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Mid Thames Inter Club Trophy at Hampton Sailing Club

by David Gettings 13 May 07:53 BST 5 May 2018
Mid Thames Inter Club Trophy © Kevin Anderson

After three attempts to hold this at Hampton due to adverse weather and stream, the Mid Thames carousel between Hampton, Desborough, Aquarius and Staines Sailing Clubs took place on the 5th May in glorious sunshine and a decent (for a river) amount of Easterly wind.

Unfortunately Staines had to withdraw so it was a three way contest. But we got a demonstration of the super fast Aero 9 helmed by Gareth Griffith (Island Barn SC) in a guest appearance, winning three straight races on the water. Clearly no PY number adjustment required there then!

Hampton put out a double handed team consisting of two Merlins, three Enterprises, plus a Solo for good measure. Four boats to count. Aquarius SC and Desborough SC had a different strategy evidently, because they fielded nothing but single handers. Aquarius had three Lasers and a Lark sailed singly. Desborough SC had two Lasers, two Solos and a British Moth.

How did that mix of boats fare? Hampton's Stuart Jenkins in his Merlin 3560 was first boat (from a team club) in race one, from Kerin Power (DSC) in his Solo 4950, Chris Abell (DSC) in his Laser 160919 third, followed by Paul Stapleton (DSC) in his Laser 144607 fourth. The pattern of the afternoon was similar as single handers continued to scoop the low numbers.

Desborough dominated throughout with great single handed sailing. Paul Stapleton, with a fourth, second and a first in the club races, went on to win the individual prize and the single hander prize. The single hander prize was an innovation from Hampton rather than a precedent but in the event it was unnecessary given that there were 11 single handers out of sixteen boats. Desborough team mates Kerin Power (Solo), Chris Abell (Laser), Bob Steer (Solo 3781) and Richard Broughton (British Moth 798) took the Mid Thames Inter Club Trophy in emphatic style winning with 63 points against Hampton's 83.

Aquarius SC also had a single hander strategy. Mike Baker was first in his club in his Laser 144389, vying with fellow sailor Pat Halling in his Laser number 4 for club honours. It was great to see Mark Thompson's Lark 2188 on the water as it seemed to cruise effortlessly against a light stream. We had hoped to see the classic boats from Aquarius like the Bosun or the SigneT. Maybe we'll see them again next year.

From Hampton there were two cadets worth a mention each of whom won a glass tumbler. Ben Peerless crewed his dad Ian in his Enterprise 22559 and his sister Sophie did the same for Jane Chambers in her Enterprise 23162. Phil Chambers in Enterprise 23218 evened the score with John Bell in his Merlin (no mean feat) but alas at the point where the tie was broken, Philip missed out. He won the individual prize in rough weather at Desborough last time out, but just missed the cut for the best four boat counted for the result.

Lastly I would like to thank Gareth Griffith of Island Barn who unequivocally demonstrated that if you sail a 4m boat with a 8.9sqm sail that weighs less than an Optimist at 30kg, you stand a good chance of doing well on a river in light airs. In the event he and his Aero 2148 took three bullets which probably proves something or other in hydrodynamics.

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