Thames Valley Team Challenge at Upper Thames SC
by Debbie Darling on 9 Jul 2012
The Upper Thames Sailing Club hosted the Thames Valley Team Challenge, a team racing competition for youth sailors on 30th June on the River Thames at Bourne End. A total of nine teams competed in RS Fevas, with three teams from the home club and a selection of entries from Goring Thames SC, Maidenhead SC, and Claires Court School.
Remarkably, given the rotten summer so far, it was a warm and sunny day and there was also a force three breeze blowing with some puffs giving the chance of a swim for those who were not concentrating. With the wind blowing across the river and a strong stream still running following recent rain, there were both boat handling challenges for the sailors and course laying challenges for the organising race team. No better was this demonstrated than by the start line which was laid parallel to the bank and only four boat lengths from it.
There was no excuse for being late for the start. In addition, the good weather brought out a number of cruisers onto the river which provided further obstacles for the teams to negotiate. Concentration and boldness was required and each of the teams demonstrated that they had it. The proximity of the start line to the shore gave the feeling of 'stadium racing' and parents enjoyed the thrills and spills – some of them quite vocally! It was an introduction to team racing for many of the sailors and it was good to see the teams trying to communicate with each other about what they should be doing.
After 36 short races each team had sailed the other teams once and there was a further split into Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues. Home advantage had clearly played into the hands of the Upper Thames teams, all three of which made the Gold league.
After a further round robin, Upper Thames Barracudas emerged as the winners of the Gold league. Goring Thames Sailing Club won the Silver league and Maidenhead SC the Bronze league. All sailors received medals for their participation on the RS Feva website