Sunday 14th October Ruby Bell 2018
RO and SB1 Jane SH and Elaine, SB2 Mike de S and Ian P
The Ruby Bell was first raced in 1992 to celebrate our club’s 40th anniversary. It’s a downriver race with a twist because sailors choose their own start times!
Today, the day after a warm and windy taster sail, the competitors rigged for the race in a still, heavy downpour. Allan and Anna W (Enterprise) were keen to start and launched moments after noon, almost exactly 45 minutes before predicted low water. It was 10 more minutes before Leo & Erkka set out in the Xenon; 6 more for Sally (Laser Rad), Piers (Solo), Sara (Solo) and Henry (Laser); and another full 15 before Gary and Renato came running to launch their Lasers.
The roving reporters (Safety Boat 2) sped off to lay the buoy, and discovered that (perhaps due to the rain) the tide was still ebbing well past the predicted low water.
Allan and Anna arrived at the mark after around an hour’s sail, raised their rudder to go into the shallows, and began creeping back up the southern bank.
As the tide slackened at Chelsea Bridge, the “fleet” arrived, with Sara first around, thus narrowly earning recognition for “Best Timing.” Henry and Sally soon followed, pursued by Leo and Erkka’s Xenon, its rudder half-out of the water after a breakage on board.
With the flood tide rapidly picking up pace, Renato managed to flap up and around the mark, but just a few hundred metres short, around Cadogan Pier and the Pagoda, Gary and Piers gave in to the strengthening tide and turned around.
A slow, rainy trip home saw gaps between boats closing, with a (race-retired) Gary even overtaking the gradually falling-apart Xenon.
After adjustment for handicap, Sara, Henry and Sally’s good tide-timing put them second third and fourth, but Renato’s pace more than compensated for his late arrival at the mark, and having more or less caught up with ‘the fleet’ by the end, he won this year’s race and the Ruby Bell trophy.
Our thanks to Johnny for his valuable help launching boats in the pouring rain and to the brilliant race team!