Sunshine and the last remains of summer, along with four keen sailors, turned up for the very first race of the Campbell series. With no wind in the afternoon it looked doubtful we’d be sailing, but then some light breeze started to build. In a bid to set a course with some actual wind it was decided to race in the opposite direction, towards Ranelagh. A sausage course was set with one mark towards Ranelagh and the other just the other side of the starting line to make it easy to reduce the number of laps if needed and to have a final mark rounding just before the finish (and excellent judgement of mark positioning as well by Josh and Trish in the safety boat).
Race Officers: Jane SH and Chris B
Safety Boat: Josh M and Trish G
As if this wasn’t unusual enough, everyone was prompt to get on the water so Jane was able to start the race exactly at the intended starting time of 18:10.
Much panic in the race office ensued as all four sailors stayed well up tide of the start line, even though they were crossing the start line from down tide – had we explained the course wrong or was everyone so used to starting in the other direction that the usual impulse to stay well up tide was taking over?! Fortunately, the competing sailors knew the course, but were just playing it a bit too safe.
Jamie was first over the line, being the only one the correct side of the start line at the start signal. The advantage of racing in this direction is that everyone was able to get to the correct side of the start easily and Sara was followed by Allan and Ana shortly afterwards.
In the initial uptide roll tacking endurance event Sara overtook Jamie, while Allan took a different strategy, sailing a bit further from the bank in stronger tide but also more wind. Ana stalled at the start in the tricky conditions but heroically got going after a while.
Sara was first to the mark followed by Jamie, who hit the mark and took his penalty sportingly, then flew back down the river with impressive speed given the wind.
At this point the race officers decided to relocate to the slipway to enjoy the view and the beautiful evening (with tea and biscuits, of course, even for the safety boat crew!). From the slipway it felt like there was some rather reasonable wind, although the apparent wind out on the river meant the downtide, downwind leg was not so exciting.
Jamie made good progress gaining on Sara on lap 2 and they were battling for the lead on lap 3, while Allan and Ana followed. Then Jamie overtook Sara at the top mark and was leading back towards the start line. But Sara had the inside overlap at the mark and squeezed round to get ahead again – more exciting racing anyone had predicted given the wind.
Sara and Jamie built up a substantial lead over Allan and Ana and in lap 4 Sara started to dominate and for the remaining laps nothing much changed, although a stand up paddleboarder drifting into the course did provide some debate over rights of way… The wind also started to pick up and Allan was even spotted hiking out at one point!
The final results were:
1. Sara (Solo)
2. Jamie (Laser)
3. Allan (Solo)
4. Ana G (Laser)
It was a very pleasant evening, with more wind than anticipated, and definitely a worthwhile sail. Well done to all involved!