Tamesis Club

Merlin Rocket Open, DeMay and Thames series 2021

The wind gods pulled through and there was enough for four races to be run across the day.  The course was a simple Canbury-Lensbury but the wind direction gave a good upwind/downwind set of challenges with plenty of spinnakers flying and tacks on shifts.

Richard Harris and Sara Warren took the majority of the silverware in the form of the Sondown Cup, the Elizabeth Bowl and the Porteous Cup.  Andy Harris and Matty Key won the Southcott Trophy.

The combined Mclaughlin and Roberts clans, supported by Meghan in the bar did outstanding work keeping the competitors fed and watered with an outstanding BBQ lunch and afternoon tea.

Thank you to Peter and Pauline Fryer for making the races run so crisply, Kaan, Steve and Philippe for running the boat, Chris Simon for adjudicating the rules, The Commodore for awarding the prizes, and Carolyne Vines for taking the photos.

 

 

 

Tamesis Club Autumn Regatta 2021

The forecast looked ominously lacking in that vital ingredient for sailing – wind.  So much so, that the late addition of a SUP race (see separate report) to the regatta schedule could have been the only on-water activity for the day.

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained so OOD Matt P-J assisted by Garrie Mallen set a simple sausage course in front of the club and got the Merlin Rocket fleet away on time at 11, followed by fleets of Lasers, N18s and handicap which comprised our very welcome visitors from Minima Yacht Club as well as David Baker and Jim Green in their Albacore.

A series of three races were held across the day and the commentary on each would be the same – there wasn’t much wind but if you looked in the right places, and accepted the need to be constantly ‘changing gear’ there was enough to get round.  But only very slowly.

All fleets occasionally experienced the effect that any material gust of wind could render with placings changing quickly and anyone who was stuck in neutral being left behind.  A puff could also cause some comedicaly low speed bumping and barging at the marks which could have race-ending consequences if penalty turns were required.

It is a reflection of how trying the day was that the bar did a brisk trade in calming consolation drinks and a few racers were overheard saying that they’d prefer to be back playing golf as it is a less frustrating sport.

In the end, enough sailing was done for Matt to be able to determine a finishing order in each fleet with prizes being presented by Vice Commodore Peter Johnson.

Peter Johnson won the Laser fleet, with Brendan Hills in second, and Laser Class Captain John Edmondson in third.

The N18 fleet was won by Charles Fox crewed by Roy Williamson.

The handicap fleet was won the Enterprise of Ed Mayley and James Budden, with the Enterprise of Robin Broomfield and Paul Bloomfield in second.

Finally, the Merlin Rocket fleet was won by Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts in ‘Lady Anne’, followed by Andy Harris and Matty Key in second, and Tim Medcalf and Flora Laidlow in third.

Thank yous are due to our visitors from Minima YC; to Matt P-J, Garrie Mallen, Geoff Malseed and Charles Tugendhat for running the racing and the patrol boats; to Henry Defries for wrangling the trophies and glassware; and to Nicky Johnson and David Wagner for managing the bar.  Finally, thank you to Jonathan Key and Carolyne Vines for the photos.

 

 

SUPer SUP race at Tamesis Club Autumn Regatta 2021!

Having fun on the river comes in many forms and Tamesis Club (note, it is not Tamesis Sailing Club) is keen for its members to find that fun whether it comes from doing a range of watersports or simply sitting on the veranda enjoying a glass of something chilled, watching the world go by.

The organisers of this year’s Autumn Regatta wanted to recognise the growing size and importance of our enthusiastic Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) community.  What better way than to stage our inaugural club SUP race!

Welcomed by SUP Class Captain Leah Fraser, a fantastic turnout of 18 SUP racers, comprising both club members and visitors, signed on and then enjoyed a short workshop on the lawn about how to make a SUP go quickly.

To the water next and the competitors lined up across the river opposite the jetties for the start.  When the fleet was more or less level, the hooter went and the river was churned by a dozen and a half paddlers frantically accelerating their boards off the line.

The course took the group up and around the far end of Stevens Ait, down to the Lensbury buoy and then across the start/finish line.

It’s fair to say that Tamesis Club members love a good race in whatever form it is to be found and the shoreside spectators, once adjusted to the idea of enjoying some non-sail-based racing, got in to the spirit with plenty of clapping and cheering.  #SUPport.

The fleet soon disappeared ‘between the islands’ preparing to make the turn to port and head back down the bank towards the Lensbury mark.  There was a palpable frisson of anticipation along the bank to see who would be in the lead.

First to emerge was intrepid young Oskar Yargici coxing his father Kaan to maintain a steady and powerful pull on the paddle.  This duo was setting a relentless pace and achieving majestic progress.

Behind them came a group of adult male competitors who were making propulsion look somewhat less intuitive but were enjoying a hard fought, brawn-based paddle battle, whisking the river to a foam as they went.

Next to hove in to view was the elegant Suzette Edmondson whose experience showed as she gapped the pursuing ladies and sallied forth to administer a ‘chicking’ to any man who was starting to flag in front of her.

Then came a flurry of paddlers of all ages, shapes, and abilities.  The crowd was loving it and encouraging their favourites.

So to the finish where competitors, in varying states of exhaustion, were able to finally down tools and relax while encouraging the later arrivals across the line.

Once back on the lawn, there was a prize giving for the winners in a range of categories.

Kaan won first male (although strictly speaking Oskar was just slightly ahead of him all the way round).

Suzette Dela Vega-Edmondson won the female category.

Matty Key was first U18, Leela Siebert-Patel first U16.

First paddler with a pet on board was Laura Torok with her dog Reggie Hewes AKA ‘Puppy Paddler’.

Two further special awards were made.  One to Maria Edmondson for being the youngest competitor who paddled their own board (sorry Oskar) and the second to Eva Romanet-Campana who took the ‘Never Give In, Never Surrender’ award while gamely bringing up the rear on her first ever SUP outing.

Congratulations to all the trophy winners.

It is a well-worn cliche to say that ‘sport was the winner’ but in this case it is appropriate as Tamesis Club saw evidence of a vibrant new source of sporting enthusiasm within its midst.  The club would like to thank Leah Fraser for her support of the event, to the powerboat crew who followed the fleet while being careful not to create a wake that could upset the racers, and of course to the competitors themselves for making it a thoroughly enjoyable event.  Fun all round.

A more formalised plan for SUP activity is being put together for 2022.  Leah will continue to be available for SUP coaching of course and we hope to run a set of regular fixtures across the Spring, Summer, and early Autumn.

It didn’t take long for the post-race banter to turn to board and paddle upgrades (is there an ideal ‘river spec’ board, does Winder Boats make SUPs, how important is weight, how regularly should a board/paddle be replaced, is carbon fibre a permitted material, what kit won the nationals, etc), so it seems like the competitive juices are already flowing!

Finally, thank you to Ian Ramage and Jonathan Key for the photos used in this report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnificent seven mix it up at Minima YC regatta

Encouraged by some positive critical feedback regarding the recent BEW write up (which proves that someone reads the News on the website – thanks Jim Green!), here is a second installment in the informally titled ‘Tammy Travels’ series.

As the Firefly Open had priority in the club’s calendar with no other Sunday racing taking place, seven Tamesis Club sailors decided to switch their attentions to competition (only slightly) further afield at the Minima YC annual regatta.

The Merlins of Peter Impey (crewed by Alastair Banks) and Tim Medcalf (crewed by Ed Medcalf) made the short hop upriver by road.  The Commodore kindly agreed to tow Chris Taggart, Stewart Colley, Jim Hamilton, and Henry Medcalf and their Lasers up on Saturday morning and then came to collect them on Sunday afternoon.  Andy Harris (crewed by Matty Key) came up on Sunday morning, again benefiting from the generosity of Pollard Boat Delivery Inc.

It’s safe to assume that anyone who says that Tamesis’ stretch of the Thames is a hard place to sail hasn’t sailed at Minima.  Particularly in what is supposed to be an easterly.  It might have been the effect of the buildings and trees on each side of the river but the Minima microcosm is one that defies forecasting – at one point two boats had a close call while both tacking on starboard, close hauled but heading in opposite directions.  Riddle that.

Saturday’s racing saw two series races in the afternoon with Tamesis boats competing in the Merlin and Laser fleets.  Henry and Stewart took a win a piece in the Lasers backed up with another podium, with Chris doing solid work also with a pair of podiums.  Fresh from a mid-fleet debacle at Bourne End Week, Tim tasted success chalking up a pair of bullets in the Merlins.

Saturday’s third race had a handicap format and was for novice helms with less than three years’ experience.  Ed Medcalf took first place on the water with Henry in second – only the handicapper would be able to determine the true result.

Minima YC turned on the style by pulling off an ambitious set of entertainments for the racers to enjoy on Saturday evening.  Some might argue that having two substantial BBQ going full blast inside the club building itself  could be a health and safety issue but, somehow, it worked and had the added benefit of making it easier to find the club’s fittingly diminutive entrance as the smoke’s siren call of charred meat billowed down the streets of riverside Kingston.

The bar team was running to keep up with demand and there was soon a hubbub of jolly chat among those enjoying the verandah or inside the first floor clubroom itself.  A tight jazz trio keep the mood light and cheery, much to the delight of our resident musical connoisseur Stewart Colley.

Putting on an evening’s entertainment is no trifling feat and so ‘thank you’ to the Minima YC team who pulled it off with panache but will probably pause to rethink the location of the BBQs before next year’s event.

Apparently, the evening finally wound down at 1am but your correspondent was focused on closing out the Merlin series so took a relatively early night.  In the event, he should have stayed for a few more pints.

Sunday morning saw many now ever so sightly jaded sailors reconvene on the bank and slowly get their addled brains to grasp the unwelcome prospect of another phantom, shape-shifting easterly.  They were joined by an A Rater from TSC and Andy Harris in his Merlin from Tamesis.

Gentleman racer Charlie Morgan and local hero Tim Ginn, still basking in the satisfaction of a BEW well-sailed, also came to the bank to spectate the confusion.

The courses were again sausage shaped with varying length loops adding to the interest/uncertainty.  Upwind and downwind descriptors meant nothing as sailors wrestled the vagaries of a wind that swirled and jigged.

In the Lasers, there was again a sharing of the podiums between the Tamesis boats   As one might expect, the final results showed that it was a Tamesis sweep in the Laser class with Chris Taggart collecting the trophy and Stewart Colley second.

Meanwhile, Andy and Matty handed out a Merlin masterclass and took three from three, thereby sealing the series win and some impressive silverware.  Tim and Ed were ‘first of the losers’ each race so ensuring a Tamesis 1-2 when the final results were announced.

In the novice race, Ed Medcalf crewed by his father (who is starting to think that this might be a more relaxing way to race), bested his brother Henry who had won the same trophy last year.

Aside from Minima YC’s kings of Saturday evening’s BBQ, thanks are due to the the race management team, the lunch makers, the tea brewers and cake servers, and the on-water safety officers who contributed so much to the event.  Also to Minima YC’s sponsor TWM Solicitors, although thankfully their services weren’t required to resolve any racing issues over the weekend.

Thanks to John Forbes at MYC for the photos.

Once back at Tamesis, there was a consensus that it had been a worthwhile expedition, fun to sail at a new location, and a great opportunity to support one of our neighbouring clubs.

If you fancy giving it a go, the next Minima YC event is their Long Distance Race (an Open so all visitors are welcome) which starts at 2pm on Sunday 26 September.  This is a super event and an opportunity for a double dose of sailing that day as we will also be running regular club racing in the morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tale of three Tammy Merlins who compete at Bourne End Week 2021 River Championships

One of the major but, strangely, not widely-reported impacts of the COVID pandemic was the need to move 2021’s Bourne End Week (BEW) from its usual slot earlier in the year to the August bank holiday weekend.

BEW is something of a Thames institution and is hosted by the venerable Upper Thames Sailing Club.  The Merlin Rocket River Championships comprise six races over the first three days of BEW.

This is the story of three Tamesis Club boats that made the short journey up the M40 to Bourne End in the hope of emulating the achievements of some of the club’s top river sailoring grandees by bringing back the silverware.  Spoiler alert – they didn’t.

Experienced regatta campaigner Matt P-J was joined by his energetic and enthusiastic son Arthur in the resplendently varnished MR995 Masquerade.  Gentleman racer Charlie Morgan helmed the majestic MR 3259 Andromeda (reportedly the fastest design on the river) while being crewed by star gun-for-hire Amanda Batten for the first two days and then local hero Tim Ginn on Monday.  Consistently bringing up the rear was your correspondent attempting to stay on his feet while helming former boat graveyard resident MR3520 Seveneye ably supported by Jennifer Falconer Hall on Saturday and Flora Laidlow on Sunday and Monday.

UTSC looked a picture on Saturday morning as the bunting fairies had been out in force with flags subliminally spelling out words of encouragement for the home fleet.  More importantly, there was hot coffee available and the catering van was working overtime producing that regatta fan favourite of early morning bacon and egg rolls.

Showing a true dedication to the task, Matt and Arthur pitched their tent in the camping area which is called Sin City, named due to nefarious activities that took place in the heady days of the 60s dinghy racing scene.

Intriguingly given it’s history, UTSC’s publicity materials included the promise of ‘freshly rolled grass’ in Sin City which sounded like it could be a source of a lot of unexpected groovy good times and a great way to wind down after the excitement of racing.  Disappointingly, the reality was that Network Rail had just relaid the turf having had to dig holes to hide some cables (or something like that).

Matt reported that he and Arthur had found a nice soft sward of grass and pitched their tent close to a bramble bush which meant they could add some berries to their morning rice crispies.

Charlie opted to stay at a relative’s stately home that was allegedly fairly nearby (surprisingly, not Cliveden).  Seveneye’s crew took the lightweight option of heading home after each day’s racing for a short cry in private followed by a fitful night’s sleep processing the drama of the day just gone.

Boats rigged, it was straight to the marquee for the OOD’s briefing and an introduction from the Waterborne Racing Rules Headmaster himself Chris Simon.  Six of the best were instantly administered to anyone who had failed to read the SIs before the briefing and raised a querulous hand of enquiry.

The wind was a veering NNE of moderate pace.  Setting the tone for the event, the fleet was given course MH4 with a starboard rounding at both ends.  The start was therefore a reach which broadened as the fleet came around the bend by the Spade Oak and allowed for spinnakers to be hoisted.  The way back was an interesting beat which rewarded those who looked for the many lifts and deadspots that littered the racetrack.

Down to business, and almost immediately Team Seveneye was fumbling about trying to find a way to replace the clip that held the centreboard down.  This repair was done so well that a couple of laps later they were firmly lodged on one of the many shallow patches of thick weed, totally unable to bring the board back up again while the fleet sailed by and left them for dead.

In the world of real racing, where boats weren’t aground but were actually moving through the water, Matt and Charlie both sallied forth and mixed it up in what turned out to be a pretty hot fleet.  Lots of previous winners, quick boats, and experienced crew pairings meant that there wasn’t a lot to choose between the competitors in the first 10 places.

Two back-to-back races later, the trio hadn’t set the world on fire but had certainly done enough to earn a good number of beery drinks from the bar and a very welcome early paella supper.

There was a buzz on the bank as rumours circulated that a bona fide celeb was in our midst.  Britpop fans from the 90s eventually agreed that gravel-voiced, daughter of the valleys, and power songstress Cerys Matthews was indeed on site, enjoying the racing.  Rock and roll clearly has more of a link with Merlin sailing than we first thought, turns out it’s not just an infraction of Rule 42!

Aside from being a legend, Cerys is obviously also a good sport as she agreed to promote Charlie’s birthday.  While the news wasn’t ‘all over the front page..’, she did give him a shout-out on her Radio 2 Blues Show.  Fair play.

Sunday saw the three amigos regather at UTSC.  Matt a little bleary-eyed after waking up nice and early with Arthur, Charlie bemoaning the fact that his borrowed stately home was further away than he had expected due to the frustratingly unstraight nature of country roads, and Tim just hoping for a reset of his sailing karma.

As it turned out the day brought mixed fortunes.  Matt perked up, Charlie came to accept that wiggly roads are the norm outside the M25, and Tim’s rudder parted company with his boat 45 second before the start of race 3.  Still, in the words of Meat Loaf, ‘two out of three ain’t bad’.

Again, the racing was close with squads of four or five boats charging in to the marks line abreast accompanied by calmly-delivered, polite suggestions about how a fellow competitor could retain their teeth by altering course if they would deign to be so kind, or offers to share the latest version of the Racing Rules of Sailing and highlight passages that make the most sense in the context of the race at that time.  Lots of fun for the spectators and just the sort of roadrage carnage that Cerys would have recognised, appreciated, and probably written a song about.

Two doses of MH4 certainly counted as a day’s work with Charlie and Amanda claiming a podium for their labours.  Matt and Arthur continued to spend more time in the front pack than the scoresheet suggests and Arthur found out what you have to do if you forget to go to the loo before racing and why boats have self-bailers.  Tim and Flora finally managed to have a race which didn’t turn in to a gyascutus-sized FUBAR.

By the time Monday rolled around, racing at UTSC had started to feel like the ‘new normal’ way of life.  Another pair of tight races saw all three boats have their best day of racing so far with the pointy end of the fleet containing one or several at a time.  Tim Ginn delivered a virtuoso performance wrestling the spinnaker in the front of Andromeda while Team Seveneye banished their gremlins, in the last race reached the first mark at the head of affairs which is definitely a reason to come back and try again next year (EDIT: TBH we stuck some of the spinnaker under the boat on the second upwind rounding and only made it back in to the top five after Flora took a trip along the foredeck to disentangle the mess while the boat was going flat chat on the next downwind.  As heroic an action as was seen all regatta).

There were 18 entries in the River Championships of whom 11 qualified.  Charlie was sixth, Matt was seventh and Tim was eighth.  Outport Tamesis Club member Ollie Houseman, a former winner and running the fast ‘Luka’, made it a club quartet on the race sheet by taking ninth.  So, no chocolates for the Tamesis boats this year (although Matt did distribute some very welcome Penguins on day two) but there was steady progression and everyone came away feeling that had had their moments in the company of some very competitive crews.

Demonstrating parenting skills that one can only envy, Matt persuaded Arthur so spend another night in the brambly tent and then race in the final two outings of the event-long Yeves Challenge Plate on Tuesday.  A second and a third pulled them up to fifth overall so congratulations to both!  Could the improvement have had something to do with Arthur taking on some of the helming duties…….?

UTSC set the benchmark for how to host an event and were warm in their welcome to visitors who were unfamiliar about how to manhandle a boat across a railway line, or who kept forgetting the code to the changing rooms, or who couldn’t work out what MH4 meant even after they’s just raced the course, or who struggled to tell which way the river was flowing, or understand how cows could stand 10 metres off the opposite bank but only be up to their ankles in water….

Big thanks to PRO Richard Pausey from UTSC for running a tight ship in terms of keeping the many fleets coordinated, to the UTSC House Committee for providing food and drinks options at every turn including delicious tea and cakes, dinners, pints, cocktails, as well as doing the more mundane tasks like cleaning the changing rooms and stocking the loo roll.  Also to the on-water support team who kept an eye on everyone and to the many other volunteers who made the event a success.

If you’ve read this far (you obviously don’t have enough useful things to do with your time) you will have a good feel for the BEW event and hopefully be encouraged to give it a try in 2022.  While there is fleet racing for Merlins, A Raters, Wayfarers, and OKs, there is also a handicap class for all others so lots of ways for Tamesis Club members to take part and join in with the fun.

Postscript: I’d like to thank Matt and Charlie, along with their crews for their engaging company and good humour over the three days, Jennifer and Flora for putting up with the comedy of ineptitude that defines my attempts to sail a Merlin which just doesn’t seem to have anywhere convenient for the helm to sit after completing a tack, and to the broader group of WAGs, wags, hangers-on and armchair racers who formed the Tammy bankside cheerleading entourage.  

Finally, thank you to Tony Ketley who allowed the publication of his pictures in this article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday evening GW Smith Trophy – the final update

Here is the final of John Adams’ reports for this year.  It is worth prefacing John’s words with a ‘thank you’ from the club, and the Thursday evening competitors in particular, for the regularity and timeliness of these reports.  It is always fun to see the story of a series unfold week by week, especially when it is one that involves so many members.

Sixteen boats came to the start line for the last of the Thursday evening races, made up of 7 Lasers, 7 Merlins, one of the Training 2000s and Florian Kruger in a Firefly.  We actually came to the start line 3 times, so eager were we to do battle that we had 2 general recalls, and while we did plan to start the race 15 minutes  early to give ourselves more time before the light failed, we ended up starting at 19:14, so early by 1 minute.

Once started we had a good race in a light north north easterly wind that lasted for the duration of the race.  Andrew Harris and Tom in their Merlin Point Break led followed by two other Merlins, Charlie Morgan and Humphrey Dorrell in Andromeda and Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer-Hall in Seveneye, this order maintained for the first two laps.

Matters changed a little by the finish and while Andrew and Charlie maintained first and second respectively, Matt P-J had moved up to third, but some six minutes behind the leading Merlins, with behind him Peter Impey and Alistair Banks in their Merlin War Horse having a storming race to take fourth.

The six minutes or so lead that the first two Merlins had over Matt P-J on the water meant that Andrew and Tom were first and Charlie and Humphrey second on handicap with Matt P-J in third and Florian Kruger in his Firefly taking fourth.

While as reported earlier, Matt P-J won the series, counting four first places, I was incorrect last week when I reported that the two boats with 12 points (Tim Medcalf and Henry Defries) could not be caught as I failed to notice Andrew Harris lurking in the depths of the results with only three races sailed.  His first place on Thursday evening gave the fourth race he needed to qualify and a good result as well.  So overall he takes second place behind Matt P-J, Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in the N18 Zephyr are third on countback from Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer-Hall in their Merlin.  Hence the first three boats were all different classes which shows that no one class predominates.

For whatever reason, whether the fact that with home working making it easier to make time for the race or added keenness to sail after the Covid restrictions, we had a very successful Thursday evening series this year.  For the GW Smith Trophy 17 boats completed the 4 races required to qualify and 43 different helm/boat combinations sailed at least one race, the highest entry for any one race being 24 boats on 15th July so well done all who sailed and we hope to see you out next year.

The race was expertly run by Carolyne Vines and Henry Defries with Chris Taggart and Robert Blakebrough in the patrol boat.  The delicious supper was cooked by Anne Baynes and Sue Harris with Megan and David in the kitchen and the bar rounding off a good evening and a great season.

The final standings are below:

Thursday evening GW Smith Trophy – update 8

John Adams’ penultimate update follows:

By this season’s standards, there was a lowish turnout on Thursday for the penultimate race in the 2021 version of the GW Smith Trophy with 13 boats, made up of 6 Lasers, 3 Merlins, 3 N18s and a Topper.

Although the evening was quiet and grey, the light south westerly wind held for the duration and gave a good beat and run, although the run was not good enough to tempt any Merlins to fly their spinnakers to brighten up the gloom.

Charlie Morgan and Mattie Key in Andromeda made the early running, pursued by Matt P-J in his Laser Inxs-ive .  However Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in N18 Zephyr were gaining fast and overtook both Matt and Charlie and Mattie by the last lap to take the win on the water with Charlie and Mattie 2nd and Matt P-J not far behind in 3rd ahead of the other two N18s, Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough finishing 4th and Chris Pollard and Caroline Stilwell 5th.

Matt’s 3rd was enough to give him the race on handicap ahead of Henry and Carolyne in 2nd, Charlie and Mattie in 3rd and Charles and Robert in 4th.

Overall Matt P-J is leading, now with the luxury of discarding first places, but the race is on for second as Henry Defries and Tim Medcalf both have the same number of points, albeit Henry is ahead on countback.

Neither of these two can be caught by any of the boats following but both will be keen to clinch the second spot. Behind them there is still a good battle as helms look for a good final race to be able to discard earlier high scoring races and gain as good a final placing as possible.

Thanks to Rob Hatley and Ian Ramage in the box, Simon Thompson and Ellen Schwartz in the patrol boat and to Nicky Johnson and Anita for the delicious supper, served by Josefine and David with Dylan at the bar.

Sadly its the last of the Summer evening races next week as evidenced by the darkness of this evening.  To give us a bit more light and a reasonable length of race, the race will start earlier at 19:00 and 19:02, so set your alarms to arrive at the club 15 minutes earlier.

The series standings are summarised below:

Thursday evening GW Smith Trophy – update 7

Here is John Adams’ latest installment about this year’s popular Thursday evening series:

Sixteen boats came to the starting line on a quiet evening for the second August race in the GW Smith series, 10 Lasers, 4 Merlins, 3 N18s, a Topper with Brian Corking, one of the lockdown’s virtual racing stars, trying his luck with the real thing, and one of the club’s training Laser 2000s crewed by the Medcalf brothers Henry and Ed. The south westerly wind was fitful and shifty, catching some out and bringing fortune to others.

The battle at the front was initially between Chris and William Balmbro in their Merlin Lovebyte and Tim and Veronique Medcalf in Samanda with Matt P-J in the Laser snapping at their heels.  As the race progressed Tim took the lead and kept it to the finish and the leading N18 crewed by Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines came through to join the battle for the other podium places, demoting Matt on the water.

At the finish, Chris and William overtook Henry and Carolyne to take second, with Henry and Carolyne third, another N18 crewed by Chris Pollard and Caroline Stillwell coming through to take 4th with Matt finishing 5th on the water.

However the devil is in the detail of the handicaps and once again Matt P-J triumphed in his Laser ahead of Henry and Carolyne in their N18 followed by Tim and Veronique in their Merlin, so a good representation of the different club classes.

Unfortunately for those hoping to unseat Matt from the top of the results, his win on the evening means that he counts 4 wins and cannot be beaten and so adds the GW Smith to the Saga Trophy he won earlier in  the summer.

However there is still a battle for the other podium positions and for other places in the fleet which might mean that you beat or get beaten by a competitor you usually measure your performance against, so still plenty to sail for in the last two evening races of the season. It is likely that the last of these will start at the earlier times of 19:00 and 19:02 for the N18s.  This will be confirmed nearer the time.

Thanks to Jim Green and David Baker in the box, Barney Smith and Clive Mence in the patrol boat, to Nicky Johnson for the great supper helped by Chloe and Josefine in the kitchen and bar.  As always, a great evening even if the racing was frustrating at times!

Savour the last two races as Summer flees away.

The latest standings are set out below:

Thursday evening GW Smith Trophy series – update 6

Here is John Adams’ report:

The first of the August races for the GW Smith Trophy saw a reduced entry of 12 boats, possibly due in no small part to the rain that was falling before the race and the rain that was forecast.

As it happened, fortune favoured the brave, the rain ceased, the south-easterly wind held and the sun even shone for a few minutes. Racing was tight with the lead changing for a couple of laps before Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer-Hall sailed off into the distance to leave the Charlie Morgan/David Baker combination in David’s old boat Andromeda to battle and just beat John Adams and Sophie Harrison on the line.  Matthew Peregrine Jones in his Laser had also been part of that battle and finished 4th

On handicap it was a familiar tale with Tim’s lead on the water not quite large enough to beat Matt P-J with Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough showing on the podium for the first time in the series finishing 3rd.

Overall it is still Matt P-J at the top with Tim in second place and with Charles’s good result bringing him up to 3rd. While Matt’s lead is beginning to look unassailable, there are 3 races still to go and at least a couple of boats mathematically capable of overtaking him, so keep sailing Matt!.

Thanks to OOD  Graham King and his crew of Matt Dalton, Peter Impey and Griff Tanner, and team Horwitz for a stupendous supper topped off with Mars Bar trifle and Chloe, Nicky and Peter on the bar.  Thanks to Peter Impey for the photo.

Here are the latest standings:

Thursday evening GW Smith Trophy series – update 5

Here is John Adams’ latest race report:

The last July race in the GW Smith Trophy attracted a very good entry of 21 starters, with a south westerly wind which although dying a little before we started still kept us moving fast enough for many of the fleet to complete 5 laps, up from the usual 2 or 3 on a Thursday evening.

With so many boats the start was interesting with a couple of eager contestants having to go back and then fight their way through the fleet.  The race itself was tight with plenty of place changing, Andrew Harris even losing his lead for a lap before normal service was resumed and he and Matty Key crossed the line first in Point Break followed by Joe Maclaughlin crewed by Holly Revear in his newly acquired Merlin Lady Anne, with John Adams and Sophie Harrison just managing to hold off a fast charging Tim Medcalf and Flora Laidlaw in Tim’s white and wide Merlin Seveneye to take third.  On the water it was a Merlin evening with the first five boats all Merlins before Matt P-J brought his Laser home in 6th place, but ominously close to the Merlins ahead of him.

And so it proved, Matt taking the evening on handicap followed by the 5 Merlins that finished ahead of him on the water with Stewart Colley the next Laser in 7th.  It was not a good night for the N18s, with Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough the first of them in 12th place.

With 5 races sailed Matt P-J is still in the lead with Tim Medcalf second in his Merlins and Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines 3rd in his N18 Zephyr.  However there are still 4 races to go, 4 races to count and it is mathematically possible for Matt to be caught, particularly as some of the more successful contestants are still counting a DNC.

The evening was rounded off with a tasty trail supper from a new caterer, and thanks to those that helped serve the supper and drinks from the bar.  Jim Green and Eva Heap coped admirably in the box with the large number of contestants and Ian Ramage and Chris Wade ran the patrol boat.

The current standings are: