Thames Trafalgar Race 2016 - report and pictures

The fourth Thames Trafalgar Race weekend – conceived by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston when President of the Little Ship Club and jointly organised by the LSC and Erith YC – started with a convivial evening briefing, followed by supper, at the Little Ship Club, Bell Wharf Lane, in the City of London on Friday 9 September.

Saturday 10 September dawned cloudy with a brisk southerly wind. A number of the competing yachts were berthed in the delightful Limehouse Basin marina (£140 for two weeks – TTR special deal) from which locking-out began just after 0700. The run down river past former Deptford Royal Dockyard and the Old Naval Hospital at Greenwich was devoid of traffic but choppy in the stiff breeze.

The Thames Barrier monitoring and timing crews and their two Barrier boats were gathered at Greenwich YC by 0800 ready to take up their positions, one on the up-stream and the other on the down-stream side of the Barrier.

By 0900 all the competing yachts were tacking back and forth across Blackwall Reach awaiting the two starts, the first for the faster ‘A’ fleet and the second for the slower ‘B’ Fleet.  The weather caused a slight delay, but the ‘A’ Fleet started at 0920 and the ‘B’ Fleet followed ten minutes later. The gusting wind drove both classes quickly around O2 and onto a beat towards Greenwich YC and the turn into Woolwich Reach and the Thames Barrier. In accordance with PLA regulations, sound signals from the up-stream Barrier boat indicated 'engines on and sheets free' to each yacht in turn as they motored through. The down-stream Barrier boat signalled 'engines off' and the competitors continued to race, on past the Woolwich Ferry and into Gallions Reach.

The increasing wind provided some challenging conditions as the yachts turned through reach after reach. Those challenges were added to by the departure from the Pool of London of the Russian oligarch’s mega super yacht ‘A’ shortly followed by the much more classic National Geographic’s ‘Orion’. Once these two substantial obstacles were clear, both fleets raced on beneath the QE2 Bridge at Dartford, ‘A’ fleet continuing down to Gravesend, while ‘B’ Fleet turned back up river to beat over the tide to the finishing line of the first leg off Erith YC. The powerful wind conditions resulted in several broaches and, for one yacht, an over-close encounter with a large starboard hand buoy – fortunately with minimal damage. All competitors were safely moored off Erith YC by early afternoon and, that evening, everyone enjoyed a terrific Trafalgar Dinner on both floors of Erith clubhouse, such were the numbers of competitors and race officials there.

Sunday brought bright, sunny and calm conditions, with much lighter south to south westerly breezes slowly filling-in. The tide dictated a relaxed morning with the second up-river leg scheduled for 1330 – A and B fleets this time starting together with the flood. And what a grand sight it made, with almost 30 yachts jockeying for position near the Erith start line. The signal was given and away they went, one yacht taking the mud on the Essex shore, the rising tide releasing her a short while later.  

Up river, past the old Fords of Dagenham site, then Barking Creek with its massive flood protection gate, on past the entrances to the old Royal Docks in Gallions Reach and, once again, the turn into Woolwich Reach, the Woolwich Ferry and through the Thames Barrier – Barrier boats in attendance as before. Round the O2 and the finish in Blackwall Reach came in sight. Due to the much lighter wind conditions, the Erith YC race officer extended the time from 1600 to 1700 and all the competing yachts successfully completed this sinuous and tricky river course well within the additional time allowed. Some competitors returned to Limehouse while others went back down river to their own club moorings, or on to Queenborough for the night, before continuing the following day to their home ports in Kent, Essex and distant Suffolk.

Altogether, this fourth Thames Trafalgar Open Race proved a great and most enjoyable event, giving all the competitors the chance to race on the demanding waters of Old Father Thames. In 2017, the TTR will again be held in September, due to the continuing unsuitable weekend tides in October. The dates will be published shortly – don’t miss them – the PLA will only allow a maximum of 40 yachts to compete.

If you wish to get the earliest notification of dates for the 2017 race, sign up to our news list by emailing thamesracing@littleshipclub.co.uk

Some of the photos are below, with more on Sally Armstrong's website www.solentpics.com/ or in our online gallery HERE

Pictures by Louis Ma now online! Full gallery HERE and also below. 

Please note that copyright for these photographs belongs to the photographer, requests for copies or permission to use or reproduce them must be obtained by contactingSally via www.solentpics.com/ 

LSC, its members and others can access all pictures take by Louis Ma here for personal use and in connection with TTRs business, acknowledgement to Louis Ma please.

 

Results of the 2016 Thames Trafalgar Race

Overall Results

A Class

1 Irene             
2 Nimbus
3 Principessa

B Class

1 Cirrus
2 Caroline
3 Petit Fleur

Line honours Saturday

A Class Principessa
B Class Petit Fleur

Line honours Sunday

A Class Principessa
B Class Hot Pursuit

Sir Robin Knox Johnston Trophy (Awarded to the yacht club with the highest placed three finishers)

Greenwich YC

Full results HERE

More photos of the regatta at Sally Armstrong's website www.solentpics.com/ or in our Facebook Gallery HERE

Please note that copyright for these photographs belongs to the photographer, requests for copies or permission to use or reproduce them must be obtained by contacting Sally via www.solentpics.com/

Pictures by Louis Ma now online! Full gallery HERE and also below. 

LSC, its members and others can access all pictures take by Louis Ma here for personal use and in connection with TTRs business, acknowledgement to Louis Ma please.