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’.

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.

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!




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.


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:

Tamesis Club prevails in virtual team racing hosted by Minima YC

Mike Blackledge reports on the recent inter-club team racing between Minima YC and Tamesis Club.

As on-the-water team racing is on hold for the time being, six intrepid Tamesis Club members arrived at Minima Yacht Club’s virtual bar on Wednesday evening, ready to do battle online, using the now familiar Virtual Regatta platform, with spectating being made available using ‘Zoom’.

Tamesis Club fielded two teams of three, selected on a first come, first served basis – Team 1 comprising Richard Harris, Jodok Gerber, and Tom Low, with Team 2 consisting of Andrew Harris, Peter Impey and Mike Blackledge.

Tamesis Club went into the event quietly confident, all representatives having shown well at various times during the recent virtual race series, run by Tim Medcalf.

The series consisted of six races – races 1, 2 and 3 pitting Minima YC Team 1 against Tamesis Club 1, and races 4,5,6 being contested between Minima YC Team 2 and Tamesis Club 2.

Utilising classic team racing tactics, Tamesis Club got off to a flying start with Jodok, Tom and Richard taking the first race with a 1,2,3 combination, following this up in race 2, with another winning tally of 1,2,4. Minima YC fought back, taking control and winning the remaining match for Teams 1.

After a change of crews, Team 2 was next up with Andrew, Peter and Mike winning all three of their matches, their final race being a resounding 1,2,3 for Tammy.

Tamesis Club therefore took a convincing overall series victory, five races to Minima’s one.

A great evening’s entertainment wash had by all, and thanks go to Minima YC’s Robin Broomfield for kindly organising the event.

There was much talk in the virtual bar afterwards, of a re-match, maybe even in real boats at some point! Such was the success of the event, virtual team racing between Tamesis Club and other local London clubs is currently being investigated, with the hope of maybe converting some of these matches to real life on-water competition.

June virtual sailing series wrap up

Although many members have switched their focus to a limited return to real world racing, there was still the matter of the final week of June’s virtual racing series to be addressed.

Races were run on Tuesday for the Juniors and Masters, Thursday evening, and then on Sunday evening to accommodate the morning racing which had been moved to allow for a return to the water.

The two age group leaders were decided in the Junior racing.  Tom Harris pulled ahead of Matty Key in the 11-16 year old group, while in the 10s and unders Edward Medcalf was bested by both winner William Balmbro and Arthur P-J who took second.

The Masters group saw the same podium group prevail from the previous week with the series being taken by Mike Blackledge, with Brian Corking in second and Tim Medcalf in third.  Mike therefore establishes himself as the Master Blaster having won both series run so far.

The first week of the Thursday series set the tone and Richard Harris’s victory never really looked in doubt at any point.  In the final week, he pulled out another point ahead of his brother Andrew with Peter Impey nudging past Mike Blackledge for third.

Tom Low scored three bullets in Sunday’s Pot Luck Pot to clinch the series and push previous high flyers Richard Harris and Jodok Gerber down in to second and third respectively.  A no-show at the last round of 49er racing saw series leader Alden Horwitz slip to fourth.  His place was taken by Richard Harris with Peter Impey and Andrew Harris close behind.

Well done to everyone who took part in the virtual racing and congratulations to the podium finishers.

The final standings for qualifying competitors are shown below:


Tamesis Club racers enjoy a morning out with the buoys

After several months enjoying a quiet life locked down in their shiny new wheeled barrow, the Tamesis Club racing marks made a long-anticipated return to the water on Sunday.

Tossed by a frisky breeze, the buoys saw nine Lasers take to the start of their fleet race, followed at a  suitably socially distanced interval by a fleet of four Merlin Rockets.

The Laser fleet wrestled its way around a simple up/down course with the frequent squally gusts catching a few skippers unawares as they blew the cobwebs away and re-familiarised themselves with racing after a long layoff.

In scenes reminiscent of recent virtual racing contests, Constantin Gerber took the line honours followed by a photo finish which saw Kaan Yargici pip Alden Horwitz for second.

The Merlin Rocket fleet got underway in slightly more benign conditions and enjoyed a stretch of its legs.  Despite the passing of time since the last outing, things had a familiar ring as Richard Harris and Maddie came home first from Ken Duffel and Matty, with Matt P-J and Arthur in third.

The bank-side spectators were quick to spot the potential in Peter Impey’s new boat Warhorse which showed some good speed and will likely settle in to be a strong competitor in the fleet.

Regardless of where they finished, all racers enjoyed their morning and the addition of a pop-up bar provided by Nicky Johnson.

Thanks to Carolyne Vines (OOD), Henry Defries for assisting, Chris Pollard for managing the foreshore, Paul and Sara Jamieson for crewing the patrol boat, Andrew and Debora Horwitz for preparing facilities to make them compliant, Carolyne and Anne Bayne for the photos.

Not forgetting the buoys of course.  Great job guys, we look forward to seeing you on the water again soon!



Penultimate week of June’s virtual racing sees series tighten

The third week of a month-long virtual racing series has often proved the most interesting as it is the time when discards start to take effect, and laggards can suddenly become leaders in one fell swoop.

The Tuesday Juniors saw Tom Harris and Matty Key draw level at the head of the 11-16 age group. Edward’s Medcalf’s lead in the 10s and unders group was also sliced away as only three points now separate the podium places.  Definitely all to play for in the final showdown.

The Tuesday Masters provided a respectable fleet yet again with some close racing and a bit of banter along the way.  The top three stayed the same as the previous week, Jonathan Key closed in on the podium.

Thursday evening racing was again a full house.  Constantin Gerber took two bullets with Richard Harris picking up the third.  One more win will see Richard achieve a perfect score for the series however brother Andrew is within touching distance and Constantin could still take the series victory if he has a stellar last session.

Sunday was Fathers’ Day and, where it applied, fathers beat sons to record a welcome victory for experience over youth.  The Pot Luck Pot included a somewhat laborious first outing the the new virtual Laser class.   Richard Harris retook the series lead from Jodok Gerber, with Dana Church continuing to hold third.

The 49ers saw wins for Richard Harris, Tim Medcalf and Matt P-J however Alden Horwitz continues to head the standings but with a much-reduced cushion.  Going in to the last week, a number of skippers could still take top slot.

NB: the final set of Sunday races will take place at 19.00  this week as the club is trialing a return to real sailing on Sunday morning.

The series standings are: