Tamesis Club

Sunday racing – 23 August

The three regular Sunday morning fleets welcomed many regulars and a few newcomers.  The Commodore laid a crowd-pleasing dogleg course to make the most of the westerly breeze, although the eddies at the Lensbury mark proved to be a frustrating, burgee-spinning experience for some.

First off were seven Lasers.  The action was at the front with Marcus Chavasse, Ros Warwick-Haller and Chris Taggart duking it out for supremacy.  Marcus and Ros traded first and second on a number of occasions.  However, there can be only one winner and, in line with recent form, Marcus prevailed to take a comfortable win from Chris, with the Ros fading at the last to finish third.

The Topper and Handicap start saw three Toppers, a National 18 and the rare spectacle of an Optimist take to the line, this last helmed by Ed Medcalf fresh from a few days at the club’s summer camp and making his first foray in to racing.  Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in the National 18 took the honours on the water and on handicap, with the Toppers of Tom Harris, Henry Medcalf and Matthew Valentine following up.  While Ed brought up the rear, this correspondent can confirm that he very much enjoyed himself will be back for more next week.

After an extended period of time living under cover, the Merlin Rocket fleet welcomed back boat number 1849 ‘My Fair Lady’ now helmed by Alden Horwitz who has also done a sterling job in refurbishing her.  Excellent to see another boat join the Tamesis Merlins especially in the hands of one of our younger skippers.

Fortunes at the first windward mark determined the outcome of the race with Peter and Richard Mason overcoming a rather leisurely start to round in first place.  The equally slow starting Tim and Veronique Medcalf eased round just behind David Baker and Jim Green but found a helpful puff which put them in to second place heading down to Lensbury.  Matt and Arthur P-J also found a way past David and Jim by the end of the first lap and this race order remained until the line with Rupert Fletcher and Amy Bernard in fifth and Alden and Andrew Horwitz in sixth.

Thanks as ever to the volunteers who were Chris Pollard in the box, Sue Harris managing the flags, and John Adams supported by Tim Ginn in the patrol boat.  The ever-welcome Veranda Bar was run by Debora and Andrew Horwitz and the pictures taken by Nicky Chavasse and Carolyne Vines.

Tamesis Club children’s summer camps a great success!

2020 has seen the club run two week-long children’s summer camps.  Two dozen children have spent their days learning theory, doing practical sailing drills on the water, making new friends, falling or jumping in the river, and simply having fun in the club’s grounds.

The club is very grateful to a lot of people who have worked hard to make these weeks happen in the first place, and then to adapt the arrangements to meet the ever-changing Covid requirements.

The coaching team, lead by the RYA’s Ben Kimbell, did a fantastic job of running weeks that enabled the youngsters to earn RYA Stages qualifications in a relaxed and fun-filled environment.  Even when the weather was against them, the team rose to the challenge and maintained the momentum of the week – games involving jumping from the jetties having an endless appeal!

Special mention to our home-grown coaching stars Ben Ramage and Alden Horwitz, and to the contributions of Iwan Drewett and Caitlin Nail who rounded out the team.

The club’s Wednesday Working Party (WWP) erected the marquee which acted as a classroom for each week and then took it down again in short order prior to the recent strong winds.  Thanks to all who helped, it was a great example of the way that the club pulls together.

Another big vote of thanks to the WWP, and especially Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer Matty Key for their help in checking and preparing the boats that were used during both weeks.  Paul Jamieson also did an outstanding job, in his usual understated way, of making sure that the patrol boats were prepared and also took the time to come down midweek to address any issues so that everything ran smoothly, much appreciated.

The Commodore’s presence was welcomed during the week and thanks also to other senior members who popped in to check on progress.  Thanks to Chris Wade for all pictures.

We hope to run an expanded program in 2021, including some of the elements that we had to cut due to Covid, and full details will be available in due course.


Sunday racing – 16 August

The river was like a millpond when the early birds arrived at the club to start setting up, but the breeze had built to create sailable conditions by the time a compact fleet of four Lasers took to the water.

The action was at the front of the fleet with Chris Taggart and Alden Horwitz contesting a tight first lap.  However, Chris seemed to find an extra gear and extended a narrow lead in to a handsome one by the time the finishing hooter sounded.  Alden came in second, followed at a distance by Jim Hamilton and then Barnaby Jullien.

Two National 18s, one containing The Commodore, joined four Toppers for the 11.00 start.  Both groups enjoyed some tight racing.

In the Toppers, Matty Key overhauled a fast-starting Henry Medcalf to win by two seconds, Maisie Key coming in a close third and Alfie Williams rounding out the quartet.

The National 18 on the water results were not changed by the handicap calculations with Henry Defies and Carolyne Vines claiming a slim victory over Chris Pollard and Sue Katz.

The nine Merlin Rockets were a fine sight as they crossed the start line.  Richard & Maddie Harris, Matt & Arthur P-J and Peter & Richard Mason all made a break for the first mark with Richard making life harder for himself by winging a Topper and having to do a turn.

As the race developed, Richard and Peter pulled away to finish a closer than usual first and second while Tim & Ed Medcalf overhauled Matt for third.  Behind them, a number of boats had their own private battles and it was good to see John and Zoe Adams return to the fray after an extended break.

The volunteer team lead by OOD Charlie Morgan did a sterling job.  An honourable mention to Anne Bayne who coordinated a spectacular display of what could be a record breaking number of signal flags.  Humphrey Dorrell kept the foreshore moving while Barbara and Martin Adams ran the patrol boat.  Thanks as ever to Nicky Johnson and Carolyne Vines for providing post-race drinks and snacks from the Veranda Bar which fueled socially-distanced socialising on the lawns.  Jonathan Key again provided all of the photographs and David Baker did the sums both of which are much appreciated.





August Thursday evening series begins

(Report on Thursday evening race of 6th August 2020)
It could have been any summer Thursday evening, light winds, a few keen sailors trying the catch the last of the evening’s zephyrs, pleasant drinks and chat afterwards.
In fact it was the fist race of a severely truncated Thursday evening program.  While this August may be highly unusual in having 5 Mondays and 5 Saturdays, it only has 4 Thursdays, so the series will be 4 races, with three to count towards some kind of trophy.
It was a beautiful evening with sun and a little wind largely from just west of south.  The seven competitors, 4 Lasers,  2 Merlins and a solitary N18, aptly named Zephyr made up the fleet which were sent upstream to Canbury for a simple sausage course.
Tim and Veronique Medcalf in their Merlin Samanda made the early running but were overhauled by Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in the N18.
David Baker and Jim Green in their Merlin Andromeda were surprised to find themselves behind all the Lasers and everyone else until a large stick was found attached to their rudder. Freed of their encumbrance they sped through the fleet, providing colour to the evening with their red spinnaker, and just managing to squeeze in front of Marcus Chavasse in his Laser to take third on the water.
On handicap the Lasers were remarkably well spread through the fleet, taking 1,3, 5 and 7 with the other classes interspersed in between.
As per any other Thursday evening, the wind departed and the evening came to a close with a few drinks (thanks to Nicky Johnson and Carolyne on the veranda bar) , but in deference to Covid restrictions, no supper.  Thanks to the organising team, John Adams and Henry Medcalf in the box and on the flags, and the Jamiesons for taking the first shift on the launch while the Johnsons were delayed in traffic.  Nicky Chavasse took the photo.
There will be three more races in August and three are needed to qualify for the series.
The current standings are shown below:

Sunday racing on a summer’s day

The forecast 33 degrees of heat was tempered by a light north easterly which gave Sunday’s competitors plenty to think about.

More than twenty boats addressed the start line with the Lasers having the largest fleet of the day with 10 boats.  The Toppers mustered five competitors and it was great to see the club’s young guns back on the water.

Marcus Chavasse again dominated the Lasers with a comfortable win by a margin of more than two and a half minutes.  Behind him, Ros Warwick-Haller mastered the conditions to lead home a group which contained Kaan Yargici in third with Jim Hamilton narrowly pipping Chris Taggart for fourth.

The Toppers and a Feva started at 11.00 with a couple of helms renewing their rivalry of a few weeks ago.  On this occasion, Henry Medcalf prevailed having broken free from the rest of the fleet on the way to the first mark.  Matty Key came in second with Alfie William close behind.  Alexander Hoo, fresh from a week at the Tamesis Club summer camp was next, followed by Maisie Key.  The Feva took a wrong turn but we hope to see it competing again soon.


Six Merlin Rockets enjoyed the last start of the day.  Peter and Richard Mason pulled away from the fleet in the early stages pursued by Matt and Arthur P-J who eventually took the lead on the second round.  Behind them, Team Medcalf, who had stalled themselves for a while on the start line, finally selected a forward gear and started to move through the fleet.  Matt and Arthur P-J came out comfortable winners with Peter and Richard Mason in second, closely followed by Tim and Veronique Medcalf. At the last possible opportunity Johannes Wagner bested Peter and Nicky Johnson by the narrowest of margins for fourth.


Aside from the morning’s racing, club members were making the most of our location with picnics, SUPs, canoes, and swimmers in evidence.

Nicky Johnson, Carolyne Vines and Ros Warwick-Haller staged a return of the very popular pop-up Veranda Bar.  Thanks also to Jim and Bonnie Green for manning the box, David Baker and Martin Adams for crewing the patrol boat, Carolyne Vine and Jonathan Key for providing the photos.



Laser fleet thrills in Sunday racing

A lovely looking morning welcomed twenty boats to the club but a shifty breeze made everyone work for their post-race refreshments.

The resurgent Laser fleet fielded a dozen boats and witnessed some classic river sailing.  Marcus Chavasse blitzed the start and never looked back, winning by a handsome margin and leaving many of the regular fleet wondering.

Behind him however, the rest of the fleet demonstrated just why river sailing is so addictive, or frustrating depending on your point of view.

The lead pack that had developed in Marcus’s wake had pulled out a very significant lead over the remaining field and looked certain to pick up the remaining places at the head of affairs.

This feeling of contentment and the expectation of a job well done diminished as the group of front-runners found itself struggling to round the Canbury mark for the final time.

Meanwhile, all of the remaining competitors, along with Henry Medcalf in the lone Topper, were swept up the river from Lensbury and recovered almost a leg’s worth of distance.

Suddenly the whole fleet was together and jostling to be break free from a raft of boats and cross the finish line.  This situation resulted in several canny sailors, notably Stewart Colley among others, moving from a lowly position to an elevated one.  And others making the corresponding journey from the front of the stalls to the cheap seats.

Emerging from this developing lottery, Alden Horwitz maintained his front running position by taking second place, very closely followed by Harry Harris, Neville Upton, and Stewart Colley.

The race was a credit to all sailors and shows the great potential in the Tamesis Club Laser fleet, especially as there are many other helms who may be tempted to join in the fun swelling numbers further.

By comparison, the five Merlins enjoyed a pretty uneventful outing.  Richard and Maddie Harris again took the win with Charlie Morgan and Amanda finally overcoming the fast-starting Ken Duffel and Matthew Valentine for second.

Thanks as ever to the volunteers without whom the racers could not have raced.  Simon Thompson in the box, Carolyne Vine and Johannes Wagner on Flags and Foreshore, and Barbara and Martin Adams in the Patrol Boat.  Also, to Nicky Johnson and Carolyne for running the Veranda Bar which continues to be a most welcome feature of the club’s ‘new normal’.

Sunday racing – 26 July

Seven Lasers, eight Merlins and a Topper enjoyed a dogleg course and a variable westerly.

Jim Hamilton was a comfortable winner in the Lasers, while Richard and Maddie Harris stayed ahead of Matt and Arthur P-J in the Merlins.

The Veranda Bar was open again and provided well-deserved libations to all competitors, many of whom stayed at the club for a picnic or socially-distanced chat long after the buoys had been put away.

Thanks as ever to the volunteers who make racing possible.  This week they were Rupert Fletcher (OOD), Sue Harris (Box Assistant), Paul and Sara Jamieson (Patrol Boat), and Byron Hoo (Foreshore Manager).  Also to Nicky Johnson and Carolyne Vines for running the bar, and to Carolyne for all of the photos.

Perfect scores win July series, and a review of the key numbers from the virtual racing so far – who was the best skipper?

The July virtual racing series were both run on Thursday evenings.  A select group of skippers pitting their experience against each other in Stars and then Formula 18s.  In the certainty of employing a poor pun, one could say it was clear that two stars had discovered the winning formula.

Andrew Harris carried off the Stars series with a perfect six points and Jodok Gerber did the same in the Formula 18s.  Tom Low and Jodok Gerber took second and third in the Stars with Tom Low again second in the Formula 18s, on this occasion followed by Richard Harris.  Well done to Andrew and Jodok on their victories, to the other podium finishers and to all the competitors who made these series so hard-fought.  It feels like the fleet has come a long way from those early trial races in April.

The full results are below.

Virtual racing is now on a summer break so it seems like a good time to look back on the last four months and try and answer the question ‘who was the best skipper’?

As with many questions of this vagueness, the answer is determined by the tightening of definitions, in this case of the word ‘best’.

Supported in part by our in-house, GCSE Statistics-qualified, Head of Numbers Henry Medcalf, here are some definitions and the resulting answers.

If we look across the 13 truly ‘Open’ series and assume that a skipper needs to have completed at least seven to qualify, we find that Jodok Gerber is the best with an average of 1.71.

Taking the group of diehards who qualified in all 13 series, then Richard Harris emerges at the head of affairs with an average of 3.62 across all events.

Did ‘Experience’ or ‘Youth’ win most series?  Experience won eight, Youth won five.  It is very noticeable that Experience upped its win rate as the months passed, although it could also be the case that Youth had exams to focus on and found better uses for its time as the weather improved.

Does the speed of the boat make a difference?  In the fast boats (i.e. F50s, F18s and 49ers), taking all four series in to account, Richard Harris was narrowly the champion.  The winner in the slower craft (i.e. Stars, J70s and Offshore Racers) was also Richard Harris, again winning by a tiny percentage, in this case from his brother

The Pot Luck Pot sought to answer the question of who was the best all-rounder in three series run using a random selection of boats.  The outstanding skipper was Tom Low.

Many skippers improved over the course of the racing.  The numbers suggest that, if the first half of the season (six races, three to count) is compared to the second half (seven races, four to count) Joe Woods was the most improved skipper.

While the analysis above highlights individual achievements, it is fair to say that, as is the case in real sailing, everyone found someone to compete against and there were many personal rivalries, victories and reverses along the way.

The first season of virtual racing attracted more than 45 club members and created a compelling and engaging esprit de corps at a time when people could have lost touch with each other.

Tamesis Club’s enjoyment of a competition and a laugh with friends won through, and this is something that makes everyone who took part a winner whatever the statistics say about how they finished each race.

Thank you to those who took part, Jodok Gerber for facilitating the Zoom calls, and Henry and Ed Medcalf for helping their father understand the technology.





Racing spirit burns brightly despite the drizzle

Unseasonably dreich weather greeted almost 20 boats as the club ran an expanded Sunday morning racing program comprising fleet racing for Lasers and Merlin Rockets, with the addition of a combined Topper and Handicap start.

Given the essentially northerly wind, OOD Peter Fryer opted for a simple port-handed up/down course.

A handful of Lasers started proceedings with Tom Low taking charge and leading from gun to gun.  Behind him, Kaan Yargici and Jim Hamilton swapped places for a few laps with Kaan taking second place in the final reckoning.

The new Topper and Handicap fleet had a select but enthusiastic turn out.  David and Deb Baker crewed their Albacore to a handsome win with the young guns of Matty Key and Henry Medcalf dueling for the remaining places in their Toppers.  Matty won out comfortably but a return match has been agreed.


A field of 10 Merlin Rockets came under starter’s orders.  Team Impey’s ‘Warhorse’, keen to canter with her stablemates, was an early faller while transitioning between the parade ring and the race track.  Nothing that shedding a few buckets of water couldn’t fix however, and she was soon right side up, jostling for position on the line.

The windward mark saw team Harris (‘Passing Cloud’) take the lead followed by team P-J (‘Masquerade’) and team Medcalf (‘Samanda’).  Team Mason (‘Bambusa’) overhauled the Medcalfs on the second lap.

The downwind leg highlighted those crews who are still too diminutive to handle a spinnaker pole.  It is expected that many will be receiving some paternal instruction in this dark art so that speed is maximised for the next up/down course.


At the line, Richard Harris took a comfortable win with the next three boats evenly socially distanced in the order that was established earlier in the race.  There had been some tussles further down the fleet with team McLaughlin (‘Tosca’) emerging best of the rest.

As ever, many thanks to the volunteers without whom the racing would not happen,  Peter and Pauline Fryer in the box, Andrew and Alden Horwitz in the patrol boat, Florian Kruger managing the foreshore traffic, and Nicky Johnson for running the pop up ‘Verandah Bar’.

This week’s pictures were provided by Carolyne Vines and Jonathan Key, thanks to both!




Summer Sunday fleet racing fun in the sun

The Teddington Riviera turned on the sunshine this morning as the club put another toe in the water of a return to fleet racing.

In contrast to the boisterous wind of a fortnight ago, the breeze was gentle but still enough to enable some close racing to be enjoyed.

Although some had been put off by the forecast lack of wind, five Lasers took on a dogleg course and there was some exciting competition in the mid-fleet.  Constantin Gerber took the gun, while Ros Warwick-Haller pipped Jim Hamilton for second by the narrowest of margins.  Graham King was a close fourth and Barnaby Jullien persevered for fifth.

The Merlin Rockets were already on the water before the Lasers, marshaled by the Commodore, returned to the land.

Eight crews competed, all benefiting from a combination of youth exuberance and experience.  Some were shaking off the effects of the enforced absence from racing and it took a little for the fleet to find its rhythm.

Richard Harris, as often happens, took a commanding lead with the Masons and Medcalfs managing to also put some distance in to the rest of the fleet; the final one, two, three being decided by mid-race.

The next four boats, representing the teams of P-J. Duffel, McLaughlin and Baker all came home within the space of a minute and had enjoyed some close action in the closing stages.  It was also great to see Team Tugendhat on the water giving their boat a run.

Thank you as ever to the volunteers, Carolyne Vines and Henry Defries running the box, Chris Pollard patrolling the foreshore, Daniel and Kathrin Gerber in the patrol boat and for the photos, and Andrew and Debora Horwitz for ensuring that the club’s grounds and facilities are compliant.