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Thames A Rater Yates Cup and Braganza Bowl at Tamesis Club

by Carolyne Vines 20 Sep 19:55 BST 17-18 September 2022
Osprey, winner of the Thames A Rater Yates Cup and Braganza Bowl at Tamesis © Chris Wade

Tamesis was delighted to welcome these magnificent Thames A Raters based at Thames SC for their annual visit to race for the Yates Cup and the Braganca Bowl on the weekend of Saturday 17th September/Sunday 18th September.

Some of the A Raters date back to the very early 20th Century, and one is comparatively very new. The Braganca Bowl, presented to Thames SC by the Duke of Braganza was first raced for in 1904. Thames SC was proud to celebrate their 150th Anniversary in 2020. The parties had to wait until 2021 though.

The gusty North westerly appeared in good time. Numbers may have been down, but the quality was there in spades.

The event is sailed over two days starting on Saturday afternoon after the A Raters are towed down from their home opposite Ravens Ait further up the Thames at Surbiton. Lunch consumed the first race started at 2pm. The Race Team set a sausage course downstream to a buoy placed almost as far as Teddington Lock and back upstream to a buoy dropped just below Steven's Ait which is upstream of Tamesis.

The boats romped down and back, though there was a fair separation between them until the finish line. Adventurer sailed by Jamie Stewart, Mark Staite and Ollie Sloper crossed the line well ahead of the rest of the fleet with Scamp in second. The next three boats were neck and neck. It was literally down to whether or not to tack for the line. Osprey came through in third having unusually stayed at the back of the fleet after being over the line at the start.

Osprey very kindly took out several Tamesis junior sailors for a trip to get a taste of sailing in an A Rater during the break. Contributions were made to the RNLI.

The second race for the Yates Cup was a different story. The start was spectacular with lots of close tacking and shouting. Osprey sailed by Paul Browning, Julian Smith and Graham Bartholomew came out on top though and led for the rest of the race.

This was amazing considering Paul and Graham had not come off the water between the races. Adventurer was second and Lady Iona sailed by Tom Wilson, Julian Cocker and Christine Vranze was third. Cakes and ale on offer after the race then off home after some hard racing.

Sunday was cloudy and sunny with the northerly seemingly stronger than on Saturday. Three races were scheduled, the first starting at 1015, but crews were reinforced by the butties on offer. The course was similar to the day before but the wind flukey in places. Osprey led throughout with Adventurer second and Scamp sailed by Jonathan Smith, Adrian Hart and Matt Dew lying third.

Scamp pulled through to second in the last round and Adventurer had to be content with third. Now followed a welcome break and lunch while the Tamesis Sunday series races took place.

The start of the fourth race in the Braganca Bowl series was close and exciting with lots of relatively short tacks as these boats go so fast. Quick reactions and excellent boat handling required with lots of calls of 'starboard' forcing tacks earlier than anticipated or really wanted. It made great watching. Lady Iona led at the end of the first round, Adventurer in second and Osprey in third. After that Osprey dominated with Lady Iona second and Adventurer third.

Osprey had the series sewn up, again, but was not going to rest on her laurels in the final race of the weekend. Helm Paul Browning was looking forward to having won the Braganca Bowl for the fifth time!

There was clear water between them all at the end of the race, though there was a lot of close tacking towards the windward mark, boats using the whole river throughout with lots of place changing, which continued for the run up to the leeward mark set below Steven's Ait. It was a wonderful sight to see the A Raters gybing gracefully to make the best use of the following wind.

Osprey led at the end of each round and at the finish. Adventurer was third at the end of the first round but second over the line. Scamp swapped places with Adventurer being third at the end of the first two rounds, then finished second. Vagabond sailed by Miles Palmer, Kevin Pearson and Mark Laity finally got going and was fourth.

Each place was hard fought for to the end. The crews will probably feel this for some time!

Racing over, the masts were lowered for the tow home. All repaired to the bar for the welcome and necessary drinks, tea and cakes.

The brief prize-giving was held by Rear Commodore Sailing Marcus Chavasse who thanked the race organisers and catering crew. Paul Browning thanked Tamesis for putting on such a good event, and for towing the A Raters down to Tamesis and back home to Thames SC.

Yates Cup - second race on Saturday:

1st Nr 16 Osprey - Paul Browning, Julian Smith and Graham Bartholomew
2nd Nr 24 Adventurer - Jamie Stewart, Mark Staite, Ollie Sloper
3rd Nr 17 Lady Iona Tom Wilson, Julian Cocker and Christine Vranze

Braganza Bowl - best four out of five races:

1st Nr 16 Osprey - Paul Browning, Julian Smith and Graham Bartholomew
2nd Nr 24 Adventurer - Jamie Stewart, Mark Staite, Ollie Sloper
3rd Nr 12 Scamp - Jonathan Smith, Matthew Dew/Alastair Smith and Adrian Hart

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