– Race Officer: Joseph Cabon
– Safety Boat: Hannah Steagles and Lydia tapping
In contrast to the previous week, the wind was forecast to be no more than 7-13 mph from the N/NW. In expectation that the forecast would be accurate, and that the wind may even strengthen, a four-buoy figure-of-eight course was laid.
Ten boats took to the water for the four-lap race: seven Lasers, a Byte, a 420 and an Enterprise.
All bar Commodore Allan had good starts with Joe, Sally and Hugh/Ana quickest off the mark. Allan had found himself on the wrong side of the line at the start but it wasn’t long before he’d caught up to the field. After the second buoy, on the return leg, heading towards the clubhouse, most favoured going across the river to the west bank with a small group electing to stay longer on the eastern bank before shooting over towards the third buoy (which had been laid in a good spot a little north of Barn Elms), and indeed that proved the faster course with Joe, Sally, Hugh/Ana & Renato rounding ahead. Allan made up a lot of ground to finish the lap ninth. Joe led at the end of the first lap, a lead he would hold to the end.
Joe extended his lead during the second lap. This time all boats stayed on the eastern side after rounding the second buoy, with fine judgements being made as to when to cross over to the third buoy. Stephanie overtook Renato just before the fourth buoy but touched the buoy & her penalty turn dropped her back to fourth. Jamie had an excellent lap, making up five places to end the lap in fifth.
During the third lap, both Renato and Stephanie caught up with Sally and there was some close racing with the three boats taking lines parallel to each other along the eastern bank, trying to find the best wind. Sally was first to turn for the third buoy closely followed by the other two. It was during this lap that Sally’s tiller extension snapped but she managed to defend her second position valiantly until the last lap. The first four of Joe, Sally, Renato and Stephanie extended the gap over the others when they all fell foul of a drop in the wind and found it hard to move away from the second buoy.
The wind continued to fall during the last lap. Renato overtook Sally to take second place. Allan and Steve both managed to overtake a number of other boats but Tara & Jamie had difficulty getting round the penultimate mark. Carla & Costas, at the tail of the fleet, lost all wind just before coming to the last buoy and started to drift backwards with the tide before rallying and finally making it to the line.
The first lap took just over 15 minutes and we anticipated a good race. Unfortunately each subsequent lap was slower than the one before as the wind became more and more uncertain.
Our thanks to Hannah and Lydia on the safety boat.
The first three, after corrected time: Joe Driver, Renato Hidalgo, Sally Pearce.