Forecast for this day was for strong wind and rain but, though there was apprehension by the few, it was sailable. With the massed years of experience of our Race Team of Keith and Peter what could possibly go wrong. The wind from the SSW was mainly about 12 to 15 mph but there were some plus 20 gusts especially off the culvert and barges on the Middlesex bank, up river and down river opposite the Church Land. Setting an example our sailing secretary rigged (Solo) and so did Brian with the smaller sail (Laser) and me with apprentice Connie (Enterprise). We started just as a very large barge came through and I got the jump on its windward side. Racing was close but Brian fell back as he was under powered, except in the gusts. In the windward legs the Enterprise held off the Solo but down wind the Solo came back and on about the third lap it took a better line on the Middlesex bank, shooting away to take the lead. Unfortunately, as David gybed at the I mark one of those nasty gusts hit and he was over. Seeing the circumstance our gybe was wider and cautious so we stayed up-right and to Connie’s credit she stayed calm. After a short respite David recovered and raced on, we nearly capsized off the barges when a gust came and a jib sheet was still cleated in. Keith wisely shortened the race by about 15 minutes. But all four of us agreed it was terrific sailing and unexpected given the forecast and conditions.
After consultation our wise Timekeepers, Michaela and Maureen emerged and we all had tea (said Alice), well beer actually from those lovely Rebellion mini pins.
The afternoon was just as windy with, in the GP fleet, Derek and svelte stand in crew Kevin – and ‘drum roll’…. Graham with Lucy in their new boat on it’s maiden voyage. In the Enterprises were Ian with Jane and me with Alexandra, having a good tacking battle. Brian and Ben Lasered and Stuart with Sophie represented the Merlin fleet. All in all a cracking days sailing when many other sports were cancelled or re-routed.
Next week the ‘Long Distance Race’ on Sunday after the morning handicap. Hopefully see you then.