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On the water, June 14

By West Briton  |  Posted: June 14, 2012

  • Close racing between Aura, Flamingo Blue, Adelie and Rusalka at Mylor.

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Helford Gig Club


The Helford River Gig Club Leisurely Ladies have rowed past the Houses of Parliament in a Cornish gig twice while partaking in the Great River Race in 2002 and 2005, which is surreal at the best of times, writes crew member Sally Annan.

And the crew had the chance to repeat that experience when they were part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on the Thames.

Having our application accepted to be one of 1,000 boats making history was amazing and the day turned out to be every bit as special as expected, and more.

We towed our gig, Golden Gear, up to London two days before the pageant, leaving it at one of the many launching points, ours being at the Chiswick Boat Club from where we would start the long row.

We attended a very lively and informative coxes' briefing on the Saturday evening, after being accredited and fitted with our Jubilee Pageant security wristbands.

Returning early on the Sunday morning to prepare for the pageant. Golden Gear was, of course, full of rain and had to be scooped out before we could decorate her over all.

The atmosphere and comradeship at the launching place was brilliant and everyone pulled together to help each other in the not very pleasant weather conditions.

We eventually launched at about 10.30am and made our way down river towards Putney where we had to wait as all the motor boats were meeting further down.

Most of the manpowered boats were together by then, and when we set off we all rowed through an avenue of the motor boats including the Dunkirk little ships, paddle steams, narrow boats, historical river cruisers, traditional working boats and many more – a wonderful experience with cheering, waving and much 'tooting' from the hundreds of boats.

We flotillered up between Wandsworth and Battersea bridges, waiting for the magnificent Gloriana to lead the pageant, proceeded by the bell barge.

On the railway bridge ahead of us was the locomotive Princess Elizabeth – a gloriously sentimental sight, especially when she hooted loudly when the Gloriana passed beneath her.

We were surrounded by apartment blocks whose balconies groaned with spectators, as well as thousands lining the shore, and when we started rowing off after about an hour and a half the roar and cheers from the crowd was overwhelming.

A very emotional moment for all of us on the river.

Taking our places in number order was an interesting manoeuvre and our brilliant cox Henry certainly had his work cut out avoiding the many boats surrounding us but once again the atmosphere and comradeship of all those taking part helped the situation and our journey down the Thames must be one of the most memorable times that everyone taking part had ever experienced.

The mass of people lining the river on both banks, the constant cheering, the sight of every balcony, terrace, window, bridge packed with crowds, the hooting of all boat sirens and then, of course, the sighting of Spirit of Chartwell was just overwhelming.

The Queen and the Royal Family could clearly be seen on that magnificent vessel beautifully decked out and the gold even managed to glint through the greyness of the day.

When all the manpowered boats were in view, we were commanded to toss oars as one – that must have been a fantastic sight as there were well over 250 boats in our section.

After we were well past the Spirit of Chartwell, the formation of the pageant quickly changed as the faster boats set off at a rate, quickly passing us slower leaders.

The Australian surf boats started racing each other, much to the enjoyment of the crowds on the embankment, and it also gave us a chance to see the dragon boats, skiffs, canoes and gondolas.

The magnificent Avenue of Sail lined the river before and after Tower Bridge – but unfortunately, the rain by then had started in earnest and our trip to Millwall where we would be retrieved was not a pleasant one.

All in all we were in Golden Gear for seven hours, but every single minute was special and the whole day was absolutely amazing.

The Leisurely Ladies, Gia Shaw, Sally Annan, Carolyn Brodie, Mary Owen, Pauline Smith, Sheila Williams, with cox Henry Shaw and passenger Dilys Gardiner, cannot thank the HRGC enough for all their support and help in making the day possible. We also thank our family and friends for their support and patience, in the run up to the big day.

Our only huge regret was that our close friend and fellow Leisurely Lady Issy Logan was unable to be with us due to her illness. Issy sent us a very supportive email the day before the pageant, and sadly died a few days later.

She will be greatly missed by us as well as all members of the club.

Flushing SC


The low grey clouds poured rain on us all through the morning but eventually it stopped, the sky lightened and the lively westerly wind promised good racing.

The IRC class was sent on a long course beating across the bay to the Gyllingvase mark followed by a spinnaker powered charge back to Pendennis Point.

At the headland Robbie Tregear in the leading boat Per Elisa sheeted in and tried a shy spinnaker reach along the shore followed by two close competitors.

It was the shortest course available but not the fastest because there was a wide wind shadow which greatly slowed them down.

With their poles as far forward as possible they drifted in the uncertain airs. This encouraged the chasing boats to bear away and try to stay in the true wind further off shore.

At last Per Elisa hoisted the genoa, dropped the spinnaker and reached off to keep the lead and win the class.

In E class, unlike last week, there were no collisions but Hero accidently hit the Trefusis mark and the resulting penalty turns pushed them to the back of the fleet.

On board Hawk, just before the start a halyard jammed at the masthead causing some consternation among the crew but they sorted out a solution and enjoyed an interesting race.

After the buoy was dropped a wind shift gave the line a strong port bias which caused congestion at the pin end but the fleets got away safely.

In G class on board they broke the halyard block but repairs were made and they enjoyed the quite powerful but cool breeze.

In B class Cousin Jack had to give way at a mark when 'Water' was called but they recovered and went on to win.

Sweet Friday succeeded in ducking round each moored yacht as they beat up the harbour keeping as close as they could to the ideal course.

Noon Hi was doing well until they realised they had turned the last mark in the wrong direction but after a delay they returned and completed the turn correctly but belatedly.

After racing, with the invited commodores of all the other clubs present, Roger Little, club president and Charles Choak, club commodore, officially opened the enlargement to the clubhouse, which has been completed over the past winter.

The wide glass doors lead onto the quay and give a very open aspect to the new room and we look forward to some warm summer evenings in order to really appreciate the improvements. We all enjoyed the excellent buffet afterwards.

Results: B class: 1 Cousin Jack, 2 Winnie. A Williams, 3 Rita Peters/Watkins.

E class: 1 Excelle. J Fox, 2 Jethro. P Samuels, 3 Hawk. C Bell.

IRC class: 1 Per Elisa. R Tregear, 2 Macavity. J Murrell, 3 Charley Farley. G Hughes.

U class: 1 Popincoota. A Grose, 2 Wilkie. B Chapple, 3 Mary Boon. J Cruise.

G class: 1 Katy. S Grigg, 2 Morwennel. N Glanville, 3 Wagtail. M Owens.

M class: 1 Firefly. C Gledwell.

V class: 1 Mayfly. Stedman/Stainer/Watson, 2 Pixie. Lyulph. Hesling.

W class: 1 Incite. M Leech, 2 Noon Hi. J Penty, 3 Sweet Friday. L Cheshire.

Helford River


Sailing a faultless race in a flawless vela grey laser, Phil Samuel proved he's master of HRSC dinghies on Saturday.

Snug in a bijou cabin, novice race officers Vivian and Floyd looked forward to a light duty of Trebah. A tide in full flood and a gusting easterly driving a rolling swell would have it otherwise. Thus the start line offered, was found with a tad more port bias than advertised. Nonplussed, a battle line proceeded at speed to the start, prematurely crossed, and burst apart in the scramble to regain position.

Except when capsizing the RS fleet scampered around the course as if Jack Russell's biting at each other's heels. The boldest of them – Phil Philpot and Carrie Hosken left the pack on a long flying reach to Durgan – gambling that similar was to be had on the return to Trebah – and won. Somewhat fatigued by their exertions in Falmouth the night before, Bolitho and Berryman took the opportunity of hospitality offered at the leeward mark of Trebah – and overstayed their welcome.

McD and Beccy in fine competitive form thought they had won and headed for home as our well intentioned postulants at the committee boat blew hooter signalling (but known only to themselves) the purple lasers final lap.

Emily Broad and Tom Lake in an otherwise graceful performance in the RS200 had their wings clipped at Durgan on the gybe to Trebah. Anton Chamberlain set an example to his son Oliver on how to be nice to Lasers on port tack rounding Central. Staying well clear of Brooks by running closer to the North Shore for a couple of runs the Chamberlains returned to a winning southerly line clear of moorings only to be stabbed in the back by the Radials handicap.

Medal positions - Phil Samuel 1st, Phil Philpott 2nd, and Roger McDonald 3rd.

Captain Beccy Kestin thanked all those supporting the fleet on the day. Safety: Andy, Hamish & Karen Biggs Marshalls: Richard Graham-Vivian & Robert Floyd.

A great credit to all those behind the action for selflessly putting themselves forward for duty.


The race on June 6 was the last in the Hine Downing Early Summer Series.

The strong wind we had all day decreased to a fairly steady 10-12 knots to make for good racing.

The race officer set an excellent course giving long windward leeward legs between Rosemullion mark and leeward marks near the mouth of the river.

A bit of a port bias on the start line with a short beat to the Voose mark made for lots of fun on the start line.

The PY and IRC fleet all got away cleanly with Orijin (Andy Dennis) arriving at the mark first and then proceeding to open up a huge lead.

Valkyrie (Chris Symes) got luffed into an area of no wind under the shore before being able to round the stern of Supergroove (Miles Kilby).

This race was decisive for the PY series result and Kudu (Terry Pascoe) sailed fast downwind not allowing Valkyrie to build up the lead she needed and hence took the PY race and the series.

A large 707 fleet started five minutes after the PY and IRC fleet. The starts in the 707 fleet are always competitive but a slightly enthusiastic start by Big Boys Toys (Chris Broad) meant she had to return.

Miss Money Penny (Ed Bolitho) took an early lead and was passed by Swordfish (John Lake/Simon Hill) who proceeded to open up a considerable lead over the others.

The Wildebeest (Phil Badger) who had already won the series was uncharacteristically at the tail end of the fleet at the first mark.

Places changed as the fleet sailed out of the river in shifty winds to the steady wind in the Bay. Two long beats and runs gave superb close racing with places changing except for Swordfish who kept her lead.

On the line it was Swordfish followed by The Wildebeest who had recovered well.

In third place was Big Boys Toys who sailed well particularly since they had to redeem their early start.

The 707 fleet is going from strength to strength and another boat is arriving shortly giving superb class yacht racing on the Helford. Any 707, IRC or PY boats are very welcome to join in the season's racing at a very modest cost.

Results: The Hine Downing Early Summer Series: IRC: 1 The Wildebeest 4 pts Phil Badger), 2 Swordfish 8.5pts (John Lake/Simon Hill), 3 Big Boys Toys 13 pts (Chris Broad).

PY: 1 Kudu 6 pts (Terry Pascoe), 2 Valkyrie 6pts (Chris Symes), 3 Amanzimtoti 13pts (Roger McDonald).

707: 1 The Wildebeest 4pts (Phil Badger), 2 Swordfish 8pts (John Lake/Simon Hill), 3 Big Boys Toys 11 pts (Chris Broad).

Mylor YC


The winds for the fourth race of the Skinner's Brewery series provided a welcome relief from the strong winds which have characterised the season so far this year, but we could have used just a shade more to make an interesting race, writes Chris Davis.

In the event, the wind was very light from just north of east, which made for wind shadows off the Roseland shore and some tight, tactical moves from the ten competitors all round the course but especially on the beat.

First away in the start sequence was Rococo, sailed single-handed by Clive Hoyle, and he maintained his lead until the very last phase of the course.

However, he was chased hard by the Micro Gem Nibbler (Owen Taylor), who started 11 minutes later, the Contessa 26 Mary Boon (John Cruise), five minutes later, and the First 285 Wizard of Clee (Tony Hardman), ten minutes later.

The light wind conditions suited the lighter boats, despite some accomplished sailing by Mary Boon and Wizard of Clee, who both did well to make any impact on the two lead boats. However, the real battle was between Rococo and Nibbler. Rococo rounded the final mark in the lead but Nibbler found a useful lift as she approached the gate and overtook the other boat. Such is yacht racing.

Rococo fought back as they approached the finish in St Just Pool but Nibbler held on to score a well-deserved win by 40 seconds. This result puts Nibbler firmly in the lead in the series, with Mary Boon lying second.

Results: 1 Nibbler (Owen Taylor); 2 Rococo (Clive Hoyle); 3 Mary Boon (John Cruise).

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  • StevenKendall  |  June 15 2012, 12:58AM

    Great write up about the Pagent, just to let you know the Racing Australian surfboats were being swept( streered) by UK sweeps as the boats came from surflife saving clubs around the south west My boat is from Portreath Surf Life Saving Club, there were boats from Porthtowan, Perranporth, St Agnes & Bude. as well as Bournemouth and Wales. I was an amazing day and onee we were all very proud to be part of!!

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