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Helming to Win by Nick Craig
Helming to Win by Nick Craig

Enterprise open meeting at London Corinthian Sailing Club

by Simon Hills 18 Apr 2018 14:06 BST 15 April 2018
Enterprise open meeting at London Corinthian © Caroline Simonds

One of the many pluses of sailing on Hammersmith Reach is that it has a great big bend on it. So unless a light south-easterly is inflicted upon the members of London Corinthian Sailing Club, which races on this stretch of the tidal Thames, if there's any wind to be found, they're going to find it.

It was a southerly force 2-3 that greeted the Enterprise fleet for their open meeting last Sunday, and three races were run on a figure-of-eight course set between Chiswick Pier and Barnes railway bridge, with the wind blowing straight down-river against the tide.

After a closely fought first beat, sailors had to decide whether to stick to the banks and face a weaker tide or make for more pressure in the middle of the river but a stronger adverse tidal stream. And when they'd solved that conundrum, there was the question of which was the most favoured bank to go for, and whether to cross early or late for the leeward mark. The consensus was the Surrey side, but Liz St Clair crewed by Iliu Grigor had a hunch that more pressure was to be found on the Middlesex bank and bravely struck north. Local knowledge paid off, and she won the first race ahead of fellow Corinthians Val Nedliakov and Jason Nielsen followed by Jeremy Whiting and Charlotte Halward.

The visitors didn't find themselves at too much of a disadvantage, though. Smart tacking and gybing form Martin Davies and Rebecca Bradley from Rugby and Daventry SC, along with good crew work had them dominate the second race and taking line honours. Chris Rowsell and Alastair Stewart from Lensbury, meanwhile, were also showing the locals how it is done, with good boat speed and good positioning up the beats, and came in second.

In the end after three races and one discard the visitors prevailed with Chris Rowsell and Alastair Stewart first and Martin Davies and Rebecca Bradley second, with London Corinthian Enterprise class captain Jeremy Whiting crewed by Charlotte Halward coming in for a well-deserved third in a tightly contested series of races in ideal river conditions that produced a different winner for each race.

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