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 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 runner-up 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.

Summer Series 3: 1st May 2022

A swirling, unpredictable wind theoretically coming from the South East presented everyone, not least the race officers, with a challenge. Thankfully, the light conditions and a carefully set course featuring a clubhouse dogleg meant that there would be no May Day Mayday required.

The Blue series races, started with four Merlin Rockets charging off at 10:30. The experienced teamwork of Richard and Peter Mason prevailed. The last mark saw drama in the fleet as Tim & Veronique Medcalf’s second place was transformed into an unusual third. Both Avenger (Joe Woods & Ken Duffell) and Seveneye (Griff & Josie Tanner) slipped past, and found themselves sharing second place after crossing the line together.

In the Laser fleet, Matt Valentine was joined by Matty Key and Alexey Anatskiy, all hoping to build points in the absence of regulars like Jim Hamilton and Marcus Chavasse. Matty led Matt throughout, with Alexey registering a useful third place.

In the National 18s, Zephyr (Henry Defries & Carolyne Vines) narrowly outpaced Antedote (Chris Pollard & Alistair Banks) and Genevieve (Charles Fox & Robert Blakebrough) on the water, with the application of handicapping swapping second and third place.

The White Series, starting at 11:30, saw the National 18s effectively repeat their earlier result. Consistency is king among the big boats.

The Merlin fleet had doubled in size for the second race. Of particular note at the sharp end of the fleet, both Passing Cloud (Richard Harris & Emma McDonald) and Crescendo (Andy Harris & Matty Key) were out on the water for the first time in the Summer Series, and would contest a relentless and noisy battle right to the finish line.

In the end Passing Cloud prevailed over Crescendo, with the Masons’ Bambusa tidying up third place.

In the Lasers, Matt Valentine had obviously taken lessons about the shifting breeze from the earlier race, because he tucked in for a handy win over Peter Johnson and Ros Warwick-Haller.

As the Summer Series really kicks into gear, sailors should note a couple of items from the club’s revised Sailing Instructions:

First, RRS A5.3 applies, meaning that boats who make it to the starting area but who do not complete the race will receive a score of the number of boats out plus one (instead of the DNC score of the number of boats in the series plus one).

Second, the number of races to count in a series is half of the number of races, rounded up.

Easter Egg Pursuit: 17th April 2022

A Firefly sailing

Easter Sunday saw a chocolate box selection of boats out at Tamesis for the Easter Egg handicap pursuit. Alongside 7 Lasers and 8 Merlin Rockets, a National 18, an Enterprise and a Firefly all fancied their chances in the free-for-all of a pursuit race.

The Firefly, sailed by Henry and Ed Medcalf, was first out of the gate, heading upstream past Steven’s Eyot on a long Canbury-Lensbury lap. Three minutes later, Peter Bide in the Enterprise Ariel set off in pursuit.

Lasers sailing back towards Tamesis Club

The following pack of Lasers had other ideas, quickly running down the early starters and establishing a dominance by the end of the first lap. The Laser-powered one-two-three at the halfway stage was Marcus Chavasse, Matt Valentine and Richard Harris.

Merlin Rocket “Chimp”

As so often at Tamesis, the Merlins were not to be denied their say. By the end of their first lap the likes of Chimp, Masquerade and Avenger were in amongst the Lasers. Leading the push was Andy Harris, crewed by Tom, swapping the familiar Point Break for the storied Crescendo. As the Harrises headed back upstream past the Smithy, only the Medcalf Firefly stood between them and the lead Lasers.

Merlin Rocket “Salterello”
National 18 “Zephyr”

The 12:30 finish was long enough for the lead to change hands decisively, with Crescendo prevailing over Marcus Chavasse in the first Laser, followed by the Merlins Sublime (Joe McLaughlin & Sean Roberts) and Chimp (David Baker & Jim Green), with Richard Harris’ Laser holding off another Merlin, Avenger (Ken Duffell & Joe Woods) to round out the top half dozen.

The winners of the Tamesis Easter Egg Pursuit

The sight of a Firefly out on the water was a good reminder to all that next Sunday brings another break to the Summer Series with the Firefly Open at Tamesis.

OOD: Rob Hatley

Photos by Alastair Banks & Chris Wade

Summer Series racing warms up: 10th April 2022

Swans courting

Everything was warming up at Tamesis on Sunday. The air. The river (a bit). Things were even heating up for the Tamesis swans, who treated the gathering sailors to a display of waterborne affection before the Blue series racing began.

The wind wasn’t offering too much for the early starters, looking southerly but tending to fill in from the west if it did happen. Uncertain exactly which way it would go, OOD Brendan Hills laid marks for a dogleg course, but, after sticking a wet finger in the air, went with a fairly tight up-and-down Canbury-Lensbury course.

Six Merlins set things off, with War Horse enjoying a flyer to the first mark. White Saucerer (Rob and Lucy Hatley) soon eased past and into the lead, making the most of what the wind offered. But all the while Tim Medcalf and Jennifer Falconer-Hall (Crossbow) were picking their way up the fleet. Three laps was just about the perfect length of race, certainly for Crossbow, which slipped into the lead halfway round the final lap and ran out comfortable winner.

In the meantime four Lasers had set off. Second and third place racers from the Winter Series (Matt Valentine and Jim Hamilton) were present and correct, but Winter Series champion Henry Medcalf was absent, busy with studies. Who would take advantage?

In the event Marcus Chavasse led the way from the start, pulling Valentine, Hamilton and Brian Corking round the course, and rarely looking in any trouble.

Things were looking pretty tight for the National 18s, with Antedote (Pollard/Banks), Zephyr (DeFries/Vines) and Genevieve (Fox/Warwick-Haller) inseperable in the early stages. Eventually it was left to Antedote to nose just in front of Zephyr for the win.

The first hints of a more solid wind weren’t enough to change the course for the White series races, so it was a quick turnaround for all. The Merlin fleet was up to eight, enough to mean some proper jockeying for position at the start. The beneficiary was Avenger (Ken Duffell & Joe Woods), which flew around the course, looking uncatchable in the early laps. Although White Saucerer and Crossbow were unable to repeat the form of the first race, the boats of David Baker & Jim Green and of Griff & Josie Tanner were gradually applying pressure.

Matters came to a head at the Lensbury mark on the fourth lap. Avenger’s spinnaker run temporarily ended up with the pole floating off downstream. As it was retrieved, Chimp and the Tanners were in close enough attendance to slide past, the top three finishing in that order.

Unusually, the White series racing for Lasers and National 18s virtually replicated the first race. For the Lasers, Marcus Chavasse enjoyed clear water from lap one to lap five, with Matt Valentine recording his second second of the day. The only change was the arrival of Stewart Colley, who opened his season with a third place. And once a complex multi-fleet finish had been unpicked, it turned out that the National 18s had repeated their Blue series order.

Summer series racing takes a break for a couple of weeks, with the Easter Egg Handicap Pursuit on Easter Sunday, and the Firefly Open the Sunday after.

Summer Series racing begins: 3rd April 2022

Words by Chris Pollard, photography by Chris Wade

This Sunday’s races were contested in a better than forecast north-north-easterly wind which occasionally backed to north-westerly.  OOD John Adams set a straight up-and-down course (K) for all races.

Seven Merlins started their first (Blue) race which was won by Peter Mason, crewed by Richard Mason, with Matt P-J, crewed by Lyra Wade, second and Rob Hatley, crewed by Lucy Hatley, third.

Seven Lasers started their first race which was won by Marcus Chavasse, with Henry Medcalf second and Mattie Valentine third.

Three N18s started the N18/Handicap race.  Henry Defries, crewed by Carolyne Vines, was first with Charles Fox, crewed by Robert Blakebrough, second and Chris Pollard, crewed by Alistair Banks, third.

Seven Merlins entered the second (White) race which was won by Joe McLaughlin, crewed by Sean Roberts, with Peter Mason, crewed by Richard Mason, second and Matt P-J, crewed by Lyra Wade, third.

Seven Lasers started the second race which was won by Marcus Chavasse, with Chris Taggart second and Henry Medcalf, third.

The N18 race was won by Henry Defries, crewed by Carolyne Vines, with Chris Pollard, crewed by Alistair Banks, second and Charles Fox, crewed by Robert Blakebrough, third.

thanks to John Adams as OOD, assisted by Zoe Adams in the Box.  Thank you also to Ian Ramage and Stephen Lucas for manning the Patrol Boat.