Today’s sun, mild temperatures and strong wind brought out a great turnout for this time of year of 11 boats, and it turned out to be quite a memorable race!
As the start sequence was underway, the race officers were distracted by a number of boats that seemed to be hovering in the danger zone a fair bit below the start line, and a lot of shouting. Eventually we made out Sally who was shouting about seeing a dolphin. We thought to ourselves surely she must be imagining she was still in Mauritius and mean a seal…
Everyone managed to make it back against the tide to the right side of the start line, and it was a dramatic start with many neck and neck and Sara capsizing about 1 second into the race in the middle of the tight fleet. Well, everyone was there except Johnny who, possibly distracted by the dolphin, was about half way to Putney Bridge already and who took a good 4 minutes to make his way back to the start line. “You can still win it”, we encouraged him (not really believing it).
As we slowly glided our way down next to him, we spotted what was incredibly actually a dolphin and got seriously distracted watching, photographing and filming it for a while. When we rejoined the fleet, we found Henry and Jamie fighting for first place with the two laser radials (Sally and Amy) and the Albacore (Ben and Josh) not too far behind. Johnny managed to catch up and impressively make his way through quite a bit of the fleet.
The rest of the race comprised some serious battles, with Henry and Jamie swapping places throughout, Sally and Amy jostling in their radials, Johnny and Sara also neck and neck at times in the solos, and Elaine and Jane fighting in their 4.7s until Jane capsized and nearly lost her rudder, losing a lot of time.
Very exciting to watch and this translated into the results: Henry (2nd) beat Jamie (3rd) by 3 seconds, Johnny (4th) got Amy (5th) by 1 second. But Sally got a solid (for this race!) 16 second lead to win the first leg.
The tide was still streaming out but it was felt there was enough wind (and not enough daylight hours!) to start the race without waiting too much. Of course as soon as the race started the wind dropped and the large sails of the Albacore and the two laser fulls pulled ahead.
But as the tide started coming in, the fleet pulled together again towards the end and the slower handicap boats gained, giving a completely different set of results to the first race. Sara got 1st followed by Johnny and then Christina in a 4.7. The close results are again worth mentioning: Amy (4th) beat Sally (5th) by 2 seconds, and Jamie (9th) came in 3 seconds ahead of Elaine on handicap (10th) who was just 2 seconds ahead of Henry (11th).
So it was a difficult race to call and it really did seem like anyone could win it! And indeed some of the results were again incredibly close. Overall Jamie (5th) came 2 seconds ahead of Henry (6th) who was 3 seconds ahead of Ben & Josh (7th). And the top three were… Sally (3rd), 10 seconds behind Sara (2nd), 2 seconds behind Johnny (1st). But I would not recommend imitating Johnny’s start technique!!
An unusual day on many counts and well done to everyone! Thanks to race officer Allan and safety boat team Gary and Jakob. And again to Jakob for the brilliant photos.