The National 12 fleet contested the Thames Challenge Cup at Twickenham SC on Sunday

A glorious summer day greeted the eight boats that arrived on the banks of the Thames to partake in the National 12 Twickenham open meeting on the 14 September. There was a light breeze, although slightly fickle in direction, with which the competitors had to contend, but the warmth and sun – more than made up for this in the enjoyment stakes. Race officer Ray Sellings laid a simple figure of eight course, with the boats starting towards Richmond.

The first race saw Will and Arthur Henderson round the first mark just ahead of the chasing pack. On the way back up to the start line, John and Mandy Thornton managed to get in front and these two boats had a close race around the remaining three laps of the course with the Hendersons taking the honours. Third place was closely contested by Bob and Maggie Murrell , Dave and Caroline Croft and Fran Gifford, crewed by Helen Hilditch, with third place eventually going to Murrell.

A break for lunch and the refreshed competitors were back on the water with the Thorntons taking a flyer off the line at the start of race two. They held that lead throughout the race, with all of the other boats having a close race. Will Henderson, now crewed by elder son Robert eventually took second with the Murrells again third.

With the final result still undecided – along with the wind direction – the last race proved to be the closest of the three and the most exciting from the spectators point of view. At the end of the second lap – all eight boats were within a couple of boat lengths of each other and led to tactical sailing round the mark (which was right outside the race box). Eventually the Thorntons did edge out ahead and a change in direction of the tide allowed them to extended their lead throughout the remaining two laps. Henderson finished with another second and Murrell took third.

Overall Results

1st John and Mandy Thornton N3468 Pillow Fight Henley SC

2nd Will, Arthur and Robert Henderson N3418 New Isabelle Tamesis Club

3rd Bob and Maggie Murrell N3332 Thursday’s Child Chipstead SC