© Charlie Roome

Ranelagh Down River Race Report

Charlie Roome - 24th September 2013

A select group of Larks braved the dismal forecast for the annual pilgrimage to race down the Thames at Ranelagh.

Once again the dark and stormies flowed on Saturday night and whilst the America's Cup didn't progress much further towards a conclusion, Ranelagh however waits for no Larry Ellison, and racing took place on Sunday morning (albeit with a short delay).

Visitors were from far and wide - this year our Kiwi team chose not to bring their boat, but boats came from as far east and west as you can get on our island - Penzance in Cornwall and Waldringfield in Suffolk.

The America's Cup may be trialling reaching starts, but Ranelagh again proved that they are the true pioneers. You must be afloat by the start, but can push off from anywhere!

Charlie Roome and Simon Haighton got the best jump at the start, chased by Ryan Crawford and Laura Lily. In true Ranelagh style the fleet concertinaed just before the turning mark off Chelsea, and briefly first Chris Whitehouse and Holly Hewat, then Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook ghosted through and went for a rapid hoist of their "Code Zero".

However with no leeward gate for the fleet to split, the mark was placed on the other bank, and Crawford/Lily rounded just ahead of Roome/Haighton.

The race back up to the club turned into a decent beat where Roome/Haighton escaped into the lead after their boundary light failed to flash and they ghosted through a different arch, but the last laugh went to Crawford/Lily who played the shifts to cross the line off the Putney branch of America's Cup Park deserved victors.

They were presented with the Mike Jackson Trophy, donated for the event by the class designer in person two years ago. And so next year the defender is from the mighty Cornwall, but unusually this deed of gift specifies the event venue, so our friends from the South West must return to face all comers next year.

Top Three
1st Ryan Crawford and Laura Lily (Penzance SC)
2nd Charlie Roome and Simon Haighton (Ranelagh SC)
3rd Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook (Waldringfield SC)