Up the river

27 Sept 2015

(Elsa does not figure in today's story, it's just an account of a fun day on the river)

Today was the annual river race up to the Black Rabbit pub.

Only four dinghy crews turned out at 1000 on Sunday despite the lovely sunny weather and good breeze. Three safety boats were fully crewed so the race team outnumbered the participants.

The dinghies launched into the river but with masts down ready for the bridges. The commodore and the bosun had a motor on their Wayfarer and set off under their own power.

The lead RIB was carrying the flags and various items of racing equipment and set off up the river, the other RIBs took the dinghies under tow and set off after them. We had a lovely drive up the river with the incoming tide under us, winding our way up to Arundel.

There's two road bridges to pass under and once above them, we beached the fleet onto the river bank and set up for the race. The lead RIB went ahead all the way to the Black Rabbit to set the final marks into the river then returned to join the group,

Our newest RIB is named in memory of the late Susie Jenkins, our club secretary, and we'd arranged to pick up a group of her family at Arundel to join us for the ride. While we were handing out lifejackets and getting the family aboard, the four dinghies were getting themselves rigged and ready to go.

Using the hand flags on poles we ran the usual 5, 4, 1, Go sequence and they set off up the river. The Arun has many twists and turns but there's few long straights with no trees where the wind blows cleanly across. Nick and Roy managed to capsize their Wayfarer into the river and then had to beach themselves in the reeds to bale out, but the others made good progress.

In the lead RIB we raced ahead to set up the finish line across the river at the pub, just in time as David and Turner were going really well in the RS400 and completed the course in about 20 minutes. David was obviously first into the pub and the race team waited in the river for another 40 minutes or so until all four dinghies had made it.

We managed to moor all the boats and get ashore into the pub garden where various lunches and drinks were ordered and swiftly consumed as we had to get away sharpish before the ebb tide got too strong.

Our three RIBs rafted out from the pub's landing pontoon

At 2pm we repeated the sequence to start the race back. The commodore found himself over the start line and had to be assisted back against the current.

Collecting up our  marks once the sailors had passed, the RIB teams kept an eye on the boats and the current as we headed back to the finish line back on the riverbank above Arundel. No capsizes this time and all the boats were back over the line after 30 minutes. David was first across but then had a bit of a struggle to get himself beached again.

De-rigging the boats and getting the masts down took another few minutes. The ebbing tide was quite strong now as we took the sailors under tow and shot under the bridges and back down the river to Littlehampton, arriving back just before 4pm.

David won the races in both directions and everyone seemed to have a great day in perfect conditions. We've had 17 boats in previous years and only four this time so let's hope for more next year!

Black Rabbit 2015


Black Rabbit 2015

Up river - 27/9/15 at 1130

Start: Start 1, Finishes: Elapsed time, Wind dir: E, Ave wind: F2
2Wayfarer n s10092JennyLouise114533;090;28;572.0
3Tera Sport943Adelicia 145752;370;36;073.0
4Wayfarer n s7188NickRoy114557;070;49;534.0

Down river - 27/9/15 at 1400

Start: Start 1, Finishes: Elapsed time, Wind dir: E, Ave wind: F2
2Wayfarer n s7188NickRoy114529;130;25;312.0
3Wayfarer n s10092JennyLouise114530;320;26;403.0
4Tera Sport943Adelicia 145739;270;27;054.0

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