Jun 07

Bevington Race 5

* Race Officers: John Parke and Jesse White

* Safety Boat: Peter Mack and Dom Pizolic

The sun shone and the wind was easy, 2-3 N with a bit of E and pretty steady, but most of our keen sailors were in Turkey. The RO opened up waited. It was an opportunity to try and impose his will on the fence defence roses, now coming into flower and looking lovely. At a cost of some blood and tears (in his gloves) branches were pulled down and wired across the gaps.

One by one bodies materialised including the two safety boat crew and No. 2 RO. It was going to be just like the old days (very old) two in the office, two in the safety boat and four sailors.

The course was debated, how many laps? The Most Important Sailor suggested that if a buoy was laid above the start line so that the race finished up-stream we could finish when convenient, there would be wind to round it, if it was laid well out from the Fulham bank.

So we waited to launch for rowers to clear the ramp. Then with two Lasers in the water and only two more to go, the perceptive rowers carried another pair scull down the ramp and spent nearly ten minutes with their boat half way across the launching gap, getting out of their wellingtons and securing their oars. Our little fleet finally got away about twenty minutes late.

However Cox’uns find it difficult to lay buoys well out from the bank and so when the wind veered E the buoy was in the lea of the stand and would be difficult to round.So 3/4s through lap 1 the SB suggested that it should be moved.

Meanwhile, Stephanie, who knows how to take advantage of her petite figure in light winds, was approaching. The SB powered up to the buoy and stuck. Blasphemy in the office and impatient radio calls. The buoy was at last brought on board, too late to relay it so the SB dashed back to a patch of wind to act as a marker. Just in time for Steph to round it but the MIS, who was about a minute behind, had not seen her and sailed about 50m past looking for the buoy before he heard the SB and turned back. It did not cost him the race but of course he lost time and found it hard to forgive the RO. It transpired that the buoy’s anchor had caught on a sunken log and had been very difficult to lift.

That was the last bit of excitement. From time to time the Putney wind played its usual tricks and boats stuck in the tide until it lifted again. A flock of Ranelagh Merlins sailed serenely past our little fleet then hoisted their spinnakers and sailed serenely back again against the tide. Allan seeing the wind veer NE, crossed to the Barnes bank and disappeared from view but his extra speed did not make up for the extra distance crossing the river and Stephanie stayed nearly a minute ahead. Jamie who is still new to the river completed the course but well back. Laurent, who is still newer to the river, did not manage to cross the start line, spent the race learning about our winds and tides.

At the finish it was 1 Stephanie, 2 Allan 3 Jamie and Laurent DNS but I’m sure he’ll do better next time.

John Parke