Tamesis Club

Junior Sailing is back on the water!

Saturday 10 April saw almost 20 keen Juniors, including some new members, rig up and go sailing under the watchful eye of Andy Harris and his volunteer team of parents.

Undaunted by the autumnal feeling conditions it was good to see that the skills gained last year hadn’t diminished due to the enforced lockdown layoffs.  A number of Juniors are really developing in terms of their sailing and it was apparent that the ability level across the group is on the up.

Matty and Maisie Key even took the opportunity to show off their capsize recovery skills in one of the club’s very smart looking, newly refurbished Laser 2000s.  Real commitment, especially as the hot showers and changing rooms remain closed for the time being!

We’re looking forward to a glorious summer of Junior Sailing sessions and hope that this will feed through in to more Juniors coming back to race on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings too.

Thanks as ever to Andy for running the afternoon supported by Ken, Griff, Byron, Davesh, Sean, Nicola, Matthew, Matt P-J, and the rest of the ‘shoreside parents’, Nim and Helen for leading the provision of the all-important teas and cake, and to Chris Wade for taking the accompanying shots of the action.


eSailing series week 4 – final results

The fourth and final round of races was run in AC75s at a variety of international locations including Auckland – good to have some Brits racing on those waters on what should have been the first weekend of the Americas Cup!

Brian Corking held a reasonable but not insurmountable lead going in to the last set of four races.  As it turned out, he was not to be denied.  Showing excellent form in the foiling class he secured three more bullets which left him with the perfect score of eight for the series and the prize of some GH Mumm champagne.

Behind Brian, the Harris brothers Richard and Andrew finished their own epic tussle for the remaining podium spots.  On this occasion, Andrew prevailed by one point.  He will no doubt be hoping to carry forward that form when on-water action restarts in a few weeks.

Honourable mentions to Chris Balmbro who competed in all races and, along with Peter Impey, Jodok Gerber, Graham King, and Mike Blackledge, animated the mid-fleet and included a win in his tally.  Stewart Colley also graced all of the starts, persevered, and enjoyed some notable success in the third week.

In total, 18 club members took part and managed to at least partially fill some of the sporting gaps left in Sunday mornings by the lack of real-world racing.

Thanks to all for joining in and to Ed Medcalf for helping out in the eSmithy.

Here are the final standings:



eSailing series week 3 – it’s getting tight at the top!

A dozen skippers turned out on Sunday morning to race Fareast 28Rs.  This round’s scores would be the first when discard start to matter so it was all to play for,

The podium places were largely shared between a breakaway trio of Brian Corking, Andy Harris and Richard Harris.  This group is starting to lockout the series podium.

Possibly spurred on by the on-water presence of his son William, Chris Balmbro turned in his best set of results of the series so far with three top-threes including a win in the last race.

Further down the fleet, Stewart Colley also had a good week keeping his scores out of the double figures and recording a fifth in second race.  Peter Konidaris also had his best result of the series with a fifth in the third race.

Next week is the final round of the series and the class to be sailed is AC75s.

The updated scores (see below) show Brian Corking in a strong position going in to the last set of races, barring equipment failure (and the Commentator’s Curse) he looks to have this series, and the GH Mumm in the bag.

However, there are battles to be resolved.  None more interesting than between the Harris brothers who are separated by one point in second and third.  Club records don’t record their relative strengths in the AC75 class so it will be an interesting match up.

Chris Balmbro has surged in to fourth from sixth and should hold that place with some consistent sailing.

Jodok Gerber and Peter Impey are locked together on points, who will prevail?  Mike Blackledge sat out this week’s racing but, looking at his possible discards, could easily spring a surprise on the three skippers above him on the table.

Racing will start with a sign-on at 10.30 on Sunday morning, everyone is welcome even if you haven’t taken part so far.



eSailing series week 2

The fleet swelled again this week with 15 skippers taking part. Great to see some of 2020’s regular competitors rejoining the fray, maybe enticed by the lure of this series’ sponsor’s products!

It was a first official club outing in the Barcalona 50s and there was exciting sailing all through the fleet with battles at the front and equally intense rivalries towards the rear.

At the pointy end of affairs, Andy Harris has a feast or famine set of results, however once the discards kick in his two bullets will start to show their worth.  Brian Corking and Richard Harris also have some bullets on the score sheet, while Jodok Gerber is also starting to accumulate a very solid base of mainly podium placings.

Mike Blackledge and Chris Balmbro have both been making steady progress and achieving some marginal gains in the next eight races could put them right in contention.

Further back in the peloton, we saw Graham King, Daniel Gerber and Peter Impey punch out some useful results.  The rear of the fleet also sees its fair share of battles with Peters Johnson and Konidaris, Jim Hamilton,  Stewart Colley and The Commodore all trading places with gusto.

As we reach the halfway point, it is all still to play for.  Only 50% of races count in this series so fortunes could change quickly and anyone thinking of joining in the fun will still be able to qualify for the prizes.

Thanks again to all players for coming along, having a fuller fleet is great fun for the spectators too!

Next Sunday’s action will again see four races with the first sign in at 10.30.

The standings so far:





Breezy Trowlock(down) Trophy 1 November 2020

A mostly southwesterly wind was whistling through the rigging as 16 boats prepared to take on the annual Trowlock Trophy Open handicap pursuit race.

OOD Jon Redding set a course which sent competitors from the re-commssioned clubhouse start line, the Smithy being partly dismantled prior to replacement, above the island and then on a looped course which had turn marks near Kingston railway bridge and opposite KRC.

Simply starting was an issue for some which was compounded by the arduous beat to get above the island.  Once there, the action came thick and fast with a very lively breeze challenging all who could stay the course.

The nine Lasers were off first including a welcome visitor from Lensbury club.  Tom Low set the pace for a number of laps but found himself ‘in the tide’ which allowed Matt P-J to surge through.  Behind them there were plenty of close calls with one Laser helm opting to ride out a boisterous squall by holding on to the bank, and another taking a swim while his boat planed away without him.

The lone National 18 had a torrid time and capsized.  Recovery was an involved affair, including taking the mast down and a long pull back to the creek.

Some of the six Merlin Rockets also made heavy going of the conditions.  Two boats packed it in soon after reaching the main racetrack while another returned to the club ‘periscope up’ after taking a dunking.

Finishing positions were recorded at half past midday and the winner was Matt P-J in his Laser, followed by Andy Harris and Matty Key in their Merlin Rocket, with Tom Low taking third place in another Laser.

Congratulations to those who made it to the podium and to all the competitors who took part in a sailing blow-out which is likely to stay in the memory for a good proportion of the impending lockdown.

Thanks to Jon Redding and Anne Bayne for running the race and keeping track of the results amid some chaotic scenes, Simon Thompson, Peter Bide and Chris Taggart for running the patrol boat, and the crew of the launch.  Also to Jonathan Key and Carolyne Vines for taking the pictures.

While the future of the next month’s Sunday racing is in the balance (updates to follow once the club has clarity about the impact of lock down guidelines), racers will be able to scratch their competitive itch by taking part in the club’s restarted Virtual Regatta series – more details will be posted via the Tamesis Club Sailing Whatsapp group in due course.




Winter Series 2 Sunday 25 October

Sunday dawned grey and soggy with the river swelled by recent rains.  The increased stream, coupled with a much lighter wind than forecast was to cause problems for many competitors who inadvertently engaged reverse when they expected to be in drive.

Happily, the weather improved and the river looked a picture in the welcome sunny spells which highlighted the autumnal hues developing along the banks.  There was even a few puffs of wind for later starters.

Seven Lasers were away at 10.30 and suffered probably the worst of the drifty conditions.  Two packed it in but five soldiered on to the finish.

The National 18s were led round by Henry Defries who took the on-the-water honours.  Matty Valentine persevered in his Topper but retired after struggling to unravel the mysteries of the Canbury mark.

The four Merlin Rockets enjoyed varying fortunes.  Peter Johnson and Paul Jamieson deployed a stellar mid-stream start and briefly headed the pack but, rather mysteriously given the conditions, were to end up being towed home full to the brim.

Charlie Morgan and Henry Dorrell wrestled their way round searching for their customary speed.

At the front, Andy and Richard Harris’s fraternal arby-bargy had gunwale-shredding consequences with Richard crossing the finish line in first.

Not a classic morning of racing by any means but also not without its talking points for the socially distanced shoreside onlookers.  We all look forward to the more consistent winds that are promised for the final Junior Sailing session of the season on Saturday (don’t forget to bring an entry for the Halloween themed bake-off), and the Trowlock Trophy Open handicap pursuit race on Sunday.

Thanks as ever to the Box and Patrol Boat teams, and to Jonathan Key (assisted by Ed Medcalf) for the pictures.

Trafalgar Trophy 18 October 2020

A timid two miles per hour northwesterly promised a dour morning’s racing as 13 boats rigged for the annual Trafalgar Trophy pursuit race.

However, river racing can be strangely compelling even under the most unprepossessing circumstances and some intriguing slow motion battles played out over the course of the race.

First off were Henry and Ed Medcalf in a Laser 2000 who quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the four single-handed Lasers.  The five National 18s were off next in a staggered start with the three Merlin Rockets crossing the start line somewhere in the middle.

It was the Merlin Rockets that managed to conjure up the greatest forward motion and were soon at the front of affairs.  Andrew Harris and Matty Key eventually overhauling light wind specialists Peter and Richard Mason and holding on for the win.  Charlie Morgan and Humphrey Dorrell brought their new boat in for a solid third.

It wasn’t  a classic by any means but competitors did display a tenacity and will to win that was redolent of the trophy’s namesake.

Many thanks as ever to the volunteer team who made the event possible, Rupert Fletcher OOD in the box with Hugh McLaughlin, Paul Jamieson and Steven Lucas in the patrol boat.  Thank you to Jonathan Key for the pictures.

Winter Series race 1, Sunday 11 October 2020

The 2020/2021 Winter Series kicked off on a sunny Sunday morning with a comparatively steady NNW breeze and a stream that had moderated a little compared to a week ago.  Seven Lasers, eight Merlin Rockets and two N18s stretched their legs and enjoyed some close racing.

Matt P-J won the Lasers in a close finish, Charlie Morgan and Humphrey Dorrell won the Merlin Rockets, and the on-water winners for the N18s were Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines.

Thanks go to OOD Joe Woods assisted in the box by stand-in at short notice Sue Harris, and Marcus Chevasse and Ken Thatcher in the patrol boat.  All photographs by Jonathan Key.

There are more than 20 races in the Winter Series with 50% to count so there is the potential for plenty more good action over the coming months.

Junior sailing Saturday 10 October 2020

A dozen keen Juniors took to the water this afternoon.  Despite the grey conditions, there was an entertaining breeze that kept them focused on the job in hand.  Big thanks to Andy Harris for running the coaching, Nim Harris for arranging the refreshments and to the many other helpers who continue to make this weekly session a highlight.  All photos by Jonathan Key.

Racing with extra special sauce – Sunday 13 September

In a particularly welcome new development, racers were greeted on Sunday morning by the alluring smells of bacon cooking on the club’s new BBQ.  It even appeared irresistible to the passing RNLI crew whose masks could not entirely block out the tempting aromas.

While the bacon butties and coffee hit the spot pre-race, Team Horwitz surpassed themselves by serving up a lunch of gourmet burgers.  While it might seem unusual to start a race report with a culinary update, this new initiative was a triumph and members are encouraged to look out for new of the next time when the BBQ will make an appearance.  Many thanks to the Horwitz family for delivering this new initiative so successfully.

Turning to sailing matters, OOD John Adams set a cunning dogleg course for competitors to negotiate with the Lensbury buoy in a tricky patch and a tight turn close to the bank at Club which brought the boats close to the socially-distanced spectators.

The Handicap Fleet saw a David and Goliath situation as Ed Medcalf in an Optimist took on three N18s.

Unfortunately for Ed, it was a day when size mattered and the race was won on handicap by Charles Fox and Robert Blakeborough, from Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines, with newcomer Malcolm Warner and Garry Mallen in third.

The Laser fleet welcomed new entrant Alexey Anatskiy, and also the return of ‘irregular regulars’ Jon Redding and Richard Harris.  On this occasion, it was Jon and Richard who showed the fleet how it is done with Jon taking the win, Richard in second, and perennial front-runner Marcus Chavasse having to settle for third this time round.

(c) Jonathan Key 07949 053695

Nine Merlin Rockets graced the start line with the trio of Andy Harris, Peter Mason, and Tim Medcalf forming an early breakaway group.  However, the peloton was not to be denied.  While Andy and Peter pulled away to finish in that order Chris Balmbro and Matt P-J moved in to third and fourth.

The racing was a good workout for everyone, particularly those with an eye on the upcoming Merlin Rocket Open (19 September), N18 Inland Championships (3 October), and Laser Barometer Open (4 October).

Thank you to John Adams and Sue Harris who ran the box, and Paul Jamieson and Martin Adams who were in the patrol boat.  Also to Sara Jamieson and others for helping to run the Veranda Bar, and Jonathan Key for the photos.