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

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May 16th
Two Heads are Better than One, but not in this case!!
yardl I think there was always a little doubt as to whether we would sail tonight. Once again a fresh easterly had been blowing and our fine spell of weather was looking rather fraught with rain during the day. However as the day wore on improvements started to happen. The wind died down and swung to a more northerly direction, the rain vanished and a week sun started to shine. Suddenly sailing looked to be back on the cards and a reasonable fleet assembled for what is race 5 on the Wednesday night calendar.

Now I forgot to mention in my last blog that my sailing shorts came out to play for the first time this year for last Sunday’s racing, such was the nice sunny, warm day. Tonight though was rather a different story, and my long john was back on my body. One of the main reasons I wear the long john is because I can get rather wet when launching and recovering and at this time of year that can be translated into becoming rather cold.

The tide was right in as we launched and this meant having your boat fully rigged on the slipway before the final push onto the beach. Boats were launched, trollies were stacked and we pushed off and paddled out of the cove. The breeze was a northerly and as such we were completely shielded from it for several metres from the shore. Once the breeze found us it was a case of stowing the paddle , trimming the sails and sailing off on a long reach to rendezvous with Stacey & Lucy, our RIB drivers tonight.

yardl Ken, my trusty crew had deserted me tonight by going on holiday to the Lake District where there were several different Breweries awaiting his attention, plus a few hills to walk up. Walking instead of sailing; whatever next? Anyway Brian Phillips gallantly stepped into the breach, though whether that was good thing or not you will have to ask him, especially when you look closely at the first picture on the Blog. Brian clattered his head on the boom. The other sorry looking scalp on the picture belongs to Steve Coello, who head butted the rotation lever on Paddy’s boat. Fortunately both of them were not too badly injured, but the scars will take a while to heal. That’s one reason I wear a sailing hat, my thatch has almost disappeared over the years and maybe the next step for me will be one of those dashing helmets that quite a few sailors wear nowadays.

A northerly air stream usually means a beat across the bay from right to left and that is precisely what we had. The line didn’t have enough bias on it for a successful port tack and I did make a bit of a hash of our start by being too far down the line, with the result that we were almost last in our fleet as we closed on the windward mark. The fast fleet tonight was quite healthy and it was a welcome to Chris & Kathy who live in Looe so travelling across can be quite a tedious journey for them, especially in the next few weeks when the holiday makers really start to clog up the roads and in particular St. Austell by pass. Anyway they joined Steve & Ashley giving us 2 RS 400s, 3 Tasars, Paddy & Steve, Jeremy & Suzanne and us plus another rare Wednesday outing for Richard in his Contender, though it wasn’t Contender weather tonight.

yardl Jan seems to be fully recovered now and she and Pete were present in their pesky Kestrel heading the slow fleet, not only that but they were also in front of us at the end of the first beat and then pulled away with the use of their spinnaker. I managed to ensure that we had a rubbish start and when we arrived at the windward mark, we were at the back of our fleet with the pesky Kestrel in front also. Somewhere further back loitered the solitary Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny, with only the Lasers of Brian and Clive to keep it company.

Needless to say Jeremy & Suzanne were first to the windward mark, but the speedy down wind RS 400 of Chris & Kathy took the lead by the end of the reaches and though they pulled away enough to take the winning gun they couldn’t make their time up against the Tasar. We managed to overtake most of the boats in front but for a while just couldn’t make any inroads into Paddy & Steve and then a few little adjustments to the dagger board and sail trim gave us a bit more speed and we slowly ground them down before crossing them on the last beat to move up to 3rd.

Jan& Pete, in ideal conditions for them, finished a long way in front of the Scorpion who in turn was quite a way in front of the Lasers. Then it was a long sail in a dying breeze for us all back to the beach or what was left of it as the tide swirled around the bottom of the slipway. I was ready for my supper and was very grateful to be able to buy a couple of butties from our bacon butty champion, Jenny. All washed down with a nice glass of cider.

There will not be a blog from me next Sunday as I am otherwise engaged. Ken & I are down for RIB duty but Tony has very kindly offered to stand in for me, the weather looks fine and I will certainly miss my trip out to sea.

May 12 & 13th
Summer sun and beautiful sailing conditions
yardl Well to start this blog off I am going to give my thanks to Stacey & Lucy for RO duties on Saturday ably assisted by Andrew & Tony on Saturday. Between them they set a fantastic course for the Tasar Open. Then on Sunday Andrew & Jenny took on the RO duties and they were assisted by Chris & Kathy in the other RIB. Andrew & Jenny had a very difficult job as the fitfull breeze took ages to settle causing quite a few mark changes before they were happy enough to start the races. In the Clubhouse we had a mixture of Colin, Chris Hazel and Jenny March helping out on admin and the essential galley. My apologies if in my haste I have forgotten to mention others and I am sure that someone will remind me of whom that is and if that is the case then I will ensure that they will get a mention in my next blog.

After the superb but windless previous weekend our weather during this week deteriorated into our usual wet and windy weather pattern and on Friday it was looking horrendous with heavy rain and a fresh to strong south easterly wind chewing up the beach. However all changed for Saturday when the sun became the dominant factor, accompanied by a much reduced wind strength which abated sufficiently to allow the waves to die down enough to make launching and recovery relatively easy.

Our Tasar fleet of 5 home boats was joined by 2 sets of visitors, both travelling considerable distances to be with us. One family with father and son crewing came from Hastings a 5 hour drive away and the other crew travelling down from Alton SC, which is close to the famous towers. No matter how far our visitors come we are always pleased to see them and the magnificent vista looking out at our bay was suitably impressive to them.

Yes, we were blessed with a good weekend of sailing weather. Saturday gave us a lumpy sea with enough breeze on a superb set course by Stacey & Lucy to give us 2 action packed races with some nice waves to work with down wind. Competition was hot throughout the fleet and several duels broke out as the races progressed. The conditions changed round completely for Sunday, as the wind moved through 180 degrees to give us a very flat bay with a reasonable north westerly wafting over the bay. However this proved rather frustrating for some as the early lively breeze faded away as the morning progressed and the hope of getting 2 races in was soon dashed to allow only 1 race. We sat out in the sun at lunch time and one or two teams decided that enough was enough and decided to call it a day and packed up but hope springs eternal and eventually a very nice westerly breeze arrived to give us 2 cracking races on Sunday afternoon.

Now for once I am not going to write a blow by blow description of what happened because much to my delight, Sarah Desjonquers has produced a superb write up on the Y&Y web page and can be found by Following this link.

This Sunday was also the first of the Cup races and obviously today’s race was the May Cup. Well as it happened only the slow fleet competed which made the results a lot easier to compile. For the last few years I have often complained about the pesky Kestrel, but now it is the slow fleets turn to moan as Jan & Pete dominated 2 of the 3 races held taking 2 firsts to lift the May Cup. Brian Reeves in his full rig Laser, sailed well to take 2 2nds and a first to give him 2nd overall. Kay & Nigel have teamed up for the Cup races and though they tried hard could only beat the pesky Kestrel in the 3rd race by a matter of 6 seconds on corrected time to take 3rd place. 7 boats in all started the first race but just as the Tasars lost a few of their number as the day wore on the slow fleet also lost a few but for those left racing also had 2 superb races in the afternoon.

Now after all my moaning about the poor weather recently it looks like we are about to see the stat of summer proper with some settled weather to come this week. Now how long that may last is anyone’s guess but the days are drawing out with some superb dawns and sunsets and we are officially into late Spring / early Sumer. BBQs are being dusted off and tried out. The car park has dried out and the grass is on the verge of needing a cut. Sun beds are also coming out, the beach is filling up at weekends and after enduring what seems to be the longest winter on record there finally comes some settled weather and importantly some warmth.

May 9th
Back to wind and rain
yardl This crazy weather of ours never ceases to amaze me. After the Mediterranean conditions over the weekend we are back to our almost sub normal weather conditions all within 2 days. The high temperatures of the low 20s have been reduced to only just into double figures. The windless conditions of Sunday have now been replaced today by the wind climbing into the 20knots plus territory. What is normal nowadays, when describing the weather? Polruan had been indicating winds in excess of 20 knots for most of the day and when we arrived at the Club this evening it was obvious to all that the breeze had died down somewhat. However rain was on its way and we had quite a dousing whilst the race was underway.

It was a fairly reluctant fleet that eventually launched to sail out into the westerly / south westerly breeze that was swirling around the bay. Steve & Ashley took charge of the RIB this evening and set what at the time must have been a nice shaped course. By the time we reached the start area it was obvious that the breeze had moved more westerly somewhat and the first beat turned out to be almost a one tacker, followed by a run and then a fetch, not at all ideal, but time was pressing and it was decided to race with what we had, including a biased start line that was impossible to cross on starboard. The fast fleet consisted of Stacey’s D-0 and 2 Tasars of Paddy/ Steve and us. Stacey made the best of the start and managed to squeeze round the first mark and then set off for the reaches. Paddy & us were trying desperately to squeeze round the windward mark but both of us ended up touching it and having to exonerate ourselves.

Once again the 2 Tasars had quite a battle with the positions changing a few times before this time Paddy had the better of us on one of our tacking duels on the last beat to round ahead of us and then held his position to the end of the race.

The slow fleet consisted of Kay with her new crew Sophie and a few Lasers. I think 5 Lasers launched but not all raced and being so engrossed in our battle with Paddy I did not see what was happening down in their fleet but Kay had a very useful lead and I am sure that the Scorpion took the win, though as I write the results have not been published.

Tony, Lynn & Colin looked after us shore side and we were grateful to Tony & Lynn who provided the bacon butties tonight as Jenny was absent. A big thank you Tony & Lynn as bacon butties are almost an expected ritual nowadays.

It seems far too early to me though fairly well established in our sailing calendar that this coming weekend is the Tasar Open meeting. Whether we will have many entries is a little dubious but I do hear rumours of at least one boat coming down from Hastings direction and maybe one from Queen Mary. Hopefully a few will arrive and maybe give a boost to our dwindling fleet. Stacey is also hoping to attract some of the Restronguet D-0s by including a D-0 open meeting at the same time. They have around 12 zeros on their books but not many of them actually race, which seems strange as it is a new class and you would think that having spent all that money on a new boat then you would want to sail it. They do have the current Class champion and runner up sailing there so if they come then they will provide a stern challenge to Stacey who seems to be getting to grips with his judging by his consistent wins.

May 6th
Summer if only for day or two BUT no wind
yardl Rather a late blog I’m afraid, courtesy of this beautiful weather and visiting daughter & family from Bristol. Well it is a Bank Holiday weelkeend so everyone was expecting very poor weather. Not so and what a contrast there has been in a week; last Sunday we all felt the chill of a very cold north easterly wind. Sailing last Sunday for most of us was not on the menu as we shivered in the yard looking out to sea. Last week I had taken all my winter sailing kit down to the Club to wear, which included thermals. This Sunday the thermals had been packed away and instead my sailing shorts went into the bag ready for their first appearance this year. The cold temperatures of last week had disappeared and replaced with, certainly at Club level, something up into the 20s. BUT, yes there’s always a but, there was absolutely no wind at all. The bay was completely still, not a ripple to be seen and the sea just tamely lapped against the sand. It was a perfect day for those looking for a day on the beach, but a disappointing day for those of us who wanted to go sailing.

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Inevitably the postponement flag came out of the locker and run up the Club mast. We hoped that the breeze would come along by lunch time so a decision was made to arrange an early lunch, ie 12.00 and hopefully start racing at 13.30 with 2 races back to back. The plan seemed good, and lunch came and went, but by 13.00 there was still no sign of a breeze so we gave in to the inevitable and changed the AP to an “N”. Suddenly it was time to either hit the beach, the bar or go home. With family down for the weekend I opted to head for home and spend some time with them, and we headed up to Lanhydrock for a walk through the blue bell strewn woods down to the river, where the dog had a whale of a time chasing sticks in and out of the water.

By the way, that handsome young man on the front page and heading this Blog is Pascual who was celebrating his Birthday today, though I am not at liberty to say his age, but I think it is somewhere near the 30s Ha Ha!!

Attached are a few pictures that I took before I left for home. Wednesday looks a little breezy but we need the practice as we are about to have the Tasar Open meeting this coming weekend.

May 2nd
Suddenly a hint of summer.
yardl I noticed that there was a bit of “conversation” on the F/B page as to why we didn’t race last Sunday. Well let me add my two pennyworth to the debate as I was there. Actually not that many people turned up to sail, maybe the conditions at home were not very appealing or some people had other things to do. Who knows? We all have our own lives to live. The wind down at the Club was quite fresh and blowing onshore and the air temperature was below 10c and blowing at about 25 knots at Polruan. In truth outside the Clubhouse it felt perishing. The water temperature is also very cold at this time of year as those who have capsized so far this season will vouch for. We also need a minimum of 5 boats to race and ideally at least 2 of those should be 2 person boats to give us enough people to launch and retrieve the RIB if the 5 are all single handers then logistically not really enough people present with wet gear on to be able to move RIB on and off the trailer safely. We do have a lot of money invested in the engine and fuel tank alone and why risk them if there are not that many people prepared to race. The age demographic of our actual racing fraternity is getting older and the need to actually race in Sunday’s conditions doesn’t always appeal quite so much. The number of people who bothered to turn up at the Club on the day was relatively low, so I wasn’t too surprised that we didn’t race. In actual fact the conditions out in the bay were not too bad and I think we could have raced quite comfortably, but there you have it. People were asked if they wanted to race and the majority said no. What we do is a sport and in the main is for enjoyment and pleasure and if the conditions on the day do not appeal then people tend not to sail. As a matter of course I looked at the race results of Sunday’s racing at Restronguet, a far larger Club than ours. Yes they did race but when you look at the numbers racing they were way down on their normal attendances.

Now on to tonight; it looked earlier on in the day that tonight would be another missed opportunity to race as the strength of the wind blowing on Sunday has continued for the last 3 days almost unabated and the air temperature was still cold. The big difference today was that the wind had swung round to the north east, hence the cold but at least the bay was flat and almost looked benign. The sight of the many gusts sweeping out from the shore was rather intimidating as was the wind strength showing at Polruan. Fortunately the forecast was for the breeze to reduce somewhat as the evening came along and just for once the forecast was very accurate. We did launch in quite a fresh breeze that had its gusts but as the evening progressed the gusts started to wane.

Beacky & Brian Reeves took the RIB tonight and for Beacky it was his first time out on the water this season. A good starboard course from out at sea to the beach marks was laid and I think something like a dozen boats set off for the start line. The start line was long enough but became heavily encroached when Andrew & Jenny managed to capsize right on the line whilst Andrew was trying to adjust his outhaul. Unfortunately for them we had all started before they managed to right the boat and sail it dry enough to carry on with the race.

Unfortunately as I write this the results haven’t been published so I haven’t a clue as to who finished where in the slow fleet, but the win in the fast fleet was heavily contested by Stacey in his D-0 and Jeremy & Suzanne in their Tasar. The fast fleet, tonight, had 3 Tasars racing as Paddy & Steve decided to take theirs rather than the B14. I think the early conditions persuaded them that a Tasar was a safer option than a B14. Jeremy & Stacey had their own private battle with the faster Tasar taking the win on the water, but whether Jeremy had enough time in hand is another question. A little further back were the other 3 Tasars and we had a race long duel with Paddy & Steve. We overtook them on the first beat, they overtook us on the 2nd beat, and we overtook them again on the 3rd beat and just managed to hold them off at the finish line. The reaches turned out to be quite thrilling as well with plenty of planing. Overall it turned out to be very good race for us. Steve & Ashley also had a very good night, using their spinnaker on most down wind legs and more importantly did not capsize, which in turn allowed them to finish on the water in 3rd position.

I believe the only other boat to capsize tonight was the Laser of Nick, who found his destiny with the sea at one of the gybe marks. It was good to see Kay bring her Scorpion down tonight and rig it ready for some race in the future but even better for her was the introduction of a possible new Club Member who is willing to crew on Wednesday evenings. Her name is Sophie and she has done quite a lot of crewing at Lyme Regis SC, so hopefully if all goes well she will add some much needed new blood into our sailing fleet. Lyme Regis being on the south coast has a similar coastal scenario to us so she may feel quite at home on some of the nice days that we will experience over the course of the year.

Needless to say the Après sail was completed by the almost unlimited supply of bacon butties supplied by Jenny. I think our Club house must be pure torture to vegetarians when they enter on a Wednesday evening after sailing, but I bet even die hard veggies must enjoy the aroma of grilled bacon.

I know that I am taking a chance here but it appears that the persistent run of bad weather might have come to an end and we might be seeing the start of our late spring. The 5 day forecast, even though this weekend is a Bank Holiday, is quite good with far lighter winds than of late plus some sunshine will surely help raise the air temperature. I am sure that will encourage a few more hesitant sailors to dip their sailing boots in the sea.

April 29th
Cancellation!! The most used flag in our collection.
yardl Anyone logging on to this page to read about our latest adventures on the high seas is in for a bit of a disappointment as our racing was, once again cancelled. A quite fresh and more pertinently, COLD, onshore breeze was enough to dampen the will of the majority to go sailing. All praise to Tony Dunn & Janet Preston who had readied the RIB and changed into their warmest, wet weather gear ready for a soaking. Yes they were all prepared to go out there but I think quietly relieved when the cancellation decision was made. At least they had tried and their wet weather clothing was packed away ready for another day, still dry.

Stacey had already taken his D-0 onto the beach and decided to sail, regardless of the rest of us. He showed that the conditions out at sea were completely manageable as he tacked his way out into the bay and reached off onto some exhilarating reaches. I honestly think that the rather fresh and cold winds that have bedevilled us over the last few weeks have taken their toll. I am sure that if today’s wind direction had been a westerly then we would have all launched and sailed without any difficulty at all. Yes there may have been a few capsizes but that’s par for the course at any time of the year. Mind you, looking at the wind trace at Polruan, that showed the NNE wind blowing at 20 plus knots for most of the day so it would have been a fast and furious sail and maybe not for the faint hearted.

Rumours tell me that Denis’s brief flirtation with the Hadron H2 is almost at an end as a suitable buyer is soon to pay him a visit which could well result in the boat on its way to a new owner. Stacey took it out for the race last Wednesday and had no problem keeping the boat upright and indeed it looked the real deal as it blasted away across the bay. However I know that Jan & Pete are quite keen to persuade Dennis to buy a Kestrel and their reasons to buy are quite compelling. The Kestrel has a kite for extra excitement down wind and has a reasonable turn of speed. It’s not that much slower than a Tasar, has plenty of room on board, it is easy to sail and has no vices. Maybe it’s only down side is the boat is quite heavy for manoeuvring about on the beach but Jan & Pete have coped well, with very little problems over the years and if we had 2 of them racing then I am sure that some good competitive racing would be had.

Today was our 5th weekend of racing this season and in truth the 5 weeks have been very frustrating for most of us with quite a few races lost with the very unseasonable weather being the main culprit. The current weather forecast shows that things will be improving over the coming days. The air temperature is soon to return to normal and the winds should start to become more settled in both direction and ability. History tells us that we generally lose quite a few racing days at this time of year. In fact it is still possible that we may have some more south easterlies this month; but generally the weather will improve and with it our racing ratios will improve also.
April 25th
The life and trials of a sailor boy
yardl Well I like to call myself a sailor boy but truth be told I am a bit long in the tooth to be called that. Maybe old sea dog may be more appropriate. We may have a had a remarkably good spell of weather last week but now, only 8 months to Christmas, we appear to be back into the grip of cold, wet and windy weather; urghh. With the emphasis today, very much on cold and windy weather albeit without the rain. Anyone looking at the Polruan weather station during the day will have witnessed the high wind strength on the trace and would have questioned whether we would be brave / foolish enough to venture out for tonight’s mid week race. As I drove down to the Club it was quite clear that there was a strong sighting of white horses out in the bay. Down at the Club, those white horses were well hidden but the strong gusts sweeping out from the shore were all too visible and we knew without doubt that it would be a very challenging time out in the bay for those who took their chance on racing through it. In fact if you look at some of the pictures that I have included tonight it is quite easy to see the gusts blowing just off the shore. The only caveat for those willing to risk a ducking was that the wind was forecast to die down somewhat as the evening progressed.

Quite surprisingly enough helms signed on to race and 10 boats launched and even then there were still a few helms in the Clubhouse who could have raced but decided not to go. Most of us chancing our luck had been egged on by Dennis who had been extolling the wind strength all day on the Club F/B page and how he was looking forward to the challenge. Well it was all right for him he had plenty of weight onboard to tackle the strong winds. Some of us just had pure terror to help keep us upright. Who wants to capsize whilst the water temperature is hovering about the 10C mark? Certainly not me.

Chris & Kathy had travelled from Looe for the dubious pleasure of taking the RIB and acting as our ROs for the night. Having run the RIB last Sunday I knew how cold they were about to get, but I couldn’t tell them that!! Soon we were all rigged and launched. Leaving the beach was quite easy and so was the first 200M or so out from the beach; and then we found or rather the wind found us. Powerful gusts swept over us and our various boats shot out of the cove and into the bay proper. The starting area was out towards the day nark and though the sea was flat, there were a few white horses around. After all his bravado Dennis decided that the conditions were too strong and headed home. One or two capsized and managed to recover themselves without assistance. Unfortunately Paddy’s B14 succumbed to a capsize and took a while to recover. He lost so much ground that he decided to sail home as well.

The start line was rather long but that didn’t stop 2 boats, namely Jeremy & James from being adjudged to being over and they had to sail back round the ends. Stacey, sailing Dennis’s H2 powered away with us close behind. In fact with the Tasar set up for heavy winds, ie board quite way up and jib cars out a few holes the boat felt quite happy. Unfortunately the odd savage gusts made me feel not so happy, so much so that as we rounded the beach marks I decided that the conditions were not to my liking and we headed home as well. We were also joined by Ciarran in his Laser.

Despite Jeremy & Suzanne returning to start again they still made up enough ground to lead round the beach marks with Stacey looking to be in hot pursuit. The 2 of them pulled well away from the remaining fleets. In fact Jeremy & Suzanne were the only finishers in the fast fleet whilst Stacey finished way ahead of the 5 finishers in the slow fleet.

I feel I should commend all those who stuck it out and finished. Yes the wind did abate as we expected and maybe if we had carried on we would have survived, but for me enough was enough and the boat was still in one piece. Stacey took a good win in the slow fleet and James in his Aero5 showed the rest of the fleet a clean pair of heels to take 2nd place, which pushed Andrew & Pete in the Scorpion down to 3rd, leaving the 2 Lasers of Sarah Rendal and Brian Reeves to take 4th and 5the places.

And then there was the après sail. Jenny was in the galley when I entered the Club house to the aroma of grilled bacon and it was a pleasure to be able to eat the first of the 2018 bacon butties. I think everyone in the Clubhouse was in very good spirits and tales of daring do and the pleasure of being back in the warmth was in plenty of evidence. April so far has been quite a disappointing month for sailing / racing but being positive the conditions will soon improve which in turn may bring some more sailors to the start line. Oh yes it’s only 8 months to Christmas!!

April 22nd
The return of the westerlies but goodbye sunshine (for the moment)
yardl Well here we are, 4 weeks into the season and still having to endure a typical mixed sailing season. Already we have had to cancel some races due to strong winds, no winds and unseasonably high tides. Our year so far has been blighted with far more rain and wind than normal, but at long last we appear to be coming to an end from that. This past week has seen an abnormally fine spell of weather, that unfortunately came to an end yesterday and today we woke to the normal grey skies that we often get at this time of year. The car park has now dried out and is no longer a no go area and that itself is a relief. For the past few weeks and for the next few weeks we have had our beach to ourselves, which makes launching and recovery far more easy but alas the sand on the beach is still very soft and quite a few of us have struggled to get our boats into and out of the water. In fact the structure of the beach changes almost by the day, but the changes will slowly come to an end when we get into a decent rhythm of westerly winds.

Yesterday, Saturday, was hot and sunny, though I am told that there was some very heavy rain at Looe which isn’t that far from us, but today I think the whole of Cornwall awoke to grey skies and quite low temperatures. Welcome to the real World again. It was equally bleak when I arrived at the Club today, but the easterlies that we have had for so long had disappeared and instead replaced by a fairly light westerly breeze. The sea had flattened down and sailing looked quite inviting. Unfortunately Ken & I were down for RIB duty, so donned our cold weather clothes, which included for me my dry suit and without much ado we were launched and set off out to sea to set a course, which for the first time this season gave the fleet a beat from out at sea to the beach marks for a port hand rounding. Tony & Brian had the best and warmest seats sitting in the OOD box; no cold winds for them to

I think 11 boats made the pilgrimage out to our waiting RIB and 20 minutes or so late we started what was to be the first of 3 races. The fast fleet was the best represented with 2 RS400, B14, D0, Blaze and Contender, whilst the slow fleet had the newly demoted Kestrel, Scorpion and 3 Lasers, though 2 of those faded and retired during the race. Usually when I am racing I am able to take note of various incidents. Now you would think that being on the RIB would make it more noticeable but alas no. If I was doing it all the time then a voice recorder would be invaluable and almost a necessity, so I am unable to recall very little. However Stacey managed to pull of a port hand flyer which showed our start line was reasonably fair, but it was the Blaze of Roger Williams who found the quickest way up the beat to round the beach marks in the lead, quickly pursued by the RS400 of Chris & Kathy Isles who under spinnaker, quickly passed Roger and pulled out an unassailable lead. The first reach was very tricky as the strength of the breeze waxed and waned causing all sorts of upsets, but it certainly helped the spinnaker boats and Jam & Pete found the conditions perfect for their Kestrel and were up ahead of some faster boats. Stacey, after a poor first beat, found the down wind speed of his D zero a real bonus and gradually pulled himself back into contention and another win. Roger also converted his early advantage to finish 2nd, pushing the Isles back to 3rd. Steve & Ashley also found the down wind legs to their liking and managed to pull themselves into a good position, whereas Richard in his Contender had a miserable race as the breeze was too light for the Contender to show her best speed. The Kestrel may have been demoted, purely as a result of the new handicap figures, dominated the slow fleet to take an emphatic win over the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny and the only remaining Laser of Nick Haskins.

The intention of the day was to try and get 3 races in to try and catch up on previous lost races and we scheduled the day’s programme to have 2 races in the morning, so the race length times were kept deliberately short. If only the fleet had got its act together earlier we would have had time for an extra lap in each race, which may have been reflected in the results, especially for the B14 as it needs time to be able to allow its onerous handicap figure to be best utilised. But there you are; the course was set up, time keepers and RIB crews were ready for an almost 11.00 start but we had to wait for most of the fleet to join us. I think many people don’t realise how long it takes to sail out to the starting area when we are starting out at sea; sorry rant over.

The 2nd race started as soon as the fleets reassembled in the starting area and we were soon off into the 2nd race of the day. The whole fleet crossed almost in line abreast and this time it was the B14 who flew up the beat rounding first and with spinnaker flying romped away to tale a good win on the water, but once again it was Stacey’s D0 that took the corrected time, pushing Paddy & Steve into 2nd place, only just ahead of Roger in his Blaze.

The afternoon race was the rescheduled race 3 which had previously been lost and Jeremy & Suzanne made their first appearance of the season in their Tasar as did Finn in his Windsurfer. The breeze had freshened up quite a bit from the morning, unfortunately we were somewhat depleted from the morning races but the afternoon race certainly provided better racing conditions. The wind had swung more northerly and though we were still beating in to the beach marks this time we reconfigured the course to give a starboard hand rounding. The triangles of the morning were converted into an Olympic type course to gibe an extra bit of spice. Once again the B14 made the best of the first beat rounding in the lead but not that far in front of Jeremy & Suzanne. It was quite amazing to see how fast down wind Finn was on his wind surfer. He rounded the beach marks quite a long way behind the main fleet but flew down first reach easily overtaking all before him including the B14 which was flying along under spinnaker.

Stacey’s all conquering run in his D0 finally came to an end as Jeremy & Suzanne easily beat him, leaving Paddy & Steve in 3rd and Chris & Kathy in 4th. The slow fleet was once again dominated by the Jan & Pete and their early performances are looking rather ominous for the rest of the fleet, though we wait for James to show some more appearances with his Aero to see how good that one is. It looks like Dennis’s flirtation with a Hadron H2 is coming to an end as it has been advertised on Apollo Duck and a potential new owner will be coming down next weekend to buy it. That’s such a shame as the boat is a very pretty boat and the videos of them racing look very appealing. I am sure that if Dennis waited until the weather improved, similarly as today, then he would be very impressed with the boat.

April 18th
Too high a tide and still a south easterly
yardl Congratulations to Finn Hawkins for his latest success, finishing 2nd overall and 1st under 17 at the RS X Youth National Championships; Held last week at Weymouth. An extremely good result which stands him in good stead for even greater success later in the year at the other Championships that he will be competing in. Well done Finn, I am sure that the whole Club is proud of you.

What a beautiful day for our first Wednesday evening race, but oh so cold when the sun set. Most of the country seems to have the luxury of very warm southerly winds coming up from Africa to raise the temperature, but alas not for us, yet! Unfortunately we are still under the influence of a south easterly breeze that is very cold and also responsible for a dumping swell onto the beach. To make matters worse we are on spring tides giving very little beach to launch and recover from but also makes the dumping waves that much more stronger. We shouldn’t be too surprised as easterly winds are fairly common at this time of year and we will need another few weeks to pass before we welcome the consistent return of southerly and westerly breezes, which have the affect of making our bay so attractive and easy to launch from. Still it was very pleasant standing around in the late evening sunshine even though we knew that we wouldn’t be sailing.

That easterly wind, the bane of Porthpean, had been blowing quite briskly all day and though it was dropping when we arrived at the Club, there was still quite a dumping sets of waves pounding down onto the beach. We are in the time zone of spring tides and at 18.00 the tide was lapping the edge of the slipway and still had another 2 hours to rise, which meant in all probability that there would be no beach left at all as the fleet returned from racing. Inevitably another cancellation was sounded and the very healthy throng of would be racers retired to the bar. But alas, no sailing, no bacon butties!! However a certain amount of early season boat maintenance was accomplished.

The cancellation was the best decision as not only was there a lumpy sea out there the breeze was noticeably fading, which would have given a very floppy, frustrating ride to any one out there wanting to sail. Maybe Sunday?

April 15th
South easterly winds and rain strike again
yardl Once again we have fallen foul of the weather and yes it was a case of the dreaded south easterly winds that did for us this time making a change from the lack of wind last weekend. The actual wind strength today wasn’t too bad, though Polruan was indicating wind strengths of 30 knot gusts and that would have been very challenging. The forecast was for the wind to swing to the south west which would have given us a bit of shelter in the lee of Blackhead, though we would have had to wait for the afternoon before that happened. The surf on a falling tide was altogether another factor as launching and recovering through the waves would have been a very wet and at this time of year, a very cold experience. Certainly not for the faint hearted; nor me.

Today a small but delicately formed gang of potential sailors gathered to take part in today’s racing, but any enthusiasm was soon dampened by the lively conditions visible in the bay and all talk of sailing waned whilst we drank coffee and talked amongst ourselves and then along came the rain. As it turned out that was just a shower but the forecast was for heavier showers to come along in the afternoon. Not too surprisingly racing was cancelled for the day.

Our field / car park has been off limits during the long wet spell that we have endured over the last 6 months. Any cars trying to use it were soon bogged down on the very slippery grass surface. To try and alleviate the soft conditions a load of hard core was ordered and delivered on Tuesday. A good band of volunteers toiled in the rain to spread the hard core onto the car park and entry road. This should make the entry to the car park more manageable and indeed today several cars managed to get in and out without any problems; so a success for all concerned. All we need now is for a prolonged period of dry weather and all should come good.

Well the weather man had some good news for us this weekend as we are promised that the end to the very unseasonal weather conditions is in sight. The cold and wet weather should come to an end by the middle of the week. The temperature should start to rise and the rain should become less. Hallelujah, I can’t wait, neither can nature as the leaves are starting to appear on the trees and flowers are starting to bloom, though everything is a bit later blooming this year. I suspect that there will be a huge surge in the trees blossoming into leaf in the next few weeks.

My boat is back and is sitting on the road trailer waiting for the mast to be stepped. Kim has made a fantastic repair to it and it is looking great. The only trouble in the immediate future is that we are scheduled for RIB duties for the coming Wednesday and next weekend. Yes this Wednesday marks the start of the evening racing though I should point out that the Wednesday forecast is still for fresh winds so racing might have to be postponed again, but I think that by next weekend we will see a definite improvement and hopefully a good turnout of keen and enthusiastic sailors.

I suspect that everyone is aware that the web camera isn’t working at the moment. Paddy was having a good look at it today and quite a bit of muttering and head scratching was going on but to no avail and the scanning camera is still not working, though the static camera, which had spent most of the week inoperable, has suddenly come back to life. So at least anyone looking can see the state of the sea and a limited amount of action in the dinghy park.

April 8th
Sunshine, blue skies, NO WIND
yardl Well it didn’t take long before we lost the first race session of the season. Today, only our 3rd outing fizzled to a halt when the sun shone down from an azure blue sky but the breeze was not prepared to play with us today. However a very still day allowed the temperature to climb into the low teens to produce the hottest day of the year so far. In fact it was very pleasant to be able to feel so warm as we had to sit and wait to see whether the breeze would finally come to us. Disappointingly we could see a breeze way out on the horizon but I suppose the land isn’t warm enough yet to create the thermal necessary to draw the breeze in. Inevitably a postponement flag was flown. A few sailors drifted away as it became obvious that sailing was not going to happen and by 11.30 the abandonment was made and that was it.

James was down to sail his new Aero but Paddy had discovered earlier in the week that the Aero, although covered had taken on board a lot of water from the rain over the last 2 weeks. The bad news for James that the water was actually inside the hull and there was no obvious place where it could have entered from. The hull had to be drained and due to its construction had to be turned onto its rear end to allow the excess water out. Is this a design error? I hope not as I think the Aero is a beautiful little boat. The only obvious point of ingress had to be via the deck fittings in the bow area. These were removed and refitted with copious amounts of sealer. Time will tell whether this was a one off and whether the leak is cured once and for all. Otherwise the boat will be going back to RS to let them either replace or cure.

The RIB had been taken out of the garage, run up and loaded with all the necessary paraphernalia ready to be launched. Fortunately we hadn’t changed so it wasn’t too bad to put the RIB back to bed, ready for next weekend. Meanwhile the evenings are drawing out and the first Wednesday race of the season isn’t too far away.

April 1st!!
A south easterly wind, a lumpy swell. What more can we want?
yardl Spring? What Spring, well I suppose it was April 1st- April Fool’s day, so I wasn’t too surprised that the weather decided to play one big April Fool on us for our 2nd Sunday of sailing. The earlier forecast for today was quite dire but as the day dawned it seemed that there would be a window of opportunity where we could get at least one race under our belts. Today being Easter Sunday also meant that it was the first of the Cup races, which would also go towards a cumulative Cup as well as an individual Cup for today’s race. Ken had decided that the race would be a pursuit race and he and Paddy sat down to discuss what sort of time length the race would be. The weather conditions were the main consideration and after some debate it was decided that the race duration would be an hour and so starting times were decided using the Laser radial that Sarah would helm being the first boat away. The RIB, today commandeered by Ken and me was duly launched, complete with racing marks and tackle and we headed out into a south easterly sea, which already was starting to produce quite a lumpy swell. Colin & Tony had the best seats in the house today as they could sit in the relative comfort of the race box, stay dry and sit on comfortable chairs to officiate whilst we were buffeted around in a very rough manner as we smashed our way upwind. We had to keep the speed down on the way out as I think we would have smashed up the boat not to say our bodies as the boat fell down the crests of the waves into the unforgiving troughs.

Eventually the triangular course was set, all 5 of the mega fleet were launched and Sarah in her Laser radial began her first beat out into the increasing swell and breeze.

Starting together, 3 minutes after Sarah was the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny and the D-zero of Stacey, 9 minutes after the Laser started, Richard in his Contender was set on his way and finally a mighty 13 minutes later the B14 of Paddy & Steve started their first beat. It wasn’t very long before Stacey pulled well away from the Scorpion and in no time at all overhauled Sarah’s Laser to take a lead he would never relinquish. Richard too was making good progress and he in turn caught and passed Sarah until he succumbed to a capsize on his 2nd time at the gybe mark. The Contender proved to be a real handful today and Richard saw the boat roll over and over each time he righted it. It took him all of 10 minutes or more to finally get the boat floating upright for long enough to clamber back on board and he dropped to the rear of the field as Paddy swept past him. However next time round Paddy & Steve took to the water as they reached the gybe mark, finally getting on their way again after 2 attempts to right the B14. Meanwhile Stacey sailed serenely on well ahead of the entire fleet.

Richard was starting to make up some ground but another series of capsizes on the next set of reaches finally eroded any chance he had of overhauling Stacey. Andrew & Jenny kept their spinnaker well and truly stowed away and managed to keep their boat upright. Their mantra for the day was slow and steady, though they managed their gybes quite successfully. Sarah was sailing well, having no problems with the gybes but eventually was blown over during a tack as the breeze was slowly increasing. Unfortunately she couldn’t right the boat on her own and we had to help her by lifting the mast high enough for the boat to come upright. Once aboard she knew that it was time for the beach and off she went on her back to the safety of the shore.

Ken & I were becoming cold, tired and feeling quite uncomfortable as we were tossed around in the choppy seas and we were immensely glad when the hour was up and we could head out to sea to retrieve the buoys and tackle. Fortunately all the boats managed to make it back to the shore safely including us. It took a Herculean effort to get the RIB onto it’s trolley and up the steep part of the beach, where the sand is still soft from all the movements from the strong winds of late. Once onto the slipway it was relatively easy and fortunate for us that Paddy’s car managed to haul us up to the sanctuary of the Club.

It was a great relief to change from our, by this time wet and cold sailing gear into our dry clothes. Lunch last week was eaten outside on the decking which was basking in the early spring sunshine. Today, with the distinctly wintry conditions it was conducted in the Clubhouse with the heaters on. Even now, a few hours after coming ashore, I still feel rather chilled. No doubt proper spring weather will arrive but today was certainly not a good day to go sailing.

A quick update on my boat; It is repairable and is presently up at Kim’s workshop waiting patiently in a queue for his attention. Meanwhile until it is ready we will probably do a few extra duties, but I do hope that it warms up soon. We were down for duty anyway for next weekend and the following Wednesday which will be the first of the Wednesday evening races. Hopefully Jenny will once again become the Queen of the galley on Wednesday evenings making us those delicious bacon butties, which are just the thing to eat after romping round the bay.
March 19th
And we're off
yardl The countdown clock has finally ticked away the last few days, hours, minutes and seconds between the end of the 2017 season and the start 2018 season; and today we officially started our next sailing year at PSC. The start of the season was heralded by a well attended fitting out supper the previous night and today, a merry bunch of sailors gathered to take to the water and blow away the cobwebs and frustrations of being shore bound for so long.

What a day we had for the start of another sailing season; and I think for me maybe my 42nd season, it’s hard to believe that I have been sailing that long and still enjoying it. Today was the first day of “British summer time” with the clocks going forward last night and strangely enough the weather proved to be nigh on perfect for us with blue skies, sunshine and an offshore breeze. Even the temperature was looking good at 12.5 C, and the forecast was for a light northerly breeze. In actual fact it was northerly as per forecast but a lot stronger; rather fresh in fact, at a good 15 plus knots, this had the affect of making it feel colder, despite the beautiful sunshine. The fresh breeze only became apparent as we left the shelter of the cove for the wider reaches of the bay.

Before we went sailing we decided to deal with a heavy floating object that had been drifting around the bay for several weeks and was parked on the beach quite close to where we launched and recovered. Any boat striking it when sailing would incur quite a lot of damage. A group of our intrepid members managed to move it well up the beach and only a very high tide will float it off again. I believe someone from the Council was aware of the wreckage, visited the beach during the week and disappeared again. Maybe a full crew with a tractor may come down and remove it. Anyway it is out of the way at the moment but will surely pose a hazard to small boats if it ever floats away again.

Paddy & Steve were our RIB drivers today and the RIB was loaded up with the beach marks plus ground tackles for the 2 course marks. Their first job was to lay the beach marks using data from the GPS positions of last year. Once successfully positioned they were off out to sea to lay the leeward mark. I think at the time they were assuming that the beat would be out at sea to the beach marks but when they discovered how much “north” was in the wind then the course had to be tweaked to give a beat across the bay towards the Charlestown headland, before a left hand turn would take us to the beach marks. A northerly breeze is quite rare for us, so always brings in a few different elements to make our sailing up the beat a little more interesting. The course turned out to be a planing boat’s dream with plenty of hard hiking to do upwind but 2 tight reaches proved pure gold for the Tasar and all downwind planing boats. The 2 RS400s, Kestrel and Scorpion were unable to fly their spinnakers so lost out to us in that respect.

Stewart & Colin were in control of the race box and were soon pressed into service monitoring capsizes as they happened. For the first day of the season we had quite a lot of drama. Denis had sailed his new boat, the Hadron H2, during the week and so was feeling a little more confident as he left the beach for the long journey out to the starting area. I don’t think he realised when launching how challenging the fresh breeze was going to be. So much so that as he arrived in the starting area he succumbed to one of the gustier puffs that swept across the course and very gracefully capsized. Well the Hadron advertisement spiel claims that the boat is very well mannered when capsized and will lie on its side making it easy for the helm to clamber on the dagger board to right the boat. NOT so in this case!! Within a few seconds of capsizing, the boat turtled and Denis then struggled to pull the boat over on to its side and struggled even more to right it and then found it impossible to get back in before the boat rolled over again. He did manage to right it once or twice but the boat capsized again immediately. Obviously there must be a knack in recovering from a capsize and maybe a lot of practice needs to be done when the wind is a lot lighter. Steve had to jump into the sea alongside Dennis and between them they managed to right the boat long enough for Denis to board and drop the sail, ready for a long tow home. The water temperature at this time of year is quite cold and Denis spent far too long in it which I am sure took its toll on his strength and he was more than willing to return to shore and warm up.

Anyway after the long delay with the capsize we eventually came under starter’s orders for the very first race of the season. Our fleet for the first day of sailing was a promising 10 strong, exactly the same number as last year. Stacey & James were out in their new boats and I think both Stacey & James were well pleased with their results with them both recording a brace of wins. The fast fleet was the larger fleet with 6 boats. In fact we would have had 7 boats but the pesky Kestrel has been demoted to the slow fleet who were pleased to see her lining up alongside them with Janet making her debut after a long time out of action. Jenny Kendall was also back on the water after a long absence from her foot injury, which she tells me is still giving her pain. Anyway it was good to see our ladies back on the water. Jeremy Turner was also down and rigged his Bahia, intending to take it out for a quick spin, but decided that discretion was the better course to take when he saw Denis struggling and realised how fresh the conditions actually were.

After all the excitement we were suddenly off into the first race with hopefully many more to come. We hit the line for a port hand flyer, but had to duck Stacey and then we cleared the rest of the fleet, so the judgement was more or less still working! We drove the boat hard up the first beat and as we reached the windward mark we found ourselves just behind Stacey and the 2 of us were well ahead of the rest of the fleet. James had a fantastic first beat and managed to round the windward mark 3rd in his Aero5. Chris & Kathy in their RS400 would normally be in front of us in lighter conditions but really came unstuck when they found the reaches a bit too tight for the extra speed and power they would have derived from their spinnaker. I think we held on to Stacey for almost 3 laps but on the 3rd time down to the beach marks he managed to sail into a puff coming out from Charlestown before us and suddenly made a lot of distance on us to take a well deserved win. The D zero is going to taker a lot of stopping this year especially in Stacey’s hands. James was miles in front of the rest of his fleet and finished with plenty of time in hand to take his first win of the day.

The race finished in just over 30 minutes and we then waited around for the rest of the fleets to finish, before making our way back down to the start line. This proved a real disaster for us. We were sitting hove to between the beach marks and the shore, taking advantage of the lighter conditions. Ken stood up to stretch his back, suddenly slipped and toppled backwards falling onto and snapping off the mainsheet bracket. Fortunately he wasn’t injured but the damage was such that we had to make our way back to the beach and so ended our racing for the day. The boat is now out of commission for a while until it can be repaired. The damage is repairable but like all things will take a little time to complete. It looks like we will be doing some extra duties for the next few weeks.

We weren’t the only boat to retire. Andrew & Jenny, Jan & Pete and Roger Williams all sailed back to shore after the first race. Both Jan & Jenny had had enough of the fresh conditions so the Scorpion was left on the beach and Pete and Andrew set off for the 2nd race in the Kestrel. Steve & Ashley had their own problems out there today, managing to capsize in both races and finally retired from the 2nd race when they found that the spinnaker had become detached from one of the sheets. The 2nd race even though depleted of competitors went very much like the 1st race with Stacey & James winning in their respective fleets.

Well we all, to various degrees, survived the first day back on the water, and in truth it was good to be back and it hardly seemed like we had been taking a sabbatical for the last 4 months. Mind you the water was cold, but that aside the sailing conditions were from the top drawer. The enthusiasm of 10 boats out for the first race was good to behold, especially knowing that there is still a potential for several more boats joining us soon. Come on you laggards otherwise you will be labelled as fair weather sailors.

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.
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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.