We awoke to a bitterly cold and snowy Putney this morning. Would anyone be hardy/crazy enough to face the water? That was the question we were all asking ourselves. But the emails started trickling in and, sure enough, we had four boats up for the challenge. Ben and Sara in Dotty the Albacore, Gary and Allan in the GP14, and Henry and Renato in Lasers (Renato choosing a full sail).
With north easterly winds at 14 gusting 22, we decided on a relatively short triangular course and took advantage of being able to use the rowing marks (clearly it was only the Oxbridge rowers who needed to get out on the water today!) We decided on a start time of 14:10 and six laps (with the option of shortening the race if we saw too many grumpy and cold faces…)
However, we needn’t have worried.
The four boats quickly crossed the start line (a bit later than planned at 14:36) and left us for dust. Renato lead the pack from the off but, with the strong gusts, only the GP decided to try a gybe around buoy C on the first lap with the Albacore and Lasers each choosing to tack around instead. With the wind appearing to calm down at times, the strategy changed and everyone seemed to gybe neatly around the final buoy for the next three laps.
A suddenly gusty fourth lap left the Albacore with no choice but to tack around the final buoy and we all enjoyed Henry’s exciting gybe around the last buoy in the fifth lap which he took with great (but controlled!) speed.
For the six laps, everyone maintained their consistent and equally spaced positions – Renato leading, followed closely by the Albacore, the GP14 and Henry with his Laser Radial.
Renato crossed the finish line first at 15:14, followed by Sara and Ben in the Albacore four minutes later. At 15:20 followed Allan and Gary in the GP, with Henry hot on their heels at 15:21. On corrected time Renato came in first, with Allan and Gary second, Henry third and Sara and Ben fourth.
As I found myself newly promoted to RO this morning, I was very grateful to have a super team at hand – huge thanks go to Elaine, Jane, Steph and baby James for keeping me on track! Well done to Elaine for also sprinting down to rescue the trolleys from the waves(!) at high tide.
Thanks also to James and Massimo for doing a sterling job on the safety boat – with no capsizes, their main order of the day was to stay warm and get through that flask of coffee…