Tamesis Club

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 Chevasse 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’.

Training from Home 21


I was trying to find suitable you tube clips to carry on the themes of power boat and sailing for fun, when I came across a couple of recent RYA Covid related releases which tho a bit long are pretty good .
This got me thinking about the RYA in general.
I’m sure they tried to have an input into the Brexit debate but sadly with little obvious success,however they will doubtless prove invaluable in keeping us informed about the inevitable problems that will crop up and possibly even giving legal assistance .
They are currently doing great work providing useful advice on Covid measures like this
Subject: SAFETY BOAT SOLO CREWING TOP TIPS – Club Development with RYA Club Zone
Many of us have benefited from RYA training courses , Stewart and I had a great time learning safety boat techniques which we could pass on to the club like total inversion recovery
Over the years the river has silted up so we need to use a cut down rig for this.
The RYA are obviously a big help in training but are also useful to the club in terms of providing information on important issues like “hooking “ as discussed last week and cold water shock.
They also provide help for [sponsor] our annual  recruiting event formally known as Push the Boat Out.
Sailors sayings  “on the right tack “
Fun with Boats
This is obviously aimed at youngsters and is a bit shouty but has some good stuff


But it’s still about having fun
Big Boat Bits
Incompetent crew
We had the boat safely moored in Enkhuizen
So as the railway station was just beside the marina we decided to go off for the day and where better than Amsterdam.
I managed to find my way from the Dam square to the Princegracht where I briefly lived in 1970 but got totally lost looking for the Rikesmuseum which as it happens was partially closed for refurbishment which was actually an advantage as most of the good bits including the Night Watch were gathered together in a reduced space .
We then went looking for a Richstafel the Indonesian curry dish .
These days there are several different versions on offer including even Mongolian but I think the original is still best .
Enkhuizen is beside the dam separating the Ijeselmer from the Markenmeer which is where we go next .
Yachtmaster quiz
Answer to last weekK  Sailing downwind with a 20 it wind and 6kts boat speed the apparent wind would be 14 kits
New question:  In the context of a hurricane warning what does the dangerous semicircle mean ?
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

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.

Training from Home 20

Continuing the power boat theme whilst Tamesis 3 is great for lots of jobs it’s not ideal for close up work like rescue or training when we mostly use the dory’s Tamesis 4 or Ariel 1
Ariel 1 has a particularly powerful engine as it was also intended for offshore work at Calshot or on the Solent .
As it was very hard to raise we (Howard) installed a power lift which is great but has to be used with care.
A major hazard in power boating is “hooking” where the boat skids sideways out of a high speed turn

The speed limit on the river is 5kts so this shouldn’t happen but it’s important to communicate before any sudden moves.

Sailors sayings
Copper bottomed has nothing to do with the police but referred to the old practice of sheathing Naval ships in copper to protect them against worms and weed.
Did you “fathom that out”?
Fun with boats
We try to let youngsters learn at their own speed in the Oppies and don’t worry too much about technique but I thought this video was too good not to share
We try to make sure they enjoy it and their favourite game usually ends in a capsize
Big Boat Stuff
Incompetent crew
I was beginning to get the hang of supermarkets in Enkhuizen and managed to get the ingredients for “french/Irish coffee” Using aerosol whizzy cream.
Many places in Holland have some kind of specialist museum , Enkhuizen has lots including a ship in a bottle museum
Spot the mistake
This reminds me of when Roger left me stranded on the towpath just outside Leeuwarden
Yachtmaster quiz
Answer to last week
The letters M&S on a chart mean mud and sand
New question
If you are sailing dead downwind in 20kt true wind with 6kts boat speed what would the apparent wind speed be ?
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

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!




Training from Home 19

Welcome to lesson 19

It’s still difficult to see when we can safely start dinghy training so I thought we’d have a look at powerboats.
As well as formal RYA training we offer an in house Patrol boat Skipper course.
We have three boats of which Tamesis 3 is best for social distancing.
A handbook has been produced, Andrew Horowitz can provide copies, but here is the relevant page
One of the trickiest and best fun exercise is turning in confined spaces
Doing it between the finger jetties is hard so maybe leaving the fenders on was a good idea.
Here is an explanation of how it’s done
Our youngsters are better behaved than this –
Sailing can be fun
One of the best days I had “sailing” was providing in pool rescue cover for kids in a temporary pool at the BBC club annual festival at Motspur Pk
You also get to go to great places and meet interesting people like these steam punks at Bremerhaven Tall Ships event
Sailors sayings
Listening to the radio I just heard “copper bottomed”
Big Boat Stuff – Incompetent Crew
With a following wind the trip from Urk to Enkhuizen was easy enough for me to start looking at the navigation aids on the boat
I really liked the speed screen so I could actually see the effects of sail setting , I was a bit nervous of touching the others much.
Enkhuizen has a typical modern marina , the mooring aisles are like those shown in the powerboat video
The town is nice and the chandlers is incredible
Yachtmaster quiz
Answer from last week:  The knot to sort out a riding turn on a winch is the rolling hitch and the Test knot in Jaws was the sheepshank which I wouldn’t use for anything
New question – What do the letters M&S mean on a chart
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

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.


Training from Home 18


This week I’m just going to bang on about the fun side of sailing
We usually try to sail up to Hampton Ct about now.
Getting under the bridges is tricky but not as hard as this
Subject: How to Get An 85 Ft Mast Under A 65 Ft Bridge

Take a look at this video on YouTube:


One of the bridges is particularly nasty
Kingston Railway Bridge
When we had a flubber we tried leaning a pair of boats over it and nipping quickly through but with the dory the gunwales get damaged so we revert to towing up with the masts dropped then re-rigging.
One way or another we try to get everyone to the pub at the same time.
There is a nice little beach to land on at the pub.
Lots of keen racers go to Salcome for the various fleet regattas .
In my old club many of us just went for fun.  I took a Topper just to get from Mill Bay to the yacht club for lunch
We also took the Topper to Calshot, but didn’t always get good wind.
Sometimes it’s good to be on your own, sometimes it’s good to be in a crowd.
When Norderney is so crowded you need to raft up with the Grimsby lot.
Don’t forget the Cadets sail at Tammy on a Saturday and we plan to start ladies social sailing on Thursdays.
So big boat or small , coastal or inland , fair wether or foul
Sailing can be fun
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

July’s Thursday evening virtual racing

A keen baker’s dozen of skippers joined the first set of races in July’s Thursday evening series.  Six races were sailed, three in Stars and three in F18s.

In the Stars, both Harris brothers and Tom Low shared the bullets with the remaining podium places shared among a number of boats.

The high speed F18s again saw Richard Harris prevail, this time in two races with Jodok Gerber taking the third.

The standings after the very early stages of these competitions are shown below: