Sunday 12th August.
A windy summer’s evening, with forecasted gusts into F6 meant downriver racing was changed to local racing. A long sausage course was laid between Crabtree Wharf and Putney Hard, with the additional tactical requirement to be mindful of draught as the fleet raced at the bottom of the tide.
Steph opted for a tactical up-tide start, ducking line on the start signal and leading the pack at the start, however a couple of early capsizes cost her a few places during the first leg. The fleet continued a downwind reach to the leeward mark, laid off Crabtree wharf, with Joe Driver leading the Laser pack on the approach to the first windward rounding. Renato was snapping at his heels as they approached the windward mark, laid off Putney PDC, and despite her early capsizes, Steph worked her way back to the head of the fleet, with barely a boat length separating first and fifth place as the laser pack passed the finish line for lap 1.
Leonardo and Henry both took turns at defending the lead, whilst in the double-hander fleet, the Albacore and 420 both fought the remnants of the ebb tide trailing the Laser pack. Despite some heavy gusts, the wind was patchy in places and progress was slow against a strong ebb tide, so the course was shortened. As the fleet rounded the leeward mark, Renato lead a splinter trio of Lasers, with Steph and Joe hot on his heels as they headed for the final windward rounding. Leonardo and Henry followed, with the Albacore and 420 a few minutes behind.
Joe Driver snuck inside of Steph at the final windward mark rounding, with Renato a few boat lengths ahead for the sprint to the finish looking comfortably in the lead on his final approach to the finish line. A late capsize from Leonardo gave Henry some breathing room, with the Ben and Josh in the Albacore a comfortable distance ahead of Leo and Chris in the 420 bringing up the rear of the fleet.
Steph and Joe closed the gap on Renato during the final few minutes, with Joe finishing a mere 2 seconds after Renato, and Steph taking third place 20 seconds later. Henry, then Leonardo crossed the line a couple of minutes later, followed by the Albacore with Ben and Josh – with the Chris and Leo in the 420 retiring only meters from the finish, walking themselves across the line after an additional 20 minutes of spinnaker fun.
1st: Renato Hidalgo
2nd: Joe Driver
3rd Steph Tollemache