With the Summer weather of April almost over I am looking forward to the Autumn in May and Snow in June. What is happening to our weather?
Anyway, making the most of what we have, the racing programme is now well underway, Ladies sailing and Cadet evenings start this month and the first of our planned cruises will be here before you know it ( but hopefully not before Debbie and I have Just A Drifter in the water). Later in the newsletter you will see that we are holding a club open day on May the 9th in line with the RYA’s “Push The Boat Out”. The intention is to have the club open for potential new members to come and see what we get up to and perhaps take a ride in a dinghy or keelboat. I hope existing members will also take the opportunity to come down and try some other boats themselves too. If you have always wanted to try a particular boat in the club, please let me know and I will try to arrange it for you. Also we will have a Viper available for anyone who would like to try a modern, trailable, three crew keelboat with an asymmetric spinnaker.
Taking the theme of trying a boat that you have always wanted to have a go in, from the age of sixteen I have wanted to sail an International Canoe so recently I bought one. To my mind it is one of those dinghies that just looks right on the water (when it is upright that is) and there is something about a sliding seat that is just so interesting and challenging. Add the amazing amount of righting moment the “Plank” gives to the 3 foot wide 16 foot long hull with very little inherent stability and a mind of it’s own and you have a recipe for fun and disaster in equal measure. Last Sunday, still slightly under the weather from my hop allergy (hangover) contracted up during Jock Fellows J50 regatta, I decided to sail the Canoe in 18 to 20 knots of wind. This represented the most wind I had sailed it in but it was my first opportunity to race against Hugh DeIong in his canoe and I could not resist. Race one ended before it began with a capsize before the start. During this extended pre start swim my jib sheets tangled into knots that defied belief and my efforts to untie them. I had to sail into the beach to sort out the mess.
Race two was slightly better. I am not sure what happened to Hugh at the start but I had managed to get away on port and sailed out towards the middle of the harbour. At this point I was ahead of Hugh by quite a distance. Then I tacked. Hmm…another swim after which Hugh was ahead of me but still within hailing range. I sailed towards the windward mark and attempted another tack. Hmmm …another swim. Once I was upright again I could see Hugh about halfway along the next leg. I set off after him and he capsized at the gybe mark. “This could be my chance” I thought. I lined up for a gybe around the outside of Hugh but then notice that there was enough room to fit between his upturned hull and the gybe mark so I rushed my quick gybe in and …another swim. I won’t bore you with the full list of swims and anyway I lost count after a while but I did finish and these are the lessons I have learned about International Canoe sailing so far.
1)Any tack you sail away from is a good one. 2)Dyneema jib sheet tangle like Meg’s ears on a Spaniel’s bad hair day. 3)Just when you think you have got it under control it shows you that you really haven’t. 4)4 hours sitting on a plank in a wetsuit leads to a sore ….well you can guess but suffice to say that sitting on this train today is not comfortable and I am not sure I want callouses on my ….well, again, you can guess.
Towards the end of last season one of our members, Mike Renshaw, died from cancer. You may remember Mike working on and sailing his Hurley 22 Buckaroo and you may have seen him in the Summer driving the ferry boat. Mike was a keen and active member and I spoke to him during one Saturday afternoon and he was really enjoying being out on Durgan Belle. Since his death his Wife Tracey has been in contact to let us know that the money raised from the sale of his Hurley 22 “Buckaroo” and some other sailing related items has been donated to Cancer research. Mike was also building a boat which is now at Sunseekers college and Tracey hopes that when the boat is finished it will be auctioned later in the year.
Sadly we also lost another member to cancer recently. Geoff Armstrong was another great character around the club and at his funeral his long-time sailing partner Mike Howarth shared Geoff’s theory that there were only so many successful Wayfarer Spinnaker hoists in a sailing career and so it was best to use them wisely and not waste them. It was lovely to see Geoffs’s daughter, Jeni, sailing with Mike on Monday.
One last lesson that I learned this month is that my cruising life jacket is automatic. Who knew? I thought I had to pull a toggle to inflate it however, when I rinsed it after a recent Wednesday night race I got a surprise as it auto inflated in the bucket. Oh well, at least I know it works. Now I need to head to down to a chandler to have the gas bottle changed!
Have a great month and remember “Every day’s a school day”..…sorry kids ;0)
Spring has sprung and so has my belt! Well it has been let out a few notches after the brilliant month of dinners at the club. It may have put paid to my weight loss plans but March was certainly an entertaining and social month. Just Easter to get past and perhaps I will be able to lose a pound or two before my first sail of the season. I bought an International canoe recently so actually I see a lot of swimming in my near future in which case the extra blubber may come in useful ;0)
As mentioned on previous e-mails and Facebook posts, the winter work parties, led by Barry Grant, have left our club looking brilliant. Thank you to everyone who helped with the work and thank you to Rob Smith for getting an update onto the Yachts and Yachting website. We certainly have a club to be proud of and there have been some great improvements this winter. The most obvious change is the new enclosure below the balcony. Thanks for this goes to Barry Scutt who not only managed the project but attended on site meetings and negotiated with the architects. Rob White and team carried out the actual construction which, I think you will agree, looks fantastic. It has provided us with a great new workshop for maintaining the club work boats plus a training room which will be equipped shortly to allow for training events to run in their own environment. Although the workshop has been in operation for a couple of months now and the training room has been used for one event, we are planning to hold an official opening party on the evening of Saturday 18th April. More details will follow shortly but please come along to see the new facilities.
Not so obvious are the changes hidden away behind the scenes. For example, we now have improved water heating for the showers and a separate system for hot water and heating upstairs in the main club room and galley. Our engine replacement programme has been reinvigourated with Bill Barker sourcing, purchasing and fitting a new engine for our RIB Loafer. Loafer’s old engine in now on Tern II meaning that Tern II will once again be a reliable part of our rescue fleet. Bill also managed to sell Tern’s old engine and the plan now is to regularly replace engines on the work boats to ensure they are reliable and that we realise as much of the residual value of the old engines as possible. Chris Forrest has lead the work boat repairs and maintenance this year with improvements to Durgan Belle and the usual stripping and antifouling.
Even less obvious still, is the new drain which will take the rainwater from the car park and transport it away to a new French drain, rather than forming large puddles in the dinghy park. Dave Hinton and team worked hard to dig the drain, removing several tonnes of clay and replacing it with stone.
The club room has been painted along with the bar. The external fencing and perimeter railings have also been painted, the sea wall surrounding the dinghy park has been repaired, kitchen cleaned, the garden has been tended and we are set for another great season of sailing. The pontoons that form our pier are also repaired and painted thanks to John Kirby and team.
Improvements to this year’s social arrangements see the expansion of catering to Monday evenings. Similar to Wednesday evenings our new caterer, Amanda Rankin, will cook a variety of meals with the rotored club members acting as “Front of House” rather than having to buy, prepare, serve and wash up. This decision was made following feedback to the General Committee via the member’s representatives. Weekend catering will remain a volunteered Tea and Sandwiches arrangement. Whilst talking about volunteering I have to thank Helen Rollinson for taking on a new method for allocating duties whereby she invited members to the club during the winter to select your prefered duty or date. This has been a great success and I hope will expand so that everyone will take the opportunity thus reducing the number of duty swaps required. John Pym has been busy loading all of the duty details onto Dutyman so that if you do need to lookup you duties details or arrange a swap you can use Dutyman to do so. Keith Ellis has developed a new system for finding crewing opportunities or offering your crewing services. More details to follow.
With the wind blowing a gale outside at the moment I hope it dies down to give the keelboats owners good weather for their launch and for all of you to have a great Easter and great sailing.
See you on the water..or in my case this year ..in it.
Richard B 18/02/2015
Welcome to the spring newsletter.
As I write this it is a beautiful, spring like day and the harbour looks perfect for a bit of pre season sailing. I have just arrived home from another excellent Sunday work party with all the usual gardening, sanding, filling, painting, ferryboat preparation, etc. I am really pleased to say the under balcony closure is almost complete with the new boat shed in full use. It has certainly transformed the job of working on the club boats from a cold semi outside job to a comfortable indoors one. The Training room is going to be a huge bonus to the club too. At the junction between the car park and the dinghy park some world class concreting has taken place around our new drain. This concrete has been beautifully signed by George Fellows. Meg did have her paw print in it too but Dave Hinton Smoothed that over.
Talking of “World class”, January was a very impressive and successful month for some of our members. Most note worthy are the exploits of Glen Truswell and Sam Pascoe who after winning the International 14 Nationals, Prince of Wales cup and European championships in 2014 have just returned from Australia where they dominated the 2015 World championships. Sam’s Sister Megan Pascoe claimed Silver in the IASF World Cup in Miami and another club member, Tim Gallego, sailed to victory in the Adams 10 square metre class championships held over the Australia Day weekend on Sydney Harbour. Wow that’s quite impressive for January.
Closer to home a few hardy souls are sailing on Saturday mornings, taking part in our own Aussie Summer series. If you are interested in taking part, please contact James Bishop who is doing a great job of organising it this year.
Further in the newsletter you will see part two of the cruising round up for 2014. Thanks Peter Eustace and contributors for putting that together. Mike Conroy is putting the finishing touches to this years comprehensive schedule of cruises and events so if reading Peter’s article inspires you to do a bit more cruising and would like to do it in company, please contact Mike or come along to one of the Cruiser evenings, the next one of which is in early March.
It is getting close to ‘Dinner’ season with the Cruiser Dinner on 7th March, Dinghy Dinner 14th March and and Keelboat Dinner on the 21st. These events are a great way to start the season so please put them in your diaries and sign up early to avoid disappointment.
Whilst on the subject of parties and dinners have I ever told you about the time I tried to impress a girl in the Lerwick Boat club with my wit and repartee? No! Ah well your luck’s in (mine wasn’t) as I am going to tell you now. It was during the double handed round Britain and Ireland race in 1989. We had reached the Shetland islands, so we were approximately halfway round. During the Round Britain race, the Lerwick boat club holds a continuous party for the competitors. During our 48 hour stopover my skipper, Nick Barber, and I went along to relax and savour the party atmosphere. It was brilliant, the locals club members were so welcoming and even at 3pm in the afternoon the party was well attended by locals and competitors alike. At some point during the early evening I found myself talking to a very attractive young lady. Not being particularly articulate in those days, I thought I would impress her by dropping into the conversation that I studied yacht design at Southampton and was currently designing racing sails.
“Oh you’re designer” she said.
“Yes” I replied, a little taken aback but also quite pleased by her enthusiastic response.
“Do you use the Finite element principle?” she asked (turned out she was an architect and knew a thing or two about designing stuff. Dooh!)
I was a bit flummoxed, I had no idea what the Finite element was let alone the fact that it had principles! I gathered my thoughts and bought myself some extra time by taking a bite out off a prawn Vol au Vent (my literal translation “full of wind”). All I could think of to say was,
“No, I use a fine graphite pencil.”
Unfortunately, having only recently returned from two years in Hong Kong and still ‘between accents’, I said it with that sort of mid Atlantic, rising inflection which made it sound a bit like I was implying: “if you know what one of those is...”
She turned, helped herself to another canape and headed towards the bar and disappeared into the crowd and out of my life. That was that. Fortunately we sailed at 1am the following morning so there was no chance of further embarrassment or bumping into her again.
I hope your preparations for the coming season are going well (better than my chat up technique anyway) and I look forward to seeing your either at one of the dinners or at the club soon.
Winter has arrived. The wind is howling outside. There is a weather bomb is on the way or has been or missed us or something. Anyway, this is a great time of year to sit in by the fire with a glass of Mulled wine ( or a cup of tea ) and reflect on the sailing season past. I am really pleased that Peter Eustace has sent us a brilliant update of some of the long distance cruiser’s activities. These kind of trips are a real inspiration to those of us who are new to cruising, and even though I did not manage to even cross the channel this year, it does give us an indication of what is possible.
The racing scene is still very much in action and Richard Woof is progressing with getting the local clubs keelboat racers to sign up to the IRC system for next season as a basis to some great racing.
Talking of racing, I am going to break my normal rule for these opening paragraphs and talk about a recent sailing experience. So recent my body still aches from it!
James Cash very kindly invited me to sail with him on his Jeanneau Sunshine 36’ “Sunshine”. The forecast was for 25 knots with occasional gusts of 30. The rest of the crew were relatively inexperienced and one thing James wanted me to do on board was help them to understand the spinnaker a bit better Well as you will see from the photograph taken from Steve Dadd’s boat, “Rumrunner”, we experience something well into the 30 knot range on the final run. We certainly knew how to control the spinnaker by the end of it!. It was exciting to say the least. That is us in the background just going into a spectacular broach. By the look on Steve’s face I think he was on the verge of a similar issue. Of course the faster boats like Jo 90 with Richard Woof and crew aboard were so far ahead they were probably safely in the marina by this point.
There are a few social events I need to remind you of:
This Saturday 13th December we have the Christmas curry, cider evening. Bring a curry of your choice. Starts at 7pm. Sunday 21st December: The Commodore’s punch party. Starts around 12:30 after racing. Please bring a plate of food to share.
Wednesday 24th December: Lantern parade. Bring your own Lantern. Meet at the clubhouse, light your lantern, walk along the Rodwell trail to Sandsfoot Castle, sing a Christmas song or two and back to the club to warm up at the bar . Festive nibbles included.
Thursday 25th December: Christmas day
Friday 26th December: Commodore’s boxing day harbour challenge. Course opens at 10:30. Complete a circuit of all the CCSC race marks in the fastet time possible. Current record holder is Mike Dencher in his RS 700. Can he go faster in his Musto Skiff? Will the Moths turn out? Fastest keelboat last year was Kay and Kevin and Arthur Stibbs aboard Draig O’ Mor with Steve Brackley’s “Wildfire” also on the course. There will be divisions for fastest Scorpion, Laser 2000, Laser, Keelboat, etc so if you fancy a bit of a festive dash please come along to join in. The course will close at 12 noon.
Wednesday 31st: New Years eve Party. Details and a sign up list are on the club notice board
Wow, and that is 2014 done and dusted. Thank you for all your support this year, I hope you have a great Christmas and a Happy New year and I look forward to seeing you at the club in 2015.
Richard B. email@example.com 13/11/2014
It is November and the AGM is not far away. I would urge you please to come to the club on the night not only to hear how we have done as a club this year but also to have an opportunity to comment on and influence the way we operate in the future.
I could start this month with some very amusing observations of the Dinner Dance from a Sober October perspective. Being one of the few sober people in the room at the end of the night was quite interesting and it is amazing how many of those slightly more socially confused members present, thought it would be a good idea to continue in one of the local night clubs. This was an idea they were later to regret judging by the look in their eyes the next morning. The fact that one member relieved himself in his lounge at home rather than the toilet should be noted and I have still to discover whether his wife has fully forgiven him. Not to be outdone though, his Father in a completely separate incident, could not find his trousers when he awoke on Sunday morning. He had a few panicky moments trying to recall how he got home and whether or not he had been wearing all his clothes at the time. He still cannot remember the journey but was relieved to find his trousers later that morning, in the conservatory. I do not wish to cause any more suffering by teasing cheap laughs from other peoples misfortunes so I am not going to mention any of that….Oh I already have!
It was a great night and one of the classic Castle Cove Dinner Dances. Thanks to Ian Green for producing the trophy winners list, Sandra and Rob Smith for arranging the trophies and Debbie for putting the whole thing together. And thank you to those who attended and made donations at the tables. You were very generous and we collected £150 to pay for the Fireworks on Saturday 8th November.
I expect you are wondering where I am writing this months opening bit. Well Dear Reader it will not surprise you to hear that I am on a train travelling to a meeting for work. This particular meeting is in Crewe and I have just left Maiden Newton with approximately five and half hours to go so this opening could be a long one!
Photographs are great aren't they? Debbie recently unearthed a shoe box full of my old pictures from sailing seasons past. There are a few that I thought I should share with you and I wonder, can you identify the Castle Cove members in them? The eighties soap star putting in an appearance at the Dinghy show on 1990?
The skinny chap in his glasses and shirt at the same show?
The little boy with his friends gathered around his “Speedy” Intenational Moth in 1976. (This boat was bought for the little boy by his brother so the brother could have someone else crew for him in his Scorpion.)
Or the Adonis in his swimmers and speed week tee shirt circa 1979?
1979 was a good year for me sailing wise. In those days my brother Adam was working for High Performance sailboats building Fireballs and Scorpions and as two scallywags with barely two pennies to rub together, we were very lucky and allowed to borrow Scorpion 1829 “Odin’s Raven” to sail at events on the open meeting circuit. Many of the events in those days were hosted at venues in the south east. Clubs like Bexhill, Hythe and Saltwood, Rye Harbour and Tankerton Bay and it seemd like we were always driving to the east. Now the Tankerton Bay event of 1979 was particularly special and is one I would like to tell you about today. The roads were not great back then and the journey could take a very long time so to avoid traffic delays we opted to drive over night. We set of from Wareham in Andy Barker’s VW camper ( a bay window not a splitty for the VW enthusiasts) at midnight and drove east with Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” blazing from the cassette player. As I could not contribute towards the driving (I was only sixteen) I thought the decent thing to do was not to go to sleep but to keep talking to Adam to keep him awake. We were aiming to arrive at Tankerton by 6am when we planned to sleep in the van until midday. Tiredness finally caught up with me at around 5:30 in the morning and I drifted of to sleep with my head against the side window, only to be awoken by a large bump in the road. A bump so large that it woke Adam too and we both spent several seconds looking bleary eyed into the pitch dark night at the round-a-bout we had mounted.
“How long were you asleep?” I asked.
“No idea” replied Adam.
I opened the door and looked at the tyre marks in the flower bed below
“Where are we?”
“No idea” replied Adam.
And so we climbed out of the van and walked back along the road until we found a road sign from which we could determine that we were somewhere outside of Seasalter. We returned to the van and Adam carefully reversed it and boat off the round-a-about and we completed the last few miles to Marine Parade, Tankerton with the windows wide open and the cassette playing at full volume.
Blessed relief. We settled down for a few hours sleep only to be rudely woken again an hour or so later by loud banging on the side of the van. Adrian Lingwood, another Scorpion sailor and competitor was outside shouting,
“Come on lads. First start is at 9:30”
“What? 9:30? Surely it should be 1:30? The first start is always 1:30” “Not here. They sail when the tide is in here! First start is at 9:30”
And so it was that we hurriedly rigged the boat and made it to the first race at 9:30. I cannot remember how we did but I don’t think we covered ourselves in glory. With the race having started so early were back ashore by 1:30pm where the bar and sea wall made an obvious choice to spend the rest of the day. We sat there for several happy hours, enjoying several soothing beers, sitting in the sunshine, gazing at the long expanse of flat sand that ran to the sea in the distance.
During the afternoon a fellow scorpion competitor approached us and said to Adam,
“I really like what you have done under the foredeck of that new boat of yours.”
“Thanks very much,” replied Adam. “Yes I am quite pleased with it.”
“Yes, amazing,” the chap continued. “The way you have made the lower foredeck undulate like that is quite an achievement. How did you make it fit?”
Now Adam looked puzzled, the lower foredeck just a flat surface, but not wishing to offend he politely said,
“Well you know... we build these boats in a female mould and we use epoxy fillets to make them strong…..” He blurbed on for a while until the fellow Scorpion sailor’s eyes glazed over a bit, made his excuses walked on probably regretting that he had asked. Once he had gone Adam and I rushed down to the boat to see what he had been talking about.
During the building of Odin, Roger Hull (Andy Barker’s partner at High Performance) had opted not to install a bung in the front tank believing in the theory that: “If water could not get in, then there was no need to let it out.” Good theory. What Roger had not considered was that with Odin being painted black and the seal of the front tank being so good that no air was escaping, the heat of the sun had expanded the air inside the forward buoyancy tank enormously, deforming the thin plywood lower foredeck, which was glued around the edges and along the central former, into a shape that resembled Mae West’s cleavage on a good day (you younger types need to think of Jordan the super model on a good day). The only way we could think of to deflate it was by using buckets of cold sea water to cool the hull. We then moved it as close to the seawall as possible to shade it from the sun. Fortunately, no permanent damage was done and Roger installed a bung shortly afterwards. Odin went on to win two national championships with Tony Wetherall at the helm. He made it go much faster than we ever did. Probably had more sleep! One last picture to finish off. Our beloved hearse, Geoff, as mentioned a few months ago.
Look at those clothes. We were fashionistas in those days.