Porthpean Sailing Club  
Webmaster's Sailing Blog 2018
2006 blog 2007 blog 2008 blog 2009 blog 2010 blog 2011 blog 2012 blog 2013 blog 2014 blog 2015 blog 2016 blog 2017 blog

Return to the Beach.

Please Note. The comments and pictures on this blog are solely my own personal views & are not necessarily the views of Porthpean Sailing Club.

Click on any picture to view a larger version.

March 19th

Putin's Revenge
yardl Well a couple of weeks ago we had the “Beast from the East” weather system passing over us. Even in Cornwall we suffered from some snow fall, though overall certainly not as much as the rest of the country. Then for a while the weather warmed up a little but it still has been exceptionally wet as the water pouring off the green has proven. In the meantime we have had a Russian murdered in Salisbury. The blame has been attributed to the Kremlin and certain measures have been taken by our Government against Russia and so in revenge it seems that Putin has ordered another “Beast from the East” to descend on Britain, resulting in another bitterly cold weekend. Alarmingly the countdown to the start of the sailing season clock shows 5 days to go to the start of our season, but will we want to start?

Most jobs on the lsit have been completed; certainly enough of them to allow us to start sailing and the keen ones are ready and willing to go. I suppose I should count myself in that number but I must admit to feeling a little bit of trepidation as I look out of the window and see the lawn covered in a light covering of snow. The snow on its own isn’t too bad, but the fact that the temperature is hovering around zero plus a wind chill that takes it even lower is more than enough to keep me land bound for a little longer yet.

It was milder during the week gone by; mild enough for Denis to launch his new craft. Well actually it was Stacey who took her out for her first sail and managed to capsize before he even left the beach. Apparently there is a knack to getting in the boat when afloat that Staecy discovered. Anyway the capsized boat was righted and eventually the boat and Stacey sailed off into the bay. Ken put some video of the launch on the Club F/B page, which is worth looking at. I am told the boat performed admirably and both Stacey and Denis were pleased with the overall experience. Let’s hope that Denis doesn’t have too many holidays booked for this year, otherwise we won’t see very much of the boat on the water.

Oh yes I even found out today that my query about which fleet the pesky Kestrel will sail in this season has been resolved. The Kestrel will now sail in the slow fleet. I don’t know whether to feel pleased or not as we have had some good battles with the pesky Kestrel over the last few seasons and I will surely miss those anxious times when we try and calculate whilst racing whether we had accrued enough time to be able to beat her on handicap. Talking about the Kestrel reminds me that Janet is hopefully fully recuperated and is itching to get back on the water and it will be fantastic to see Janet & Pete sailing together again. I’m not sure if the wooden Scorpions will be ready in time. The poor weather of late has slowed Andrew’s TLC to his boat down somewhat. Paint and varnish do not harden very well in cold or damp weather, though I think all the plastic boats will manage to make the start of the season if the helms are willing and able.

The wild weather over the last few weeks has played havoc with the beach. The far side has been completely denuded of sand below the high water mark and there are loads and loads of boulders / stones exposed. Even our launching area below the slipway has lost plenty of sand and so we will have to be very careful where we finally launch and recover from. No doubt the sand will move around some more as the next month or two passes by but if it doesn’t then the holiday makers will find it not much to their taste.

The code on the gates and changing rooms has been changed and those not knowing it will have an email sometime in the very near future telling them what the new code is. That could be handy for anyone wanting to bring their baot down during the week. I see from the sailing programme that there are 2 races scheduled for the 1st day of the season but somehow with the clocks going forward, giving us an hour less in bed on Sunday plus rusty helms and crews rigging their boats, may well see the schedule fall at the first hurdle. Just one shake down race would probably suit me, and I know that my soft body will ache quite a bit for the first few days after our first sail as it discovers all the hard bits and pieces on the decks. Still onwards and upwards as they say and things will surely get better as we try and focus on some hot steamy days sitting outside on the decking.

March 4th

After the snow
yardl Well the more observant of you will have noticed that the dinghy handicaps for 2018 have just been released and inevitably there have been some changes that will affect most of us. Having said that the changes in the main are quite small so will not really make too much difference to our race results, though there are times when a position in a race is decided on as little as 1 or 2 seconds.

Let’s have a look at how the changes affect our fleets. We will start off with the fast fleet and the fastest boat on our books is currently Paddy’s B14. The bad news for Paddy is that the handicap has taken quite a hit, being cut by 8 points. The 2nd fastest boats saling with us is the RS400. Well after years of cuts the RS is untouched this year so that should make Chris & Kathy and Steve & Ashley smile a little. The next fastest is the Contender and Richard sees his handicap cut by 1, which in the great schemes of things is not worth worrying about, nevertheless a cut is a cut, no matter how small. Looking down the list I see that the Tasar is the next rated class in the fast fleet. After taking quite a knock last year we have retained our handicap figure for another year. Roger Williams intends racing with us in his Blaze for the early part of the season and the changes are good news for him as the Blaze gains 4 points to 1027 and puts him almost alongside Stacey who bought a new Devoti D-zero last year and this was allocated a handicap figure of 1029, which it has retained, so no change for him but both boats may prove difficult to beat.

Now we move into a spot of controversy. The Kestrel has been for the last few years a member of the fast fleet but last year the handicap was raised and it has been raised again, and is now up to 1037, and is now rated slower than a Scorpion that has had it handicap cut to 1036. So the question is; should the Kestrel be moved to the slow fleet or should the Scorpions be moved to the fast fleet? Either way the Sailing Committee will have to put its thinking cap on to make a decision. Just to complicate things a little more, Dennis has bought a Hadron H2 and that has been allocated the figure of 1037, the same as the Kestrel. So we now have 3 classes of boats, all with near enough the same handicap figure. One of our fleets is going to be rather larger than the other, unless we decide to have a medium fleet, but then all our fleets would be rather small, which I think takes away some of the competition.

Now looking at our slow fleet, or the ones I haven’t mentioned. The Sueprnovas have kept their previous handicap figure which to me is strange as the newer ones are far lighter than the older ones and as a boat that will remain very competitive, especially as Simon has just bought one of the super light weight models to try and match Steve. James took delivery of a new Aero with a 5 rig late last year and may be rewarded with a nice little boost as the handicap has been raised by 9, whereas should he switch to the 7 rig then he will see a cut of 3. The Laser has been a staple diet of probably every Sailing Club in the country over the years and we have a few of them here and the Laser has benefited over the last few years by seeing it’s handicap raised and this year is another year of a rise, though this time by only 1 point. Having said that the Laser has been very successful in some of the Sail Juice series this year, showing how competitive they have become. The Laser radial and 4.7 have also had their handicap figures increased which is good news for them as has the Rooster rig 8.1 that Ciarran has fitted to his Laser as that has been raised by 6 points. I’m sure that he will welcome that!

I think that I have analysed most of our racing machines and no doubt the pros and cons of the changes will be the subject of many a debate. Probably the biggest debate at Porthpean is where the division of the fleets will be. Let debate commence.

St. Austell and Porthpean have both been troubled by the snows and gales of this week. Well by today, Sunday, the snow had completely disappeared, but the affects of the gales have not, though the Club has escaped the ravishes of Storm Emma, the slipway and beach have not quite survived unscathed. The slipway has plenty of sand for launching but the top concrete surface, repaired last year has been damaged and a section has been lifted and can be seen on the beach about 50M from where it started. Much of the sand that covers the rocks in front of the slipway has disappeared and moved along the beach. If you remember a few weeks ago the steps side of the beach was missing much of its sand. Well it now has sand in spades. No doubt strong easterlies that will occur from time to time over the forthcoming months will move it all around again. The café and toilets have had tons and tons of sand thrown up onto the walkway. In fact I think it will be quite a job for the café owner to dig his way into the doorway before he can open up for the season. Apart from the disruption of the snow last week the weather so far this year has been predominately wet and this can be seen by the amount of water that is still pouring off the green. This has also had the affect of lifting quite a lot of the tarmac road surface leading down to the beach. The railings on the sea side of the slipway are in a terrible condition and to my mind needs completely replacing.

The weather last week was so bad that Tony decided to postpone the Club walk due to have taken place today. The forecast was not at all favourable. At least with only 3 weeks to go before the start of the season it allowed the Sunday work parties to continue. The only major job that needs completing is the decking refurbishment. I think that there is still some discussion and planning to get the job done and it will require some mid week work parties to see the work complete and that will also be dependant on the weather conditions.

January 28th

The Roadford Rocket
yardl yard
Maintenance work at the Club continues with the RIBs and trailers having a thorough service. Engine and gear box oil changes for the outboards and wheel bearing changes for the trailers ensure that they should give us plenty of trouble free hours for the coming season. I think both RIBs need some TLC on the peripherals but in the main are all set to go. Workers at the Club were a little short on the ground this weekend as 6 boats hit the road and headed up to Roadford reservoir for the “Roadford Rocket” pursuit race. Now Roadford is a place that Ken & I have sailed at a few times over the last few years as we have entered the annual “Goodacre Cup” which is usually a 3 day event held over the August BH. In fact this year it was all but cancelled as we sat under sweltering conditions without any breeze whatsoever. The reservoir was like glass and we sat there for an hour or two without even unpacking the boat, before we acknowledged the inevitable and set off back for home. Yesterday the conditions were slightly different, with a south westerly breeze ranging from 5 – 15 knots blowing across the surface. The weather was surprisingly mild for January but that brought its own problems as we had pulses of drizzle coming through from time to time to make it look quite miserable. Though looking out at the lake from the shore it appeared to be ideal sailing conditions with a light south westerly breeze blowing acroos the water.

I said 6 boats, well our merry band of 6 comprised Stacey in his D-zero, James in his Aero 5, Richard in his Contender, Kay & Nigel in her Scorpion and I think that was Kay’s first outing for well over a year, so she must have felt rather rusty, Steve & Ashley in their RS400 and Ken & me in the Tasar. Now at this point in time I don’t know how many boats raced, but if I was to hazard a guess I would say at least 60, but I will have to wait for the results to be published before I will know, but when ready they will be published on the Roadford Lake SC web site. However I do know that there were one or two “rock stars” sailing. Steve Cockerill sailing his Aero 7, Peter Greig – Osprey, John Turner – Merlin, Steve Bolland – D zero, Pete Barton – Aero 9. All 5 of those have won National Championships in the past.

The range of boats sailing was a good comprehensive mixture of boats well known to us all. I was going to list them all but that would take too long, but they ranged from Laser radial & Firefly right up to International Canoes and foiling moth. I think that the largest class by far was the Aero in its various forms. This is a boat that will really invigorate the single handed sailing market. They look very pretty, perform well and there is a rig to suit all sizes and weights. Steve Cockerill won the event in an Aero 7 and Aero 9 was also 3rd. Stacey was the best placed of our Club boats, finishing in the top 10, just behind another D-zero. That’s 5 new design boats in the top 10, which shows how competitive these new designs are. I think that we may have been around the low 20s and the rest of our merry band will have to wait for the final results to be posted to find out their positions. I think that we all carried trackers and we should be able to analyse our meanderings around the course when that information is available.

Now I mentioned the race course and from a Tasar’s point of view it was very disappointing, as there wasn’t a close reach on any leg of the rounds. We started off from a Club line on a one tack beat up towards the Dam, and bore away onto a long run, gybed around that mark straight onto another one tack beat to round a mark and then bore off onto another very broad reach, before starting a long beat across the reservoir to take us onto another one tack beat through the start line to repeat the process. I suppose because there were so many boats racing the course had to be set to try and prevent the numerous collisions that may have occurred if a more traditional course had been set. Spinnaker boats certainly benefitted on that course; a different wind direction may well have given some reaches and that would certainly have been beneficial to us but unfortunately not for us today. As mentioned earlier the wind strength wasn’t too bad but what we had was quite gusty at times and very shifty and several boats capsized during the race. The numerous times I was up and down on the side deck have given me a very achy body today. My leg muscles and backside are very sore and it will take a few days of rest to recover. The race time was calculated to last some 2 ½ hours. As it was a pursuit race, we started some 18 minutes after the Firefly and he was still in front of us at the end. I suppose we were on the water for some 3 hours which after our long winter break constitutes a bit of a marathon, hence the aching body.

Roadford too has had a lot of rain lately and the reservoir was pretty full, it certainly had a lot more water in it than I have seen before. The grass surrounding the launching area was as bad as our field, being very wet, soggy and squelchy and soon became very muddy. I think it will take a good long dry period for it to dry out properly. I took the precaution of taking wellington boots to walk around in and they proved to be the ideal footwear for the day. Summing up I would say the event was very well organised, well run and importantly well attended. It is probably growing in stature and looks like becoming one of the premier events in the West Country.

January 7th

Beautiful day + strong easterly = No sailing!! BUT Club Maintenance starts.
cancel beach
Well after an all too short break here is the first instalment of the 2018 Blog and what a cold start to the first day of Club maintenance it proved to be. I arrived down just after 10 and there were already quite a few people at the Club starting on the long list of jobs that Tony has compiled which will need to be completed before we can consider our selves ready to face the start of the 2018 racing season which according to the count down clock tells me that will be in 76 days (11 weeks). Lets face it that seems to be an age away, but believe me that clock will come whittling down over the next few weeks.

I said a cold start and yes it was very cold today but at least it was sunny. There were sheets of ice on all the boats that had water lying on their boat covers, and there was a very chilly north easterly wind blowing in over the wall and the sea was looking rather majestic with many waves, heavily daubed with white foamy water, crashing down on the beach. The sand on the slipway is way down from its normal position. Hopefully that will come back over the coming weeks but it is still far enough on the slope to allow us to launch if we were so foolhardy at the moment. Conditions were such that sailing was a long way from our minds today!

The accompanying pictures show just a little of what was going on today. Tony had the yard drain cover up and that was emptied of the sand that slowly silts it up over the year. Brian had the hose reel to pieces to fit new parts. Jeremy and Chris and Ken were very busy cutting back on vegetation, both in the yard and on the steps that has accumulated over the last season. Pete, Jan & Kathy were stripping the kitchen area down for a deep clean. Stewart was giving the decking some TLC and I think there is a long way to go with the decking yet as some parts have rotted away and will require replacing. I had a good look at the beach marks and tackle which in the main are in good order but some week looking chain links have been removed and Paddy is going to do some splicing of new eyelets to complete the job. Both beach marks require some fluorescent paint but in the main are good enough to go again.

The race board fitted to the wall outside the gents changing rooms is looking very tired at the moment and is heavily streaked with rust and will most likely be replaced for the coming season. Paddy was up a ladder to remove the wiper blade on the web cam. The rubber component is badly worn and requires replacing. Oh yes the other big task for me is raking up the accumulation of stones that are embedded into the dinghy park. In isolation they are not too bad when wearing normal footwear but can make themselves painfully felt when wearing sailing boots. I don’t think that they will ever be all removed but at least I get some satisfaction of getting rid of as many as possible.

I didn’t dare walk into the field to check on its status but knowing how much rain we have had over the winter so far then I can probably safely say that it is still a no go area for cars. Only good quality 4 wheel drives could probably negotiate the field, the rest of us will have to stay away at our peril for a little longer yet.

I said earlier that there is a long list of jobs that need doing. Some are quite modest and only require a little elbow grease, but non of the jobs will be done on their own so if you can spare a couple of hours on a Sunday morning then please come down and lend a hand. Coffee is free and we also had a few chocolate biscuits today courtesy of Stewart to munch on as well.

Quite a few boats have disappeared from the yard for some essential maintenance. Fortunately for most of us either FRP / GRP are the main form of hull construction nowadays which certainly simplifies the amount of work required.