Tamesis Club

July’s Thursday evening virtual racing

A keen baker’s dozen of skippers joined the first set of races in July’s Thursday evening series.  Six races were sailed, three in Stars and three in F18s.

In the Stars, both Harris brothers and Tom Low shared the bullets with the remaining podium places shared among a number of boats.

The high speed F18s again saw Richard Harris prevail, this time in two races with Jodok Gerber taking the third.

The standings after the very early stages of these competitions are shown below:

Tamesis Club prevails in virtual team racing hosted by Minima YC

Mike Blackledge reports on the recent inter-club team racing between Minima YC and Tamesis Club.

As on-the-water team racing is on hold for the time being, six intrepid Tamesis Club members arrived at Minima Yacht Club’s virtual bar on Wednesday evening, ready to do battle online, using the now familiar Virtual Regatta platform, with spectating being made available using ‘Zoom’.

Tamesis Club fielded two teams of three, selected on a first come, first served basis – Team 1 comprising Richard Harris, Jodok Gerber, and Tom Low, with Team 2 consisting of Andrew Harris, Peter Impey and Mike Blackledge.

Tamesis Club went into the event quietly confident, all representatives having shown well at various times during the recent virtual race series, run by Tim Medcalf.

The series consisted of six races – races 1, 2 and 3 pitting Minima YC Team 1 against Tamesis Club 1, and races 4,5,6 being contested between Minima YC Team 2 and Tamesis Club 2.

Utilising classic team racing tactics, Tamesis Club got off to a flying start with Jodok, Tom and Richard taking the first race with a 1,2,3 combination, following this up in race 2, with another winning tally of 1,2,4. Minima YC fought back, taking control and winning the remaining match for Teams 1.

After a change of crews, Team 2 was next up with Andrew, Peter and Mike winning all three of their matches, their final race being a resounding 1,2,3 for Tammy.

Tamesis Club therefore took a convincing overall series victory, five races to Minima’s one.

A great evening’s entertainment wash had by all, and thanks go to Minima YC’s Robin Broomfield for kindly organising the event.

There was much talk in the virtual bar afterwards, of a re-match, maybe even in real boats at some point! Such was the success of the event, virtual team racing between Tamesis Club and other local London clubs is currently being investigated, with the hope of maybe converting some of these matches to real life on-water competition.

June virtual sailing series wrap up

Although many members have switched their focus to a limited return to real world racing, there was still the matter of the final week of June’s virtual racing series to be addressed.

Races were run on Tuesday for the Juniors and Masters, Thursday evening, and then on Sunday evening to accommodate the morning racing which had been moved to allow for a return to the water.

The two age group leaders were decided in the Junior racing.  Tom Harris pulled ahead of Matty Key in the 11-16 year old group, while in the 10s and unders Edward Medcalf was bested by both winner William Balmbro and Arthur P-J who took second.

The Masters group saw the same podium group prevail from the previous week with the series being taken by Mike Blackledge, with Brian Corking in second and Tim Medcalf in third.  Mike therefore establishes himself as the Master Blaster having won both series run so far.

The first week of the Thursday series set the tone and Richard Harris’s victory never really looked in doubt at any point.  In the final week, he pulled out another point ahead of his brother Andrew with Peter Impey nudging past Mike Blackledge for third.

Tom Low scored three bullets in Sunday’s Pot Luck Pot to clinch the series and push previous high flyers Richard Harris and Jodok Gerber down in to second and third respectively.  A no-show at the last round of 49er racing saw series leader Alden Horwitz slip to fourth.  His place was taken by Richard Harris with Peter Impey and Andrew Harris close behind.

Well done to everyone who took part in the virtual racing and congratulations to the podium finishers.

The final standings for qualifying competitors are shown below:


Tamesis Club racers enjoy a morning out with the buoys

After several months enjoying a quiet life locked down in their shiny new wheeled barrow, the Tamesis Club racing marks made a long-anticipated return to the water on Sunday.

Tossed by a frisky breeze, the buoys saw nine Lasers take to the start of their fleet race, followed at a  suitably socially distanced interval by a fleet of four Merlin Rockets.

The Laser fleet wrestled its way around a simple up/down course with the frequent squally gusts catching a few skippers unawares as they blew the cobwebs away and re-familiarised themselves with racing after a long layoff.

In scenes reminiscent of recent virtual racing contests, Constantin Gerber took the line honours followed by a photo finish which saw Kaan Yargici pip Alden Horwitz for second.

The Merlin Rocket fleet got underway in slightly more benign conditions and enjoyed a stretch of its legs.  Despite the passing of time since the last outing, things had a familiar ring as Richard Harris and Maddie came home first from Ken Duffel and Matty, with Matt P-J and Arthur in third.

The bank-side spectators were quick to spot the potential in Peter Impey’s new boat Warhorse which showed some good speed and will likely settle in to be a strong competitor in the fleet.

Regardless of where they finished, all racers enjoyed their morning and the addition of a pop-up bar provided by Nicky Johnson.

Thanks to Carolyne Vines (OOD), Henry Defries for assisting, Chris Pollard for managing the foreshore, Paul and Sara Jamieson for crewing the patrol boat, Andrew and Debora Horwitz for preparing facilities to make them compliant, Carolyne and Anne Bayne for the photos.

Not forgetting the buoys of course.  Great job guys, we look forward to seeing you on the water again soon!



Penultimate week of June’s virtual racing sees series tighten

The third week of a month-long virtual racing series has often proved the most interesting as it is the time when discards start to take effect, and laggards can suddenly become leaders in one fell swoop.

The Tuesday Juniors saw Tom Harris and Matty Key draw level at the head of the 11-16 age group. Edward’s Medcalf’s lead in the 10s and unders group was also sliced away as only three points now separate the podium places.  Definitely all to play for in the final showdown.

The Tuesday Masters provided a respectable fleet yet again with some close racing and a bit of banter along the way.  The top three stayed the same as the previous week, Jonathan Key closed in on the podium.

Thursday evening racing was again a full house.  Constantin Gerber took two bullets with Richard Harris picking up the third.  One more win will see Richard achieve a perfect score for the series however brother Andrew is within touching distance and Constantin could still take the series victory if he has a stellar last session.

Sunday was Fathers’ Day and, where it applied, fathers beat sons to record a welcome victory for experience over youth.  The Pot Luck Pot included a somewhat laborious first outing the the new virtual Laser class.   Richard Harris retook the series lead from Jodok Gerber, with Dana Church continuing to hold third.

The 49ers saw wins for Richard Harris, Tim Medcalf and Matt P-J however Alden Horwitz continues to head the standings but with a much-reduced cushion.  Going in to the last week, a number of skippers could still take top slot.

NB: the final set of Sunday races will take place at 19.00  this week as the club is trialing a return to real sailing on Sunday morning.

The series standings are:


June’s virtual sailing series reaches halfway point

Tuesday’s Junior racing was dominated by Matty Key who bested Tom Harris to take first in all three races.  Edward Medcalf racked up two thirds with Arthur taking the third one.  In the big picture, Tom stays ahead of the fast-closing Matty in the older age category, while Edward leads the 10s and younger group.

Having taken a week off, Jonathan Key catapulted himself up the Masters leader board by scoring two bullets and a second place.  Mike Blackledge continued to impress adding a bullet and second to his tally.  Brian Corking and Tim Medcalf took the third places.  An honourable mention to the Commodore who is showing signs of finding his virtual sealegs, and turned in his best performance so far.

Thursdays have seen a consistent fleet with the maximum 20 skippers taking to the line for each race.  Looking to repeat his whitewash from week one, Richard Harris duly took the first win, then fell away in the next races to keep it interesting for the others.  Constantin Gerber and Matt P-J both took wins with the minor places being shared by a number of skippers including Andrew Harris, Peter Impey and Tom Low.

Jodok Gerber had a good morning in Sunday’s Pot Luck Pot with three trips to the podium, one to each step, putting him in first place overall.  Behind him, there is a tight bunch all carrying an array of results from the excellent to the best-forgotten.  It feels like this series will go to the wire and Pot Luck in terms of choice of boat could well determine the destiny of this month’s Pot.

Three Merlin helms, Andy Harris, Chris Balmbro and Tim Medcalf took firsts in the three 49er races.  The rest of the podiums were scattered through the fleet.  Again, this series is tight.  Alden Horwitz leads at halfway but a number of skippers behind him a carrying chunky discards which could swing the situation in their favour later in the month.

Full standings below:

June virtual racing series off to a flying start

After surviving the dramatic crescendo that was the closing week of May’s virtual racing, the fleets returned for more of the same, but different, racing.

Both the Juniors and Masters series have been extended to three back-to-back races with the Masters focusing on Stars.  Thursday evening racing is focusing on J70s, and Sunday’s racing has been switched to offering two series, one Pot Luck Pot the other in 49ers, each with three races per session.

Tuesday’s Junior fleet tackled a range of challenges which saw Tom Harris take an early lead, followed by Edward Medcalf and Matty Key.  It’s all to play for in this fleet and it will be interesting to see if some of the big guns from May’s racing return to the fray and mix things up.

In the absence of Jonathan Key, Brian Corking and Mike Blackledge dominated the Masters fleet, dividing the first and second places between them.  Rupert Fletcher, Jim Hamilton, and Stewart Colley each took a third place which could be important later in the series.

Any Merlin Rocket skippers taking part in Thursday evening’s virtual racing would have been forgiven for thinking that they had been transported to a real-life Sunday morning, as Richard Harris took three bullets and a commanding lead in the standings.

Mike Blackledge was the best of the rest eight points back, with Jodok Gerber the next contender eight points further behind.    All members of the chasing fleet have work to do so that this Thursday series doesn’t become a one horse race.

Sunday’s Pot Luck Pot racing was less clear-cut with Dana Church, Tom Harris and Peter Impey all achieving a first place along with a more mixed bag of other finishes.  Dana heads the standings but only five points separate the top five places with a tightly-bunched pack still within chasing distance.

The 49ers also caused many skippers to experience both the highs and lows of virtual racing on one day.  D. Gerber took the first race from C. Gerber, with Joe Woods recording one of his best results in third.  Richard Harris and Peter Impey also managed to top a race apiece.  However, it was a pair of third places and some consistent sailing which sees Alden Horwitz at the top of the standings.

The full standings are below:

A week of close racing wraps up May’s virtual competitions

After trialing virtual racing in April, May saw Tamesis Club embrace the concept with race evenings being added for Juniors, and Masters.  In addition, several club members took part in the Merlin Rocket Class Association championships.

The sailing program will expand further in June with additional races for the Junior and Masters series.  In addition, we will ring the changes for the Thursday and Sunday series.  We will also take advantage of the new venues and other features that have been made available through Virtual Regatta.

Turning to the action from May it was apparent, even to the most casual observer, that the quality of the fleets has improved significantly from those first few races in April.  These improvements are both in terms of skill at navigating the course, and also in interpreting the application of the rules to best advantage.

While the high speed classes have had a strong appeal, there is no doubt that the more sedate have given the fleets the closest and most tactical racing with outcomes going down to the wire.

The Juniors raced their inaugural series in a mixture of classes.  After a warm up race, they competed in two that counted for points.  Starting the final races, picking a winners of the 16s and under,and 10s and under groups was always going to be difficult.  Constantin, Matty and Henry all had a fistful of wins and podiums in the older group, while William had a slender lead over Arthur and Ed in the younger one.

Once the results had been calculated, Henry prevailed with Matty in second, and Tom Harris reaping the benefit of some consistent results in third.  Constantin suffered equipment failure in the last race which cost him a place on the podium.

The younger group results were even closer, with Arthur pipping William by one point for the top spot.  In turn, William pipped Ed for second on countback.  Judging by the feedback, it looks like everyone enjoyed themselves and we hope to see the every-improving India, Alfie, Sebastian and Alex challenging again in June.

The competition among the Masters skippers has been one of the highlights of May and the extra time on the water is enabling several to start cutting through in the Thursday and Sunday outings.

The series-long ding-dong battle between Mike Blackledge and Jonathan Key was split by one point as skippers lined up for the final two races.  Pressure is a funny thing and while Mike secured two bullets to close out the series with a perfect net of four points, Jonathan struggled, recording his worst results to date.  The beneficiary was a fast-closing Brian Corking whose pair of second places propelled him to a close third place.

Congratulations to all three who were the class of the field in May.  Will they be able to maintain that form over the 50% longer June series?

The penultimate edition of the Thursday evening standings showed Jodok Gerber at the head of affairs with Matt P-J in second, and Henry Medcalf in third.  Again, the weight of expectation played its part with these three front-runner scoring an average of eighth in their last two races.

Jodok had banked enough good results to hold on to his lead but Matt and Henry fell away badly.  Their places were taken by Alden Horwitz whose win in the first race put him in to second overall, and Matty Key who delivered a consistent pair of results to take third spot.

And so to Sunday morning and the three series it offers.  The Star class leaderboard was headed by Alden Horwitz, with Andrew Harris in second separated by three points from his brother Richard in third.

The on-water action didn’t disappoint.  Andrew prevailed in the battle of the bros, while Alden’s challenge for glory faded at the last.  The final standings being Andrew in first, Jodok Gerber claiming a close second after two excellent results, and Alden in third.

F50 racing has gained a reputation for being highly unpredictable and so it proved yet again.  While series leader Jodok secured the overall win, behind him it was all change.

Chris Balmbro was the story of the first race as he channeled his inner Ainslie and powered to a commanding win, levering himself up to fifth in the final standings.  Richard Harris had a morning to forget as his results dropped him from second to fourth.

The beneficiaries were Peter Impey who moved from third to second, besting Alden Horwitz on countback.

The Pot Luck Pot saw skippers tackle the contrasting demands of the 49ers and the Offshore racers.

The upper reaches of the fleet were tightly clustered, with six helms separated by six points; a high price would be paid for a small slip.  Tom Low, Jodok Gerber and Chris Balmbro all experienced this harsh reality.

While Alden held on to his series lead, the gainers were Henry Medcalf who moved from fifth to second, and Richard Harris who catapulted from ninth to third.  Well done to all three!

Thanks must go to the helpers in the eSmithy and to Zoe Adams for continuing to run the Sunday lunchtime Zoom drink and chinwag sessions.

The final placings for all qualifying helms are shown below:

Penultimate virtual races bring May’s Sunday series to the boil

So, the May virtual racing series has started to come to the pointy end of affairs.  A time when fortune favours the brave and split second decisions will decide outcomes for both good and ill.

The racing was suitably dramatic in all three fleets as skippers battled for podiums, the opportunity to best a long-standing rival, or just the satisfaction of finishing facing the right direction.

The Star class was up first.  This deceptively simple boat has produced some of the closest and most frantic virtual racing that Tamesis Club has seen.  They may not be fast but the Stars are quirky and this adds to their appeal.

Alden Horwitz had the measure of the Stars this week and picked up two bullets with Andrew Harris and Jodok Gerber picking up a second and third each.  Two races remain and Alden could close out the series with a single win.  There is also the prospect of Andrew and Richard Harris going mano-a-mano for second place; Andrew holds it at the moment but only by a slender three points.

Having started the morning with the frothy cappuccino that is Star class racing, next up was the double expresso-fueled adrenaline hit of the F50s.  Gerbers Jodok and Constantin took a wins apiece, with Richard Harris steadily scoring two seconds, and Alden and Jodok rounding out the podiums.

It looks like one of up to eight skippers could take the series next Sunday.  Anything could happen, and it usually does.

Finally, the fleet raced in the Pot Luck Pot.  J70s were chosen for the first race, in part to give Tamesis Club’s entrants for the Merlin Rocket class association racing a warm up before their qualifying events take place this week.  Good luck to all!

Tom Harris took the win and no doubt enjoyed the bragging rights over the family Sunday roast.  Henry Medcalf came second, and Peter Impey third.

The morning was rounded off with a blast in the Formula 18 catamarans.  Again, youth came to the fore with Henry winning, followed by the experienced Chris Balmbro, and Peter Impey in another third place.

No racer has managed to be the consistently dominant force in this month’s Pot Luck Pot and a winner could come from any of the nine skippers who are spanned by 10 points.  This will go down to the wire and should be fascinating for competitors and spectators alike.

Plenty of reasons to set the alarm for next week when we hope to see bumper fleets and champagne sailing once again as the series are decided.

Thursday evening series standings tighten after frenetic racing

There was little rhyme or reason to this Thursday’s three races, a situation not helped by some technical glitches within the game which forced some skippers to helm seemingly from 30,000ft.

Series leader Jodok Gerber wasn’t present to see the action and missed Matty Key snatch the win in the first race followed in by Andy Harris and Matt P-J.

Penalties were to be the story of race two as the fleet pushed the Offshore Racers and the VRI rules to the limit – the race control screen often awash with red penalty notifications.

Tom Low emerged from the carnage with the win, Peter Impey in second and Henry Medcalf in third.  An honourable mention must go to Jim Green who calmly piloted himself to a commendable fourth place – a fitting response to his trials in Tuesday’s Masters outing and maybe the promise of things to come.

A slightly battle-worn fleet took to the line for the final race of the evening.  Matt P-J won, while recent newcomer Brian Corking recorded his best result of the series with a second, and Daniel Gerber recovered from a couple of so-so races with a third place.

Next week will see the final three races of the May Thursday evening series and the top places are significantly more tightly bunched than was the case seven days ago.  A run of wins could see any of six skippers take the title.  Bragging rights are at stake further down the leaderboard.

The standings are below: