Race Officers & SB1: Graham Douglas and Graham Bagnall
Safety Boat 2: Digby Koe and Ollie Bennett
Another day, another downriver race. Not much wind forecast and not much wind in evidence as a quorum gradually appeared in the lovely autumn sunshine.
There was so little wind that the race officer was concerned he would be sending a fleet on a driftathon, which for the racers would have been frustrating and make a mockery of the handicapping. As they often say for the annual Round the Island race on a windless day a plastic crate could get round the course and win on handicap.
The option of the venerable AP flag and a postponement is not possible with a tidal river race, so a consensus was arrived at.
We would try for a race. We would consider shortening the course if the tide looked like changing before we reached our normal turning point and restart everybody for the return journey and aggregate the results in an attempt to keep the fleet together.
Sun-cream and sail area were the order of the day.
Sensibly everyone managed to stay upstream of the start line and the line was clear. Heaven knows what an OCS would have cost in time.
And so the drift began. Clearly staying in maximum flow was the right tactic and everyone huddled together in the middle of the river under Putney Bridge. Renato’s wiffleometer was clearly working well and remarkably the fleet stretched out and there was going to be a race after all.
Digby in the lead safety boat had the unenviable task of gauging the spot to place the finish line and containing the enthusiasm of Henry and Peter who were intent on hurling conkers at anything in range.
With the fleet finished just before Battersea Bridge it looked as though the tide was going to carry on for longer than expected, but after 10 minutes there were the first signs at the edges that the flow had been reversed. After setting the fleet off it was clear the best gains were to be had at the edges getting as close as you dared to the wading birds in the mud.
Experience on the river was paying yet again and Renato, Allan and Steph with Sara keeping in touch of this leading pair were yet again stretching out from the others. The wind was refusing to make much of an appearance, so tidal tactics and patience was a winning combination.
But what would the handicapping make of all this slow progress. Time would tell.
The overall winners were Sara 1st (Solo), Allan and Steph 2nd (Ent) and Renato 3rd (Laser). The full results are on the website