30 September 2018: The Campbell Downriver (aka The Campbell Upriver)
Sunday was a perfect day for sailing, with the sun out at the start and a good wind of 6-10 mph. We had six boats, with Henry, Alexei and Allan all sailing fully rigged Lasers, Sara in her Solo, Ollie & Leo in the Xenon and John & Jane in an Enterprise. The Race Committee Boat had Richard & Erkka and the Safety Boat had Andrew and João.
The river was having a busy day, and there was more rowers using the slipway than we needed. In true SBSC fashion we slowly made our way onto the water quite some time after we should have. The plan was to race down to the Battersea Pagoda and then race back. Not all plans come together though!
Now to the first race. The wind dipped slightly and caught a few of the sailors by surprise when the 5 minute bell rang. This allowed a very strategic Sara to capitalise on the conditions and cross the line quite some way in advance. Allan and Henry followed her in pursuit. As all six boats finally made their way downriver, we were presented with a largely foreseen problem. Henry the Safety Boat (not Henry the Laser Sailor) decided that he wasn’t really up for the trip and was just in favour of drifting. We towed Henry back upstream to a mooring and then went back downriver to see the race. The wind had clearly been moderate and unfortunately for those in the lead, the tide had (for once) decided to turn on time. This made any finish line an almost impossibility for those at the back of the fleet, and it looked increasingly likely that we would have to abandon this leg of the race. We would make a decision back at the club. In the meantime, we massaged the finish times using a fair approach to timekeeping.
By the time the second race was ready to begin the wind had picked up and the clouds had appeared. When the 5 minutes had expired, there was a great start by Sara, Allan, Henry, Alexei and Team Xenon. The video makes it look like Allan had crossed the line first but by the end of it Sara had managed to sneak around the fleet and looked to be in control (see YouTube Video). Anyway, the boats battled their way upriver and the positions seemed to be very fluid, with the Xenon showing a strong approach to Wandsworth Bridge. However, the wind had a very brief lull and the smaller boats took advantage of this. By the final approach to Putney the wind was squally and presented some rigging challenges for Alexei after a capsize, and Allan and Sara used the wind to their advantage (see YouTube Video & YouTube Video). By the end, Allan exploited a good 1 minute lead towards the finish. Over the line we had Allan, Henry and Sara.
We looked at the downriver and upriver and thankfully the positions would have been the same so we decided to abandon the downriver figures in favour of just one race upriver. The handicap system meant Sara took the winner’s trophy:
- Sara (Solo)
- Allan (Laser Full)
- Henry (Laser Full)