Topic : Ranelagh Downriver

Hi Everyone,
So what's the Ranelagh Downriver race all about?
My old boat (Once Bitten) is in need of her first dip in years, and we (my Father in law and I) were looking at Ranelagh as it's close and friendly, but "under the bridges" sounds a bit scary for a first outing. 
We've got a shiny new mast (only twice mended) and some shiny new sails (one careful owner), it would be a shame to scrunch them into some architecture on our first outing. Should we chance it, or wait until the next river event?
Cheers - Andrew

Posted: 14/04/2015 21:24:42
By: Andrew Flowerchild
Hi Andrew,
It is  definitely a good event for the older boats, Ranelagh have been running this for years and will have carefully worked out the tides so we can all get under the bridges - even the river specialists with their taller rigs. They sometimes delay the start time a litte to "fine tune" things so we have the tide with us both ways (or near enough). You get to see an interesting perspetive on London too - everyone should do this at least once I think!

Posted: 15/04/2015 08:54:43
By: DaveC

Hi Andrew

The river's a great leveller for older boats. Air draft isn't an issue on the bridged so they aren't an issue other than taking advantages of the pressure, shifts and wind bends around them, if any arches are closed to navigation it will be made very clear in the briefing.
 A few photos from the last down river open can be found here if it whets your appetite[email protected]/sets/72157645022036716 the alternative perspective it gives on London is also fantastic if the concentration wanders away from the racing...

It's definitely a friendly club so you'd be given a warm welcome! 


Posted: 15/04/2015 11:15:06
By: Mark
Hi everyone,
Details for Saturday 26th April - Ranelagh Thames Series Open - Downriver
Start 14.00
Entry fee £10
This includes bacon rolls and tea or coffee for two, race fee, full hot meal for two after racing.
It is a downriver race, we usually go under about 9 bridges on the way down, turn around near Battersea Power Station, and then back under the same nine bridges.  Mast clearance isn't a particular issue.  The sailing club are extremely experienced at judging when we can get under Putney Bridge (bridge number one) which is the lowest.
It does get quite shallow as we sail at the bottom of the tide, best strategy is to follow someone until back through Putney Bridge and then overtake right at the end - just ask Dave Croft who very nearly executed this to perfection last year.
Ranelagh Sailing Club absolutely loves welcoming merlin sailors, hence the non-profit making entry fee, please do come and join us.
Everyone loves a downriver race.
Any questions at all - please do give me a buzz.
Please check your route planning to get to Putney Embankment - I have a hunch Hammersmith flyover may be closed next weekend so avoid the Hammersmith area as best you can.  The South Circular or A3 may be good options.

Posted: 15/04/2015 17:05:39
By: Frances Gifford
A race like no other Andrew, give it a try!  Once Bitten needs a dip, there is quite a bit about her in the new Merlin book including a set of lines.  The usual racing rules are suspended in the immediate vicinity of the bridge piers and arches as there is a strong tidal flow through so you line up well in advance, and the priority is safety and avoiding accidents to gunwales and masts.  I have previously sailed a couple of the full Tideway races which went through all the bridges to have lunch on the surprisingly pleasant beach below the Tower of London and then start off the bow of HMS Belfast on the way back - going that distance the clearance at Putney Bridge for the tail of the fleet (me) was a bit marginal and we had to heel the boat to get through.  Going half the distance will not be an issue though.  I may even get there myself in Heaven Sent depending on how the 1st outing at Banbury this weekend goes.

Posted: 16/04/2015 09:31:11
By: Andrew Mills
Have just posted two key documents on our website ( for the Merlin Downriver Open. 

First is the risk assessment, obviously written from the organiser’s view but it gives a good insight into the key issues and dangers. The second is a VERY basic summary of navigation rules on the Thames. You should have read this at least once.

Wind forecast looks very good: a run down to Battersea and a 5-mile beat back to Putney.

Posted: 21/04/2015 01:55:09
By: Thomas Stolper
We are looking forward to sailing through London on SUNDAY. Fran mentioned Saturday in her post but our fixture list and Ranelagh Sailing Club's refer to SUNDAY April 26th!!

Posted: 21/04/2015 13:32:27
By: Pat Blake
Thanks Pat.
Apologies if I caused any confusion.
SUNDAY 26th April.
14.00 hours.
Looking forward to seeing everyone.

Posted: 21/04/2015 16:58:33
By: Frances Gifford
The Tideway races are certainly unforgettable - the only time I've ever sailed under an Underground train!

Posted: 23/04/2015 06:27:51
By: PatJ
Interesting weather forecast! 

Posted: 23/04/2015 09:06:16
By: DaveC
Yes Dave I looked at XC last night and thought it was going to be Northerly and scary windy, but now it seems it will Southerly and light! I don't much like the look of the rain.
It will be what it will be - as usual.
I like surprises, I think.

Posted: 23/04/2015 10:17:38
By: Pat Blake
Hi Pat, I expect it will all change again, probably several times before Sunday!

Posted: 23/04/2015 11:27:58
By: DaveC
Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.  Transport for London just emailed me to let me know the Hammersmith Flyover will not be closed this weekend, so hopefully that will help, but still leave lots of time for the bacon rolls.
The forecast is definitely changing a lot, and currently looks set to change mid-race, which could be fun too.
There's no downside to coming along to Ranelagh for the start of the Thames Series!

Posted: 24/04/2015 11:04:15
By: Frances Gifford
Remember it's the marathon this weekend. Not sure it's that relevant to Putney but worth keeping in mind... 

Posted: 24/04/2015 21:10:03
By: Dave Reid
Thanks for that Dave,  BTDT.  It was Tower Bridge at the halfway point as I recall & Victoria Embankment at the point where it's just mind over matter (legs) and it is a fair way east of Putney.  Will keep everyone well away from the racing area I hope.  Have a good one! 

Posted: 24/04/2015 22:27:25
By: Andrew Mills

Ranelagh Downriver Start.

 Heading towards Putney Bridge.

Posted: 28/04/2015 07:46:19
By: Jon
What happened ?

Posted: 30/04/2015 15:13:57
Good question.  I've had slightly more work than ideal this week, but have been meaning to get hold of some results and write a report.  Am at the club this evening so will get hold of them then.  Report should be up tomorrow.
22 boats.
In short - we had a beat downriver to a buoy just short of Battersea Bridge and a run home.  Decent breeze most of the time, but not for the end of the race when it went very light and patchy.
Another photo finish after two hours of racing.
I, crewed by Alex Warren, crept across two seconds ahead of Dave and Caroline Croft, who were followed across by Duncan and Harriet salmon who had closed the gap on us substantially.
Shepherds pie with minted peas for lunch.
Full report tomorrow.

Posted: 30/04/2015 15:38:17
By: Frances Gifford


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