Sonata Race Report ~ 29th Oct

Skimming the Bishop

Last race of the season saw the Sonata fleet join the Dragons for a full day of racing. After an early briefing all crews headed to their boats in lovely autumnal weather.

The first of the two races saw the Sonatas off with spinnakers flying in very light winds. Red Dwarf took an early lead, with Watersong in hot pursuit. As the fleet rounded 23 and headed back to 24 Watersong sneaked inside the Dwarf and set off downriver on a broad reach and a building breeze, spinnakers still flying, just. By the time we got to Stangate, Musical had slipped further behind in third as the two leading boats turned onto the tide and galloped off for a few laps between Bishops Ooze and West Bulwark.

Now the good crew of Musical had never heard of B’Ooze and had little idea of where it was, but luckily the two boats in front of us pointed the way, so we pointed at them. Big mistake! Apparently the Bishop is quite notorious for catching out the unaware. Thinking we were in the middle of the river, the dashingly handsome skipper of Musical gave little regard to the depth sounder until a brief glance alerted him to the peril he and his crew were in. With the depth reading a fraction above zero the skipper set off erratically looking for deeper water but to no avail. With little option left he pointed towards Screwloose, who were following only to find out later their depth sounded didn’t work and they were blissfully unaware of the shallows they’d found themselves in. Skimming the Bishop for an age we eventually found deeper water and managed to stay just in front of Screwloose, taking third, with Red Dwarf 2nd and Watersong 1st.

The start of the second race saw some flag confusion on the committee boat and possibly (though unconfirmed) a dog steering the boat in reverse around the anchor, which did make things a bit treacherous for the boats starting at the committee end of the line.

‘Where’s Watersong off to?’ was the hot topic on board as we watched them head off on the long route along the eastern shore, certain in our conviction that they’d made a poor choice. As Watersong rounded Bulwark twenty plus boat lengths In front of everyone else the dashingly handsome skipper of Musical reprimanded his crew for ever doubting Watersong’s tactics.

With such a lead only a tactical mistake would jeopardise Watersong’s position, and as we all know Watersong don’t make these kind of rookie mistakes. So as they rounded 20 to starboard we instantly thought we’d written the course down wrong…. But no, the error was theirs! When returning to a mark the idea is to ‘unwind’ your route and then correct it. Watersong unwound themselves, then unwound a bit more for good measure, before winding themselves like a gyroscope, I don’t think anyone quite knows how many times they went round, but I dare say it was enough to confuse and giddy any resulting protest committee and plenty of time for the Dwarf to pass them and capitalise on their error.

At this point we on Musical decided to do some random tacking, letting Blue Tack sail past us. Heading back to the club, beers were drunk whilst crowds gathered around the dashingly handsome skipper of Musical as he regaled tales of daring do and his encounter with ‘the Bishop’.

So endeth another season, and what an enjoyable way for it to endeth. Thanks to the Dragons for hosting the day and for teaching a dog to drive the committee boat and showing skills that many a Sonata helm could learn from.

See you all next year for more Sonatering shenanigans