Brilliant sunshine, shorts and short sleeves all round, an 15mph E-SE wind base wind forecast with gusts of 30, clearly better to sail against the wind on the Barnes bank. In fact the water on the Fulham bank looked unruffled. So the RO drew on his 45 years experience and planned rigging on the water, then an anti-clockwise 5 lap course with buoy 1 opposite the flats, down tide on the Fulham bank and hoping for some fast, possibly planing, SWerly reaches from buoy 2 at Crabtree to buoy 3 on the Barnes bank. And nearly got lynched.
“We want to sail not drift up the river”
“There will intolerable bunches at buoy 1”
“Why not set simple up and down sausage on the Barnes bank?”
The RO said not to worry it would be alright, he could see wind on the Fulham bank. Everyone went back grumbling under their breath to rigging their boats on the bank.
The RO got stubborn and rang the ten minute bell. No launches, more protests, “We can’t possibly be ready in time” As so often happens a scull chose this moment to slowly come ashore so “10 minute postponement” which stretched to 20 minutes while 13 boats launched, many of them forwards (which meant an interesting retrieval of trolleys) But it was surprisingly difficult for some boats to get above the start line. Clearly it wasn’t a 15/30mph wind.
The start was clean enough, we overlooked an infrequent GP14 who was’nt quite on the right side of the line and were disappointed by the pushing and barging round buoy 1 so soon after the rules talk. By rights there should have been some protests. Down to buoy 2 was a smooth sail but one or two overstood the buoy and had to tack back. We moved buoy 1 further away from the bank.
Then of course the fleet spread out with Andrew’s restored Merlin well in front followed by Renato, Jamie and Estrid with a radial. The wind was not causing any problems except for Johnnie who had chosen to be comfortable with a reduced sail on his Solo and was bringing up the rear.
In the second lap Andrew stayed ahead followed by Renato, Estrid and Jamie.
Lap three, Sara touched buoy 1 and promptly did her 360 penalty, Renato appeared among the leaders but Jamie, the Merlin and Estrid were also close by. Nobody was doing any planing so we shortened the race to four laps. Graham made too close a rounding of the Putney buoy, caught its anchor line on his rudder and stuck for what must have seemed an eternity in the middle of the river.
Towards the end of the fourth lap the wind dropped further and Renato by now well in the lead, was reduced to repeated pumping to make headway.
The final result was 1 RENATO
2 ANDREW AND ADELE
Johnnie eventually landed having enjoyed a relaxing afternoon.