Messing About on the River...
“There's nothing––absolutely nothing––half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.”
Most Open meetings are similar formats - turn up at a small lake with a club house and launch area, 3 to 4 races and a prize giving. Then there is Trent Valley S.C. which is the only river sailing event on the Midlands Laser circuit. For spectators it is just the best! The fleet pass within inches of you, the start is the width of the river so no room for error, and then throw in a few barges and pleasure boats and there is alot to get excited about. Even getting there is an adventure - 2 railway crossings, past the farm, over a humpback bridge, through the field of cows and sheep to a club in the most unlikely place imaginable! I love it.
On Sunday the Lasers made their annual pilgrimage to the river with John, Jennifer and Megan representing Bartley and George a an honorary Bartley Laser as he has been thrashing us all season on his Tuesday evening ventures to Bartley from Earlswood. With the wind nice and strong by the club house the Race Officer set a course up the river with 3 loops at the extremity which unfortunately had no wind at all! 40 minutes later one competitior had had enough and returned, a further 20 minutes and the leader appeared. After 1 hr 40mins Joe Scurah sailed back up the course to see if Megan was still alive or had found the river's source. Luckily she was happily sunbathing in the doldrums but the promise of 2 races before lunch had to be abandoned and the full ploughmans was attacked with gusto whilst the race officials adjusted the course to shorten the upriver leg and keep the racing out of the wind shaddow.
Races 2 and 3 were alot more like it - lots of wind, random gusts and close racing. For the spectators it was like watching motor racing at a chicane, the boats went screaming to a buoy but there was a severe wind shift just before it that caught plenty out! Joe Scurah in the lead nearly put his boom through a pleasureboat window as he tried to control a death roll, Local legend James Dalby tipped it in to windward and dredged the Trent to give him a nice river weed burgee, and George Faraday tipped it in right on the mark. The spectators were having a blast!
So how did the Bartley sailors get on? Well John came 2nd, George came 3rd, Megan came 8th, and Jennifer was 2nd Radial :) Joe Scurah from Carsington won the event (and the gentlemans award for bringing Megan back from her trip to Burton)
I guess you either love or hate river sailing, all I can say is that it is great fun for the spectators.
Next Midland circuit event is Trimpley this weekend followed by Barnt Green the week after - lets keep the Bartley numbers up at the front! (I hope to be back in the saddle for Shustoke if my back gets fixed in time)
Megan trying to catch George after his capsize
Jennifer speeds downwind
Starboard! John tries to get on the right side of Megan...