Sunny, sharp day with a benign WSW wind for a start anyway!
Our fleet dominated with Ellen/Annabel, Chris/ Timmy, Jane/ Michaela, me/Ra and Stuart Jenkins sailing solo in his Enterprise. Also sailing Richard with James in a Merlin and David Solo-ing.
The Commodore set an appropriate course E to I which was where the wind was. Whilst the start appeared to favour a starboard tack from the Middlesex side this proved not to be the case. The Merlin flew off the line near the Surrey bank, closely followed by the Solo and Chris/Timmy; the rest sort of floundered a bit never to really recover. The forecast then came good with a few ugly gusts which veered and backed hitting a good 15mph and causing a few wobbles and main sail flaps. This sadly caused our lone Enterpriser to retire and consider.
The youth, with athletic crewing, made the most of this flurry and consolidated their lead to lose to the Solo by two seconds with the leading Merlin coming in third on handicap.
This was followed by much seasonal fare including the limb of a Reindeer. The Flags were much in evidence in the kitchen and Malky was in the bar counting bottles. We sang happy birthday in expectation for some and the Commodore presented the RNLI Trophy to the Hon Sailing Secretary OTP who responded by promising to put it on his wall.
Our celebrations were mixed with sadness as this was our last sail of 2016.