Storm Freya loomed and the Thames was battleship grey. We planned a brief “round the buoys” with thoughts of early retirements. Five boats began to rig, not foolhardy but certainly hardy, reduced rigs all round for the Lasers. Allan & Steph’s acknowledgement of the weather was to take the Wayfarer but with a full rig. We set the usual triangular course but making sure that the gybe mark was in the shelter of the Barnes bank.
They got away smoothly but anti-climax (!) it was not easy to get above the start and Sally got stuck and had to join the race as it passed. The wind rose and squalls developed, Jamie who was under the weather, found himself under the water too and wisely decided that that was enough and retired.
Rounding the Putney buoy was difficult because the need to spill wind made it difficult to sail close hauled, the tide was fast and several boats needed several attempts before they got round. Even A. & S. needed two attempts but soon built up a half lap lead which they steadily developed into a whole one.
The wind continued to rise and the squalls turned black, at least you could see them coming! Sally later said she had had 7 “dry” capsizes. On the third lap one of these squalls turned Sara over near Crabtree, she righted but was blown over again and was too tired to right a second time. It was one of those days when even the safety boat finds it difficult to right a dinghy and they had to tow the Solo clear of the jetty on its side and could not right it with the sail up.. Eventually Allan who had finished by now, took a rower’s alloy launch to help them, they got the sail off and could then right the Solo and tow it and Sara home.
The finishing order was a test of survival, first Allan and Steph, second Hendry who had kept out of trouble, third Sally.
Then having dried her hair Sara served up a splendid chlii con carne and jacket potatoes (which would have provided welcome ballast before the race). We then fell upon Renato’s birthday cake and spent the afternoon safe, relaxed and dry enjopyng his and Olga’s three and James of A & S.