Goodwin 5 – Mike’s report

Mar 14

Goodwin 5 – Mike’s report

I arrived at the club a few minutes late on Sunday 14th to find a pleasantly surprising number of boats already out of the yard; some credited this to my dire warnings by email the day before, but personally I think that would be overestimating my influence over the sailors.

3.45pm is quite a late start for a downriver so I experimented with launching the two safety boats by winch (with mixed success; it does require fewer people, but takes just as long) and tried to fix my mistakes as fast as I could, eventually starting the race ten minutes late at 15:56.

The brisk southerly wind made for a good upwind start, if a challenging launch for the less experienced crews; I’m led to believe James Channer got off to a great start in a Solo, and I know for sure he was first over the line at Battersea.

The brisk wind plus a gentle ebb helped the fleet make it to Battersea in an average of just under an hour (a little over 3kts VMG, James leading with a strong 3.9)

We got our phones out during the turnaround, as a seal popped its head up to watch what was gradually transitioning from a dim afternoon into a beautiful evening.

The total wait for the tide and the fleet was about 25 minutes; the final elements of the fleet arrived just as the tide slackened and we started the return race. Unfortunately for the sailors, the evening brought the forecast dip in wind. Renato and Allan worked their way up much closer to the north bank than I would have dared, and the south wind provided a particularly fun and scenic beat back past Imperial Wharf. This time it was Renato rather than James defending his lead from the other, from Allan, Sara and Ellie.

Unfortunately, the sun was dipping towards the trees by the time the trailing boats were reaching Wandsworth, so we deposited an ARO to time the finishes whilst the two boats forced reluctant sailors to be towed off the river before night fell. Renato crossed the line with a good 2.5 minute lead, but he would have known that isn’t enough to beat the Solo’s handicap. Allan recovered some of James’s lead, but not quite enough, giving James the win on just 12 seconds of corrected aggregate time! Average return VMG on the flood was probably about 2.4kts, though we’ll never know, as we towed the slower boats.

It appears the Dread SBSC Solo Fleet are still the most fearsome opponents on the downriver!

Thanks to everyone who helped me recover from an extremely embarrassing error with a tow-line and my outboard. Hopefully that’s the kind of oversight one only makes once. We took a great deal of video, so if you’re still reading this, subscribe to our YouTube channel for updates!

Corrected time results:

1 James Channer Solo
2 Allan Munro-Faure Solo
3 Sara Bennett Solo
4 Renato Hidalgo Laser
5 Ellie Hanning Laser
6 Anthony Wort Solo
7 Ben Ridgwell & Karin Andreasson Xenon
8 John Salter Laser
9 Patrick Hughes & James Grieve GP 14

For the benefit of any future downriver race planners:

  • Club open time was about 3.5 hours before sunset
  • the forecast was 11-22kts and falling, over a weak (neap) tide
  • The last unassisted vessel spent a total of 2h 30m on the water after race start; total sailing time for the slowest vessels if not towed would probably have been about 3 to 3.5 hours;