Results :: Ranelagh S.C. Downriver Race Thames Series

26/04/2015 26/04/2015

Write-up

The popular Thames Series for Merlin Rockets of all ages began at the end of April with the annual downriver race at Putney. 22 boats arrived and took part in the pre-start battle against the tide to stay up river of the start line, before the bell sounded. Pat Blake and Alex Jackson (Why Ask) were bravest and started in the fastest flowing part of the river, but David and Caroline Croft (Panatella) were pretty close, as were Frances Gifford and Alex Warren (Hot Totty). So it was that these three pulled ahead for the long beat, under the various road and railway bridges to Battersea, with David and Caroline leading the charge, and rounding the only mark of the race first.

At this point there was still some ebb tide running, but a decent breeze blowing allowing Panatella to scoot into the shallower water on the south side of the river. Hot Totty followed reasonably close behind, and with the tidal effect, closed up to have a nip and tuck race all the way back to Putney. Why Ask, chose the other bank and reported finding spots shallower than the amount of plate and possibly rudder than they had protruding.

The chasing pack were led by Duncan and Harriet Salmon, along with Tim and Bug Harridge and Alan Broadbent and Russell Hall. In true river style, as the leaders approached Putney Bridge, the wind started to die, but with the flood tide now running progress was still being made, albeit slow. The chasing pack closed the gap, and the race officer, Margaret Stokes realised that for the second year running she was in for a photo finish and adjusted her spectacles accordingly. (That might not technically be true).

And in a direct repeat of last year, after two hours of racing, two seconds separated the first two boats, with Frances Gifford and Alex Warren taking the win, from the Crofts with Duncan and Harriet Salmon sneaking through Pat and Alex into third. Shepherds Pie and minted peas followed, along with drinks from London's cheapest bar.

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