Tamesis Club

Summer Series racing: 19th June 2022

Anyone expecting a continuation of the blazing weather of the last week was in for a typically Tammy surprise on Sunday. Sailors arrived to find a steel grey sky and a distinct hint of chill in the air as a Northerly whisked up the river. OOD Rob Hatley set a Lensbury-Canbury course that took sailors a good distance towards Teddington, where the wind was a little more reliable.

Four Merlin Rockets turned up for the Blue series start at 10:30, although Bambusa (Peter Mason and Berry Ritchie) was only the first of a few boats that decided against a cold and potentially wet Sunday morning excursion.

That left the way clear for Crossbow (Tim Medcalf and Jen Falconer-Hall) to rip around a quick three laps, with Avenger (Joe Woods and Ken Duffell) and War Horse (Peter Impey and Alison Cooper) filling out the other places.

In the meantime, seven Lasers took on the challenge of getting in a couple of laps for the shorter race. All managed it while the wind more-or-less cooperated, with Winter Series champion Matt Valentine continuing his excellent form with another first place. Neville Upton and Jim Hamilton took the other places on offer.

At the same time, N18 Genevieve (Charles Fox and Robert Blakeborough) enjoyed a comfortable solo race, perhaps hoping that by the time the White series racing started at 11:30, the sun would have broken through properly.

It wasn’t to be, and as the wind started to pull around to blow more from the East on some parts of the course, some classically Tammy tricks were in store.

The Merlin Rocket pack was shuffled, with seven boats setting off for the second start. Five laps later, almost nothing separated the leading boats, Avenger, Chimp and Crossbow. In the event, it was Avenger (with Ken Duffell back at the helm after crewing the Blue race) that emerged first from the jostle, ahead of Chimp and Crossbow.

It was seven Lasers again for the White race. This time it looked as though Neville Upton had sewn things up, pulling clear by the last lap, only to find the long run back down to the Canbury mark becoming increasingly unpredictable. Within seconds a clear lead had become part of the pack as the Laser peleton rounded the final mark almost as one. Once again, it was Matt Valentine who edged clear just metres before the finish line, six seconds separating him from second place Jason Stokes and third place Neville Upton.

Once again, Genevieve tidied up the N18 points, while Lyra Wade proved that a determined sailor could get a Topper round the course even when the wind was feeling playful.

The race crew were Rob Hatley (OOD), Sean Roberts (race box), with George Barber and Chris Pollard in the patrol boat.

Photos kindly supplied by Carolyne Vines and Alastair Banks.

May star performers

May saw the Summer Series racing throughout the month, albeit with a couple of disruptions. the weekend of 21st & 22nd May was reserved for Merlin Opens, and there was no Blue series racing on Sunday 15th May.

That still left seven Sunday races for Tammy sailors to show their stuff in the gradually improving conditions.

In the Merlin Rocket fleet, although Richard Harris and Emma McDonald absolutely dominated the White series racing, looking across both series the standout performers were Peter and Richard Mason in Bambusa. They managed five place finishes in the month, including two straight wins in the Blue series.

In Lasers, there were five different winners across the seven races, but the most prominent name across the board was Winter Series champion Matt Valentine. Sailing in 171688 Grey Dove, Matt chalked up a Blue series win as well as two in the White series, and a couple more place finishes to boot. Outstanding work!

In the National 18s, the pick of the bunch was Genevieve, sailed by Charles Fox and Robert Blakeborough, with a brace of second places in the Blue series to go alongside two White series wins.

April star performers

We plan to celebrate, in Club race reports, the success of the best “in-month” performers that we identify in both the Blue and White Series as we go through the summer.

April was a short but sweet start to the Summer Series, with only two series racing days, on the 3rd and 10th of the month, before other entertainments in the form of the Easter Egg Pursuit Handicap and the Firefly Open intervened.

Star performers of the month were as follows.


Laser – Marcus Chavasse
Merlin Rocket – White Saucerer (Rob & Lucy Hatley)
National 18 – Antedote (Chris Pollard & Alistair Banks)


Laser – Marcus Chavasse
Merlin – Avenger (Ken Duffell & Joe Woods)
N18 – Antedote (Chris Pollard & Alistair Banks)
Congratulations to all concerned, and keep up the good work.

Winter Series Prizegiving 2022

Although racing was abbreviated on Sunday 15th May by a Skiff Club event, the day’s delights were extended to include prizegiving for the 2021/2022 Winter Series.


This Winter’s Laser racing was dominated by a mixture of newer and younger faces.

The Frostbite Mug for Winter Points was awarded to Henry Medcalf, with Matt Valentine and Chris Taggart second and third respectively.

Henry Medcalf receiving the Frostbite Mug for Laser Winter Points

Laser Winter Handicap went to Matt Valentine.

Matt Valentine receiving the Laser Winter Handicap prize

National 18

Burt’s Mug, the prize for the National 18 Winter Series, went to Henry DeFries and Carolyne Vines in Zephyr, with Chris Pollard & Alistair Banks (Antedote) second, and Charles Fox & Robert Blakeborough (Genevieve) third.

Henry DeFries (c) and Carolyne Vines (l) receive Burt’s Mug from Commodore Chris Pollard (r)


The Enterprise Winter Traveller Series, a well-attended series at the start of 2022, was won by Ed Mayley of Minima YC. His trophy was collected by Rob Mayley.

The Enterprise Winter Traveller Series trophy collected by Rob Mayley on behalf of Ed Mayley.

Merlin Rocket

Andy Harris and Matty Key (Point Break) cleaned up the Merlin Rocket prizes, winning the Black Hen trophy for the Travellers Series as well as the Black Mark Winter Points prize. In both cases Richard Harris & Emma McDonald (Passing Cloud) were second, and Joe McLaughlin & Sean Roberts (Lady Anne) were third.

Andy Harris and Matty Key, winners of the Merlin Rocket Winter Points Trophy

The clean-up accidentally included the Geoff Cooper Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner of the final race of the Winter Series. This will be re-assigned to the correct winners, Richard Harris & Emma McDonald in Passing Cloud, at the earliest opportunity.

The Winter Handicap prize was won by Peter Impey & crew in War Horse (absent sailing at Blackwater SC), with Joe McLaughlin & Sean Roberts second in Lady Anne, and Ken Duffell & Joe Woods third in Avenger.


March Blue Mini-Series

Pennants and celebratory bottles were also awarded to the winners of the mini-series in March which saw the successful trial of the new Blue Series racing.

The winners were:


  1. Matty Key
  2. John Edmondson
  3. Jim Hamilton
Matty Key, winner of the March Blue mini-series (Laser)


  1. Henry DeFries & Carolyne Vines (Zephyr)
  2. Antedote (Chris Pollard & Alistair Banks)
  3. Orion (Mal Warner & Beatrice Russ)


  1. Charlie Morgan & Tim Ginn (Andromeda)
  2. Matt Peregrine-Jones & Lyra Wade (Masquerade)
  3. Peter Mason & Richard Mason (Bambusa)


Prizes were organised “Master of the Trophies” Henry DeFries and awarded by the Commodore, Chris Pollard. Thanks are due to both.

Summer Series 5: 15th May 2022

The Summer Series is fully underway, and nothing can stop the Tammy racers now. Not even a river full of skiffs could do more than delay the fun.

With the Skiff Club event ruling out a 10:30 start, Blue Series racing was dropped for the day, and all eyes turned to the slightly delayed White Series, slightly delayed to an 11:50 start sequence.

Nine Merlin Rockets got things going in a fairly light Easterly. OOD Tim Medcalf had set a Canbury-Lensbury course with a teasing dogleg being dropped virtually onto the start line. As it turned out, all it took was the first beat up to Canbury to start to sort the fleet. Passing Cloud (Richard Harris & Emma McDonald) established a small but meaningful early lead over a tightly chasing pack.

Passing Cloud managed to keep the momentum up, coming in clear of Crescendo (Andy Harris & Matty Key) and Bambusa (Peter & Richard Mason), with the rest of the fleet finding things increasingly tough as the wind evaporated. Things got so bad that three of the Merlins couldn’t even complete the course, a rare sight.

The Laser fleet was also struggling, albeit for different reasons. The head of the seven-strong fleet was cut off when two of the pacesetters coasted past the dogleg. The opportunity was snapped up by Roz Warwick-Haller, claiming her first win of the Summer Series. Second place was Alexey Anatskiy, showing the benefits of regular racing with his ever-improving results. John Edmondson tidied up third place as the remainder of the fleet started to wonder if they were ever going to make it back to shore.

Last off, Tammy watchers had a treat: the rare sight of four National 18s out for a spin, together with a single-handed Enterprise.

Antedote (Chris Pollard & Alistair Banks) led the fleet home on the water, but when “Tamesis Yardstick” handicaps were applied, Genevieve (Charles Fox & Robert Blakeborough) nosed in front, followed by Antedote and Zephyr (Henry DeFries & Carolyne Vines).

Peter Bide managed the not inconsiderable task in the fading breeze of single-handedly bringing his Enterprise home for the points.

Tamesis Club sailors in the chocolates at Broadwater SC Laser Super Sprints

Having competed last year, Henry Medcalf was delighted to be invited back to Broadwater SC to take part in the club’s excellent Laser Super Sprint format on 30 April.  A series of six 20-25 minute races around a tight course which put an emphasis on starting and accuracy of manoeuvres.

The host club was also kind enough to offer your correspondent the loan of a club Laser which was much appreciated.

Conditions were light, patchy and shifty with the whole event run in glorious sunshine.  Ideal for river-raised sailors!

However, there was enough wind to get around and the 15 strong fleet enjoyed some really close racing with each mark being a case of nip and tuck.

Henry took two firsts in the afternoon races and finished second overall, which was much appreciated by his grandparents who had been spectating from the bank – no pressure!  Henry also won First Junior.  In case you are wondering, his Dad came in fifth having enjoyed a few father-son duels, and also collected some of Mr Cadbury’s products.

The Laser Super Sprints is an excellent format and everyone felt that they had taken a lot from the experience.  Thank you to Broadwater SC for being such warm and generous hosts, Brian Deacon for providing the pictures, and Stewart Colley for the loan of his Laser combi trailer.

‘Ton up’ for Tamesis Club Training Team

After an inevitable hiatus due to the pandemic, the club launched a new RYA training timetable at the beginning of the 2022 which features a combination of weekend training for adult beginners and week-long kids camps during the school holidays.

We are delighted that Tom Bull, who was the leader of the camps last summer, agreed to become the club’s Chief Instructor and also that Matty Key has joined the ranks of our RYA-qualified Dinghy Instructors.  Matty is a great example of home-grown talent and we are actively looking to develop more youngsters along the same path this year.

The club has supported the new program, and also the club’s general sailing infrastructure which is available to all members, by making investments in refurbishing existing boats with the Laser 2000s and all Toppers having been updated and new sails purchased.  Also, an additional, modern Wayfarer has been acquired which means that we now have two boat that are ideal for training and also for families and social sailors.

The adult courses are run on a single weekend, with trainees spending full days at the club; this has the added benefit that they can see the club in action during Junior Sailing, social sailing, and Sunday morning racing.  The training is for RYA Level 1 and Level 2 courses and enable trainees to reach the standard where they can sail without an instructor in a club boat.  It is great that so many are now joining the club – please make them welcome and extend a helping hand if needed.


The kids camps will follow the same format as in previous years.  As an innovation, we have trialled a camp during the Easter break which proved to be very successful and we look forward to welcoming many of those children to one of the summer camps too.  While the focus of the weeks is on having fun, the children also earn on of the RYA Stages certificates.

The camps have had a very loyal following since they started in 2019 and we now have many youngsters who have gained Stage 4 or are close to it.  Another innovation for 2022 is the addition of an Advanced Week camp where we will be looking at some of the RYAs Advanced Modules and pushing this more experienced group to really develop their skills.

Looking at the current level of bookings, the club will issue more than 100 RYA certificates this year.  There are still a few places available on weekend courses and the summer camps (mainly the weeks of 22 and 29 August) so don’t delay if you would like to enrol for yourself or on behalf of someone else (non-members are welcome).

Tim Medcalf is coordinating the training programs and can be contacted via the contact form on the RYA Training page, by phone, or via Whatsapp.



Ranelagh SC Downriver Race 7 May 2022

A highlight of the Merlin Rocket and general river racing calendar, the RSC Downriver Race doesn’t disappoint.

Tamesis Club was represented by Peter and Alison Cooper in MR1939 ‘Warhorse’ and Tim and Ed Medcalf in MR596 ‘Samanda’, the latter boat making a return to her birthplace of 67 years ago on the Putney Embankment.

As ever, RSC extended an incredibly warm welcome to the 20 crews with outstanding bacon rolls, tea and coffee providing a very welcome mid-morning energy boost before the anticipated 12.15 departure.

The fleet was diverse, as you would expect from a development class, with sail numbers ranging from 1 to 3815.  There were also a number of long-established crews who had come to test their mettle on the Tideway.

The midday race briefing confirmed a 10 minute gun would be sounded at 12.35 with the club employing its own 10-4-1 sequence.  Guidance was also given about when spinnakers could be set and the rules of the road regarding the bridges.

The tide still ebbing, crews were conscious of the need to do some work to stay above the line.  At the gun, the fleet turned downstream with the majority opting to head to the right hand bank to take advantage of the strongest  stream.

After a decidedly mid-fleet start, and finding themselves boxed in, Team Samanda gybed clear to windward and found enough breeze to take the lead shortly after the sweep under the Putney railway bridge.  Helm advised crew to enjoy the experience while it lasted!

These turned out to be wise words as the fleet gathered itself and a lead group broke free.  The wind then picked up to a meaningful level and there was some spirited beating around the bend which then opened back to a reach and more beating on the approach to the turn mark at Battersea Park.

Despite there being only one mark, many boats were caught out by the fact that the buoy had been laid in approx a fathom and half of water but on a 30ft rope.  Many, your correspondent and also the crew of Warhorse having to make multiple attempts at a clean rounding.  Which was frustrating.

Spinnakers were set by those who had them on the way back.  Warhorse using the kite to great effect to start picking off boats and working back up through the fleet.

Spinnakerless, Samanda relied on the insight of her junior crew who called the gybes which saw her remain in contention at the rear of the front group.

The final act was a beat back up to the finish line in a fresher breeze.  After nearly an hour and 45 minutes of racing, the line was tantalisingly close but wasn’t making it easy for crews to finish.  Fittingly, three vintage Holt Martines slugged it out at this point, right in front of the building where they were built in the mid-50s.

Klaxon blasts from the shore signalled the end of what had been a superb outing.  Samanda’s crew came in seventh and Warhorse 14th, both having had their moments to savour.

RSC surpassed themselves with a fantastic lunch which all competitors enjoyed together sitting along tables in the clubhouse – a very convivial end to the day.

Congratulations to Rob and Hatty Cage who won the event, again schooling the rest of the fleet about how to sail on the river.  Peter Impey was awarded the 2021 DeMay prize for Most Original Boat and took the opportunity to promote the Tamesis Club Merlin Rocket weekend on 21 and 22 May.

Ed Medcalf was quietly rather satisfied to win First Junior having suddenly re-focused his full crewing powers when he saw his opposition bearing down in the last quarter of the race.

RSC will be running their Upriver Race/Merlin Open on 23 October and hope for another strong turnout.  At a time when the Tideway, the spiritual home of the Merlin Rocket, is under threat as a sporting venue it would be excellent to have another strong attendance from Tamesis Club to help create a bumper fleet.  Put the date in your diary!

Thanks to the RSC team for a fantastic day and providing the photographs, and also to Craftinsure for sponsoring the generous prize fund.