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Winners of the Open Fleet competititon, Chris W. Ingram (left)
and Valentin Nedyalkov of LCSC.

The mixed fleet heads towrds the O2 Arena


Greenwich Yacht Club hosted the 2015 London Regatta - the largest annual sailing event held on the River Thames. Forty one boats from eight London sailing centres and clubs took part.

The event is always held on the day of the annual test closure of the Thames Barrier. Whilst providing a rare visual backdrop, it also means that the tidal river is temporarily more like a lake, and closed to through traffic on the river.

This provides a once-a-year opportunity for dinghy sailors throughout London to compete on the stretch of the river from the Thames Barrier up to the O2 Arena without need for a tidal water qualification.

The weather was a mix of cloud and sunshine, reaching 19C and with wind speeds of 10-15 mph. In the early afternoon the Thames Barrier started to let water through and the resulting strong currents made it difficult for the sailors not used to it.

Boats were divided across two race tracks. Racing nearest the Thames Barrier were 17 Bosun class dinghies. The overall winner of the five Bosun races was Greenwich Yacht Club’s Alan Soper and his crew Anki. They won all of the five races.

On the other track nearer the O2 Arena were a mix of 18 boats of eight different types, and they raced each other four times on a timed handicap system. The overall winners in an X1 class boat were Valentin Nedyalkov and Chris W. Ingram from the London Corinthian Sailing Club in Hammersmith. It was the first time anyone from LCSC had entered the London Regatta and they won the first three of their four races.

Also on the track nearer the O2 Arena were six Topper dinghies sailed by some of the competition’s youngest entrants. The winner of the Topper class was Sasha Martin of Thamesmead YMCA. Sasha won all of her races for a clean sweep. Other Thamesmead YMCA winners were Reece Clark and Tom Clark in the Feva class, and GYC's James Buckley and Johannes Wolfing won the Stratos class.

Simon Powell, Race Director and Captain of the GYC Dinghy Section said “It was wonderful to see so many people out enjoying the river on a great day for sailing. Congratulations to everyone who took part and thank you to all members of GYC who helped to make it happen. We welcome everyone to come back again next year.”

Other London sailing clubs and centres are also welcome to contact Greenwich Yacht Club for an invitation in 2016.



Bosun dinghies compete against a backdrop of the raised Thames Barrier

James Buckley (left) and Johannes Wolfing of Greenwich YC won the Stratos class

Words & pictures: Clive Reffell

Story dated Sept 29th 2015