In strong and difficult winds that meant capsizing was almost inevitable, the largest fleet for years contested the Laser Barometer, with 18 entrants, including three from Minima and one from Lensbury. Despite the conditions Matt Peregrine-Jones emerged triumphant with stunning sailing,his first win of the trophy, close on 20 years after he first entered.
By the time of the first race,at 11am, the heavy rains of the previous night had cleared earlier than forecast, but the winds hadn’t – a good North-Westerly with some very significant gusts. OOD Charles Fox had set up a simple starboard tack down and upstream, with the windward mark beingput quite a bit downstream, in the Lensbury area, and it wasn’t long before the capsizing started, particularly towards that windward mark, both on the beat and the run.
The second race was almost a carbon copy of the first, with the first three places the same, and Marcus and Jon swapping 4th and 5th places.
After lunch, the winds had if anything picked up more speed, and the safety boats were already being kept busy when a rainbow appeared in the sky to the North-East, heralding a change in the weather. Five minutes later came sudden squall of rain and (more) wind, and lots of capsizing action near the Lensbury mark. Even race leader Matt P-J succumbed to a capsize, yet still managed to win the race, this time from Richard Harris, followed by brother Andrew and Marcus.
Commodore Chris Pollard presented the prizes and Matt graciously thanked the Race team – Charles Fox, Brian Corking, Florian Krueger, Valerie Hamill and extra volunteer Rob Hatley, not forgetting the essential and cheerful kitchen and bar team of Lauren, Sophie and Tabitha. Alex from Minima also added his thanks.
So the final results for the 2019 Laser Barometer were:
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.
Three Merlins, one Laser and a Firefly took to the water on the Monday of the Bank Holiday weekend in August to contest the Tamesis August Bank Holiday pursuit race. It was a grey morning, but fortunately free of rain and with the odd smattering of sun – and (at least from the boat park) some wind – a westerly. Course P was set by Steve Katz (OOD for the day) and the marks duly laid by Chris Pollard and Ian Ramage in the launch.
At 11:15 the first boat in the pursuit set off (Firefly – Slippery Skin, helmed and crewed by Matthew and Ruth Dalton). They were followed by Stewart Colley in his Laser and then at 11:28 the three Merlins then set off to try and chase down the boats further up the course. One of the Merlins (Emmeline, with Tim Medcalf and friend Andrew Mitchell) had been named ahead of the race and looked in super condition. She was joined by Rupert Fletcher, crewed by James Berry in his Merlin and Peter Impey and his wife Suzie crewing.
In true Tamesis style both the Canbury and Lensbury marks were approach on close hauled courses and there were good reaching conditions in the middle. The wind remained throughout though, but was “a little variable”.
Matthew & Ruth held off the chasing pack until 12:24, six minutes short of the finish bell, when they were masterfully caught and passed by Stewart in his Laser. Tim rounded out the podium in his new Merlin to create a good mix of craft in the top three positions.
The mornings sailing was nicely rounded off by a light lunch in the clubhouse along with many visitors enjoying the brief outbreak of Bank Holiday sun. All in all a lovely morning on the river. Thank you to all on duty who made it such an enjoyable morning.
Tamesis Club’s new National 18 is now alive! Matt and I went to White Formula UK Ltd in Brightlingsea on Saturday morning to receive her, and then Matt and Pete Impey sailed her round to West Mersea Yacht Club so that the three of us could sail her in this week’s National 18 Championships (I had the pleasure of driving the trailer round).
Optimus Prime is N18 number 421 (prime number?!) and is co-owned by me and Matt. She will likely be based at Tamesis for the time being, with occasional expeditions to open meetings and sailing hot spots.
We’re having a brilliant time here in West Mersea, and we have fantastic hosts in West Mersea Yacht Club (who’ve been hugely welcoming). Their bar certainly seems happy to receive us.
The racing has been ‘champagne’ like so far, with remarkably warm water – I thought the water was supposed to be very cold here?! – excellent sea breeze, and close finishes, although Matt, Pete and I are currently caressing the back of the fleet as a way of being fair on all the others(!).
Pete’s now done his middleman duty, and we’ve Stewart Colley joining us for Wednesday’s sailing, then Matt’s friend Joe for Thursday and Friday.
If you’re passing West Mersea swing by. It’s like the Caribbean here currently, although with a lot of extra sea weed.
Will provide more pictures next week.
Optimus Prime was given a short naming ceremony on Wednesday Night before the Class Dinner. Optimus was taken onto the club lawn and our Commodore did the christening followed by a few words from Kaan and Matt.
It was another fantastic National 18 Open at Blackwater Sailing Club this weekend, with a hot five way N18 Ultra battle for the coveted “National 18 English Trophy”.
Matt, Pete Impey, and I were hoping it was going to be a 6 way battle, but alas Tamesis Club’s latest N18 – 421 Optimus Prime – was not quite out of the builders in time to join in. That said, Matt got a middleman place on 417 Second Chance, and I got a bit of time on 401 Hurricane on the Sunday with Olly and Steve. It was also blowing pretty hard on the Saturday so perhaps getting a new boat and immediately smashing it in to the shallow waters of the Blackwater probably wouldn’t have been a great idea.
The racing was excellent with strong winds and an ever shifting tide providing plenty of opportunities to get ahead of the other boats. For instance, on the Saturday we all watched in awe from the committee boat as Jess Berney quickly gained several places by going up on to the plane while sailing close to the wind on the downwind leg to race past the others. However, the strong winds made for excellent viewing in the third race as Jess (in Panther) jibed and then capsized, only for Olly, Steve, and Jeremy to then jibe and capsize a few seconds later! This allowed 417 Second Chance to take over having chosen to drop their spinnaker before all of their jibes. That was wise and got them the win in the last race that day.
Although Olly, Steve, and Jeremy had recorded two wins on the Saturday, Sunday was still a challenge, and with only two races to battle it out. Panther won the first race with Hurricane coming second and for the second race Hurricane slipped back to fourth with Second Chance hauling in Panther to take the win. However, will all points, wins, and capsizes accounted for, Hurricane took the least points with Olly, Steve, and Jeremy duly picking up the trophy.
The weather, wind, and temperature were perfect, with Blackwater SC playing excellent hosts once more – and you really won’t get a bigger and better BBQ anywhere (apart from perhaps at a Tamesis Club open day!).
Thanks to Sheena and Juilan Berney for being such great hosts and ensuring a great turnout and great event.
We hope to get even more N18s to Blackwater SC again soon, and of course for next year’s Open.
Lastly, remember it’s the National 18 Champs at West Mersea starting from Sunday 15th July. Do come by to see the racing and of course enjoy the evenings 🙂
Commodore Carolyne Vines presents the Braganza Bowl to the crew of Osprey (left to right) Graham Bartholomew, helm Paul Browning, and Matt Hanaby. Photo Robin Lince
Osprey, Rater number 16 sailed by Paul Browning, Graham Bartholomew and Matt Hanaby from Thames SC won both the Yates Cup and the Braganza Bowl at the two day open meeting for Raters on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October.
The meeting attracted eight entries. On Saturday it was sailed in a light SW wind and the fleet was sent above Stevens Ait by Race Officer Peter Fryer. The second race for the Yates Cup was won convincingly by Osprey.
On Sunday, Race Officer David Jerram did the same. The days first race was sailed in very light airs, but by the third race started at 2pm, the wind had got up considerably and provided a good sail and spectacle for the onlookers.
1st Osprey Paul Browning, Graham Bartholomew and Matt Hanaby Thames SC
2nd Atlantis Ted Cocker, Chris Martin and Carolyn Munday Thames SC
3rd Strait Dealer Dicken Maclean, Tim Andrews and Hermione Stanley Thames SC
1st Osprey Paul Browning, Graham Bartholomew and Matt Hanaby Thames SC
2nd Vagabond Miles Palmer, Mark Heather and Nick Fribbins Thames SC
3rd Strait Dealer Dicken Maclean, Tim Andrews and Hermione Stanley Thames SC
Several competitors and Tamesis members enjoyed a delicious meal on Saturday night, cooked by Hannah Finney with assistance from James.
The racing was organised by Peter Fryer, Richard Robinson, Simon Craig and Brian Timbrell on Saturday and David Jerram, Andrew Forbes, Robin Lince, Neville Upton and Cherry Ehrlich on Sunday
21 boats took part in three closely contested races at the Tamesis Autumn Regatta on Sunday 10 September. It started warmer but soon clouded over and turned into a cold, windy day and the gusty north easterly wind caused many capsizes especially among the nine Lasers.
The Merlin Cup was won by Rob Wilder and Tom James in Flinkidink (1097), with two firsts and a third. Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts were second in Sublime (1230), the only boat to risk a spinnaker, with two seconds and a first.
Kaan Yargici sailed the winning Laser, Road of Bones (203911), in a nine strong fleet, scoring two firsts and a third. Constantin Gerber was second in Laser(135387) with two seconds and a fourth in the three races.
The Handicap class went to Dave Baker, Bobert Blakeborough and Jim Green in Cobblers, Albacore (6813), with a third and two firsts. Two visiting Enterprises from Minima YC, Alana, (21439) sailed by Alex and David Cane, and Regent (22655) sailed by Richard Shillin and Keith Black, were second and third.
Race Officer Jon Redding was assisted by Adrian and Sally Wawick-Haller and the safety boats were operated by Graham King and John Storey.
Sailing Secretary Brian Timbrell took the entries and Commodore Carolyne Vines presented the prizes. John and Zoe Adams worked out the handicap places. The catering was supervised by Jo Carstens and Anna Finney.
Carolyne Vines presents the Merlin Cup to Rob wilder and Tom James.
Tim Medcalf won the Bank Holiday Pursuit Race sailing his Merlin, Squirrel (235) single handed. Tamesis Commodore Carolyne Vines was second in her Laser. Eight boats took part in the race on Monday 28 August in a light north westerly wind.
Current leader of the GW Smith Thursday evening trophy is Ken Duffel in Avenger, mainly crewed by his grandson Mattie with 10 points from 5 races completed, and looking pretty unassailable.
Others still with a chance of qualifying (4 races) include Tim and son Ed Medcalf, Ros Warwick-Haller, Stewart Colley and Chris Taggart, and anyone else who has already sailed 2 races in July/August.
Summer is ending so come and enjoy the dying moments in the last two races of the series (17th and 24th) and then see the season out with a final hurrah, and maybe a box of chocolates on the 31st August.’
A full report on the National 18 Championship at Hayling Island SC from Monday 24 to Friday 28 July can be seen on both the HISC website at www.hisc.co.uk and on the Yachts and Yachting website at www.yachtsandyachting.com. Both have photos of the racing and full results.