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Dark Wind Trophy

Article archive

A popular handicap race for a lovely unusual beer drinking vessel.

27th January 2013

Picture Gallery

Sir Anthony Lousada must have been a devilish chappie to require that the Dark Wind Trophy should be sailed at the darkest time of the year - it was certainly a Dark Wind today. When the dinghies launched it was around Force 4, but the winds increased to Force 6 gusting 7 (with a forecast for the wind to increase further - Heathrow recorded wind speeds of 25mph with gusts of 37 mph). The start was delayed by the difficulty launching the safety boat, as the wind had impeded the tide and there was not a lot of water, and by the usual tardiness of LCSC sailors; but eventually seven dinghies launched and a couple of intended sailors decided that the conditions were a bit too testing and withdrew at the last minute. Ed Hipkin and Deborah Ley in the Lark spectacularly capsized as they set off from the pontoon, the first of many capsizes.

The fleet shot off with a beat to No 6, off the Surrey bank, ran across to the gybe mark at No 5 and then ran down to No 1 (three times) and then a beat to No 4, a reach to gybe at No 3 and a run back to No 1 - six times). The Lasers established an early lead with Ed Hipkin in hot pursuit, closely followed by Gareth Llewellyn, John and Bill in the Vision. Johnny Lyell decided to sail his own race near the club house and after some time entertaining us with some stunning sailing decided that enough was enough and retired.

Val Nedyalkov established an early lead sailing brilliantly to windward and correctly returning on the Surrey Bank. He decided, however, to do an unnecessary fourth lap to No 6 and 5 instead of rounding No 4 and No 3 (apparently he had been contemplating Andy Murray's defeat in the Australian Tennis Open final and not enough contemplation of the course!). Clive Kitson and Simon Hills took over the lead and challenged each other for the remainder of the race but a couple of capsizes by Simon in the penultimate lap opened up the lead to Clive Kitson. Gareth Llewellyn, crewed by John Moore and Bill Berman managed to lose a jib shackle on the beat back to No 4. John went onto the bow to tie it back on, with the painter, and during this heroic action his nose was broken, blood everywhere. Nevertheless, they ended up fourth.

For the spectators it was a thrilling race, plenty of capsizes and some spectacular runs. When Claire Oscroft enquired why the Lark was not using its spinnaker on the runs it was pointed out that they were going so fast that the spinnaker would not have made the slightest difference (other than increasing the risk of a capsize).

Kerstin Exner felt that discretion was the better part of valour and decided not to take her Laser out, but joined Andre Gareh in the Safety Boat. Andre had decided to forgo racing and offer his services as a second safety boat skipper - wise man.

While Martin Dixon and Vickie King in the primary safety boat dutifully followed the fleet, their services were not required for any rescues; but they got some stunning shots of the dinghies in the meantime.

After two hours hard sailing the race officer took pity on the remaining sailors and shortened the course. The race was won by Clive Kitson, closely followed by Simon Hills; and a special prize was awarded to Ed Hipkin and Deborah Ley for persistence and the most capsizes in the whole race.

by Beverley A Lawrence Beech

1st - Clive Kitson - Ait
2nd - Simon Hills - Hangover 3
3rd - Val Nedyalkov - Bulgaria
4th - Gareth Llewellyn, John Moore, and Bill Berman - Vision
DNF - Ed Hipkin and Deborah Ley - Bob
Ret - Johnny Lyell - Zen

Race Officer: Beverley Lawrence Beech
Deputy Race Officer - Claire Oscroft
Safety Boatm - Martin Dixon and Vickie King
2nd Safety Boat - Andre Gareh and Kerstin Exner

Sunday 6th February 2011

The Dark Wind trophy was donated in 1953 by Jocelyn and Anthony Lousada senior past members who sailed International 14s. They awarded the trophy as a handicap race to be sailed early in the year, usually February, to encourage people out of winter hibernation onto the water. They would not have been disappointed. Ten entrants were met with a stiff South-Westerly averaging close to 20kn with gusts well above 30kn.

A conservative course was set of buoys No. 6, 5, and 1, but the gusts and waves encountered running up from No. 5 undid most on at least one occasion. Martin Dixon's pictures really say it all.

This was the first race for the newly adopted Vision class and they proved their worth; stable, solid boats that come up dry and also giving decent racing. All competitors who took part deserve congratulations but special mention to the sterling efforts of the safety boat team Martin Dixon and Guy Bessant in the club's new safety boat. Guy had to get into the water to assist with some of the rescues – dedication well beyond the call of duty.

Of the 4 Visions, 3 Lasers, 2 Enterprises and 1 Lark - none stayed upright. The winner was Simon Hills in a laser, followed by Clive Kitson (laser), and then Gareth (Rat) Llewellyn and Sophie Bark-Jones in a Vision.

by Peter Hallett

Photos by Martin Dixon


Sunday 31st January 2010

Sunny, cold, light westerly wind. What more can you ask for on a January day. The Dark Wind Trophy is a handicap race for Lasers and Enterprises, so a big turnout was to be expected judging from recent cup races. However, only seven boats took to the water, three Enterprises and four Lasers. Peter had set a course to No 8, and then a couple of times round No 5, No 4, No 3, and No 1, which meant a lot of tactical decisions where and when to cross the river.

At the start Hugh and Clive took off on the long beat to No 8 and left the rest of the fleet behind fairly quickly, with Liz and Alex, Gareth and Darren, and Kerstin following all close together. The wind was fairly light once the fleet was past Chiswick Pier and sometimes it was more the tide than the wind that moved the boats on. After rounding No 8 all the boats hugged the Surrey bank against the tide on the run back to No 5.

After Liz had fallen behind Gareth and Kerstin, she decided it was time to bring out her secret weapon, her brand new Enterprise spinnaker! Obviously a good decision, since she did manage to catch up with the two boats ahead, despite her crew Alex, who had never used a spinnaker before and wondered what all those ropes were for. Crossing the river to No 5 she managed to overtake Gareth. Crossing the river again back to No 4, Kerstin finally managed to pull away from the two Enterprises in a lucky puff of wind and to creep up behind the two leading Lasers Hugh and Clive, who were never more than one boat length from each other jostling for first position.

Another lap was completed fairly uneventfully except for Gareth discovering that his lovely Jester was leaking, so he unfortunately had to retire. On the last lap, a rowing eight decided to take a closer look at Clive and managed to run over his main sheet leaving the boats in a tangle. The ensuing mess took a while to sort out, which gave Hugh the chance to finally pull away from his rival. It also meant that Kerstin managed to overtake Clive, while he was still trying to disentangle himself from the rowers. Hugh won the race by three minutes, followed by Kerstin, who was by this time closely pursued again by Clive, who did his best to catch up after the rowing incident.

The prize was given by John Herbert, the once owner of the by now almost mythical Dark Wind (see 2008 article below). Thanks to Peter Hallett and Mark Pearson for running the race smoothly from the race box and to Gareth Wear and Kevin Seebaluck for manning the safety boat.

by Kerstin Exner

Photos by Kevin Seebaluck

Results 2010


Position Helm and Crew Boat Class
1st Hugh Kemlo TinTin Laser
2nd Kerstin Exner Blue Flame Laser
3rd Clive Kitson Illigitimus Laser
4th Liz St. Clair and Alex Scott-Tonge Guinness Enterprise
DNF Gareth LLewellyn and Darren Seeger Jester Enterprise
DNF Begonia Serrano and Jacques Picon Times Enterprise



Copyright © London Corinthian Sailing Club, 2011