Sunday 20th June – John Cope Cup downriver race
Race Officer /SB1 Jane SH and Luis (new member)
Safety Boat 2 Mike and Angela
We had a great turnout of 11 boats and keen competitors for this downriver race – 6 full-rigged Lasers with John B, James C, Henry, Renato, new member Dan and Dec (Seb’s guest); Sara, Peter and Seb in Solos; Chris in his Streaker and Andrew and a nervous Nina in their new Merlin.
The weather was cloudy, 19c dropping to 15c, WSW (sse) 8 gusting 17-14 mph. Because of the lighter winds forecast we decided that instead of running a continuous race we’d revert to the usual 2-leg race format sailing downriver to Chelsea and back.
Before the race started Mike and Angela drifted 100m downriver unable to start the SB’s engine so they paddled back to shore to get some technical advice from Renato!
John B missed the start and had to regain the start line which put him some way behind. But by Battersea bridge he and Sara were neck and neck.
Right after Putney Bridge the RO team spotted Andrew and Nina, who had drifted down river before the start and could not get back… Graciously, Jane decided not to disqualify them provided they didn’t win the race!
The wind picked up at Chelsea Wharf and the fleet were making good racing time. Just after Albert Bridge, when the tide had clearly turned, the RO’s dropped the the marker buoy and finished the race.
Renato and James were first to pass the line.
On the way back, it was downwind most of the way, with the fleet making slow progress helped by the incoming tide. It was there where every gust counts and so it was that at Wandsworth bridge Seb was in the lead, until James, Andrew and Renato got a nice gust and pulled ahead.
On the return leg Sara capsized by the Putney embankment. Righting her boat was a challenge as the tiller extension had pinned the boom in so she had to lift a bathtub’s -worth of water off the sail before it would come up. She swam from the litter-barge to the beach towing her boat behind her! Her eventual recovery without help from the safety boat crew got a round of cheers from passers-by.
And so we had the results:
Renato 1st – Laser
Seb 2nd – Solo
James C 3rd – Laser
Henry 4th – Laser
Dan 5th – Laser
Chris 6th – Streaker
Peter 7th – Solo
Andrew and Nina 8th – Merlin
Dec 9th – Laser
John B 10th – Laser
Sara – Solo DNF
Congrats to Renato, who seizes the John Cope Cup for the second year in a row!
For those wondering about the Cup, it is a handsome modern stainless steel trophy, presented by Stephen Revesz in memory of a former Harbourmaster who died of cancer. First awarded in 1965 to the winner of the annual downriver race from Putney to County Hall and back.