Tamesis Club

Thursday evening ‘Saga Trophy Series’ update 4

Here is John Adams’ report following the racing on Thursday 10 June:

The 6th race in this year’s Thursday evening Saga Trophy was sailed in a reasonable strength wind but one which varied in direction around a mean of SW.

The race attracted an unprecedented number of boats, 19 including a visiting helm and a couple of juniors, Iris Crampton and Matty Key.  In the shifty wind places were easily lost but Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in their N18 Zephyr manged to harness the zephyrs and coasted round to finish first on the water and on handicap.  Behind them, Tom Bayliss helming his father’s beautifully restored Merlin, showed the rest of the 5 Merlins how to master the conditions and finished second on the water.  Third was Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer-Hall in their Merlin Samanda trying hard to gain a few placed on Matt P-J in the overall results.

On handicap, Henry and Carolyne retained their lead, but with Charles Fox and Rob Blakebrough taking second in the N18 Genevieve and Matthew P-J taking a valuable third in his Laser.

This meant that with discards, Matt P-J goes back to the head of the table with Tim and Jennifer in second, but still capable of catching Matt if they win the next 2 races, and Matt finishes no higher than third.  Ken Duffell and Matt Valentine lie in third but also mathematically capable of winning the series of they win the next two races.  So still not a done deal and we look forward to the next 2 races with interest.

As Tim has mentioned, thank to the ODD crew and boat crew and also to Andrew, Deb and Alden Horowitz for providing the bar and a very tasty meal as well to round off a fantastic evening.

Centenary Cup 2021, a summer stunner!

After some organisational back and forth in the week prior, the Centenary Cup was run on Sunday afternoon with an excellently-sized fleet racing in glorious conditions.

The sign-on sheets register 26 entrants with a good mix of classes for this handicap pursuit event.

The club was particularly pleased to see seven of our Juniors giving racing a try and a sincere ‘well done’ is extended to Alex Hoo, Tom Harris, Leela and Arun Siebert-Patel, Edward Medcalf, William Balmbro, and Sara Krueger for giving it a go.

The box team of Colin and Margaret Stokes, supported by Jim Green, had ample opportunity to sound the hooter and gradually got the fleets under way.  Slowest boats depart first and a confident start is required to calm the nerves and stave off that daunting feeling of being pursued by faster craft.


The format can also lead to sailors who may not normally compete directly together coming into close quarters manoeuvring on the same part of the racetrack.  This resulted in some salty words of encouragement being exchanged on the water which appeared to be resolved later over a pint on the lawn.

Keeping a track on the finishing positions is never easy but the scoring team were confident that they had ‘counted them out, and counted them back in again’.

So to the prize-giving, where the Commodore awarded first place in the Senior Centenary Cup to Peter and Richard Mason in their Merlin Rocket 847 Bambusa.

In an unaccustomed second place came Andy Harris and Matty Key, followed by Berry Ritchie and debutante crew Nicola Siebert-Patel in third.

A clean sweep for the Merlin Rocket fleet in conditions that probably favoured the class.

The Junior Centenary Cup was won by Tom Harris, with Arun Siebert-Patel in second and Alexander Hoo in third, all racing Toppers.  Judging by the extensive plunging from the jetty into the river by a large group of Juniors, it had been a tiring and hot afternoon!

Congratulations to the race winners and to all who took part.

Thanks also to the all-important volunteers.  Colin and Margaret Stokes in the box with Jim Green, Florian Krueger and Onursal Soyer in the first patrol boat, and Charlie Morgan and Byron Hoo in the second.

Competitors were at least equally grateful to the apres-race team of Andrew and Deb Horwitz who served up much-needed cooling drinks that fuelled some convivial socialising on the lawns.

The handicap pursuit format obviously proved popular and there is an opportunity to reprise the experience on 27 June when the club will be running its annual Cutty Sark Bolt (Seniors) and Kempton Bolt (Juniors), long distance handicap pursuit event.  Always a cracking event with an interesting history so make a note in your diary!

Start times for Centenary Cup Pursuit races 13 June

The club is hosting its annual Centenary Cup Pursuit race on Sunday.

The race will take place in the afternoon, there is no sailing at the club in the morning due to a canoe event on the river.

There will be both a junior and adult version of the Centenary Cup which will run concurrently.  In order to help the OOD and the race management team, it is important that once the relevant finishing signal has been given, boats stay in position relative to other competitors until the results have been recorded.

The weather looks like it will be hot and sunny with a gentle breeze so don’t forget the suncream, sunglasses and hat!

The start times for the Junior race are:


The start times for the adult race are:

Jack’s Trip and Offshore Group Dinner 2021

Here is Daniel Gerber’s report and link to a video about this annual event.

A total of four boats took part in this year’s Jack’s Trip. Given a very busy Solent on the Bank Holiday weekend and a forecast of light winds and sunny hot weather for the Saturday a course was planned in the Eastern Solent from Horse Sand Fort via Bembridge Ledge, Nab Tower and New Grounds back to Horse Sand Forts.
Very light winds forced us to shorten the course but even then only two boats, Sandy Lady (S: Jim Hamilton, C: Stewart Colley, Clive Mence) and Polaris (S: Daniel Gerber, C: Kathrin and Constantin Gerber, Ian Ramage, missing Chris and Suzy Balmbro) made it around the course. Marigold (S: Alan Green, C: Mike Lane, Simon Suter) and Barbarick (S: Howard Thatcher, C: Paula Thatcher, Garrie Mallen, Alastair Banks) admittedly did not make it around any marks but excelled in crossing the finishing line very close to the time prescribed in the Notice of Rally. All boats had to perform a “Man Over Board” manoeuvre under sail during the course, a task every skipper and crew accomplished on the first attempt and between 50 seconds and under five minutes.
At the Offshore Group Dinner on the upper deck of “the Lightship” at Haslar Marina with all crews now fully complete Marigold was well deservedly declared the overall winner of the day. After a round of self confessionary speeches by the skippers, the Seacock Trophy which honours the biggest “cock-up” (or series thereof) produced by a boat during Jack’s Trip, was democratically awarded. The participants unanimously voted Sandy Lady to win the prestigious trophy this year for losing a crew member into Beaulieu River on her return from Jack’s Trip 2019, for being late at the start line after being tide locked in Bembridge Harbour and for failing to take the spinnaker sail from its winter storage at home.
Jack’s Trip and the Offshore Dinner are open for participation to any Tamesis Member on their own or on a chartered boat or as a member of crew and we look forward to an even higher participation in 2022.
Click the link to watch the video on the event produced by Kathrin Gerber:

Thursday evening ‘Saga Trophy Series’ update 3

Here is John Adams’ latest update.

The wind for the first Thursday evening sail of June was a slightly less glassy than the previous Thursday’s race but according to the OOD varied between SW and NW in direction.  Fourteen boats took to the water, including a Topper.  It was good to see a few new competitors exploring the joys of a Thursday evening sail.

On the water it was a N18 bonanza with Kaan and Matt in the bright red Optimus, the Ultimate N18,  leading the fleet, with Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer Hall following in their Merlin, Samanda, but closely followed in turn by Henry DeFries and Carolyne in the penultimate N18, Zephyr.  All the top five boats finished within just over a minute of each other giving some idea of the competition.

On handicap, the N18s swept the board, with Henry and Carolyne  first, Kaan and Matt second and Chris Pollard and Caroline Stilwell third.

The overall situation has changed, with Tim Medcalf and Jennifer leading, closely followed by Ken Duffel and Matt Valentine, with Matt Peregrine-Jones dropping to third.  However there are still 3 races to go in the Saga series, 4 to count so its not over yet.

Sunday racing 6 June

The glorious Teddington Riviera didn’t disappoint as the fleets gathered for another morning of navigating the shifty puffs of wind that lay in wait.

Rather unusually, the Laser fleet were all on the water in time for their start signal but less unusually had to labour in a fitful breeze to the Canbury.  Rather to his own surprise, it was bejant Henry Medcalf who emerged in the lead around the first mark and held on all the way to the Lensbury turn where he realised he was lining up to take the buoy the wrong way.  The pursuers overtook while he corrected his navigational faux pas and a valuable, if chastening, lesson was learned.

Set a dogleg course, the Lasers had some extra challenges to contend with compared to the other fleets.

Congratulations to Brendan Hill who emerged victorious and claimed his first win since recently joining the club.  Ros Warwick-Haller came in second, and Stewart Colley, occupied third.

It is clear that the Tamesis Club Laser fleet is developing in to one where the winner can come from almost anywhere in the fleet.  This bodes well for the future and promises a continuation of the tight nip and tuck racing.

Three National 18s glided to the start line but only very slowly.  So slowly in fact that they were easily overtaken by some open water swimmers who were out for a bit of gentle crawl.

The Commodore Chris Pollard, crewed by Alastair Banks found their groove and came in a well-deserved first place on the water.  They were followed home by Charles Fox and crew, with Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in third.

The Merlin Rocket fleet welcomed the return of ‘Crescendo’ (MR607) and her helm Berry Ritchie crewed by new member Nick James.

Starting as the Lasers were finishing and the N18s passing through, the Merlin departure was a little busier than a nine boat fleet might expect and made getting some clear air a problem.

Once away from the line, the swift tackers forced themselves to the front and a group of three boat comprising Andy Harris and Matty Key, Peter and Richard Mason, and Tim Medcalf and Flora Laidlow broke away with the lead changing frequently.

Despite the layoff, Berry quickly regained his sea legs and smoothly brought himself in to contention with the pointy end of the fleet, going on to be first across the line.  However, his champagne had to remain on ice due to an earlier infringement which saw Berry graciously retire himself from the scorecard.  This handed the win to Andy Harris, with the Masons coming in next, a canvas ahead of Medcalf/Laidlow.

Sailors were joined by supporters and spectators on the lawn for drinks from the bar and another outstanding BBQ run by Team Horwitz.  Perfect summer fare and thank you to Andrew, Deb, and Alden for running the BBQ, and Nicky Johnson and helper for the bar.

Thanks also to Marcus and Nicky Chavasse for managing the racing, to Martin Thomas and Graham King for running the patrol boat, and Jonathan Key for the photos.



Thursday evening ‘Saga Trophy Series’ update 2

Here is John Adams’ latest update:

The last Thursday evening sail in May for the Sage Trophy went out with a whisper, a very light wind recorded as being from the south west but varying significantly around that.

10 boats braved the elements with 8 of those managing to drift around 2 laps.

It was a Merlin Bonanza with Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer Hall leading the way on the water and handicap followed by Ken Duffel and Matt Valentine, again on the water and on handicap.  Although not the first N18 to finish, that prize going to Chris Pollard and Carline Stillwell, Charles Fox and Rob Blakebrough took third place on handicap.

Matt P-J was on duty for the evening so while he still leads the series, his lead has shrunk, with Tim Medcalf snapping on his heels, followed by Ken and Matt and then John Adams and Sophie Harrison in 4th.  However the series is only half way through and plenty of opportunities for places to change.

Thanks to Carolyne Vines, the bar was open in the clubhouse, for a select few but was a very welcome end to a quiet but beautiful Thursday evening.

Here is the latest table of results:

Summer Series racing Sunday 30 May

A chilly start to the day had many who were attired for warm climes wondering whether the sunshine promised by your correspondent in last week’s race report would actually eventuate.

OOD Berry Ritchie, supported by Sue Harris, set a dogleg course that included a tricky leeward mark made all the more testing by the finicky, mostly easterly breeze.

The Laser fleet again featured a number of newcomers taking advantage of the club boats and there was a satisfying mass start.  Ros Warwick-Haller, who is establishing herself as the helm to beat in light airs, again surged away from the line to take a lead that was never challenged.

Behind Ros, there was some argy-bargy as the boats navigated the windward mark with new boy Henry Medcalf needing to visit the headmaster’s study to do penalty turns.  Undaunted, Henry worked his way back to second place and was looking good for a strong maiden result only to be bested by Kaan Yargici at the last mark.

Three N18s graced the start line for the 11am departure.

Nine Merlin Rockets wheeled and twirled before the start signal sounded, all seeking the ideal spot that balanced a favourable wind and minimal stream.  Once the gun had sounded, the Harris brothers occupied the first two places while behind them three Jack Holt designs had an entertaining race with frequent changes of the order.

Richard and Maddie Harris won (also sailing a Jack Holt boat), Andrew Harris  and Matty Key came second, and the Chimp-owning cheeky monkeys who are David Baker and Jim Green were the best of the rest.

The club was bathed in some glorious sunshine as the last of the boats were being packed away and the Veranda Bar did a swift trade, dispensing an array of refreshing libations.

A catch-up prize giving was organised to recognise the winners of the 2019/20 winter series racing which was slightly curtailed by the pandemic.  However, enough races had been run for placings to be determined and the following awards were made:

Laser Frostbite Mug

  • 1st Matt P-J
  • 2nd Stewart Colley
  • 3rd Chris Taggart

Merlin Rocket Black Mark Trophy

  • 1st Andrew Harris and Matty Key
  • 2nd Richard Harris and Emma McDonald
  • 3rd David Baker and Jim Green

Merlin Rocket Winter Handicap

  • 1st Andrew Harris and Matty Key
  • 2nd Richard Harris and Emma McDonald
  • 3rd John and Zoe Adams

Merlin Rocket Black Hen Trophy

  • 1st Andrew Harris and Matty Key

Merlin Rocket Geoff Cooper Trophy

  • 1st Andrew Harris and Matty Key

Congratulations to all the podium finishers!

Thanks as ever to this week’s volunteers.  In the box Berry and Sue, in the boat Mark Gardner and Jonathan Key.  Also to Nicky Johnson and helpers for running the bar.  Also thanks to Laser Class Captain John Edmondson who, at short notice, generously allowed one of our Junior Sailors Matthew Valentine to borrow his boat; a great example of the club’s supportive spirit.

Thursday Evening ‘Saga Trophy Series’ update

Here is John Adams’ summary of the series so far:

The Summer 2021 Thursday evening Saga Trophy has started with three very different races.

The first race on 6th May was a very atypical Thursday evening, a wind that blew from a good direction, north westerly, and a decent strength for the whole evening. 10 boats started, and finished with the Lasers of Matt Peregrine Jones and Jon Redding ruling the roost, 1st and 2nd on the water as well as on handicap.

The next week saw a typical Thursday evening wind, fitful, fluky and from the east, or thereabouts.  Eleven boats started including a couple of National 18s as well as Lasers, Merlins and Jim Hamilton in his Firefly.  This time Ken Duffell in his Merlin, Avenger,  crewed by his grandson Matthew Valentine led from start to finish, and also took the race on handicap.  He was followed on the water by the other two Merlins, Tim Medcalf and Flora Laidlow in Samanda and John Adams and Martin Hyde in Saltarello.  On handicap however Ken and Tim took 1st and 2nd, with Matt P_J in 3rd in his Laser.

The following Thursday, 20th May, was a complete change with a gusty and challenging SSW wind, and only 5 boats (3 Lasers and a lone Merlin) to brave the elements.  Ken decided to give the others a chance after his start to finish victory the previous week and athletically flung himself over the side to counter a particularly frisky gust, but without the restraint of his toe straps and left Matt alone in Avenger.  Merlin’s being what they are he was not able to empty the boat enough to continue and retired.  At the head of the fleet Matt P-J and Kaan Yargici completed a valiant 6 laps in that order with Brendon in his Laser the only other finisher.

After 3 races, Matt P-J is the runaway leader on 5 points with three other helms equally placed behind him on 25 points, namely Ken Duffell and Matt Valentine in Merlin Avenger, Tim Medcalf in Merlin Samanda and Chris Taggart in his Laser.  However with 4 races to count and 5 more races to sail in the series, there is plenty of opportunity to knock Matt off his perch.  In addition to the sailing the balcony bar has been a welcome addition to the evening, making a good break in the week before the weekend. Thanks to those that have volunteered to run the bar.

Results are:

Sunday racing with added special sauce 23 May

The forecast didn’t disappoint in that it was disappointing for anyone hoping to race in conditions that looked vaguely like the start of summer.  The wind pivoting between southwest and south resulted in a course that was set to take the fleet on a foray ‘above the island’ to have a look at Canbury Gardens.

Six Lasers were given a schooling by the ‘master’ Jon Redding who came home a clear winner seemingly entirely untroubled by the conditions.  Behind him there were varying degrees of challenge.  Congratulations to Bendan Hills for getting round in his new boat and showing signs of being a contender in the fleet, also to Alexey Anatskiy for having the resilience to make it to the finish.

The Merlin Fleet was slightly depleted but eight plucky crews braced themselves for the voyage upstream, and back down again, three times.  After some early close running with Joe Mclaughlin and Sean Roberts, Andy Harris and Matty Key proved to be the class of the field and were the clear winners by a very comfortable margin.  David Baker and Jim Green were in next followed at a distance by the survivors of an intriguing mid/rear-field battle which saw places swapped with regularity, every boat having its moment in the sunny (rainy/windy) uplands of success matched by a sharp dose of river racing reality.  Special mention to Peter Impey, crewed by late stand-in the ever-enthusiastic Sophie Harrison, who featured in the mix early on and persevered to finish – surely more to come here?

While some sailors felt that they had had to laugh in the face of some extreme conditions on the water, they were as nothing compared to the extreme BBQing challenges that the redoubtable Team Horwitz endured to produce their high quality gourmet burgers.  These tasty treats were welcomed by all who bought one and it is hoped that they will make a return, accompanied by lashings of sunshine, in the near future.

Along with Team Horwitz, the club would also like to thank the Commodore, Peter Bide, Garrie Mallen, and Florian Kreuger for running the patrol boats, Beatrice Russ for keeping the race box ticking along with German efficiency, and Nicky Johnson and team for bringing beverages to the masses despite the rain and wind coming through the doors!

The latest forecast for Thursday evening and next weekend suggests a band of more clement weather is on the way and we look forward to seeing some good fleets on those days and, maybe just maybe, the start of a beautiful summer!

Below is a selection of shots from the racing, thank you to Jonathan Key.