Sunday 20th October 2019
The Campbell Downriver originally looked like there was going to be no wind. Then it looked like there was going to be too much wind. But on the day we had perfect sailing conditions, even if a wee bit chilly for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in safety boats.
We had a fleet of six single handlers. Renato (In a Laser of course), Sally (in a Laser of course), Jakob (in a Laser continuing to confuse towpath-ers that an Estonian 2012 Olympic sailor was on the loose), Sara and Allan each in their own Solos and finally Chris in a delightfully looking Streaker (ignorance had me check this was the correct name for a boat…). For the race team and safety boats, we had the splendid support of Ollie Bennett, David Barton-Grimley, Amy Swash and myself (Richard Graham).
As my downriver tide predicting history isn’t without a blemish, we made sure the boats were off within a safe period of time from the ‘on the water’ deadline. This is one of the most difficult things to achieve in life.
With the Northerly breeze and the fast flowing river, the start was going to be a tricky one to navigate and, as you will see from the video, Sara could have secured the best start in SBSC history had she not doubted that she was going to go over the line before the bell. See. In the end, Chris took a very healthy line and crossed the start line in first at some speed. Sara then crossed the line with Renato and Jakob at almost the same time. By Putney Bridge, Renato had secured a small lead. Sally was in second position after gaining some ground following the start. Chris was now in third position. By the Putney Rail Bridge, the boats were now suffering from a lack of wind and this made many position vulnerable. Jacob looked like had caught some better wind and was making ground on the top three. By Wandsworth Pier, Jakob was now competing for second position with Sally, but all six boats were very close. By Wandsworth Bridge, Renato still retained the lead, but Allan had eclipsed the rest of the pack and was now in second position by a good distance. We dropped the finish line just after Albert Bridge, and Renato (as expected) crossed the line first. The results from the 1st leg (in real time and after handicap): Renato, Allan, Jakob, Sally, Chris & Sara.
For the race back up the river, this turned out to be one of the most competitive races I’ve seen at the SBSC with a total of 5 boats at some point being in the lead! Renato had the perfect start crossing the line right on the bell. However, both Sally and Jakob were milliseconds later and the top three made their way upriver. Unfortunately for Allan, Sara and Chris, they all met some unfortunate wind and this played havoc with their strategy. See. However, all was not lost, as by Battersea Bridge, Renato, Sally, Allan, Jakob and Sara were all extremely close together. Sally then spent the next stretch of water fighting Renato for first. By Wandsworth Bridge, the Northerly wind meant that all the boats slowed down. Sally and Jakob each had the lead over Renato at various points and it was great to watch! By Wandsworth Recycling Plant, Allan had joined the party again and was neck and neck with Jakob and Sally – but Renato was back in the lead. By Wandsworth Pier, Jakob had taken the lead over Renato. This was getting very close and to add to the excitement Sara appeared from almost nowhere to take the lead! However, by Putney Bridge, the top three were now Renato, Jakob and Sally. By the finish line, Renato crossed the line first, followed by Jakob and Sally only 10 seconds later. The results from the 2nd leg (in real time and after handicap): Renato, Jakob, Sally, Allan, Sara & Chris.
With the combined results we have the following top 3:
Thanks for all the safety boat support and apologies for the delay in getting this published. I blame my excitement around preparing for Halloween.