Competitors drifting downstream
Constantin Gerber receives the Cutty Sark Bolt from Peter Mason. 18.6.17 – photo Suzy Balmbro
Sunday 18th June 2017 dawned sunny with ne’er a cloud in the sky, and ne’er a hint of wind. There was considerable discussion about what to do. The Cutty Sark Bolt was presented by then Commodore Peter Mason as a tribute to the original races by the Tea Clippers. The trophy is an actual bolt from the Cutty Sark. This pursuit race is traditionally longer than the other pursuit races Tamesis holds as the Clipper races were very long. The Cutty Sark was designed to carry tea from China to England, and it was vital to be the first ship in. More about the story of this fascinating vessel on http://www.rmg.co.uk/cutty-sark/history
In the end we opted for the shorter race and start times used for the Centenary Cup held two weeks earlier, so the slowest boats sailed for just over the hour. This made for a much better race under the conditions.
Twelve boats braved the shorter race, some not making it to the 1230 finish.
The race is a fund raiser for the Cutty Sark restoration project, and we were able to collect £70.
Race officer Carolyne Vines, ably assisted by Cherry Ehrlich in the box, and Peter Simpson and Ken Thatcher in the Patrol Boat, set a short course in front of the club. The two Fireflies started first, but were quickly caught by the five strong Laser fleet. Laser sailor Chris Taggart led from the start but was caught in the last 50 metres by fellow Laser Constantin Gerber. Peter Mason sailing Bambusa, crewed by brother Richard, was the leading Merlin, but unable to catch the two leading Lasers. Chris Balmbro crewed by Clara Wade was fourth in Merlin Bad Company.
Ana, Jo and Lauren kept us going afterwards by doing the bar and serving up great lunches
The prizes – boxes of green tea – were presented by the donor Peter Mason. Constantin – the first Laser sailor to win the Cutty Sark Bolt, graciously thanked his fellow competitors and the organising team.
1st Laser 135387 Constantin Gerber
2nd Laser 130773 Chris Taggart
3rd Merlin 847 Bambusa Peter and Richard Mason
4th Merlin 3062 Bad Company Chris Balmbro and Clara Wade