Tamesis Club

Notice to competitors Blue Series and White Series start times amended for 12th June.

On 12th June 2022 there will be a partial river closure in place on our reach until 14.00 for a Royal Canoe Club event.  They will also be using the Tamesis Club car park.  Please do not use our car park before 11.00.

Start times on 12th June 2022 will be as follows.

BLUE Series

14.25 First warning signal for Blue Series
14:30 Merlin Rocket Blue Series Start
14:35 ILCA (Laser) Blue Series Start
14:40 National 18, Enterprise, Handicap Blue Series Start

WHITE Series
15:25 First warning signal for White Series
15:30 Merlin Rocket White Series Start
15:35 ILCA (Laser) White Series Start
15:40 National 18, Enterprise, Handicap White Series Start

Ranelagh SC Downriver Race 7 May 2022

A highlight of the Merlin Rocket and general river racing calendar, the RSC Downriver Race doesn’t disappoint.

Tamesis Club was represented by Peter and Alison Cooper in MR1939 ‘Warhorse’ and Tim and Ed Medcalf in MR596 ‘Samanda’, the latter boat making a return to her birthplace of 67 years ago on the Putney Embankment.

As ever, RSC extended an incredibly warm welcome to the 20 crews with outstanding bacon rolls, tea and coffee providing a very welcome mid-morning energy boost before the anticipated 12.15 departure.

The fleet was diverse, as you would expect from a development class, with sail numbers ranging from 1 to 3815.  There were also a number of long-established crews who had come to test their mettle on the Tideway.

The midday race briefing confirmed a 10 minute gun would be sounded at 12.35 with the club employing its own 10-4-1 sequence.  Guidance was also given about when spinnakers could be set and the rules of the road regarding the bridges.

The tide still ebbing, crews were conscious of the need to do some work to stay above the line.  At the gun, the fleet turned downstream with the majority opting to head to the right hand bank to take advantage of the strongest  stream.

After a decidedly mid-fleet start, and finding themselves boxed in, Team Samanda gybed clear to windward and found enough breeze to take the lead shortly after the sweep under the Putney railway bridge.  Helm advised crew to enjoy the experience while it lasted!

These turned out to be wise words as the fleet gathered itself and a lead group broke free.  The wind then picked up to a meaningful level and there was some spirited beating around the bend which then opened back to a reach and more beating on the approach to the turn mark at Battersea Park.

Despite there being only one mark, many boats were caught out by the fact that the buoy had been laid in approx a fathom and half of water but on a 30ft rope.  Many, your correspondent and also the crew of Warhorse having to make multiple attempts at a clean rounding.  Which was frustrating.

Spinnakers were set by those who had them on the way back.  Warhorse using the kite to great effect to start picking off boats and working back up through the fleet.

Spinnakerless, Samanda relied on the insight of her junior crew who called the gybes which saw her remain in contention at the rear of the front group.

The final act was a beat back up to the finish line in a fresher breeze.  After nearly an hour and 45 minutes of racing, the line was tantalisingly close but wasn’t making it easy for crews to finish.  Fittingly, three vintage Holt Martines slugged it out at this point, right in front of the building where they were built in the mid-50s.

Klaxon blasts from the shore signalled the end of what had been a superb outing.  Samanda’s crew came in seventh and Warhorse 14th, both having had their moments to savour.

RSC surpassed themselves with a fantastic lunch which all competitors enjoyed together sitting along tables in the clubhouse – a very convivial end to the day.

Congratulations to Rob and Hatty Cage who won the event, again schooling the rest of the fleet about how to sail on the river.  Peter Impey was awarded the 2021 DeMay prize for Most Original Boat and took the opportunity to promote the Tamesis Club Merlin Rocket weekend on 21 and 22 May.

Ed Medcalf was quietly rather satisfied to win First Junior having suddenly re-focused his full crewing powers when he saw his opposition bearing down in the last quarter of the race.

RSC will be running their Upriver Race/Merlin Open on 23 October and hope for another strong turnout.  At a time when the Tideway, the spiritual home of the Merlin Rocket, is under threat as a sporting venue it would be excellent to have another strong attendance from Tamesis Club to help create a bumper fleet.  Put the date in your diary!

Thanks to the RSC team for a fantastic day and providing the photographs, and also to Craftinsure for sponsoring the generous prize fund.

Winter Series racing 27 March 2022

The Winter Series is now complete.  Once all the results have been collated, a series wrap-up will be created and published including many of the highlights, moments of bathos, and of pathos from what was a thoroughly enjoyable series.

In the meantime, here are the words of the Commodore and the pictures from Chris Ward regarding the final outing:

This Sunday’s races were contested in a promising north-easterly wind with little stream.  This was the last week of racing trialling the proposed new starting sequence.

OOD Marcus Chavasse set a dogleg course (O) for the early (Blue) series races but set a longer  course (K) for the Geoff Cooper Trophy race for the Merlins.  The Lasers and N18s raced on the original course for their White series races.  Several boats misjudged the downstream starts and there were individual recalls in three of the races.

Five Merlins started their first race which was won by Matt P-J, crewed by Lyra Wade, with Peter Mason, crewed by Richard Mason, second and Joe Woods, crewed by Ken Duffell, third.  Four Lasers started their first race which was won by Matty Key, with Jim Hamilton second and Mattie Valentine third.  Three N18s started the N18/Handicap race.  Henry Defries, crewed by Carolyne Vines, was first on the water with Alistair Banks, crewed by Caroline Stilwell, second but Mal Warner, crewed by Beatrice Russ, did not finish.

Eleven Merlins entered the Geoff Cooper Trophy race for which a longer course was set.  It was won by Richard Harris, crewed by Emma McDonald, with Peter Mason, crewed by Richard Mason, second and Andrew Harris, crewed by Matty Key, a tight third, just ahead of David Baker, crewed by Jim Green.  Three Lasers started the second race which was won by Mattie Valentine, with Alexey Anatskiy second and Jim Hamilton, third.  The N18 race was won, on the water in a very tight finish, by Henry Defries, crewed by Carolyne Vines, with Alistair Banks, crewed by Caroline Stilwell, a close second and Mal Warner, crewed by Beatrice Russ, third.

My thanks to Marcus Chavasse as OOD, assisted by Nicky Cavasse and Humphrey Dorrell in the Box.  Also thanks to Martin Thomas and Brian Harper-Lewis for manning the Patrol Boat.

My thanks also go to Alaphia, back from her travels, who produced a chicken curry with accompaniments, followed by ice cream with chocolate sauce.  Also thanks to Yann, who ran Phil’s Bar and to Alice Lodge and Sophie Merriweather Harris who assisted Alaphia.

Paddle for Peace

An update from the club’s SUP Class Captain Leah Fraser:

On Saturday March 12th Tamesis hosted a Paddle for Peace to raise money for Save the Children’s Ukraine Fund.  These paddles have popped up across the sup community all round England and our own one was held in tandem with Paddleboard London who were setting out from Camden at the same time as us.

23 paddlers in a mix of kayaks, paddleboards and even a row-sup turned up to Tamesis Club in blue, yellow & sunflowers (Ukraine’s national flower) and set out for a blustery paddle to Kingston bridge.
Tim kindly helmed the Safety boat, which also carried a couple of junior spectators along for the ride. We had some junior club members out on the water too and for many it was their first paddle back on the water this year. Hopefully for most this will mark the start of the new season onboard.
It was a leisurely paddle in windy conditions but we had beautiful winter sun on the return journey with the wind behind us.
We raised around £500 and donations are still coming in for this great cause, Save The Children, which will go straight to helping children and families caught up in the conflict. Thank you all who attended and supported.

Winter Series racing 27 February 2022

Here are some descriptive words from the Commodore and pictures from Chris Wade and Carolyne Vines:

‘This Sunday’s races were contested in a strongish southerly wind which appeared to have occasional lulls, combined  with a moderate stream.  Nine Lasers started this week with Marcus Chavasse winning, Matty Key second and Jim Hamilton third. The Enterprise race, contested by five boats this week, was won by Ed Mayley, crewed by Rob Mayley, with Alex Cane, crewed by David Cane, second and Robin Broomfield, crewed by Diane Keighley, third.  A lone reefed Topper, helmed by Lyra Wade, represented the Handicap Class but there were no N18s racing this week.   Seven Merlins entered the tenth of the Traveller sub-series and the race was won by Joe McLaughlin, crewed by Sean Roberts, with David Baker, crewed by Jim Green, second and Stewart Jenkins, crewed by Nicola Scaddan, third.

My thanks to Charles Fox as OOD, assisted by Robert Blakebrough in the Box.  Also thanks to Simon Thompson and Holly Rosevear for manning the Patrol Boat, to David and Yaan who ran Phil’s Bar and to Chloe who helped Alaphia in the Kitchen.’

Winter Series racing 20 February 2022

By the time Sunday’s racers came to the club, volunteers had cleared away the debris caused by Friday’s storms.  While the bits of broken boat had been removed so as not to upset any competitors of a sensitive disposition, the windy menace remained and evidenced itself in the form of some meaty gusts that swept across the boatpark and then whipped up the surface of the river.

It seemed inevitable that many of the assembled peacocks would be feather dusters before the clubhouse bar opened.  Mindful of this risk, the N18s and visiting Enterprises made their excuses well in advance of their start sequence.

The compact Laser fleet welcomed new member Kai Wohlfahrt who had certainly picked his day to join the fray!

Lead by Laser Class Captain John Edmondson, the awesome foursome entered the ring and were soon practising their dry capsize techniques.  Impressive stuff and, surprised by the synchronised (again!) gymnastics on show, the wind briefly reconsidered it approach to creating maximum mayhem; and then started blowing again.

A Westerly is a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, the club will set a reaching course, maybe with the added spice of a dogleg, on the other it means that the wind comes across the land to the river so making it harder to spot the proper puffs as they are effectively bouncers delivered off a spinner’s runup.  Last week’s Southerly at least provided a visible warning of trouble as the wind darkened the surface many tens of metres before it arrived; not that that stopped the Laser fleet from being skittled while going downhill due to failing to look in the rearview.

The box team of Peter and Richard Mason kept the course compact and spectators were treated to boats being squirted along the river, and occasionally capsizing before being pushed forwards again.

Seasoned campaigner Matt P-J took almost everything in his stride including the bullet for the day.  Newcomer Kai came in a more than creditable second and we look forward to seeing him become a regular member of the fleet.  John Edmondson was third and Alexey Anatskiy brought up the rear.

The Merlin Rockets were five in number and set off in what felt like a slightly stronger breeze that was soon made to appear abundantly manageable as all of the crews warmed up.  Heading to the windward mark for the first time, it was last week’s winners Ken Duffell and Joe Woods who held the lead, could lightning strike twice?

‘No’ was the answer, but what did strike the spectators was that the different styles and vintages of boat were very closely matched for speed on a reaching course.  Over a 30 minute race, only relatively small gaps emerged, with positions being determined by crews’ ability to be in the right place at the right time to catch the best gusts.

Joe Mclaughlin and Sean Roberts lead for much of the race but a missed gust allowed Andy Harris and Matty Key to find a way through and take a narrow victory.  Gentleman racer Charlie Morgan and Tim Ginn came in third followed by Duffell and Woods, with Peter Impey and Alison Cooper in a close fifth.  All crews showed good style, kept themselves out of the tide, and had no use for the righting lever.

Thanks to the box team of Peter and Richard Mason, Chris Balmbro, Barney Smith/Matt P-J in the patrol boat, the kitchen and bar tea, as well as our resident paparazzi Chris, Jonathan, Alastair, and Carolyne.

The racing was followed by drinks, a fine hot lunch, and the annual Prize Giving; the awards ceremony is the subject of an adjacent news article!



Winter Series racing 13 February 2022

Could synchronised sailing become the next big thing?  If the answer is yes, then the club had an excellent, if unintentional, demonstration as the Laser fleet, picking its way to the leeward mark, was hit by a huge squall.  All boats spilled their jockeys immediately except for one which held on for a moment, glanced a moored boat, and then spilled its jockey (the state of the jockeys’ jockeys after this alarming and sudden reversal is undocumented).  It might have been the wind howling in the treetops but did the bankside folk hear a roar of ‘Strike!’ just after the final boat went down?

As you can tell, it was another windy morning on the Teddington Riviera and the Lasers weren’t the only ones to feel the force.  More on that to come.

Jim Hamilton avoided a dunking by tactically dropping his rudder in the river while launching his Laser.  Arrivals to the club were greeted by the sight of Jim up to his armpits in cool/cold water seeking the missing item with his feet.  One wag remarked that maybe he was ‘treading in’ after a waterpolo match.  Sadly for Jim, his rudder didn’t re-appear from the murky depths but he does win this week’s ‘Above and Beyond’ award.

Once the Laser helms had remounted, there were some more further fresh to frightening gusts which tested and tormented the fleet.  All plugged away with Jon Redding prevailing, Kaan Yargici in second and Matty Key in third.

Stewart Colley decided that discretion was the better part of valour and took a launch back to the hot showers while his support team retrieved his boat from the Surrey bank.

All except one Enterprise, having witnessed the excitement, decided to drop their sails and pack in for the week.  However, Ed Mayley and James Budden were not to be dissuaded and set off in search of another bullet.  Being the sole entrant, all they had to do was finish but even this feat hung in the balance as they capsized and shipped a boatful before the windward buoy.  The MK1 bucket made another appearance and, once the boat was floating, the guys carried on and sailed to the finish.  Well done to both for showing Minima YC grit!

The N18s didn’t even get as far as putting sails on their boats, probably wise.

Finally, a strangely Harris-less Merlin Rocket fleet took to the dancefloor with would-be series contenders sensing the opportunity to improve their tally.  The wind soon revealed those who are a little rattly in their manoeuvres and dunkings seemed to be inevitable.  Matt P-J crewed by the indomitable Lyra Wade took a bath but were soon up and running again to finish third.

Of more importance to the series standings, Joe Mclaughlin and Sean Roberts were forced to retire after a knotty bit of the rig gave way and tension was irretrievably lost for the day.

Peter Impey and Alison Cooper gained from last week’s experiences and kept the mast above the water despite losing their kicking strap mid-race.  Rob Hatley and Lucy had a satisfying maiden voyage in their new Winder MK4a coming in a creditable second despite the need to adapt to some rigging quirks.

There will undoubtedly be the sounds of a number of boats receiving some solid bimbling this week!

Out in front were the duo of Ken Duffell and Joe Woods, whose steady display resulted in a well-deserved first win of the series.  Congratulations to them both!

As you might expect, the bar and kitchen did a brisk trade with many servings of pasta medley and tiramisu being consumed accompanied by nerve-calming libations.

Next weekend promises another transport of delights.  Wind is on the chart for the third week in a row, likely to be a frisky westerly.

The club will also run the annual Prize Giving at lunchtime.  If you have won an award, please book in for lunch and be ready to receive your prize and applaud others.  If you haven’t won anything, still book in for lunch and applaud others!

Finally, thank you to stand-in OOD Henry Defries asssisted by Alastair Banks for running the box, Paul and Sara Jamieson for running the launch with additional support from Jim Green and David Baker, and Alaphia and team for running the lunch.