Bevington Downriver Race 3
The forecast was a mix of sunshine, blue skies and very little wind. Perfect weather for the Race Committee but not at first for the sailors! Even with this forecast the sunshine led to a huge turnout of nine members – and all of them made the decision to go single-handed.
We had Sara and Allan in Solos; Estrid, Elaine, Jakob, Josh, Imogen & Jamie in full Lasers; and Esteban, as a late arriver, in a Topaz. The race course was the usual downriver to Battersea and back. One race on the way down and one race in the way back – the combined results would identify the winner. On the Race Committee boats were Anne Hauger, Matt Richardson, Justin Lloyd Williams, Jane Stanton Humphreys (passenger for the sunshine) and Richard Graham.
The race started slightly later than planned after a significance of ‘boaty traffic’ on the slipway, and by the time the five minute bell rang a bagpiper from the Fulham side commenced with a rendition of Scotland the Brave. Some more classic bagpiping followed, mixed with some random ones (e.g. In the Jungle the Mighty Jungle and the theme tune from Star Wars), but it was all delightful even if a little bit Scottish.
The first race had a slow start as the wind dipped as the countdown begun – see YouTube video. It took a while for some of the boats to cross the line but when they did, we could tell this was going to be an exciting day of sailing. Jamie took the lead, followed by Sara, Josh, Elaine, Estrid, Jakob and Imogen. Allan and Esteban had moderate timing issues and followed close behind. By The Ship, Josh and Jamie were in the lead with Jakob and Estrid not far behind. However, by the short sail to Wandsworth Bridge Estrid had found better wind and took the lead.
As we raced down towards Battersea Heliport, we all witnessed something new. Josh was fiercely competing with Estrid for first place but had taken the wrong decision to sail directly under the downdraft of a landing helicopter. Josh and a laser are much lighter than the downdraft of a helicopter and this is a fact nobody can now dispute – my filming of this was very poor but you can definitely see the drama unfold – see YouTube video. He capsized but got back up fairly quickly.
The first leg of the race ended with Estrid over the line first, although this nearly didn’t happen due to a slight confusion that maybe the Race Officer was responsible for. Jamie followed in close pursuit, then we had Sara, Jakob and Josh.
We had to move the second leg start position upstream as the tide had turned on time, which meant that some boats were finding it difficult to get down to Battersea now that the wind was calmer. We found Allan turning his bath back into a boat and decided that was the most convenient place to start the second leg. Imogen was first over the line, followed by Estrid, Josh and Allan. The others were caught in an area of dead wind and struggled to make it over. However, most did eventually!
By the time we got back to the Battersea Heliport, Estrid had taken the lead and was followed by Jakob and Josh. By Wandsworth Bridge the pack were much closer together again with Jakob, Josh and Estrid really neck and neck for the winning position. However, by the finish line Jamie came in first with Estrid not far behind. Allan was the technical winner once the handicaps were worked out.
Estrid was the overall winner by 1 second! Poor Jamie, as it looked like he had this one in the bag, but you can’t beat the power of Google Sheets!