Jan 31

Goodwin Race 4 – Downriver

The wind and weather reports for the Goodwin Race 4 promised a very feisty day for this downriver. When the club opened it was wet, but the wind actually wasn’t particularly threatening. Within the hour we had six lasers and one enterprise. The lasers were for Renato, Steph, Jamie, Henry, Sally and Tara. The enterprise was for Allan and his excellent crew Ollie.

This was my first time as race officer, as the previous opportunity for my long sought after promotion was cancelled for visibility reasons. I was accompanied in the safety boat “Ginger Boat 1” by Justin – we have a similar level of experience in running races, but were confident we could triumph with an appropriate level of life-coaching. The rest of the racing committee took out the other safety boat “Ginger Boat 2”, which comprised of stand-in heros John Parke and Sara.

As the rigging progressed, so did the wind and the laser sailors took every opportunity to confuse us by switching sails. Full rig, 4.7 rig or radial rig, I had absolutely no idea. Just the numbers on the sails, and some didn’t even have any.

Downriver leg

The downriver race commenced at exactly 12:18. I have to admit, driving a boat, using a stopwatch and operating a megaphone meant that when the race started I didn’t really see the exact line up of sailors. Although I can confirm that nobody crossed the line before the bell and Renato was first. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Over.

Within two minutes, Renato was still in the lead, followed by Allan & Ollie, Tara, Jamie, Henry, Sally and Steph. The wind was good and stable, and not as gusty as we thought. By Putney Bridge, Renato had created a major lead and poor Steph’s 4.7 wasn’t benefitting from the anticipated squalor. The race was still competitive though as positions changed throughout.

We ended the race at the Pagoda in Battersea. Renato was first over the line by some considerable way, followed by Tara, Allan & Ollie, Sally, Jamie, Henry and Steph. The most exciting part was the finish between Sally and Jamie. Both caught a huge gust and Jamie showed us what a dancing laser looks like when it is going way too fast. To his massive credit he didn’t capsize it, but the sharp turn he had to do to stable it meant that Sally could exploit the opportunity and stay ahead. She crossed the line 1 second in the lead.

Upriver leg

We were encouraged to commence the upriver race before the tide had turned, as the wind was still suitably strong. Unfortunately “Ginger Boat 1” had a little difficulty with its anchor so we moored alongside “Ginger Boat 2” upriver from the race buoy. Accusations of the race line being at an unprofessional slant were levelled, but the bias was clear and it was obvious where everyone should be at the bell.

The race commenced at exactly 13:25. Renato and Tara both had an excellent start, followed by Allan & Ollie, Steph, Sally, Jamie and Henry. Poor Jamie let the excitement of the wind get the better of him and he capsized shortly after the start. This gave the others a sizable lead making recovery extremely difficult.

The wind was variable and it became clear that the Enterprise was going to benefit from it. Both Allan & Ollie looked to be working flat out, while Renato was seen struggling with the gusts and he nearly fell in at one point. However, by the end of the barges by Battersea Bridge the wind had changed and Renato took the lead again.

We ended the race by the club and Renato crossed the line first. By the time Allan & Ollie crossed in second place the wind had all but gone. We then saw Tara, Steph, Sally, Henry and Jamie come through.

Overall results

The final aggregate results (see website) on corrected time for both legs were:

1. Renato (1:28:04)

2. Steph (1:29:27)

3. Allan & Ollie (1:30:09)

4. Tara (1:31:52)

5. Sally (1:38:05)

6. Henry (1:44:08)

7. Jamie (1:45:17)

Post-match analysis

Sara did some amazingly quick baked-potatoes with a mountain of cheese. They were delicious.

-Richard Graham