In strong and difficult winds that meant capsizing was almost inevitable, the largest fleet for years contested the Laser Barometer, with 18 entrants, including three from Minima and one from Lensbury. Despite the conditions Matt Peregrine-Jones emerged triumphant with stunning sailing,his first win of the trophy, close on 20 years after he first entered.
By the time of the first race,at 11am, the heavy rains of the previous night had cleared earlier than forecast, but the winds hadn’t – a good North-Westerly with some very significant gusts. OOD Charles Fox had set up a simple starboard tack down and upstream, with the windward mark beingput quite a bit downstream, in the Lensbury area, and it wasn’t long before the capsizing started, particularly towards that windward mark, both on the beat and the run.
The second race was almost a carbon copy of the first, with the first three places the same, and Marcus and Jon swapping 4th and 5th places.
After lunch, the winds had if anything picked up more speed, and the safety boats were already being kept busy when a rainbow appeared in the sky to the North-East, heralding a change in the weather. Five minutes later came sudden squall of rain and (more) wind, and lots of capsizing action near the Lensbury mark. Even race leader Matt P-J succumbed to a capsize, yet still managed to win the race, this time from Richard Harris, followed by brother Andrew and Marcus.
Commodore Chris Pollard presented the prizes and Matt graciously thanked the Race team – Charles Fox, Brian Corking, Florian Krueger, Valerie Hamill and extra volunteer Rob Hatley, not forgetting the essential and cheerful kitchen and bar team of Lauren, Sophie and Tabitha. Alex from Minima also added his thanks.
So the final results for the 2019 Laser Barometer were:
Six National 18’s were entered for this year’s competition – a good turnout considering the weather forecast, extremely light winds and a flat calm, algae covered course, which made for challenging conditions across the three races. There was plenty of spirited sailing nonetheless, with a close field across the day, even if, at times, it was difficult to keep one’s concentration on the downwind drift!
All honours for the day went to 374 Zephyr ,helmed by Henry Defries, with his crew Carolyne Vines who claimed first place in all three races – 2nd and 3rd places were closely fought for, with 400 Odyssey helmed by Peter Impey and Paul Nebel taking 2nd on the water and 3rd handicapped, and 266 Genevieve helmed by Charles Fox with Robert Blakebrough, 3rd on the water and 2nd handicapped. All in all, an excellent days sailing.
My thanks to our Commodore Chris Pollard for the data collection and calculations, to OOD Peter Johnson Assistant Hugh McLaughlin and Patrol Boat driver Malcolm Warner. Thanks also to Nicky Johnson and the catering team – Jo, Lauren and Josefine for their help and sustenance across the day.
Cover Photo Stewart Colley
Maddison Trophy – first on the water
1st 374 Zephyr Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines
2nd 400 Odyssey Peter Impey and Paul Nebel
3rd 266 Genevieve Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough
Eighteen Cup – Handicap
1st Zephyr Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines
2nd 266 Genevieve Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough
The week leading up to the Firefly Open (Elizabeth Cup – 28th of April 2019) and Junior Cup was a far from stress-free week. Storm Hannah was beating its way into the South East of the UK and the weather forecast changed rapidly day to day. By lunchtime on Thursday it became clear that unless there was a miraculous change on the day the sailing conditions for Saturday’s Junior Cup would be beyond challenging – hard in open water, but with the swirls and eddies often found on the Thames too much to make sailing safe. So, with a heavy heart we cancelled Saturday’s racing and hoped that Sunday would see the promised improvements.
Fortunately that proved a wise decision. Saturday’s conditions were indeed treacherous with squally conditions producing numerous vortices on the water and heavy overcast conditions. Sunday morning dawned brighter and altogether more conducive conditions on the Thames prevailed with a ‘steady’ North-Westerly F3-4, gusts in the F5 range, and whilst clouds were present there were the odd patches of sun.
Seven Fireflies were in attendance, four from the home fleet and three visitors. Had the conditions been better, and without clashes in various training programmes, we would no doubt have seen more. Nevertheless, a respectable and able fleet assembled for the first race of the day scheduled for 11:10. Returning to defend his Elizabeth title of 2018 was Nigel Wakefield, this year crewed by Pippa Wakefield (F3674 – Flo). Joining them were the visitors Roger and Finian Morris (F3119 – Horror), Alex Ogilvie and Fi Edwards (F2560 – Fuzzy Duck) and the home crews of Tim and Ed Medcalf (F2103 – Scallywag), Griff and Louis Tanner (F3287 – Tin Bin), James Berry and Rupert Fletcher (F3552 – Slippery Skin) and Matthew and Anna Dalton (F3841 – Genesis). Course K was sailed – an up and down with dog-leg on the return to the top mark at Canbury.
In the first race Roger and Finian led from the start, with a belting first leg down the river toward the Lensbury mark, hotly pursued by Nigel and Pippa, then Tim and Ed. Conditions were sparkling, with some significant gusts to test the boat handling and skills of the crews on the river. The first three positions remained firmly established through the rest of the race, but with gaps being small people were kept on their toes. Unfortunately, conditions proved a little too challenging for Anna and Genesis retired in the first race with the crew changed for Cathy Dalton in subsequent races. James Berry, in his newly acquired Slippery Skin, began tentatively but soon got into the swing of navigating the river in a Firefly and Griff and Louis remained calm and deliberate as they made up ground throughout the race.
The second race started promptly at 12:10 and saw Tim and Ed sit out after a tiring first race to recuperate ready for the afternoon. Unfortunately after a somewhat slow start James and Rupert in Slippery Skin retired after the first lap – but with big smiles to accompany them. Once again Roger and Finian set the pace managing to eke out a lead of just under thirty seconds from Nigel over the first lap and kept trying to pull themselves free of the Wakefields who held on tenaciously through the four laps to finish within 40 seconds of Roger and Finian. Matthew and Cathy in Genesis sailed a blinder of a second lap to take third position and held that through the remaining laps. Behind them a tight battle between the Tanners and Alex and Fi saw their positions change with each lap, with Griff and Louis managing to pull away by 20 seconds on the final lap to take fourth.
With boats pulled out of the water all the crews made their way to the clubhouse for lunch. A wonderful atmosphere was tangible in the clubhouse with smiles all round following near perfect river conditions in the morning – described as ‘Prosecco sailing’ (I think that’s a compliment!)
For the third and final race Finian declared independence from his dad and took the helm of Flo with Nigel relegated to crewing (and perhaps thinking that this was a good opportunity to help Finian with some boat handling tips – more on that later). Roger was joined by his wife to crew the final race. With family bragging rights at stake there was an air of tension in the fleet.
Once again the fleet were sailing course K, and after a frenetic countdown to the start all got away cleanly. Obviously Nigel’s advice on starting position hadn’t quite produced the flier that Finian was hoping for and Dad Roger led the first lap by a mere six seconds. Behind them the next three positions were separated by less than a minute at the end of the first lap, but the Daltons trailed by over 2 minutes after a being a little over optimistic about the width of the river (you’d expect a home crew to be a little wiser) and running aground on the far bank.
By this stage Finian had obviously decided that advice from the older generation needed to be heeded with caution and set about a masterful exhibition of Firefly handling to not just catch his father but get ahead, putting some clear water between himself and the older Morris generation, establishing a lead of 18 seconds at the end of the second lap. Behind them the next three boats were separated by 9 seconds, with the Daltons bringing up the rear but managing to eat into the self-inflicted deficit.
The third lap saw Finian continue to execute well timed and effective tacks and defend his lead – but with the clock ticking Roger was becoming increasingly competitive and, dare we say it, nervous. Throwing every bit of skill and ability that he had Roger was firmly set on trying to unseat his son from the lead. Behind the fleet the Daltons had reduced the deficit to a mere minute and had the bit between their teeth – with much complaining that races should be longer (in marked contrast to the situation when they find themselves in contention and desiring the course to be shortened!). The middle of the pack remained close with positions changing a number of times.
Roger’s persistent paid off. He took the lead (obviously in a humble and not too celebratory way… not!) and finished the fifth and final lap to win by a ‘comfortable’(?) margin of 7 seconds. Tim and Ed held onto third, with Alex and Fi in fourth, and Griff and Louis in fifth. The Daltons finished six but had reduced the gap to 20 seconds, producing a warm glow with dreams of what could have been…
As boats were packed away there was a brilliant atmosphere with congratulations all round and not a little worry from the older generation that the sun was soon to set on their mastery of the race course. Positions were analysed and final rankings checked. As ever with the Open at Tamesis there were prizes for the Open, but also for junior crews. Matthew Dalton introduced the prize giving which was carried out by the day’s OOD, Carolyne Vines (with quite some history in the Firefly class to her name).
Junior Crew results
1st – Finian Morris
2nd – Pippa Wakefield
3rd – Louise Tanner
4th – Ed Medcalf
5th – Anna Dalton
Elizabeth Cup results
Papercourt Sailing Club
Spinnaker Sailing Club
Netley Sailing Club
It was a wonderful Open meeting and all at Tamesis Club would like to thank those visitors who bought with them the fun family atmosphere that pervades the Firefly class. It was a real joy to be a part of it. We are also very thankful to Carolyne Vines for setting out a great course and running sailing through the day and all those others who served the class so well during a super day’s sailing. We look forward to welcoming many next year for the Junior and Elizabeth Cups at Tamesis.
What a great day we had on Sunday contending for the Elizabeth Cup at the Tamesis Firefly open meeting following the cancellation of the Junior Cup on Saturday (the result of squally conditions in the middle of Storm Hannah). But the Elizabeth Cup enjoyed amazing conditions – a fairly consistent (yes, for the river it really was!) F3-F4 North / North-westerly (under grey skies with the occasional outbreak of sun!) to test the abilities of helms and crews alike. Three visiting boats were in attendance along with four from the home fleet.
Roger Morris & Finian Morris in “Horror” – representing Papercourt
Nigel Wakefield & Pippa Wakefield in “Flo” – representing Spinnaker
Tim Medcalf & Ed Medcalf in “Scallywag” – representing Tamesis
The deserving winners – Roger Morris and son Finian presented with the Elizabeth Cup by Carolyne Vines.
A huge thank you to the duty team for the day led brilliantly by Carolyne Vines.
We’d also like to thank Ronstan who sponsor the Firefly class open meetings for the additional prizes – wonderful!
Further reporting to follow – along with lots of pictures! Check back for updates on the Tamesis website – www.tamesisclub.co.uk.
Tamesis will be hosting the Firefly Junior Cup and Elizabeth Cup open events (Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th of April) for the National Firefly Class. It would be great to have a good showing over the weekend. Here are links to the event pages along with NOR’s etc. – Junior Cup, Elizabeth Cup.
We have a number of boats lined up already for the home fleet – please do drop me a note on email mattandcathy at gmail.com if you can confirm you’ll be sailing.
We have a number of people who would be interested in borrowing a boat for the weekend and there are possibly Fireflies at Tamesis that could be loaned to be sailed over this weekend. Please can you send me an email if you would like to sail but have no Firefly, or have a Firefly and won’t be sailing!
Looking forward to seeing many of you over the weekend, either on the river bank or enjoying what we hope will be a weekend of warm weather and good wind on the river!
Sailjuice is the joining into a points series of seven of the big Winter dinghy regattas. All inland, the biggest is the ‘Bloody Mary’ at the Queen Mary reservoir in Staines and this attracts around 300 entries. These events can be tough, but very often the wind and weather is not as bad as predicted and the sailing can be glorious.
The Tamesis N18s have been active and with some distinction. Matt Jones, Kaan Yargici, Dana Church and Joe sailed at the Bloody Mary and the ‘Oxford Blue’ in their lovely dark red ‘Optimus Prime’. Ollie Houseman and Jeremy Vines were sailing ‘Second Chance’, loaned by the N18 builders White Formula, and competed at the Bloody Mary, at Rutland Tiger Trophy and the Oxford Blue. At this latter event there were in fact four N18s and three finished in the first 20 overall out of over 153 starters.
Best of all in the series was ‘Hurricane’ (pictured above), loaned by Ollie and Jeremy to a trio from Staunton Harold SC in the Midlands, They competed in six events, won two of them and finished second overall. Over 500 boats took part in one or more event and over 30 classes were represented.
Hurricane is for sale and it would be great if she stayed in Tamesis. Meanwhile Ollie, Jeremy and Steve Watton nearly have a new boat which will be the 25th Ultra built by White Formula. She will be ‘launched’ at the Dinghy Show next weekend. Name and colours are under wraps till then.
The Cadets excelled themselves producing some beautifully decorated cakes, which were very tasty to boot. Peter Johnson took on the hard task of choosing the best decorated, and the best tasting – results below.
After the judging the kids took to the water. Cake tasting all round after they came off it, and the winner of the best tasting was announced.
Thanks to Andrew Harris for organising and to all the participants for wowing us with their talent.
Andy and Sara Harris won the Sondown Cup and the Elizabeth Bowl in sunny and light airs. Fifteen boats were racing with visitors from Hampton, Lymington Town and Minima. Thanks to everyone who made it an enjoyable day.
1st – 607 Crescendo, Andy Harris, Sara Harris (3 points)
In one of the largest fleets in recent years, and in a borrowed boat too, Jon Redding returned to Tamesis after a year’s break to win the Laser Barometer open meeting again. However, he didn’t have it all his own way – with competition from Andrew Harris, who won the third race, and last year’s winner, Marcus Chavasse, winning the second.
In generally northwesterly winds that varied between light and good, Officer Of The Day, Matt Peregrine-Jones, aided by Joe Woods, set a medium-sized down and up course from a little above Lensbury to close to the island. 17 boats entered, including several from Lensbury, and a novice racer, Alden (who did very well, in at times very difficult and gusty winds).
The first race saw Jon Redding triumph over Richard Harris and Andrew Harris (who had a chance of a win, but for an unfortunate capsize just before the finish), with Commodore Carolyne Vines coming in 4th.
The second, after lunch, had Marcus hold onto the lead he held from the first lap, with Jon Redding taking second, Alan Davidson from Lensbury 3rd, and Richard Harris in 4th.
The final race, with strengthening winds, saw Andrew Harris take the win, but it wasn’t enough to win overall, even after the discard, as he finished with a first and a third, with John Redding adding another second (giving him a first and second, after the discard), and Richard Harris coming in third (and ending up with a second and a third, after the discard).
An excellent day’s sailing was held in bright sunshine and fickle, light wind when an almost-record of eleven N18s took part in the 2018 Inlands at Tamesis. Race Officer Peter Mason set in front of the clubhouse two short courses that needed no dog-legs to provide at random beats, reaches and runs (with flat bits in between). Yet despite the challenges the fleet coped well with few boats parked other than momentarily.
Some great new Morrison hardware graced the proceedings, 400 Odyssey (Tamesis club boat sailed by David and Max Vines), 401 Hurricane (Ollie Houseman, Anne Bayne) and 421 Optimus Prime (Kaan Yargici and Matt P-J) always in the top five except in race one when Prime was delayed and missed the start. But Prime in her first season looked splendid and pulled up to second in race 2 showing promise for her planned touring race season.
Big surprise (not of course to those sailing her) was Barney Smith’s 369 Goose that had laid static ashore for a year and generously loaned to expert Merlin sailors John Adams and Rupert Fletcher. Goose shot almost to the front of the fleet, often with 348 Antedote (Chris Pollard, Caroline Stilwell) on her heels keeping close company with the new Morrisons.
Welcome new owners in established Tamesis boats were Henry Defries with Chris Taggart in former N18 class captain Ian Burnett’s 374 Zephyr, and Garrie Mallen who with Jeremy Vines in 375 Rhapsody placed 5th and 6th in races 1 and 2 steered by Garrie on his first outing at the helm – high quality guidance makes a difference. One over the Eight returned to play, turning in a competent performance with Merlin sailors Ken Duffel (who won the Adelaide Cup in the N18 Orion) and Joe Woods, plus Ken’s grandson Matt Valentine (also an Adelaide Cup winner).
The day was rounded off with an early supper and prizegiving, dinner laid on by the house catering team under R/C House Nicky Johnson and team leader Jo Carstens.
A great effort by Tammy member Ollie Houseman to trail 401 Hurricane all the way over from Bristol for the event and we now expect this re-established event to bring back next year more of the class from other clubs. We will be ready!