Oct 09


The Campbell 4 Downriver

Summer is definitely over. This race felt like (and actually was) an autumn race. It was also on a Saturday, an unusual day for a downriver race.  However, we had a great turnout and the race itself was eventually decided on a matter of seconds.

The race committee consisted of Jane Deith and Justin Pavry in the safety boat, and Christina Pontin and myself (Richard Graham) in the race boat.

The 10 boats of competitors were:

·           Eleanor in a Laser Radial;

·           Renato, Henry, Leo S, Erkka and Jakob all in a Laser;

·           Josh and Sina in the 420;

·           Allan/Steph and Anita/Jane in Enterprises; and

·           Sara in her Solo.

The race consisted of two legs. The first leg was from the Boat Club to Battersea and the second leg was the reverse. As usual, we were reliant on the tide turning on prediction, something that actually never happens.

The pre-race warm up followed the standard routine. The Race Officer turned up late, Allan allowed Steph to rig the Enterprise while he did “Allan jobs” around the boat yard, and Renato spent a fair amount of time applying duck tape to his shorts – adding more fuel to my suspicion that this guy knows what he is talking about when it comes to sailing.

We started the race once all the boats had finally overcome the millions of rowers blocking the slipway. In true fashion, the promised wind of 8 gusting 12 seemed unrealistic as the boats struggled to get momentum. At the end of the 5 minutes countdown, Jakob crossed the line in a perfect position. He was followed in second by Henry and then Renato and Allan/Steph were too close to call for third over the line. This was looking good. Poor Anita and Jane faced the almost impossible task of sailing upriver into the fleet of racers in order to achieve a lawful start. They did it though. See https://youtu.be/LNyOvq7e14c.

By Putney Bridge, the boats were almost entirely relying on the flow of the river as the wind had downgraded itself again. Renato had taken a steady lead with the others floating slightly behind. However, the wind appeared briefly again and we had a race forming for 2nd place between Jakob and Henry, with Sara and Allan/Steph now positioning for 4th. See https://youtu.be/WvWBQmIBoz0.

It was one of those days where whoever took the lead would be constantly looking back at the fleet looking concerned about how faster they were going. Within a matter of moments, the top 5 boats were back together with Renato looking concerned. See https://youtu.be/8H84sGwmCb8. By The Ship, Jakob had steamed in front followed by Allan/Steph, with Sara now fighting Renato for 3rd. See https://youtu.be/4f-LpdKFLZA and https://youtu.be/MWryf4h6-00 for some helicopter action.

The finish of the first leg was a close affair. Renato crossed the line in 1st, followed by Jakob in 2nd and Allan/Steph in 3rd. However, once the handicaps were applied Sara was in 1st, Allan/Steph in 2nd and Renato in 3rd. This leg was decided on 7 seconds which shows what a race it actually was.

We waited for the usual time in Battersea trying to work when the tide would turn and whether it was worth starting the race without it. When we gave up, we sounded the 5 minute bell.

On the back of the success of the first leg, Sara took the immediate lead over the line followed by Allan/Steph and the Renato. See https://youtu.be/edhm_LO7F4Q.

However, soon a more familiar pattern emerged with Renato building up a strong lead with an amazing competition emerging for second between Sara and Allan/Steph. See https://youtu.be/1lFVCK3JcLg.

The top 3 eventually levelled out and kept their positions to the finish, with Renato in 1st, Allan/Steph in 2nd and Sara in 3rd. Once again, the handicaps made a difference for Sara with 34 seconds making her 2nd behind Renato and in front of Allan/Steph. The combined timings looked great for Sara (after a number of corrections to the input errors) and she took first place overall!

The final positions were:

1.          Sara

2.          Renato

3.          Allan/Steph

4.          Jakob

5.          Henry

6.          Leo S

7.          Erkka

8.          Eleanor

9.          Josh/Sina

10.       Anita/Jane (DNF)

A huge congratulations to Sara – a tough wind to win a race in!