Sunday 27th September.
They got knocked down, but they got up again …
Before setting off, RO Sally set a long triangular course almost down to the Crabtree and back towards the club, 6 laps in total. She also gave a useful reminder on some racing rules on rounding the buoys that was appreciated, though no doubt soon forgotten once the race started.
Sally and I settled into the safety boat, nicely wrapped up from the cold and wind, expecting a nice cruisy morning, a good chat, maybe a snack, then clipboard out for the results. A good way to start a birthday. This is not what we got.
7 sailors braved the elements: Renato, Jakob, Henry, Peter, John, Eric and Seb, with laser radials and 4.7s and a club solo, although knotted hankies might have served well enough.
With a blustery and changeable wind the sailors didn’t stand a chance – of staying upright. First one in was Seb who discovered the benefits of knots in the right places. He was first to DNF but enjoyed a nice sail around.
The race then: coming up to the first lap Jakob was hot on the heels of Renato, who dutifully capsized near the mark. Jakob must have been rubbing his hands with glee, briefly, then he went over too. Renato recovered efficiently and was untouchable from then on. Others ventured forth but rarely did we see all sails pointing upwards, so lots of dashing about on the safety boat, making it hard to keep track of the racing. It is not surprising that several gave up on the race and headed home.
No one will be astonished to learn that Renato was first to complete the 6 laps, pretty much on the hour. Jakob trailed him by about 15 minutes. Peter remained determined despite finding his own ‘sink hole’ close to the far buoy and confirmed that on only one lap did he not capsize at that same spot that must have had his name on it. Sadly, on lap 6 he had his final capsize and when we got to him he handed over a rather ragged and very broken tiller extension then grabbed the tow rope.
While only 2 (almost 3) of the 7 sailors made it across the finish line, the ‘Most Cheerful Award’ should go to John who confessed this was the first time he has capsized out on the river but was very pleased to have survived and lasted so long into the race.
With all that safety boat action I was exhausted and went home for a lie down. I can’t imagine I was the only one.