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RNLI May Merrie Race Report - 2012

posted 7 May 2012, 22:00 by Graham Morley   [ updated 8 May 2012, 23:50 ]
For the first time for many years the Thames actually has a fair amount of water in, and the stream was the dominant factor in Minima Yacht Club’s 2012 RNLI May Merrie Race.
For a start the club decided conditions in the narrower channels around the island in question – the Ravens Ait islet in Surbiton reach -- meant that this year it should be a ‘near the island’ race, with a circuit round buoys in the wide reach just downriver.
And while it was not strong enough to give anyone real problems making their way upstream it was certainly the major factor in tactics, particularly when the southerly wind running with the flow dropped momentarily, which it did from time to time as the race went on.
The stream is naturally stronger in the middle of the river but so was the wind, so the helms beating up against both had to weigh the benefit of the extra wind against the cost of the extra current in deciding how far out to venture. In different sections of the course the balance shifted. In the first section of the beat, near the club house, then the clear wind made the centre of the channel worthwhile. Nearer the Ait, where the river curves, it was worth sticking to the inside Middlesex bank. And when the wind dropped away the only place to be was anywhere but out in the channel.
The front-running Merlin Rockets’ ability to point higher put them at a considerable advantage to the Enterprises which this year were strictly also-rans, but the back markers had some compensation when the sun came out for the last couple of laps. The stream’s treadmill stretched the field out, so that winner Martin Hunter nipped round in 45 minutes, to the embarrassment of the organisers, however the lowlier Ents took twice as long, and what felt like about a million tacks.
Kingston’s Mayor was unable to attend the prize giving, greatly disappointing Mr Hunter, who revealed that he had only come to the event in the hope of meeting Boris. Better luck next time.
Results (all Merlin Rockets):
  1. Martin Hunter, Kasha Adamusinska, Thames Yacht Club
  2. Ben Marshall, Matt Allen, Minima
  3. Mike Stephens, Julie, Tamesis Club.

by Jon Forbes - Minima Yacht Club