After all the fab weather we have had recently it was a surprise to wake up to a drizzly early morning, but by the time the club was open it had cleared up nicely and the breeze was picking up. Hopes for a good turnout were revived?
Lev from Strand on the Green called to say they’d only got one contender, so they unfortunately wouldn’t be making an appearance. We’ll look forward to their “Strand Challenge” in early September if we don’t get to sail with them sooner.
The briefing, aside from the usual considerations also mentioned the recent Putney Embankment Construction Works on the Tideway Tunnel which has just begun (and must be avoided).
With Ranelagh creeping up against the tide for the scheduled start, we had a short (perhaps inevitable) delay as we waited for a few rowing boats to clear the slipway and ensuring the recently arrived LCSC sailors got a quick briefing. SBSC boats were launching at their normal relaxed manner, but on the warning signal it was notable how things sharpened up. Next time the RO promises to wait for no-one–not even the tide.
After a smooth start, all was in order and the fleet set off down the tideway.
The first leg was notable for a strong gust that upturned a number of boats of all types around Wandsworth Bridge. The tide was running hard and the Committee boat was worried we would have to set the finish line down at the London Eye. Common sense prevailed and we placed the line at the lower end of Battersea Reach. There was a good spread of clubs on the first leg podium with Clive Kitson (LCSC), Allan MF (SBSC) and Alister Barker (RSC) taking the top three spots on corrected time. Taking down the sail numbers was proving harder than it ought to be. Two boats had the same number, one had faded numbers and one red Solo managed the most impressive feat of finishing upside down. Was it a deliberate tactic to maximise the current?
There was a little consternation that the tide was showing little sign of abating, but it was judged that the wind would allow the sailors to make against it and after a 20 minute pause the fleet was once again under starter’s orders. On the return there was some great upwind sailing with many boats choosing the shallows to cheat the tide. Different boats chose different edges to creep along and it’s hard to say which side paid the best dividend. All reported multiple groundings. One wag suggested walking the boat back might have been quicker.
A good breeze, a good turnout and a good time looked to be had by all.
Back at SBSC Steph and Jen had been hard at work laying out the tables and chairs and putting out a fine spread of food and drink. There was a fine afternoon-tea feel to the boatyard with the inevitable tales of gusts and rule infringements.
After Ollie had worked his magic with the chaotic hand scribbled results sheet we declared a winner.
Ultimate victory was well deserved by Clive Kitson, winning after scoring 1st in the first leg and 3rd in the second leg. Congratulations to Clive from London Corinthian SC; it was a fine leg 2 for him battling the Albacore and a laser most of the way back.
Second place was snapped up by the river wizard Allan M-F (SBSC) in our newly acquired club Solo.
Many thanks to the visitors for making it such a great day on the water and the safety crews for making the event an enjoyable and safe one. Thanks again Jen and Steph for making a delicious return. We look forward to the third and final Tideway event at LCSC on 15th of July!