Bevington 4 Downriver
The wind was 10 gusting 18, so the Bevington Downriver looked like a great Sunday sail. Hot on the heels of the AGM, we had an excellent turnout of 11 boats, including Johnny’s new Solo, which is nothing short of beautiful. He looked proud!
The line up included: Steph & Allan and Miguel & Rita each in an Enterprise, Rex in the “Chelsea Harbour” Topper, Jamie and Renato each in a Laser, Jakob and Amy each in a Laser Radial, Ben & Sina in an Albacore, and Johnny, Sara and Andy Tasker each in a Solo. Sara’s Solo was a slightly different handicap to the others due to the sail size.
The Race Committee consisted of Armand and Jim Forrest in the Safety Boat and Anne Hauger and Richard Graham in the Race Boat. Armand had a number of hats on though: Father to Rex, Topper Coach, Wind Guru, Ginger Beard Admirer and Safety Boat Engine Tester. We really need these all-rounders in times like these.
We delayed the race start by 30 minutes as we realised the tide had no plans on being near to prediction. The race was to be two legs. Downriver to the Battersea Pagoda, then back upriver once the tide turned.
When all the boats were out and ready something amazing happened. Renato capsized, and nobody is able to explain why. A euphoric yet humorous wave of “schadenfreude” passed through SBSC; the Fulham FC groundsmen peered over their wall in disbelief; an owl cooed; and Steph asked if we could start the race immediately as Renato drifted downriver upside down well past the start line. But it was OK. He was able to right his boat, go back over the line, all in time for the 5 minute bell (see https://youtu.be/evrdQaV7nMk for some historic footage)
The start of the race was exciting. Renato took the immediate lead, followed by Amy in second and Miguel & Rita in the Enterprise in third. Rex was facing the wrong way on the bell but remarkably managed to turnaround in time to be fourth over the line – there is nothing better than seeing a young member in a Topper absolutely nail the hardest part of the race, beating the tactics of some of SBSC’s finest sailors (see https://youtu.be/FC8eycYiSqc).
By Putney Bridge, the Albacore with Ben & Sina in it had managed to get some great wind to be second behind Renato. Amy was still going strong and was beginning to fight Allan & Steph for third position. The boats towards the back had their own competition brewing too.
By Wandsworth Bridge the wind was firmly behind the boats. Renato was still in pole position. The Albacore had lost some ground, and Amy in the Laser Radial was now competing for second against Allan & Steph in the Enterprise. By the finish line Renato completed the distance first in 35 minutes. Allan & Steph came over the line in second, but Amy was only a second or two behind. Once the handicaps were worked out, Sara and Jonny in the Solos came 2nd and 3rd on paper. A very competitive race.
By the time the race upriver started, the tide had not turned but the wind was looking strong and consistent, so there was no problems with making the distance. Amy took the immediate lead, with Renato and Jamie behind (see https://youtu.be/C24fgTTbtBY). The whole group were close together and did a great job (see https://youtu.be/C6P9XKob3qg) with some terrific racing (https://youtu.be/kKFPueGl-Hs). The Albacore was on fire! (see https://youtu.be/Zp0y9oqK8qc).
Despite the stronger wind, the race upriver took a little longer than the race down, as the boats required regular tacking. Renato was able to make it to Fulham FC first, followed closely by Allan & Steph in the Enterprise, Ben & Sina in the Albacore and then Jamie in the Laser. Once again, Jonny used the handicap to his advantage and came in a strong 3rd on paper. Not bad for his first trip in the new boat (see his in-between race practice sail https://youtu.be/ULY5AYOvXR8).
The final results were:
2nd: Allan & Steph
The prize for outstanding Topper sailing goes to Rex. Definitely one to watch.