EAORA Thames Estuary Shield 5 Jun 2012
After a good evening in the Medway Yacht Club, the crews had a sleepless night on the moorings with torrential rain and gale force winds, with the wind passing through by dawn and the rain now down to a fine drizzle. With a force 7 in the forecast from the east backing north east and memories of the 40 knot north easterly beat from two years ago, two boats stayed on their mooring and the rest of the fleet went to the start line in trepidation. In the end the force 7 never materialised and apart from the cold and constant drizzle and poor visibility, the wind topped out at about 22 knots which was still a lumpy ride to windward, but all those who started finished.
The foul tide out of the river and along the Cant shallows was in poor visibility and lighter winds with the coast line shrouded in low clouds. Stephen Hendry’s Sigma 33 Scorcher led the fleet out of the river with Tony and Chuffy Merewether’s Sunfast 3200 Amazon leading Class Two and passing Scorcher at Garrison Point with Angus Bates’ J133 Assarain IV leading Class One and showing the way to the North Oaze buoy. At the buoy Assarain IV was followed closely by Amazon and then Alan Bartlett’s Inn Spirit who were the only two boats to fly assymetrics on this off-wind leg.
From the South Shoebury buoy the tide was still foul for the first hour of the beat up the Maplin, turning fair for the leaders at Blacktail Spit, followed by a fetch to North East Maplin and then back on the wind to the Whitaker, about 16 miles in total. Assarain IV was first round the Whitaker followed by Inn Spirit with Amazon still close behind. From here it was a long spinnaker run with gybes to keep out of the tide all the way to the finish at the Royal Corinthian line against a weakening foul tide. For the back of the fleet the wind went more northerly at the finish so that Fay J and Scorcher finished under headsails.
With everyone back in the dry and warmth of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club there was a short prizegiving with Scorcher winning Class Three, Inn Spirit winning Class One and second overall and Tony and Chuffy Merewether’s Amazon winning Class Two and the overall Thames Estuary Shield. Assarain IV was third overall.
The Nore Command team trophy for the two races over the weekend was won by the Crouch Yacht Club with Amazon, Inn Spirit and Fay J.
Click the link on the right for full reults of both races.