A very select few took to the water on Sunday. The current had slowed down, the westerly wind strong enough to keep the boats going in the lulls. The gusts were sudden and very strong. Those that sailed were so fed up with not having a race in recent weeks they could not resist the prospect of a blast and had a great time, really blowing away the cobwebs.
The lone Merlin helmed by John Adams and crewed by Mattie Key survived without a capsize. The five Lasers had quite a few spills between them but all of them did some spectacular planing.
Thanks to Jim Green who acted as OOD assisted by Toby, with Ken Duffell, Jonathan Key, Paul Jamieson and in the Patrol boats. Thanks also go to Ros and team for keeping us fed and watered.
A crowded club room was fascinated by the talk about the Battersea Power Station development last Thursday. Associate Director Suzette Dela Vega-Edmondson showed the plans and virtual reality models which keep this vast project going. The questions afterwards came thick and fast, but we left feeling far better informed about the redevelopment of this iconic London building.
Suzette was backed up by colleague Paul and husband John.
Thanks to Jo Carstens and team for a very tasty meal and running the bar.
The combination of strong winds and currents made for ideal conditions to complete our Seamanship Skills course much of which is based around coastal conditions particularly the classic wind against tide /wind with tide situations with current substituting for tide.
After a gruelling theory session in the morning we got on the water to practise
Backward Sailing – cover photo
And lots of other tricky stuff .(rudderless, centreboard-less, heaving to and reefing).
Finishing this course early frees us up to do some in house powerboat training, please let me know if you are interested .
Next event Instructor Refresher day on Feb 16th details to be confirmed but no charge and all welcome.
The wind on Sunday was a strong and gusty westerly, which meant the Lasers had plenty of capsize practise, and the Merlins had a struggle to stay upright sometimes and two didn’t. The stream also had a big impact on the figure of eight course in front of the club. There was a good mixed entry in the 1030 race.
Tim Medcalf’s report on the Merlin race below:
Eight Merlin Rockets addressed the start line in an entertaining westerly which took pleasure in shifting and switching along the course in response to the built obstructions.
The first lap saw some fraternal argy-bargy between the leading boats with others profiting, if only temporarily, from the loss of attention that resulted. Skillful mark rounding in tight proximity to other boats and taking full consideration of the stream was paramount with several runners and riders having to take a penalty turn (now in force in lieu of a mark re-rounding) for bumping the corners.
Places changed frequently throughout the fleet with some early gainers losing their advantage, and initial laggards progressing as they mastered the conditions.
A couple of crews took a swim. One coming ashore with nothing more than dampened pride, the other with a broken mast and a need to call the insurers.
At the line, Richard Harris and Emma took the honours followed, by David Baker and Jim Green, Andy Harris and Matty Key in third.
Post-race drinks were well-deserved and the forecast suggests that the fleet can expect more of the same next week!
Six Lasers started, with a few capsizes before the start, and many after. Constantin Gerber and Matt Jones swapped places throughout the race with Constantin finally crossing the line first.
Thanks to OOD Joe Woods, Box helper Anne Bayne, Kaan Yargici, George Barber, Carolyne Vines and Chris Pollard in the Patrol Boats. Thanks also go to Lauren and helpers for keeping us fed and watered.
The Vice Commodore, Carolyne, having set a cheerful tone with the provision of an excellent fizz, called the assembled company to order. Following a very good dinner from Chef Ollie and his team, Alan Green, the current holder of the Uffa Spoon, presented an comprehensive picture of the year’s less planned occurrences, finishing with a detailed description of the circumstances which warranted Brian Harper-Lewis becoming the new holder of the Spoon.
This event was the last to be masterminded by Nicky Johnson as Rear Commodore (House) and was an excellent example of the attention to detail which she has applied to events during her tenure of this Office.
The cover picture shows Alan Green presenting the Uffa Spoon to the new holder Brian Harper-Lewis. Brian is often to be seen mowing the grounds, cleaning the foreshore and many other jobs. His work is invaluable in keeping the club going.
My thanks go to all the participants and organisers – Alan Green for his very amusing speech, Brian for accepting the ‘Uffa Spoon’. The organisers – Nicky Johnson and the House Committee for planning and setting up the clubhouse on the day. David Baker for organising the welcome drink, Chris Pollard for production of the superb menu card. Ollie the chief and his team for the fabulous meal. Never to forget our staff – Harry Harris and Megan in the bar, and Jakob and Leon in the kitchen.
Despite an extremely strong stream, seven Lasers fancied their chances thanks to strengthening though shifty southerly winds. Visitor Tom Low, sailing Carolyne’s boat, led from the start, and though Kaan kept him honest, he went on to triumph in a course that took the sailors above the island. Chris Taggart just managed to hold off a late-starting Stewart Colley for third place, with John Edmondson coming in fifth.
Today’s Merlin Rocket race saw nine boats take to the line. A building WSW breeze saw an upstream course set with the windward mark above the island.
The Harris brothers led the fleet away from the line and as the boats disappeared from the view of the landlubbers on the bank towards Kingston Bridge, it looked like there would be a tight tacking battle in the consistent conditions.
As is often the case, when the Merlins re-emerged from above the island heading towards the downstream mark, Richard Harris in Passing Cloud had a commanding lead with brother Andy in a distant second followed by David Baker and Jim Green flying their kite deep to the mark.
The front of the race became a one-horse one with Richard extending his lead with each lap and going on to a handsome win.
Behind him, a number of tussles broke out between Andy Harris and Joe McLaughlin for second and third, and David Baker and Peter Mason for the next places.
In the end, Andy bested Joe and, eschewing the temptation to hoist his spinnaker and taking a better line for the stream, Peter saw off David.
Again, a strong showing from the Merlin group, great sport for the spectators and fun for those on the water.
Thanks to OOD Peter Johnson and team Sally and Adrian Warwick Haller, Patrol Boat crew David Jerram and Johannes Wagner
Ros Warwick-Haller gave an intriguing talk about the way in which the reintroduction of the Red-Billed Chough to Jersey has been done, which she had studied and assessed for her MSc thesis. It was well received by a sizeable audience.
Six Merlin Rockets took to the start line in a building westerly breeze which saw some lively gusts as well as some testing quiet patches. As ever at this time of year, the upstream start required choices to be made about location on the river and balancing a desire for the best wind against the reality of the flow.
The race developed into a cracker with four boats vying for the leading positions; breakaways were chased down and the lead changed hands several times. The oddly becalmed Lensbury mark being the fulcrum on which many boat’s fates turned. It was excellent to see that three were crewed by junior members who are getting some great experience at the pointy end of the fleet.
At the finishing line, the leading four racers were separated by only a few boat lengths. Andy Harris and Matty Key took the honours. John Adams and Maisie Key staged an amazing comeback on the last couple of legs to advance from a distant fourth to a close second place. David Baker and Jim Green will see this race as a reason to come back next week after having had a handsome lead midway through the piece but finishing third. Chris Balmbro and Alfie Williams showed the promise of their new partnership by staying more than in contention with a very sporting fourth place.’
Report by Tim Medcalf
Nine Lasers – a record for this season – turned out to brave the gusts and the strong stream, and Matt P-J dominated from the start, with Kaan Yargici, coming in second. But standout performance must go to youngster Alden Horwitz, who’s only recently graduated from cadets, showing many more experienced sailors how to cope with the challenging conditions, especially the downstream mark, where there was very little wind, and lots of stream.
Report by Chris Taggart
Thanks to OOD Charlie Morgan and team Cherry Ehrlich, Jim Hamilton and Alan Hall for organising a fun race and Jo, Lauren and Tom for keeping us fed and watered
The 46th Annual GW Direct Bloody Mary Pursuit Race held at Queen Mary SC in Staines on Saturday 11th January turned out to be a survival event. 280 boats of varying classes entered but only 169 finished the long course. The weather forecast was correct, and a lot of teams didn’t go out. Launching against the gusty strong onshore wind proved to be a real challenge. Once out, many others found it too much and retired.
Three Tamesis boats entered – two National 18s and Griff Tanner in his RS400. Griff got lucky and picked up a crew from the shore – ex Tamesis Cadet Arthur Henderson. Ollie Houseman, Steve Watton and Jeremy Vines sailed their new National 18′ ‘Ace’ and Matt Jones, Peter Impey and Joe in Optimus Prime also represented the 18s. Optimus Prime capsized early on and retired. Ace (shown in the cover picture) finished and had a great sail.
It looked like there wasn’t going to be any sailing again on Sunday. The current was still strong, and the light and flukey wind coming from the south. The racing was postponed until the wind filled in enough. OOD Chris Pollard laid a short course in front of the clubhouse.
Two Merlins went out, followed by three Lasers, and were out for about half an hour.
Thanks to the race team of Chris Pollard, Mark, Robin Lince and Paul Jamieson for their part and to Lauren, Tommy and Leon for laying on the food and drinks.