Forecast strong winds from the north west came to pass but as is usual hardly any wind up river of the club due to trees and buildings. Different story off Bell Hill, which I call the graveyard and down through the passage past Garricks Eyot. Very watchful and considerate race team of Philip Dalby and the Aviator. Only two takers due to the later Long Distance Race. Out ventured Brian in his Laser with reduced rig and me with Michaela in the Enterprise. Brian missed the start as he was taking in the scene down river. It was a beat in about three mph of wind to upriver mark. Then opposite the graveyard the hooligan struck. I took the Middlesex bank on a breath sapping run, bad move! The I mark loomed but we kept going totally funking the gybe. Eventually we had to just get back as we were too close in to tack round. Brian then caught up. The following two times we ran down hugging the island bank just clear enough of the hooligan. There were lots of rowers near our mark and they proved Brian’s undoing as he sashayed down in the middle to be met with a barrier of young rowers, to avoid them he did the right thing and capsized. Wonderful sail we said afterwards and we were very sorry for Brian. He was advised as to the tight nature of his wet suit!
Another tradition of HSC was smashed as we had the Long Distance Race on a Sunday. A ‘K’ mark was placed down river near the bridge and the upriver mark brought down. Two Enterprises started Ian and Sophie and me with Michaela. Ian getting a good jump at the start and building a lead. The GP’s had an excellent turn out with Derek and Keith (wow the fair Mary replaced yet again talk about beauty and the beast), Kevin and Maddie, John with Sue, Graham and Lucy and James with Amelia in a training boat. James and Amelia were shabbily served as the bung had been removed and they gradually and unknowingly filled up. If anyone borrowed it please replace and feel sufficiently guilty. Accolades to these latter two boats as they stayed up in difficult conditions.
Two Solo’s out Nigel and David who had a good battle until David visited some trees. Three Merlins: John and Deidre, Hywell with the Mighty Flynn and Richard with undergrad Lucy Cooper.
The first part of the race was relatively benign but then a very heavy rain squall brought the hooligan back with vengeance. We were on a beat but those coming down river had an exciting time. The rain was so heavy it was difficult to see. The Merlins dominated with their spinnakers and overtook all the fleet.
Kevin with the help of Alan and others were cooking a BBQ but this suffered somewhat from the downpour so the oven was used until it sparked again. It was very good with loads of healthy too. Sterling time by Tim and Sonya and really good safety cover by water borne flyer who even had a coat on.
Much better way to have the Long Distance in my opinion and thanks to my crew for a sterling performance.
Sorry if I missed anyone. Phill