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RNLI Pennant Pursuit


Past event:   RNLI Pursuit Race Hilliard Tankard  
Sun 10th June 2012  Start: 17:40     High water: 19:43  Sunset: 21:17

RNLI Pennant Pursuit Race

Hilliard Tankard and RNLI Pennant Pursuit Race 27th June 2010

The pessimists amongst us had forecast that no-one would turn up for this race as they would all be watching the England/Germany football match. Contrary to this view, six determined sailors turned up. Sunday was hot and the wind was temperamental, so there was much discussion about the course. Having settled (we thought) for No 3 and No 1 buoys (the wind was easterly) by the time the safety boat had laid No 3, the wind changed to a southerly, Force 2-3, so the Race Officer, Trudy Netherwood, changed the course and No 3 became No 8 and we used the other buoy opposite Chiswick Reach as No 6.

The Hilliard Trophy is a pursuit race with the Enterprises starting first. Robin Johnson and Beverley Beech got off to a flying start, well ahead of the rest of the fleet, only to discover that they had misread the flags and were over the line. By the time they had returned and crossed the line again they were four minutes behind the rest of the fleet.

The first dinghy, an Enterprise helmed by Jacques Picon and Carien Du Plooy for some reason sailed right past No 8 but the leading Laser, Johnny Lyell, rounded No 8 to port but was, incorrectly, persuaded by Kevin Seebaluck that he needed to round it to starboard. As they finished their rounding and were heading down to No 6, Robin and Beverley pointed out that they should have rounded to port, so they rounded the buoy yet again. By the time they had corrected the muddle Robin and Beverley were within striking distance. On the run down to No 6 the lead changed frequently, the wind was stronger in the middle of the river, but the tide was less near the banks. As the race progressed Johnny Lyell established a lead and by the fifth and final lap both Kevin, Robin, and Beverley were hot on his heels. It was in this lap that Kevin clearly decided to add a little more excitement by capsizing (either that or he was too hot in his wet suit) but he regained the advantage by the time they rounded the buoy. Johnny was in the lead, followed by Kevin and then Robin and Beverley with Jacques and Carien bringing up the rear.

Both John and Kevin reached across the river, whereas Robin and Beverley tacked immediately onto a making tack and shot into the lead. In a pursuit race the finishing line can change and as this race was to be run over a fixed number of minutes, Trudy and her deputy climbed into the Safety Boat and hovered around watching the fleet. After 100 minutes the claxon declared the finish, and the dinghies' positions at that time were logged as their final position.

Having won the race, Robin put the dinghy into the wind and Beverley (our esteemed President!) jumped overboard, much to the surprise of the Safety Boat driver and his crew. After a short swim Beverley climbed back on board and then Robin jumped in. Very refreshing. Afterwards, before presenting the cup and pennant, our Vice Commodore, Andre Gareh, pointed out that all entrants to this race were required to contribute to the RNLI, otherwise their entry would be ignored. There was a sudden rush of contributions to the RNLI collection boat at the bar.


Position Helm and Crew Boat
1st Robin Johnson and Beverley Beech Maveric
2nd Kevin Seebaluck Custard
3rd Johnny Lyell Breezin
4th Jacques Picon and Carien Du Plooy Telegraph

Safety Boat driver: Guy Bessant
Race Officer: Trudy Netherwood
Assistant Race Officer: Graeme Findlay

by Beverley A Lawrence Beech


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