Sail Chat: 19.12.2021

Gloomy, overcast day with, at first, a slight north easterly and very chilly. Veterans Derek and Keith set a sensible short course I downstream and an E upstream for all, although ‘all’ was not very many. 
Stalwarts, Hywell and George in Comets and Ian with a rather brown Sophie, back from big boats and sun to small boats and cold, and me with Paul, who definitely does not feel the temperature, in Enterprises.
We all started together downstream, all arriving at the windward mark in a bunch but with Clea just in the lead. The breeze then backed and became more from the north, giving a broad reach to the leeward mark with all boats pretty much together. On the second lap the Enterprises got away a bit and on the reach Egalite harried and passed Clea to leeward claimed the mark easily and then just sailed away. I blame the weight situation-too many pies and beer. In the latter half of the race the wind shifted back more to the east and came up, giving a nice beat down river.
The Comets had a really close contest for all the race, which shows how suited they are to the river, with Hywell, cheekily getting it on the line. It was fun and I really enjoyed it but winter had truly arrived for our last race of the Frostbite 2021.
We returned to a cheery but rather draughty club with Dasher, in silver antlers, and Prancer in a more authentic style, they proceeded to serve us superbly cooked sausages and other delicacies, including sun dried tomatoes, very cosmopolitan. Ben served up Roasted Nuts and the punch did a roaring trade. The Commodore, to applause, made a low key introduction and away we went. 
Then Hillary, also multi tasking up with Sue in the time box, struck up a gentle melody on the keyboard and Mack (what!) gave a classy solo to get things moving. Then we all joined in and the standard went down a notch, maybe because Rob was not there.  But definitely less raucous than some other years and as the Commodore noted even the Aviator was in voice, or was he miming?
One to go on Boxing Day (hopefully) to end a difficult and trying year. But I think HSC did the very best under the circumstances, so it would be great to go out in style. It would be remiss of me not to mention some of our younger members and perhaps older ones too who are suffering the dreaded. May you mend quickly and be back with us soon you are the future of Hampton Sailing Club.
Seasons Greetings. Phill.

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