In the race box: Joseph Cabon and Elena Balycheva
In the safety boat: John Parke and George Gaynor
The wind played one of its favourite jokes on us. As the Solo, eight Lasers and two Enterprises took to the water on Sunday afternoon, the wind fell from an ever-present 11-20 mph to approx. 4-7 mph, broadly from the east. This, coupled with a strong tide, resulted in a slow start to the race when a fast one had been anticipated. The west bank was the one to be on, and those boats in the middle or the east bank took a long while to round the first buoy. Renato rounded first and never lost his lead. With the wind behind them, it was a fast run to the second buoy for all boats. At which point the field compressed again, contending with strong tide and relatively light wind on the return legs.
Renato completed the first lap in a little over 30 minutes. The next boat was some ten minutes behind. The decision was made to shorten the race to three laps, and it was again shortened to two laps not long after.
Allan and Steph had had a bad start and seemed stuck on the wrong side of the river for some time. But no one had told them that boats that start badly often continue to languish at the tail of the field, and, being an enterprising pair (ha!), had caught up with and overtaken most boats by the end of the first lap. They began the last lap in second spot appox ten minutes behind Renato and ended the race about four and a half minutes behind. With all boats struggling against the tide in light-ish wind, the field contracted and expanded depending on where boats were on the lap. As SBSC sailors were Putney-bound, a similar number of Ranelagh dinghies sailed through on their up-river leg. Race officers watched in surprise as a couple of them capsized — clearly conditions were trickier than first thought.
The wind completed its joke by returning with a flourish, and, for the final fifteen or so minutes of the race, all boats had good wind home.
Final results on corrected time:
1st: Renato (Laser full)
2nd: Allan and Steph (Enterprise)
3rd: Joe and Tim (Enterprise)
Our thanks to John and George in the safety boat who remained vigilant even with little to do. Thanks, too, to Elena in the race box.