The wonderful smell of bacon butties (courtesy of Deirdre and Ali) greeted us as we arrived for registration for our 2017 GP Open. The clouds looked a bit ominous and the wind was fairly lively, blowing initially directly from the South, moving to a more South Westerly as the day progressed.
After a short postponement, to allow for final ‘tweaking’, the first race lined up for an upstream reach to E then back down to I, for an optimistic 11 laps as determined by our DO Rob Heath (it would have been 10 – but apparently we don’t have any zeros in the timekeepers box!). With seven Hampton GP’s and one visitor participating on the start line, they all got away to a clean start, despite the disruptive efforts of a junior rowing eight having to reverse away from our start line!
All boats were jockeying for position, and the first few laps saw Richard & Maddie and John H & Claude vying for the lead, but the solitary pink spinnaker of our visitor Richard Ham with Jack Hardie crewing, was ever present in the lead on the downwind stretch, although Phill crewed by Ra were always in contention and the race ended in an extremely close finish, with first place going to Richard Ham & Jack by a nose from Phil & Ra. (see photo). One more gust Phill and you might have sneaked through! Richard and Maddie took third place.
After a superb lunch, it was back on the water for all but one boat, same course, but more of a SW wind now. In this race a head-on incident looked on the cards, but was avoided at the last second as Kraken and Fair Dinkum almost touched bows, but tacked away from each other in the nick of time, to the sound of a crescendo of ooohs & aaaghs from the line of spectators on the balcony – all adding to the entertainment. Despite valiant efforts by several of the Hampton boats to be in contention, the second race was won by our visitor, with Red Rampage second and Fair Dinkum third.
In the final race, Richard Ham was over the line at the start and had to return, which left the rest of the fleet fighting it out for the lead. Richard & Maddie took the advantage and held onto their lead for most of the race, despite being hotly chased by Richard Ham & Jack. The battle for third place was being fought by John & Sue against Derek & Mary & John & Claude. Their tussle was not helped by the arrival of The Southern Bellepleasure boat, which decided to plough on through regardless – leaving clouds of diesel smoke as her engines went into reverse as she tried to weave around several of the contending GP’s criss-crossing the river.
The day was rounded off with a famous Hampton afternoon tea, & presentation of glassware and trophies to the winning three helms and crews.The overall winner in first place from Tollesbury, was Richard Ham crewed by Jack Hardie in The White One; 2nd place went to Richard Page & Maddie Anderson in Red Rampage; 3rd place to John Hollands & Sue Morley in Kraken. In 4th place was John Heath & Claude Wheeler in Fair Dinkum; in 5th was Derek & Mary May in Takitimu; in 6th was Phillip Chambers & Alexandra Parker in Had2bee; in 7th was Trevor Phillips crewed by Amelia/Colin Goodwin in Gemini; in 8th was Keith McArthur & Steve Goulter in In The Red.
Huge thanks goes to all those who helped with racing & safety duties, timekeeping, catering, bar and general assistance for making it a very successful and enjoyable day.
Photo gallery now available.