Ranelagh Trophy6th April 2008
Ranelagh Sailing Club always gives a warm welcome to the Merlin fleet, and this Sunday it was exactly what was needed. After the morning’s snow a somewhat depleted fleet of 11 boats rigged up outside the club, and had lots of tea and biscuits whilst waiting for a bit more water to go sailing on.
By the start (a very leisurely 1.45pm) the breeze was blowing a good force 3-4 from the north , the perfect direction for a long beat up to Hammersmith Bridge with the tide, then a run back down to the club. With the tide underneath the fleet at the start the recall flag inevitably took a few casualties, but the fleet got away first time and proceeded to pick its way through the shifts up to a mark just beyond Fulham Football Club.
Chris Whitehouse and Ellie Bremer lead the fleet out of the blocks, but they were soon over taken by the ‘plastic fantastics’ of Duncan Salmon crewed by Ian Garwood, Alex Jackson and Chris Downham, with river rat Andy Harris crew by Liam and his new knee taking the lead at the windward mark.
The run against the tide spread the fleet out with the top bunch consisting of 5 boats, Phil Plumtree crewed by Lark lass Kirsty Phipps rounding hot on the heels of Chris and Ellie at the windward. The run proved typical of river sailing, balancing tucking into the bank out of the tide, with staying in decent pressure. The critical decision seemed to be at what point to cross the river from the Fulham side back to the club bank.
For the remainder of the hour and a half race the place-switching never seemed to stop amongst the top 4, that is until Andy Harris and Liam took a dip on the 3rd run and had to retire because apparently it was a tad chilling - fair enough! This left Alex and Duncan battling it out for the gun with Chris chasing them in 3rd, himself recovering from a near-miss wobble on a gybe.
After 5 laps of close racing Alex and Deepy took line honours, with Duncan and Ian in 2nd, Chris and Ellie in 3rd and Phil and Kirsty in 4th. With the road now disappearing under the murky waters of the Thames the sailors did a swift de-rigging and got into the club to warm up. Fortunately this year Duncan had parked well up the hill…
The club put on some reet tasty food and lots of heating, so everyone was soon back to normal body temperature. Nick Price, club commodore (who had been out in his vintage Merlin, Diabolo) presented the prizes. Deepy decided to sport a rather spiffing cricket jumper much to Alex’s dismay.
Thanks to Ranelagh for a lovely afternoon’s sail!
Report: Ellie Bremer
Photos: Robert Harris
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