The first Silver Tiller of the season, hosted by Ranelagh SC, was held on a blustery river Thames. The Thames Barrier had been shut, allowing 22 enthusiastic boats – representing 9 clubs – a competitive sail in the comparatively slack tidal stream.
After a brief postponement to allow the rowing eights to clear the race track, the officer of the day – Margaret Stokes – got the fleet away first time.
Quickest out of the blocks were the Dalby brothers sailing the General Lee who led the fleet up river towards Hammersmith Bridge. However, by the first turn at Crabtree, it was Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis in Two Pints of Lager who had seized the initiative. These two sailed impeccably, stretching out their lead at the front of the fleet for the remainder of the race to record a comfortable victory.
Those further down the order found the racing a little trickier. There was some impressive tactical duelling for the places from 2nd to 5th – with Duncan Salmon and Ian Garwood sailing Salmon en Croute eventually taking the runners up spot and Alex Jackson and Chris Downham in Monkey Business finishing third.
The rest of the fleet were kept on their toes by the gusts rolling down the Middlesex bank. A few were caught out – taking impromptu dips. The five Ranelagh boats enjoyed plenty of jostling for position, with Phil Plumtree and Liam Dempsey sailing ‘Shenandoah’ achieving home honours in eighth place.
The meeting was rounded off with beef stew and chocolate brownie and ice cram desert in the club house. A good time was had by all.