Sunday 8th July – Bevington Downriver Race 7
A magnificent day with variable winds but mostly NW averaging around 8-10 knots. At first we had only 3 boats so RO Sara decided we only needed one safety boat. BUT then more sailors arrived and the number increased to seven boats competing.
The race team was reorganised with one SB helmed by David F and Polly and Jane SH took over from Sara as RO.
At 15.45 Jane and Polly started Race 1 from the bank in front of the clubhouse. Everything went very well as the tightly bunched pack crossed the start line in good order. However, at Putney reach in front of Ranelagh’s clubhouse, Sara had a mishap and capsized her Solo five minutes into the race. This put her way behind as the others proceeded and gradually separated into two groups of boats.
At Wandsworth bridge, the leading group was: Sally, Barbara, and Renato (Lasers). In the second group and not far behind were: the John & Bob (Enterprise), Chris (Streaker) and Henry (Laser). Everyone was on a broad reach and Sara was working hard to catch up.
By 16.10, the fleet had reached Chelsea Harbour and everyone had to tighten their sails as the wind came ahead slightly. The order of the leading group had become: Barbara, Renato, and Sally. The second group had changed to: Chris, John & Bob, and Henry with Sara valiantly trying to catch up. The wind had freshened, and everyone was quite close hauled.
At Albert Bridge, Renato was the first to clear it and the first past the Pagoda in Battersea Park, which was the finishing line.
First over the line was Renato beating Barbara by 1 second and Sally 17 seconds later. Then Chris, Henry, John & Bob and Sara.
We hung around for a while waiting for the tide to turn but everyone seemed somewhat impatient to start the race. Race 2 therefore started at 16.48, which is after the posted, official time for low water at Chelsea Bridge, but the current was definitely not slack. The centre of the river was still ebbing. The wind had increased from NE and so all the boats crossed the start line apparently without too much difficulty although they were sailing against the current. However, 50 yards over the start line everyone seemed to stop; that is everyone except Renato. When the flood starts on the river, very often, the central body of the river will continue its momentum to ebb and the flood tide will have to find a way upstream in the shallow edges to the river. Renato found such a lift and was carried way beyond the rest of the fleet giving him an excellent lead. Gradually the Lasers pulled away leaving the heavier Enterprise, which was more affected by the tide.
By Battersea bridge, Renato was ahead and the order of the rest was: Sally, Sara (refreshed after her dip at Putney reach) then Barbara, Chris, and Henry. The Enterprise was some way to the rear.
Beside Battersea Bridge, on the upriver side, there appeared to be a body lying on the beach. I saw a seagull land on it and it didn’t move, so I decided it was too gruesome to contemplate and we continued on.
At the heliport the river became choppy and the fleet crossed to the Fulham side; except Renato who continued on the Wandsworth side. At Wandsworth bridge, Renato seemed to slow and Sally began to catch up, however, by Wandsworth park, Renato seemed to find another lift and sped up to the finish, followed by Sally, Barbara, Sara, John & Bob, Chris and Henry.
Race results on corrected times:
1. Renato (Laser),
2. Sally (Laser),
3. Barbara (club Laser)
4. Chris (Streaker)
6. John & Bob (Enterprise)
7. Henry (Laser)