Apr 22


Goodwin Series Race 12


When you are given the opportunity to pick the date of your sailing duty, you are fairly certain that Sunday 14 April 2019 would be a warm and sunny spring day. We did indeed see the sun, but there was a very cold (and moderately strong) Easterly wind, which meant that Race Officer Boat and Safety Boat duties required full ski attire.

In the Race Officer Boat we had Polly Haile and myself, and in the Safety Boat we had Daniel Barker and his Duke of Edinburgh Silver award-deserving son James.

The turnout was great. We had Jakob, Henry, Peter Mack and Jaime in the full-rigged Lasers, Jane and Sally in Laser Radials, Sara in her Solo and Allan & Steph in the Enterprise. The club was also full of grandparents, helpers and powerboat specialists.

We planned the race as per the usual format. A race downriver as far as we could get, taking into account the competing priorities between the time the tide turns and the amount of SBSC delay we could accumulate before starting the race. We would then race the second leg back upriver. To add to the excitement, the Race Officer was given strict instructions to schedule the entire race around the sleep and feeding patterns of four babies. We needed to get this right.

We held the race briefing and everyone was told that the race would start before 3:30pm. Many people expressed their disbelief in this unusual ultimatum, and I can proudly say that we achieved this with two minutes to spare. A round of applause to everyone for their efficiency and obedience.

Now to the race. By the five minute bell, the majority of boats were facing upriver due to the wind blowing in the opposite direction to the tide. As soon as the bell rung, they turned and crossed the line. Allan & Steph crossed first, but only just and there was a cluster of five boats competing to take the initial lead. See video.

By Putney Bridge, Jakob had taken the lead, followed by Allan & Steph, Jamie and then Sally. We then saw a huge battle between Jamie and Allan & Steph for second place, and some effective use of “starboard” allowed Jamie to shoot into first place leaving poor Jakob wishing the river was just a little bit wider. Just after Wandsworth Bridge, the wind disappeared, leaving Jamie looking extremely vulnerable in first place. Allan & Steph, Jacob and by now Henry were all looking promising. Jakob won the physical battle and crossed the line first, followed by Henry in second and Jamie in third. However, once the handicaps were calculated, the top three completely changed with Allan & Steph winning the first leg, followed by Sara in second and Sally in third!

The return leg was just as exciting. The starting video shows that Sally nailed the start with Henry and Jamie close behind. The view looking upriver was amazing with all eight boats sailing side by side for the initial stretch of water above Albert Bridge. By the Church in Battersea, we had Jamie in the lead, followed by Sally, Jane and Allan & Steph. As we progressed upriver Jamie was able to benefit from some stronger winds and took a “Renato-esque” lead. As he was still suffering from losing the wind on the downriver, he face showed a perfect mixture of confidence and nervousness as he continued to extend his lead. We then had a great fight for second between Peter, Allan & Steph, Jane and Sally with positions changing frequently.

By the end, Jamie crossed the line a convincing 5 minutes in front of Allan & Steph in second place, with Jacob crossing the line in third.

Once all the calculations were done on the most complicated excel spreadsheet I’ve ever had to encounter, the final results (including handicaps) were:

  1. Jamie
  2. Allan & Steph
  3. Sara
  4. Sally
  5. Jakob

All boats finished and no penalties awarded!

And finally, here is Jamie racing into the sunset on his winning sail home. I had initially used the Top Gun theme track, but YouTube get very unhappy with this type of copyright theft, so I’ve had to make this more amenable…. See video.