Summer Points 5 July 2009

Racing Laser

When you're under the race box, gazing up river and a warm south-south-westerly is ruffling your hair, then not unnaturally thoughts of racing down to No 8 for a couple of laps cross your mind. Nice tactical beating once you're past the gustiness of Hammersmith Reach, a couple of quick tacks through the narrows by Chiswick Pier, a bit of a challenge with the shifts by the poplars and then the river stretching to Barnes in front of you. 


That was the course set then.

Kerstin Exner, with a groan, didn't quite see the merits of slogging all the way up there and back, and she was almost proved right as the wind swung back to a south-westerly.

But our minds were made up. Six Lasers and one Enterprise shot over the line for an enthralling race in near-perfect conditions (if we forget the very mucky river that day) with Hugh Kemlo and Simon Hills changing places upfront and Kerstin Exner, Peter Hallett, Simon Ashenden, Vian Dixon and our newest Laser sailor Kevin Seebaluck along with Ben Wilder and James Eatwell in the Enterprise not far behind. Two more Enterprises with Lisa Siwinska/Susie Best and Cathy Champion/Jo Humm took the decision not to race, but cruise on the river instead.

As expected, the breeze stiffened round the corner, and it was a case of playing the shifts, hiking hard, and enjoying these conditions that are rarely served up on other parts of the river.

Capsized Laser

The fleet, as Kerstin expected, did indeed split up. Simon and Hugh parted company, when Hugh went the wrong way round number five and gave Simon free air from now on to make, in this fair wind, catching up pretty impossible. 

Capsized Enterprise

The rest of the fleet battled away, too, with Peter and Simon Ashenden fighting hard for ascendency and only later in the race after Simon took a tumble, could Peter establish himself in third place.

The capsizing was not to stop there, though, as the fleet moved back to home territory for the latter stages of the race, Lisa and Susie in the Enterprise and Kerstin decided that the spectators could do with a bit more spice in their entertainment, and embarked on a bit of capsizing in front of the clubhouse. Kevin, too, still getting the hang of his new-found class, contrived to find ways of putting his boat the wrong way up.

Finishers, then, were Simon Hills, Hugh Kemlo, Peter Hallett, Simon Ashenden, with the others, alas, timed out after their shenanigans in and out of the water. Good entertainment, though.

By Simon Hills

Photos by Steven Gear-Evans