened.

At the risk of being parochial, mention must be made of Bethan Roberts whose arms became several inches longer while doing sterling work being the ‘monkey-on-a-spring’ in the engine room of MR3667; the upcoming Junior Sailing season will hold no fears for her whatsoever!

The clubhouse was vibrant with chat as sailors booked appointments with Drs Guinness, Heineken and Rebellion-Brewery to settle their nerves, and the spectators relaxed after watching the sport.  Again the kitchen team led by Alaphia cooked up a delicious hot lunch which certainly seemed to have the desired effect of restoring the spirits of the assembled company, especially those who had spent part of their day straining on the righting lever.

Thanks as ever to the box team, this week Graham King and Tim Ginn.  Also to Ken Thatcher and Ellen Schwartz in the patrol boat who were called upon a number of times, and to the bar/kitchen brigade.  Finally to Carolyne Vines and Alastair Banks for the photos.

Great fun all round.  While the end of the Winter Series is in sight, there is still plenty to race for and we hope that the strong turnouts continue.