Thames Match 2011 – 23 July

There had been some rain in the night, but the day dawned on Saturday, 23 July, fresh with a reasonable north-west wind. The first class away was the Coasters at 09.00. Cambria was first across, 49 seconds after the gun, though she appeared to be experiencing problems with her bowsprit. A minute later Lady of the Lea crossed with Lady Daphne 1 second behind, and Cabby some 20 seconds after that. The Staysails followed; Melissa crossing the line 10 seconds after their 09.15 start, thus winning the Capt RD Duke Cup for the fastest start. Edith May crossed 2 seconds behind, but unfortunately on the wrong side and incurred a 15 minute time penalty. Repertor charged the line with everything set and drawing, (the only barge to do so), 10 seconds after Melissa. This feat won Repertor the newly introduced Capt Jim Uglow Cup for Seamanship on the Line. Decima crossed about a minute later. The bowsprits started at 09.30, Marjorie crossing 1 minute after the gun, followed by Adieu 1 minute later. Each class crossed the line within 2 minutes of their gun.

The Bridge Committee now had to take a gamble. Turn the fleet early, or push on to the Outer Mark and hope that the wind did not fail. It was a run down the river wondering, had we made the right decision had we made the wrong decision, for the wind did start to fail.

However, Cambria rounded the North Oaze Buoy at 11.14, with Cabby some 15 minutes behind. Lady Daphne and Melissa rounded almost simultaneously at 11.40, followed 7 minutes later by Lady of the Lea. The remaining fleet, now bunched, led by Marjorie, followed by Edith May, Decima, Repertor and Adieu rounded within a 5 minute period just before 12.00.

Now began the long haul on the wind back up the river; some chosing the Kent shore, some the Essex. Cambria kept resolutely to the Essex shore and not only kept her lead of the fleet but added distance to nearest rival Cabby. Repertor recovered her second place position but could not catch Melissa. Adieu also stole a march on Marjorie.

Cambria crossed the finish line as 15.20, with Cabby 40 minutes later. Melissa crossed at 15.30 with Repertor 7 minutes behind. They were closely followed by Decima, Adieu and Marjorie between 15.40 and 15.45. Edith May crossed at 16.00, followed an hour later by Lady Daphne and Lady of the Lea.

The match was followed by a supper in the Three Daws. The prizes were presented by Councillor Michael Wenban, Tug Skipper and Journalist.

2011 results