Sep 20

John Cope Cup – Sunday 16th September 2018 – Jerome’s report

Race Officers & SB1: Jane S-H and Jerome

Safety Boat 2: Ray and Alexei

Sunday was the John Cope Cup race aka John Cope Downriver which is much easier to pronounce .  This is especially true for me and our other international members; in the various boats we had a Spaniard, two Portuguese, an Argentinian, a German, a Maltese, a Frenchman, a Nurse and Sara!  Had Tom G been there the American ICE would have launched an attack boat!

 With Jane as Race Officer things went to a timely start, super well organized. However her constant talk of “gusts up to 20 knots (no doubts she was mistaking our warm breeze for the Florence hurricane) led Elaine to choose a sail so small had she worn it she would have been kicked out of any religious establishment.

Off we go with some strong wind and impressive sailing confirming that today we have a field of highly competitive professionals. It was a pleasure to see, a very fast run down the river. That is until the sabotage of the fuel line on “Henry” the Rigiflex SB2 that stranded Ray and Alexei a bit below Putney, forcing them to drop anchor and trying to look like fishermen to save a bit of face.

RO Jane, in the Dory SB1, then decides to swap with Ray so she can fix the problem (or was it Alexei who did it as we are told he is an F1 engine designer, indeed we have seen these guys working with fuel lines at pit stops and they are very good). And also Ray apparently has the reputation of knowing when/where to drop the downriver marker buoy.

So Ray, Terri and Jerome head off to Battersea Pagoda. Ray explains that dropping the buoy slightly early favours the slower racers giving them an opportunity to catch up before the tide turns for everyone on the way back. Ray chooses the perfect spot, only to have his plans foiled because buoy rope/chain was entangled in the bucket. (The buoy in the Rigiflex boat was better prepared!) This is where Ray found his French language and, while untangling the ropes, asked the leading boats to use the Dory SB as the rounding mark! 

Meanwhile the competitive sailors up front – Renato and Jamie (Lasers full rig) racing hardvery quickly regained their lead and kept growing it. Alexei fixed the problem in SB2 (using a dressing pack from the first aid kit to hold the petrol input connection onto the engine..) and Jane and Ray swapped back.

During all that excitement in the Safety Vessels the full fleet continued their furious tacking towards home. It was particularly exciting to see an elegant 420 with Josh and Sina, doing so well but once again everyone was amazing, Sara and Leo (Gp14 Oscar) were very smoothly sailing whilst Miguel and Rita (Ent Enfin) were furiously tacking in the complete harmony that only a crew sleeping together can achieve!

Being the front safety boat we lost sight of Elaine (laser 4.7) but we were confident that the tide would bring her back before nightfall as we rushed to drop Jane back for her to ring the bell or toot the horn (whatever they do when someone passes the finishing line). This report-writer stayed with Terri (Sara’s guest) who took the helm and managed to learn to drive the safety boat perfectly in a few minutes (who needs the RYA). Terri said afterwards “I brought the safety boat back safely!”

First over the finish line was Renato followed by Jamie, Sara/ Leo, Josh/ Sina, Miguel /Rita and finally the Maltese Dove, Elaine!

On corrected time Renato was the winner of the 2018 John Cope cup! (I know absolutely everyone was in shock), 2nd Sara & Leo, 3rd Josh & Sina, 4th Jamie, 5th Miguel & Rita and 6th Elaine. Well done everyone!

On the beaches along the south embankment we saw a group of people collecting the rubbish and plastic waste. There are always amazing people along the Thames, a most wonderful river, we are so fortunate!