Sadly only two boats left Aquarius on Saturday 15th June to carry the club burgee. Bryan Clements was to sail one and Richard Cannon and I the other. Due to the strong wind Bryan decided that wisdom was to be a spectator whilst Richard and I braved the elements.
After finding a nut loose in the cockpit (other than Cannon and Hendra) and dressing the naked thread, we made a late dash for the line and executed a perfect start. Conditions were difficult particularly with a geriatric crew with a combined age close to 150 plus another 45 for the boat, but we sailed well and watched others fall around us. Our course cycle time was about ten minutes with six cycles in the race and we were half way through four when the squall hit.
We had just tacked, I had waited for the head to come round, released the port sheet and hardened up the starboard when the gust struck us. I frantically struggled to free the sheet as water came over the starboard gunwale but it was too late and slowly I slid into the chilly water.
Richard was still in the boat only partly immersed, eventually he held his nose and dropped into the river but only because he had very little other option.
Ignominiously we could not recover the boat and suffered the complete indignity of a Patrol Boat rescue with me being hauled out of the stream by my buoyancy vest. Bedraggled and soaking we were returned to the club for a shower, a change and lunch. Race two was considered but without another change of clothes and with strengthening winds we threw in the towel and went back home. The Hampton weather station recorded a maximum wind of 35mph!!
SigneTs can capsize if the genoa sheet is not released in time so the dunking was the crew's fault. Perhaps my squall indicator needs a new battery!
With Rodger joining the fleet on Sunday, the number of boats swelled by 50% to three but the wind was far more kindly, the risks far less and the results for Aquarius unexciting.