Enterprise Open Meeting
Sunday 17th April 2011
There seem to be two certainties to Enterprise Open meetings at Corinthian; the wind will be from the east and a Beaney will win it. And on a gloriously sunny April 17th, so it was again.
It is becoming a tradition now that the Enterprise Open meeting at London Corinthian sailing Club, on the tidal Thames in Hammersmith, is blighted by light easterlies drifting in with the tide. And last Sunday's race was no exception. If you think this hot April weather is unusual, there are a large number of Enterprise sailors who would beg to differ.
When it comes to racing sailing boats, however, this unseasonal high pressure business does us no favours at all. Racing traditionally takes place on an incoming tide two hours before high water. Fine for prevailing westerlies, intriguing with easterlies, but an almost impossible ask for Enterprises to tack against a 7.2m spring tide in about three knots of wind.
Race officer Simon Hills did try to get the fleet of 19 boats out onto the water with a figure of eight course down-river from the club pontoons, where there was some chance of catching the breeze and to dive in close to the riverbank out of the worst of the tide. Such a notion proved over-ambitious. Even the best roll-tackers couldn't stem the flood.
So, a rethink. Boats were towed back to the pontoons, and the race officer decided to run racing on the ebb. Not normal practice, but it meant at least that the fleet would now be tacking with the tide and the downwind legs against it.
Again a figure of eight course was set; giving the option of changing the beat should the wind shift as forecast. Needless to say, as soon as the competitors were on the water, it duly swung to the northeast, and the patient sailors were given a revised course. Once racing got underway, though, this open was an intriguing contest.
The wind had the grace to pick up, and there was tight racing throughout the fleet. In the first race seasoned Enterprise campaigner Alan Beaney, crewed by Jess Holley, showed their mastery of boat handling and tactics to establish a narrow lead although Val Nedyalkov – famed for sailing his Laser in the Round the Island race – was running him hard, as was Robin Johnson, crewed by Ed Hipkin, and Chris Russell and Teresa Burton and Allan and Callum Munro-Faure who would eventually finish second.
For the second race the wind had the courtesy to pick up to Force 2, and this time Alan Beaney didn't have it all his own way and at the windward mark was embedded in the pack. By this time the tide was starting to ebb quickly, and choosing the right bank to cling to was to make big gains. Robin Johnson benefited by clinging to the Surrey Bank and crossing late over to the Middlesex side for the gybe mark. He again was third in this race, which was won by Allan Munro-Faure and
Alan Beaney in second.
At the end of two challenging races Alan Beaney prevailed with Robin Johnson second and Allan Munro-Faure from Southbank SC in third place.
by Simon Hills
Photos by Peter Hallett and Simon Wilder
Copyright © London Corinthian Sailing Club, 2011