Sunday 23rd July entered grey and damp with a light south westerly blowing straight as an arrow down river.
Eager team of vet Richard Newman (old school HSC) and new school jolly Alan welcomed us to a sparse gathering in the morn as many were either going round distillers in Scotland whilst weather bound, lurking at home or muttering ‘let them bake cake’! Margaret came to keep us in time and out into the handicap went The Master and Claude, in Comets, H.S.S. David in his Solo, Brian and Raf and Chris with me in Enterprises.
The start was tight as both experienced sailors were sent back as young gun Chris sped away inches from the line. As the race proceeded the skies darkened and the wind increased. Crews looked for rain wear and helms prepared to suffer. In it came from a gentle 2 to 3 up to top end 4 to 5 from the south west with rain to match.
Nervous glances were cast as the Solo gained, the Master and Claude retired and the lead reduced. But then it stopped lighter winds returned and the race finished right on the strike of one. Of such is real race management.
In the afternoon we were increased considerably, joined by no Merlins but six Enterprises; Chris/me, Sophie/Jane, Ian/Suzie, Stuart/Toby, Brian/Claude and Ellen with Raf. Really good racing and conditions with almost the perfect windward leeward course E to J with a steady F3 and a one tack run to J. One of the best sails of the season.
In the GP’s were Derek and all weather crew Mary and Keith with Shivini.
In the Handicap Class was Bim Bom Ben Topper, Roger Laser, David Solo and the Master Comet. It didn’t rain so the Master finished. Ben and Ellen were such a hot couple they both jumped in the river after!
Once again great race management with just about 1 hour 15 to 20 minutes and not all in together. We need you more than once a year Richard.
Nice licky tea with cake by Sonia and Alison but not from Claygate and the usual other wets and laffs as Brian mused on his sailing trip and the HSS held court. Good to see our new regulars showing up Raf, Shevini and Toby – well done we need you.
Good to see you all and miss you those not there- hope Brighton not too wet!