Well I did ask that people arrive on time for Sunday’s race because of the late start time, but I was really taken aback that Renato, renowned for arriving half an hour before race start, was the first sailor to get to the club! He wasn’t taking any chances! The team consisting of Johnny and Esteban in the safety boat and Jane SH and I in the Race Box, had been there for a while, and everything was ready to roll. Jamie, Steph, Henry, George and Allan all piled in, in no particular order, and got their boats ready.
Whilst everyone was rigging, there was an almighty clap of thunder right overhead and a flash of lightning which made us all wonder whether sailing was going to be possible at all. Luckily Peter who is the Putney High School rowing coach next door gave us the official rowing guidance on lightning which was that one shouldn’t go on the river for 30 minutes after. That was good enough advice from an official body like British Rowing so the sailors took to the water with virtually no wind at all – hard to believe after the wind speeds forecast! But it wasn’t to last ….
As it was a westerly wind we set a three buoy sausage course on the Fulham Bank which gave good reaching sailing. Not long after the start of the race the skies went black and a mist formed which signalled gusty wind and extreme rain. Henry was leading the fleet to the first buoy and revved up Renato soon took over the lead and Allan and Steph soon took up the 2nd position. Jamie and Henry played cat and mouse with George who hasn’t sailed for a while brought up the rear.
Luckily we had Elaine join us in the Race Box and kept me awake as I have been getting rather used to a nap at that time of the day…..We had set a 3 lap course and it rapidly became clear that if we didn’t shorten the course, it would be nearly dark by the time the race finished.
So a two lap race it was and 34 minutes after the start Renato came over the line first, followed by Allan and Steph. Henry and Jamie were still fighting it out but luckily for Jamie, Henry capsized on the final mark before the finish line so Jamie got the 3rd place.
Thanks to Johnny and Esteban as it must have been really cold and extremely wet in the safety boat. And thanks to Jane and Elaine for all their help.
Allan and Steph 2nd
Assistant Race Officer