|Porthpean Sailing Club|
Return to the Beach.
Well thatís it folks, another season finally over, and the 2008 season is already beckoning, but first we have the dinner & prize giving, AGM,
Christmas & then Club premises maintenance & then by late January we will start to see the evenings drawing out again. Anyway what sort of season
has this one been? Remember we started off quite early on the 19th March. Well we should have but a strong, cold northerly, with white horses
covering the bay, held the keen ones ashore & we started off with an abandonment, which unfortunately dominated many days of this years racing.
Anyway we were finally off in week 2, though numbers were quite down, but we had a welcome addition to the Tasar fleet with Chris & Luke Bilkie
joining, plus Paul Beacon & Adam Eastham,borrowing Colin's Tasar, in fact the Tasar fleet flourished quite well this year with at least 6 Tasars out on several occasions.
Early April, remember our glorious April & Easter? Saw our first series of racing completed with the Easter Cup, sailed in quite light conditions. By mid
April we were attracting 15 boats sailing in races, so things were starting to look up, with Robin Hadlow making a return to sailing in his
Supernova. By mid May our Wednesday night racing was looking dire with only 1 of 4 scheduled races being held. In fact May, usually a nice month,
proved a very poor one for sailing, which took us into June. The first Sunday, June 3rd, was a good weekend when we had a mini regatta. Stacey &
Alan laid a P shaped course of just the right size that gave us beats, reaches & runs. The regatta comprised 4 short races, which were hotly
contested & was enjoyed by all who sailed. I think it is the sort of thing we could try one Sunday a month through the main months of next years
sailing. By mid June the Spring Wednesday series had finished with only 3 of the scheduled 9 races sailed, proving what a frustrating season it
July 8th & 9th brought the regatta, which was quite early for us. This is the regatta that over the last 6 seasons we have shared with Pentewan.
Their format was a long distance race on the Saturday, to be followed by fleet racing on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, boats from both Clubs met off Blackhead, where a start line was laid, giving us a 500M beat towards
Pentewan before we headed off to the Gwinnis, the wind which had started off in hiking type conditions started to fade and slowed our progress
quite dramatically. We eventually gybed round the Gwinnis bell & then for over an hour we crawled on an enormous long, broad reach up to the
Cannis mark off Fowey, before hardening up and starting a long, long beat back to Blackhead. Well our dinghies, although much slower than their
cats sailed well & took the first 3 places. Unfortunately there was so little wind the next day that we were unable to sail around to Pentewan,
so the Sunday racing was abandoned, not a very good regatta for us. By mid July our Wednesday attendance was looking good with a regular attendance of 20 boats or more.
The weather was still not very summery & we suffered on and off with light winds and rain. July 28th brought the Osprey fleet to the Club for
their Nationals. We had been hoping for about 50 boats, but actually they only managed to get into the 30s so, we didnít make quite the profit
we were hoping for, but once again the Club excelled, with a polished performance & a very happy Osprey fleet. After many years of acting as
Race Officer Peter Pope & Beacky stood down & Ken took over, doing a magnificent job, for his first Nationals.
August came along & the weather started to become more like summer. The high lights for me were Falmouth week, followed by Fowey week. We had
some very interesting sailing as can be seen by reading further down the blog. September, still good sailing weather and we tried to keep the
popular Wednesday racing going longer by starting racing at 18.00. So as not to upset too many people who couldnít make the earlier starting time
we held a separate 4 race series, which strange as it may seem, turned out perfect as we managed to get all 4 races in. Late September was the
Tasar Nationals, Ken & I trekked up to Lymington for a 3 day event. Unfortunately, Friday the first day, saw the wind howling with gusts of over
30 knots. It was decided to sail one race, but I opted not to bother, however we did sail on the next 2 days. Saturday was very light, but Sunday
turned out quite breezy. However we sailed all these races, unfortunately, not covering ourselves with any glory as we finished about 13th out of a
fleet of 46. Hopefully we may do better next year. Duncan & Mandy Spencer Smith also rejoined us, this time Duncan sailing his OK dinghy.
October was a disastrous month; we didnít sail at all due to the weather. November proved not much better, having shares of either too light or
too strong, until today, well today was a cracker, just right for the finale & a shame for all those who missed it. On a personal note from me, I
wish a big thankyou to all those who turned up for their duties. I don't think anyone forgot this year, which certainly makes the racing a lot
more pleasant. Goodbye 2007
Club racing on Sunday at Porthpean was rather fraught. The south westerly
wind, which seemed quite light on the beach quickly showed its teeth as the 14 boats that launched reached the racing area. So much so that 2
boats turned back. 3 more retired during the race & quite a few capsized, but all managed to recover themselves without assistance from the rescue
boat, which was manned today by John Mark & Tony Dunn. The wind
appeared to increase in strenghth during the lunch break, which prompted the majority to opt out of racing again, so with not enough
takers the afternoon race was abandoned. We have a sailing Club, we have dinghies, we have rescue craft, we have race marks,
what we don't
have is a beach. That's disappeared along with Christmas et al. The recent gales have moved the sand away to beaches new, but
as we have seen before, it does reappear eventually. Hopefully, it will be back within the next 8 weeks & complete the missing link.
We still need more volunteers for the work parties, so if you haven't been down yet, then please make the effort. There is enough
work for everyone, as can be seen from the work party web page.
Today was Ken's and my last race of the season. We took the Tasar to Restronguet for their final race, which is an all in Handicap race. The conditions were horrible, very cold with a fresh south easterly wind blowing a good force 4 . The Carrick roads looked very uninviting, grey, with quite a lot of white horses being whipped up as the tide pressed against the wind. The total fleet only amounted to 37 boats, ranging from Optimists up to Darts. I think the poor weather kept quite a few away. We launched in good time for the start, but found it impossible to make out where the marks were, we knew we could rely on the faster boats getting to the windward mark before us, though I still like to know exactly where I should be going as it allows me to make my own decision as to what sort of tacticks to use on the beat.
Just as we were lining up to start there was a loud bang & the kicker shackle exploded. We couldnít believe it as I had only just replaced the previous shackle during our last race day at Porthpean. It will certainly be changed for something different for next season. Anyway we elected to sail on to see how things went. Fortunately not too bad, we could still control the boat, using the mainsheet to hold the boom down, yes, not perfect, but would certainly do, so we sailed on, sailing a very long beat, that confused quite a few of the fast boats in front of us. The windward mark that we were all sailing for was actually the wing mark. It turned out that the course configuration of a triangle gave us a very long beat followed by a short reach and then a very long broad reach that certainly didnít do us any favours. However the main thing is that we survived whilst many other boats capsized in the gusty wind. I was talking to one of the RS800 sailors afterwards & he recorded his speed at over 23 knots at one time on his portable GPS, which indicated a wind strength far in excess of that. We finished 3rd in the fast handicap class, beaten by 2 Contenders, but didnít feel too bad as normally I would expect Contenders to beat us if they can trapeze in those sort of conditions.
So that was definitely the very last race of the year, & fortunately we didnít capsize once during the season, though have sailed in some strong breezes at various times, especially during Falmouth & Fowey weeks, which on some days had some extremely windy conditions.
Anyway itís time to wish you all a very Happy Christmas & New Year. The countdown clock on the front page is ticking and we are already less than 100 days away from the 2008 season. The Clubhouse will be open on Boxing day & I believe that there will be a party on New Years Eve, which would require you to bring along a plate of food.
The season is well & truly over now. We have just had a very successful dinner & prizegiving & the AGM took place last Wednesday, benefitting from a very full Clubhouse. A new Committee was elected for 2008, congratulations to Gary Lewis, who was elected Commodore. The season finished just at the right time, as we would not have sailed last weekend, due to bad weather & judging by the forecast would certainly not sail this coming weekend either. I picked my Tasar up this evening, the sea looked quite flat, but there were several very dark patches on the water, indicating strong winds in the bay, not a night for sailing. Ken & I are planning to go to Restronguet SC, Sunday 16th for their Christmas pudding race. This is a handicap race where approx 50 plus dinghies will race as one fleet, so that will be our last opportunity to sail competitivley this year.
What an exciting couple of races we had today to finish off the season, and what a lovely mild day we had too. We had 17 boats making an appearance, plus some sunshine and a cracking, northerly breeze, with some strong gusts, which proved too much for some in the morning, succumbing to capsizes. The afternoon race was much quieter, but nevertheless, contained some interesting gusts and wind shifts to keep everyone on their toes. Disaster struck us in the morning race, when whilst in a nice leading position, the kicker shackle exploded, just after we gybed. We limped along for a while trying to repair it whilst boat after boat sailed past us. Eventually we realised that the shackle was too bent to reuse so we had 2 options, either retire or sail on and make do without a proper kicker. We sailed on, gradually passing the boats in front & almost saved our time against Steve Mitchell in his Laser, he managed to beat us by 13 seconds on corrected time, so sailing on definitley was the best option. We set off again with a repaired kicker for the afternoon race. The wind had moderated quite a bit but was still very shifty, especially near the beach marks. To their surprise & delight, Craig & Adrian were first to the windward mark, we managed to make 2nd but on the next 2 reaches, fell back & were passed by the Tasars of John & Tony (John's 64th birthday today) & Beacky & Adam. Fortunately we pulled through them all on the next shifty beat & drew away for what turned out to be a comfortable win. However all the drama unfolded, behind us as the next 5 boats all finished very closely, within a few seconds. John/Tony just pipping Beacky/Adam & Janet & Pete, just passing Craig & Adrian, beating them by 1 second. Great stuff indeed & excellent for Craig & Adrian as they managed to lead the entire fleet for over a round.
The weather forecast on Friday was so bad for Sunday that I thought that there was no chance of us racing today. But the heavy rain & strong winds forecast, went through much quicker than anticipated & we awoke to dry weather with very little if any wind, but the forecasted wind was set to increase during the day. However when we arrived at the Club we were treated to the unusual sight of quite a heavy swell & strong surf on the beach. Yes ther were one or two quieter periods when we could have launched and with a lot of paddeling we could have fought our way through the surf. However although you can choose your moment to launch, the process of coming back to the beach can be very fraught as there is no way you can guarantee a safe passage, especially with an offshore wind which means lifting the dagger board and rudder early and trying to surf in, get out & hold the boat for long enough to get the launching trolley under & then pull out of the water, so with heavy hearts we decided to err on the side of caution and abandon yet again, which only leaves one Sunday of the season left. The good news is that the decking is almost complete save for the railings, so watch the main web page for a full article on Colin's and others endeavours.
At long last, better sailing conditions eventually arrived. Today we were blessed(?) with blue skies & a very strong, gusty, northerly wind. Don't be fooled by the serene picture. The wind was offshore & we were very sheltered on the beach. White water filled the bay, which ominously means at least force 5 & upwards. What made it worse is that it was very gusty as well, so much so that after 10 minutes sailing out towards the start & screaming along on some very fast planes I decided that it was maybe a touch too much for me so we turned round and battled back towards the shore. Even that was a challenge as the closer in we got , then the more viscious the gusts became. I didn't feel too bad as 3 others also decided to come back as well. Those that stayed out had a very good race, everybody having at least one capsize apart from Stacey who was sailing Colin's Tasar with Colin crewing. They powered round to be 2nd overall. Colin came in beaming, he enjoyed it so much. Fortunately the wind moderated over the lunch break, though still gusty, the white water had gone. Again we ventured out to the starting area & yes the wind started to increase again. This time we stuck it out & started the race. I must admit that it is much easier to race in strong winds than just sail around. The discipline of driving the boat comes to the fore rather than just trying to survive & that in its turn makes the boat easier to sail. John & Tony were unlucky just before the start when the shakle holding mainsail clew to boom came undone. They were unable to repair it & so ended up being towed in. The lone Scorpion also had trouble this afternoon, having to retire during the race, when one of the pintles bent after the rudder came off whilst on a 3 sail reach. As the race progressed so did the wind moderate a bit more & even the gusts were not quite as strong, in fact from the shore it looked positvely serene. No sooner had we all got back, changed & put the boats away then the rain came down, which seemed very good timing indeed. With only 2 more Sundays left our 2007 season is rapidly coming to an end.
Racing Tip No 15:Maybe the most important tip of all. Keep the boat upright. I know I am guilty of not doing this enough as I have seen quite a few photographs over the years & I almost always look to be heeling too much on a beat. Unfortunately I usually feel that I am upright, which doesn't help. Anyway the flatter you can keep your boat, especially when beating will make you sail faster. So either hike harder, or dump some power or do both. This weekend was a time for practicing sailing flatter.
Excuse this picture, but it was taken several years ago and believe it or not was taken at Easter! Though I don't know the year, and yes that is snow on the boat covers.
After not racing at all in October I guess we were all desperate to sail at the first opportunity, especially as the remaining weeks are diminishing too quickly. So it was an encouraging sight to see so many people turning up to race. In all we had some 14 boats out, but once again the weather refused to play ball with us, as could be seen by the lack of wind. Admittedly we did have a very light zephyr that tempted us out but unfortunately that faded away to nothing, leaving us with an abandonment flag and a long paddle back to the beach. Several people called it a day & pulled their boats up, but some of us stuck it out and were rewarded after lunch by a much steadier breeze which looked very promising. Again we launched and after Tony & John tweaked the course we were off. Once again the breeze started to fade but at least we got round the course twice before we shortened and called it a day. Unfortunately the Autumn series looks like being decided on only about 3 or 4 races, assuming we get the rest of the series in.
Congratulations to Nick Eggett who won the bronze division at the recent Contender Inland Championships. Racing was held in very blustery wet conditions. Meanwhile Colinís decking is coming on a treat. All the supports for the decking are in place & the railings are started to be fitted. This is a tricky job as we are intending to use the railings from the old balcony, so a bit of cutting and welding is necessary, but at least it is starting to look the business.
Racing Tip No 14: To point or not to point. Analysing my sailing I would say I am a pointer, meaning that I like to point as high as possible going upwind, but today was a day for not pointing. We had a good start with Ron & Michelleís Scorpion below us & just further down was Duncan Spencer-Smithís OK. The wind was very, very light, with not much power behind it. Ron quickly pulled through us and soon built up a considerable distance. I had no alternative but to tack away to try & get some clear wind. However once on the new tack, we deliberately eased, main & jib a little & sailed lower than I normally would. The result was more speed. When we eventually cross tacked, we had caught right up with Ron, and by the end of the beat had built up a very useful lead.
How I wish I could report on a good days racing, but once again we were hit by adverse weather. This time we the victims of the dreaded south easterly wind. We have had south easterlies for the last few days, which had allowed the sea swell to become established. Today the wind strength was a very reasonable force 3-4.but the wave sets on the beach were quite large. We tried to launch the safety boat but before we could get the engine running and boat through the surf we were swamped. We delayed for an hour to have some lunch and regroup, but by that time several potential sailors had seen enough & decided not to go out. We tried again to launch the safety boat, but again were swamped by some large sets of waves, so had to abandon any hopes of racing. Still 3 boats launched with the assistance of a beach party and once through the surf had a very enjoyable sail. Coming back was quite interesting and without the assistance of the beach party would have all been in difficulties.. So we all live in the hope of sailing another day when we re assemble again next Sunday, for what is truly the end of the Summer as the clocks go back the night before and more depressing we only have 5 more Sundays of sailing this year.
Racing Tip No 13:Communicate with your crew. In a 2 man boat it is essential you work as a team, therefore you must ensure that he or she knows what you intend to do as various situations arise. An invaluable part of crewing is keeping an eye on the whereabouts of other boats in the race, especially on the beats when on port & you may be sailing across starboard tackers.
Well there were two momentous events this week. The first was Tony Dunn's 60th Birthday, last Wednesday, when many of us gathered in the Clubhouse to celebrate this moment. The party was brought to life by the introduction of a Karaoke machine, when several of those who shouldn't sing did. I must confess that I shied away from singing, so won't criticise any of those who did sing, but in all honesty there was some terrible singing from some. The other big event was the laying of the blocks for the decking. The work had more or less ground to a halt since the Osprey Nationals, due to Council bureaucracy and time constraints. However Colin is now up & running & with the expertise of Dave Cobbet who took charge of laying the blocks, the support walls were built on Thursday.
Sadly our sailing has once again fallen foul of the weather. This week we arrived to a thick sea mist accompanied by a light drizzle falling & more importantly NO WIND. We postponed until lunch time, and by 13.00 the mist had lifted, the drizzle had disappeared but alas, still no wind. Reluctantly we abandoned for the day. That turned out to be the correct decision as the wind stayed away for the entire day.
Racing Tip No 12:Keep your head out of the boat. We have quite a few days sailing when the wind is offshore which is great for spotting stronger winds on a flat sea as they ruffle the water. This is an early warning as to what's to come which allows you to be ready to change your boat controls quickly ie more kicker, or preparation to hike harder or even ease the sheets.
Another Sunday that promised south easterlies, it had been blowing in that direction all week, but today the wind had gone on strike. We were left with a lumpy sea and a filthy beach where the high tide had swept in lots of sea weed. Unfortunately not many people turned up to sail, the gloomier weather seems to be affecting our attendances. The safety boat launched to evaluate the conditions, no wind was reported, the stacks at Par were going upwards at times. Beacky launched as did Ron & Michele, but just drifted around, and that was enough to put the rest off & so the racing was abandoned for the day. However just as it has happened before within 45 minutes a light south easterly breeze sprung up & the 2 boats out there were able to sail & hike. The lesson to be learned is that sometimes we cancel too early. There are always plenty of jobs that want doing around the club so our time could still be usefully employed whilst waiting for the breeze to appear. Racing Tip No 11:Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate, especially upwind. Watch your tell tales and sail to them, be aware of where other boats are. Hvae they gained or lost by sailing on a different tack to you.
Sailing was out for me yesterday as I had an appointment later in the day, but I wasnít too disappointed as we had a south easterly blowing, admittedly not very strong, but we had the a few small waves on the beach. The sea itself was looking lumpy & the overall weather was looking bleak. Maybe it was a combination of conditions & forecast but only 6 launched to attempt the morning race, which was one of our smallest turnouts of the year. John Mark had an interesting time, he was out sailing without his trusty crew Tony, but took Pete Barnes out with him instead. In their excitement in sailing in waves they forgot the sausage leg, so lost out big time then on the sail in to the beach disconnected the rudder down haul, the new tiller came out & fell over the side. Luckily Pete dived in & retreived it ( well he was helming at the time) Racing Tip No 10: Overtaking downwind. If you are a faster boat & don't want to get into a luffing match then consider passing the boat in front by bearing off to leward, remember that the other boat is not allowed to bear off to interfere with you. When you bear off make sure that you go low enough so as not to be in the immediate wind shadow of the boat you are trying to pass, a minimum of two boat lengths may do the trick, or else you will just slow down & never pass. At the end of the day a bit of judgement comes in here & no doubt sometimes you will misjudge the distance.
Tonight we sailed with a touch of sadness, as this was the last Wednesday nights racing for 2007. Again we had 11 boats racing in what was a very cold, force 3 northerly wind, with some gusts. It was probably worse for Nigel & Colin as they were manning the safety boat. For me it was nice to be back in the familiar waters of St.Austell bay, after the hectic weekend of the Tasar Nationals, but it did seem strange racing with so few boats, especially the starting line being so much less congested than last weekend. The season itself is fast drawing to a close & although we still have about 8 weeks of scheduled racing left, experience tells me that a few of those may be cancelled as the heavier, colder winds of Autumn blow across the bay. The base for the decking has been curing & Colin is itching to get the first blocks laid to support the, so the Clubís appearance will be improving and changing yet again. Racing Tip No 9: Overtaking down wind. If you think you can pass someone on a reach then get up high early, at least 2 boat lengths to windward. That way you may stop the boat in front from luffing you up, plus if he does start to luff you then it gives you a bit more time to react.
Tasar Nationals September 21st-23rd
Ken & I set off in the darkness of an autumnal morning, with an ominously fresh wind blowing, to Lymington for the Tasar Nationals. We arrived safely, after a 4hr. uneventful journey, greeted old friends & acquaintances, unpacked the boat, had it weighed then erected the mast & generally prepared the boat for the first of 3 races scheduled for that afternoon. The wind by now was blowing much stronger, shrieking through the rigging of yachts, causing all sorts of dismayed faces. To the relief of all, an hours postponement went up whilst the wind situation was monitored. There was a computer screen in the Clubhouse, showing the wind strength at Hurst Castle, which was in the area where we would be sailing. It was showing consistent 25 knot winds with gusts of over 30 every few minutes. It remained like this for well over an hour. Many people said that they wouldnít go out in those conditions, but a decision was eventually made by the Race Officer that there would be a race but only the one, that way those who didnít race would not lose their discards. After experiencing almost similar winds at times during Falmouth & Fowey weeks, I decided that we would stay ashore. I didnít want to chance any breakages on the first day. Of the 46 Tasars only 21 launched. We felt almost justified not going when several boats returned, some being towed, with broken masts, some just returning as they reckoned it was only survival weather.
Saturday dawned almost windless, we had another postponement this time due to lack of wind. Eventually a very light breeze appeared and we all launched. This was my first time sailing there so it was all new as we sailed down the Solent, being told to avoid the Isle of Wight Ferries which are constantly tracking to and fro. After a good half hour sail we arrived in the starting area, checked the wind, and what we could judge of the tide, & generally prepared for the 3 races that would be sailed. The course for the entire Nationals was not to my liking. It was a box configuration with the start & a gate about ľ up the windward leg. The reach was very short; say no more than about 300 meters then we turned onto a run, before another short reach brought us back to start the beat again. Each race consisted of 2 rounds. My starts were not very good, boat speed in those conditions not very good either, & after the end of the day we were languishing way down the leader board. After the first race a RIB appeared, with free pasties for everybody, very nice too.
Sunday dawned with a blue sky but with the forecast of fresher winds with rain to come along later. A prompt start was called for. The majority of the fleet launched, the forecast & the already fresh wind, blowing about 20knots put some off. We shot down to the race area, to the same course, but this time further down the Solent. White caps were coming off the short waves. We had 4 races in all, with the last 3 under a black flag, which was generated after the 3rd general recall of the first race. Well it was hard going but we did sail better than Saturday, & managed to hoist ourselves up to 16th overall for the weekend. Not as good as I had hoped for, but very tricky and challenging sailing conditions. There were numerous capsizes, in fact one former Champion capsized very close to us and sheared his mast off; al very mind focusing. Unfortunately we do not sail enough in strong winds at the Club to be able to perfect the necessary technique for strong weather sailing. Having said that, at no time did we feel that we were going to capsize, even in the gybes, so our boat handling skills were ok. Generally our boat speed was quite good, but noticeably less than the top guys upwind. I did find out a bit more about tuning a Tasar; I did have a good time but was relieved when we finally set off for home in one piece, just as the forecasted rain started to come down. There was a new Tasar there with the new deck moulding which has a much improved arrangement for supporting the thwart & improved housing for the side stay tracks. Only 6 of the entries had the old Dacron sails.
Another quite good entry of 12 boats, 4 Contenders, 3 Tasars, 2 Lasers, Scorpion , Supernova & Topper for the 3rd Wednesday of the Autumn series, benefited from the early 6pm start. For a change we had a nice south-westerly force 2 with some extra gusts thrown in for good measure. Stacey in his Contender, had a fairly good lead on Alan as they started the last beat, but Stacey made the fatal mistake of not covering, which allowed Alan Orton to slip past him & go on to take the win. Our good Indian summer has all but disappeared, but we didnít have any rain, just a thick covering of cloud, but it is still mild so that was another blessing. Not only that but the beer in the Clubhouse this evening was free!!. Not quite sure why but Chris Millard was intent on giving it away so we took him up on his fantastic offer, so you see there are perks for the continuation of the Wednesday sailing. Unfortunately we only have one more Wednesday left. Racing Tip No 8: This might seem daft but it is essential to know what the flags mean in the starting sequence. We use a 5,4 1minute, go system, yet I am amazed how many people ask where we are in the sequence when they see the flags flying, especially when there is only one up. One flag on its own means either the 5 minute gun has just gone or the one minute gun has just gone. How would one know which one it is? Well if it was the one minute flag then I would expect to see several boats getting into position to start, whereas if it was the 5 minute gun, boats could be spread out all over the place. So, if confused, look around at the rest of the fleet & work out what they are all doing.
A strange day today as the programme was for a Contender Open. Rather than lose a whole days sailing for others we decided to have some Club Racing as well. We achieved this by starting 5 minutes after the Contenders, using their beat but instead of a port hand course we opted for a starboard course which brought us back to the beach marks. So although our downwind legs werenít very good, one very tight reach & one very broad reach, at least we did get some sailing in. The Contender Open was dominated by Graham Scott who won every race, our boys of Stacey, Allan & Nick coming 2nd,4th & 7th repectively . Yesterdays race was held in a light southerly but today the wind had moved to a much fresher south westerly, which increased to a gusty force 4 in the afternoon. I think that today was the day that I wore my yellow sailing shorts for the last time this season. The forecast for the week ahead shows the weather getting colder & with the Tasar Nationals next weekend then I think the long john will be the main clothing of the day. Goodbye summer. Racing Tip No 7: Dump the power. Itís amazing how many boats you see when beating in a blow or gusty weather, healing far too much. Yes I know I am guilty at times, but when in that situation, dump the main and jib to take the pressure out of the sails, luff up a bit as well, then when under control, wind on the power again. In gusty conditions keep watching the water up wind to see the gusts approaching, & then you can be better prepared to dump the power.
I was away on family visits last weekend, so unfortunately missed Stacey's training sessions, but I am told they were very successfull. The training comprised of theory on Friday evening and practical coaching on Saturday. Unfortunately Sunday proved an anti climax as the wind Gods deserted Porthpean for long enough for racing to be abandoned for the day, only to spring up about 20 minutes later. Tonight saw the 2nd race of the Autumn Wednesdays & again we were very fortunate to get a race in. The weather man said light north easterly but instead we had a very light southerly, so light in fact that we could see the stacks at Par going more and more vertical, a sure sigh of dying breeze. We were lucky to get 2 rounds of a small course in, before the wind died completely & darkness fell about 7.30. On a more positive note, the concrete foundations for the decking was laid last Wednesday, so will now only be a matter of days before the brackets for the decking are bolted down. Racing Tip No6: On a beat, don't sit in another boat's dirty wind if you can help it. Tack off, if only for 30 secs. Dirty wind will slow you down and if you slow down you won't point. In a competitive fleet 2 boat lenghts lost is very difficult to make up.
What superb weather for the first Autumn Wednesday race, the day had been quite cloudy but right on cue the sun burst through the clouds to give us a nice sunny evening with a light northely breeze. 11 boats including 6 Tasars launched for the first of the Autumn series. The decision to start at 6pm rather than 7pm paid dividends as by 7.20pm the breeze had died to almost nothing, yet we had completed the race in a reasonable breeze. Stacey & Nick, in their Contenders, established a good lead on us but as we started the 4th beat we struck gold, we had some very nice wind shifts in our favour, (thankyou compass) we sailed through Nick & caught Stacey up enough to save our time on handicap, which came as a very pleasant bonus. Back in the Tasar fleet, John Mark had quite a tussle with Paul Beacon before pulling well away on the last beat. Kelvin took his Contender out as well and managed to keep one or two boats behind him, which must have pleased him immensley as he is still trying to get to grips with the boat. Racing Tip No5: When rounding the leward mark go into the mark slightly wide so that you can exit nice & tight. Going in too tight means you exit wide which is giving precious distance away.
Unfortunately we are now on the downhill part of the season, now that we have entered September, with just the Autumn series to come. However today was one of those really good days for racing and as a bonus also a yellow sailing shorts day. We had a westerly force 2-3 in the morning which rose to a good force 3-4 in the afternoon. Today was a ďdevised on the day" race, so we decided to do a 3 race series around a ďPĒ shaped course. 16 boats launched, after checking the start line I realised that there was enough bias to risk a port hand flyer. We arrived on the line by my watch right on the gun but as it turned out 1 second too early, unfortunately the cry went up telling us we were just over. By the time we knew that it was us and returned to round the end mark we were well and truly last. Something we didnít need,especially with Steve Mitchell sailing his Tasar for the first time this year. By the end of the first beat we had pulled through the majority of the fleet apart from 3 Contenders, Steve & Simon Price sailing very well in his Laser. We managed to slowly pull Steve back on the following beat, before overhauling him on the last beat. Our heavier weight paid dividends in the increasing wind strength. However it was still a 1, 2, 3 for the 3 Contenders. By the afternoon the wind had ratcheted up a few more knots & several who had launched decided to call it a day. Well the only change at the front was the Contender result, with Stacey & Alan sharing a win each. Stacey had a brilliant first beat on the final race in the ever increasing wind, to claim another first. It was one of those days that no matter where you finished you still had a good sail. Pete Barnes & Tony Dunn had a weekend away with Mike Trise in his Cruiser a few weeks ago. Pete Has written an account of the weeknd & you can find the link to it on the front page of the web site. Racing Tip No4: It's well worth marking your sheets & control lines where you can so that you can repeat settings quickly. I know with the Tasar that tension on the main sheet can vary so much. Again the outhaul is easy to mark, which will allow better settings for either up wind or down wind.
18 boats, including 6 Tasars, launched into a blustery north easterly for the last race of the Summer Wednesday series. We have done very well with this series, there were 11 races scheduled and we have only cancelled 2 of them, unlike last year when we lost so many Wednesday races, usually because there was no wind. Not so this year as we have had quite good breezes for most Wednesday racing. New faces out tonight were Nigel Dowrick sailing his RS400 for the first time this year with Brian Phillips crewing & Maria Eastham & Naomi crewing for Pete Barnes in the Club Wayfarer. The blustery wind kept everybody on their toes but typically of most evenings the wind strength gradually subsided. This was the first north easterly that we have raced in this year, which gives us a beat across the bay from right to left. The wind had some very subtle shifts, which when spotted allowed for some significant gains. There were some good battles going on throughout the fleet. Ron & Michelle Barrett sailing into 3rd on handicap. Russell & Colin were OCS at the start, went back & managed to overtake the 2 Tasars in front of them.Just to complicate matters we were launching and recovering at the top end of a spring tide which leaves hardly any beach showing, so it was a case of queuing up on the slipway to launch. Next Wednesday sees the start of the Autumn Wednesdays & we will be starting at 6.00 pm with the intention of finishing in daylight.
What superb weather for the Bank Holiday. Almost cloudless blue skies, hot sunshine & a shimmering sea, the only thing missing was a decent breeze. 17 boats launched for the morning race & as we gathered by the beach marks, ready for a start, the light breeze faded away to nothing. The start sequence went on and the race was started as we sat there becalmed. Eventually a light southerly breeze kicked in from Blackhead, so off we all trundled, lead away by Steve Coello & Michaela Holly. By the end of the first beat we found that we were behind John & Tony & more significantly not very far in front of the 2 Scorpions of Ron & Michelle & Kay & Gary. We eventually overhauled John but couldnít save our time from the Scorpions. Nigel & James Dowrick managed to beat us all though, so once again, our slowest boat, the RS Feva showed hor competitive it can be. During the lunch break I managed to take my 4 year old Granddaughter, Jessica and daughter Sarah out for Jessica's first sail. Jess really enjoyed it so maybe I can see a Mirror dinghy appearing for next year. The lunchtime breeze started to ease as we started the 2nd race. This time we had a good start & managed to be first boat to the windward mark, but once again the breeze faded away & we painfully managed one triangle and 1 shuttle, before pity was shown on us and the race was shortened.
Racing Tip No3: Try & get out early before a race and check the wind direction & strength for the beat. Set your boat up for the wind strength so that you will be more prepared at the start. Life is easier for me as we sail with a compass. This is very useful for checking the wind direction for subsequent lifts & headers etc. The first beat is probably the most important one, because if you can get to the end of the beat before the rest of your fleet then clear winds on the following sets of reaches helps boat speed and takes away the distractions of how to deal with boats that may be in front of you.
Day 3 of Fowey week. Fitted a new boom last night so hoping that it all worked well. We arrived at Caffa Mill and all appeared calm, but I could still see the tree tops bending in the stiff breeze. A stroll down to Gallants, gave us the information that we would be racing & we would be at sea. We changed, rigged & launched, yes the new boom fitted the rotation arm ok, and sailed down the river & out to sea. We were given 4 rounds of a smallish course. We had a good start & lead away. One of the complications of sailing at Fowey is that you are always encountering traffic, which adds a bit of spice to the racing as you have to quickly analyse what is happening & how to deal with the problems Sometime things go well & sometimes not so well. Anyway we were lucky this time & sailed on to win by enough margin to win on handicap. The afternoon race was a harbour start, out to sea, 3 times round a triangle then back into the harbour to finish where we had started. This time things weren't so good as we all sailed out at roughly the same speed on a run. We hit our proper speed on the race course & pulled away into a nice lead, only to lose quite a bit of distance sailing & beating back into the harbour. We were still 1st over the finish line but not far enough in front of 2 of the boats behind us, so had to settle for 3rd. We had the Red Arrows at 18.00, which was very spectacular, in the clear blue skies over Fowey. So that's another Fowey week over. Certainly not a classic, but at least we did get some sailing in eventually. Oh yes I even wore my yellow sailing shorts on Thursday afternoon.
Day 2 of Fowey week & the same old conditions, wind blowing a good force 5 northerly, with stronger gusts thrown in for good measure. Arriving at Caffa Mill we strolled down to Gallants to see whether we would be sailing or not. The answer was a yes & not only that we would be outside the harbour. I must admit I was very surprised as there were some very strong gusts blowing down the river. Anyway we rigged, changed & launched & this time the mast stayed up!! Out of the river we planed into a very confused sea. Life was very hairy, we were dealing with winds of at least force 5 with extra gusts coming at random. It was extremeley challenging conditions. Quite a few of the Troys & Sunbeams were broaching and shipping gallons of water. It was obvious that if we raced then we would be in survival mode. Just before the Troyís start, the Race Officer measured a gust of 34 knots. He quickly abandoned and sent us all home. We managed to get back into the river without any mishap, and then just before we reached Royal Fowey YC, there was a bang and the boom broke into two parts. The boom failed on the take off point for the main sheet. 15 years of aging had eventually given way & once again we were fortunate to find a rescue boat close by who towed us back to Caffa Mill. Fortunately I have a boom in stock from my days as Tasar agent, so have fitted that but not quite sure how it will interface with my Australian spanner. Anyway we are ready for Thursday. We were on safety boat duty tonight, which should have been a respite but we had a good force 5 blowing at Porthpean, for the 10 boats that launched. We had several capsizes to watch over and one boat needed towing in. The conditions were clearly very strong & so we shortened the race before we had too many problems to deal with.
Today was the first day of Fowey week & the wind was quite strong & blustery, with a predicted wind strength of over 20 knots, so I knew we would be racing in the harbour. A quick stroll to Royal Fowey confirmed it, yes we would be racing in the river. We rigged the boat & were just about to leave Caffa Mill when a RIB roared up to tell us that all dinghy racing was cancelled due to the wind strength. I felt quite relieved as there were some very strong gusts coming through, and I knew it would be quite lively. Lunch time & it was announced that there would be racing for the dinghies, so once again we rigged & this time launched. We were no more than 70 metres from the shore when a huge gust hit us, the rigging snapped forward and as the mast moved forward, there was a terrific bang & the starboard stay snapped, and over went the mast, fortunately not hitting Ken. After gathering in the sails and mast, We were assisted back to shore by a safety boat. On closer examination of the damage we found that the stay was ok, but the clevis pin holding the stay at deck level had sheared off. The mast plate on the deck was ripped out, but apart from that we were unscathed. Repairs have been carried out and both clevis pins have been changed, not wanting to take a chance with the other one. My lower clevis pins were quick release ones and over the years they have weakend where the ball bearing is & that was the point of shear The mast plate has been straightened and the pin that the mast sits on has been replaced. Tomorrow promises to have almost as strong winds so more river races are expected. The other downside of the week is that there are not many dinghies racing, certainly not as many as previous years. The high cost of entry & demands of fees for launching are killing off what was once a very good, competitive regatta. When will they learn?
Grey, overcast with a force 4 offshore breeze, greeted the intrepid Porthpean sailors today. Yes our marvellous summer guaranteed another day with an empty beach. Today was a test to see how many keen sailors there are & in fact only 11 came to the start for the morning race. It was our turn for Safety boat duty, so was interesting to watch other peopleís techniques for dealing with the gusts that swept out from the shore. There were 3 Tasars out, with John & Tony leading the way. Chris & Luke Bilkie had a very late start but slowly overhauled Mike & Vicky Voyzey to finish 2nd Tasar. Nick Eggett was the only Contender to come out to play & in good Contender weather managed to win both races rather comfortably. Maybe the other Contenders who have been moaning about the light conditions we have had this season should have come out as well. I think they would have enjoyed it. Ron & Michelle arrived back from the Scorpion Nationals for the 2nd race, but succumbed to several capsizes, when flying their spinnaker in some of the gusts. Nigel Dowrick with Adam Eastham crewing sailed his RS Feva into 3rd, thus showing that you donít have to have a fast boat to do well. Last week was Falmouth week & this week is Fowey week, again several Porthpean members will be competing as Peter Pope has entered ďAlexisĒ once again. Ken & I will be sailing the Tasar & Simon Price will be sailing his Laser.
Racing Tip No2: Make sure all your fittings & running gear are in good condition and work properly. You would be surprised how much time you will lose when struggling to jam & free your sheets or make adjustments with equipment that isn't up to the job.
Day 6 of Falmouth week & the Harbour Race, which is a long distance race, round all sorts of buoys within the Carrick Roads, The fresh breeze was enough to leave the sailing shorts in my bag in favour of the long john. For once we had a Tasar course. A long beat to start with, a few runs, beats & lots of reaches. We started the Restronguet side of St. Mawes, beat to Falmouth, out to Pendennis, into St Mawes, back to Falmouth then up the river, zig zagging across the Carick Roads, until we reached St. Just buoy & then the longest & best reach of all, up to Pill buoy which is just off Loe Beach, well over a mile away & then a very close reach, just off the beat, back from Carrick buoy to the finish off Restronguet. Today the Wayfarer was put to the sword, even with his big spinnaker & 3 runs, he had no answer to the speed of a planing Tasar. Unfortunately he still won the week by a matter of 1 point. In fact we came 2nd overall by the virtue of being beaten by him in one of the earlier races, by 7 seconds, so all in all very tight racing. This was my 3rd Falmouth week on the trot & easily the best sailing winds of all. We had fresh winds every day, usually around force 3-4, apart from the Tuesday, which became very strong. The most difficult part of the racing was finding the racing marks, orange bobble marks laid almost a mile away are very difficult to spot, but they have promised to have better marks for next year.
Day 5 of Falmouth week, promised less wind, but in fact it was still quite fresh, blowing a good force 4 with some extra gusts thrown in for good measure. Our first race was twice round a triangular course. The beat was quite long but the reaches were broader than we wanted, but we finished in good time & more importantly we beat the Wayfarer by over 3 minutes which turned out to be 5 seconds in our favour on corrected time. The Laser Vago was looking quite well placed on the first reach, as he started to eat into our lead, but one of the stronger gusts proved his downfall & over he went. We were given the shuttle course for the 2nd race, again not the best for a Tasar with 3 long runs in it, but we lead away & were just beaten up the first beat by one of the 2 Fireballs. However we stuck with him all the way round so he never gained enough distance on us. Our next bit of luck happened on the 2nd beat, Ken said to me ďDo you want to know something slightly amusing?Ē. ďGo onĒ I said. Then he told me that the Wayfarer looked like he had been swamped. Actually his tow straps had broken & he capsized, which effectively put him out of the race. So all in all a good day for us with 2 wins. Unfortunately we are still 2 points behind him going into the final race, which is scheduled to be a tour round the Carrick roads, which I think may favour him as there will be a lot of spinnaker work. Still whatever happens it has been a good week for sailing.
Day 4 of Falmouth week turned out to be another windy day. Arriving about 9.45, we were greeted by a fairly serene scene, with a light offshore breeze. 2 races were scheduled & off we went sailing. For the first race we were given a 2 triangle course, which we romped round in less than 20 mins, clearly value for money was not on the Race Officer's mind, as that was the 3 race that has lasted less than 30 mins. This time we beat the Wayfarer, but lost out to a Laser Vargo, who had been struggling all week. The course configuration suited his boat well & he took us on the reaches. We pulled him back on the 2nd beat, passing him on the close reach to the finish, but he had enough time in hand to claim his victory. The wind swung & increased for the 2nd race, white water swept the course with a wind strength somewhere over 20 knots. Our course this time was the square one which consists of a beat to mark A, reach to mark B, run to mark C and then beat back up to B, run to C etc before a dash to the finishing line. So not a very exciting course for a Tasar,but a very lively race which was fast & furious, we still pulled out & finished in a comfortable time, but not enough as the Wayfarer had us by a few seconds.
We were too tired to race at Porthpean tonight but a reduced fleet of 10 took to the water in a blustery north westerly breeze. The 3 Contenders of Alan, Nick & Stacey took it in turns to lead, but victory went to Alan, just managing to hold Stacey off. Pete Barnes had a close tussle with John Mark, managing to see John off on the water, with his slightly slower Kestrel.
We have just survived day 3 of Falmouth week. Today was the day when the wind came with a vengeance. But first Yesterday, Monday was another good day for sailing. We managed 2 races as per schedule, the first was the longest race yet & took us almost an hour. Again it was a course that didn't suit a Tasar as we were on a square course that gave one good reach & then 3 sausage legs. We ended up 3rd in that race. The course for the 2nd race was 2 triangles, which was a good course but so short, we sailed round in 29 minutes & put what I thought was a good distance between us and the Wayfarer, but unfortunately not enough as he still beat us into 2nd place.
Today was forecast as evil & I doubted whether we would get a race in. We arrived at Restronguet & much to my surprise found clearing skies & a lightish breeze. Racing was on & so we rigged, changed & launched. Within 15 minutes of leaving the shore, the mist & drizzle came down but after a 1/2 hr delay, racing begun. We were disappointed to see that we had been given the 2 triangle course again, which I knew would be sailed too quickly to allow us to make inroads into the Wayfarer's handicap. Just after starting the 2nd round the wind started to increase & went up & up until it was blowing a good 25 knots. Things were getting serious & quite a few boats were getting into trouble. We screamed round the 2nd triangle, but again not far enough in front of the Wayfarer, so had to settle for another 2nd. The wind began to get even stronger as we waited around for the next race. Even sitting hove to was perilous as we both had to sit out to windward to hold the boat up. Eventually to our relief the Race Officer could see that all the reascue craft were busy trying to assist the many capsized boats and sent us home.
We are not the only ones sailing away this week. Ron & Michelle have gone to Bridlington for the Scorpion Nationals & Steve Mitchell has gone to Phwelli for the Merlin Nationals. I expect both teams will have had windy races today. Anyway 3 more days of racing at Falmouth for us, though the wind for Wednesday & Thursday is still forecast to be strong.
This is a slightly different blog this week as Ken & I are sailing in Falmouth week from Restronguet. We do have a horrifice weather forecast for Tuesday & Wednesday, so the week might not be quite so good, but today, Sunday was our first racing day. The weather was cloudy with plenty of sunny intervals & a nice force 3 westerly blowing down the estuary. The first decision was whether to wear a long john or the shorts. The sun was shining so the shorts won, which turned out to be the correct decision. Our courses were 3 triangles, which sounded fine, but the reaches were very broad which is not Tasar friendly. However we did have a 2nd in the first race & a 1st in the second race. In that race we had 2 exceptional beats that powered us miles in front of the next boat which was a Fireball, eventually we won on the water by several minutes. Our closest rival is a Wayfarer, who finished 1st & 2nd, tying with us on 3 points. This Wayfarer is a race tuned version & the crew know how to sail it, so whether we can stay in front of it for the rest of the week we will have to wait and see. I think it will come down to how good the reaches are.
What a superb night for sailing, Perfect blue sky, sun sinking slowly in the west & a nice north westerly blowing between 5 & 10 knots, enough to get us hiking and planing as we wandered round the course, with several wind shifts within the beach mark area. We had quite a few firsts tonight. Firstly the largest fleet of the season with 21 boats. Secondly 5 ladies on the water and thirdly, Nicola making her inaugral sail, and first time out his year for Lucy Bray sailing with Stacey in a borrowed Tasar. I t was also good to see Alan Folland & Duncan Spencer Smith making welcome returns to sailing with us & hello again to Sarah Fryer, home for a few weeks from France. My yellow sailing shorts were out again, this time joined by John Mark, who sported a natty pair of red shorts, which unfortunately made mine look really scruffy. Simon Price had a very good first beat, being 2nd boat at the windward mark, Tim Baily being not far behind him, both benefitting by having good results on corrected times. Stacey sailed up to 2nd Tasar before problems caused him to retire. Oh yes, Jenny was back & so there was plentiful supply of bacon butties.
Now I am not trying to teach grannies to suck eggs but I thought it might be pertinent to add the odd racing tip on this page so here we go with the first one.
Racing tip No1: Try not to sail beyond the lay line when beating. You would be surprised how much ground some people lose by sailing much further past the lay lines than they need to.
Despite some of the forecasts, it was another fine sunny day, even the lack of wind didn't stop 14 boats from launching. However a very light south easterly crept in and allowed a race to start. We did very well leading the fleet for 2 laps & then for some stupid reason I decided to try a different approach on the final beat, and in doing so let 2 boats past me, we finally finished 4th on the water just pipped by Chris & Luke Bilkie. By the afternoon the wind had moved into the south & had started to pick up a bit. No mistakes this time, after a good start we eased away into a good lead, even having the pleasure of hiking & planing, thank goodness no Contenders came out to play as they would surely have had us. Oh by the way did I mention yellow sailing shorts and Tee shirt? Well it was one of those days again, & very nice too.
Summer has suddenly appeared. After weeks of cloud & rain, the sun has put in an appearance this week, so much so that for the 2nd time this season we had a fleet of 20 boats, including for the first time 7 Tasars. We even had perfect Porthpean weather, with a force 2 north westerley & dare I say it, another excuse to wear the yellow shorts & a Tee shirt. One of the Ospreys from the Nationals, has stayed on for a weeks holiday & sailed with us tonight, & even had the termerity to win the race. We had a close race with Nick Eggert, John & Tony had a close tussle with Russel & Colin, before opening up a reasonable gap on the last round. Amy Eastham had her first sail, crewing with her brother Adam for Paul Beacon. The only disappointment of the evening was no bacon butties. Jenny was off pursuing other pleasures, so we all had to starve.
Unfortunately I missed the ending of the Osprey Nationals. We travelled to Bristol for Jessica's 4th birthday, but checking on the Y&Y I see that an old adversarry of mine, Jeremy Williams, from Penzance, came 2nd. We used to sail Enterprises against each other many years ago. He did very well, borrowing an Osprey, but having the luxury of the previous Champion crew. Our own Club member Nick Eggert did extremely well too. He was offered the helm of an Osprey by one of the visitors & helmed it to 7th position overall. Nick was consistent all week, managing a 3rd in the penultimate race. Once again Porthpean Members rallied round to produce a very well organised Championship, which bodes well for next year when we will be hosting the RS800 Nationals. Congratulations are also in order to Stacey, finishing a very creditable 20th at the recent Contender Worlds in Holland in a fleet of over 150. I believe the weather was on the strong side for most of the Championships. This weekend we resumed Club racing again, but at this stage I don't know what happened as far as results are concerned, they will have to wait until Wednesday, when that particular series resumes again.
The Osprey fleet are celeberating their 50th anniversary this year & had booked Porthpean to host their National Championships. Unfortunately only 30 have turned up to sail in our beautiful bay. Today was their first race, which was held in a 15knot southerly breeze. Launching was nice & easy & off they all reached towards Polkerris for the starting area. The sea sailors revelled in the conditions, voting them just about perfect. The Committee boat is being provided by David Phyall & the Race Officer is Ken Fobbester. After todays racing everybody appeared to be in good spirits, & if the weather holds & who can guarantee that after this awful summer, then we are in for another good successful Championships.
Summer made a rare appearance this evening, blue sky & sunshine, & a light westerly breeze brought out the Tee shirt & shorts, for the last race before the Osprey Nationals that start this weekend. Clive & Bruce set a perfect course fot the conditions, which unfortunately were a little on the light side. At the end of the first beat Richard Armstrong had sailed into a good lead which he held right to the finish. We hung on to 2nd managing to hold off the Scorpion of Ron & Michelle by 14 seconds on corrected time. Paul Beacon & Adam, gradually made up ground from a poor first beat to claim 4th. It was good to have a drink in the bar & eat Jenny's bacon butties afterwards, which were served by Katie & Amy Eastham. Thankyou ladies. Unfortunately we have had another upset with the proposed decking. Mr Jobsworth from the Council has decreed that the cross mesh for the concrete base isn't thick enough, so now we will have to replace what has carefully been laid by a much thicker mesh.
I'm sure I heard it or read it in the newspaper, but today was expected to be the hottest day of the year. Well they were well off the mark for Cornwall. All we have is cold & drizzle, with hardly any wind & certainly no sun. After the largest fleet of the season last Wednesday, we were down to 7 resolute boats for this morning's race. Fortunately a very light breeze sprung up at the start of the race & we eased away on the first beat, which due to the strange vagaracies of the wind turned out to be almost a one tack beat. The subsequent legs were sailed in the lightest of breezes and the onus was on keeping what boat speed you could muster to make forward progress. We had quite a keen first round with Nick Eggett & Adam &Beacky, before we drew away into a good lead. The light conditions prevailed whilst we were having lunch, before it was embelished with drizzle & mist. That put an end to any further hopes of racing, so up the deserted beach & slope went the boats, to be put to bed, waiting for Wednesday, though the forecast is for further light winds. Stacey is in Holland for the Contender Worlds & reports that it is very hot, sunny & windy. Oh how we love the joys of an English Summer!!
A cloudy but warm evening, with a light Westerly(2-3) fading to very little greeted the 20 boats that launched for the midweek race. The bay was looking superb with a very flat sea, shimering in the late afternoon sunshine. This was the best turnout of the season. Although not very sunny I soon made the decision to wear the yellow shorts, which can be guaranteed to put many off their sailing if not their tea. The beat was very tricky with quite a few windshifts, especially near to the beach marks, to test everyone. The Contenders of Allan & Nick surged into a good lead but as the wind died so did their speed & the Tasar started to make inroads into them, so much so that we were up with them & spilt them by the last gybe mark. With only a light breeze blowing, we managed to stay with them on the next reach, finishing just behind them on the beat. We had a good mixture of boats racing, including 6 Tasars, 4 Supernovas, Contenders, Lasers, Merlin Rocket, kestrel, & OK dinghy. The Clubhouse was packed afterwards, with many of us eating Jenny's bacon butties which were served up by Amy & Katie Eastham. Unfortunately the longest day has passed & by the end of this month the evenings will be seen to be drawing in.
This was regatta weekend, combined one with Pentewan Sands SC, and this year was their turn to host the event. Sarurday was a bright & sunny day with a light south westerly, with the promise of a little more wind as the day went on. Once more the yellow sailing shorts were worn & off we went for a long distance race. The fleets of both Clubs met at Blackhead for the start of the race, which took us out to the Gwinnis & then across the bay to the Cannis mark before a long beat back to Blackhead. Unfortunately the fresher winds never materialised, which was very frustrating as the reaches would have proved exhilerating. The quickest dinghy back was the RS400 of Steve Coello & his guest helm, Jeremy Rowett, who subsequently won the race, beating us by 14 secs over a 2hr plus race. Sunday was arranged that we would sail to Pentewan to race in their bay. Unfortunately, the lack of wind prevented us going, nobody wanted to be towed that far, so reluctantly all the boat covers were put back on & the dinghy racing was cancelled. However Paul Beacon, Colin, Kelvin, John Hill & Pete Barnes made big progress with the ground clearance for the decking, so at least they had a productive day.
A weekend off in Bristol, so no sailing for me, but despite strong conditions last Sunday, 7 boats went out to race, but only 2 finished. The wind was much stronger out at sea than onshore & numerous capsizes followed. So much so that prudence won out & nobody ventured out in the afternoon. The strong winds have continued all week & tonight also fell victim to strong westerlies. All was not lost as we managed to get the field cut & tidied ready for the Osprey Nationals which are only just over a fortnight away. Just a reminder to anyone who reads this that it is the combined regatta with Pentewan this weekend. A long distance race on Saturday followed by traditional racing on Sunday, all at Pentewan. Forgot to say last week, but congratulations to Nigel & James Dowrick, who won their first race in their RS Feva, whilst I was on holiday in Turkey.
What a fantastic week we had in Turkey, not a cloud in the sky, and was so very, very hot. The temperature was in the high 30's the whole week & then we came home to a most untypical cold wet June. At least we missed quite a lot of rain. I am told that the nostalgia night was a huge success, with over 100 people in the Clubhouse. I am waiting for a review & some photographs to add to the web site. Looking at Sunday's results I see that Craig & Adrian had a very good time on Sunday, winning their first race at Porthpean in their Kestrel. Well after such a hot week in Turkey my sailing shorts stayed firmly in my bag for tonight's race, although it wasn't too cold, the heavy cloud base & gusty westerly wind, convinced me that the long john was more appropriate. The fresh wind slowly subsided, but for the first 2 rounds there was enough wind to be able to hike & plane downwind, very exhilerating indeed. John & Tony, working well on the beats to peg us back each round. I'll be missing more Sunday racing this weekend as I am going to Bristol for my youngest Grand daughter, Katie's Christening. Many of you will have noticed the large hole appearing alongside the Clubhouse. The idea was to build some decking, therefore we are digging out for foundations. Unfortunately the mad Council of ours has decided that we need to install a concrete raft, under the whole structure. I can't quite see the logic in this as nothing will be sitting on the concrete plinth, except maybe a Laser.
The yellow shorts had a bonus this weekend. I took them sailing on Saturday as well as Sunday. On Saturday Ken & I went to Loe Beach Regatta, where we met the most obnoxious car park man ever. I complained about the high cost of parking & launching for what was only a regtta race, when he went off on one. His vocabulary was very limited, fortunately they were words I hear a lot at work so could understand most of them. Anyway, taking the hint that we wern't welcome in his car park we eventually launched at Mylor, sailed in the regatta, in a good force 3, yes we could actually hike hard & even plane, the course wasn't too good for Tasars. The Race Officer managed to set a long course with no planing legas in it whatsoever, which was a disappointment as pre race we could sail away & plane at quite a good speed, something we haven't been able to do for a while with our weather of late, still it was nice to be out in the sunshine & breeze. Today was different, back to the lighish southerly winds which we have had such a lot of lately. Still we had a reasonable entry, with quite a few juniors out, which is always nice to see. Chris & Luke Bilkie sailing very well to come 2nd in the morning race. The yellow shorts did really well winning 2 races, though we were helped by Stacey & Nick palying tactiacl positions on each other wheras we just went for speed and the odd wind shift. The weather held nicely for us, with the forecast rain holding off until we had all finished & packed away. Well that was my last race for a week as I am going to have to chill out in the 37C temperature of Turkey for a week, well someone has to do it, so Ken is going to enjoy (hopefully not too much) the delights of Steve Mitchell's Merlin next weekend.
Yet another Wednesday bedevilled by light winds. The prevailing wind all day had been a south easterly & initially I thought that we would not be able to sail, but by 18.00 it had changed to a light southerly, without any swell nor waves on the beach. 16 enthusiastic helms & crews launched for the first race of the Summer Wednesday series including for the first time 6 Tasars. A reasonable size course was set by Ron & Michelle Barret, but we had no sooner started then it became apparent that the wind was slowly dying. We had a very fraught start as I elected to try & cross the fleet on port only to be caught by John Mark. I thought we would dip John, but then horrors I saw more boats behind, so I threw in one of the quickest tacks imaginable, just avoiding a collision. We did work up to a good first beat, & mixed it with the 2 Contenders, who unless they can trapeze, find it difficult to sail to their handicap. In the fading breeze we managed 2 rounds of the course, but it was obvious that unless we stopped soon then the slower boats would have had no chance of finishing within the time limit. Still it was nice to be able to sail in the yellow shorts once more. Summer is here but the winds are still light & have too much easterly in them.
Summer sort of arrived for sailing today. We had beautiful clear blue skies with hot sunshine, & a moderate south easterly blowing in off the sea. The largest fleet of the season launched in small waves to start the first of the summer series of races. Unfortuantely easterlies do not give the best sailing conditions, but nevertheless, there were a few tussles between the various classes of Contenders (4), Tasars (4), Lasers (6), Scorpions (2), plus Supernova, RS Feva. We were pleased to be in front of 2 of the Contenders, but quite resigned to coming 2nd as Alan Orton had quite a lead on us, but an unusual mistake by him, nearly capsizing allowed us to close up & managed to beat him by 2 seconds on corrected time. High tide was at lunch time & launching became quite tricky as the waves had been building, however everyone who wanted to sail managed to launch ok. The wind had freshened slightly, allowing the Contenders to stretch away, with Stacey showing the rest a clean pair of heals. Arriving back on the beach was quite fraught as the waves though not as big as the week before, were still quite challenging, but lots of help was given by everyone, so fortunately everyone was recovered safely with no damage.
Frustration made us sail. It was obvious to all those who sail regularly at Porthpean that a light south easterly, always fades as the evening draws on & tonight was no exception. 16 boats launched into the lightest of breezes, to try & get a 3rd race in for the 9 race series. One or two didn't get to the start line on time, but the majority managed to find a light breeze to move serenly up the beat. The breeze did hold for the first 2 legs, but as we started the long broad reach back towards the beach marks, it faded to almost nothing. The phrase "watching paint dry" comes to mind. However most persisted & managed to complete the one & only round, before we had to bow to the inevitable & call a halt. A rather subdued atmosphere in the Club house was in evidence afterwards as the frustrations of trying to sail in such light breezes was getting to all. Well that was the end of the spring series, let's hope we get better sailing for the summer series.
Despite an appalling forecast, 14 boats entered a Mini Club Regaata. The format was to be 4 short races of approx 30 mins duration, which put the emphasis on good starts & good first beats. 5 Tasars came to the start line in the morning, including Paul Beacon & Adam Eastham. Paul has been loaned a Tasar by Colin as he is crewing for Russell. Short start lines made the starts interesting. The wind in the morning was a steady light southerly & we sailed 3 laps of a P shaped course. However the races in the afternoon were bedevilled by lighter and more variable conditions, for Olympic type courses. We had a very poor 3rd race, which meant we had to do really well in the last race. We started the 4th race reasonably well & worked up to be first boat by the end of the beat. We steadily pulled away from Janet & Pete's Kestrel, (the winners of race 3) & as we started the last triangle, I thought we had placed ourselves in an unassailable position, but the vagaracies of the wind, changed all things round & suddenly we were plunged down the fleet. Despite that we managed to fight back to third on handicap, which tied us on points with Ron & Michelle Barrett, sailing their Scorpion. Fortunately our better discard gave us the series. Everybody managed to have various tales of good & bad fortune over the day, which was felt by all to be a very good format.
My journey home from work this evening brought me over the top of the A390 on the new distributor road. My first glimpse of the bay told me that we would be missing another sail. There were a lot of white horses to be seen, giving an indication of quite a lot of wind. Not to be put off so easily I took my kit down ready for the evening sail. Lo & behold the conditions were starting to improve. Yes the wind was still gusty, but had moderated enough for us to attempt to race, for the last race of the Spring series, yet only the 2nd race sailed, so poor have been the conditions so far this season & what good racing conditions they turned out to be. Enough bite to enable hard hiking, upwind and some exhilerating planing down wind, interspersed with some wind shifts, although still cold for the time of year. The forecast is set to improve next week, so maybe the real summer is yet to start.
Once again we were caught in the dilemma of weather, in fact it was whether we sailed or not. Despite the overnight gales, the wind was quite light, unfortunatekt there were some quite large waves rolling onto the beach. Large enough for a canoe to be surfing in on the breakers. However enough people signed up to sail so off we went, well not all. I decided to chicken out, plus the Tasars of Chris Bilkie & Peter Phillips. I think our caution was correct when we saw what happened out at sea. The light wind suddenly disapperared & quite a viscious squall came over. All three Lasers were blown over. In fact all but Nick Eggett retired due to the rough conditions. John Mark was the first to return to the beach & only just managed to avoid disaster. We had a beach party ready for him but he came surfing in on a huge wave, the bow tipped downwards, hit the beach & the boat rolled over, very luckily the mast survived intact, John took a huge whack on the side of his head, we picked up the boat & he lives to sail another day. All the rest managed to get in without too much troube apart from Craig Varley whose Kestrel's buoyancy tanks had developed a leak & a half submerged Kestrel was helped to the baech by the safety boat. That was obviously the only sail for the day as no one else wanted to venture out again in the afternoon, especially as a thunderstorm passed down the coast.
Wednesday racing seems blighted this year as we have lost yet another race, this time due to lack of wind. A lovely, sunny, early summer's day gave us a very light onshore breeze, but was predicted to swing to offshore. We launched but by 19.10 the anticipated breeze hadn't arrived so the decision was made to abandon then within 10 mins of the abandonment the breeze arrived, giving all those who stayed out a very pleasant sail. The planning permission for the decking has been approved by the Council and Colin has made a start on clearing the undergrowth.
Summer has returned, though it didn't look like it this morning as we arrived at the Club. Distinctly overcast, but with hardly any wind, so it didn't feel too cold. A very light south westerly stirred the waters of the bay, & with only a short delay, we set off for the 8th race of the Spring series. We managed 2 rounds of an Olympic course, before finishing for lunch. I was very pleased with the result as we led from start to finish. Typically the wind started to increase just as we were finishing. The form book was turned on it's head in the afternoon. We started again in a fading southwesterly. Stacey Bray & John Mark had streaked into what looked like an unassailable lead, but then their luck ran out. As they approached the wing mark for the 2nd time the wind vanished. Virtually the whole fleet sailed into the same hole and we all parked up for a while before the new wind came in from the west. The course now turned into a run, a fetch & a one tack beat. The 4 Contenders finished in the first 4 places but hard on their heels were the majority of the rest of the fleet, too close for the Contenders to save their time, putting the Lasers of Simon Price & Steve Coello in the first 2 places. The clouds had cleared by this time giving us a very warm summer day to come ashore to.
Frustration or what? Fed up with the recent spell of bad weather, the brave souls who turned up for tonight's sailing were easily duped by the apparent easing of the offshore wind & heavy drizzle. We were soon out by the beach marks when a sudden intensity of the wind arose. Gusts of F6 were soon sweeping the bay & boats were going over like nine pins. The safety boat had set a course, but could never get onto station long enough to start the race. The OOD, Jenny March, quite rightly abandoned all hopes of racing in the interests of safety & we all scuttled home with our various tales of bravado. Fortunately for us all, Jenny still cooked bacon butties, so not all was lost. Stacey christened his new Contender & now just waits to use it in anger at Porthpean. Not long after we came ashore, the wind picked up even more and the rain came down with a vengeance. Roll on Sunday.
Sometimes you wake up & you just know you aren't going to go sailing. Well this morning was one of those days. I awoke to the sound of rain drumming on the roof, looked out of the curtains to see the trees bending over with the wind, plus the visibility was severely limited & thought "definitley not", so I rolled over and dozed off again. By the time I got down to the Club, it was still raining and the wind was blowing in off the sea. Maybe the decision to cancel was too early as by mid day, the rain had stopped and the wind had eased and swung to the south west, 2 hrs too late to save the day. At least the sailing kit remains dry, ready for Wednesday, when we will try again.
The Spring Wednesday series is becoming disasterous, we have only sailed 1 out of the 4 scheduled races so far. The beautiful April weather has given way to a very wet & windy May. For some reason Wednesday eveneings are usually the driest day of the week, but that went very wrong this week when the strong wind, force 6ish was accompanied by heavy rain. No one wanted to go sailing, so we were all quite relieved when the OOD, very wisely abandoned the race. The bar opened early & the pool table sprung into life. Yes there are other things to do when we can't go sailing.
May 5th & 6th
Ken & I went off this weekend to the Tasar SW Ares at Torquay. The organisers predicted an entry of about 15 boats, but many who were expected to come didn't make it, so we were left with a fleet of 8. However out of those 8, 4 of them were in the top 8 at the last Nationals, so we were sailing against some of the best in the country. We managed to achieve 3rd palce in each of the three races that we sailied, but only came 4th overall. The conditions were lightish on Saturday, but fast & furious on Sunday. We were racing amongst Yachts of various sizes, which caused all sorts of problems for dinghy sailors as our various courses converged, when using common marks. Well it was a very interesting & tiring weekend and well worth going to, if only for the experience of sailing against some faster helms & boats. Although we were sailing as a fleet we still started with the rest of the dinghies, amongst those were a couple of RS400s which I am sure we would have beaten if we were sailing with them on handicap.
We have had a really good run of fine weather since Easter, setting all sorts of records for sun shine & higher than average temperatures, but this has come at a cost as we have had several weeks of mainly easterlies, so once again tonight we paid the price of an easterly when the light breeze faded to nothing, so reluctantly once again we cancelled. The beach itself was filthy as the easterly wind had brought ashore all sorts of rubbish plus it's also that time of the year when the weed starts to lift off the seas bed & that too is washed ashore. However not all was lost as Kay & Gary gave a talk on OOD duties and also how to use the Saiwave race scoring programme that we now use. Judging by some of the questions from the floor it was a well needed teach in. Anyway the good weather is set to deteriorate this weekend bringing rain & south westerlies.
You certainly get a variety of sailing conditions at Porthpean. This Sunday was the turn of the unpleasant type. The wind was in the east, which causes waves, though for the morning race the tide was out, fortunately the wind was light enough to allow us to launch without too much trouble. Such are the conditions that we always get a lumpy beat from the beach marks straight out to sea. The saving grace today was that the light wind moved more into the south for a while and eventually picked up to the top end of a force 2, which did allow us to hike and even plane downwind on the waves. Fortunately, after the race, we all sailed in through the surf without any mishaps, though a welcome beach party prevented any boat damage. The surf continued to buid over the lunch period, so much so that only 5 boats signed on for the afternoon race. To compound the misery of those who sailed, the wind died off quite dramatically leaving people struggling to make headway in the lumpy sea. James & Nigel Dowrick had a good morning race, sailing their Feva into 2nd place.
The Wednesday series finally kicked off this evening, with classic Porthpean evening conditions, force 3 offshore westerly, fairly clear skies and a flat sea. 18 boats launched, from a deserted beach, including 5 Tasars and the first RS400 for the season, to sail the large course set by Ron & Michelle Barrett. The wind strength and direction shifted around, giving lifts one minute and headers the next, especially tricky around the beach marks. I was tickled pink to hold the Contenders in check, which gave us a first on corrected time. The Clubhouse was buzzing afterwards with a well frequented bar & bacon butties supplied by Jenny March, served by the 2 young Eastham girls.
When I arrived at the Club this morning, sailing looked distinctly unlikey, Poor visibility & absolutely no wind. The forecast was for rain by lunchtime but actually that never materialised, so our fine weather although breaking down remained. Eventually the visibility improved and a very light south westerly appeared. A course was set & 14 boats attempted a start for the 4th race in the spring series. The very light winds made it difficult to make good progress. 3 of the Tasars and the lone Scorpion had quite a tussle for a couple of laps, before we managed to break free. Paul Beacon lurking somewhere behind us all managed to save his time to take 1st place. The breeze increased slightly for the afternoon to the top end of a force 2. At last the Tasars could plane downwind, which was the first time for me this season. However it was trapezing weather for the Contenders, which when that happens makes them almost unassailable. At least we did manage to split 2nd & 3rd Contenders as some consolation, plus managing to lap the Enterprise. Still, handicap sailing is a lottery most of the time, & we just have to put up with it.
The glorious weather goes on but we sailors paid the price again as the light onshore breeze, teased and tantalised before finally dying. We would have had at least 14 boats out & what with the tide in to the slipway, would have made very interesting & frustrating launching. However that didn't deter everybody from sailing, 3 boats launched but just watching them slowly drift around in the lumpy swell persuaded the rest of us that we had made the correct decision not to go. The forecast for Sunday is unfortnately wetter but we should have a breeze.
Cloudy & overcast today with a light offshore breeze, giving a beat from Blackhead into the beach marks. The 3 Tasars of Lionel, John & Chris Bilkie, had an interesting race, John briefly took the lead on the 3rd beat before losing out both to Lionel & Chris on the last beat. The afternoon race proved more exciting with 15 boats out, but the race itself was a long drawn out affair, though the freshening breeze gave some good planing conditions. Biggest success of the day went to Nigel & James Dowrick, powering their little Feva round tp gain 3rd place. The first outing of the 49er looked impressive but after lapping everyone they still only came in 9th. Wednesday racing starts this week, when we hope for even better turn outs. It was also the first sail for many years by Robin Hadlow in his Supernova. Robin retired early, certainly feeling the effects of his long layoff!!
April 7th & 8th
The Easter Cup series was held this weekend and for some of us it was our first sail of the season. The Saturday weather was beautiful & sunny, but we only had a very light easterly wind. Conditions were frustratingly slow, but like good competitors we hung on and finished. Sunday morning dawned even sunnier, but this time not a breath of wind in the bay. Fortunately by 11.30 a light south westerly sprung up & by 12.30 we were into the first race and it was Tee shirts & shorts weather. Fortunately slightly stronger than yesterday, but still very light. One Laser sailor was overheard to say "with my training sail, I will be smoking today!!" well his idea of smoking must have been hanging off the back of his boat, smoking a Hamlet cigar, as he finished way down the pan. The 3rd race started in a fading easterly, & it took an age to reach the windward mark as the very light breeze died & rallied & swung all the time. Nick Egget managed to get round the windward mark first and disappeared down the reach. By the time the rest of us got there the breeze really was dying, but slowly swung and freshened into a force 2 westerly, which even got us hiking for the first time this year, and what a nice feeling that was. So the Easter cup was completed in bright sunshine & a decent breeze, just too late to give us all good racing.
A cold , fresh north easterly greeted us today. The tide was receding, leaving a sandy beach with lots of breaking waves. Possibly we could have sailed, but not enough people were prepared to try it. Instead we watched a couple of men trying to launch a small dinghy, complete with oars & outboard through the surf. It was quite apparent that this was the height of stupidity as neither had any waterproofs on, nor were they wearing lifejackets. They were unable to row through the surf, nor get the engine down, when they finally gave up & started to return to the beach, they were caught sideways by a wave & one of the men half fell out of the boat, getting quite wet in the process. All in all quite amusing for us, but consider the trouble they could have got into should they have successfuly got through the surf & then had the engine break down.
Only 9 months to Christmas,but hopefully a lot of sailing before then. Well the season after last week's hicup has finally started. After a beautiful sunny day yesterday, today Sunday, the first day of BST dawned grey & overcast. 6 boats launched for the first race of the season, in a light north easterly breeze. Fortunately I was in the rescue boat, as sailing was painfully slow in the lumpy sea. Unfortuantely we had troubles straight away when the engine let us down & we had to hurriedly swap to the spare baot. Chris & Luke Bilkie, launched their new (to them) Tasar. This was Luke's first sail so the light conditions were perfect for him. They had a good morning race, closing down the 2 boats in front before the even lighter final stages in the race slowed them down. Nick Eggett was pleased with the day as he won both races.
The countdown clock has been ticking for several months now, and just over a week ago it had counted down into single figures. Typically after several weeks of quite sailable weather, the dawning of the 2007 season eventually arrived, and what did we get? Strong winds from behind us, (northerlies and very cold) white horses on the sea in front of us, with the fan tails of vicious gusts shooting across the water. There were enough people to sail but after a 4 month lay off no one wanted to venture out into the inhospitable conditions. Wisely we cancelled, unfortunately the forecast for next weekend is for easterlies, & if they materialise we will have to cancel for the second week running. Situation normal? Unfortunately yes. The sand has also dropped below the ramp which would make getting on & of the beach a problem. Unfortunately the Council made a mess of repairing the slipway last year by covering up the perfectly good sloping slipway with a useless lump of concrete, which may cause us quite a few problems over the months to come.
Went to the dinghy exhibition last week, where I saw Stacey's new Contender on display, also saw Ken & Kelvin. It was a delight to look at all the different boats, each year there seems to be more & more designs on sale. The new RS500 looked a very nice boat & very good value for money. Hnadicap wise is just a tad slower than an RS400, but looks a far nicer boat. However the fact that it requires a crew on the trapeze makes it difficult to just pair up with any one if you are short of a crew for a day. Also saw Ellen Macarthur, giving a talk on her exploits. With only a week to go before the start of the season we still have several jobs to finish at the Club. The Club walk & appalling weather last week has put the schedule behind a little. There is just enough sand at the bottom of the slipway to be able to launch, without too many difficulties. Certainly better than the picture below shows.
The 2006 season, Christnas & New Year have disappeared down the foggy mists of tides & the 2007 season beckons. Maintainance has started with a vegeance. Well supported work parties have been gathering at the Club. Drains are being lifted, boats moved, straggling foliage is being cut back, spring cleaning is here.
Plans to build a decking platform outside the Clubhouse have been passed by the Committee. The plans have been drawn up by Colin Wainwright, and he has already started preparing some of the steelwork so hopefully when we get approval from the council the building can start immediately. The plan is to leave access underneath so that we will still be able to park some of the Lasers, so not much boat parking will be lost. So all being well we will be able to sit in the sunshine at lunchtime between races. Plus it will make it a good viewing platform for anyone just wishing to watch the racing.
Well thatís it folks, another season finally over, and the 2008 season is already beckoning, but first we have the dinner & prize giving, AGM, Christmas & then Club premises maintenance & then by late January we will start to see the evenings drawing out again. Anyway what sort of season has this one been? Remember we started off quite early on the 19th March. Well we should have but a strong, cold northerly, with white horses covering the bay, held the keen ones ashore & we started off with an abandonment, which unfortunately dominated many days of this years racing. Anyway we were finally off in week 2, though numbers were quite down, but we had a welcome addition to the Tasar fleet with Chris & Luke Bilkie joining, plus Paul Beacon & Adam Eastham,borrowing Colin's Tasar, in fact the Tasar fleet flourished quite well this year with at least 6 Tasars out on several occasions.
Early April, remember our glorious April & Easter? Saw our first series of racing completed with the Easter Cup, sailed in quite light conditions. By mid April we were attracting 15 boats sailing in races, so things were starting to look up, with Robin Hadlow making a return to sailing in his Supernova. By mid May our Wednesday night racing was looking dire with only 1 of 4 scheduled races being held. In fact May, usually a nice month, proved a very poor one for sailing, which took us into June. The first Sunday, June 3rd, was a good weekend when we had a mini regatta. Stacey & Alan laid a P shaped course of just the right size that gave us beats, reaches & runs. The regatta comprised 4 short races, which were hotly contested & was enjoyed by all who sailed. I think it is the sort of thing we could try one Sunday a month through the main months of next years sailing. By mid June the Spring Wednesday series had finished with only 3 of the scheduled 9 races sailed, proving what a frustrating season it was becoming.
July 8th & 9th brought the regatta, which was quite early for us. This is the regatta that over the last 6 seasons we have shared with Pentewan. Their format was a long distance race on the Saturday, to be followed by fleet racing on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, boats from both Clubs met off Blackhead, where a start line was laid, giving us a 500M beat towards Pentewan before we headed off to the Gwinnis, the wind which had started off in hiking type conditions started to fade and slowed our progress quite dramatically. We eventually gybed round the Gwinnis bell & then for over an hour we crawled on an enormous long, broad reach up to the Cannis mark off Fowey, before hardening up and starting a long, long beat back to Blackhead. Well our dinghies, although much slower than their cats sailed well & took the first 3 places. Unfortunately there was so little wind the next day that we were unable to sail around to Pentewan, so the Sunday racing was abandoned, not a very good regatta for us. By mid July our Wednesday attendance was looking good with a regular attendance of 20 boats or more. The weather was still not very summery & we suffered on and off with light winds and rain. July 28th brought the Osprey fleet to the Club for their Nationals. We had been hoping for about 50 boats, but actually they only managed to get into the 30s so, we didnít make quite the profit we were hoping for, but once again the Club excelled, with a polished performance & a very happy Osprey fleet. After many years of acting as Race Officer Peter Pope & Beacky stood down & Ken took over, doing a magnificent job, for his first Nationals.
August came along & the weather started to become more like summer. The high lights for me were Falmouth week, followed by Fowey week. We had some very interesting sailing as can be seen by reading further down the blog. September, still good sailing weather and we tried to keep the popular Wednesday racing going longer by starting racing at 18.00. So as not to upset too many people who couldnít make the earlier starting time we held a separate 4 race series, which strange as it may seem, turned out perfect as we managed to get all 4 races in. Late September was the Tasar Nationals, Ken & I trekked up to Lymington for a 3 day event. Unfortunately, Friday the first day, saw the wind howling with gusts of over 30 knots. It was decided to sail one race, but I opted not to bother, however we did sail on the next 2 days. Saturday was very light, but Sunday turned out quite breezy. However we sailed all these races, unfortunately, not covering ourselves with any glory as we finished about 13th out of a fleet of 46. Hopefully we may do better next year. Duncan & Mandy Spencer Smith also rejoined us, this time Duncan sailing his OK dinghy.
October was a disastrous month; we didnít sail at all due to the weather. November proved not much better, having shares of either too light or too strong, until today, well today was a cracker, just right for the finale & a shame for all those who missed it. On a personal note from me, I wish a big thankyou to all those who turned up for their duties. I don't think anyone forgot this year, which certainly makes the racing a lot more pleasant. Goodbye 2007
Club racing on Sunday at Porthpean was rather fraught. The south westerly wind, which seemed quite light on the beach quickly showed its teeth as the 14 boats that launched reached the racing area. So much so that 2 boats turned back. 3 more retired during the race & quite a few capsized, but all managed to recover themselves without assistance from the rescue boat, which was manned today by John Mark & Tony Dunn. The wind appeared to increase in strenghth during the lunch break, which prompted the majority to opt out of racing again, so with not enough takers the afternoon race was abandoned.
We have a sailing Club, we have dinghies, we have rescue craft, we have race marks, what we don't have is a beach. That's disappeared along with Christmas et al. The recent gales have moved the sand away to beaches new, but as we have seen before, it does reappear eventually. Hopefully, it will be back within the next 8 weeks & complete the missing link.
We still need more volunteers for the work parties, so if you haven't been down yet, then please make the effort. There is enough work for everyone, as can be seen from the work party web page.