A new season almost upon us….

The new programme for 2015 has been drawn up and with the co-operation of the weather the River Race Series hopes to run 10 races from May to October. Over the years the usual formula to hold a river race has depended upon three factors, a minimum tidal height of 3.5m (Exmouth Dock), over a weekend and sufficient daylight.  The first factor is a prerequisite, the last is preferable!! Invariably this has allowed nine races to be programmed, but this year we will try a last ‘tenth’ race in October – ‘wind and tide permitting’.

2015 started off with the customary River Race Dinner held at the Ship Inn. The event proves ever popular, brightening up at least one evening in the depths of winter; even the threat of January snow did not deter the Solent contingent from heading west to Axmouth. The ‘Ship’ put on their usual excellent menu, the dinner was much enjoyed by all. The awards & presentations followed, Teal won the K.E. Trophy and Gannet once again won the Shell Trophy, but only just, and then on a technicality; no doubt it will be hotly contested again this season.

Back to last year, remarkably all the races were sailed with no cancellations; a first ever for the River Race Series. This included all the individual cup races; Round the Island Race, Shower Flow Race and the ever popular Harbour Race.

The AYC River Race Series handicaps were re-calculated during the winter of 2013 using historical results data from the previous three years. This took some time to achieve and was calculated in two different formats which were then amalgamated and averaged. The handicaps apply to all entrants racing for the River Shield (the pre-eminent trophy of the RRS and now in its 58th year). Each helm/boat has been designated a handicap irrespective of the class, including the AODs; who relinquished their standard PY number for this particular series. It has produced some close results, with corrected times being only a few seconds apart; hopefully providing encouragement to all.

2014 River Race Series Results

The River Shield

It is good to see a new name appearing as overall winner. The trophy is open to all classes and last year was raced under the revised handicapping system. David Barnett in his Lymington River Scow Merhaba (No.500) put in consistently good results throughout the season, which ultimately paid off with an overall win – well done David.

Bryan Davis in his AOD Gemini (No.8) came in second and Ken & Morag Steven in their AOD Tern (No.21) came a very creditable third place overall – excellent effort considering this was only their second season of sailing, let alone racing!

AOD Class Trophy

Jack Drew Cup (no handicaps – one design racing) was won by Bryan Davis, with Mike & Jane Calvert in Teal second & Ken & Morag in Tern in third place.

Most of the river activities other than racing took place in the particularly good weather of 2014; except that is, for the Pimm’s River trip where due to fresh conditions it was unfortunately abandoned. This was made up for with the post Round the Island Race ‘tea’, strawberries & cream (& Pimms) on Coronation Green.  Some ventured out to sea and it has to be said that an ice cream stop at Seaton Hole is well worth the effort, just for the café’s home made rum & raisin cornets – although caution is advised when subsequently taking the helm.

Bart’s Bash

No Fowey Classics last year, although the event returns in 2015. The AODs trip to the Beaulieu River just caught the last of the Indian summer in September. Again we are grateful to the RSYC for their hospitality and launching facilities. The trip had been organised some time back which meant the AODs were away for the AYC’s Bart’s Bash. Undeterred, the six AODs were invited to take part in the Beaulieu River Sailing Club’s Bart’s Bash, joining the fleet of local Beaulieu River scows, totalling some 48 dinghies. Fresh conditions from the NE made for an exciting race, if a little damp for some. AOD No.23 Gannet, made an uncomfortable rounding of the gybe mark which resulted in a capsize. As ever there is no recovery from an inversion of an AOD, fortunately the river bank was close by and after a quick emptying with the grateful assistance of BRSC patrol boat, the crew returned to the slip. Amazingly the crew’s i-phone retained it’s watertight integrity – shame the opportunity for some underwater action shots was missed!

Mike & Jane Calvert in Teal put in their usual excellent performance which resulted in them gaining an overall position of 778th ,  this out of some 30,000 Barts’s Bash entrants world wide – not bad for an AOD!  In recognition of their achievement they were awarded the K.E.Y.Ss  K.E. Trophy at the River Race Dinner in January.

[miniflickr user=”53914894@N03″ tags=”2014 race results” sort=”date-posted-asc”]Stephen Daniel in Swallow came 936th with possibly one of the youngest crews, Lola at 6yrs old.

Nigel Daniel in Whimbrel was placed 1455th

Bryan Davis in Gemini was placed 1669th

And Ken & Morag Steven in Tern were placed 5910th

The last event of the season took place ‘up the river’ with brunch at the head of Vicarage Creek in early October. This proved to be a first rate venue in the lee of the reed beds where sausages, bacon & eggs could be cooked on various camping stoves in perfect shelter from the northerly breeze. One of our youngest participants at three years old thoroughly enjoyed himself in the bow of Tern, with sabre in hand (stick), his only disappoint was the lack of pirates on the Axe!

Lets hope 2015 proves to be an equally successful season for the AODs.


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