Coates Cup Cruiser Race – Race Report

Date: 10 November 2019

Weather: Sunny with a chill in the air

Wind: N, NW, force 1 (occ), but mainly 2

Course: EYC start to mooring buoy near Morrison’s (s) mooring buoy on Essex shore in Erith Reach (p), Jenningtree (p), outfall structure at Thamesmead (p), and the course in reverse to the finish line.


In a surprising turn of events most people, except one crew for Gigi who was held up in police check in Woolwich, had arrived and agreed the course for the race by 10am….seems EYC time and real time collided in an unexpected moment of harmony.

The wind was light from the north to north east (depending on where which reach you were sailing in) and the tide had 1.5hrs to go before it went out. The start was one of balancing the eddy off the club with the angle of the wind. Hara, Valencia and Gigi decided that wind pressure in the sails was more important, and this paid off as each of them passed the buoy at Morrison’s ahead of Ce La Vie and Solar Eclipse. The race up Erith Reach was another compromise between tide/wind and the eddy on the Essex side. It paid off to ignore the eddy, as Valencia maintained its lead and Ce La Vie and Solar Eclipse reduced the distance between themselves and Gigi.

The race to Thamesmead was a slow one as the winds were light and on Gigi it required moving jib cars and body weight around, especially as Ce La Vie crept closer and eventually overtook – taking advantage of a taller rig as we passed the ships.

Happily (as the writer was on board Gigi!!), while Valencia and Hara has vanished ahead, Gigi overtook Ce La Vie again and prepared the spinnaker, which had never been used by the new skipper. Using the spinnaker in the race down Erith Reach paid off, as Gigi pulled away from Ce La Vie and Solar Eclipse and began to catch up with Hara. Not to be outdone Ce La Vie also rigged the spinnaker and used it briefly after he gave a crash course in how to rig it. They know for next time!

Valencia finished first and kindly took our lap times as they had a cup of tea on the mooring (or may be something stronger!). Thank you Alan and Jan for the times and also Richard for sorting the results. Well done everyone, it was a good tactical race of working the tides, eddies and wind shifts as we race. Fingers crossed enough of you keep your yachts in for the rest of the extended sailing season!!

Congratulations too Paul Gately, skipper of Gigi, for his first win. Thank you for putting up with being bullied by your crew (mainly me) around the course. Not a bad result for a holey mainsail and stretched jib (hahaha!!).

Written by: Jeremy

RACE 1 Corrected Time
Skipper Boat H/cap Hrs Mins Secs Postion
Paul Gately Gigi 1118 1 45 9 1
Alan Thomas Valencia 965 1 48 33 2
Don Mapp Ce La Vie 1095 1 51 50 3
Richard Banner Hara 928 1 58 8 4
John Cusick Solar Eclipse 1021 2 2 33 5