Tamesis Club

Penultimate virtual races bring May’s Sunday series to the boil

So, the May virtual racing series has started to come to the pointy end of affairs.  A time when fortune favours the brave and split second decisions will decide outcomes for both good and ill.

The racing was suitably dramatic in all three fleets as skippers battled for podiums, the opportunity to best a long-standing rival, or just the satisfaction of finishing facing the right direction.

The Star class was up first.  This deceptively simple boat has produced some of the closest and most frantic virtual racing that Tamesis Club has seen.  They may not be fast but the Stars are quirky and this adds to their appeal.

Alden Horwitz had the measure of the Stars this week and picked up two bullets with Andrew Harris and Jodok Gerber picking up a second and third each.  Two races remain and Alden could close out the series with a single win.  There is also the prospect of Andrew and Richard Harris going mano-a-mano for second place; Andrew holds it at the moment but only by a slender three points.

Having started the morning with the frothy cappuccino that is Star class racing, next up was the double expresso-fueled adrenaline hit of the F50s.  Gerbers Jodok and Constantin took a wins apiece, with Richard Harris steadily scoring two seconds, and Alden and Jodok rounding out the podiums.

It looks like one of up to eight skippers could take the series next Sunday.  Anything could happen, and it usually does.

Finally, the fleet raced in the Pot Luck Pot.  J70s were chosen for the first race, in part to give Tamesis Club’s entrants for the Merlin Rocket class association racing a warm up before their qualifying events take place this week.  Good luck to all!

Tom Harris took the win and no doubt enjoyed the bragging rights over the family Sunday roast.  Henry Medcalf came second, and Peter Impey third.

The morning was rounded off with a blast in the Formula 18 catamarans.  Again, youth came to the fore with Henry winning, followed by the experienced Chris Balmbro, and Peter Impey in another third place.

No racer has managed to be the consistently dominant force in this month’s Pot Luck Pot and a winner could come from any of the nine skippers who are spanned by 10 points.  This will go down to the wire and should be fascinating for competitors and spectators alike.

Plenty of reasons to set the alarm for next week when we hope to see bumper fleets and champagne sailing once again as the series are decided.

Thursday evening series standings tighten after frenetic racing

There was little rhyme or reason to this Thursday’s three races, a situation not helped by some technical glitches within the game which forced some skippers to helm seemingly from 30,000ft.

Series leader Jodok Gerber wasn’t present to see the action and missed Matty Key snatch the win in the first race followed in by Andy Harris and Matt P-J.

Penalties were to be the story of race two as the fleet pushed the Offshore Racers and the VRI rules to the limit – the race control screen often awash with red penalty notifications.

Tom Low emerged from the carnage with the win, Peter Impey in second and Henry Medcalf in third.  An honourable mention must go to Jim Green who calmly piloted himself to a commendable fourth place – a fitting response to his trials in Tuesday’s Masters outing and maybe the promise of things to come.

A slightly battle-worn fleet took to the line for the final race of the evening.  Matt P-J won, while recent newcomer Brian Corking recorded his best result of the series with a second, and Daniel Gerber recovered from a couple of so-so races with a third place.

Next week will see the final three races of the May Thursday evening series and the top places are significantly more tightly bunched than was the case seven days ago.  A run of wins could see any of six skippers take the title.  Bragging rights are at stake further down the leaderboard.

The standings are below:

 

Tamesis Club’s guidance to members following partial lifting of lockdown restrictions

Please find below the text that was included in the latest edition of the Tammy Matters newsletter:

Notice

Club position on Freedom to partake in Watersports

Use of Tamesis Club by Members permitted by the partial lifting of Covid-19 lockdown.

If you or anybody in your household display any symptoms of Coronavirus infection, none of you may come to the Club and you should self-isolate for the Government recommended period.

If you handle anything that you have not brought with you it is suggested that you wear gloves when doing so or use hand sanitiser afterwards.

If you think you may use Club equipment (ie. chairs, tables etc.) please bring sanitiser and cloths to wipe them down before and after use.

As a result of the easing of lockdown conditions, announced on 10th May, limited water-sports are now permitted and some elements of the Tamesis Club facilities are available to Members to enjoy this new freedom.  Members must, however, observe the social distancing and all other Government imposed conditions at all times.

On Club premises, you and all members of your household must observe the two metre social distancing from members of all other households.  Please ensure that any young children do not break this restriction.

The Clubhouse and Changing Rooms are closed, so no toilet or washing facilities are available at the Club.  If you intend going on the water you should change into your sailing kit at home.

The Club Patrol boats are currently mothballed and not available for use.  The two metre rule makes giving assistance from a patrol boat impractical.

Club boats are not available for Members to use at the present time.

Sailing, paddleboarding and canoeing are allowed if done within the Government restrictions.

The Club will not be organising any racing during this period.  Any sailing or other activity on the water is entirely at your own responsibility and risk.

If you go on the water  you must wear a buoyancy aid.

Before going out on the water, consider your capabilities in the light of the prevailing weather conditions, bearing in mind that there is no assisted recovery available.  If in any doubt, do not go afloat.  Masthead floats are recommended whilst these restrictions are in force.

Be careful to keep to the social distancing rules whilst rigging, launching and recovering craft and whilst on the water.

Ensure that your boat is sound and the rigging is in good condition.  It is suggested that you read the article at  Clubsailor.co.uk .

Single-handed sailing by helms under 16 is not allowed.

Under 16s can sail in crewed boats with members of their own household.

The lawn and riverfront are there for your enjoyment – whilst keeping the correct distancing.

The current advice from EA and RYA is reproduced in brief below.

From the EA – issued 15th May

In line with the updated government guidance issued on 10 May, non-powered water sports like kayaking and rowing can resume. Boat owners may also now visit their moored boats to make sure they are well-maintained. Any activities undertaken, however, must be done alone or with your household and you must always follow social distancing guidelines when encountering others.

From the RYA – Issued 11th May

From Wednesday, 13 May unlimited outdoor activity will be permitted in England, and we understand that this will include all forms of boating.  The Prime Minister also indicated that people would be permitted to travel to other destinations in order to exercise.  Any activity will still need to be alone or with members of a single household, and social distancing must be followed at all times.

Full text at https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/coronavirus-advice-and-information-for-recreational-boaters.aspx

The RNLI is currently working through the updated guidance in England delivered by the UK Prime Minister on 11 May and will be engaging with a number of watersport governing bodies and other stakeholders to help inform its response.

Be sensible – and stay alert!

Tuesday evening virtual racing produces some gripping action (again)

Tuesday evenings see outings for the club’s Juniors and Masters virtual fleets.

Juniors were up first with a fleet of 10 contesting the first of two races.

Although it was uncertain whether William Balmbro would make the start line due to the slow consumption of his dinner, there was no pace lacking in his performance when he eventually made it on to the water!  It was suggested that he had must have been fueled by three Shredded Wheat as a he cantered to a first win of the series.

Matty Key took the top step of the podium in the second race, also his first of the series.  Edward Medcalf made it in to second, posting his best result of the series so far, and Tom Harris rounded off a productive evening with a third place to accompany his second in the first race.

Entering the final week, we have a tie for first place in the 16 and under fleet between Henry Medcalf and Matty Key, with Tom Harris in contention.  However, Constantin Gerber could still take the title if he replicates his form from the first two races.  In the 10 and under fleet, William Balmbro is the helm to beat with Arthur P-J and Edward Medcalf still in contention for the chocolates.

The Masters races saw a dozen skippers take to the water.

Repeating his form of last week, Jonathan Key powered to a win in the first race.  Brian Corking continued a steady run of form with second, and Mike Blackledge confirmed his series ambitions with a third.  Meanwhile your correspondent carried out an unplanned experiment with an upwind spinnaker hoist, and then tried the manoeuvre again just to confirm that it really was a bad move, dropping out of the three as a result.

Race two saw Jim Green making the running in the early stages before he faded and ended up with a seat at the back of the bus.  Blackledge took the honours with Key in second and an improving Stewart Colley in third, his best score so far.

The overall standings show Blackledge and Key in a tussle for top spot with Brian Corking in third heading a large and closely-bunched group who will contest the remaining spots.  Discards will undoubtedly play their part and Daniel Gerber could upset the front-runners if he returns to the fray next week.

Here are the standings:

Stars, fast cats, and pot luck, all in another Sunday morning’s virtual racing

The club’s regular Sunday morning skippers reached the halfway point of their three May series.  As last week’s comprehensive winner Tom Last was not racing, other helms sought to capitalise on his absence.

Andy Harris made a welcome return to the top step of the podium in the Star fleet’s first race, with long-time contender Joe Woods taking his first top three finish in the second.  In Tom’s absence, and after some consistent sailing, Richard Harris now heads the rankings in the Stars with Andy in second, and Chris Balmbro easing in to third, up from seventh last week.

Chris also surged up the leaderboard in the F50 class with an impressive first and third places, leaving his overall position improved by seven places from the week before.  The standings are headed by Peter Impey who clearly likes the fast cats, followed by Jodok Gerber, with birthday boy Henry Medcalf in third.

In the Pot Luck Pot, Jodok leapfrogged Alden Horwitz in to first place, with Dana Church moving in to third after recording what is believed to be his first virtual sailing bullet.

As only half the races have been completed, there is plenty of scope for everything to change.

While it was great to see some of our Tuesday evening Masters players starting to cut through in the Sunday series, the OOD also noted some fast a loose tactics being employed, especially on downwind legs.  No names and no pack drill at this stage.

The latest standings are below:

 

Jodok Gerber eighth in a strong fleet at final RYA London & SE qualifiers

Friday lunchtime and a (surprisingly) large number of club members found themselves able to provide some welcome moral support as Jodok Gerber battled through five races in the final qualifiers.

More than 500 sailors in the London and SE  region had entered the RYA’s Spring Club Championship and the final 19 who raced on Friday therefore represented an elite group.

Unfortunately, only one could go through to the national finals.

Jodok opened his account with an impressive second.  However, his best two results from the next four races were a pair of eighth places.  He ended with a net score of 17 and eighth place for the event.

The runaway winner was William MacDonald from Wembley SC with a net score of four points, and we wish him well in the national finals.

Despite the disappointment, there was extensive praise on the club’s Whatsapp groups for Jodok’s performance and a recognition that he had done Tamesis Club proud.

We anticipate that the RYA, and class associations will run similar events and this information will be shared with club members as it become available.  In the meantime, the club’s on-going virtual sailing program will enable everyone to hone their skills.

The full results from today’s qualifiers are below:

Thursday evening series continues to grow as a leader emerges

Three more races in Offshore Racers saw the ever-expanding Tamesis Club Thursday evening fleet reach the midway point in the series.

There was plenty of close quarters racing with a penalty count to match.  The fleet is starting to find its feet in the virtual world and the margin between feeling the golden glow of success or the cold misery of a dismal evening is getting finer.

The top places in the standings are still headed by Jodok Gerber, who is also campaigning on behalf of the club in J70s, hoping to win through to the next stage of the RYA’s Spring Club Championships.

Alden Horwitz leapfrogged several places in to second by virtue of an evening that saw him gain a pair of bullets, and Matt P-J moved in to third by gaining the third top spot of the night.

Chris Balmbro and Mike Blackledge both had some encouraging results.  Newcomer Brian Corking showed flashes of his potential.  Jim Green tested the waters of the Thursday series and finished with boats in his wake.

Only six races are required to qualify for the series.  While Jodok currently looks secure in first, will he come under more pressure as his challengers start to discard results?

The current standings are below:

 

Jodok Gerber qualifies for RYA London & SE region virtual sailing finals

This afternoon’s tense qualifying races were watched live by a number of club members as Jodok Gerber sought to win through the initial qualification stage in the RYA’s Spring Virtual Sailing Club Championship.

Lining up in a flight against 13 other club champions, including those from Maidenhead SC, Ranelagh, QMSC, Whitstable YC, Welsh Harp, Wembley, and RTYC, the quality of the field was strong.

Supported by representatives from the Tamesis Club virtual sailing strategy brainstrust, Jodok set about the competition in the businesslike manner that saw him triumph in the club qualifiers.  However, this was to be no walk in the park.  A combination of savvy competition, and a couple of bloopers while leading the second race robbed Jodok of the chance to challenge for a podium spot.

However, he did enough to finish a creditable fifth in his flight with a net score of 13, and twelfth out of 19 qualifiers for the regional final on Friday 15 May.

There is only one spot available from Friday’s racing for the national final so the racing will be all about skill, fine margins, keeping one’s head out of the boat, reading the shifts, improvising, and staying calm under pressure.  Sailing on the river at Tamesis Club will have been an ideal training ground!

To watch the action live, join as a spectator on the Virtual Regatta Inshore app.  The first race is due to start at 1pm and you can expect to receive updates from Jodok between races on the Tamesis Club Sailing Whatsapp group.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Junior and Masters virtual sailing welcomes new helms

The fleets for both the Junior and Masters series were both joined by new helms for this evening’s racing; Sebastian and India in the Juniors, Brian Corking and Jim Green in the Masters.

The Juniors raced a warm-up followed by two points races in the Stars.  New venues including New York and Auckland provided the backdrop to a series of tussles which showed a strong competitive streak within the fleet.

As Constantin Gerber was sidelined due to academic demands, Henry Medcalf seized his opportunity and scored two bullets.  Matty Key, despite racking up a significant number of infringements also made hay as did Arthur P-J.

The final race ended with an incredibly close five boat photo finish, again highlighting that the Star class, despite its simplicity, delivers the most competitive racing.  Next week, the Juniors will be on J70s and we look forward to seeing them take on the challenge of spinnaker handling.

The Masters raced the Offshore Racer class, again taking advantage of the new scenery within the Virtual Regatta game.  However, one suspects that there wasn’t much time to admire the view as cagey upwind legs were topped off with competitive mark roundings and aggressive downwind sailing.

Jonathan Key reveled in the conditions with a first and a second.  Mike Blackledge salvaged a poor opening race by winning the second, with Jim Hamilton taking a third.  Our newcomers did not disgrace themselves with Brian Corking on the podium twice and Jim Green keeping two boats between him and the wooden spoon in his only race of the evening.

Our new entrants mean that the club now has 35 registered virtual sailing competitors and anyone else who has an interest will be more than welcome to join in.

New Sunday virtual racing series off to a flying start

Capacity ‘full house’ fleets took to the water for the first round of the May Sunday morning virtual racing series.  Once again, six races were sailed across three different competitions, a pair of races each in Stars, F50s and then a reprise of the Pot Luck Pot where the class sailed changes with each race.

The action in the Stars class, despite being one of the more majestic and sedate sailing options, was the pick of the day with a plethora of penalties and infringements as helms go to grips with the unique challenges that the class offers.  At one point, nine out of 20 helms had a penalty flag against their name.

The F50 races flashed past and the morning was rounded off with more tactical, three sale fare in the form of J70s and Offshore Racers.

In a bold statement of intent, Tom Low has taken out an early lead in all three series, no doubt hoping to build on his one series win from April.

A number of other results caught the eye with Daniel Gerber taking a maiden win, Jonathan Key a podium, Joe Woods breaking well in to the top half of the fleet on occasions, and newcomer Graham King showing early promise.

While youth still features in the results, it is clear that experience is catching up fast!

The standings after two races for the Sunday series are: