Greenwich Yacht Club proudly hosted the 2015 London Regatta on Sunday 27 September. It is the largest annual sailing event held on the River Thames. 41 boats from eight London sailing centres and clubs took part.
These included Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre, Thamesmead YMCA, London Nautical School, Shadwell SC, London Corinthian SC in Hammersmith, North London Sailing Association and Broadwater Sailing Club.
The event is always held on the day of the annual test closure of the Thames Barrier. Whilst providing a rare backdrop, it also means that the tidal river is temporarily more like a lake, and closed to through traffic on the river.
This provides a once-a-year opportunity for dinghy sailors throughout London to compete on the stretch of the river from the Thames Barrier up to the O2 Arena without need for a tidal water qualification.
Racing lasted from 11 a.m. to around 1.30 p.m. The weather was a mix of cloud and sunshine, reaching 19C and with wind speeds of 10-15 mph. Shortly after 1 o'clock the Thames Barrier started to let water through and the resulting strong currents made it difficult for the competitors not used to it.
Boats were divided across two race tracks. Racing nearest the Thames Barrier were 17 Bosun class dinghies. The overall winner of the five Bosun races was Greenwich Yacht Club’s Alan Soper and his crew Anki. They won all of the five races.
On the other track nearer the O2 Arena were a mix of 18 boats of eight different types, and they raced each other four times on a timed handicap system. The overall winners in an X1 class boat were Valentin Nedyalkov and Chris W. Ingram from the London Corinthian Sailing Club in Hammersmith. It was the first time anyone from LCSC had entered the London Regatta and they won the first three of their four races. Every entrant was able to discard one result.
Also on the track nearer the O2 Arena were six Toppers sailed by some of the competition’s youngest entrants. The winner of the Topper class was Sasha Martin of Thamesmead YMCA. Sasha also won all of her races for a clean sweep.
Other Thamesmead YMCA winners includes Reece Clark and Tom Clark in the Feva class, and GYC's James Buckley and Johannes Wolfing won the Stratos Class.
Simon Powell, Race Director and Captain of the GYC Dinghy Section said “It was wonderful to see so many people out enjoying the river on a great day for sailing. Congratulations to everyone who took part and thank you to all members of GYC who helped to make it happen. We welcome everyone to come back again next year.” Other London sailing clubs and centres are also welcome to contact GYC for an invitation in 2016.
Trophies were awarded by Royal Greenwich’s Deputy Mayor Olu Babatola and Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald.
Chris Ingram of London Corinthian SC ended the formalities by expressing the gratitude of all guests and visitors to the members of GYC who had worked hard to put the event together and make it run so smoothly.
Those thanks go to Race Director Simon Powell; Senior Race Officer Hal Andrews; Race Officers Nick Fossey (Red Track) and Jay Prehn (Green Track); Rob Watt and Nick Fossey for providing the two committee race boats, Peggy Rose and Marine 40; Paddy Campbell who helped in the Race Hut after getting up in the morning believing he was racing; Ian Palmer was Pontoon Master; Nick Day for inviting guests and VIPs; Commodore Steve Wilson for keeping an overseeing eye on everything; race assistants on the committee boats (one said it was tougher than going to work!); Clive Reffell for press releases and photography; everyone who helped register entrants, everyone who kept the slipway moving smoothly under Slipway Gangmaster David Styan, and the teams that manned the safety boats.
View photos (by Clive Reffell)
The race results can be found HERE