The Third race in this year’s GW Smith Trophy was run in a light (no change there!) west north westerly giving decent wind in the middle of the sausage course and fun and games at Canbury and Lensbury marks with lighter and flukier wind.
Ten boats came to the start line with Tim and Ed Medcalf making an excellent start and then disappearing into the distance, lapping all but the second Merlin of Charlie Morgan and Carolyne Vines to win the race on water and handicap. Charlie Morgan and Carolyne Vines chased Tim, finishing just over a minute behind him with John and Zoe Adams finishing third on the water but fourth on handicap behind John Redding in his Laser.
It was good to see two juniors racing, Henry Medcalf and Alden Horowitz, in their Toppers, adding to the range of six different classes in the fleet of ten.
With three races completed in the series the early leaders are Tim and Ed Medcalf in their Merlin Samanda, with a win and two seconds. However there are plenty of races in the series to enjoy on a summer evening and to catch the early leaders, so see you on the water on 25th.
The inaugural Topper Summer Series has completed 10 of the scheduled 11 races, one race being lost due to a canoe event on our stretch of the river. We have had six helms take part and it is enormously encouraging to see an average of four boats take to the start line for the last four races.
The racing has been competitive and tight between the helms and it is evident that the race practice, coupled with coaching on Saturday afternoons is starting to pay off with some much improved skills and awareness of race-craft on display.
The results for the Series have been collated and, at the midway point it is all to play for! Almost every helm has had at least one win which shows that anyone could still carry off the silverware at the prize giving dinner. While Matty Key and Alexander Hoo have completed most races, there are still plenty left to enable all of the helms to get enough scores on the board to qualify for the series.
The Topper fleet Summer Series comprises 20 races in total, with the last being run on 22 September. If more helms would like to join the series then they would be most welcome, there are still plenty of races left and club boats are available to be borrowed!
The Toppers can also race in a number of other club events including the GW Smith Trophy which takes place every Thursday evening until the end of August, the Bank Holiday pursuit race on Monday 26 August, the club’s Annual Regatta on 14 and 15 September, and the Junior Regatta on 21 September.
There is lots of racing scheduled for the next couple of months and we hope that the Topper fleet will maintain their welcome presence on the water.
The second race in the Thursday evening GW Smith trophy was run in a light wind and attracted 13 entrants.
As he commonly does, Charlie Morgan crewed by Humphrey Dorrell took up the early running only to give their advantage away by sailing the incorrect course and retiring after the race.
This allowed David baker and Barbara Adams in David’s Albacore, Cobblers, to win on the water and handicap, followed by Tim and Ed Medcalf in their Merlin, Samanda, with Charles Fox in third place followed by Ros Warwick-Haller in her Laser, Dragonfly. So four different classes in the top four.
This side up
Too soon to call the series, but Tim and Ed Medcalf have a couple of seconds so are the early leaders, but there are still plenty of races to go so the fight is still very much on.
Good turnouts so far so look forward to seeing plenty of competitors out on the water this Thursday for the 3rd race in the series.
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.
Competitors were greeted by a light fickle easterly which went south and west on occasion. The Toppers showed the adults the way.
The Restless Trophy sailed for by Merlins not going to Salcombe Merlin Week was convincingly won by Peter and Richard Mason in Bambusa. David Baker and Carolyne Vines in Chimp were nip and tuck with Tim and Ed Medcalf in Samanda – the Medcalfs overtaking Chimp at the last minute to take second place.
The club was buzzing – loads of students out training – see Tammy Trains – together with sighting of a very strange craft – see picture below:
We were visited by students from Malvern College on their extraordinary trip to Paris – the students are using human power only. We played host to their canoes for a few hours on Sunday evening – see picture below
The students had canoed downstream, unfortunately missing the tide at Teddington Lock, so needed to come ashore. The were kayaking from Twickenham down to Dungeness today (Monday 8th July) and will be crossing the channel on stand up paddle boards. They will cycle to Paris.