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Club Championship


Past event:   Club Championship Horizon Trophy (L) / Kelmscott Cup (E)  
Sun 4th May 2014  Start: 16:30     High water: 18:32  Sunset: 20:28

Club Championship

Sunday 6 September 2009

On a moderately breezy warm late summer afternoon the Corinthians set off for their Club Championships. The rules for the Championships were changed for 2009 and now include a separate race for Lasers and Enterprises.

So five Lasers, five Enterprises, and three Visions were rigged, the Lasers and Enterprises to race, the Visions, mainly manned by recent graduates from the RYA course, to practice their sailing skills on the river. One of the Enterprise crews was a pair of young men (Seth and Damon) who had wandered onto the scene from the street enquiring about the sailing and had been whisked into an Enterprise and onto the water straight away.

The nice weather seemed to make everybody a bit slow in the preparation though. Almost half the fleet was still on the pontoon, when the race was started. So only three of the Enterprises and four of the Lasers actually started the race. Our new sailors from the street did start on time, but unfortunately nobody seemed to have explained the locations of the buoys to them. Unfortunately they went round the course the wrong way and had to be disqualified.

On a Southwesterly 2-3 the race officer Hugh Kemlo and his assistant Miranda set a fun course round No. 6, No.5, No. 4, No. 3, and No. 1 buoys. The course meant a lot of gybing and some fast and exhilarating reaching across the river, which we don’t get very often in our races. It also meant many close encounters between boats beating upwind and boats zigzagging downwind and many shouts of “Starboard!”.

After an excellent race Gareth and Ben sailed to victory in Jester having had some close shaves with capsizing. The second place was taken by John Hemminsey and Bonnie Chu, two sailors very new to the club, with Bonnie being one of the recent RYA graduates.

Susie Best and Dougie Wilson had made it to No. 3 at the top of the Eyot in their Enterprise, when the wind dropped and they drifted backwards for a while. When they finally managed to claw their way back, they were way at the back of the fleet. Battling on unperturbed they were hit by the wash of a passing vessel and capsized near the eyot. At this point they gave up and were towed back by the able crew of the safety boat.

In the Laser fleet Robin shot away in his Laser at the start, for a while followed by Angela and Kerstin, who fought it out until Angela got away after the first lap in pursuit of Robin. She continued her pursuit for another three laps and almost caught up with Robin, until she suddenly fell overboard in a gust, while the boat staid upright. And Robin sailed to victory.

Andre who had been starting a bit late managed to catch up and overtake Kerstin in the end, partially aided by the fact that Kerstin was unaware for a while of a tree branch stuck on her rudder slowing her down, no doubt providing entertainment to the people at the Old Ship pub.

It was a very enjoyable race under almost perfect conditions on a lovely summer afternoon.

Enterprise winners

Laser winners


1st: Gareth LLewellyn and Ben Wilder
2nd: John Hemminsey and Bonnie Chu

1st: Robin Johnson
2nd: Angela Boyhan
3rd: Andre Gareh
4th: Kerstin Exner

Race officers: Hugh Kemlo and Miranda Kemlo
Safety Boat drivers: Peter Hallett and Alex Scott-Tonge

by Kerstin Exner

3-4 May 2008

The wind wasn't playing ball, but since when did the dinghy brigade let that put them off?

The rules of the Club Championship require three out of four races to win, sailed over two days. This rule caused a great deal of dark muttering from the race officer, Gavin Robertson, along the lines of: "It's ludicrous expecting two races to be run in these conditions." For 'these conditions', read little wind.

But he persevered over the weekend and managed to organise two races on each day, optimistically setting the course at No5 and No1 once, and No3 and No1 four times. Eleven dinghies turned out on the first day and nine on the second.

The wind force 2-3, SE, with a strong tide did not bode particularly well, but it held steadily enough for the fleet to make progress. Chris Winnington-Ingram risked life and limb with Beverley Beech as crew in his beautiful new, yet-to-be-named, dinghy, but they stayed upright and had the distinct advantage of being able to chase the wind and avoid the irritating holes.

The fleet beat up to No 5, gybed around and then jostled for position as they hugged the island to avoid the strength of the tide.

The race officer finished the first race after the leading dinghy had returned from No5 and rounded No1. Fortunately, the fleet was fairly close together so the leading dinghies did not have long to wait for the start of the next race.

Sunday's racing looked even less promising - there was no wind.

As the sailors gathered, the alternatives were debated: gardening, tidying the undercrofts, pruning the bushes...

The wind, fortunately, picked up, but not by much. It was Force 1- 2, SE which increased enough during the launch of the dinghies to encourage everyone.

With such a poor direction the race officer, Robbie Robertson, had little choice but to lay the buoy at No3 down by the island in a promising patch of wind and No1 (off Weltche Terrace.

By the time the race started, delayed by the safety boat gathering up the majority of the fleet that had drifted the wrong side of the start line, the wind gave an encouraging bleat and the fleet shot off to No3. When they arrived, the wind had abated and the dinghies bunched up and jostled for the best positions while fighting a fearsome tide. They inched their way along the bank and past the pub while suffering the unasked-for advice from the expert landlubbers, emboldened by suitable quantities of beer.

At this point, Robin Johnson crept ahead, sneaked along the bank and, after an agonisingly long period finally cleared No1 buoy and sailed across the finishing line.

Clive Kitson, who had been closely following Robin, misjudged the end of the pontoon and was swept down onto it. With the help of Beverley Beech he was fended off, only then to find the dinghy in danger of being swept under the brow. Some swift hauling on the painter swung the dinghy around and enabled Clive to climb back on and sail off in pursuit of Robin and, although he crossed the line ten minutes later, he retired due to outside assistance.

Some 14 minutes after Robin's win, Andre Gareh finished. The remainder of the fleet failed to complete the course however.

The leading dinghies hung around while the safety boat began towing the laggards past the start line in preparation for the second race, but the wind did little to help. At least the delay enabled the tide to abate a little.

Clive Kitson came ashore before the start of this race, clutching his back and yelping as he bent to haul the Laser ashore. Johnny Lyell also retired, unwilling to battle the tide for a second time. Finally, with everyone else on the right side of the line, and the safety boat scooping up the last Enterprise, which had managed to drift down as far as the island, the second race was started.

Once again the fleet set off in an impressive rush only to find little wind and little progress against the tide. This time, however, Richard Wood and Catherine O'Sullivan battled with Robin Johnson for the lead (Richard and Catherine did not start in time for the first race and soon returned to the pontoon with gear problems, but they sorted it out).

In the race box, Robbie and Beverley were have a great debate about when to stop the race. The choice was between an early finish when the leading dinghy crossed the line or taking a risk and requiring the fleet to round No1 buoy and then cross the finishing line. The latter was agreed, and some nail-biting ensued with a quick prayer that what little wind there was would remain, allowing the last dinghy to round No1 and still get back across the line before the tide changed.

Fortunately, that is precisely what happened. Richard and Catherine, after a battle with Robin to No 1, rounded it first and triumphantly headed for the finishing line with Robin finishing a few minutes later. Peter Druce and Gareth Llewellyn finished sixth and proudly announced that this was the first race that they had actually managed to finish.

Tony Robinson, our President, on behalf of all the sailors, thanked Robbie for organising the races. He particularly mentioned how grateful the sailors were to Charles Frater who generously gave his time as safety boat driver on both days of the championship, and to Matt Thomas, a new member, who acted as deputy safety boat driver. He then presented a bottle of wine (an interesting pale pink concoction that was aptly named Rocket) to Robin who, on collecting his prize, remarked that the fleet could have done with a bit of rocket power during the race.

Overall results:
Robin Johnson, Mollie – 1st
Richard Wood and Catherine O’Sullivan, Veloche – 2nd
Andre Gareh, Flute – 3rd
Angela Boylan – 152406 – 4th
Ed Best and Jenny Drife, Canary – 5th
Gareth Llwewllyn and Peter Druce, Telegraph – 6th
Kerstin  Exner, Meltemi – 7th
Clive Kitson, Illigitimus – Retired

Sailors who sailed one day only:
Ed Best and Jenny Drife, Canary
Simon Ashendon, Cottontail
John Lyell, Sunday Sport
John Moolenschot, Sunday Sport

by Beverley Beech

Copyright © London Corinthian Sailing Club, May 2008