Tamesis Club

A chilly one – Sunday racing 28 November

When getting the boat ready involves firstly cracking a half inch of ice off the frozen pools of water on the cover, you know that Jack Frost has already signed his name on the race sheet.

So it was on Sunday when OOD Joe Mclaughlin, forewarned all competitors that the effective wind-chill would be below zero and claimed regret that he would be stuck inside the warm starting box, wearing a thick mountaineering coat, rather than dicing with the playful north westerly!

And playful it was too, with some proper puffs taking a run up along the river via the Lensbury club and then seeking to scatter the Tamesis Club fleets which either had to work hard to windward, or enjoy a swift ride downhill as a result.

The Lasers were again joined by Jon Redding who was one for whom the downhill ride was a little too much and he sportingly put his boat in the tide just in front of the Smithy, thereby allowing Kaan Yargici to take the lead.  However, Jon was indefatigable and relentlessly clawed his way way back to the front by the gun. Tim Medcalf came in a distant third with the rest of the fleet glad to make it back mostly unscathed.

Once again, the Merlin Rocket race was dominated by the ‘wide’ boat of Andy Harris and Matty key who got stuck in and powered away from Richard Harris and Emma McDonald in second, and Matt P-J and Leela Siebert-Patel in third.

The N18s decided that the weather looked a bit too spicy and consigned themselves to the spectator benches for some vicarious action.

Many thanks to Joe and Sean Roberts in the box, Geoff Malseed and Holly Roseveer in the patrol boat and Yann for running the bar.  Also to Jonathan Key and Carolyne Vines for the pictures.



Fun Sunday Racing in an Autumnal Northerly

They say ‘it’s an ill wind that blows no good’ and while the general population of Teddington Reach may not welcome a lively northerly,  Tamesis Club sailors are delighted to have one come and visit.

It was an easy course selection for the Box team of Peter and Richard Mason, a windward-leeward sausage with the wind providing enough shifts and twists to penalise the inattentive and benefit those who had their eyes out of the boat.

While the course was familiar, the club would like to recognise a couple of firsts.  Leela Siebert-Patel stepping up to crew in a Merlin Rocket under the skilled eye of helm Matt P-J, and also Matthew Valentine who raced his new Laser for the first time.  Well done to both these enthusiastic Juniors, we look forward to seeing you out racing in the coming weeks.

Seven Lasers opened proceedings and they were soon aware of the presence of Jon Redding, but only briefly, as his transom disappeared ahead.  Behind Jon, your correspondent took the opportunity to check his wetsuit still worked just before the first windward mark, had a prolonged swimming lesson, and then remounted at the back of the fleet.  All helms had their moment of needing to ease early, ease less as well as balancing on a swaying hull having been caught by a gust that forced them by-the-lee.  In the end, Jon Redding had a comfortable win from Tim Medcalf who managed to keep ahead of the charging Brendan Hills.

Two N18s took to the water with the Commodore remaining with the landlubbers having decided to let others have all the fun.  Henry Defries romped home with a healthy on-water margin over Charles Fox, but only the handicapper’s slide rule knows who claimed the chocolates on adjusted time.

The wide style Merlin Rockets love some breeze and so it proved as Andy Harris and Matty Key took the line honours from Richard Harris and guest crew Chris Martin, with Matt P-J and Leela in third.  The fleet put on quite a show with spinnakers being de rigueur and some fine seamanship skills being displayed as a couple of crews avoided an early bath.

Definitely a day for blowing away any cobwebs and many contented sailors assembled in the bar afterwards for a well-deserved drink or two.

Thanks again to the Masons in the Box, to Alexey Anatskiy and James Berry in the patrol boat, to the young lads serving the drinks, and to Jonathan Key for the excellent pictures.


Racing Sunday 14th November

The turn out was good this morning despite the low cloud and gentle breeze northerly breeze. The course was set in front of the club.

Nine Lasers crossed the line at the usual start time of 1030.  Matty Valentine led in the first round, to be overhauled by Stewart Colley and then Henry Medcalf.  Stewart won convincingly with Matty chasing Henry.

The Laser fleet led by Stewart Colley

The two minutes silence was observed at 11am, and the Ensign was lowered to half mast.  The Lasers stopped where they were and held station for the two minutes.

The two 18′ Nationals started at 1115.  Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough  in Genevieve led from the start.  Unfortunately Mal Warner and Beatrice Russ in Orion had to retire.

The merlin start was nail biting – all seven right on the line, but no one over.  Big sigh of relief all round.  Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts in Lady Anne led from the start, Richard Harris and Emma Macdonald in Passing Cloud only nearly overtaking them at the end.  Andrew Harris and Chris Martin in Point Break came an easy third.

Joe and Sean led all the way


Richard and Emma creeping up behind Joe and Sean on the last run upriver


My thanks to my helpers – Henry Defries in the box and Florian Krueger and Jennifer Falconer Hall in the Patrol Boat.  Thanks also to David, Yann and Jack in the bar.

Photos by the author.

Please also scroll down to the end of the website and look at Chris Wade’s fantastic pictures on the Facebook page.





Silver Tiller – Gold Target – Bronze Taken

Here follows part three of the very informal ‘Tammy Travels’ series.

The Merlin Rocket class’s Silver Tiller series has long been one of the pre-eminent dinghy racing competitions in the country.  The trophy itself was presented by J Duncan-Ferguson in 1950.

Comprising about 20 race days in a ‘normal’ year, they are categorised as being either sea, open water, or restricted events.  Tamesis Club is selected to host an event on alternate years – not surprisingly, our event falls in to the ‘restricted’ category.

In order to qualify for the final prizes, crews need to complete races at each type of venue which means that the Silver Tiller is an award that recognises the best all-rounder across all disciplines.

There are also prizes for ‘classic’ (registered before 2000) and ‘vintage’ (registered before 1985) boats as well as the Topmast trophy which is awarded to the club with the best-placed three sailors across the season.

Each event also awards prizes for the winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets; this racing is open to MROA members and is determined by level of previous Silver Tiller experience.

So, plenty for everyone to shoot for, regardless of age of boat.

The 2021 Silver Tiller calendar has been back-weighted due to the threat of COVID cancelling events earlier in the year; a sensible move.

Handily, there are several events within a reasonably short drive of Tamesis Club and so Team Seveneye decided to go and have a look.

The first event saw Tim and Flora Laidlow take part at Wembley SC which was the scene of Tim’s last involvement in the Silver Tiller 35 years ago; there were a few flashbacks to a day when the wind boxed the compass and confusion reigned both on the course and in the front end of the boat.

Wembley Sailing Club Merlin Rocket Open 2021. . 24.10.2021 Photographer Sam Pearce

The second outing was to Chichester Yacht Club where Tim and Matty Key gave the racing a go.

Both venues provided the opportunity to really get Seveneye up and moving with three sail reaching/downwinds being the order of the day.  Wembley was breezy, Chichester was just plain windy!

The dinghy racing hardware on display in the boatpark before each event was both intimidating and impressive but this slightly daunting first impression was softened by the warmth of the welcome from members of a high class fleet and home clubs for a crew who were clearly new to the circuit.

There were also a few former Tammy members on hand to provide a tip here and there, thank you Caroline Croft and Mary Henderson.

The racing followed a similar pattern with Team Seveneye making good starts but then being left trailing in the wake of the hotshots to battle with the other less quick crews.  As the old saying goes ‘two boats is a race’ and so it proved with some tight manoeuvring and competition even at the back of the fleet.

Racing three hour-long races back-to-back is a proper outing, especially if one is used to a relatively short, sedate weekly jaunt on the river; taking a bag of snacks was a life-saver.  The Wembley event saw the patrol boat provide each competitor with chocolate and bottles of water between races, most welcome!

What of the results?  Well, Team Seveneye didn’t come last, beat a few boats, learnt a lot, managed some testing conditions which saw more experienced crews retire, collected the Bronze Fleet win at CYC, and had a lot of fun.  Matty discovered the challenge of doing ‘proper’ hiking and is currently building himself a hiking bench so he can practise while doing his homework.  Flora discovered that chocolate cake is the ideal post-sailing recovery food.

The point of recounting this tale is actually to encourage more Tamesis Club racers to have a go at competing ‘abroad’ – we are spoilt for choice in terms of events within our region for all classes of boat and it would be great to see more members taking up the challenge.







2021 Trowlock Trophy Thriller

Early risers gathered at the river’s edge and wondered where the forecast wind was.  Not a sign was to be seen……

……..until the Trowlock Trophy handicap pursuit’s start sequence got under way.  And then there was plenty, coming from all directions!

Four visiting Enterprises lead the way and established an early cadence lapping the windward-leeward course with a frequency that was not anticipated only 30 minutes previously.

Next came a brigade of home and visiting Lasers, some of whom started gamely only to be overwhelmed by the conditions, a few taking early baths, and others hanging it up after some wobbly laps to join the spectators on the shore.

The N18s rigged and then thought better of the idea leaving it to the Merlin Rocket representatives to try and chase down the fast disappearing Enterprises.  Joe and Sean in Lady Anne had bought new sails especially for the event and were soon finding an extra gear and they made up for a tardy start and sliced their way to the head their fleet.

However the Enterprises continued their relentless progress and were not to be denied either by the wise heads in the Merlin Rockets or by the young (and not so young) pretenders in the Lasers.

When the hooter blew and the on-water tally was completed, it showed three visiting Enterprises taking the podium places.  Congratulations to Paul Engelmann and his daughter Katie from QMSC on winning, Chris Rowsell and crew from Lensbury SC for placing second, and Robin Broomfield and Paul Bloomfield from Minima YC for taking third.  Their battle made for super viewing for the land lubber and highlighted the appeal of one design racing.

Other honourable mentions must go to some of the Tamesis Club Juniors, notably Lyra Wade who crewed for Matt P-J in his Merlin Rocket and made it to the finish, also to Matty Key (who took the Tamesis Club Junior Trowlock Trophy) and Matthew Valentine for continuing to showcase the skills of ‘The Young Guns’.

Thanks to Mal Warner and Simon Thompson for running the racing, Johannes Wagner and Beatrice Russ for being busy in the patrol boat, Nicky Johnson for running the bar, Carolyne Vines and Jonathan Key for the photos.

Sunday 31st October

Photo Jonathan Key
Photo Jonathan Key
Photo Jonathan Key

The weather forecast indicated that there would be little chance of racing even though an agreement had been forged with the Outrigger Canoes to allow us across their Half River Closure.  At 10:00 it looked like the forecasters were right, with driving rain and monster gusts.  We almost abandoned at that point but the arrival of intrepid sailors and a distinct improvement in the weather allowed a combined Merlin and Laser start.  Two of the Lasers had exciting starts but the race was completed and the Canoes were happy with the way we avoided them.  Andrew Harris, crewed by Matty Key, brought their Merlin home first with Matty Valentine being first of the Lasers, followed closely by Alexey Anatskiy and not so closely by Nev Upton and Peter Impey.  But well done to all for braving the elements, which actually calmed down considerably during the race.  I should like to thank Joe Woods as OOD, assisted by Ken Duffell in the Box, with thanks also to Mark Gardner for running the Patrol Boat.

Outrigger Canoes. Photo Carolyne Vines

This was the day the RNLI Christmas stand was at the Club and despite the weather there was a good turn-out by Club Members and hopefully they made plenty out of us.  The hoped-for appearance by the Teddington Lifeboat, unsurprisingly, did not materialise.  There was a Fish Pie lunch from Nicky Johnson which was well received and thank you also to David and Yann who, again, ran Phil’s Bar.

Cover photo Jonathan Key

18′ National Inlands won by Mary Henderson

Six boats turned out for the delayed 18′ National Inland Championships on Saturday 30th October.  The event had been postponed from the 2nd October due to an adverse weather forccast, and there was a lot of concern in the week before whether it would be possible to run it on Saturday. One visitor had pulled out on Friday, another first thing Saturday due to torrential rain.  It was still very wet when boats were being rigged, but the rain stopped, and the wind dropped to a sensible strength, but still enough to propel boats against the now strong stream.

The fleet encompassed a range of 18′ from Genevieve (number 266), the first GRP hull designed by Ian Proctor to Ultimates Antedote, Zephyr and Rhapsody (the latter being the last Ultimate built) and almost newest Ultra designs Second Chance and Optimus Prime.

This year we combined two events – the Adelaide Cup and Tamesis Anchor are sailed for in the spring, early summer, but delayed again this year due to Covid 19 restrictions.  The Inland Championships comprises of two trophies – the Eighteen Cup and the Maddison Trophy, the former on PYS handicap and the latter on first on the water.

We were delighted to welcome Mary Henderson with brother Rob, and Rupert White back to the club.  This was Mary and Rob’s first race at the club since they were Juniors learning on a Saturday afternoon and going on to race very successfully in several classes, including Mary’s recent win crewing Olympian Luke Patience in the prestigious invitation Endeavour Trophy.

Jim Green (morning OOD) set a starboard hand sausage in front of the club which stayed the same length for the first two back to back races.  Our visitor – Mary Henderson crewed by brother Rob and Rupert White pulled away fast from the start and led to the end of both races.  The subsequent places were closely fought for by Kaan Yargici crewed by Theo in Optimus Prime, Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in Zephyr, Chris Pollard and Peter Bide in Antedote, Garrie Mallen and Alistair Banks in Rhapsody, not forgetting an off form Charles Fox and Ron Williamson in Genevieve.

A welcome break for a sandwich lunch and drinks from the bar, and we were back to business.  Two more races for the Inland Champs and one more for the Adelaide Cup/Tamesis Anchor.

Mary led from the start of both races, with the rest of the fleet chopping and changing positions throughout.    The wind had dropped some more, so Martin Thomas the afternoon OOD shortened the course for the third race, and even more for the fourth.  Kaan crewed by Peter Impey in Optimus Prime started making inroads on Second Chance, but not enough to beat them.

The tired crews came in for drinks, tea and cake, and the prize giving.  The prizes were announced by Commodore Chris Pollard, and given out by Class Captain Henry Defries.

Our thanks go to the Race Team of Jim Green, Martin Thomas and Caroline Stillwell in the box and the George and Matthew Barber in the Patrol Boat.  Great sandwiches and drinks were provided by Nicky Johnson, with help from Peter Johnson in the bar.


Inland Championship – Eighteen Cup (Portsmouth Yardstick) and Maddison Trophy (first on the water) – best three of four races

1st Second Chance  4171  Mary Henderson, Rob Henderson and Rupert White

2nd Optimus Prime 421  Kaan Yargici, Theo and Peter Impey

3rd  Zephyr Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines

Adelaide Cup (Tamesis members only) handicap based on PYS  – first three races

1st  Zephyr  374  Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines

2nd Optims Prime  421  Kaan Yargici, Theo and Peter Impey

3rd Genevieve  266  Charles Fox and Ron Williamson

Tamesis Anchor (Tamesis members only) first on the water.  First three races

1st  Optimus Prime  421  Kaan Yargici, Theo and Peter Impey

2nd Zephyr  374  Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines

3rd  Genevieve 266  Charles Fox and Ron Williamson

Photos – Stewart Colley

Cover photo – Carolyne Vines

Patrol Boat Training 30th October

Simon Thompson ran a Patrol Boat training session on Saturday to familiarise members with the different skills necessary to drive and crew.  This included capsize drill.

He will be running another session on Saturday 27th November

photo Stewart Colley

Talk on Thursday 28th October – A Very Happy Little World

We were very pleased to welcome Mark Laity, Thames A Rater sailor and author to do his excellent and very informative talk on Thursday.

Mark Laity. Photo Matt Kyte

Mark wrote the book with the title ‘A Very Happy Little World – 150 Years of Sailing on the Thames’ to mark the 150th Anniversary of Thames Sailing Club in 2020.  However, the book and his talk encompassed all the clubs on the west Thames area as so many had a huge influence on the growth of dinghy sailing nationally.  He used many of the pictures that appear in the beautiful book plus more that didn’t.  Tamesis got a big mention as the club was founded by a split off group from Thames.

His audience of thirty plus members and friends was spellbound and had many questions at the end.

To find out more you need to read this excellent beautifully written, designed and produced book.  Copies of the book are on sale at the club for £20 each.  They are going fast, so don’t leave it too long.

Diners enjoying an excellent meal for the first time since March 2020. Photo Brian Harper Lewis

This evening also marked the first gathering where we sat down and had a proper two course hot meal arranged by Nicky Johnson and served with help from Sally and Adrian Warwick Haller.  A big thank you goes to them  and to David and Jan in the bar.


Richard Harris wins the Trafalgar Trophy 2021

The Trafalgar Trophy was donated to the club by John and Rita Dunkley in 2005 – the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.  This handicap pursuit race always takes place on the Sunday closest to the date of the battle 21st October.

Thanks to Jonathan Key for the pictures.   Cover photo Richard Harris and Emma MacDonald in Merlin Passing Cloud.  See a fuller report in Tammy Matters.

The Solo was first to start in lighter winds.
Lasers were the next class to start
One of the gusts
The Merlins starting
Peter and Richard Mason were second in Bambusa
Another gust


Matt Peregrine Jones and Kaan Yargici were third in their Ultra18′ National Optimus Prime