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Sailing Reports May Bank Holiday Weekend

Friday 2 May - Saunders Series 1 (race postponed)

Last Friday evening saw the inauguration of a Friday night dinghy sailing series with the aim of getting the club boats out, and giving club members some exercise before a weekend of, well, sailing.

Thus, all six Bosuns and the Laser Stratos, were launched onto the glittering and tranquil Thames at 7 pm. The wind was light, only a force 1-2, from the South/South East, but it was enough to keep the boats sailing against the flooding tide. Such light winds also provided the sailors with a refresher on keeping out of the tides and how to harness the light wind conditions. Dudley and Hendrik kept a watchful presence over us, for which we are grateful.

As EYC is as much about socialising as it is about sailing, once the boats had been recovered, washed down and put away, the bar was opened. This allowed members a chance to relax and appreciate the sunset over the London skyline - another splendid Erith sunset.

Thanks should go to Sara Taylor, who came up with the idea of the club using the club boats. Each boat costs five pounds to take out, and this money goes towards any repairs and equipment required to bring them up to standard. The Bosun Open is on Sunday 8 June is the event that we are all aiming for.

We look forward to even greater numbers of fellow sailors for the next Friday sailing evening. Check the Website for dates.

Saturday 3 May - Social Evening

Saturday saw much activity as people prepared for a weekend of shore-based work, day excursions, and weekend sailing to the Medway. The weather was fantastic for sailing, as experienced by TopCat (Dart 16) and Red Queen (Mirror), which sailed to Barking Creek for lunch (a spinnaker run most of the way there), and by Act and Loucha, who sailed to the Medway.

However, that evening the Social Secretary organised a quiz in two parts. Firstly was the Call My Bluff with nautical terms, followed by a nautically themed picture and anagram. Do you know what a Bumboo is? Or even a Beakshead? If not, then you should have been there to find out! The quiz was won by the C-Harpists (Mick and Linda), who saw through the bluff, but were a little puzzled by the Sponge Bob Square Pants reference…!

The Social Secretary, as host, took advantage of the occasion to polish his acting skills ready for the next pantomime by acting out some of the definitions for benefit of the bemused attendees. Food was provided by Eve, and in her absence we thanked her very much. A big thank you must go to Darren and Hellen for their organisation.


Sunday 4 May - Brunton Cup

Race Officer: H. Feddersen (with assistance from Baz Elms and Robert Hall)
Course: Club ship start/finish, and a sausage course outside the trots to the end mooring buoy (downriver) and then down to the end mooring buoy (up river).
Wind: South, South East, force 1-2, g 3 (variable)

For those who had packed bags and left home for the weekend, the morning at EYC started early - mainly because of two vociferous and persistent wrens that used the yachts as perches whilst holding a loud, long-distant conversation. A leisurely breakfast was followed by an equally leisurely rigging of dinghies.

The race began at 12pm with four Bosuns, a GP14, Mirror, Xenon and Hamble Star on the start line (or near it). The wind conditions made the course a challenging one for the sailors who had to find the balance between a favourable tack and getting into the tide too much. However, the down wind leg was excellent for those who deployed spinnakers - with Richard Sheridan and Shane Butcher in the forefront. For Eve and Jonathan in the Xenon it was their first experience of raising the asymmetric spinnaker, and they seemed to have enjoyed it immensely, keeping close to Richard in the Bosun for much of the race.

Other tustles went on further down the fleet - Bosun 2212 (Adrian & Sara) continued to cross tack with the Mirror, and after they made headway, a similar situation arose with the Mirror and GP14 (helmed by Doug Souter). Bosun 2333 (John Haile & crew) just pipped Bosun 2331 (Darren) to the finish line, but Darren claims that a few more seconds would have meant he beat Jon!

Once the boats were away, with the sun well over the yard-arm, happy sailors retired to the bar to quench their thirst. We would like to thank Henderik, Baz and Robert for race officer duties, and Rachel for rescue boat. Also, for those of us brazen enough to shout at Emma (Richard), who happened to be moored near the downwind mark, thank you for the beer!


Monday 5 May - Saunders 1 (replacing day two of Brunton)

Race Officer: Baz Elms
Course: Club ship start/finish, and a triangle course to the end mooring buoy (downriver), across to the Essex shore, and then down to the Erith causeway buoy (up river). Followed by a sausage, missing out the mark on the Essex shore.
Wind: South, South East, force 2-3, later gusting 4 (variable)

Bank holiday Monday followed a similar start to Sunday - the same noisy wrens, the same glorious sun and leisurely breakfast, but no wind. Happily the wind picked up by 12.30 proving all the weather soothsayers correct in their predictions.

The course was deceptive long, with a long up upwind beat to the windward mark - especially for single-handed boats. However, the good wind meant that we had some very good spinnaker runs. The two Xenons made good use of the wind looking spectacular, until sadly Eve and Jonathan went for a long swim and had to retire.

The Xenon (Richard & Shane) and Snipe (Peter & Aaron) fought their way around the course finishing within a minute of each other, and shows great credit to the active members of the youth section. The tide again proved a challenge, especially when crossing it to the Essex shore, and had to be compensated for. For those sailing dinghies with a pram-bow, there were the additional flotsam and jetsam to avoid, as it has a habit of getting stuck and slowing the boat down! In all, it was a good afternoon's racing. Hopefully future racing will be as well attended and supported by EYC members.

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