‘Not the’ Ovens Race – Sunday 10 October 2021

Weather: overcast, rain, drizzle, overcast again and finally sunshine

Wind: f2, squall of f3.

Course: EYC start, leave Stoneness to starboard, Jenningtree to starboard, back to EYC finish

After much planning and collaboration with the PLA Assistant Harbourmaster to ensure a safe and manageable race to the Ovens, the weather conspired against the Race Officer. Instead, the very light winds and the potential for fog meant that the race was abandoned and replaced with a more locally focused one. The race briefing was held on Saturday during the club social where the Commodore and assistants fed members and Dan and team worked the bar. John Can provided the quiz that included a wide range of questions to tax the brain, as well as challenges to boost your scores. Thank you to everyone who organised and supported the evening.

Happily, the change of course meant that the start was at 10am rather than 8am. The new course was adaptable with a short version if the wind remained very light or longer if the wind increased enough to make it worth the extra distance.

The race had 8 boats sign on, but sadly Aliva suffered engine issues so could not make the start. The ebbing tide was a challenge at the start, but everyone got off safely. Some opted for the spinnaker, making the most of it down Long Reach towards Stoneness. The departure of a ship at Greenhithe caused a few issues for some of the boats, but the fleet managed the situation in consultation with London VTS at Gravesend.

As the yachts passed the start line on their way to Jenningtree, Ruby was in the lead by 4 minutes on Cassie and 6 minutes on Pearl, followed 10 seconds later by Hera. C’est La Vie passed 7 minutes later on its way to the buoy. Incisor and Tramp retired, realising the bar was open (and admitting to the RO that they had not managed to round Stoneness before the tide turned). A short-lasting squall added some excitement to the light winds before settling back down again to a gentle breeze.

The race back from Jenningtree was a challenge, as the tide was strongly flooding. It required careful judgement rounding the buoy and then heading as quickly as possible to the Essex shore and using the slack tide/eddy to pass down to the Green Shed before ferry-gliding across to Erith and to the finish. Those using their spinnakers mostly benefited from that extra light sail, and Ruby proved this by the result below.

The results below have been amended to reflect those whose handicaps needed adjusting for the use of spinnakers (indicated by an (s) after the handicap number). You can see how well Ruby did despite the lower handicap, winning by a convincing margin.

Thank you everyone for taking part in this race. It was nice to see some friendly rivalry on the water.

(Provisional) Results below:

Main Fleet

Corrected time
Boat Crew Handicap Hrs Mins Secs Position
Ruby John Edmonds & Alan Cooper 1135 (s) 3 1 43 1
Pearl Sara Taylor & Adrian Reeves 1160 3 14 13 2
C’est La Vie Don Mapp & crew 1070 (s) 3 44 16 3
Hera Roger Daybelge & crew 1035 3 44 25 4
Cassie Malcolm Tuck & crew 965 3 51 44 5
Incisor Dave Webber & crew 1144 (s) RTD 6 =
Tramp John Mills & crew 1017 RTD 6 =