Tamesis Club

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:


Tamesis Club’s guidance to members following partial lifting of lockdown restrictions

Please find below the text that was included in the latest edition of the Tammy Matters newsletter:


Club position on Freedom to partake in Watersports

Use of Tamesis Club by Members permitted by the partial lifting of Covid-19 lockdown.

If you or anybody in your household display any symptoms of Coronavirus infection, none of you may come to the Club and you should self-isolate for the Government recommended period.

If you handle anything that you have not brought with you it is suggested that you wear gloves when doing so or use hand sanitiser afterwards.

If you think you may use Club equipment (ie. chairs, tables etc.) please bring sanitiser and cloths to wipe them down before and after use.

As a result of the easing of lockdown conditions, announced on 10th May, limited water-sports are now permitted and some elements of the Tamesis Club facilities are available to Members to enjoy this new freedom.  Members must, however, observe the social distancing and all other Government imposed conditions at all times.

On Club premises, you and all members of your household must observe the two metre social distancing from members of all other households.  Please ensure that any young children do not break this restriction.

The Clubhouse and Changing Rooms are closed, so no toilet or washing facilities are available at the Club.  If you intend going on the water you should change into your sailing kit at home.

The Club Patrol boats are currently mothballed and not available for use.  The two metre rule makes giving assistance from a patrol boat impractical.

Club boats are not available for Members to use at the present time.

Sailing, paddleboarding and canoeing are allowed if done within the Government restrictions.

The Club will not be organising any racing during this period.  Any sailing or other activity on the water is entirely at your own responsibility and risk.

If you go on the water  you must wear a buoyancy aid.

Before going out on the water, consider your capabilities in the light of the prevailing weather conditions, bearing in mind that there is no assisted recovery available.  If in any doubt, do not go afloat.  Masthead floats are recommended whilst these restrictions are in force.

Be careful to keep to the social distancing rules whilst rigging, launching and recovering craft and whilst on the water.

Ensure that your boat is sound and the rigging is in good condition.  It is suggested that you read the article at  Clubsailor.co.uk .

Single-handed sailing by helms under 16 is not allowed.

Under 16s can sail in crewed boats with members of their own household.

The lawn and riverfront are there for your enjoyment – whilst keeping the correct distancing.

The current advice from EA and RYA is reproduced in brief below.

From the EA – issued 15th May

In line with the updated government guidance issued on 10 May, non-powered water sports like kayaking and rowing can resume. Boat owners may also now visit their moored boats to make sure they are well-maintained. Any activities undertaken, however, must be done alone or with your household and you must always follow social distancing guidelines when encountering others.

From the RYA – Issued 11th May

From Wednesday, 13 May unlimited outdoor activity will be permitted in England, and we understand that this will include all forms of boating.  The Prime Minister also indicated that people would be permitted to travel to other destinations in order to exercise.  Any activity will still need to be alone or with members of a single household, and social distancing must be followed at all times.

Full text at https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/coronavirus-advice-and-information-for-recreational-boaters.aspx

The RNLI is currently working through the updated guidance in England delivered by the UK Prime Minister on 11 May and will be engaging with a number of watersport governing bodies and other stakeholders to help inform its response.

Be sensible – and stay alert!

Tuesday evening virtual racing produces some gripping action (again)

Tuesday evenings see outings for the club’s Juniors and Masters virtual fleets.

Juniors were up first with a fleet of 10 contesting the first of two races.

Although it was uncertain whether William Balmbro would make the start line due to the slow consumption of his dinner, there was no pace lacking in his performance when he eventually made it on to the water!  It was suggested that he had must have been fueled by three Shredded Wheat as a he cantered to a first win of the series.

Matty Key took the top step of the podium in the second race, also his first of the series.  Edward Medcalf made it in to second, posting his best result of the series so far, and Tom Harris rounded off a productive evening with a third place to accompany his second in the first race.

Entering the final week, we have a tie for first place in the 16 and under fleet between Henry Medcalf and Matty Key, with Tom Harris in contention.  However, Constantin Gerber could still take the title if he replicates his form from the first two races.  In the 10 and under fleet, William Balmbro is the helm to beat with Arthur P-J and Edward Medcalf still in contention for the chocolates.

The Masters races saw a dozen skippers take to the water.

Repeating his form of last week, Jonathan Key powered to a win in the first race.  Brian Corking continued a steady run of form with second, and Mike Blackledge confirmed his series ambitions with a third.  Meanwhile your correspondent carried out an unplanned experiment with an upwind spinnaker hoist, and then tried the manoeuvre again just to confirm that it really was a bad move, dropping out of the three as a result.

Race two saw Jim Green making the running in the early stages before he faded and ended up with a seat at the back of the bus.  Blackledge took the honours with Key in second and an improving Stewart Colley in third, his best score so far.

The overall standings show Blackledge and Key in a tussle for top spot with Brian Corking in third heading a large and closely-bunched group who will contest the remaining spots.  Discards will undoubtedly play their part and Daniel Gerber could upset the front-runners if he returns to the fray next week.

Here are the standings:

Stars, fast cats, and pot luck, all in another Sunday morning’s virtual racing

The club’s regular Sunday morning skippers reached the halfway point of their three May series.  As last week’s comprehensive winner Tom Last was not racing, other helms sought to capitalise on his absence.

Andy Harris made a welcome return to the top step of the podium in the Star fleet’s first race, with long-time contender Joe Woods taking his first top three finish in the second.  In Tom’s absence, and after some consistent sailing, Richard Harris now heads the rankings in the Stars with Andy in second, and Chris Balmbro easing in to third, up from seventh last week.

Chris also surged up the leaderboard in the F50 class with an impressive first and third places, leaving his overall position improved by seven places from the week before.  The standings are headed by Peter Impey who clearly likes the fast cats, followed by Jodok Gerber, with birthday boy Henry Medcalf in third.

In the Pot Luck Pot, Jodok leapfrogged Alden Horwitz in to first place, with Dana Church moving in to third after recording what is believed to be his first virtual sailing bullet.

As only half the races have been completed, there is plenty of scope for everything to change.

While it was great to see some of our Tuesday evening Masters players starting to cut through in the Sunday series, the OOD also noted some fast a loose tactics being employed, especially on downwind legs.  No names and no pack drill at this stage.

The latest standings are below:


Jodok Gerber eighth in a strong fleet at final RYA London & SE qualifiers

Friday lunchtime and a (surprisingly) large number of club members found themselves able to provide some welcome moral support as Jodok Gerber battled through five races in the final qualifiers.

More than 500 sailors in the London and SE  region had entered the RYA’s Spring Club Championship and the final 19 who raced on Friday therefore represented an elite group.

Unfortunately, only one could go through to the national finals.

Jodok opened his account with an impressive second.  However, his best two results from the next four races were a pair of eighth places.  He ended with a net score of 17 and eighth place for the event.

The runaway winner was William MacDonald from Wembley SC with a net score of four points, and we wish him well in the national finals.

Despite the disappointment, there was extensive praise on the club’s Whatsapp groups for Jodok’s performance and a recognition that he had done Tamesis Club proud.

We anticipate that the RYA, and class associations will run similar events and this information will be shared with club members as it become available.  In the meantime, the club’s on-going virtual sailing program will enable everyone to hone their skills.

The full results from today’s qualifiers are below:

Thursday evening series continues to grow as a leader emerges

Three more races in Offshore Racers saw the ever-expanding Tamesis Club Thursday evening fleet reach the midway point in the series.

There was plenty of close quarters racing with a penalty count to match.  The fleet is starting to find its feet in the virtual world and the margin between feeling the golden glow of success or the cold misery of a dismal evening is getting finer.

The top places in the standings are still headed by Jodok Gerber, who is also campaigning on behalf of the club in J70s, hoping to win through to the next stage of the RYA’s Spring Club Championships.

Alden Horwitz leapfrogged several places in to second by virtue of an evening that saw him gain a pair of bullets, and Matt P-J moved in to third by gaining the third top spot of the night.

Chris Balmbro and Mike Blackledge both had some encouraging results.  Newcomer Brian Corking showed flashes of his potential.  Jim Green tested the waters of the Thursday series and finished with boats in his wake.

Only six races are required to qualify for the series.  While Jodok currently looks secure in first, will he come under more pressure as his challengers start to discard results?

The current standings are below: