– In the Race Box: Emma Koe and Mark Fossick
– On the Safety Boat: Hugh Spalding and Lydia Tapping
Sunday 3rd of May was first race of the summer season and a few days before the general election.
It was a bright spring day, although the prospect of the UK being run by communists hung over us all like dark, brooding storm clouds on the horizon.
Cue puns about floating voters, racing towards Westminster, low turn-out etc.
The race was a round-the-buoys race with wind coming from the South-west and a very strong ebb tide that would decrease as the race progressed. This means that judging when to tack to pass the upriver buoy would be difficult. Also, sailors had to decide whether to tack down-river or try to close-haul along the river-wall as far as possible.
On the safety boat, Hugh placed a three buoy course with one buoy near the tall trees, however the wind kept dropping and he decided to remove this tricky buoy and stick to a sausage shaped course, laid out diagonally across the river
With all 6 boats on the water, Emma and I started the 5-minute sequence for a 2pm start.
As the wind eased, 3 boats tried to sneak across the start line but were quickly rounded by the safety boat and we restarted the 5-minute sequence. This time Alan tried to drift over the start line but paddled his way back in time to avoid disqualification
Andrea took the lead in lap 1 followed by Elaine and then Alan. The tide was strong and the downriver section was tough going. This allowed Alan to slowly make progress against Andrea and Elaine. Sara also made good progress and over the next few laps moved into second place. The tide eased over the last few laps and sailors were able to use the river wall to close-haul downriver. With Renato not able to sail, the usually competitive Steph took the very sporting decision to stay outside the top three positions (well that’s what she claims) After 5 exciting laps Alan was “first past the post”, Sara was second and Elaine 3rd.
Back in the clubhouse we discussed the big political issues of the day. When it came to European integration, we all agreed that an “Open Bordeaux” policy is best and so got gloriously drunk on wine.