It might be the Winter Series but the club is enjoying seeing some really good fleets and is especially delighted to welcome our growing band of visitors. All we need now is for some equally enthusiastic wind to turn up to the party!
Having said that, sailing in light conditions tests a different section of the ‘How to Sail’ manual and for those who have done their homework, the rewards will come.
This was certainly the case in the Laser class where Henry Medcalf lead a fleet of seven from start to finish despite having to correct a couple of navigational errors and also doing some penalty pirouettes. Behind him was the Aussie battler Brendon Hills, and then Matthew Valentine.
The 11.00 start has suddenly become a lively affair with a slew of visiting and home Enterprises’ blue sails mixing in with the N18s. Many of our blue-sailed competitors are all on the familiar Tammy newcomer’s learning curve, especially when it comes to rounding the windward mark in light airs with a bit of stream running. Rumour has it that even more Enterprises will be joining us next week!
Henry Defries, crewed by Carolyne Vines, won the N18 race with Chris Pollard, crewed by Alistair Banks, second. The Enterprise race was won by Ed Mayley, crewed by James Budden, from Minima, with N18 stalwart Charles Fox, crewed by Robert Blakebrough second, and Chris Rowsell, crewed by Alistair Stewart third.
A baker’s dozen of Merlin Rockets, including our own David Baker of course, addressed the start line for a departure that reminded many of how narrow the river is, especially as no one fancied a run up the middle. The fleet’s arrival at the windward mark coincided with the presence of an assortment of boats from earlier starts, several of which were showing their boat control skills by managing to maintain forward momentum that exactly matched the speed of the opposing stream. Inevitably, this resulting in rafting that Thor Heyerdahl would have paused to admire; being a man of the world he would have appreciated the invective that accompanied proceedings.
At the front, there was a familiar pattern as Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts wriggled ahead of Richard Harris and Emma McDonald. However, competition is fierce in the Merlin fleet and with about two thirds distance covered, Richard and Emma retook the lead. Joe and Sean had to settle for second, with visitor Stuart Jenkins and Nicola Scadden third home (clearly getting the hang of Tamesis conditions), and Andy Harris with Matty Key next.
Further down the fleet there was some chopping and changing of positions with another solid result from Matt P-J and Lyra Wade, and even your correspondent and Flora Laidlow maybe finding some light wind speed (maybe!).
Many thanks to Mike Adams as OOD assisted by Jennifer in the Box, to Martin Thomas and Chris Wade for manning the Patrol Boat, Chloe and Yann who ran Phil’s Bar, and Alaphia for serving an excellent lunch. Also to Jonathan Key and Chris Wade for the pictures in this article and on this link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XRU8097v4r93MTnN_uIZBI3maosIhXqg?usp=sharing (which are apparently a useful tuning aid for the keen observer and have developed quite a following as a result……!).