Medway Sonatas Race Report – 14th October 2023

The temperature had definitely dropped this week, the crew of Screwloose were busy discussing and adjusting layers when we were joined by our Treasurer who threatened to show us his thermal thong. Being somewhat eager to get out on the water, and away from the Treasurer, we paid little attention to the course selection when it was suggested, sure, how could the motley crew of Watersong mess that up? Incidentally, did you know that only 2 of the 6 boats that crossed the start line actually finished this week? Incincidentally – okay, there is a distinct possibility this is not a real word – did you know that we have no protocol for report writing if fewer than 3 boats finish?

So, the course was agreed*, 29, the wind was north-westerly and high water had been reached at 13:35. The race was on, Screwloose bungled the start and was in a solid 6th. It was a spinnaker run down to 29, then back up to 30A. Screwloose had a competence failure on the spinnaker drop and left the poll up, our mumbling captain put in an extra tack after 29 to give us a chance to rectify the situation, this was a fortuitous turn of events, placing us on the opposite side of the river it gave us clear air and propelled us into 3rd. It was then another spinnaker run down to 18, via 29 – a minor factoid that eluded the good ship Musical Express. By avoiding this pesky mark, they were able to firm up a very convincing 2nd place. In first position was Watersong, surprise, 2nd and really 2nd were Musical and Screwloose. Bluetack and Skipper were battling for 3rd with Thistle on their heels. It was a bit of a procession down to 18, but after that the wind seemed to split the fleet, the back three boats were pushed further back, or should I say the skill of the front boats propelled them ever forward? Okay, wind.

Screwloose continued to make up ground ( water? ) on Watersong and Musical, by 28 we were finally close enough to Musical to helpfully inform them of their error. They decided to retire rather than unwind. It was a grind up to 30A in a heavy tide, Screwloose centimetring closer and closer to Watersong, once around 30A it was back to 30. I won’t lie, we were desperately looking around for a finishing boat, but no such luck. As we rounded 30 for the final time we saw Bluetack and Thistle still fighting the tide to 30A, Skipper was some way back.

We finally reached Heartbreak Ridge, leaving Bluetack, Thistle, and Skipper with the unenviable task of returning to 30. Watersong stayed further out in the tide favouring the wind, Screwloose tacked up against the shore. It was touch and go as to how things would turn out, the pressure was on. Things were heating up on Watersong, had the matching branded thermal tongs been a mistake? It was at this point Skipper came creeping up, under motor, probably realising there was insufficient time to complete the course. Watersong made it over the line followed, not that far behind, by Screwloose.

We sat on the porch enjoying cake and beer as we watched, and willed on, the remaining two boats, Bluetack and Thistle. Thistle retired as the clock was ticking down on Bluetack, would they make it to the finish line in time? Well, if anyone is left reading this and can remember back to the beginning of the report you will recall only two boats finished.

Well done everyone, it was a tough race, certainly more interesting than last week!
* we take no responsibility for the choice of course