Spring Points 2
Saturday April 26 2008
Thanks to Catherine O’Sullivan’s email, pointing out that we were expecting glorious weather on Saturday, 12 dinghies took to the water with a number of new faces out on the river. Johnny Lyel and Toby Saggers took out Lasers, Matt Thomas crewed in an Enterprise and Graeme Smith was roped in for a dinghy duty on his first day out. The southerly wind, SSW force 4, clipping across the river was a tempting prospect for new and old members, and the racing did not disappoint. With the course initially set round to eight to give us a good beat, the fleet merrily jostled around the bend to experience some fine racing in a wind that had by now tempered to a force 3.
Clive Kitson and Simon Hills in the Lasers had set the pace, and for the next hour and a half, they harried, jostled, and luffed each other, exchanging the lead and engaging in what was effectively very close match racing. At the end, though, as the boats approached the line on a wind that was fading to zephyrs, Clive responded to a luff from Simon, darted in out of the tide and sailed to victory, his opponent struggling to find wind.
Meanwhile back with the Enterprises, Chris and Jeremy were having a match race of their own with frequent changes of position. The tide was light and the river current was relatively strong so it paid to look for the zephyrs in mid-stream. Richard Roberts and Beverley Beech managed to catch the main sheet around the back of the tiller (due to forgetting to put in the pin). Fortunately for them they managed to avoid any sudden gusts on the run while fiddling around trying to get the pin back in, but it cost them some distance as they sailed out into the tide during the procedure. On the last lap Chris, despite being the inside boat at no. 4, managed to lose all steerage and could only watch as Jeremy sail away past no.3 and up to the Old Ship. Jeremy, however stayed inshore out of the tide (and wind) enabled Chris, who chased the wind in mid-stream to catch up, but not quite enough, Jeremy was ahead by 1 second at the finish and an apparently easy victory.
Racing on the river at, not quite its best, with a southerly wind making conditions very tricky, keeping the Safety Boat with Charles Frater, Gareth Llwewllyn and Graeme Smith busy hovering over those who capsized, but certainly most fascinating, and, on this bright sunny late afternoon, most scenic.
Race Officer: Christelle Escoffier-Czaja, Angela Boyhan and Graeme Smith
Safety Boat: Charles Frater, Gareth Llwewllyn and Graeme Smith