Sunday 23rd April – St George’s Day, the London Marathon and the French first round of their General Election process. But all eyes at the club were focused on WindGuru and the very light southerly wind which was on the menu for yes terday’s race. Ana, Hugh and Maya hadn’t seen the email about the later sailing time and had already got the safety boat and Race Box ready so that was a nice surprise for me!
Considering the lack of wind, 10 boats rigged whilst Imogen and I sorted out the race sheet and getting people to sign on, whilst mutterings under the Race Box from Josh and some of the others about whether to sail or not wafted up to us. In the end both he and Joseph decided not to go out and judging from the scenes later, their decision was a good one……! Imogen drew the Sausage within a Sausage course on the board for the briefing (a new nautical term created yesterday….) and optimistically told the racers they would be doing 3 laps!
There was a lot of dithering getting into the water as everyone had watch Johnny sailing my Solo launch and drift backwards until Hugh and Trish in the safety boat rescued him and towed him back well above the start line. Ben and Sina in the Albacore launched next with Elaine in a full laser, Amy in her laser with full rig, Henry and Leo in a club Ent, birthday boy John and Bob in the Ent, and Miguel and Rita who rigged Witan in lightning fashion. Olga suddenly appeared just before launch time and managed to get onto the water in time and miraculously everyone stayed above the line for the race start at 11.34
So the seven boats drifted towards the first mark by Crabtree. It wasn’t easy to see what was going on down there even with the binoculars and made more tricky with Corinthian’s race team on VHF 37A giving us grief about identifying ourselves so we knew which race team was talking to whom. As Imogen and I agreed, this was rich as we were already doing this and not once did Corinthian identify themselves. Bad form indeed…..
There was anchoring, standing on the bank by Crabtree and general drifting backwards and suddenly there would be a mini gust and they all moved forwards. The decision was taken to cut the laps to one from three. I got bored and went to fiddle wit some lettuce leaves for lunch. Joseph had come up to the Race Box so he and Imogen kept an eye on the lack of action up River. Eventually as the tide started to turn progress was made and we all held our breath as it seemed as though John and Bob were in the lead, and in handicap they stayed that way right up to the start of FFC buildings. Then our Amy caught a gust which nobody else got, and she forged forwards and got over the line first a minute and 7 seconds on corrected time ahead of John and Bob. More of that later…….. Olga came third which was a fabulous effort considering she can only sail when Renato doesn’t!!
So that was that – the sun was out, Renato arrived with the children and Sophia trotted down the slipway to meet her mummy come off the water. And then Ana and Maya, Olga and Nicholas pulled her Laser back to the club.
But then for the Main Event. Tables and chairs set up outside in the sunshine and 20 people sat down for quiche and salad, a wonderful plum pudding from Elaine, and a birthday cake for John. Prosecco and red wine eased the proceedings along nicely and John made a little speech about his time at the club. Armand waxed lyrical with a great response and reminded the assembled company that it was slightly irksome that a certain young lady had not conformed to club protocol to allow Birthday boys to win on their big day…..!! Much laugher and ribbing of poor Amy. Eventually everyone drifted away, as they had on the water and Ben went off to meet a young lady at the Dukes Head. Tom and Armand decided that they should wander down there and assist him, much to Sina, Elaine and my protests.
Then just me and John – he working on his boat from straight after lunch whilst we made merry. And I left him there trying to repair a tricky area in the bowels of his Enterprise. A remarkable man as we are all agreed. Happy Birthday John!