Bombay Sapphire Open Pursuit Race - 1st November 1997

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original article (sorry photographs are missing):

This pursuit race was held to start off our winter series and inaugurate our new lease, name and burgee. The burgee was unveiled by the Mayor of Elmbridge, and the lease formally exchanged with David Byne from Thames Water, to the enthusiastic acclaim of a full clubhouse.

Here is the Mayor unveiling our new burgee (the splendid handiwork of Pamela Hudson), assisted by Commodore Peter Jelley.



Here are the large amounts of loot which were up for grabs...



Although the wind was not too kind to us, thanks to a large anti-cyclone sitting over Surrey, the sun was warm and consistent, (making those in drysuits rapidly regret it) and a good race ensued.

The first start was somewhat confused by the ceremonials running slightly over time, and so the committee boat had to tow the first starter - the only Byte - out to the line and more or less set the line around her. In spite of apparently a flat calm she managed to cross the line and seemed to be making not unreasonable progress in the vague direction of the first mark. The next bunch to start were a solo Solo and four Enterprises, though these were mostly late for the start to a greater or lesser extent. Glen Cole and Pamela Hudson in their Enterprise 'Babe' and the Solo however slipped away across the glassy surface and again seemed to be making some kind of progress. Some time later they were followed by a fair pack of Lasers.

The wind was still virtually non-existent, but puffs of air appeared from time to time, and in fact the general trend of wind direction went round almost 180 degrees from what it had been when the course was set. With it being a somewhat unseasonably warm and sunny day the suspicion has to be that thermals were forming and drifting across the reservoir, causing patchy and shifty areas and bands of wind that, as ever in these conditions, helped one boat then another. This was particularly character-building for the ISOs, where each boat in turn saw another suddenly start to steam across the water.

At the end of the first hour Maggie still looked reasonably well placed in the Byte - she was definitely holding her handicap ahead of the leading Laser, and still some 7 minutes clear of the Solo/Enterprise pair dueling for second place. Howver shortly after that a particularly fiendish combination of breezy patches brought the Solo and Enterprise right up to her.

Meanwhile the Laser fleet had split right up - according to some spectators the second place Laser especially seemed to feel the need for frequent adjustments in lateral trim - and the first two were well clear of the pack. The first 4 ISOs seemed also to be picking up well, and their acceleration in the rare puffs was bringing them up into the trailing slower handicap boats. This allowed them to have a load of fun with the slower boats by completely surrounding them in large amounts of sail, leaving the hapless victim stationary until the ISOs moved on.

As the last twenty minutes approached the leading ISOs had got up to the Enterprise 'Babe'; it's the way things were. As they reached the last mark of the lap the first two ISOs got away on a puff of wind that the others never had, sealing the first two places. The lack of wind that followed saw the Enterprise exploiting its lower wetted area - not to mention some very careful attention to the lateral trim of the boat - to retake 4th place from Peter Curtis and Katz Harber as they passed the clubhouse, although the ISO managed to get the position back just before the hooter went for the end of the race.

A big thank-you to our sponsors, Bombay Sapphire, for all their excellent (hic!) prizes and for their support.

The roll of honour is as follows:

  • 1st: Kevin Moore and Peter Hamilton, ISO
  • 2nd: John Caig and Andy Watson, ISO
  • 3rd: Stuart Costigan and John Spencer, ISO
  • 4th: Peter Curtis and Katherine Harber, ISO
  • 5th: Glen Cole and Pamela Hudson, Enterprise
  • 1st over-65: Mike Barnard, Laser
  • 1st Lady: Maggie Futcher, Byte

Here are some of the winners:



Back row, left to right: John Spencer, Nick Bloom (treasurer and sponsor's representative), Stuart Costigan, Andy Watson, John Caig

Front row: Kevin Moore (clutching trophy), Peter Hamilton