Sunday morning first thing was everything an autumn day should be – blue sky, a slight mist – but not a sign of the wind we were promised on Wind Guru.
I got to the club early and John was already there working on his boat and hoping for a sail but by that time, the wind had already made an appearance and John wisely decided against it. Jane D hoping for her first sail for a while watched the wind speed rise and luckily for me opted to come in the safety boat. Thanks Jane, not only did you remember all the things I forgot but you make a mean flask of coffee! So safety boat wise, Jane me and friend of Chris and Jan, Stephen in one and Miguel and Rita in the other. Miguel was trying to study hard during the race for his medical exam this coming week back in Portugal. With all the later action I’m not sure how much he would have got done…
It wasn’t long before people started to arrive and the usual banter about which Laser rig to take began. Jamie had already had his club Laser bagged by Steph and once he had arrived he decided on a Radial rig. So did Amy and Henry, but the others Renato, Andy, and Ben all went for Full – more of that later… Gary turned up too who we haven’t seen for a while and took out Hakan as crew in the club GP14. Sina and Amanda teamed up in Sina’s 420 and Steph and Allan in the Ent.
Jane and I started the race eventually at 13.45 and the fleet sailed off into the distance with Miguel and Rita whilst we waited for Gary and Hakan who had a bit of local difficulty with their rudder downhaul. 10 minutes later that was sorted and off they set. By that time the rest of the fleet was under Putney Bridge and we could hardly see them so Gary said that they would sail down and we would meet them on the way back. Seemed a sensible plan so we went full throttle to join the others.
Renato was off in the lead, with Allan and Steph chasing him hard, Amy broke away from Jamie and was doing very well, Henry and Ben were neck and neck for half of this leg and then Henry shook off Ben and caught up Jamie and overtook him. Then a battle royal between Amy and Henry with Henry going aground twice and Jamie (I am reliably informed) stormed past them!
By this time our boat was laying the buoy in a rush for Renato to finish in line with the pagoda, and 3 minutes later Allan and Steph finished with Jamie in 3rd, Henry in 4th and Amy in 5th. 6th was Ben, 7th Sina and Amanda but where was Andy? He had found the Full Laser rig too much for the wind strength which was now pretty gusty so he didn’t want to go on to the end of the race. Miguel and Rita escorted him to the bank and he was asked to wait there until we returned on the 2nd leg. Little did we know it would be an hour and a half later….
The gusts were now really kicking in and poor Amy in Boaty was capsizing too many times for her own good so we decided to haul Amy into the safety boat and take her to the shore so she could catch her breath. On our way back from doing this Gary and Hakan appeared and we just managed to blow the hooter and take their time.
We got the 2nd leg started as soon as we could and brave Amy jumped back on her Laser. Everyone was very close together with Allan and Jamie choosing the south bank with Renato and the rest of the pack staying on the north. Renato soon crossed the river just before Battersea Bridge with the rest of the pack and then the wind died considerably. Jamie, Amy and Henry had a fight for supremacy until Henry and Jamie broke away. More jostling for position between Sina and Amanda, Ben Henry and Jamie.
We shot off then to assure Andy on the bank above Wandsworth Bridge that he wouldn’t have to stay there the night – he was in good shape and had the company of two Corinthian sailors who had weirdly taken it upon themselves to go for a sail and leave their fellow members at the Duke’s Head and then one of them proceeded to capsize to such an extent that they had to go the beach and wait…and wait and wait it seems. They were finally rescued as we were picking up Andy – the joys of going out with no safety boat cover…
Andy sailed around waiting for the fleet to catch him but now Renato and Allan and Steph had a considerable lead over the others and we kept pace with them and then at Putney Bridge made the dash for home to be ready to take the times. Renato arrived first over 3 minutes ahead of Allan and Steph and then there was a gap of about 10 minutes before Jamie came over the line one minute ahead of Henry with Amy 3 minutes behind him.
Once we started to try and pull Andy’s Laser out of the water it was discovered that he hadn’t put the bung in and the boat was so full of water it took a good 10 minutes for it to empty. No wonder he hadn’t been able to keep it upright! I suspect he will be checking that bung on a regular basis from now on!
Henry’s girlfriend Stephanie had made the most delicious Pumpkin Pie for our tea when we got back – many thanks for that.
And very many thanks to Miguel, Rita, Jane and Stephen on the safety boats. Good luck with that exam Miguel – I’m sure it will be a walk in the park for you!
Results: Renato 1st, Allan and Steph 2nd and Jamie 3rd.