David Osborne, Rear Commodore (Sailing) reports:
This report attempts to distil some of the main features of the weekend, but inevitably can’t capture everything, on and off the water, from a multi-faceted event. The selection of photos speaks louder than words. But here goes….
The pictures, and results, can be found HERE.
The conditions consisted of more of the recently-prevailing NE/ENE winds, which limited the options for course setting. The strength was building through the weekend and threatened abandonment conditions on Monday (more about that below).
There were entrants in all the main classes other than Dragons (the weekend fell between two big Dragon regattas). The format consisted of Committee Boat starts for the Multihulls and large racing boats (JANE, Andy and Sally Wise), line starts and regular courses for most of the keelboats and the dinghies (Alison and Racebox team up top plus Jon Sturmer and Terry Wilmot on the water covering safety and mark laying for the dinghies) and windward/leeward courses from another Committee Boat for the Elites (HAVANA PAPA, Russ Cashel, with Clifton and Jack Warry on mark-laying). The absence of Dragons, also allocated windward/leeward courses in the programme, meant that at a late stage it was possible to amend the NoR and SIs so that the RBODs could have windward/leeward races together with the Elites on Sunday.
There were two full days of racing as scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, but with course shortening for the second windward/leeward race for Elites and RBODs on Sunday due to building conditions (to the chagrin of some but the relief of others).
The appetite for racing on Monday was muted, possibly due to the forecast. Many boats elected not to race, and dinghy racing was abandoned. The Multihulls did go out but showed collective wisdom in deciding not to race once they saw the actual conditions downriver. In the end, the only racing which took place on Monday was from the RBODs with three boats (RED JACKET, PHALAROPE and WHITE ROSE) competing for the President’s Cup in a short course up to Cliff/Canewden with a windward start downriver to Fairway No. 5 into (very) lumpy wind against tide.
That’s not to overlook the Predicted Log on Monday, the only but distinguished entrant being FOO (Peter and Paula Howard), with the Club’s oldest Member, 100 year old Honorary Life Member Albert Howard DFC on board (the boat’s name being Albert’s wartime RAF nickname).
Once the fleets were back on Saturday, the Concours D’Elegance judging took place from the ALICE BROOKS, with thanks to Tim and Cathy Herring and James Young for assisting with the judging and not least providing the perfect means of conveyance
Off the water, the River Room balcony, the Sun Deck and the Bar were full after racing before the two main social events: the Regatta Supper on Saturday and the Barbecue on Sunday. The food at each was superb.
The Regatta finished around lunchtime on Monday with Prizegiving in the Sun Lounge – with the sun shining by then.
Thanks are due to the large volunteer race management team, too numerous to mention individually by name, but without whom it would not have happened. Particular thanks to those who gave up not just time but also the opportunity to take part as competitors. Thanks to the catering and serving staff who coped well despite having had a large external wedding on Friday.
Thanks also to Rannoch Adventure for kindly sponsoring once again. Their sponsorship meant that we were able to provide cut crystal glassware for winners, runners-up and third places – and they also generously donated prizes for the Dinghies.
Finally, there were some unexpected but welcome visitors. The Bart’s & The London SC made an impromptu and quick visit on Saturday. Whilst not taking part in the Regatta, they clearly had a great time doing their thing in the water, on and off the pontoon and in the bar – always good to see them.
Another unexpected visitor on Saturday who took a more direct interest in the Regatta itself was a seal which popped up on the Committee Boat start line to watch the Elites bearing down under spinnaker on the leeward leg before ducking underwater to reappear behind the leeward mark to keep a watchful eye on them rounding.
Great times indeed!