Porthpean Sailing Club  
Webmaster's Sailing Blog 2011
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November 27th
The Yard after sailing
Well that’s it, we’re all done, the 2011 season has finished and I expect we will all have various memories, mostly happy, of how the season went. My overall feeling is one of sadness as yet another sailing season slips by but my impression of this season was that it was windier than normal, but maybe that’s me getting older. We do happen to have had one of the mildest Autumns for many years and some may think that this year we are stopping the season too early but how many of you can remember November last year when practically the whole country was covered in snow and the battle we had one Sunday morning trying to clear the ice from the top of the slipway to let us get the safety boat down to the beach. It was no joke either for the safety boat crews, having to try & keep warm in the almost sub zero temperatures.

What a difference though it was today, we actually sat outside on the decking enjoying our lunch in the late sunshine and with the wind blowing offshore giving us shelter, made it feel so nice and mild. However once the sun went in the temperature which has been unseasonably high dropped quite a bit reminding us of what month it really was and I for one was glad that we didn’t have to go out again.

Our overall race numbers have been very good this year and once again with 11 boats out sailing it must be considered a good turnout for November. Last week we had a job to launch through the mounds of sea weed on the beach, but what a difference a week makes. The sand was back, right up to the slipway and all the weed had disappeared, though there were some strands still drifting about out at sea, but nothing like last week. Today was Ken & my turn in the safety boat and we launched into a flat sea, with a nice but gusty westerly wind blowing out from the shore, quite a contrast from last week. Out at sea, by the start line, the brisk wind could really be felt and there were quite a few white tops to be seen but we were comforted by the fact that the wind strength was set to moderate, and although it did somewhat there was still enough meat in the wind to give a few problems to the unwary.

There was a good fleet of 5 Tasars racing, plus 6 handicap boats and at the end of the first beat the fleet was led by Stacey with daughter Lucy crewing, but closely followed by Richard in his Contender. Stacey in one beat had built up a sizeable lead over the 2nd Tasar of Steve & Polly. Most surprisingly, just tucked in behind Steve was Chris Hazell crewed today by Steve Coello. Further back was the Tasar partnership of Dennis & Brian, quite a good way in front of Paddy, crewed today by Mike Voysez. Chris stayed with Steve down the reaches, dropped back a bit on the next beat, before finally being passed by Dennis and then on the next beat passed by Paddy, still it was good for Chris while it lasted. Stacey at times increased his lead and Steve managed to pull him back a little on the least beat, but just could not get close enough to apply any pressure.

Richard Armstrong, as mentioned, also had a good first beat, being the first of the handicap boats to the windward mark, just in front of Allan in another Contender. Allan managed to overtake Richard to start the 2nd beat in the lead. As Richard hardened up to start the 2nd beat, an extra strong gust hit and over he went, taking quite a time to recover and sail on. Allan surged away, overtaking Stacey and building up a race winning lead. Steve Wingrove was another who felt the force of the wind when he too succumbed to a series of capsizes as he started the run for the first time. Beacky & Kelvin were determined to spoil the Tasar party by staying in front of Dennis & Paddy for almost 3 rounds, but their inability to fly their spinnaker at every opportunity cost them too much speed and the errant Tasars showed their down wind speed to good effect to take them ahead. The 2 Picos with Matt & Liz soon dropped way behind the rest of the fleet and for a couple of rounds Matt was showing Liz the way to go, but she eventually overhauled Matt, before he decided to call it a day, and seek the warmth and shelter of the shore.

Some people questioned why there was only one race scheduled for today, well when the race programme for the year was drawn up it was thought that the AGM would be held right after the racing, well as it has turned out the AGM is scheduled for a fortnights time. In fact by now everybody should have received their minutes etc for the AGM. I note from Chris’s report that the proposed rent increase is mentioned and I am sure that it will be a hot topic to be discussed at the AGM. I also see that for the first time ever there will be an election for the post of Commodore. Paddy has decided that he would like to stand and had been proposed and seconded. Chris is happy to carry on in the post so a good AGM turnout will give a good insight as to what the members want.

Unfortunately I wasn’t at the last AGM but reading through the minutes I see that quite a few of the sailing ideas that were raised and apparently welcomed never materialised, so it will be interesting as to how this years AGM will go. One thing I am keen to request, really due to the success of the early starts we have in September, is to have early starts for April, as we soon lose the daylight quite early for the first few weeks, and combine those results with the September results to give us 3 separate series.

Sheila Hadlow has very generously donated Robin’s old Tasar to the Club. The boat is in the field but needs quite a bit of work doing to it. Jeremy intends taking it away to have some work done on the hull. We may need to buy some bits and pieces to restore it but I am sure once restored will make a good addition to our Club fleet of boats for training purposes.

You may also have noted that Jeremy’s old yellow boat has been sold. Dave Hancock who used to be a member quite a few years ago has bought the boat and intends sailing with us next season, so I for one welcome his appearance.

Our big success this year was the hosting of the B14 Nationals, well next year we will be the host Club for the Tasar Nationals. This has been organised to be a 4 day event with only 2 of the days on weekdays, which hopefully will not impact too much on Club Members holidays. Quite a few of our sailing membership are Tasar sailors but I am hopeful that there are still enough handicap sailors who will rally round and help with running this event to ensure that we stay in a healthy financial situation. I don’t think that we could run the Club in a sound financial way without using some of the income that comes in from National Championships.

You will no doubt see on the front page that the Countdown Clock is already ticking the days off to 2012. I am assuming that we will be starting the season on the last Sunday of March as usual, but that at this time is still 4 months away. There is plenty of Club maintenance to carry out and I expect that this start in earnest right after the New Year and we will appreciate as much help as possible to ensure that we will be ready in plenty of time for the 2012 season. One little job that I think we need to do is to repair the concrete pathway as we come into the yard. It is badly breaking up in places and requires the rough places digging out and new cement adding.

November 20th
The Clubhouse
Weed, yes weed and lots of it lying on the beach just waiting to ensnare us as we tried to launch through the waves. It felt very strange trying to wade through it, as the waves swept in so the pressure of the weed on your legs was stopping you moving forward and as the waves receded so the pressure went the other way and you felt you were being dragged into the sea. That was just one of the problems facing us but sailing today was almost a bonus as the strong easterlies of last week had abated somewhat but the fact that they were still in the east meant that we had mountains of weed covering the beach. The breeze forecast today was still for south easterly but fortunately for us it had actually swung further round to the south leaving us with unpleasant but sailable conditions once the launching problems had been overcome.

We helped the first few to launch but by the time it was our turn everyone else had launched, initially I didn’t think it would be too bad if we planned it right. We parked the boat, minus launching trolley, right on top of a mound of seaweed. The plan was to wait for a quiet spell, pull the boat forward into the water, push off and sail away. Well it didn’t quite happen that way. No sooner had we launched than a couple of bigger sets of waves rolled in swamping the boat and pushed us back to the shore. Again we pushed her out and with Ken paddling and me pushing as far as the depth allowed before I clambered over the transom we eventually got through the surf, albeit with a swamped cockpit of water and weed, and with very slow progress made our way out towards the beach marks. Normally we would have sailed that distance in no time at all but with a boat heavily loaded with gallons of water and covered in sea weed our progress was frustratingly slow. Things were even worse for Pete Barnes who launched just in front of us. He too was swamped, swept back onto the shore and the subsequent weight of water in the Kestrel proved too much to get through the surf and he had to accept that this was one race he wasn’t going to sail in. Fortunately there was enough help available to get his boat back onto its trolley safely.

Raging seas from strong south easterlies had prevented us from sailing last week and one legacy of that was that one of the beach marks had broken free from its anchor. The buoy was blown ashore so we still have that but the anchor and tackle now lie on the sea bed and may be impossible to recover. One other legacy from last week was that there were still lots of weed floating around in the bay and I think everyone at some time or other had their foils ensnared by the stuff. Nigel & James set quite a small Olympic course which gave us a beat out towards Blackhead from the beach marks, but by the time we crossed the start line the rest of the fleet was well up the first beat. All we could do was to follow on and pray that the water would eventually drain out of the bailer and allow our speed to increase. The amount of weed in the boat hampered the draining as it continually clogged up the bailer, meaning Ken had to constantly try and clear it out. It wasn’t until the 4th beat that enough water had gone and the boat started to feel alive again. There were only 3 Tasars racing and with Steve & Polly way out in front our only hope of a better result was to catch and pass Mike & Dave. This we eventually did, but before that we also had to try and catch the 2 Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin & Andrew & Jenny Kendall. Although we were quicker on the beats we couldn’t match their downwind speed when their spinnakers were up, compounded for us on the runs when we wallowed compared to them.

The Handicap fleet was dominated by our new member Roger Williams in his Blaze. His joining our sailing has certainly had a positive affect on Steve Wingrove as he was well up in this race with only the Contender of Richard Armstrong between the 2 of them. There was some controversy when the Roger and some of the other handicap fleet boats appeared to miss out the 2nd beach mark. This was completely unfortunate due to the missing beach mark the safety boat laid a temporary mark, but not everyone realised this, especially Roger so I think a certain allowance was given to those who thought that they were disadvantaged by rounding correctly.

The afternoon race for once started on time and although we had lost Steve & Polly and Mike and Dave we were graced with Jeremy & Suzanne, Stacey & Lucy and Paddy & Sarah Kendall to give 4 Tasars racing. This time we managed to be the first on the water so at least we could start the race with a dry boat. The wind had picked up a little allowing hiking on the beats but still not enough to promote planning. However there were quite a few incidents in the lumpy conditions on the start line. Jeremy managed to be over the line at the start and had to return. We were below and behind Jeremy when Stacey coming in on port, tacked ahead and to leeward of us, leaving me with a choice of whether to try and squeeze up to windward, which would kill our speed or sail below him to keep our momentum going. I elected to sail low only to be hailed by a fast sailing Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny coming up from behind and to leeward hailing us as windward boat to keep clear. My only choice now to avoid Andrew was to either sail in to the back of Stacey or luff harder and try to get up to windward of him. Anyway avoid him we did but Andrew was so close to us that as we swung up our transom quarter banged into Andrews bow and the collision put a hole in his boat forcing them to retire. We were in irons by this time and our fleet was disappearing up the first beat, with Paddy & Sarah leading the way. Jeremy restarted and set off to give chase, catching us before the end of the first beat and passing Stacey & Lucy at the end of the 1st reach. Paddy started the 2nd round still in the lead but was passed by Jeremy & Suzanne on the 2nd beat and with more speed that any of us powered away. We managed to pass Stacey on this beat and went on to move up to 2nd when we overtook Paddy on the next beat to give us 2nd. Paddy lost out eventually to Stacey on the last round to finish 4th. Meanwhile the handicap fleet was also experiencing some difficulties. Roger who was once again sailing away with a big lead had some major problems that slowed him down quite a bit. Steve Wingrove had mega problems with weed stuck in his centre board slot and eventually retired, which all in all gave Richard Armstrong a good win, with Paul Beacon & Kelvin in 2nd place.

Fortunately returning to the beach wasn’t too bad as the tide was now going out and the waves weren’t too bad and with the help of beach party and the earlier ones back to the beach helping the stragglers we all landed without any incidents. For Ken & me that was our last race of this season as next week is the last race and we are tasked with safety boat duties for the only race scheduled for the day.

The AGM is fast approaching, December 11th, and for the 2nd year running it is scheduled for the afternoon, rather than an evening and I am sure that the minutes & agenda will be delivered to all soon. It is important that we have a good attendance so that we can all learn about and discuss where we are with the situation that Cornwall Council has provoked. Our rent for the Clubhouse has always been set for us by our local Council who until this year was Restormel. However we now come under Cornwall Council and they in their wisdom have decided to hit us with a massive proposed increase in our rent. A rise so steep that if it goes ahead unopposed may put us out of business as I don’t think that the Membership could afford it. Our Committee has taken action on our behalf and I hope that the progress will be reported upon at the AGM. We are not the only Club in this situation, so there is opposition by others and it will be interesting to see how they are getting on as they too can not afford the proposals. PSC has occupied our current site for over 60 years and has proved a very good asset for the area, especially when you see how many visitors have graced the town for the Nationals that we have hosted over the years and how many school children have discovered the world of sailing by sailing from the Club. PSC is an important part of life in St. Austell and hopefully Cornwall Council will recognise this and we can all come to an acceptable agreement.

November 13th
View from the yard today
The weathermen were pretty accurate with their forecast for today. The strong south easterlies predicted were there waiting for us when dawn broke this morning and quite monstrous waves were crashing down onto the beach. The question of whether we would sail today or not was a no brainer when it was so obvious that no boat would stand a chance of staying upright if the crew were so bold as to try and launch through the tumbling surf. In fact the picture alongside was taken this morning, so you can see how rough it was.

Now only 2 weekends of the 2011 season are left, though I must admit apart from the strong wind and direction today we have had a pretty good run of November sailing. The weather for its part has been quite mild and last Sunday in particular was one of the nicest November sailing days that I have ever known. Still there is nothing quite as unpredictable as the great British weather. All in all it was very disappointing as there was a good turn out of expectant sailors at the Club today but I did get the distinct impression that nobody felt like trying to take their boat out, so the abandonment was gratefully received by everybody and it didn’t take too long before people started to drift away to undertake some other job or pastime to make the best of what was left of the day.

Just as an aside, here is a little tale about something that happened to me last week; I had a phone call one morning. Now we happen to have caller ID display on the phone and I could see that the number shown was all “0”s which I have never seen before. I wasn’t going to answer it but out of curiosity I decided to see what it was all about. A very foreign accented voice greeted me and told me that his company was working for Microsoft and that Microsoft had noticed that I had a virus in my computer that was showing up on their diagnostics with my ISP number and the virus was slowing my PC down. This they could prove by me looking at my “event log”. Sure enough when I looked at the log there were a number of “warnings” and “errors” listed in it. The foreign sounding man from a company with a name that I couldn’t pronounce or have ever heard of had been instructed by Microsoft to rid my PC of the virus. To do so would mean downloading a “free” bit of software called “Team Viewer”. They could then take control of my PC and delete and eradicate the virus. Now there was no way that I was going to let anyone I didn’t know have control of my PC so I politely declined the offer whilst I thought about it and asked them to ring back in an hour. Once off the line I Googled “Event Viewer” and yes there is a genuine bit of software called “Event Viewer”, but also in the Google listing was a warning of a Scam. The company running the scam is really just trying to get you to part with some financial details that once disclosed you will surely live to regret. About an hour later my phone rang and the caller display showed the same list of “0”s. I didn’t bother to answer it this time, eventually the answering machine kicked in, the caller rung off and I haven’t heard from them again. No doubt they do manage to convince some people of their authenticity and end up robbing them. So just in case you happen to be contacted by them, take heed and ignore.

November 6th
Launching for the aftrenoon racer
Back to sailing
2 weeks in the Turkish sun was most enjoyable and very welcome, no rain at all with blue skies for the entire fortnight, and though the temperature soon fell once the sun set each day I could still walk around with only a polo shirt on. Yes our fortnight’s holiday in the sun is now almost a distant memory. We arrived back home in the UK in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Typically we had a cloudless flight back from Turkey until we crossed the channel to the UK. From there until we landed the ground was obscured by cloud. The reality of life back in St. Austell has kicked in and once again I am in the land of rain and wind, how nice.

Despite being away for 2 weekends I only missed one Sunday’s racing due to a very windy day on the 23rd October. I noticed on the results page for last Sunday that Jeremy won the small Tasar fleet by over 7 minutes which is a staggering amount especially when you know that Steve Mitchell was also sailing. It is also a good time to welcome a temporary member racing with us in a Blaze, Roger Williams who lives and sails at Rock. His Club, Rock SC, has finished its sailing for the year and he remembered a conversation I had with him at Falmouth Week a couple of years ago, when I told him that we sail on until at least the end of November. He contacted me a few weeks ago and I encouraged him to come along and sail with us. Anyway he turned up last weekend and won both races in the handicap fleet which goes to show that the Blaze is a good boat to own and sail at Porthpean, and will give Steve Wingrove a target to aim at.

Today was back to sailing day for me and following on from Turkey it was yet another cloudless day, though not quite so warm, but the table on the decking was crowded at lunchtime as quite a few of us took the opportunity to dine out in the sunshine and may even be the last time this year that we can do that. Once again the dear old Met Office appeared to get their weather forecast completely wrong. On Friday they were promising us something like 22 knots of North Easterly, but once again they were wrong which I think was fortunate for us as we only had about 12-14 knots and that together with the wall to wall blue skies brought out some 19 boats to sail with only 3 more outings to go before we close the door on another season’s sailing.

Steve Coello & Robert Pryce laid what must have been the largest course that we have had this year. The north easterly wind direction was the first time in that direction for months and we had a beat across the bay from right to left. The beat was one of the trickiest that we have had for quite a while as the shifts and wind strengths moved around and up and down quite rapidly. Anyone who just banged a corner probably lost out to those who played the shifts. There was enough wind on the reach into the beach marks to give some very fast planning, but the varying intensity opened and closed some big gaps at times. The reach out towards Blackhead was slightly lighter but occasionally freshened to produce some thrilling moments Alan Orton fresh from his latest visit to a Contender Open meeting, soon drew away from the rest of the fleet, never to be challenged again. Behind Alan was the other Contender of Richard Armstrong and the Blaze of Roger Williams. Roger showed that the Blaze is quite fast down wind when he sailed through 3 of the Tasars to start the 2nd beat in 2nd place, but fell back again on the beats, but finished 2 nd in the Handicap fleet just in front of Richard, with the RS Feva of Nigel & James only 14 seconds further back. Beacky & Kelvin took 5th place only 6 seconds in front of Steve Wingrove in his Blaze. Steve’s trip to the Blaze inlands has spurred him on, especially with having Roger to chase. Adam Eastham had a very good battle with Matt Searle, beating him by only 6 seconds and both were pleased to be in front of the other Scorpion sailed by Andrew & Jenny. Tony Dunn, who normally sails with Chris Hazell will not be sailing again this season after undergoing a small operation on his hand so Chris took the opportunity to helm the Kestrel of Pete Barnes, but unfamiliarity with the boat dropped them down to 11th just behind Nick in his Laser.

There was quite a low Tasar turnout with only 4 of us, Jeremy, Steve & Stacey all being away. Dennis sailing with Brian soon made their heavier weight felt and were first to the windward mark, but Ken & I passed them on the first reach and Paddy & Anna took them on the next reach. Paddy & Anna certainly seemed to be the faster boat downwind, but we held them off. The last beat started with us all quite close with us leading trying to keep a loose cover on Paddy. Dennis & Brian came surging up on a good lift and moved up into 2nd just behind us, but Paddy & Anna mamaged to get past them again and also managed to pass us as well just before the end of the last beat, which was very annoying as I realised that I had blown what would have been a good win.

The course was tweaked a bit for the afternoon race, which was sailed as an Olympic course. Once again Alan powered away up the first beat but some very fortunate wind shifts put us into 1st place round the windward mark ahead of Alan Orton and crucially in front of the other Tasars. Paddy & Anna weren't too far back but Dennis & Brian had a nightmare of a first beat and were stuck much further back. Alan passed us on the 2nd reach. Roger was again the faster of the other handicap boats finishing 2nd again on the water behind Alan but this time was close enough to take the win on corrected time by ½ a minute, with Nigel & James in 3rd only 15 seconds behind Alan. Steve Wingrove had a much better race taking 4th position a full minute ahead of the top Scorpion of the day of Beacky & Kelvin, who very surprisingly pushed Richard’s Contender into 6th place. Andrew & Jenny Kendall and Nick Haskin again managed to keep Chris & Pete behind them so I can’t see Chris trading his Tasar in for a Kestrel ant time soon.

Our first place at the end of the first beat gave us a comfortable lead over both Paddy & Dennis and we had a big enough lead to be able to sail along without any dramas or big decisions to make, and we crossed the shortened finish line 48 seconds ahead of Paddy & Anna, though they had showed some quite fast down wind speed, which ate into our overall lead.

October 16th
Richard polishing his Contender
Happy Birthday web site
Porthpean web site is 10 years old this month. I only realised this when I was looking through some documents a few weeks ago when I was having trouble trying to upload the web site and discovered that I registered the name www.porthpeansc.co.uk on the 7th October 2001. Doesn’t time just fly? Nowadays, practically every organisation, sport and business has their own web site and it is such an easy way to communicate with the World and allows us almost instantaneous access to all sorts of information. Even the majority of pensioners have PCs nowadays. One down side though is the lack of newsletters coming through the letter box. That’s one of the reasons that I have collated as many of the old Porthpean newsletters from years gone by that I can find. They are part of our heritage and in their day were a vital way of keeping members in touch. It would be nice to be able to find someone with some older newsletters tucked away somewhere.

Well after last weeks debacle with my buoyancy aid trying to ride up, thus preventing me reaching the dagger board made me realise that something must be done about it. So luckily, I found an old abandoned boat cover in the dinghy park. I liberated one of the tie down straps complete with buckle and the female catch. I took the whole ensemble across to Mitchell Sails in Fowey and they have modified my buoyancy aid to give me a crutch strap, which if it works ok will hold the buoyancy aid in place thus allowing me to be able to reach the dagger board with more ease than I could last Sunday.

We are now well into the month of October and we all know that the weather can be so changeable and indeed it is supposed to become much colder and wetter this next week, but today was another very pleasant autumnal day, with a very light westerly wind wafting across a very flat sea. Unfortunately the designated safety boat drivers couldn’t make it but Beacky & Kelvin who were down to run the race box stepped into the breach, took the safety boat managed to do everything from the safety boat, so racing was on without having to resource to pulling names our of a hat.

Maybe it’s the time of the year but again we had a much reduced fleet of only 11 boats, with 4 Tasars sailing. The wind was light enough that generally only one of us was needed on the side decks at any one time though there was the odd occasion when both of us managed to hike out but those were rare times indeed. We sailed a triangular course for the morning race and for once everything seemed to go our way. We had a good first beat and found ourselves dicing with Allan in his Contender and Paddy in his RS600, which is now resplendent with a new mast. We all shared the lead at some point in the race and we opened up a very nice lead on the other Tasars, but luck really came our way on the last beat when we managed to sail through both Paddy & Allan, giving us outright victory. Meanwhile much further behind us all was the little RS Feva of Nigel & James sailing brilliantly in the light breeze to finish only 14 seconds behind Allan on corrected time. Richard Armstrong, took 3rd in his Contender and Paddy in his RS 600 could only slot into 5th place some 7 seconds behind the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny Kendall. Paddy lost a lot of time on the last beat when he went into irons whilst tacking and he told me it took a long time to get the boat sailing again, which accounted for far more than the 7 seconds he lost out to Andrew.

The afternoon race was a disaster for Ken & me. We had a very good start, but were just headed by Jeremy & Suzanne at the beach marks. Crucially we were ahead of Stacey & Lucy and held our own comfortably on the down wind legs. However I sailed us completely the wrong way up the 2nd beat, which was enough to give Jeremy an enormous lead and put Stacey quite a way in front of us. The disaster was compounded on the 3rd beat when we again sailed into a large windless patch and had to watch Chris & Tony who had been quite a distance behind us, storm ahead of us. I was confident that we could catch them and we started the last beat about 50M behind. Our pointing was good and I had high hopes that we could sail through them but my decision to tack early on a lift for the beach marks back fired when it eventually turned into a big header and we could only sit there as Chris and Tony sailed past us in their own private patch of wind to sail across the finish line in 3rd place. The disaster for us was even further compounded when the fading breeze decided to fill in again after we had finished, which may have been enough to allow us to claw our way back if there had been another round. Nigel & James had another good race and were lucky when after the faster boats of Allan & Paddy finished in very light wind, managed to have the benefit of a fresher breeze which filled in after the faster boats had finished. That was enough for them to secure another victory. Nick Haskins who had a very quiet race in the morning, suddenly found another gear and took 3rd place by over a minute in front of Andrew, sailing this time with daughter Sarah, who in turn pushed Paddy down to 5th.

One last advertisement, if you like Fleetwood Mac music then there is a superb tribute group called RFM playing at the HFC in February. Tickets are £22.50 each, so not that cheap, but we have seen the group probably every year for the last 10 years. I have already booked my tickets but at this stage there are still quite a few good seats available. Why not have a good night out in what will be the middle of the winter.

A holiday in Turkey is beckoning and tomorrow Sue & I will be off for our 2 weeks in the sun when we will also celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. This means that there will be no blog nor updates on the racing for a couple of weeks, that’s if there is any racing as the weather forecast for the UK indicates much colder, wet and windy weather coming in this week, so I think I am going away at just the right time. Ciao

October 9th
All serene before racing racing
A light day for a change
What a contrast when you compare the weather last Sunday to today. Last week we had some stunning weather though not very good for sailing in the almost non existent wind. For most of this week we have had what has almost become the norm with low scudding clouds and masses of wind. It is also fitting that the Wednesday racing finished at the end of September. Even the early starts would have been defeated this week by the early onset of darkness. Indeed when I saw the BBC weather forecast last Friday I didn’t think that we would sail today, but in the event when we arrived at the Club it seemed quite peaceful out in the bay with a westerly wind, blowing across the bay. Yes you could see some gusts out there but on the whole things didn’t look too bad. Little did any of us know what actually lay ahead.

Ken, Paddy Anna & Liz are back from there Continental sailing holiday, back to sail in the unfriendly looking English Channel. What a contrast from sailing in shorts and Tee shirts last week to full on wet gear today.

Today was the turn of Jeremy & Suzanne to take charge of the Safety Boat. Jeremy took Robert Pryce out with him to give Suzanne the day off. Together they set quite a large Olympic course, for the, as expected, slightly reduced fleet, although we did have 8 of our 10 Tasars sailing, with Paddy & Anna sailing Alan’s Tasar. The rest of the fleet was made up of 2 Contenders, RS Feva, and Scorpion.

From the shore the conditions out at sea appeared quite benign, but actually out in the Bay they were much stronger than we were expecting, and there was enough force in some of the evil gusts to keep everyone on their toes. The starting procedure got mixed up with some mistiming from the Race box, but after some confusion we were off on a roller coaster ride round the bay. Allan Orton was soon into his stride and disappeared up the beat unchallenged by anyone else. Richard was in the other Contender but not quite at Alan's speed was back amongst the Tasars. Well after a reasonable start I made a right mess of the first beat, arriving in what could have been 4th Tasar. Steve & Polly were in the lead, closely followed by Paddy & Anna, with Stacey & Lucy 3rd. We initially slotted in right behind Chris Bilkey & Colin, but had to do a quick tack to try and avoid Dennis and Matt Searle, and unfortunately we drifted onto the 2nd beach mark. By the time we had completed our 360, the rest were long gone and we were only just ahead of Chris & Tony and the Scorpion of Beacky & Kelvin. I thought that we were about to be gobbled up by the Scorpion when the spinnaker appeared but within a minute one of the huge gusts that were blowing through wiped them out. We managed to make good speed on the 2 reaches which in those conditions produced some very fast planning. So much so that by the time we started the next beat, we were within striking distance and managed to overhaul 3 of the Tasars in front to put ourselves into 3rd. Paddy & Anna, sailed past Steve on the first run, but couldn’t hold him off on the next set of reaches. Stacey fell back to last Tasar when Lucy fell out of his boat and it took him quite a while to retrieve her. I had hopes of overtaking Paddy & Anna, as we started the last beat only a few boat lengths behind them as we stated the last beat, but my decision to take a different route up the beat proved wrong and we lost out big time, so ended 3rd not far in front of Dennis & Matt. Stacey recovered well to pull back to 5th.

Beacky had some more drama when Kelvin fell out of the boat when one of the toe strap fittings pulled out of a block. I don’t think that this was their day. Allan won the handicap fleet by a good margin, but the RS Feva of Nigel & James powered through to 2nd, the spinnaker proving to be more than useful in the blustery conditions.

The afternoon race proved to be a very wet race for some. With only 2 minutes to go for the start the wind really started to increase in strength and things were getting rather hairy. In fact it was probably a good thing that we only had 12 boats out. Within 30 seconds of us starting the wind increased and we were hit by a terrific gust that just blew us over. Chris & Colin only a couple of boat lengths behind us suffered the same fate and within a few minutes several other boats capsized. We managed to right the boat fairly quickly, only to be blown straight over again. It was then I realised that my buoyancy aid was absolutely useless. I have one of the modern types that seem to fit quite snugly around the chest, but once in the water there isn’t enough grip to keep it in place and it naturally wants to float upwards, which is totally useless when trying to reach upwards to grab the dagger board. I usually sail with a spray top over the buoyancy aid to help keep it in place but today I had worn my better top which is warmer but unfortunately isn’t big enough to wear over the buoyancy aid. I think I will have to try and modify the buoyancy aid to have a strap to go between my legs from back to front which should keep it more in place. Anyway the 2nd time I got the boat up we noticed that the boom had come off the gooseneck and over the boat went again. Fortunately Jeremy was at hand in the safety boat and jumped in and managed to get the boat up again and this time with him in it stabilised it enough for Ken and me to get back in. It was soon apparent why the boom was off the gooseneck, the kicker bracket that is attached to the bottom of the mast had ripped out. Now it was case of fitting the boom back on the gooseneck and sailing back to shore with plenty of tension on the mainsheet to prevent it coming off again. Sailing back was still a nightmare as the wind strength by now was well and truly in the high 20s.

More boats capsized today than I have seen for a long time. The only Tasar not to have got in to trouble or capsized was Stacey & Lucy. They had a terrible start but by staying upright whilst everybody else was swimming was enough to give them victory. Allan, Nigel & Beacky all avoided capsizes though from the watchers in the race box saw some very near misses. I think that 4 of us retired but the remainder of the fleet managed to sail on to finish a shortened race and all returned to the beach safely.

My breakage is repairable and hopefully I should be sailing again for next week. My main concern when struggling in the water was whether my heart would take it. Memories of last year came flooding back and I didn't want another visit to Treliske. Fortunately the water at this time of year isn’t too cold yet and all the effort needed to right the boat etc kicked in plenty of adrenalin which kept me going until we reached the shore and I am happy to report that I soon made a full recovery. That’s a really good thing as Sue & I have booked what should be a holiday in the sun sometime soon, when we will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary, and I don’t want to miss that, nor the anniversary.

Time to remind you all that although the Wednesday racing has finished the Club House will still be open for socials. I think that Tony has sent emails to everyone, and it would be good if plenty of you come down and keep our social scene going. I think Tony has a more formal evening out planned for the near future so expect some news from him soon.

October 2nd
Sue & Lionel preparing to go racing
Come on I’ll be the first to admit that today wasn’t vintage sailing, it wasn’t even good sailing but at least we were able to get afloat and race in what was the first pair of races in the autumn series. The beach should have been empty at this time of year but instead it was quite full with lots of people taking the opportunity to spend some bonus time outdoors, enjoying the superb area that we live in.

Like most of you, I have enjoyed one of the hottest weekends of the year. The fact that it is in October just goes to show how crazy our weather can be, especially after the very mediocre weather we have had to endure this summer. We have for almost a week now, experienced a real hot and sunny spell but unfortunately we all know that it won’t last. At least we have made the most of it, especially for the keen ones who turned up for sailing today and stayed to see whether the breeze would eventually appear. The first few hours meant sitting on the shore looking out at the very flat bay devoid of all wind. Fortunately we could see the first glimmers of what might turn out to be a breeze by the dark line way out on the horizon. A sight that is often seen before the breeze kicks in. Fortunately it did kick in but unfortunately the breeze that arrived was an easterly and was one of the lightest imaginable. However there was just enough to tempt about 12 boats out on to the water, to attempt to sail a triangular course set by Steve & Polly, our safety boat drivers for the day. For only the 3rd time this year the weather was nice enough to be able to sail in Tee shirt and shorts, but I also think that today would be the last time this year for such luxury.

At the moment Ken, Paddy, Anna & Liz are all away on a holiday in Greece, so I was without a crew for today. Sue, very graciously stepped in to replace Ken, which was very nice for me as we haven’t sailed together for some time now. It was just a shame that Sue was kept scrunched up on the leeward side of the boat as we desperately tried to get more speed out of the boat than the conditions would allow. Nevertheless she did a great job. There was no shouting, no hysterics, just a nice moment in time, when although we were under some stress we could at least enjoy one of the simple times in life, when we can work together and enjoy the odd moments in time when the breeze blew a little harder to move us forward in our quest to win, which unfortunately didn’t happen, but 2 second positions weren’t too bad under the circumstances.

The main problem today apart from lack of wind was the abundance of weed. There was rafts of weed everywhere on the course and the dagger board had to be raised quite often and the rudder checked to make sure that we were clear of it. The start line had enough bias on kit to make a port hand start the way to go, but with so little motion from the almost non existent wind meant that it would have been a very risky manoeuvre to try and get away with. We tried to be at the pin end of the line at the start but unfortunately came out right behind Richard King in his Merlin, which gave us an immense load of dirty air but we had to hang sailing behind him before we could find enough room to tack to keep clear of other starboard tack boats. That was enough to put us straight behind Jeremy & Suzanne, who were sailing very fast in the light conditions. We finally emerged at the windward mark, just behind Stacey & Milly, but fortunately quite a bit in front of the other Tasar of Chris Hazell, who was also suffering from absent crew so had taken on board John Mark for the day. We did manage to pass Stacey on the 2nd beat and held him off on the other legs to take a good 2nd behind Jeremy & Suzanne.

I think that today was only the 3rd race that Richard King has sailed in this year and it was also almost a first for Kay & Gary, only the 2nd time out in their Scorpion, but at least they were out with 2 other Scorpions and didn’t disgrace themselves by taking 2nd place in each race but still quite a distance behind Beacky & Kelvin, who were first Scorpion. Colin Wainwright, another member who hasn’t sailed much this season managed to keep his Supernova up with 2 of the Scorpions, which though not exciting for him was satisfying.

We had a better start in the 2nd race and things were looking good for us as we made our way up the first beat, but any hopes of victory were soon dashed when the breeze where we were just died away to nothing; whilst the area where Jeremy, Beacky and Colin were sailing still retained enough breeze to put them in front of us at the windward mark. Stacey & Milly who had tacked off early came in to the windward mark with plenty of speed and slotted in just behind us at. Fortunately our downwind speed was sufficient to keep them behind us. The Race Officer took pity on us in the dying breeze and shortened the course to just one round, which pleased Jeremy and I suppose us too as it took the pressure off us from the next round with Stacey breathing down our necks.

Hopefully today will not be the end of my sailing career as tomorrow I enter the world of OAP ville. Yes the years have slipped away and I have spent many weekends of those years afloat sailing. Tomorrow may be another number but I don’t think that there is any chance of me giving up sailing just yet, fortunately we still have quite a few pensioners still sailing, which bodes well for the future and just goes to show what a fantastic sport dinghy sailing is and long may it continue. I think nowadays we are all helped by the equipment and boats we use. The boats are light enough to be able to pull up the hill without too much of a struggle and the clothing is good enough to keep us warm when we get wet, which is a far cry from those who sailed before us in the mid 60s. Just those little things alone should help keep us all active and continue to enjoy sailing for a lot longer than we may have thought possible.

September 28th
Graham Hanna, Liz Kemmins, Chris Parkinson
Once again the weather has defeated us. A fantastic sunny day was marred by a south easterly, which had the unfortunate affect of giving us a few waves on the beach, but actually these weren’t too bad. What was too bad though was the lack of wind at 17.00 when we all started to gather for the last evening race of the year. Very typically the wind when from the south east fades away to nothing as evening draws on and tonight was no exception. Not only that but we were also affected by a very high spring tides and with 2 hours before high tide the water was already up to the slip, which meant that launching and recovery could be quite treacherous. Reluctantly we had no other option than to abandon any hope of racing and retire to the bar.

The conditions were also disappointing for some Australian guests for the evening. Graham Hanna, Liz Kemmis and Chris Parkinson, pictured above, are holidaying in the area after the Tasar Worlds, before making their way home on Friday back to Sydney. Jeremy had persuaded them to come and see us, which was a pleasure for Liz as she has just written a book on the Tasar history and wanted to see Porthpean as it was the first Club in the South West to take the Tasar to its heart. The Tasar first sailed at Porthpean in 1986, when Dennis & Heather decided that it would be a good boat for them to sail. By the end of 1978 we had about 15 in the Club and 25 years later we still have an equally strong presence, proving that it is the most user friendly boat at Porthpean. It’s a boat that will see out my sailing career, without the feeling that I should sail something different. Whether I am still sailing one when the proposed carbon fibre mast and boom are released is another thing but I certainly look forward to seeing that introduction that will be another step on the road to giving the boat a bit more performance.

Our visitors certainly seemed to like what they saw and told me that their SC in Sydney wasn’t much different to ours. Mind you there are quite a few Clubs dotted around the coastline there. One advantage that the Australians have is that there are a lot less boat designs available than over here so whichever fleet you sail there tends to be a good number of extremely talented sailors sailing in that fleet, hence the general standard of racing seems to be that much better. The lack of sailing meant that we could have a longer time talking to our visitors and they were quite happy to pass on general tips on Tasar sailing. Chris is a master at fitting Tasars out and knows all the little foibles. Graham is the Chief measurer and has all the major measurements and various rulings at the tip of his tongue.

Sunday sees the start of the autumn series, our last series of the year and with only 2 months of sailing left that translates to 9 weeks of possible sailing. I say possible because at this time of year it will be most unlikely that the weather will be kind enough to us with offshore winds etc to get all the races in and in only 4 weeks time the clocks will go back to highlight the approaching winter.

September 25th
Pete & Jan relaxing after sailing today
Today was another hard day’s racing with 4 races run by the Laser fleet for the September Cup. Even without any Lasers on the start line there was still an impressive entry of 18 boats which included 8 Tasars. We are supposed to be at the start of an Indian summer with a heat wave or should I say heat ripple due during the week. Well the east of the country may be getting something like that weather wise, but for us it was another day of cloud and blustery south westerly wind though it was mild. Steve & Polly reported that there was quite heavy rain in Plymouth when they left to come down to Porthpean, so at least we were spared that.

Simon and Robert Pryce and Dave Mackrell were our safety boat drivers for the day and they set a traditional triangular course for the morning races with our beat across the bay towards Blackhead. The wind which has been a characteristic of this season was blustery and quite changeable at times. There was enough movement in it to keep everyone on their toes. The galley too was run by the Laser fleet and all in all the day was very successful with 4 races being set and all 4 being sailed.

Dennis & Brian were out of the traps like a bullet from a gun in the first race and were first to the windward mark, followed By Steve & Polly and quite surprisingly us. An argument with one of the beach marks cost Dennis dearly when in having to do a 360 he let Steve, and us through. Jeremy and Suzanne had problems up the first beat resulting in penalty turns but were fast enough to take 2nd away from us whilst Stacey & Lucy passed Dennis to take 4th.

Allan & Richard in their Contenders soon pulled well clear of the rest of the handicap fleet but Richard created quite a bit of wrath by pretending he was sailing a Tasar and getting mixed up in our fleet. Usually it seems that it is me who gets tangled up with Richard but today it was the turn of Jeremy to battle it out with him. Not surprisingly the conditions were blustery enough to allow Nigel & James to push their RS Feva into 3rd spot, just ahead of Sarah Kendall who had taken out one of the Club Picos. Sarah was sailing really well to beat both of the Scorpions and the Kestrel of Jan & Pete in this first race.

The same course was sailed for the 2nd race and again Steve & Polly took line honours in their new Tasar with Jeremy & Suzanne having to give best to them yet again. This time it was Stacey’s turn to take 3rd leaving us in 4th with Dennis taking 5th.

Nigel & James made this race theirs by beating Allan by some 30 seconds on corrected time, with Richard again in 3rd. Andrew & Jenny Kendall finished again in front of Beacky & Kelvin, who suffered a day of capsizes, necessitating in Kelvin rescuing Beacky once when he fell off the bow of the boat. Matt Searle, sailing his Comet had a better race this time being the first of the slower boats, but was feeling so tired after the 2 races decided to call it a day. So the lurch break came with all still to play for in both fleets.

For some unknown reason, Simon decided to give us a beat from the beach marks towards Blackhead, where he had repositioned the windward mark. The beat gave us all sorts of problems as the wind was swirling around in a most unpleasant way, causing mayhem on the beat as the wind shifts were oscillating between 45 degrees and the intensity changed at what appeared random times from either savage gusts to lulls of almost no wind at all. The reach across the bay turned out to be a run and then the reach in to the beach marks was a very tight one and we were in danger several times of having to tack to ensure we reached the first of the beach marks.

Allan had 2 good races, winning both, ensuring a win overall, but 2nd was shared between Richard & Nigel, resulting in them tying on points but 2nd overall going to Nigel & James due to them winning the 2nd race. Pete & Janet had better results in the afternoon races and pulled them selves up to over all 4th. Once again the Kendalls won the battle of the 2 Scorpions by beating Beacky & Kelvin in all 4 races.

Steve & Polly got away in both races to good starts to be leading at the windward mark, but each time Jeremy & Suzanne overtook them to win both races and with identical results took first overall by being the winners of the last race. Stacey & Lucy managed another 3rd to our 4th in the 3rd race, but Lucy was getting cold and tired so they didn’t sail the last race. We had to work hard to get past Dennis & Brian who rounded the windward mark 2nd as we had to do turns for an infringement against Allan on the start line. Fortune favoured us on the 2nd beat when a couple of good wind shifts swept us into 3rd, which was enough to give us 3rd overall.

Jeremy had sold his yellow Tasar to an Australian couple, Tony & Julie Creak who wanted a boat to sail I the Tasar Worlds and they have brought it back to try and sell it on again as they can’t take it back to Australia, so if any one wants a good Tasar which performed well at the Tasar Worlds last week, complete with mylar sails and all the bits and pieces could get them selves a bargain, check the “For sale” page on our website for full details.

I am told that a couple of Australian sailors will be paying us a visit on Wednesday night prior to them going home to Australia. One of them, Graham Hannah is the Chief Measurer, and the other Bill Parkinson has put together quite a few Tasars. It seems that most Australians buy a Tasar hull and a kit to finish it off. Bill likes doing this for people and so knows probably more than anyone else all the little nuances that can make life difficult when trying to do the job for yourself. Wednesday will be the last Wednesday race of the year and at this moment in time it appears that we might be suffering from a dreaded south easterly. The early starts have been well received with good attendances and I wonder if there is any mileage by having an early start set of races in April next year and combining them with the September early starts to give a longer series. That way we could make the spring series run from May till the end of June and then the summer series form July to the end of August.

One other thing, it is only3 months to Christmas today and the clocks go back 5 weeks this weekend. Winter beckons!!

September 22nd
Did he jump or was he pushed?
Well I didn’t miss any sailing last Sunday, when I had a weekend off to go visiting family in Basingstoke. Although there were several people down to go sailing, the prevailing strong wind was enough to deter enough people to go racing so racing was abandoned for the day. Not so for some of our intrepid members. Three were away at the Tasar Worlds but Anna & Liz took the cadets to Roadford reservoir for a cadet regatta. Conditions were equally strong there but not enough to stop racing and here we had some success. Matt Searle & Jamie Bilkey won the Pico class and Porthpean won the overall prize for top Club. James Dowrick & Finn Hawkins had a capsize and in the subsequent melee Finn suffered a bang on his head from the rudder blade and they were forced to retire. They weren’t the only boat to capsize but the “training” that we have had over the Tuesdays of the summer have made our Cadets experts at capsize recovery.

We had am uncharacteristic low turn out for last night’s race. Only 8 boats launched for the penultimate Wednesday race of 2011. Unfortunately summer has passed and whichever way you look at it we are now in the autumn season, with only another 2 months of sailing to go. With 3 of our Tasars away at the World Championships in Torquay and another on safety boat duty we were down to just 3 Tasars sailing, plus another 5 boats in the handicap fleet.

The wind during the day had slowly increased in strength and was blowing from the south west, but by the time we launched it had already started to drop off a bit and had swung into the west. Dennis and Kelvin set an appropriate course, with a heavily biased, port start line. The bias was so much that it was almost impossible to start on starboard and the starting technique employed by the majority was to sail along on starboard and then tack off onto port when the start gun went. This worked fine for Ken & Me and as we were the furtherest along the start line, we immediately were up to windward of everyone else, which suited us fine. Paddy had the worst start of the 3 Tasars, but in typical Porthpean conditions found a mega lift from somewhere and had sailed into the lead by the time we reached the beach marks. Paddy is helming Mike Voyzey’s boat, with Mike crewing for this series. He clearly enjoyed using Alan’s boat with Sarah during the last series. The other Tasar was being sailed by Justin and Geoff Richards. Justin & Geoff have been crewing Dave Phyall’s yacht at Fowey but their Wednesday night racing has finished so they are free to sail with us again. Justin & Geoff were just behind us at the end of the first beat, but we drew away a little on the reaches and at the same time pulled closer to Paddy. Good use of the wind shifts and gusts gave us the lead the next time we reached the beach marks and enough distance to allow us to cover the other 2 for the rest of the race. Justin looked to be completely out of it as we started the last beat and he headed up the beat in a different direction from Paddy, but it worked well and he crossed ahead of Paddy at the end of the beat, beating him by some 13 seconds.

With a much smaller handicap fleet than usual the race in reality was going to be between the Vago of Anna & Liz, the Scorpion of Andrew and Jenny Kendall and the resurgence of Tim Baily in his Laser. Andrew & Jenny’s hopes of victory disappeared when they capsized heading down wind under spinnaker. A larger than normal gust spun them round and the subsequent broach left them struggling and swimming gathering in the spinnaker. There was enough wind to allow Anna & Liz to capitalise with their spinnaker and they shot away from Tim, who eventually finished 2nd to the girls. There is still all to play for in the handicap fleet as although Anna & Liz lead the series they will not be able to sail next week so Tim could wrestle the trophy from them, unless the weather is too bad to sail.

Jenny March was back for time keeping duties this week and fortunately for us was able to make bacon butties again, which I think has been one of the high lights of the Wednesday racing. Unfortunately Jenny will not be with us next week so unless some other kind hearted soul is prepared to don an apron then we may well have to go hungry.

I took the opportunity today to head for Torquay to watch some of the Tasar World Championships. It did make me feel rather guilty when I saw everyone preparing to go racing, knowing that I was only a spectator, but with knowledge of how windy the conditions were on the Sunday & Tuesday, I felt justified at my age not to have raced. However today was different with a nice force 3 offshore wind blowing. I was given the opportunity to race with someone but I declined. It could have well have upset someone if by chance I had a good race and pushed other genuine competitors down the results a little. Racing is very tight at the top and with only one race left the leader has not yet one a race but his consistency has given him a 4 point advantage at the head of the leader board, but that could all change with the last race to come. Jeremy & Suzanne have proved the most consistent of the 3 Porthpean boats and are currently laying 10th. Stacey & Steve Coello are 16th, they were as to be expected doing well in the windier races but their cause of being black flagged in one race and hitting a mark in another has dropped them back. Steve & Polly are back in 30th place, clearly they haven’t got used to the new boat quickly enough. Steve was telling me that they have plenty of speed down wind but are suffering on the beats, and with mile long legs then the beat can be quite a frustrating leg.

One of the races today was won by a 30 plus year old Tasar, a 600 series. It has been stripped down and refurbished but it goes to show that all Tasars are capable of winning if well maintained. Probably the unluckiest person there this week is John Lawton, who has been one of the main organisers. John was rammed in the side and holed in the very first race last Sunday and his boat is so badly damaged that it may well be a right off. John has borrowed another hull from a Babbacombe sailor and has put his own rig on the boat. Disaster struck again today when this time John crashed into another boat and he managed to put a hole in the bow of his borrowed boat.

September 15th
Americas Cup boats about to start
One of the pleasures of being retired is that I can arrange to do some different things during the week and today was one of those. I spent the day in Plymouth, watching the America's Cup racing, being held in Plymouth Sound. There were thousands of people there and we were all richly entertained by the spectacular sight of these powerful beasts racing across the sound in what I thought was 15 or so knots of wind. We watched the first race, standing on the perimeter wall of the Lido swimming pool, so saw the boats live so to speak, but we moved up onto the Hoe for the next race, where we sat in front of the large screen. This was actually better as there was full commentary of what was going on plus excellent CCTV coverage from a myriad of cameras, mounted on the boats and helicopters so all thrills and spills were covered. The coverage also included excellent graphics, which helped to explain, especially to the lay man what was going on. All in all a good day out for some top notch sport and amazingly it was all free.!!

We were greeted by a very pleasant autumn evening tonight when we arrived for the 2nd of the early start race series. Yes it was a sunny evening, with the sea glistening under a light westerly wind. The conditions looked nigh on perfect for the near record 18 boat fleet that left the beach to go racing. Unfortunately the conditions were set to deteriorate, when the breeze died away to practically nothing, but we weren’t to know that at the time. There was a new boat in the fleet tonight, that was the Pico of Zac & Niles Horton, who are in the process of joining the Club. I hope that they enjoyed being out racing with us, though the fading breeze must have been a disappointment to them as well as the rest of us.

The Tasar fleet boasted 6 boats and it was Jeremy & Stacey’s last club race before going to Torquay for the Tasar Worlds next week. The start line was quite congested and for once it seemed that everyone was eager to start right on the line, right on time. We checked the line for bias before the start procedure and decided that there was nothing in it, so that majority of boats would be up at the pin end of the line. Wrong!! For some reason many of the fleet decided to start much further down the line, which was unfortunate as both Justin and us decided to try a port hand approach. Due to the congestion I had to dip a few of the faster boats but hardened up in the first gap and started to hit the right heading when we were caught by Luke Bilkey in his Topper, so had to elect to tack onto starboard, which caused a bit of confusion behind us as Justin was trying the same approach and was caught just as we were. Anyway within a few minutes the fleet was spreading out and we actually headed to the beach marks in 2nd place behind Jeremy & Suzanne who managed to overcome some of the congested line problems. Paddy & Mike Voyzey were up to 3rd just ahead of Stacey & Steve. Anna, sailing her Vago single handed also sped up the beat and then proceeded to hoist her spinnaker to make even more gains down wind. Steve Wingrove also had a good first beat rounding just behind Anna. I’m not sure of the complete beach mark rounding sequence, but judging by the shouts of “starboard” & “water” coming from behind us told me that some close battles were going on. The 2 reaches were extremely slow as the wind was now starting to fade away.

We had a major whoopsy on the next beat and slipped from 2nd Tasar to 4th & Stacey, suddenly found a bit more wind to move up from 4th to 2nd but a very over zealous roll tack trying to round the beach marks resulted in a spectacular capsize. Much merriment and laughter was heard from quite a few boats, but they still managed to right the boat before we arrived at the marks. However the light conditions and maybe being wet through persuaded them to retire. We were only just behind Paddy but the conditions were ultra light and I decided to try some radical course changes to promote some extra speed but these went decidedly wrong and we must have been a good 2 minutes or more behind Paddy when we started the last beat.

Jeremy & Suzanne had sailed blithely through all the light patches and were several minutes in front of both of us. I suppose I played my “get of jail card” on this beat. Paddy had tacked off early towards the beach marks, a tactic that Stacey had proved successful on the previous beat, but I thought that I could see a band of wind under the cliffs so sailed towards it. Sure enough it came towards us and joy of joys it started to head us which was just the signal I wanted to tack and we moved along, not very fast, but still faster than Paddy was going and sure enough we passed ahead of him as we bore away to round the beach marks, to gain us back our 2nd.

Not surprisingly Anna won the handicap fleet. Tim Baily on his Laser, actually passed us on the penultimate reach and took 2nd place ahead of the faster Scorpion of Ron & Michelle who were only just in front of the other Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny Kendall. Steve Wingrove who had been 2nd handicap boat on the water at the end of the first beat, fell back in the very light conditions to take 5th. Unusually, the Feva of James Dowrick which is normally at the front of the handicap fleet on corrected time could only sail into 10th place. All in all it was a quite a frustrating sail, after the earlier brighter conditions. To make matters worse, Jenny was missing and no body had taken up the mantle of cooking bacon butties, so we were denied that wonderful aroma of cooking bacon wafting out of the Clubhouse.

September 11th
Nigel & James - today
Once again a very brisk south westerly wind depleted the numbers racing, plus the fact that 3 of the Tasar fleet had gone to Babbacombe for a practice warm up for the Tasar Worlds which start at Torquay next weekend also contributed to the smaller fleet. Only 9 boats launched into what looked like quite challenging conditions judging by the number of white horses that could be seen covering the bay. Only 2 Tasars launched, those being Mike & Vicky Voyzey and Chris & Tony, but both of them retired before the race started. Mike suffered a broken rudder downhaul and didn’t want to risk a capsize. Chris did have a capsize whilst attempting a gybe and it took them several minutes to right the boat and then decided that they didn’t want to risk any further capsizes, so sailed for home. Beacky & Kelvin were casualties of another capsize and this time they broke their main halyard, so sailed home under jib only. Steve Wingrove found that the Blaze was too much of a handful in the gusts so elected to save himself and the boat for the forthcoming Blaze Inland Nationals and retired before racing began.

The reduced fleet of 5 were not kept waiting for long and were soon off on a hard beat towards Blackhead. First to the mark was Simon Pryce in his Laser and promptly roared off on a very rapid reach to the beach marks. Simon was hotly pursued to the windward mark by the slowest boat in the fleet, the RS feva of Nigel & James and they too powered away on the reach, behind them was the Kestrel of Janet & Tristran, just in front of Anna’s Vago, crewed today by Paddy. Neither of them could catch up the Feva.

Simon arrived at the beach marks, reaching under a huge gust and promptly capsized when he attempted his gybe. Nigel & James took a more discretionary tack to round the beach marks and with spinnaker flying almost beat Simon to the start of the next beat. There were no problems for Janet & Tristran, they too wore round at the beach marks and 2 sail reached the next reach. Unfortunately Anna & Paddy had a capsize at the beach marks and another capsize towards the end of the 2nd reach ruined any chance that they had of getting a respectable result before retiring to lick their wounds. Nigel & James by now were well ahead on possible corrected time and had the race almost in the bag until they too were almost blown in the on the next reach out from the beach marks. A sudden broach flooded the spinnaker and acted as an anchor before they managed to retrieve it dropped them further back, but they still had enough in hand to take 2nd position on corrected time ahead of the only other survivor, Janet & Trisran. Matt Searle took out one of the Picos and was having a grand old time out there until he too was wiped out at the gybe mark and then retired.

A bruised and battered fleet returned the beach for lunch and it was soon apparent that there wouldn’t be enough takers for another race so racing for the day was stopped and safety boats and buoys were washed and put away for Wednesday.

I went to a retirement dinner on Wednesday, very much doubting whether there would be any sailing or not, but the wind had abated enough to encourage 10 boats to race. 4 Tasars raced and it wasn’t long before Jeremy & Suzanne were locked in battle with Stacey & Steve, the 2 of them pulled 6 minutes ahead of the other 2 Tasars and at the finishing line honours went to Stacey & Steve by a matter of 10 seconds. Only 30 seconds separated the first 3 handicap fleet boats on corrected time. Honours here went to Janet & Pete in their Kestrel just in front of Tim Baily, who was just in front of the only Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny Kendal.

My dry suit was sporting a damaged seal wrist cuff. I was going to attempt to repair it myself but I was told of wet suit repair company in Lostwithiel. I took it there and they replaced the cuff seal for quite a modest fee, so if any of you need a repair to either wet suit or dry suit then I suggest that you take it over there. The company name is “The Wetsuit Repair Company”. tel 01208 872222 Unit 6B Restormel Industrial Estate. As their name suggests they really are a wetsuit repair centre but intend branching out to repair dry suits as they are getting so many enquiries.

It looks like that next weekend will be rather quiet at the Club with 3 Tasars away racing in Torquay. I will be going to Basingstoke, visiting family and Anna & Liz will be taking some of the cadets to a Cadet Regatta at Roadford reservoir, which means at least 6 boats normally racing will be missing so it will be another day of reduced numbers racing. We have been racing for 5 months so far this year and next Sunday is the start of the autumn racing, the last series of races before we draw the curtain on another years racing, which for me in particular is not a nice thing to look forward to. It has been fairly normal over recent years that we tend to get quite a settled patch of weather in September but no such luck so far this September, in fact by the time this latest spell of unsettled weather blows through we will be half way through the month and with no guarantee that things will improve, though I suspect that both Jeremy & Stacey will be hoping for some brisk winds in Torquay. I will put a link to the Worlds web site so you will be able to follow the progress of them all. Some of you may have noticed that I have also placed a list of duty names on the front page of the web site under the diary dates for the next scheduled days racing, which may just jog people’s memory when it is their turn for duties.

September 4th
Empty beach apart from Contenders and weed
A disappointingly low entry of only 5 other Contenders joined 3 of ours to make a fleet of 8 for the annual Contender Open Meeting. In fact there was only 1 visitor from north of the Tamar, the others coming from Restronguet and Mount Bay. The beach looked very bleak with a dense covering of weed above the high tide line as a result of an easterly wind on Friday. Unfortunately we are now heading for neap tides so it will be almost a fortnight before the tide is high enough to wash the weed away. The holiday season is all but over so there is very little chance of the Council coming down and moving it.

Earlier plans for the Contenders allowed for 3 safety boats, but due to the small fleet only 2 were initially needed. Unfortunately the fault that had developed on RIB2 during the B14 Nationals has not been repaired properly and problems on Saturday with the throttle meant that the 3rd boat had to be launched. We really must repair RIB2 before we have an emergency. Fortunately the crew for RIB3 were still at the Club and were soon changed so that little drama was quickly dealt with.

Race Officer, Ken Fobbester wanted to get 3 races in, so elected for a course with about .5 mile legs. Although the day looked very bleak, the earlier drizzle and mist lifted, leaving a good force 3-4 which gave quite good sailing conditions allowing all 8 crews to trapeze. I did see the first round of the first race, which saw Allan Orton first to the windward mark, but a very fast Stacey closed him down on the reaches and started the 2nd beat with quite a healthy lead, with Nick Eggett now sailing at Restronguet in 3rd place. It was about that time that I left for home, but found out on Sunday morning when I called down at the Club that those 3 were the finishes in each race.

The weather on Sunday morning was quite different from Saturday with an initial light westerly wind blowing. Unfortunately I had to leave for a trip to Exeter so never saw any of the racing, but Stacey kept up his winning position by taking another win and 2 2nds. Staurt Hudson, our visitor from Southampton, won 2 of the races and capsized in the 3rd from a winning position, but did enough to take 2nd overall. Allan who had been doing well with 3 seconds on Saturday faded today but Nick Eggett maintained his consistency and took 3rd overall.

No sooner had the fleet returned to shore and packed their boats away than the heavens opened and very heavy rain swept in to mar what up until then had been an excellent weekend of racing.

Don't forget, this Wednesday is the first of the early starts, that means 6pm, though the forecast is quite grim at the moment.

August 31st
Not much beach left for launching!!
Was tonight (31/08) the last day of summer? Well in my book it is though some people go with the equinox which is still 3 weeks away. Either way today certainly seemed like the last day of summer to me as we were in the grips of a cold easterly wind, which together with a high spring tide robbed us of enough beach to be able to launch and recover safely. The picture alomgside shows the problems that we had.

Tonight was the last Wednesday of the summer series and next week we start on the autumn series with an early start at 6pm. I think that this is the 4th year that we have been doing this and it has proved popular judging by the numbers attending, and it does keep us racing for 4 weeks longer than we normally would have. Hopefully the weather will be kind enough to give us another good set of attendances. This series will take us up to the end of September and then we will be down to just the Sunday racing as no matter how you judge the seasons, autumn will be with us.

Don’t forget that there will be no Club sailing this weekend as it is the Contender Open Meeting. Last year we had an excellent fleet with about 20 boats. Unfortunately, probably owing to the financial hardships that we are all experiencing not many people want to commit themselves too soon before an event just in case the weather turns out to be inclement. Well at this stage the weather doesn’t look too bad so all the signs are that we should have a reasonable attendance. Don’t forget that there will be a bit of a social in the Clubhouse on Saturday night when Tony will be testing the grey matter with one of his quizzes.

August 28th
Preparing to go racing
I finally finished my sailing weekend completely shattered. 2 days of hard sailing in quite brisk gusty winds have almost worn me out and if the truth is told I don’t expect that I am the only one. Nevertheless we had our best turnout of the year especially on Sunday when we were joined by 2 other Tasars from Torquay.

Our Regatta weekend started off on Saturday with a long distance race, in a blustery westerly breeze. The handicap boats all 10 of them started 15 minutes ahead of the 6 Tasars and the course took us out beyond the Mussel farm towards Blackhead. Here we took a left at the RFYC mark and headed all the way across the bay to another RFYC mark almost below the Beacon before we started a long, long beat back to the Beach Marks, but passing to starboard of the SW Water mark on the way.

The course wasn’t at all suited to Tasars as both reaches were too broad to really get the boats to fly. Yes there were times when the boats took off onto a plane but those were rare moments in the quite blustery winds that swept out from the shore and the breeze was much fresher in the area where we were sailing. The original course was for 3 laps but the Race Officer took pity on us and we finished after 1 lap.

The lap wasn’t without drama, with Mike Voyzey falling out of his Tasar on the first reach. He kept hold of both mainsheet and tiller. Unfortunately the tiller sheared off and he had no option but to limp home. Dr Nick took an early bath in the Mussel Farm area and decided that enough was enough and sailed for home. Paddy was about ¼ the way across on the 2nd reach when he capsized and shattered his carbon mast so was towed home by one of the 2 safety boats that were following us around.

Unfortunately I don’t have the full results yet, but the competition in the handicap fleet really came down to the Vago sailed by Anna & Chris Bilkey and the Laser of Simon Pryce, with Paul Beacon’s & Kelvin’s Scorpion pushing them hard. I think that the Vago was first on the water, which meant that it had beaten Beacky but whether it had made enough time to beat Simon’s Laser s another matter.

I think that we were first away in our 8 boat Tasar fleet. It was a reaching start so there was very little difference in speed but once again Jeremy & Suzanne found that little difference that took them into the lead. Stacey & Lucy also powered through and left us leading the rest of the bunch. Chris & Tony were having a good battle with Mike & Vicky before Mike fell out of the boat and his breakage took them out of the race. Dennis & Brian were further back but were waiting to pounce on the long beat when their weight would prove a good advantage. Sure enough they closed right down on Chris & Tony and just pipped them on the line. Stacey & Lucy started the long beat quite a distance behind Jeremy and pulled them right back but just couldn’t find that little extra to take the gun.

Saturday evening was time to relax when Simon, Sarah & Tegan cooked us a very filling BBQ, this was followed by an excellent disco, and dancing that certainly had most of the crowd up on the floor. Details and pictures on the social page.

There was a much larger turnout on Sunday with over 20 boats sailing and our Tasar fleet was swollen to 10 with the appearance of 2 boats from Torquay and the new acquisition by Steve Mitchell. Steve has taken the plunge to replace his Tasar with one some 30 years younger.

Our race officers again for the day were Nigel, James and Harry and they set us 4 races for the day with the triangle, sausage triangle etc course with the handicap fleet starting some 6 minutes or so before the Tasars, which allowed both fleets to sail without too much interference from the other. Again I don’t have the results at this time as I left the Club in a hurry to get home but Richard Armstrong dominated every race in his Contender but I don’t know whether he did enough to beat Simon Pryce in his Laser nor Anna and today Paddy in her Vago. All 3 had a good series of races and it will all come down to the vagaries of the handicap system.

The 10 Tasars were dominated by Malcolm & Fiona Davies, winning all 4 races, and John Lawton & Sam taking 2nd in the 2 morning races. However Stacey & Lucy were always in the lead at the end of the first beats, but couldn’t hold the others off on the down wind legs. Jeremy & Suzanne sailed better in the afternoon and only finished half a boat length behind the Davies team on the 3rd race. As for Ken & me, we had our moments but managed a consistent 6th in every race, but were hard pushed by Dennis & Brian.

I know that I have often commented about the shifts we get at Porthpean when we have a westerly but today there were some very frustrating ones and they also contrived to vary in intensity so much. There was no proper pattern in them and sometimes you appeared to get lucky whilst other times things went frustratingly wrong.

Hopefully the full results should appear on Wednesday, when I will get down to the Club again.

August 24th
Sarah & Paddy after racing
A rather belated blog again as a little thing called work is delaying me in my writing, so hoping this isn’t too late.

It rained tonight!! After I don’t know how many dry races, we actually had some rain tonight in a very light south westerly breeze. The forecast had promised a much fresher breeze, and despite the 20 plus knots at Polruan, all we had in the bay was about 5 knots of wind, hardly enough to get 2 on the side decks at times. Nevertheless we had the largest turnout of the season so far with 20 boats, including 8 Tasars, heading out for the start line. With the nights visibly drawing in it was imperative that we started on time or as near to time as possible, which was rather unfortunate for Dennis as by the time he reached the start line the entire fleet were half way up the first beat. It was a hello and first night out for Ron & Michelle in their Scorpion, making up a 3 boat fleet. Unfortunately it was also a goodbye for Sarah Fryer and her 3 boys who have been holidaying over here from Luxemburg for the last 4 weeks. Sarah has used her Feva, most days whilst on holiday and the boys have really taken to sailing which I am sure they will miss when they return home and will already be looking forward to next year. Sarah told me that she and Paddy shared a small bottle of champagne for her last sail at Porthpean this year.

Peter Pope & Dave Mackrell were our safety boat crew tonight and set quite a large course and very fortunately quite a long start line for the largest fleet of the season. The line was long enough for us to have a go at a port start and coming in looked very good for us but unfortunately Adam Eastham in one of the Picos was perched on the line and we had to slow down to make sure that we avoided him. By the time we were back up to speed it was too late to sail across the fleet and we had to tack to avoid the fast approaching Kestrel of Jan & Pete. Heading out to sea seemed to pay and it wasn’t too long before we pulled ahead enough to tack for the windward mark where we arrived just behind the leaders, Jeremy & Suzanne, with a reasonable distance between us and the next Tasar of Stacey & Lucy. The other Tasars with the exception of Dennis were all quite close together, with Mike & Dave showing much more speed in their newer boat. Steve & Polly had a poor start and it took them until the last beat to move past Parry & Sarah and Stacey & Lucy to move up into 3rd. My pointing hasn’t been too good of late but maybe the new top section has altered some trim and we pointed as high if not higher than anyone tonight, which for us was very pleasing.

Anna & Liz made it a hat trick of victories following on from their 2 wins on Sunday. Not only winning on handicap but also being first handicap boat on the water. This must have been very pleasing for Liz as her parents, down on holiday were watching her progress with pride. As the race progressed the breeze was slowly fading, which made the last reach to the beach marks frustrating as any little mistake slowed the boat down. I’m not sure what happened with Ron & Michelle but they approached the last 50M to the beach marks with a comfortable lead over Beacky & Kelvin, but where overtaken in that last short distance to give The Beacks machine a 3rd behind Janet & Pete in the Kestrel, who made good use of their spinnaker. Clive Stephens had a much better race sailing his Laser Radial into 5th, only a few seconds in front of Tim Haskins, sailing his father’s Supernova, whilst Nick had to settle behind in 8th in his Laser, with Steve Wingrove being the meat in their sandwhich.

The Capsize Club is still well attended and there were 10 boats out on Tuesday sailing around in a very pleasant westerly breeze. The name Capsize Club is very apt as many of our young cadets seem to take great delight in tipping their boats over to give them practice in righting them. Well at least the sea is a little warmer now.

August 21st
Pete & Jan Barnes
Today must have been one of the best days for sailing all season. At long last it was just the right weather to wear Tee shirt and sailing shorts, halleluiah (thank you spell check!!) We had a very light westerly breeze blowing and it took Nigel & James our safety boat drivers who had kindly swopped duties with Steve & Polly, quite some time before they were happy with the course, as the wind was constantly moving around. Jeremy & Suzanne and Steve & Polly had travelled to Paignton for a chance to sail on the waters that will be the scene of the Tasar World Championships in September. I noticed on the results up until Saturday that there were a total of 12 Tasars racing so that did give a nice little fleet. Jeremy & Suzanne were lying 2nd but ominously with 3 wins under their belts were the former National Champions, Malcolm & Fiona Davies.

I was quite apprehensive as to how our Tasar would perform as I have had to fit a new top section, as the previous one had sheared right in line with the bolt that holds the hounds and rigging. When I tried to fit the mast on Wednesday it was obvious that the hounds bracket was in the wrong place and would need some modification. Fortunately for me there is a very skilled fitter working at the Brewery and he modified the stainless steel bracket to make it fit. Well this did the trick and the whole mast assembly joined together again correctly. I did check some measurements and found that everything was spot on. My forestay is exactly the distance prescribed in the measurements, giving me some options to play around with the rake of the mast. Our pointing angles looked the same as Stacey’s but Paddy at times can certainly outpoint us, so time will tell when Jeremy & Steve get back onto the race course as to whether more adjustments are necessary.

Eventually the wind settled enough for us to go through the start procedure and at the end of the first beat Paddy & Sarah in Allan Orton’s Tasar headed the fleet closely followed by Anna & Liz in the Vago. The Vago’s spinnaker swept them into the lead. We took advantage of the dirty wind given to Paddy to sail to windward of them and by the end of the first round; we were looking good as first Tasar. Stacey & Lucy sailed round Paddy to Leeward and after 2 rounds were looking to close us right down. Stacey & Lucy had an excellent 3rd beat going from a good distance behind us to a good distance in front of us, but we managed to close them down again off wind, and retook the lead on the next beat. To be honest there was so much concentration going on that I don’t know how many rounds we did, but I almost paid the price for not covering Stacey properly on the last beat, by preferring to sail into a fresher section of wind. Unfortunately when we eventually tacked we had to sail on a header which allowed Stacey to close right up on us. We were caught port and starboard right by the beach marks but we managed to dip his transom and harden up to shoot over the line. This was a very close race. Further back Paddy’s woes had worsened when he fell back to 4th behind Mike & Dave, but managed to wriggle through on the last beat to salvage 3rd place.

Anna & Liz were first home in their Vago beating all the faster boats on the water, giving them a terrific win on corrected time. The downwind legs also suited the Kestrel of Janet & Pete Barnes, where they too benefitted from their spinnaker. They finished 2nd only 30 seconds ahead of Beacky & Kelvin’s Scorpion. With 3 Lasers sailing it was the experience of Dr Nick that brought him home 6 minutes ahead of Adam Eastham who was a good 30 seconds or so in front of Brian Reeves. Andrew & Jenny’s Scorpion finished just over 2 minutes behind Beacky. It was good to see Colin Wainwright out sailing, finishing in 7th position but ahead of 4 other boats. Steve Wingrove has just taken possession of a new sail and is still getting used to it but was well pleased with the extra power it has given him and he had been working nicely up through the field, ahead of some of the Tasars, before a capsize at the gybe mark ruined all his good work.

There was also a welcome home to Tim Haskins, down here for a weeks holiday and he kindly acted as crew for Dennis in his Tasar, which must have been frustrating for the pair of them as their combined weight were not best suited to the light conditions.

The breeze had freshened for the afternoon race and I decided to wear a spray top over my tee shirt. I am sure that this was a good decision as the fresher breeze made sailing somewhat cooler. We got to the start line just a little too early so had to bear away and sail down the line prior to the start gun. However by the time we had done a little wriggling we had taken a good lead to reach the beach marks in 1st place, and by the end of the 2nd beat had started to open up a lead on Stacey & Lucy, with Paddy & Sarah further behind. Stacey got the better of us on the 3rd beat and all our good work was undone. Our battling with Stacey allowed Paddy & Sarah to pull right up with us. The pointing ability of that boat is incredible. However we just managed to hold them off to keep our 2nd place at the final time round the beach marks.

Anna Liz had another storming race win and though they weren’t battling with the Tasars this time still managed to finish 30seconds on corrected time ahead of Janet & Pete’s Kestrel. Beacky & Kelvin were having a much better race but a broken pulley on their outhaul slowed them down and they ended up some 30 seconds behind the Kestrel.

All in all it was a good day’s racing on one of the nicest Sundays that we have had this summer. Next weekend we are hosting a full weekend of sailing to celebrate the Club’s 60 years of sailing with a long distance race on Saturday, followed by 3 races on Sunday. There will be a BBQ on Saturday after racing, so should make a very pleasant occasion for all.

I have just seen the results from Torbay and Steve& Polly secured 2nd place with Jeremy & Suzanne in 3rd, so congratulations to both teams with a very good showing from Porthpean.

August 17th
Clive Eplette
It seems quite a long time ago that we lost a Wednesday race but for the first time for several weeks, the dreaded light onshore breeze syndrome struck tonight. Coming down the hill to Porthpean it looked liked there was a nice little breeze on the water. Any enthusiasm was soon dispelled by the sight of a Topper complete with holiday maker drifting around just off the beach. To make matters worse the lightest of breezes was coming off the sea and drifting across the yard. Inevitably this means that the wind would either disappear completely, which is the norm or eventually come in from another direction. Unfortunately for us it was the norm tonight and the breeze just faded away, but not before several covers had come off and in some cases sails hoisted.

Actually it turned out to be a very lucky result for me because my boat was incapable of sailing. I had been out sailing the night before as part of the capsize club. I was crewing the Tasar when I realized that the mast had a strange look to it where the top section joins the lower section. It just didn’t look right and the sail had a strange crease in it as well. I lowered the mast when we got back to the yard and the reason for the strange looking mast became obvious. A nasty looking crack had appeared, right across the section where a bolt passes through it. The crack opened up as I tensioned the mainsail. I suppose that I was very lucky as I managed to get through Falmouth week without any disasters, and if this had happened down there then it would have proved very difficult. Fortunately I do have a spare top section at home and I thought that it would just be the case of changing some fittings round and I would be ready to go sailing again. Well not quite so in this case. The new top section isn’t quite as identical as I thought and when I connected it all up it proved impossible to step the mast back into its original position. So it’s back to the drawing board as they say and I will have to set to with some more radical mods to ensure that it will be ok for the weekend.

Once it became obvious that there would be no sailing then several people set to with a bit of boat bimbling, measuring and comparing settings. Steve & Jeremy started to pack their boats up ready to go to Torbay for their regatta as a prelude to the Tasar Worlds. Dennis had some carpet and glue and set to putting some new carpet on his launching trolley. The No1 safety boat also needs some work doing to its trolley as one of the brackets that supports the boat collapsed on Tuesday night and therefore needs replacing. We ought to replace both as the other one will surely collapse soon. In fact we ought to keep complete replacements for all major components like that and it would make life much easier as we could get the boat back on the water much sooner. Wheel bearings are another big issue as they don’t give many warnings before they tend to collapse. I’m afraid salt water and steel do not make very good companions.

Hopefully if you are reading this then it means that the web site is up and running properly again. Luckily I did have some help from Jeremy when I couldn’t communicate with the server that hosts the website. To cut a very long saga down to the problem arose because the company that hosts the web site has moved the site to another server. The interface program that transfers the files from my PC to the server wasn’t set up for the new server address and although it appeared to upload the edited files they never reached the new server. Anyway I think things are now under control so time will tell and hopefully all will settle down. I was talking to Sarah Fryer about the pictures on the blog, telling her that if she clicked on any picture then a larger picture would load. Sarah wasn’t aware of this, so in that case many others may not know it either, so if you want to see the pictures in greater detail then just click on them.

August 14th
Tony & Julie Creak
Sorry to report that the website is still not updating properly. I am hoping to make some progress with the problem this week but I am working this week so getting to a telephone and talking to someone who may shed some light on to the problems may take a while. Hence there are no updates on the results page and no pictures appearing on the blog at the moment.

After a very hard week at Falmouth I was looking forward to some less strenuous sailing today, especially as the forecast was for light to moderate. Well light to moderate it wasn’t. In fact I would say it was fresh to strong with a very lively westerly wind blowing that kept everyone on their toes, especially on the beats. The morning started off quite overcast with a hint of drizzle in the air, but by race time this had started to pass and by the end of the afternoon we were blessed with plenty of sunshine. Even the holiday makers started to crowd onto the beach, giving a very summery feel to the general atmosphere.

Today we welcomed 3 guest sailors; two of them were Tony & Julie Creak, from Australia, who are over here to sail in the Tasar Worlds at Torquay in September. They have bought Jeremy’s old Tasar to allow them to compete in some racing before the Worlds. They had been sailing at Rock last week, competing in Camel week, where they were among 60 odd other dinghies and finished a very creditable 7th. The other guest helm was Clive Eplett who originally comes from Fowey and was home for the weekend before travelling up to Weymouth for the RS Games which are being held next week and he was here in his RS100.

Jeremy & Suzanne were duty safety boat drivers today and set quite a large course, which did give us 2 very good Tasar reaches, but as the course configuration was for triangles and runs it wasn’t too bad for the spinnaker boats, so all in all there was something for everybody.

For the first time this season there were over 20 boats on the water including 8 Tasars. It was nice to see Torri out for her first sail this year with her dad Mike in their Tasar. The blustery breeze gave us a good beat from the Blackhead direction in towards the beach marks and our Australian guests popped out at the end of the beat just ahead of Steve & Polly and Ken & me. Steve took the lead on the reaches and we closed right up but started the 2nd beat just behind Tony & Julie. Just a little further back were Paddy & Sarah plus Stacey & Lucy. Both Paddy & Stacey passed us on the beat and left us quite a way behind by the time we started the reaches. Steve & Tony swapped the lead a couple of times. Tony being faster on the beats whilst Steve was faster on the reaches. At the end Steve had just done enough down wind to take the win by no more than a couple of seconds. Our downwind speed proved to be good and we started the last beat just behind Stacey & in front of Paddy, and the 3 of us finished in that order. Further back Dennis & Brian sailed a more lonely race but stayed well ahead of Mike & Vicky, who in turn were a good way ahead of Chris & Tony.

The handicap fleet were well spread out with Richard proving to be the fastest in his Contender, but once again the father & son partnership of Nigel & James in the Feva, proved to be the fastest boat when the handicaps were worked out, and winning by just over a minute on corrected time. Brian Reeves had a very good race today sailing his Laser into 3rd place. It was also a good result for Steve Wingrove in 4th place in his Blaze as the blustery wind was a huge challenge for him. Some of the Cadets went out in the Picos but the blustery conditions soon drove them back ashore, which was a very sensible decision on their part.

The wind hadn’t moderated at all during the lunch break, so we knew that we would be in for another hard race. In fact I think that it was slightly stronger, so much for the promised light breeze!! We had a good start to windward of most of the fleet but were just behind our Australian guests at the beach marks with Jeremy & Suzanne behind us. Our down wind speed proved equal to Jeremy’s and we started the 2nd beat still ahead, only to have them sail over the top of us, however by the time we reached the beach marks we were back into 2nd and then it was our turn to experience a disaster. There was a loud bang, all the power went out of the sails. It took us a moment to realise that the shackle that holds the mainsheet to the boom had shattered. Fortunately I do carry a few shackles on the boat and we managed to cobble up a repair and sailed on, well behind every one apart from Chris & Tony. As we approached the leeward mark Ken told me that he didn’t think that we had rounded the 2nd beach mark. On reflection I realised that he was right. By this time we were too far up the course to entertain going back so we retired. Meanwhile Jeremy managed to pass Tony & Julie on the next beat and slowly pulled out a good gap on them. Further back Steve & Polly remained in 3rd place, ahead of Dennis & Brian, whilst Chris & Tony had to retire when Tony’s finger locked up and he had to be taken ashore via the Safety Boat for medical attention.

Richard had a much better race this time and he managed to make enough time up to be well ahead of the Feva on corrected time, beating Nigel & James by over 2 minutes. Clive Eplett sailed his RS100 into 3rd place, a full minute ahead of Janet & Pete in their Kestrel, who were also 2 minutes ahead of Beaky & Kelvin, they had previously retired this morning due to a broken bridal on their mainsheet. They also managed to beat their arch rivals, Andrew & Jenny Kendall in the other Scorpion, making them feel a bit better. Unfortunately the fresher conditions forced Steve Wingrove to seek sanctuary on the beach. I think he had experienced one capsize too many for comfort.

All in all an action packed day, with plenty of thrills and spills to enjoy.

August 12th
Midnight Express back home
Unfortunately I haven’t solved the problems with the website. For some unknown reason the folders that contain the blog pictures and the sailing results are not actually updating on the Server that holds them. Whether the problem lies with the ftp company that I use or the web hoster or my PC I have yet to discover, so please excuse lack of update in those departments. I am working next week so will have only a limited amount of time to do the necessary research.

After 5 hard days of racing the 6th and final day arrived and we turned up for the last 2 races of the series to be sailed in what was going to be the lightest conditions of the week (what a relief). Well as I write this the final day’s race positions and results are not published due to some problems that the Race Committee are trying to resolve. However victory for the week went to Jeremy & Suzanne. They started the day with a 1 point lead, but 2 so so results for them meant that they had to use some other discards, so all went into the melting pot. Other contenders also had some poorer races so they too were affected by the lighter conditions, so at the end of the day Jeremy & Suzanne still won the event.

Today started as a bit of a shambles. We lined up to start the first race on a line that was impossible to lay on starboard. The wind had swung by an enormous amount but the RO had already started the 2 faster fleets. Anyway we set off in very light winds and I think the 5 leading boats including us rounded up to start the 2nd beat end to end only to be greeted by an “S”. We had been racing less than 15 minutes. The RO had shortened due to the big wind shift. The word went round that the race was going to be re-sailed, so some weren’t too pleased as they thought that they had a good result, but you can’t really work out a handicap system on only 15 minutes. The RO really should have aborted the start and moved the course but didn’t.

Anyway we eventually readied for the re run of the race and we came in just below the Phantom, luffing him up and over the line. Unfortunately the 2nd gun also signalled that we too were over and therefore had to dip back through the line to restart. Well that disaster was our worst start of the week and although we caught quite a few up it cost us dearly, which was shame as the lighter conditions certainly helped me. After 5 days of struggling I was at last sailing in conditions that I favoured.

Another good start in the final race put us in a very good position and we rounded the first mark in the lead, just ahead of the Fireball and Jeremy. The Fireball aided by his spinnaker passed us on the reach and Jeremy too managed to overtake us on the 2nd reach and the Phantom also had closed us right down on the 2nd reach also. I had noticed that the boats playing the left side of the course including us had done well on the first round, so I headed that way, even slightly over standing the windward mark as I knew that the strong tide would sweep us sideways. Anyway I couldn’t believe our luck when we had sailed into 1st place again, this time with a bigger lead than before. We started the 3rd and last round in the lead and put a loose cover on the Fireball, but he just nicked in front of us at the windward mark. In fact I tacked a little too early for the buoy, hoping to catch him on starboard, but with a combination of his dirty wind and tide had to put in the shortest of tacks to round, which maybe cost us the race. We eventually lost on handicap to the Albacore that had made good time on the beat and was no slower than us off wind in the lighter conditions.

At last our result looked better than it had been all week and how frustrating it is for me that the forecast for the next few days is for much lighter winds – C’est la vie. The racing this year revolved around average lap racing, which I think has upset quite a few of the racers. I am not sure at all that it is fair, as when in large fleets we are often influenced by the presence of other boats around us, which then affects how a particular round is sailed, so can have an adverse affect on the timing. I think that we could have done much better by having set number of rounds. The recording of roundings was initially proving too difficult for the race team, they eventually resolved this problem by moving the leeward mark close to the Committee boat but this too caused a problem in one race when too many boats for the space allowed arrived at the leeward mark together and a bit of a log jam caused quite a bit of shouting and barging.

Anyway all in all it was a good sailing week that was very tiring due to the windy conditions and proved to be hard work for the safety boats that apart form Friday were kept very busy at all times. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many capsizes in all the time that I have been racing. It’s good to re acquaint our selves with people who tend to come each year and by the end of the week everybody seems to be chatting away after the racing. Hopefully all being well I will be there again next year.

August 11th
Preparing to go racing
Day 5 and yet another day of strong winds for us to suffer. The wind at the Clubhouse looked quite light and the Carrick Roads very flat. This all changed as we sailed across to the far shore. Once away from the protection of the Club’s lee shore we soon felt the full impact of the wind. Once again it was blowing in the high teens, with some stronger gusts thrown at us from time to time. There weren’t the same number of capsizes as on other days but the size of the fleet was much reduced as quite a few decided that a shore based activity would be far more pleasant than another struggle with the wind.

We must have hung around the starting area for almost half an hour before the starting procedure begun. Somehow it is a lot worse trying to sit hove to whilst slowly drifting down wind than actually racing and it is always a relief when the start gun eventually goes and you can adopt a racing position.

Today was another good day for Jeremy & Suzanne with 2 2nds, not quite so good for us, with a 6th & 7th place. The conditions are just too strong for me to sail to. Yes I can handle the boat but I am definitely not driving it hard enough for long enough to make enough impact against some of the other boats. Still I have had some good results over the years, but the winds have been more to my liking then. One unfortunate thing with the wind from the west is that we have another longer beat than the ones in the race to sail back to the Club, so even after a gruelling race there is still no time to relax. It’s not until you get amongst the moorings that the wind strength seems to ebb away and the water becomes flatter, then you know you’ve survived another hard set of races.

The forecast for Friday is to have slightly less wind. I just hope that the forecast is correct as I am aching quite a bit and my hands are showing blisters from handling the sheets all the time. The wind is so unpredictable that you have to be playing them all the time, as there are also some very strong direction changes as well as gusts to contend with.

August 10th
Working boats coming to the finish
Day 4 and the harbour race, and fortunately the lighter winds were in evidence when we started at 11.30 ish. The course was quite large, we started under the cliffs above and opposite Restronguet with a hard beat across the Carrick Roads, which saw the Fireball round first with Jeremy & Suzanne 2nd, a Contender 3rd, 420 4th and us 5th. We then had another hard beat, which in the main was one tack down the river to find the next mark, in towards Falmouth opposite the docks on the Flushing side of the river and from there a very tight reach, in quite lively wind to the Falmouth mark, somewhere off Pendennis. We had moved up to 3rd boat by this time, but a fair distance behind Jeremy, who was close behind the Fireball. The next leg was a very broad reach right across the harbour to St. Mawes, where we rounded another mark which then gave us a beat back to St Mawes Cardinal buoy. The Fireball capsized on the beat but was soon up and away again, but his lead over Jeremy reduced considerably. Joy of joys after that as we then had a long reach down to the Vilt buoy, followed by another broad reach to St. Just buoy. Jeremy passed the Fireball on this leg and then we had a long tight reach right up the river to a turning mark which was just below the Turnaware buoy; an ideal reach for a Tasar. We had slowly been caught on the downwind legs by the Phantom, but the final beat back to the finish line just off the Mylor moorings was enough for us to pull back any lost time. Our corrected time put us only 20 seconds or so behind the Fireball, but the little 420 which was quite a distance behind made good his handicap as he claimed 2nd place.

The forecast for the rest of the week is for stronger winds and even rain, which I can’t say that I am looking forward to but at least this evening will be a good night for Falmouth as the Red Arrows are due to give a display at 18.00 and the conditions are looking good for it. Don’t forget that the Red Arrows are at Fowey next Thursday and I expect if the weather is good then there will be a bumper turnout.

I did get back to the Club to see the evening racing and what another good turnout it proved to be with some 17 boats racing and 2 more cruising. 6 Tasars made up the Tasar fleet with Steve & Polly returning from winning their class at Plymouth dinghy week last week. It could have been 8 if Jeremy and us had sailed but our Tasars are still down at Restronguet. The fleet was initially lead by Paddy & Sarah, but were soon passed by Stacey & Steve Coello who went on to extend their lead to take a good win. Paddy appeared to have a good lead on Steve, but failing to cover him on the last beat cost him dearly when Steve claimed 2nd place.

The handicap fleet had a good spectrum of boats but was lead from start to finish by Allan Orton, followed by Richard Armstrong in their Contenders. Anna had teamed up with James in her Vago and with James trapezing plus 2 good spinnaker legs took them into 3rd, a minute ahead of Beacky & Kelvin’s Scorpion. They in turn were a minute ahead of Janet & Pete in the Kestrel. Almost 2 minutes further back was the first of the 3 Lasers, helmed by Tim Baily, who finished 1 second ahead of John Hill’s Supernova – extremely close. Matt Searle did well in his Comet to finish 8th almost a minute in front of Nick, the 2nd of the Lasers. Steve Wingrove, couldn’t derive enough speed from his Blaze to make any impact on the leaders and although finishing in front of Nick fell back to 10th on corrected time, which left the Laser of Brian Reeves languishing in 3rd. Unfortunately Jenny Kendal who had taken a nasty bang on her face, during Sunday’s race, was still sporting her injuries, so took a back seat and Sarah took over the helming of their Scorpion, but finished in last place.

August 9th
Rescue boats before the racing
For some strange reason the pictures that I am uploading for Falmouth week are not appearing. They all work ok on my PC and they are being uploaded but unfortunately will not work when they are being viewed via the web. Time is of the essence at the moment so they will have to stay missing for a while.

Today was a much nicer day; the wind was still fresh but had lost the intensity of the previous 2 days. Ken tells me that he checked the wind records of Culdrose for Monday and they were constantly in the 30 knot range the entire day. Sailing in that lot were certainly not pleasant and is probably why so many people were capsizing and eventually retiring. Anyway a modicum of normality returned, the sun was shining and the breeze was probably about 12 - 15 knots, which was far more manageable and brought lots more boats to the starting line, including about 10 Darts and 11 RS Fevas. It was good to see so many youngsters in the Fevas and in the slightly fresh breeze they were zooming along very nicely.

The racing has been marred somewhat by the problems with trying to take the finishing times of the various finishers. The results from the first race on Sunday caused so much aggro when the results appeared. Somehow the race committee had totally lost where boats were on the course and were giving high finishing positions to boats that had retired or in some cases lapped due to capsizes. Rather than doing fixed number of rounds, the Race Committee are doing average lap racing and they are totally losing it with so many boats racing. The signalling and indication of which courses to be sailed were also causing problems, not helped by them changing courses after them being initially displayed.

The conditions today were to the disadvantage of the 420 boys and they were left way back in the fleet as we raced around the course. Today emerged the appearance of the Phantom, which has hogged the pages of the Y&Y forum for many months gaining the reputation of a bandit boat. Officially the Phantom is a slower boat than the Tasar and this appeared to be the case on the beats, but once we turned downhill then its speed suddenly appeared as it swept passed both us and Jeremy. Once again the Fireball dominated proceedings and the set course helped it drive along. We were also severely troubled by a Laser Stratos and RS200. The spinnaker legs helped them derive so much speed, but again they weren’t quite so quick on the beats. We did have the pleasure of reaching the end of the first beat in the first race just ahead of Jeremy but couldn’t stay in front and in the 2nd race were just behind him as we got to the end of the first beat on the 2nd race.

The course for the first race gave us very broad reaches where we had to set our whisker poles on each reach, which kept our Tasars heavily sedated but joy of joys they re set the wing mark for the 2nd race and we ended up with one very good tight reach and the other reach not quite as tight but still better than the one on the previous race.

The day was rounded off by a nice bit of entertainment at Restronguet, which includes nibbles, drinks and music, which all appeared very idyllic sitting outside in the sun with the background of various types of working boats as they hugged the shore to reach their finishing line set off Restronguet SC.

Today is the promised harbour race and may be quite fast and furious as the breeze is set to freshen as the day goes on. In fact, Tuesday may well have been the best day weather wise of the week, as the forecast is to return to the stronger winds and the promise of rain. If this proves true then I’m afraid this year won’t go down as a vintage Falmouth week

August 8th
Mylor Yacht Club
Day 2 and I begin to wonder, “Why is Falmouth week always so windy?” Yes this is another windy week. I have experienced some days of strong winds every year that I have sailed here, and this year is no exception. Yesterday’s racing was very hard but we managed to complete both races. Unfortunately the race committee made such a mess of the results that they may be binning race 1, which may be fair in some ways but disappointing when we sailed for almost an hour in very strong winds for effectively nothing.

There was the postponement flag flying this morning when we arrived and we were kept ashore waiting for a cargo boat to be moved up river to moor up in the King Harry area. This seemed like a good idea at the time as the wind was even stronger than yesterday but was supposed to moderate as the day wore on. Some hope; it didn’t and eventually we all launched and sailed over to St Just where the Committee boat was moored. The wind over there was well into the 20s and as usual we had to wait around for over half an hour as they played around setting the course. It seemed like a good idea to seek shelter in the St Just creek, as there wasn’t much wind in there, but incredibly although it was very calm, every now and then swirling gusts came over the headlands and knocked us around, so we couldn’t relax at all. At least it may have been rough heaved to further out in the river but at least it was constant.

We started at last and the course laid for us was better than yesterdays. The beat was a very hard slog, but was followed by 2 blistering fast reaches, though the first of the 2 was rather broad. Many, many boats capsized and one or two were towed home. Fortunately we kept upright, but did ship quite a few large waves over the foredeck from time to time. We finished within the hour and hove to, to wait the start sequence for the next race, but by this time the wind had increased a few more knots. I was feeling quite cold and I decided to wait no longer so we sailed for home, leaving a much depleted fleet to race the 2nd race.

Again there were quite a few capsizes in the 2nd race, including, much to my surprise Jeremy & Suzanne. Fortunately for them the depth was enough to prevent the mast from hitting the bottom and they righted the boat without any damage to sail on and finish. Poor Suzanne was shivering with cold when they reached the shore, and had to rush away for a shower as soon as she could. The forecast for tomorrow is in comparison quite pleasant with a lighter breeze forecast, before freshening again for Wednesday for the harbour race. Well at least there will only be one race so once we start we should keep warm. I know that I am always moaning about the accuracy of the forecasters, but this week is yet another example of their hopelessness. Last Saturday they were giving a couple of days of fresh wind and then lighter winds for the rest of the week, but that forecast seems to have been torn up and yet another different one produced, with only Tuesday forecast as a lighter day.

After the racing we walked over to inspect the new Mylor YC premises and what a very impressive new Club house they have. It is very large, very modern and very, very nice. It is probably the most impressive sailing Club that I have been in, with lots of wood and lots of glass. The bar area of the Club house is on the 2nd floor and also boasts a large outdoor area maybe some 25 square meters square with tables and chairs and a glass border surround similar to our decking, with fabulous views across the Yacht Harbour. I think the Club house was officially opened by HRH Princess Anne a few weeks ago.

August 7th
Restronguet's new safety boat
What a turbulent day it turned out today the first day of Falmouth week. The forecast was for blustery showers in a rising wind and that is certainly what we had. We were initially met by quite pleasant conditions with a light westerly breeze. In fact the scene looking out from Restronguet across the Carrick Roads was one of tranquillity and any boats on the water glided along. There appears to be some 60 plus entries for the dinghy section, divided into 5 classes, but how many went out yesterday isn’t clear to me as by the time we launched the promised wind was starting to make its presence known and some who launched soon returned to the shore. There is an amazing range of dinghies sailing, almost all the popular types are there, but no Scorpions.

The racing this year is controlled from Restronguet’s new race committee boat, pictured alongside. This was commissioned by them and built at Pendennis ship yard, out of aluminium. Restronguet are also boasting of a new slipway which has been added onto their existing slipway and this too makes life easier for the sailors. Unfortunately the racing was marred by a lack of confusion by some people taking the wrong course from the poorly(?) displayed signage on the boat, but more so from the badly layed windward mark. 2 courses had been laid; one was a windward leeward course and the other a triangle. We were on the triangle but our entire fleet failed to see where our windward mark was and all sailed to the further windward mark of the other course. Those of us who bore away to sail the triangle soon realised our mistake when a perfect reach took us down to our real windward mark and then on to the wing mark. Inadvertably we actually sailed round our course correctly and from then on sailed the correct course. >p> By this time the wind was blowing really hard and the 5 rescue boats were kept very busy dealing with capsized boats that littered the water. The wind strength was certainly in the low 20s and during the 2nd race when a squall swept in and the rain hammered down actually peaked at 32 knots. I was a little out of my comfort zone but we did keep upright. The reaches passed in a blur of spray as the Tasars powered along, showing a clean pair of heels to many slower boats that we came across as they were being lapped. Jeremy and Suzanne sailed well in these conditions but may still have finished behind a 420 on handicap which was absolutely flying in the strong winds. The rain eased off and we sailed back to the Club in quite light conditions. Not long after the boats were packed away the heavens opened and we had a torrential downpour and the Carrick roads echoed to the sounds of thunder. What a roller coaster summer of weather we are having, with no 2 weeks alike. The forecast for the rest of the week is for strong winds again on Monday and for the winds to slowly moderate during the week, though they are still classed as moderate to fresh. What a shame it wasn’t Falmouth week last week when the weather was much more benign and more to my liking.

Life at the Club was a little quieter today with only 7 boats racing in the very lively conditions. Stacey and Steve Coello dominated the Tasar fleet and Nigel & James dominated the handicap fleet. Steve Wingrove had an argument with the boom on his boat and a very had smack in the face curtailed his racing for the day. Richard Morley has had his Tasar for sale on Ebay over the last few days and the auction finished on Saturday evening when the winning bid was found to be that of Richard Armstrong, who has decided to join the Tasar fleet. Welcome Richard, actually this is the 2nd time that Richard has owned a Tasar, but I think that his son wants to sale as well so they may well be teaming up. Strangely 3 of the 4 Contender owners in the Club, now also own a Tasar so will be able to tempt Kelvin to join our fleet as well?

The other big event of today was Sarah Fryer’s 40th birthday. Sarah managed to sail at Porthpean on her 18th, 21st and now her 40th birthdays and she had a small celebration after racing to which Ken & I attended straight from Restronguet. Sarah was joined by some of her sailing friends from her Poltair days plus Club members and her immediate family. Sarah and family have another 2 weeks here before they return to Luxemburg where they live. Sarah also shares her birthday with my youngest Grand daughter, Katie, who is 5 today and is holidaying under canvass on the Gower peninsula and yes it has been very wet and windy there as well.

August 3rd
Paddy preparing to sail
Unfortunately it was back to a wet suit for tonight’s sailing. A fine drizzle was just starting as we arrived at Porthpean for the Wednesday night racing. For a moment it looked as if we might have had to cancel as the visibility dropped quite alarmingly. Fortunately it soon lifted but the S Westerly wind strength in the 20s as shown on the Polruan weather station website, indicated that we might be in for a bit of a battering. Nevertheless 15 boats under the watchful eyes of Nigel and Tony Dunn in the safety boat went out to race and for yet another outing we had 7 Tasars racing. It would have been 8 but Chris Hazel couldn’t make it. The breeze was fresh and the conditions lively for the first few rounds but surprisingly moderated as the race went on, which helped me no end, but were strong enough to dispatch Nick Haskins, Clive Stephens, Adam Eastham & James Dowrick back to the shore as retirees as the race progressed.

Dennis and Stacey have swopped boats for the next few weeks as Stacey and Steve Coello prepare for the forthcoming Tasar Worlds to be held in Torquay this September. Clearly Dennis’s boat is considered a faster boat and complete with a new suit of sails should be a very competitive package. Tonight’s conditions were not my ideal ones and I wasn’t too surprised when we were only 4th Tasar to the windward mark, but I put a lot of that down to taking the wrong route to the windward mark. As expected Jeremy & Suzanne lead at the first, with a useful lead over Stacey & Steve. However we weren’t too far behind Dennis & Brian and managed to overtake them on the reach to the beach marks. Meanwhile Stacey, surprisingly overtook Jeremy on the 2nd reach and proceeded to pull away from him. Jeremy eventually pulled him back and was only 4 seconds behind Stacey at the end. Tonight we seemed to have quite good downwind speed and our upwind pointing ability seemed to be much better, but we didn’t have the same boat speed of the 2 leading Tasars. Paddy & Sarah were further back in 5th but made huge inroads into Dennis’s lead, overtaking him and closing up on us before we pulled away on the next set of reaches. Dennis managed to get back in front of Paddy by the end of the last beat and looked to have sealed his 4th position when they arrived at the beach marks, but Dennis lost his momentum and Paddy & Sarah crept by to beat them by 1 second. This was a touch of déjà vue for Dennis as we managed to creep past him last Wednesday to take our position by 1 second. The other 2 Tasars of Mike & Dave spent the evening battling out with Chris Bilky and Colin Wainwright, with Chris & Colin beating Mike & Dave by 5 seconds. Apart from us playing piggy in the middle the other Tasars had some very close finishes.

Allan Orton, in his Contender lead from start to finish, but his corrected time was still behind the 2 leading Tasars. However he was much faster than the 2 Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin, and Andrew & Sarah Kendall. Both boats were flying their spinnakers on the reaches. Just a bit further back was the Blaze of Steve Wingrove. Once again the conditions were not Blaze type conditions with quite a confused sea running to bury the wings, thus slowing his progress.

The rain that was forecast arrived as we were having our bacon butties and drinks in the Clubhouse afterwards and by 21.00 it was almost pitch dark. Oh yes our summer of light evenings has certainly gone now and I think we will notice the darker evenings much more now over the next few weeks.

July 31st
Cadets preparing to sail
The last day of July is with us and in fact this week has given us some very nice weather indeed, but no not today. We were, unfortunately, greeted by a dull and overcast day, with a light southerly breeze, but mild enough to tempt me to don my sailing shorts again, though I still had to wear a spray top as it wasn’t that warm. Once again we had a good turnout of 17 boats of which 5 were Tasars. In fact two Tasar crews were taken off the water for duties. Chris Bilkey was in the race box and he had been predicting a hot sunny day as those are the conditions that normally occur when he gets that particular duty, but not this time. Mile & Dave took the safety boat and laid us a course starting at the Beach marks, to beat towards Blackhead.

Unfortunately the beach marks, or one of them, had decided to do a bit of manoeuvring on its own during the last 2 weeks and had moved horribly out of position. So much so that there was a bit of confusion as to which was the proper starting mark. Mike had told everyone, but nevertheless it still caused enough confusion when we came to the start line. I knew that we were close to the line but could see that we were behind Chris & Tony, so when the gun went followed by a 2nd gun it was no surprise to see them turn back to restart. Not us though, we powered away and with the absence of Jeremy & Suzanne had a very good beat slotting in at the windward mark, just behind Stacey & Steve & in front of Steve & Polly. We had only just started the reach when the safety boat swept up to inform me that we too had been over at the start and hadn’t returned!! Well it was too late then to go back, so we hung on behind Stacey as far as the gybe mark to assess our down wind speed, and then hardened up for a bit of reaching practice, this was much more fun. Stacey & Steve sailed on increasing their distance from Steve & Polly, who in turn pulled out a big gap between themselves and Dennis & Brian, leaving the late starting Chris & Tony to bring up the rear.

Kay & Gary made their 2nd appearance of the year today and as far as I was aware were racing with the fleet but as we made our early sail back to the beach spied their Scorpion sitting on its launching trailer. It appeared that someone had forgotten to take and attach a vital bit of string that only appeared to be missing as they made their first tack, so in fact they didn’t even make the start. Richard sailing his Contender was the fastest of the handicap fleet and managed to sail it into first place and although beating the slowest boat in the fleet, the RS Feva of Nigel & James by some 13 minutes on the water only managed to beat them by 8 seconds on corrected time. Sarah & Jacques were also out in their RS Feva, but were forced to retire when the spinnaker sheets pulled through the sail. The 2 Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin and Andrew & Jenny had a great battle with both boats leading the other at times, but on the last run to the beach marks Paul held the advantage, to round the first beach mark ahead of Andrew, but inexplicably failed to take the spinnaker down as they hardened up, which completely stalled the boat allowing Andrew to sail past to claim his victory and give them 4th place overall. Anna was without her normal partner in crime, Liz, sailed the Vago single handed, even managing in to hoist the splinaker but the handicap of having to handle all the controls on her own cost her quite a bit of time and she could only make 6th place. 3 Lasers battled around the course and honours for first Laser again went to Nick Haskins.

The wind freshened very slightly for the afternoon race, the course was tweaked a bit and the instructions were for triangles. I think everyone took note of that this week as there were no confusions as per the week before. The line was starboard biased, but nevertheless Chris & Tony decided to try a port hand crossing. Well this went horribly wrong for them when the entire fleet swept across their bows leaving them trailing us all. Jeremy & Suzanne, fresh from a Christening just made it to the start in time, shot into the lead and lead for the entire race. Stacey & Steve were the best of the rest of us by taking and holding 2nd. Probably Steve & Polly and ourselves had the best battle as we did swop positions once or twice before we pulled out a big distance on one of the later beats. We were both involved in minor skirmishes with Richard in his Contender. He was marginally slower that us on the beats but marginally quicker downwind, which all in all gave us quite a bit of defending to do which in turn allowed the other Tasar some respite. Maybe getting stuck and fighting 2 Tasars cost Richard some time as in this race he could only finish 2nd some 2½ minutes on corrected time behind Nigel & James in their Feva. Much to the pleasure of Jacques, Sarah and he sailed their Feva into 3rd place, well ahead of the Kestrel of Janet & Pete. Sarah Kendall took a friend out to race in the family Scorpion but couldn’t match Beacky & Kelvin for pace, finishing some 3 minutes behind them. It was also good to see the cadets of Adam & Luke out in a Laser and Topper and they decided to leave us all to get on with our racing and indulged themselves in some capsize practice and generally having a good time. Just as we all came off the water the rain that had been threatening all day finally arrived in the form of heavy drizzle.

Well that’s July out of the way, the season is rushing by, and the evenings are starting to noticeably pull in. We could certainly do with a very nice August but looking at the immediate weather pattern ahead this too seems to be unlikely in the short run and with only a short bit of summer left it seems that 2011 will be another summer of disappointment. However before summer finally disappears there are still some good sailing events to come. Falmouth week starts next Sunday, followed by Fowey Week and the Red Arrows. Jeremy & I are going to Falmouth week. Steve & Polly are returning home to do Plymouth Week. I believe that both of them will be sailing in part of Torbay Week, as preparation for the Tasar Worlds which will be held in Torquay in the middle of September. Stacey & Steve will be joining the 2 of them for that event. The Mirror dinghy will be having their Nationals at Restronguet later on this month as will the Fireballs at Pentewan later in the month also. It’s good sailing waters at Pentewan but such a horrible beach to have to contend with to get in and out of the water. The Enterprises that I saw at Looe only managed 3 races in the entire week, one race on the Sunday and 2 races on the Monday. The wind never materialised enough for them for the rest of the week, whereas here, only 25 miles down the coast we managed to have reasonable if light breezes all week.

July 27th
Colin preparing to go racing
We are currently experiencing the best week of the year, weatherwise, with temperatures up in the 20s and with light northerly winds, calm enough and warm enough to encourage some good turn outs. Last Sunday epitomised that and tonight was another good turnout with 19 boats racing, including 7 Tasars. Once again Paddy borrowed Allan’s Tasar and together with Sarah, showed the rest of us a clean pair of heels, apart from Jeremy & Suzanee who were far and away the fastest boat on the water.

The light northerly wind was almost ideal, with enough wind to get two out hard on the side decks sailing upwind, and the reaches were one rather broad, with the other nice and tight which I suppose gave advantages at times to the Tasars and also the spinnaker boats. Anna & Liz, having spent all day on the water at Pentewan, teaching some of our cadets, then had to do duty safety boat for us in the evening. Well I suppose we were in very good hands, but with the docile conditions, their skills weren’t actually needed. All the cadets were tired out after a day on the water and non of them raced tonight otherwise I think we would have had over 20 boats out.

The start line had a little port bias on it, enough for us to decide to try a port hand flyer. Unfortunately Richard Armstrong in his Contender and John Hill in his Supernova also thought that they would try it as well, which complicated things somewhat as generally only one boat gets away with it, but we just managed to get away with it. Well we did manage it by just crossing ahead of a fast approaching Jeremy and then easily crossing the rest of the fleet. That should have given us a healthy lead as we shot across the bay towards Charlestown, but we lost out badly when we tacked for the beach marks and were passed by Jeremy/ Suzanne, Paddy/ Sarah and Nigel/ Steve Coello. Nigel & Steve had borrowed Stacey’s Tasar. I was ever hopeful of improving our position and managed to close right up on Nigel at the end of the 2nd reach, but once again I blew it on the next beat, in fact I think I made a bit of a mess of the next 3 beats as well. Anyway we dropped so far back that catching them was going to be almost impossible and so we had to look to defend what we had, with Dennis/ Brian and Mike/ Dave just behind us, and to our horror they too passed us on one of the broad reaches when we apparently sailed into a hole whilst they moved serenely past us. Fortunately Chris / Tony were further back and missed out on that bit of excitement. The next beat saw us pass Mike/ Dave and then Dennis/ Brian and I thought that we had shaken them off but with the wind fading away on the last beat, Dennis managed to get past us and with less than 100M to the beach marks I thought that all was lost but fortunately the breeze moved around enough for us to pull right back to them and cross the line with 1 second separating us. Extremely tight racing for us after almost an hour and a quarter racing.

The handicap had equally exciting racing with the Kestrel of Janet & Pete dominating affairs. They were very close behind us on several occasions. Their spinnaker pulling them along very nicely and the Kestrel glides along very nicely upwind in light winds. Their nearest competition was the 2 Contenders of Allan & Richard, but with the light conditions preventing them trapezing their wings were severely clipped, finishing 2nd and 3rd. As we all started the last round, it was obvious that the breeze was dying and so some of the handicap boats finished a lap less than some of the faster boats and therefore the handicap results were set as an average lap race, which benefitted some of the boats that did a lap less. Beacky & Kelvin and John Hill may have lost out in that particular lottery as they did the full amount of laps but only finished 5th and 7th. However whoever thought that handicap sailing was fair?

Sue & I went over to Looe on Tuesday to see the Enterprise fleet who are having their Nationals there this week. I still hold an Enterprise dear to my heart as I owned one for many years and always wanted to go back to owning one again, until I discovered the Tasar. It is amazing to see the changes that have taken place over the years. The Enterprise burst onto the sailing scene in 1956 and was made from wood. It was a very simple boat back then but now has changed beyond almost recognition. I know that many dinghies have been revamped over the years, but it is amazing to see some of the differences. The entire fleet now spoils a dangely pole, instead of the original whisker pole. Apparently it gives much better jib shape on broad reaches and makes them easier to gybe in stronger winds. Some of the wooden boats looked superb, but there was a new type plastic Enet there and to me it looked hideous. The interior has been completely changed and looks nothing like a traditional Enterprise and I am sure that if it becomes the norm will very soon put the rest of the fleet to the sword. It had already won one of the races on Monday so is certainly up to speed. I agree with some modernisation of a class, and I know that with newer classes coming along then it is only right to ring some changes but to me this seems a step too far. Another lovely little class to undertake major changes is the Mirror dinghy. Originally both classes were designed so that the amateur builder could make one at home. Well that concept has well & truly gone out of the window now. In fact I don’t think that there are hardly any classes left where a home built boat can compete equally with a factory made boat nowadays. One of the Ents at Looe is a 190000 sail number vintage and is the current Inland Champion and is a contender to win this week’s Nationals, providing they get some wind.

July 24th
Anna & Liz after racing
What a beautiful day it turned out to be on Saturday. I was down at the Club in the afternoon and the sea looked perfect for sailing, with a very flat sea and a light offshore westerly breeze. A truly beautiful scene, Porthpean at its finest, but alas no one else was there to sail. Fortunately the same sea and wind conditions were still present on Sunday but there was a distinct lack of sunshine. In fact the overcast sky often gave us a very fine drizzle at times, but luckily never made it to full blown rain. I think most of the rest of the country was basking in hot sunshine, but nevertheless we had the breeze we required.

Yes we are now in the height of the summer and the visitors are now beginning to cram onto the beaches and the slipway can become very congested with so many cars wanting to drive right down to the beach to unload. This is one of the prices to be paid for not having a beach attendant, who would normally have stopped traffic from coming down the slipway. Another gripe of mine is the beach line, which is supposed to segregate swimmers from boats. This clearly doesn’t work as swimmers are to be seen on both sides of the buoy line. The restriction gives us a smaller area in which to sail into the beach, which normally isn’t too bad, but moored up speed boats gives us another hazard to avoid, also care must be taken when the tide is in as some of the buoy line is under water, which can snag a centre board or rudder if you pass too close.

The day was very mild even without sun and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to wear sailing shorts and tee shirt. The mild conditions also brought us our largest fleet of the summer so far and there were still quite a few regulars missing. We are also pleased to welcome back again for her annual Cornish holiday to Sarah Desjonquers and her 3 boys. Sarah wasted no time in getting down checking over her RS Feva, ready for the next 4 weeks. Stacey & Allan are back from their adventures at the Contender Worlds, where Allan finished 20th and Stacey 31st out of a 142 boat fleet, which was extremely good going from our boys. Stacey in particular had a 3rd and 4th position in the heavy weather races, but an unsuccessful outcome from a protest committee and another lowly position on the light weather day brought his score up too much. Allan also had some good results to count and his consistency gave him his 20th position. Neither was helped by the fact that the last day of sailing was abandoned due to lack of suitable breeze. The Contender association stipulate a minimum breeze of 6 knots before sailing is allowed to start.

We were without our planned safety boat cover today but fortunately for us Richard Armstrong stepped in. Richard’s boat is temporally marooned in Newquay, so he & James who was waiting for Nigel, set us a very nice course which did give some good planning reaches at times. The wind out in the bay was a very nice westerly 9-10 knots, with some movement in both direction and intensity to contend with.

The Tasars in particular had their largest turnout of the season with a total of 8 boats racing in the afternoon. In fact so much happened during the day that it is almost impossible to recant it all, sufficient to say that there was close racing throughout both fleets, with the closest racing going on in the Tasar fleet as after all it is all about one on one racing where final position is everything as opposed to the handicap fleet where results are never known until the vagrancies of the handicap system are worked out.

7 Tasars raced in the morning race and the main battle soon involved, Jeremy & Finn, Steve & Polly and ourselves with us taking an early lead, but over the ensuing Olympic course the lead changed hands several times with the downwind speed of the super light Hawkins proving very telling on the down wind legs. However Steve & Polly took a real flyer on the very last beat to go from 3rd into the lead by the time they reached the beach marks.

Anna & Liz found the conditions well to their liking in their Vago, with Liz now trapezing they can sail the Vago very much nearer its potential, especially if they can also get the spinnaker flying. Well fly it did and they beat Beacky and Kelvin by over 3 minutes giving them a very handsome victory. Nick Haskins had a much better race than normal, finishing in 3rd, Sarah and Jacques in their first race in their Feva took 4th place in front of Andrew & Jenny Kendall. Paddy was flying well at times in his RS600, but the inevitable capsizes saw him retiring later in the race, leaving Brian Reeves to bring up the rear.

The afternoon produced an even larger fleet with Paddy borrowing Allan Orton’s Tasar and taking Sarah Desjonquers as his crew, giving us a total of 8 Tasars on the water. Kay & Gary also made their very first appearance in their Scorpion, to give us a fleet of 3. However they found the conditions not suitable for the set up of the boat and they retired early on in the race. A very short start line made for a very congested fleet compressed up into a tight bunch. I tried a port hander which went terribly wrong so had to sail down the line behind every body to find a slot to sail through, with us tacking in front of Dennis & Brian. Dennis was convinced that we had impeded him; we thought otherwise but decided to do turns just to prevent any unpleasantness later on, so with 7 Tasars in front of us we certainly had a lot of work to do. We managed to pass Chris & Tony, Mike & Dave and Dennis and Brian as we progressed up the first beat, but at the beach marks Paddy & Sarah rounded with quite a nice lead, with Steve & Polly and the reunited pairing of Jeremy & Suzanne and Chris & Luke Bilkey.

The 4 of them stormed down the reaches and something in that order when they reached the beach marks for the 2nd time. This is when disaster happened. The morning race had been an Olympic configuration but the afternoon course was set as triangular. I knew this as I had checked the course instructions after lunch, but the leaders clearly hadn’t and the 4 of them gybed onto port set their whisker poles and aimed for the leeward mark, straight towards us sailing hard on the starboard tack. A collision looked decidedly possible and with much hailing we held our course, to allow the port running boats to manoeuvre out of our way. Unfortunately Steve and ourselves were still on a collision course, suddenly it was obvious that we almost too close to miss each other and a desperate change of course was called for, but too late and with a tremendous crash we collided, resulting in Steve & Polly capsizing on top of us. We managed to extricate ourselves from the fracas, rounded the beach marks and set off on the reach to take us to the gybe mark. I was rather concerned that we had holed our Tasar and asked Ken to open one of the front inspection hatches to check for any damage. Fortunately there was no daylight to be seen nor water inside the boat could be seen so we sailed on, rather shaken and stirred, a collision is the last thing you want to happen, especially when damage occurs.

The safety boat rushed over to the leading Tasars to tell them they were sailing the wrong course, in enough time for them to gybe back and reach in very quickly to the gybe mark, but we had closed the gap a little, which was all to the good for us. Meanwhile Steve & Polly had righted their boat and continued the race but later retired when their main halyard broke. We worked up to 3rd and then were presented with 2nd place when Paddy slipped inside their boat, lost control and it capsized on top of them. Meanwhile Jeremy & Suzanne did a horizon job on the rest of us, finishing well ahead. To salvage a 2nd after such a torrid race was quite rewarding, especially with no discerning damage. Mike & Dave have certainly found a good turn of speed in Mike’s new Tasar and is proving to be quite competitive, and only a short distance behind us.

Nigel was back in the driving seat with James crewing for the afternoon race and their Feva really showed its paces, with the spinnaker reaches allowing then to show an amazing amount of speed for such a small boat. They were only a few seconds behind Beacky at the end. Their 4th position finish on the water was converted into a 2 & ½ minute win over the next boat which was the much faster boat of Anna & Liz. I think both of the 2 remaining Scorpions capsized at times in the race, which didn’t help their cause, but still managed to finish, with Beacky & Kelvin in 4th place, and the Kendalls a few minutes further adrift in 5th. Janet & Pete Barnes had another good race to slot into 3rd.

The horrible collision between Steve fortunately didn’t show too much damage. Steve’s boat came of the worst with a crack in the gel coat, which is repairable. I think we were lucky as the impact on our bow was probably in the strongest position on the gunwale, otherwise I could have been spending the week with filler and gel coat to try and restore the boat to its former glory.

July 20th
James preparing the Feva
Yet another drab and wet day, which is highly indicative of another Cornish summer, greeted us when we came down to the Club last night for the weekly Wednesday race. Now after making the headlines last week in the Guardian when I proclaimed that there would be ample wind to race, though there appeared not to be any, I almost made a complete fool of myself as this week as I was very doubtful whether we would have any wind at all. The very light onshore breeze in the yard was completely wiped out when a walk down to the beach showed complete calm. Strangely enough the burgees on boats in the dinghy park were constantly changing in direction which was a clue that the wind was going to appear and settle down. Indeed it did come; it swung around 180 degrees and came from the North West. Perfect, but we were quite a way out towards the beach marks before it settled enough to give us a very pleasant north westerly breeze. 16 boats in all launched, under the watchful eyes of Brians Reeves and Phillips (sorry about the grammar!!). There was no port bias on the line, which ensured that there would be congestion at the pin end. A highly competitive Tasar fleet jostled with the RS400 of Steve & Nigel all vying for the edge. In the event the 3 Tasars of Jeremy & Suzanne, Ken & I and Steve & Polly, making a rare Wednesday appearance, arrived at the windward mark within 5 seconds of each other. Mike Voyzey and Dave Saunders, proved that buying a better Tasar gave them a much needed boost in speed, were not far behind.

Jeremy & Suzanne, pulled away slowly from us, Steve & Polly took a wrong turn on the 2nd beat and fell back a little, which left us a comfortable 2nd for a while. In fact we sailed into the lead for a while when the Hawkins rudder came off, but unfortunately Jeremy managed to re secure it too quickly for my liking and were back up with us again and in front by the end of the next beat. Steve seemed to get a mega lift on the penultimate beat and closed the distance to us to only a few boat lengths and then took more out of us on the following reaches. Lady luck or Dr Nick then entered the equation. Steve had sailed lower for speed, whereas we being windward boat sailed higher. All was going according to plan until we came right up behind Dr Nick, which immediately started to affect our speed so we had no option but to tack away onto the unfavourable tack which ultimately let Steve sail through us to take 2nd place.

The breeze that started off so light slowly increased in speed and caused quite a few capsizes in the handicap fleet. Steve Wingrove chose the beach marks to do one of his 2 capsizes and it tool him a while to get the boat up again, but was in full view of the race box. Paddy Seyler, was doing really well in his RS600 in the lighter breeze but 3 capsizes plummeted him down the fleet on eventual results. Steve’s RS400 was the fastest boat out on the water, but he failed to get in front of any of the Tasars, the reaches weren’t good enough for him to get the best speed out of the boat on the spinnaker legs. The 2nd reach in particular was too broad and he had to sail a much greater distance, which was too much to make up on Tasars that were planning. Mother and Daughter, Jenny & Sarah Kendall took the family Scorpion out and demoted Andrew to the Club Laser, but he got his own back by beating them.

Janet & Pete Barnes added another win to their tally, beating Beacky & Kelvin’s Scorpion into 2nd place by 2 minutes on the water but still took them by about 30 seconds when the handicap times had been sorted out. Steve & Nigel managed 3rd place, with 2 minutes in hand before the Blaze of Steve Wingrove, who despite his 2 capsizes still managed to beat Dr Nick, who was first of the 4 Lasers. In fact only 3 seconds separated Andrew Kendall and Dave Mackrell so they had a very close race. James Dowrick took the other Club Pico out and managed to sail it into 8th place ahead of Clive Stephens and Paddy

The ultra light conditions at the start of the evening tempted Finn Hawkins out in a Club Pico and all was going well until the wind freshened, capsizing him and leaving him sitting on the upturned hull until the safety boat towed him back to the beach. Still it was terrific going for an 8 year old boy and it shows great promise for the future.

Allan & Stacey are away at Weymouth this week, sailing in the Contender Worlds. Out of the first 4 races, Stacey has managed a 3rd and a 4th, which is particularly good going, when you see the quality of the fleet they are sailing in. Allan is only a little way behind him on the leadership board so the pair of them must be very pleased as to how things are going.

The night before, saw the Capsize Club out in force, with 8 boats sailing in the very pleasant westerly breeze. The Capsize Club is a very good name as most of the youngsters seem to take great pleasure in capsizing their boats, if only for a swim and to see who can right their boat the quickest.

Chris Bilkey took lots of pictures of the B14s and the picture top left was taken on the 2nd day. I particularly like it as it shows great differences in 2 completely different technologies.

July 17th
James preparing the Feva
My weekend didn’t go too badly, though the wet & windy weather of Saturday didn’t bode well for Sunday, so I wasn’t expecting to sail. It took a further downturn in the evening, as Sue & I were in bed, reading - we have been married for almost 40 years - when Sue suddenly let out a sort of shriek, which frightened the life out of me. I really thought that she had had a turn and quickly asked her what was wrong. She said in quite a frightened voice “There’s a bat in the room” Sure enough, I looked up and saw a bat flying around the bedroom. I must admit it gave me quite a fright too. Anyway within a short time it landed on a radiator. It had flown in through the window and round the curtains and was doing circuits of the room before it eventually settled. We managed to catch it and release it back into the night without too much trouble. Needless to say the window was closed to prevent any further invasions. We do have a colony of bats, both in the front and back of the house who seem to have taken a shine to our roof space, so we were aware of them but this was the first time that we had been paid a visit in the bedroom before.

Despite the atrocious weather forecast and obvious strong winds we did manage to sail today. Well only the brave and confident took to the water. As for me, well I wimped out. Just the sight of the bursts of wind as they dropped on the water from the cliff tops told me that trying to keep upright would be a very difficult task. Nevertheless a hardy fleet of 6 left the beach for the morning race. Beacky & Kelvin set a trapezoid course, but as the fleet started to converge out at sea for the beat inshore disaster struck 2 of the 4 Tasars. The first to get into difficulties was Dennis & Brian. At first we thought they had capsized but when viewed with a pair of binoculars it was clear that the boat was upright but missing its mast. One of the stays had snapped and down came the mast, which meant the safety boat would be out of action for over 20 minutes whilst it towed Dennis back to the beach. These are the sort of conditions that no matter how competent you are, a simple breakage can leave you needing assistance to get back to the shore. Whilst the safety boat was standing by Dennis we could see that Steve & Polly had dropped their mainsail. Actually the halyard had snapped but they managed to sail back to the shore under jib alone, though this took a long time to do. Next the Pico sailed by Matt & Finn also got into difficulties when their sail came unattached from the boom. Fortunately they managed to fix it themselves, but the safety boat was on notice to drop its tow and go to them if things deteriorated any further. Full marks go to them as their combined age is only about 22, and they handled their problem with great aplomb. So with 3 of the 6 boats afloat getting into difficulties it was an appropriate decision to abandon any hope of racing for the morning.

Quite surprisingly there was still a craving to race in the afternoon. Steve repaired his halyard, Dennis retired for the day and Andrew & Sarah, who had arrived during lunch, rigged their Scorpion with the intent to race. Off went the fleet, the wind was still very strong and gusty, but not too strong. Nigel & James in the slowest boat of the fleet, the RS Feva, caught every one cold by crossing the entire fleet at the start with a port hand flyer and was still in front of the Scorpion and Simon & Tegan’s Tasar when they reached the beach marks. With spinnaker up and flying they maintained their lead over the much faster Tasar until the 3rd reach. Andrew & Sarah never caught the Feva as they capsized the Scorpion at the first jybe mark. A further series of capsizes resulted in them retiring. Jeremy & Suzanne lead Steve & Polly after the first beat and extended their lead on the reaches, only for Steve & Polly to get quite close to them on the 2nd beat. Simon & Tegan were caught by one of the stronger gusts on the 2nd beat and over they went to drop them quite a long way behind. Again Jeremy & Suzanne pulled away on the reaches and made no mistake this time on the next beat, pulling further ahead. Steve & Polly had a problem with their jib and decided to retire but were caught by one of the vicious gusts between the shore and beach marks and capsized. The race was then shortened before disaster struck any one else.

Stacey has been sailing in the Contender Nationals at Weymouth this week and came 16th overall in a fleet of 96 boats that included several of the foreign competitors who had come early to prepare for the Contender Worlds which start on Monday, when Allan will also be racing in a fleet of almost 150 Contenders. The first 2 days of the Worlds look like being held in some very strong winds which may keep the safety boats at full stretch. I am sure that you will join me wishing them all success. Their progress can be followed via a programme called sail racer, which can be Googled, or there may be other links to the site.

July 15th
the sign greeting the B14s
Apologies to anyone who has been looking for the blog covering last Wednesdays racing, but I have been rather busy, working over the last 2 days, plus we went to the HFC on Thursday evening to see a show, so this is the first opportunity I have had to write. All in all it has been quite a hectic period for me.

I popped down to the Club on Monday morning to make sure that the green was not covered in litter from the B14s but someone had beaten me to it as it all looked in exceptionally good condition and you would have been hard pushed to realise that only 24 hours earlier it had been packed with boats and people.

It appears that once again the Membership of Porthpean has pulled off another very successful Championship, judging by the e-mails we have had plus the comments on the B14 web site forum. We were a new venue to the majority of the B14 sailors and they are already clamouring for a return to Porthpean in a few years time. Once again our Race organisation and Club hospitality has proven to be the equal and in fact better than that of any of the major Clubs. Chris Bilkey was out with his camera on the Friday when it was wild and windy and took some very good pictures, which are currently on the Club PC, but I will publish some on the site in the next week or two.

It looked quite spooky seeing the yard almost completely empty, apart from RIB2 as all the dinghies at that time were still in the field. By the time I arrived on Wednesday evening a few boats had returned and the light wind on the sea caused quite a few questions and dubious looks as whether we would have enough wind to sail. The sea wasn’t glassy but there was not a lot of wind. However the big difference was that the wind was coming from south, south west, which meant that the Club was lying in the lee. Now if the wind had been straight off the sea then I had no doubt that it would die as the evening came on but with the south westerly direction I was pretty sure that it would stay with us until we got nearer to sunset, but it did need a bit of cajoling to convince people that there was enough wind to sail and race. A very small, for a Wednesday, fleet set out, eight in number and though it wasn’t very lively there was quite enough to push us forwards and at one time there was just enough wind to get us both on the side decks, though that was a rare moment.

We only had 2 Tasars racing, 2 of the others who had arrived decided that there wasn’t enough wind for them. Our little fight was between Chris & Tony and ourselves. Chris tried a port hand start but the bias was wrong for that and they ended up passing behind most boats, but they did manage to get to the windward mark just behind Paddy in his RS600, so didn’t lose out too much. In fact the handicap fleet had a very close race, with Beacky & Kelvin coming out on top but only ½ a minute ahead on corrected time over John Hill who in turn was less than ½ minute in front of Paddy. Steve Wingrove found the lighter conditions more to his liking as he was only 4 seconds behind Paddy. Colin Wainwright struggled in the light conditions and lost touch with the leading boats finishing 2 minutes behind Steve.

Both Allan Orton & Stacey will be missing this weekend as they will be sailing at Weymouth in the Contender Worlds, where there will be in excess of 100 boats sailing. The forecast for this weekend is quite dire with plenty of rain and wind so I for one don't envy them that particular experience but I am sure they will both come home with some good experiences and hairy moments to tell of. The Worlds were to be preceded with the Nationals, so Stacey went up earlier this week to comptete in that also, wheras Allan is only doing the Worlds. Good luck to them both

July 11th
Waiting for the wind
For the 23rd time another expectant fleet rolled into Porthpean during the week to sample the delights of Porthpean bay and in particular Porthpean SC.The B14 fleet had come to expeience some very varied sailing and were not disappointed. All scheduled 10 races were sailed and a very happy and weary fleet rolled out again on Sunday evening, having held a very successful National Championships. This year we have been host to the B14 fleet, which is a delinquent son of the Tasar which for 25 years has been the majority fleet boat sailed at Porthpean. Frank Bethwaite designed the Tasar in 1976 and the B14 was designed by one of his sons, Julian in 1986. The B14 is a skiff type 14 ft dinghy, with a massive spinnaker, which gives it terrific speed downwind, with the crew sitting out on extended racks, making for a tricky balancing act for helm and crew.

Work preparing for the Nationals started for us in the early winter when a delegation from the B14 fleet visited the Club and had a meeting with our race committee, when the style of racing, dates, schedule of racing was all discussed and agreed. For Chris Hazel, this was his first Nationals as Commodore and he must have found like previous Commodores before him, including me, what a fantastic team of volunteers there is at the Club and years of experience came to the fore again. To be honest there are almost too many people to mention so I won’t mention any, but lots of people worked incredibly hard to make this a very successful event for Porthpean.

Nationals, once upon a time tended to be week long affairs which towards the end of the week could become a bit of a chore, but the trend nowadays tends to be going towards shorter, more intense affairs. The B14 fleet wanted 3 days of racing in which they planned to have 10 races in their programme. Their courses were windward, leeward, which certainly took away the problem of trying to set up accurate reaches. We had budgeted for 25 boats but actually 28 turned up to the contest, which was a bonus for us and I suppose for them too, as the sight of these high tech skiffs looked very impressive as they launched form the beach. Racing was conducted from the yacht of Dave Phyall who sailed across from Fowey each day to spend what was a very uncomfortable day on Friday moored up in the teeth of a very fresh up to 31 knots of wind when the rain and squalls blew through.

This year I was crewing in a safety boat which enabled me to view some of the racing at close quarters, together with Tony Dunn I crewed on the “Love Boat” and we had a very interesting time. The first 4 races were scheduled for Friday and the fleet assembled in a very breezy south westerly beyond the SW Water mark in very lumpy seas and it wasn’t long before boat after boat was presenting us with upturned hulls. Now two factors soon became clear; if a boat capsized on the beat then they came up without too much drama, but if they capsized with the spinnaker up then it became very much a problem, as the crews had to first pull the water soaked and now heavy sail into its bag, before trying to recover, as the weight of an entangled wet spinnaker still hoisted proved impossible to right. Tony and I found this a fact when we stood by a French B14, consisting of husband and wife, who were really struggling to right their upturned B14. Their spinnaker had become jammed, by twisting round the rigging and we managed to partly untangle it but in the rough seas it was proving to be almost impossible to free it. Eventually Tony went in to help them and endured a smack in the face from their dagger board, whilst I managed to manoeuvre the safety boat, under the mast and tried to push it upwards. The four of us eventually managed to get the boat upright and the crew managed to sail back towards the shore with their spinnaker still twisted round their stays where they could deal with the mess on the beach. I was later told that of the 28 boats sailing; only one had stayed upright. 20 knots plus in tempestuous seas created very testing sailing conditions and I was glad not to have been sailing that day. There was enough excitement that day to keep all four safety boats very, very busy and we were all quite tired when after about 6 hours on the water we eventually reached dry land. Chris Bilkey had taken his camera afloat and has some spectacular pictures, of which a selection will appear on the website soon.

Some of the bar staff
The entertainment for the evening revolved around a hog roast and although I wasn’t there I heard that it was very successful and a serious dent was made in the bar supplies. Some of our bar staff who were kept very busy over the weekend.

Saturday was another scheduled 4 race day and this time the 4 races were sailed in quite benign conditions that started in a nice south westerly breeze that slowly eased as the day went on. Our safety boats had a very easy day with no casualties to deal with, so we could spend more time watching and speculating. A curry meal was provided on Saturday evening with a disco in the Clubhouse. Now another thing that helped make these Nationals so successful was that Mrs Petherick offered those that wanted to camp, the use of the perimeter of her car park, which was gratefully received by quite a few of the competitors, which in turn helped bar sales as there was no drinking and driving problems to overcome.

Sunday was almost a non sailing day, as the assembled fleet stared over the wall at a completely glassy bay, without a breath of wind to be felt. Inevitably the postponement flag was found and the Race Officers were anxiously scanning the local weather map websites to see what was happening around the county. Just before midday the ripples of an approaching southerly wind stirred the bay and the fleet launched for the last 2 races of their Championships. Again the safety boats had an easy time spent moored up whilst we waited for the 2 races to be completed and before 3pm we were all safely back ashore. B14s were de rigged and packed away, our own safety boats were washed out, then a buffet and lively prize giving before they all left for their own sailing Clubs, hopefully with good memories of a weekend at Porthpean.

I mentioned early on how the experience of the Club members pulled together to make this a very memorable Nationals for all and feel that I should mention it again as all the work undertaken was all voluntary and any profits made are all ploughed back into the Club to keep us on a sound financial footing. No doubt we will have a party one night in the future to celebrate the success, which I am sure we will all enjoy. Next year it will be the turn of the Tasars to take centre stage and I think we will see a fleet in excess of 30 boats which will be highly competitive. The dates booked are 30th August to 2nd of September, which will make it a four day event.

July 6th
Jenny cooking bacon butties
The 22nd Nationals to be hosted by PSC are about to start. Already 5 B14 teams have arrived, with another 21 known entries still to arrive to make up a fleet of 26. This will be the fastest fleet of boats to have raced in St. Austell bay and within seconds of the start guns going there will be spray flying as these Bethwaite designed skiffs, take off as they go into skimming mode on their windward leeward courses.

The yard was cleared of all dinghies last night and last minute preparations were being undertaken to ensure that these National Championships run as smoothly as others have in the past. To make the task of hauling rescue boats and indeed some of the B14s up the slipway easier, we have managed to borrow from Jeremy a large 4 wheel drive, which I know will be hugely welcome and very helpful.

As usual there is a busy on shore social schedule as well to which all Club Members are invited to attend and join in the atmosphere. Socials include a hog roast on Friday and a Curry evening on Saturday. Both meals will be provided by professional companies, so expect really good food. Tickets are available from Kay.

The forecast for Friday is quite lively as hopefully the last remaining part of the latest weather low pressure passes over us, before leaving us with sunnier days and lighter winds for Saturday & Sunday.

The weather today turned out to be very wet at times and more importantly very windy, with gusts of over 50knots being reported further west in the County so I was quite surprised when arriving at the Club this evening that the bay looked remarkably flat with the fresh south westerly sweeping across the bay. In fact out beyond the mussel farms the sea was seething white showing that indeed it was very strong. However the quieter conditions in our sailing waters were enough to entice 8 boats out to race. It was quite obvious early on that things were going to be very lively for all when we saw Andrew & Sarah blown over only 100 M off the beach. In fact their capsize technique was well and truly put to the test when they went over quite a few times before and during the race from which they eventually retired. Racing itself was a bit of a shambles which I am sure will be sorted out in the passage of time so there is no need to expand more on that at the moment, but it did highlight some anomalies that can happen. The things that we have to endure just to be able to get Jenny to cook bacon butties are incredible.

Anyway this morning, Thursday, is looking like another miserable day and although it is set to be a training day for B14s, it is unlikely that many if any will be taking to the water, but on the bright side the bar and galley should be taking some money.

July 3rd
The yard after racing
It’s the first Sunday of July, my daughter’s birthday, and a christening for Sue & I to go to plus beautiful weather as well. Looking back at the blog I see that I managed to wear my sailing shorts in March, but have had to wait 3 long months before I could dare to wear them again. Due to the Christening I had to miss the morning race, which wasn't too bad due to the light easterly breeze, but nevertheless there were still 14 boats out racing. We even had the first of the B14 fleet who has come down a few days early so that he can practice pulling the boat up the hill after racing. The down side of this lovely spell of weather is that the breeze was coming from the south east, which inevitably puts a few waves on the beach. Well the waves weren’t too bad mainly because the breeze was so light. Now this wind direction always gives a course that I don’t particularly like as there are almost no wind shifts and I suppose the racing can just become a bit of a drag race. Kay & Gary, yet to unleash their Scorpion in the bay this season, were our safety boat crew for the day and set a well laid course, that gave a couple of nice reaches, that would have been superb if there had been enough wind to be able to plane on.

The Christening meant that I had to miss the morning race so there were only 2 Tasars out in the morning, which meant that the handicap fleet was by far the largest, but Jeremy & Steve still finished in front of them all on corrected time. Anna & Liz, proved to be the masters of the handicap fleet, finishing almost a minute and a half in front of Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion and over 4 minutes in front of Steve Coello who was first of the 5 Lasers to finish. Beacky & Kelvin still finished 4 minutes ahead of Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. If Ron & Michelle return to sailing and also Kay & Gary launch their Scorpion then we would once again be on the brink of a resurgence of Scorpion sailing that used to be the premier fleet at Porthpean in the early 60s. I do hear rumours that some olse may be considering buying a Scorpion as well.

The afternoon fleet was much larger when the 2 Contenders of Stacey & Richard, plus the first time out this series for Richard & James King, the B14 belonging to Rod Boswijk and Shaz Binney (joining in our racing) and Ken & myself in the Tasars. The beautiful weather, plus little wind persuaded me to get my sailing shorts out of the bag. This was the first time that I have managed to wear them since April 10th, almost 3 months ago. The wind was still in the south east, so there was very little scope for wind shifts. Leaving the beach for the afternoon race was rather tricky and unfortunately Richard King came to grief quit badly as his rudder can only be connected when he is in deep enough water. Before he could sail into enough depth he drifted onto the rocks and managed to cut his shin quite badly trying to get the boat off. His trip down from Plymouth became very frustrating as he hasn’t sailed for several weeks now, so today’s little episode rather spoilt his day.

The light conditions were rather frustrating for all but I suppose at the end of the day it came down more to boat speed than anything and this was just as well for Jeremy & Suzanne as after a poor start they were 3rd Tasar to reach the windward mark. Steve & Polly were fist round the mark with Ken & myself hard on their heals. There was very little difference in boat speed and almost tied together we approached the gybe mark and due to the slight surge in the wavelets, I managed to nudge the transom of Steve’s Tasar resulting in us doing a couple of turns, which also let Jeremy & Suzanne through. We did manage to catch up quite well on the next beat, arriving at the mark just in front of Jeremy, but his superior speed on the run took him past us and from there we fell slightly further behind. Jeremy eventually passed Steve on the next run and slowly drew away taking a good win.

The B14 sailed a bit of a lonely race out at the front, with only Stacey between him and the Tasars. Anna & Liz were having another very good race, using their spinnaker well to close the gap on us down wind and even managed to push the B14 into 3rd place on corrected time, though still just behind Stacey. Beacky & Kelvin made another good showing, but this time only 2 minutes in front of Andrew & Jenny. I think that Richard Armstrong found it quite frustrating as he spent quite a lot of his time battling Anna & Liz and in the end had to settle for 5th. Tim Baily had the best of the afternoon Lasers, beating Dr Nick by a minute. Paddy had another frustrating time as there was not enough wind to be able to get out on the trapeze properly, so the boat seemed to stick in the water too much.

June 29th
Capsize Club evening
This will be a strange blog as I was so rushed in getting to the Club on time for racing that I rushed out forgetting my memory stick, camera and sailing boots, not arriving until about 18.10 and I still had a fitting on the mainsheet to change. My lateness wasn’t as bad as some but more about that later. Without the memory stick I don’t have a copy of the results so that makes writing up tonight’s racing a bit more difficult.

Well hear we are, the end of June and I suppose right at the start of what should be the real summer months. We have light evenings and I suppose the air temperature is now starting to warm up and we have the B14s Nationals in only 2 weeks time, so this is a good time to advertise that we will have a work party down at the Club tonight from 18.30 for the annual field clearing exercise. Followed by a nice pint in the Clubhouse afterwards, so please come down and lend a hand.

Sue & I went to a wedding this afternoon and I thought that I would be back home with plenty of time in hand for my preparations, but typically everything lasted longer than I had anticipated. The ironical thing was that I had plenty of time in the morning to have had everything packed and ready to go. So without the results at hand then it will be difficult to say that much about tonight’s racing.

The picture tonight was taken on Tuesday during the Capsize Club evening. It was a beautiful evening with quite a fresh westerly breeze blowing, and we had people out sailing, windsurfing and canoeing, though numbers were slightly down on some of the previous weeks.

I wasn’t the only one late this evening, the latest to arrive and may have cost him the race was Jeremy. Quite a good fleet of 17 boats sailed out towards the starting area in the light westerly breeze that we had. Nigel & Steve Coello were running the Safety boat tonight and intended to start on time. Very fortunately for me, Liz came to my rescue over my sailing boots. I take size 8 and just by chance her pair of boots that she wears over her drysuit are “8s”, so she very kindly lent them to me, so thanks very much Liz, it certainly saved me from the time I would have lost if I had gone home to get my own. Well we only had 2 Tasars racing, only Chris Bilkey with Colin and our selves. We reached the starting area, with others in good time though there was still a stream of boats heading out and right at the back in the distance was Jeremy & Suzanne. The 5 minute gun went before they reached the beach marks, so it seemed obvious to me that they wouldn’t get to the start line on time, and sure enough when the start gun went they were still about 2 minutes away still running with the pole up.

An early check of the line showed that the preferred start would be on starboard, so I was quite surprised when sailing down the line in the last minute to see Stacey in his Contender heading in on port. Had he spotted a sudden shift in the wind, well as it happened I don’t think so as he had to pass behind a few of us in his attempt to cross the line. Our stat was quite good, though half way up the beat it appeared that all those inside us were lifted up quite nicely, but when we tacked on the next shift we were suddenly lifted up ahead of every body, to give us a clear run in to the beach marks. Anna & Liz in their Vago weren’t very far behind and started to catch us under the extra power of their spinnaker, until the breeze freshened and off we shot on a typical Tasar plane. Chris & Colin were just behind us at the start but somehow lost their way on the beat and arrived further down the fleet.

Jeremy & Suzanne started almost 2 ½ minutes late and had a lot of catching up to do and within 2 laps had managed to clear the rest of the fleet and were closing us down, making up most of their ground on the beats. Stacey’s poor start left him a fair way behind us after the first beat but managed to overhaul us on the 3rd round and pulled away to his normal lonely position at the head of the fleet. He had actually just passed us at the end of the 2nd beat but a capsize delayed him until the start of the 3rd beat.

What seemed like very benign conditions from the shore was a bit of a misnomer as it was actually quite gusty at times out on the course and if you were lucky enough to get a good gust down wind then some fast planning was possible, equally some strong gusts on the beat made for a lot of dumping the power at times. I did notice that Paddy came to grief in the RS600 once or twice. I’m not sure if a capsize caught anyone else out, as by the time we finished the fleet was well strung out with a few of the slower boats being lapped. Anyway we still finished ahead of Jeremy & Suzanne, so not everything was lost for them. Without the results it’s difficult to comment too much on the handicap fleet but I expect Stacey probably won, though Anna & Liz kept powering on so they may have been 2nd, though Beacky’s Scorpion and Janet’s Kestrel were both going well. Andrew’s Scorpion was helmed tonight by Sarah, with Jenny crewing and Andrew relegated to the Club Laser.

June 26th
Ken & Liz with presents and cake
I think we all had good grounds this morning to moan about the weather. The reports were coming in about a heatwave in most pars of the country and also in most parts of Cornwall but at Porthpean, we just had a thick sea mist that kept the temperature down to about 14C, which was distinctly chilly for June. Admittedly there was a nice breeze coming in off the sea, but with zero visibility there could be no racing. Probably the cold wind coming in from the sea was the cause of our drab weather. Inevitably the postponement flag went up and we sat around to await an improvement. I suppose the lack of sailing was good news for those who couldn’t make it this weekend, as they haven’t lost any ground in the summer series of races which were due to start today.

In the meantime, news was fast spreading around that today is Ken’s Birthday, and to mark the occasion, Liz appeared with a large bag containing presents and a birthday cake, hence the big smile on Ken’s face on the picture above. Happy Birthday Ken.

The long awaited Cadet’s Regatta was held yesterday, and a fleet of about 17 youngsters joined in a for a day of sailing, with fun activities and some racing. Congratulations go to Adam Eastham who won both races in a Pico. In 2nd place was Matt Searle and Jamie Bilkie who by finishing 2nd in the 2nd race pipped James Dowrick and Finn Hawkins sailing in a Feva by one point. James came 2nd in the morning race but unfortunately a poor result in the 2nd race put him 1 point behind Matt & Jamie. Some of the Cadets came from Siblyback, Pentewan and Polkerris, so a good mixture of abilities made up our fleets. Boats were kindly donated by Anna & Liz, plus other boats being brought from the other Clubs. There will be a full report and pictures on the web in the next few days when I should get accounts from Liz and James.

In the meantime our waiting game for wind went on and sure enough by 11.30 the mist had lifted enough to give sufficient visibility and a light breeze, but alas we were a little too close to lunch to launch. A wise(?) decision was made to have an earlier lunch and then run 2 races back to back. With a decision made the large assembled sailing fleet settled down to eat whilst others took their boats down to the beach to give themselves more time to be able to launch and sail to the starting area. Unfortunately as we took a lunch break, so did the wind as it died away to nothing.

Frustration was spreading. There were 6 Tasars wanting to go plus 12 other handicap fleet sailors, mostly changed ready to go but without any breeze to sail with. In desperation Steve Coello, Simon and Tegan and Andrew & Sarah Kendall all launched and tried to sail out from the beach. At first progress was only possible by paddling but eventually all 3 managed to find the lightest of puffs and managed to move albeit at a snail’s pace. However the wind strength was not enough to encourage any more sailors, and by 14.30 the breeze had died away to practically nothing so the inevitable decision was made to abandon racing for the day. In the space of a week we had gone from light but pleasant conditions last Sunday to practical survival conditions on Wednesday, beautiful conditions on Saturday to a complete calm today. At least the sun did come out and then up soared the temperature, so the sun worshippers were well rewarded.

June 22nd
Midnight Express waiting to be rigged
Well there’s no doubt about it, we’re certainly experiencing the mildest winter ever. Unfortunately the date tells me that it should be summer, but the relentless, period of cold blustery winds and of late heavy rain do make it more like winter. I meant to say a few weeks ago that our water collection tanks had been mostly empty since they were installed back in March, but just one good day or night of rain, has managed to replenish them so at least in that respect we are saving some monies.

Tonight was another one of those windy days that we have grown to expect. The bay didn’t look too bad when we looked out at sea, but ominously there was quite a bit of white water between the beach marks and the mussel farms and the darker patches told of the strong gusts that were sweeping over our heads from a westerly direction before they descended onto the sea and spread out in a dastardly fashion. Despite the challenging conditions we still had a good entry of 17 boats with 5 Tasars and again that number was without quite a few regulars, so all in all a very good effort for what was the first race of the “summer” series.

Paddy & Steve Coello took charge of the safety boat and set us a starboard hand course that took us off towards Charlestown after rounding the beach marks. This reach was rather broad and necessitated the jib poles for us Tasars, but the next reach was a flat out close reach, bringing us back to what was a very hard and challenging beat, made worse by the fluctuations in both gusts and variations. Paddy was taking some video of some of the racing and I did see some of it in the Clubhouse before the laptop battery died and it all looked so peaceful, not at all the same waters that we had been sailing on. He might be putting it on “YouTube” so look for a link in the forum page. The start line had enough port bias on it to look tempting but with 2 fast Contenders out and the wind in the high teens it just wasn’t a night to risk taking on the challenge, so most of us opted for a starboard approach. The 2 Contenders of Alan and Stacey pulled clear to get to the beach marks first, and they had a good fight between them with Stacey eventually getting the upper hand and taking 1st place just 9 seconds ahead of Allan. Favourites for the night in the Tasar fleet were the heavy weight pairing of Denis and Brian, but they almost came to grief when they capsized before we even started the race. Chris Bilkey, with his repaired Tasar and new equipment took Colin with him as crew to display a good turn of upwind speed. Mike Voyzey was at the helm of his new Tasar with John Mark, former owner taking the crew’s seat, which must have felt quite strange for John, especially as he hasn’t done much sailing this year. Further back was the soon to retire with rudder problems were “local hero” Chris and Tony.

We managed a good start and lead the Tasars up the first beat to the beach marks but it was a very close thing with Chris and then Denis quite close behind. The long broad reach pulled us ahead, but the 2nd reach although thrilling was enough to allow the heavier crews to drive faster and we started the beat with them not too far behind. This was when Denis’s extra weight or my poor heavy weather technique told and by the end of the beat we were only just in front of Denis. Again we stretched away downwind only to be pulled back and overtaken upwind, again we made up and took the lead on the broad reach but just didn’t have enough fuel in the tank to hold them off upwind and Denis and Brian took the gun.

Anna & Liz had a very good first half of the race, arriving at the beach marks behind Denis but with the help of their spinnaker swept past both Chris and Denis and almost caught us up. Somehow all their good work unravelled on the subsequent beats and they fell back. Janet & Pete Barnes must have had quite a struggle at times with their Kestrel, but nevertheless sailed it into 3rd place on the handicap race, with a tired but happy Tim Baily in his Laser 4th. There’s no way I would like to sail a Laser in those conditions and he told me that he had been blown in a couple of times. It seems that most of the handicap fleet had a dip at sometime or other in the race. I think a capsize did for Beacky and Kelvin on the last beat, pushing them down to 5th.

It was a testing night for the cadets. James Dowrick took one Pico single handed and had quite a few capsizes before finally calling out enough. Likewise Luke Bilkey took Patrick Burrows out for Patricks first ever race in the other Pico and their combined weight and extra sail put them a long way in front of James and they finished 6th, a good minute in front of Brian Reeves.

Once again we were all glad to reach the calm and shelter of the beach. Incredibly the sea looked so benign from the land, and only those who had been out there battling to stay upright knew what it was really like. We will be hosting a Cadets Regatta for the first time. We are hoping to have some visitors from Polkerris and more importantly some lighter weather for them to be able to practise their sailing skills rather than their capsize skills.

I've just watched Paddy's video clips and it seems so strange as the conditions we were sailiong in were far tougher than they appear in theses videos. Maybe we are all wimps!!
Paddy's video part 1
Paddy's video part 2

June 19th
The boat park at lunchtime
Today was another day of sailing under grey skies but fortunately the grey skies didn't rain on us and the wind which was blowing old boots yesterday for once was light enough to give a very pleasant days sailing. Our lovely beach was also very quiet with not a soul braving the cloudy skies.

This Sunday was the scheduled June Cup, a 3 race series and the turn of the Tasar fleet to organise. Well we were very lucky as I had volunteers for the day. John Mark and Harry Fryer volunteered for the safety boat and Tony Dunn volunteered for the race box as Chris couldn't sail due to a family commitment. We also had the largest fleet of the season so far, and that was with 3 regulars away, so a fleet of 20 is quite achievable and should be on a more regular basis. Richard Armstrong’s outing on Wednesday certainly ticked all the right boxes for him as he has now rejoined and so I expect to see him sailing regularly ( and we haven't poached him!!) Quite honestly I think it is very difficult to replace the cut and thrust of competitive dinghy racing with the outright blasting speed of cats.

Very encouragingly, we had a fleet of 19 boats sailing in what turned out to be very interesting though quite light conditions in the morning. Yes certainly light when you look at the conditions we have sailed in over the last few weeks. The morning breeze was a nice westerly, giving us a beat in from the Ropehaven direction to the beach marks for a triangular course. The beat resembled a board of snakes and ladders. The first beat seemed to benefit those who headed more for Charlestown, whereas the 2nd beat favoured those who headed more over towards Silvermines. There was just enough strength in the wind to get 2 out hiking some of the time. The only drawback was that as the race progressed the wind was noticeably veering round from westerly to southerly, which then made the beat very one tacky.

Dennis and Steve Coello were the first to make hay on the Charlestown side, getting to the beach marks as first Tasar just behind Allan Orton in his Contender. Chris Bilkey was sailing his repaired Tasar for the first time with Colin Wainwright sitting in the crews's seat. The repairs have been carried out by Kim Furniss and Kim certainly has made an excellent job of repairing what was a gaping hole in the foredeck. Mike Voyzey and Dave were out in Mike's new Tasar and they had a very good first beat leaving us as last Tasar in the 5 boat Tasar fleet. Beacky and Kelvin and Janet & Pete Barnes had very good first beats getting to the beach marks in front of us. Ken and I had a lot of work to do to try and pull some of the distance back and we managed to make inroads on everyone in front, pulling through to eventually be 2nd Tasar behind Steve, and the 2 Contenders of Stacey & Allan. Beacky's excellent beats gave him and Kelvin a good victory, which they were hoping to carry towards another for the afternoon rcaes. Liz, sailing without Anna took 2 of our cadets out, letting them helm the Vago. Luke Bilkey took the helm for this race and finished a very creditable 5th.

The breeze moved round to a southerly direction and picked up a little for the 2nd race. The race consisted of triangle, sausage and triangle, deliberately made short to enable us to get a 3rd race in which would give everyone a discard. This time there was enough wind to get the Contenders to trapeze at times and this made all the difference to their speed. Richard was first to the windward mark, but got into irons trying to round the mark, which enabled Stacey, Steve and ourselves to sail past him whilst he sorted himself out. Again Steve edged away from us to take another win and us another 2nd. Beacky and Kelvin again sailed a good race but could only make 3rd against the Contenders. Justin & Donna raced with us this afternoon and took 3rd place Tasar ahead of Dennis & Steve. The wind was now fresh enough to give us a superb reach in to the beach marks from the gybe mark, which allowed us to make up some very welcome distance and gained us some positions.

The 3rd race was again a highly contested race, with Dennis & Steve arriving at the windward mark first, ahead of Steve & Polly, we arrived again as last Tasar. Steve managed to pass Dennis on the broad reach and we managed to overhaul Justin before taking Chris on the planing reach. Another good beat from Chris put him back in front of us but we returned the favour by passing both him and Dennis on the following run. A covering beat helped us to just stay in front of Dennis until the 2nd reach came to our rescue allowing us to pull away to finish 2nd to Steve again.

We had 4 Lasers out today and Brian Reeves proved to be the top man, finishing in front of the others in both the afternoon races. Paddy, still trying to get to grips with his RS600 finished last in the 1st race but improved his positions by 1 each time in the other 2 races. At least he is now mastering the art of capsize recovering and at times showing some great speed. Steve Wingrove is another still getting to grips with his new boat, managed to move up to mid fleet in the last race so he too is making some steady progress.

June 16th
Chris showing one of his bruises
Tuesday night was Capsize Club night and 11 boats sailed in what was just about perfect conditions for those learning to sail. The bay was very tranquil with a light offshore breeze, under a very grey sky that allowed helming for many of our beginners and as we all packed the boats away most of the younger ones went into the sea for a swim, obviously in their wet suits! The water is far too cold for real swimming just yet.

Take a look at the picture alongside. This is Chris's bruise from last Wednesday night's capsizes. Chris & Tony and a capsize before the start of the race and another when blown over on the last beat. Modesty prevents him from revealing other bruises, only exposed in the comfort of the changing rooms.

There was a very nice offshore westerly breeze blowing when we arrived at the Club on Wednesday for racing but, horrors, it started to fade away to nothing putting the racing into jeopardy. It was quite a dilemma whether to continue rigging or put the covers back on. In the event and urged on by Nigel, our safety boat cox for the night, we very wisely decided to try and get a race in. 15 boats eventually launched off the very little beach that the tide had left us to drift out to sea. Eventually by the beach marks the first glimmer that the breeze was returning appeared and by the time our belated race started there was just enough breeze to propel us all forwards, though scarcely enough meat in it to get the crews on the sidedecks also.

Tonight was the first outing for Mike Voyzey in his newly acquired Tasar (welcome back Mike) and he did get off to a very good start. We also saw the welcome return, though whether or not it is just a visit, to Richard Armstrong with his Contender. James Dowrick was missing again due to Band practice for the forthcoming Bugle Band Festival this weekend, so Lucy was the only cadet out, sailing a Club Pico.

The start line for this the last race in the Wednesday series, was surprisingly quite congested as there was not enough bias to tempt anyone to try a port hand flyer, so we all picked out spots somewhere on the line. I decided to start further down the line, hoping for pure boat speed in clear wind, but was almost undone by Chris & Tony sailing up behind us quicker than I expected. Fortunately there was just enough room to keep clear but it did mean starting further down the line than I intended. Jeremy & Suzanne made it to the beach marks first closely followed by Allan Orton in his Contender. We slotted in behind them in 3rd with Stacey in his Contender just behind in 4th. Anna & Liz, out in their Vago sailed a very good first beat and with spinnaker pulling started to close us all down. Unfortunately the closer the first 4 boats got to the gybe mark then the lighter it became and we were caught up and passed by Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion and guest Richard in his Contender. Jeremy managed to keep out of all their clutches and in clear breeze rounded first. We managed to coax enough speed out of the Tasar to sail past Beacky, Richard and Anna. The big losers on this reach were Allan & Stacey, the conditions being too light to allow the Contenders to make their usual pace. Due to the light conditions the race was shortened to finish at the end of the next beat.

Jeremy ensured his victory by covering us and Mike Voyzey managed to finish well ahead of Chris & Tony to complete the Tasar race. The light conditions really caused some upsets in the handicap fleet with Allan being the first Contender but back in 4th position, beaten by Beacky & Kelvin, who just had a few seconds in hand over Anna & Liz in 2nd and would have finished 2nd overall if the Tasars had been included in the calculations. Maybe the biggest surprise of the evening was our oldest sailor, Colin Wainwright finishing in 3rd position, one of his best races for quite a time.

Last night saw the end of the spring series, so we are already about 1/3rd through the 2011 season, how frightening, especially for some who haven't even got their boats on the water yet. We also had a party to celebrate Jeremy & Suzanne's success at winning the Tasar Nationals at Whitstable, only a couple of weeks ago, which was well attended and pictures of the evening will shortly be displayed on the Socials pages soon.

Once again the weather forecast for the forthcoming Sunday doesn't look too good, which will be the June Cup, this one run by the Tasar fleet. John Mark, now boatles has very kindly offered to help out with running the rescue boat.

June 12th
difficult launching conditions
Yet another race day lost to wet and very windy conditions, is this going to be the story of the summer? Well we're almost up to the longest day, and so far this June is heading to be almost as miserable as May. Cornwall did have 2 very hot sunny days earlier this month, but unfortunately some of us were in Whitstable, the supposed hot south east, but that weekend was also bedevilled with strong north easterly winds which in turn kept the Whitstable temperatures down.

Sue & I spent a very pleasant afternoon on Saturday at Porthpean with our 2 Grand daughters. We practically had the entire beach to ourselves, there was a light offshore breeze and the water was flat and crystal clear. Actually it was an ideal day for sailing, but there were only a few canoeists out and some pleasure craft, all in all completely different than today, when the forecasted weather swept in overnight. Driving rain complete with force 6-7 southerly winds and very poor visibility, conspired to whip up quite large waves on the beach and it didn't take long for us to make a swift decision to abandon sailing for the day. The picture alongside was taken from the Clubhouse this morning and shows how difficult it would have been to launch both safety boat and dinghies. Indeed the forecast for the rest of the week is very unsettled and it is doubtful if we will be able to sail on Tuesday for the Capsize Club nor Wednesday racing, though there is still enough time between then and now so things may change a little.

Next Sunday is the scheduled June Cup to be run by the Tasar fleet. It is unlikely that any of the fleet wants to spend the whole day on the safety boat, so we will draw lots on Wednesday to choose the first volunteers for the safety boat and then take the necessary personnel from the results of the racing for the other slots. Just in case anyone out there is quite happy to run the racing then please contact me, when I am sure the rest of the Tasar fleet will show their appreciation in the bar.

June 9th
Ken at a windswept Whitstable
I'm a little late with this blog as I have been out working again today at the Brewery, so apologies to all who have been looking for the report of last nights “pleasurable” sailing in what is becoming almost the norm for this year. In fact if this Sunday's forecast is accurate then we will be spending another day on the beach, especially with strong south easterlies forecast.

I think this season will go down as quite a windy one, as sailing this Wednesday was again a blowy night. This time we were presented with quite a gusty westerly wind, with some particular strong and variable gists near to the beach marks. It had been blowing quite hard all day and I was fully expecting to come down to participate into another none sailing night. However most of our sailors this year are becoming quite hardy and a fleet of 16 boats launched to the ministrations of Pete Pope and Brian Reeves in the safety boat. I think the last time Pete was our safety boat man we were out in equally strong conditions and we ended up having to cancel the sailing due to some of our less experienced helms getting into difficulties. Fortunately tonight there were no real casualties for the safety boat though over half the fleet succumbed to a capsize, such was the force of the gusts as they came through.

Tonight was my first time out with a new mainsheet, which isn't to be recommended in that sort of breeze, plus I have also fitted a new traveller system, so the boat felt very strange and more than once I wished that I had left well alone and stuck with something that I was more familiar with.

Stacey is now in serious Contender mode preparing for the forthcoming World Championships and dominated the evening right from the off. On the downside he had a fairly lonely race as the only other boat capable of staying with him was the RS400 of Steve Coello and Nigel, but they decided that their boat was a Tasar in disguise and diced with us in our little fleet of 4. Chris & Tony were one of the first to capsize. I don't know what happened but they were upside down some minutes before the strating sequence begun, and I think were then late to the start line and fell further back as the race progressed. On the other hand Jeremy & Suzanne,fresh from their victory at the Nationals stormed away from Dennis and us. Tonight I just couldn't get the beats right and we fell quite a bit behind Dennis and Brian on the beat only to make up a lot of lost ground on the reaches, but they were always just that bit too far ahead to be able to claw anything back on the beats.

Steve & Nigel also suffered a capsize on one of the gybe marks and lost a lot of ground to us but still recovered and finished in enough time to take 2nd in the handicap fleet, though they were almost 13 minutes behind Stacey on corrected time. Beacky & Kelvin, the only other boat, beside Stacey in the handicap fleet not to capsize became the best of the rest, just a minute behind Steve, though I wonder if they would have beaten him if they had chosen to gybe rather than wear round at the crucial gybe marks. John Hill who normally does so well on Wednesdays, fell foul of a capsize or two and ended his race back with the Lasers of Paddy & Tim Baily who finished only 6 seconds apart. I think their race became quite tactical towards the end. Andrew & Sarah in their Scorpion, Steve Wingrove in his Blaze and the youngsters James and Luke found the conditions too strong and all headed to the beach and safety without finishing the racing, which left Liz to pursue a lonely race finishing some 20 minutes behind the Lasers and Supernova.

June 8th
Tasar Prizegiving
What a stunning Nationals Jeremy & Suzanne had. Sailing in quite extreme windy conditions they sailed home on the Friday with a 2nd and then a first to lead the Championship. Jeremy told me that they should have won the first race bit for a fouled mainsheet, slowing his rounding of the last mark, which allowed the winner to round up inside him and stay ahead for the sprint to the line. They won the 2nd race despite capsizing whilst in the lead on the last run. A quick recovery maintained their lead so they finished ahead of the pack. Steve & Polly were late out for the first race but took 3rd in the 2nd race. I'm afraid to say that I chickened out of the rough conditions, not wanting to have a 2nd dose of problems after my capsize last year. One trouble with Whitstable is that the bay is quite shallow and it is quite easy to break the top section or even worse should a capsize happen. That could be seen quite easily when at least 6 boats came in with broken masts. The worse damage occurred to Neil Spacagna from Babbacombe. He returned minus crew, broken top section, bent lower section, torn jib and a broken tiller. In fact 18 boats out of the 32 boat fleet went out to race and only 7 finished, so that alone tells quite a story. The sea itself was covered in white horses, probably with wind against tide producing a very short sharp chop.

We arrived in good time on Thursday afternoon, having a good journey, we did it in 7 hours which included 2 stops. Whitstable looked very benign and the sea inviting, with a few boats out sailing on what looked like nice quiet water. There was just enough wind to get them planing downwind, so all in all the prospects looked good for the Nationals. However the locals had an eye on the forecast which wasn't very good at all. We had a look round their dinghy park, which must have held over 200 dinghies. We counted 32 Tasars that belonged to Whitstable people, but alas not many of them were to enter. In fact there were one or two others from othere Clubs missing who normally attend and I think they too may have been put off by the forecast.

Three races were scheduled for Saturday, starting at 10.00. By 9.00 most of us were rigging as the conditions didn't look too bad, but unfortunately the tractor that is used to move their rescue boats sprung a leak in the hydraulics so racing was postponed until it was repaired. Eventually the signal was given to launch and we joined the queue on the beach awaiting our turn. Once again I chickened out when I saw the problems people were having just trying to hold their boats as they were leaping about on their trollies whilst the sails were being raised. Once again some of the early launchers returned to the beach, put off by the fairly strong wind, which awaited us when clearing the shelter of the harbour, the wind was recorded at 20 knots with gusts. Jeremy & Suzanne found the conditions ideal and they took 2 firsts and a second, putting them way ahead of anyone else and providing that they didn't suffer any disasters on the Sunday gave them the Championship. Steve & Polly's hope of a good Championship finished when the clew fitting for the mainsail pulled out of the boom and they missed another race before affecting a repair. At least the sun came out, but the temperature remained low with the very strong north easterly wind which just kept on blowing, showing no signs of easing off as it normally would in the evening.

Sunday morning dawned very cloudy and still windy. Reports of 32 knots of wind round the corner towards Herne Bay, gave us an hours postponement, which was finally turned into an abandonment when the wind gave no hint of easing, which suited Jeremy & Suzanne down to the ground. So the trip to Whitstable ended in glory for the Hawkins and abject failure for us, with Steve & Polly somewhere in the middle dreaming of what could have been. There was quite a bit of speculation between us as to how well Stacey & Steve Coello could have done if they had managed to attend also. But the fact is, You have to be in it to win it, so we will never know, though I note a new suit of sails for the Worlds in September means that Stacey is going for it.

The early abandonment allowed prizegiving to be early and we were on the road home by 11.45, which was just as well as we had the prospect of a long and gruelling journey ahead. We were lucky with our excursion around London on the M25 as sometime after we had passed one of the junctions there was a very bad accident which closed the Motorway for several hours. We eventually arrived at Ken's without any holdups at 17.30 and then home for me just 35 minutes later. It was great to get back into my own bed after 3 nights sleeping in the Whitstable Clubhouse dormitory. The beds there are quite hard and sleeping is difficult with lots of noise going on outside in the street.

The Tasar Nationals are scheduled to come to Porthpean next year and there is already quite a bit of enthusiasm from many of the sailorts at Whitstable to come to Cornwall. In fact already 2 of the Torquay boats are wanting to come to Porthpean some Sundays this year to get some practice in.

June 2nd
Club house
I never intended writing a blog for last night's racing but a combination of waking and getting up early mainly due a sunny morning and to nerves about where we are going leaves me with enough time to write something. We are now into June and weatherwise it is as though someone somewhere just turned off switch. The weeks and weeks of very fresh winds seemed to have disappeared with the changing of the month, and the air temperature has also risen a bit. Does this mean that summer in Cornwall is at last about to happen? I rather hope so.

Last night was an almost perfect Porthpean sailing evening. The sun had decided to come out and we were presented with a light north westerly wind, with enough bite in it at first to be able to hike and promote some planing down wind. We had very similar conditions for the Capsize Club on Tusday night when again we had quite a few newcomers and those wanting to practice out sailing. Last night only saw 14 boats racing but they did make a very pleasant sight to anyone on the shore.

Some of us only just made it to the start, when Dennis and Brian, our safety boat crew launched earlier enough to be able to set the course and make themselves ready for the 7 pm start. In the event we all were there just in time.

For once we had quite a good start and even more pleasing was that our pointing ability seemed to have returned and helped by that we managed to tuck into 2nd position behind Allan in his Contender at the beach marks, and for once being ahead of Jeremy & Suzanne. Could we stay there was the next question and as the race went on the answer turned out to be a resounding yes. The clear wind that we had was enough to keep us onwards and upwards, and apart from me choosing a different direction to go up the 4th beat, proved to be a winning formula. Steve Coello and Nigel made a return to the Wednesday racing. Steve has at long last got all the fittings he needed to resurrect his RS400, and they made their presence felt on the 2 reaches where they made up a lot of lost ground suffered on some of the beats. John Hill in his Supernova, proved yet again that these are quite competitive boats when he easily outperformed most of the rest of the fleet to push his boat into 2nd place overall behind Allan. John's 2nd placeed time was just 1 second quicker than Steve's so extremely close racing. John's time was some 4 minutes better than Paddy in his Laser who inturn just pipped Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. It was also good to see Colin making one of his rare appearances in his Supernova, finishing ahead of several boats. Colin for once found the conditions not too arduous and enjoyed his outing.

The weather forecast for Whitstable over the weekend is quite daunting with promise of some quite strong winds. Certainly not the sort of breeze that I want but it will suit Jeremy more and possibly even Steve. What we will get is now in the lap of the Gods but the main thing is that we all come home without any damage occurring to our boats.

May 29th
Kelvin repairing the Scorpion
Luckily for me the 3rd capsize on the trot didn't happen. The main-sheet hasn't yet been changed, in fact it behaved impeccably yesterday. The conditions on the other hand especially in the morning were once again very challenging. The bay looked deceptively calm when we arrived earlier in the morning. The south westerly wind on the water looked quite benign, but the cloud-base was very low and a hint of drizzle was in the air. Nevertheless 13 boats, which is almost an average fleet for this year launched to race. Ex member Nick Egget who now sails at Restronguet joined us for a days racing, so that enticed Allan Orton to race his Contender. We had 4 Tasars out and once again Justin & Donna were out as they have completed their house moving project and now finding more time for sailing. Chris Bilkey is still missing, waiting for his Tasar to be repaired after the shock of seeing the mast disappearing into the hull via the foredeck. The ever present Kendalls were taking their turn in the safety boat, whilst Dennis took on the role of time keeper.

Launching was easy with the tide slowly making its way up the foreshore and we cruised out towards the beach marks and then we felt the true force of the wind. The forecast had given wind strength of between 14 and 20 knots and it was certainly nearer the top end once again for yet another race. The breeze had a bit more westerly in it than the last few times but it still gave a beat across the bay, but the wind at the start must have shifted round a little as the beat was a bit one sided and the reach into the beach marks was almost a beat, resulting in the reach out to the sea being very broad, which were not ideal directions for the strength of wind. The 2 Contenders with Nick leading arrived at the windward mark almost together with Jeremy & Suzanne in hot pursuit. Justin and Donna arrived there just before us but we passed them downwind which was encouraging for us. In fact our down wind speed today wasn't too bad, but I just can't get the boat to go well upwind in a fresh breeze. What was more encouraging was the fact that the main-sheet remained in it's cleat as the first reach was the identical reach where disaster befell us last Wednesday. Chris & Tony, although 4th Tasar were going very well and not too far behind us at any time.

Steve & Polly were in the Merlin today and after a poor first beat started to motor forwards through the fleet powered by their spinnaker on the very broad reach. It was a strong gust on the broad reach that finally accounted for them and gave Steve 2 capsizes in successive races as well. Their capsize this time was under spinnaker and it took them quite a long time to recover the boat and they subsequently retired. Steve Wingrove, fresh from the Wednesday race without a capsize was back in the drink again as he was blown over on more than one occasion before eventually retiring. Allan managed to pass Nick and went on to beat him by just over ½ a minute. Beacky & Kelvin, sailed into 3rd without any breakages or mishaps, so the repair going on in the picture must have worked ok. Paddy was the only other survivor to finish, whilst Dr Nick & Colin joined the others in heading for the beach without completing the race.

The conditions for the afternoon looked to be very similar, so I switched sails to an older suit as the good ones were not doing themselves any good the way they were flogging at times going up the beat. Well typically the wind whilst looking just as forboding as the morning had decided to ease somewhat and had moved far enough round to the west to allow the course to be adjusted accordingly. For once we had a good start and ½ way up the beat were well ahead of the other Tasars when Jeremy pulled a rabbit out of the hat and found a mega windshift that swept him and Suzanne into the lead. Fortunately our down wind speed kept us in touch and the beats became a tactical battle field with sometimes us gaining and sometimes losing, though we fell back too much on the last beat giving away 20 seconds. The harsh conditions of the morning had proved too much for Donna and they retired halfway through the race, lifting Chris and Tony up to 3rd. Allan had a better race over Nick, beating him by almost 3 minutes. Steve & Polly had a more uneventful race, which could have been better but for a poor first beat. Dr Nick decided not to race the afternoon race, so lent his Laser to Nigel who never normally sails one, managed to beat Paddy by 2 minutes.

Today was the last race in May. May this year weatherwise has been a very poor month. The fine weather in April had given us a taste for the good things of summer, but this year we are going to have to wait a bit longer for the real summer weather to come along. It's the late May bank holiday as I'm writing this and its raining outside, but I think it is about to change and we may be heading for some sunnier days. My long term thoughts are looking at the weather for next weekend when Steve & Polly, Jeremy & Suzanne and Ken and I will be sailing at Whitstable, some 300 miles to the east. We will be setting off on Thursday morning so I don't think that there will be any blog on Wednesday, though I will try and post Wednesday's results, before I go.

May 25th
Simon returning, note the swirling wind behind him
I know quite a few people will be interested in reading this Blog to find out how I managed to capsize 2 nights on the trot!! Almost unbelievable but there seems to be a first for everything. Let's start with Tuesday, Capsize Club Night (how appropriate). We had a very good turnout with 10 boats cruising around the bay in what where almost ideal conditions. For once this month we had a nice weather for the evening. Blue skies, a very flat sea, making for easy launching and recovery and a very pleasant westerly breeze, which kept all the boats swinging along very nicely. I took newcomer Patrick out with me and he appeared very impressed with how easily a Tasar cut through the water and with the apparent speed it made. After about ½ hr sailing around the safety boat came over to me to transfer someone else into the boat, but I wanted to sail to the beach marks as we were on a nice reaching course. We were quite a way out to sea and the wind was much fresher there, but the boat was easily controllable. With that the safety boat accelerated away from us quite hard to go and investigate an upturned Pico. We planed through the choppy wake thrown up from the safety boat, with both of us hiking. The next thing, the main sheet flew out of the cleat, the mainsail spilled all its power, we sat in the water and couldn't crawl back into the cockpit quickly enough. The jib was still cleated and once the wind hit the leeward side, pushed the bow round and in we went. My first thought, took me back to last July when Ken & I had a very nasty capsize that took us a while to right, with the result that I ended up in hospital. I didn't want that happening again. My 2nd thought involved a gasp as I realised how cold the water is still at this time of the year. In 2 words VERY COLD. Anyway no harm was done and we recovered the boat very quickly with Patrick doing most of the work. I think it was all great fun to him as it is to the majority of youngsters and indeed when you are learning, probably quite a common occurrence. Fortunately it hasn't put him off and he will be back next Tuesday for more.

Onto Wednesday's racing, which when I was at home didn't look as if it would take place. The trees on the college bank where moving quite viciously which usually indicates strong winds. A quick look on the web at Polruan weather station showed winds in excess of 25 knots, but by the time I got down to the Club the bay looked a lot calmer, so much so that there was no doubt that racing would take place. However, judging by some of the darker patches on the water I think we all new that it would be quite challenging at times and more boats initially rigged than launched.

10 boats ventured out to the start line towards the beacon with a beat across the bay towards Blackhead. Chris & Tony, on rescue boat duty set a very good course, which gave us a pair of good reaches, plus the long hard beat. Very encouragingly we had 5 Tasars out and I think we all had a reasonable start. Jeremy and Suzanne & Allan & Beacky prospered the best up the first beat, with Jeremy leading Allan at the mark and with much better downwind speed, increased their lead and in fact continued to stretch away from the rest of us for the entire race. Allan appeared to have a nice lead over Stacey & Steve, but fell behind them on the 2nd beat, which left Dennis with Brian and Ken & myself bringing up the rear. In fact we were last to the first mark, but in a game of snakes and ladders we managed to pass Dennis on the reaches, only to be overtaken by them again on the beats. Fortunately we managed to reverse that trend on what may have been the 4th beat when we got the better of some shifts up by the windward mark and pulled well clear of them. It looked by this time that all the positions were decided, looking at the gaps between us all, but for Ken & me disaster happened on the very last reach to the beach marks. In a fairly long and sustained gust we were flying along. In fact we even commented as to how good this particular reach was going when deja vu, there was quite a loud bang, as the main sheet broke clear from it's cleat and the mainsail flew away taking all the power with it, leaving Ken & me literally laying in the water, desperately trying to climb back in before gravity finally took over and the boat toppled over on top of us. Yes, yes another gasp, golly the water is certainly cold at this time of year! My first thought was to check where Dennis was, which was just rounding the windward mark, still a good 300M or more away. It was now more a matter of time whether we could right the boat and be on our way before he reached us. Well we ran out of time. The Tasar sometimes is a struggle to right, especially when it turtles which is nearly always. Anyway by the time it was upright Dennis was in front and our hard fought for 4th place had disappeared.

Jeremy & Suzanne are proving to be the star acts this year and must be looking at a top 5 finish at the Tasar Nationals at Whitstable which are only a week away now. My mainsheet is proving to be a problem that needs resolving. Coming off once is annoying but acceptable, but twice in 2 nights is not acceptable and will be replaced within the next few days. Whether it is a trip to Langdons, though his choice of rope is not so good or instead I may elect to pick up a new one from Signal Locker at the Tasar Nationals.

It was so hectic and frantic last night that I didn't have time to see what was happening with the handicap fleet, which comprised 3 Lasers, Sarah & Andrew in their Scorpion and Steve in his Blaze. I know Sarah & Andrew suffered a capsize, not long after we launched but don't know if they suffered the same whilst racing, but they did finish splitting the Lasers of Paddy, who won and Brian Reeves. Dr Nick and Steve both retiring due to the heavy conditions. A quick mention for Paddy as he took his RS600 out on Tuesday for some good practice. I did see him out on the trapeze at one time as he was flying along and he only suffered one capsize which he recovered from. He told me he has been studying the videos showing recovery techniques.

We did have a few youngsters who were going to race, but wisdom won through and they eventually launched and had a sail around without venturing too far out into the main force of the wind.

We are almost ¼ of the way through the season now and overall it is proving to be one of extremes. We have lost a few races through no wind but equally we have lost races due to too much wind, but the majority of races that have been held have been in quite fresh conditions. The month of May itself in Cornwall has been very poor and the immediate weather forecast shows no improvement over the next 5 days, which is a great disappointment when the south east of the country has been experiencing some very pleasant weather. We also have had the luxury of not having the beach division lines being laid yet, but with Bank Holiday next Monday they could be laid imminently, so that will be another obstacle for us to manoeuvre around. Even more strangely for the first time that I can remember in many years is that we haven't suffered great mounds of sea weed cluttering up the beach, probably because we haven't had that many easterly winds, that we tend to get in the early weeks of the season.

May 22nd
Simon returning, note the swirling wind behind him
May is proving a very windy month for sailing and today was no exception. In fact the wind today was well into the top end of 20 plus knots with some wicked gusts spiralling out into the bay. Maybe the carnage of breakages and many capsizes the week before in what was obviously a lot less wind than today helped make up most people's minds, so it was no surprise when we decided to abandon for the day. However both Simon and Padyy decided to take their Lasers out for a play, whilst the rest of us looked on in anticipation of some thrills and spills.

Launching from the beach was quite an easy affair as the tide was just below the slip and so they were both in a very sheltered location as they made final preparations for their voyage. They both sailed out in what appeared very docile conditions until about 100M out the wind finally discovered them and off they went on a very wild and exhilarating ride. However it wasn't too long before both capitulated to the inevitable and their steeds capsized. Simon managed to avoid the ducking but Paddy faired a little worse and experienced a full immersion. At least they managed to hold the attention of us brave souls watching on, until they both safely made it back to dry land. Well it wasn't that dry as the odd shower tried to get in on the act as well, but fortunately didn't come to much.

Unfortunately the forecast for the next 5 days promises unsettled weather so at this stage both Tuesday evening for the Capsize Club and Wednesday evening's racing looks rather dodgy at the moment. The conditions through May, have been tough at times. Our weather has been quite poor compared the the south east of the country, it seems like quite a long time ago since we had some nice warm sunny days and I think it is about time the weather pattern changed to give us some of the warmth and sun that they have had. The strong winds however have given us some very exciting racing when we have managed to get out, but I think they have been partly responsible for some of our poor turnouts.

May 19th
Steve on song
I'm afraid that this is a rather a delayed blog this time as I am working for a living again this week, in St. Austell Brewery, and I have to be up at 6 o'clock for a 7 o'clock start. Fortunately we have lighter mornings now so it isn't too bad.

We had a lovely flat bay to play with last night, helped by a force 2 -3 offshore westerly breeze, but again a disappointing low turn out to what proved ideal sailing conditions. The sun even made its presence felt which allowed us to do at least 5 beats to stretch our legs. The tide was right up to the slip so launching demanded a bit of queuing. Mike & Dave launched first to check the wind and lay the course. Jenny March is still away on her holidays and so we had Stewart Page making one of his rare appearances controlling the race box.

It was good to see a couple of our younger members out racing with us. James Dowrick took one of the Club Picos and Luke Bilkey took out his Topper. Although James was soundly beaten, his consistency is paying off as he lies 3rd overall in the handicap series. It was also a red letter day for Steve Wingrove as he completed his first race in the Blaze without suffering a capsize. This was well rewarded when he came 2nd overall to a fast moving Paddy Seyler who took first place. Allan Orton still leads the series but he has a slight problem as his Contender was badly damaged last weekend when he was hit by another boat. He now awaits repair work from possibly Kim Furniss, so may be out of action for a few weeks. Fortunately for Allan he still has a Tasar and teamed up with Beacky to give us a pasting.

The start line was quite congested and I contrived to get us another poor start, this time pushing up to avoid Paddy's Laser, so we had no option but to reach off down the line and gybe round to come in behind the majority of the fleet. Allan was first to the windward mark with Jeremy & Suzanne close behind. Things were looking good for the Hawkins when their superior off wind speed took them clear on the 2nd reach and looked to be pulling away on the next leg but the 3rd beat proved their undoing when Allan went up the beat via a different route. When they converged at the end of the beat Allan was just through into the lead. I expected that Jeremy would prove faster down wind on the reaches but not this time. Allan kept his lead and covered Jeremy up the beats, pulling away each time for the next 2 rounds to claim the victory. We tried in vain to catch the front pair up but seemed to lose out on each round. Our boat speed just not quite fast enough.

May 15th
A very sorry looking Tasar
We're still in a run of quite fresh westerly winds and as we drove down to the Club today we were made aware of how strong it would be by the way the trees alongside Porthpean road were bending over quite visibly with the strength of the wind. Nevertheless it seemed a lot more sheltered down at the Club and appeared light enough that 14 boats left the beach to do battle. Jeremy & Suzanne were our safety boat drivers for the day and I am sure that Jeremy felt quite frustrated that they weren't actually sailing, but they were kept very busy with towing in broken boats from both races.

Steve Wingrove back from his holidays was keen to get to grips with his new Blaze, but once again found himself and also others, upside down more than once as some quite viscous gusts swept out from the shore into the bay. The gusts did create some fantastic bursts of speed as we were all planing flat out at times. The start line for the first race was quite chaotic as a huge windshift just before the start made starting on starboard almost impossible. Ken & I couldn't lay the line and ended up gybing round to come in behind Steve & Polly's Tasar and the Lasers of Simon Pryce and Paddy Seyler. We actually had 6 Tasars out today, with Justin & Donna making their first appearance sailing together for the season. John Mark with guest crew Mike Voyzey also made his first appearance of the year. Chris and Luke Bilkey were also out determined to get the most out of their new sails The 2 Scorpions of Beacky / Kelvin and Andrew / Jenny Kendall were lined up to race against each other as also the Lasers of Simon & Paddy.

Steve & Polly had the best of the first beat, and in fact every beat but we always pulled them back down wind but were unable to overtake, so we finished in that order. The Kendalls were quite a way ahead of Beacky's boat but a capsize on the run did for them, leaving Beacky and Kelvin to take their win, though they had to settle for 3rd overall behind the 2 Lasers. Simon proving the winner here, which he put down to his fitness.

The most dramatic incident happened to Chris & Luke Bilkey in their Tasar. The mast pin broke, which usually results in the mast falling down and mostly just means collecting all the bits and pieces and being towed home. However this time things turned quite nasty for Chris when the mast actually jumped off the broken pin plate and went straight through the deck, leaving a nasty hole which will require some major surgery before he can sail again. (Picture above)

The breeze if anything became a tad stronger for the afternoon race when a much reduced fleet of 9 boats sailed out into the bay. Once again the conditions proved too much for Steve Wingrove and a capsize before the start ended his racing for the day. Steve and Polly again were quickest up the beat and once again we pulled them back a bit downwind, but disaster struck them right at the end of the 3rd beat. We had for once closed them right down and they tacked just in front of us at the first beach mark. Unbelievably a sudden gust caught them and tipped them in, what a stroke of luck for us, but the conditions were far from easy and nothing could be taken for granted. There plenty of gusts swirling around ready to tip the unwary in if they were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. We very gratefully sailed past the upturned Tasar and were on the 2nd reach before the upright position was restored. We had made enough distance that only a capsize for us would have allowed Steve to catch us, but Steve's problems worsened when his mast pin also sheared off, but he had enough time to be able to get the sails down before the mast went overboard and he became another casualty for the safety boat. Chris & Tony had already passed Steve whilst he was upside down but were relieved when they saw the mast come down and the safety boat take the tow as it ensured that they recorded another 2nd place. The tables for the 2 Scorpions were turned this afternoon when it was the turn of Beacky and Kelvin to practise capsize drill twice when extra strong gusts caught them out, once with the spinnaker hoisted. Simon once again proved the fitter of the 2 Lasers beating Paddy again this btime by some 4 minutes.

I think we were all relieved when the race was actually shortened as we all taking a battering in one form or another and it was amazing how quiet and peaceful it was as we actually landed on the beach. It looked very deceptive as we looked back to the race course but we all knew how strong the breeze actually was. I looked at the wind strength data on the Polruan weather station web page for the afternoon and it was in the 20-22 knot wind range for the race duration and I have no doubt that we were getting those sort of conditions. So all in all a very hard day's sailing, very rewarding for some and quite frustrating for others.

May 11th
Clive@s Laser ready to go
Well first I must apologise to the Council about the comments I made over the new junction at the end of Porthpean Road. Last night was the first time that I have used it and it appears to be fine. YOU can on exit either turn right or go across the main road and not have to go down to the ASDA roundabout, which was what my gripe was about. The new traffic light controlled exit makes it a lot safer to use than the previous layout and I think it will be a benefit to us all, especially when we try to get out across the road on a busy Saturday or Sunday.

The Capsize Club had another outing last night. The exceptionally strong south easterly winds over the last few days had eventually moderated and veered more to the south west which allowed a few boats and the youngsters to take to the water again. We are still short of helpers, so just please turn up with your kit and then lend a hand where needed.

After a 3 week break due to inclement weather our Wednesday night racing resumed last night and it was very satisfying to see 14 boats out racing and for Clive Stephens it was his first outing of the season, hence a picture of his Laser sitting rigged on the green.

I think we were all quite surprised last night as we all seemed to be finishing together, as the Tasars had lapped several of the slower handicap boats but it turned out that Nigel, sitting in the OOD box had decided to record the race as an average lap race. Fortunately the software programme that we use for the results allows for this sort of finish and makes the maths very easy. Allan Orton in his Contender continues on his winning ways, beating the 2nd place boat, Jan & Pete's Kestrel by some 8 minutes on corrected time despite having a problem near the beach marks. Jan & Pete were in turn about a minute ahead of John Hill in his Supernova, with Paddy Seyler settling for 4th in his Laser. Paddy was out on Tuesday for his first sail in his newly acquired RS600. A capsize not far from the beach lead to all sorts of problems for Paddy trying to get back into the boat. I think that this is a beast that will take some taming. It certainly isn't as easy as it looks and there will be quite a few more capsizes to come no doubt.

Brian Reeves would have come higher in the results but a 720 penalty at the start cost him time and distance. The start line was quite congested as the majority of the fleet wanted to start by the pin. The wind was offshore and we could have had either a port handed course or starboard, but Beacky & Kelvin, our safety boat drivers for the night opted for the starboard handed course. The wind was quite gusty in places but didn't seem to move round too much, but the configuration meant that the first reach was rather broad, resulting in the Tasars having to use their jib poles on that leg before gybing onto a close reach to be able to plane back to the start of the beat. Stacey was first Tasar up the first beat but was overhauled on the first reach by Jeremy and Suzanne who then departed on a horizon job, winning by a minute and 20 seconds, which was good enough to beat Allan on corrected time should we have all been racing together. Another poor start from me saw us trailing in 3rd position at the end of the beat, but we did have the satisfaction of pulling right up alongside Stacey & Steve at the end of the penultimate beat, but they held us off on the reaches and we couldn't catch them on the last beat. Chris had spent most of the day filling in little gel coat dings in his boat but he and Tony struggled a little in the winds, losing out quite a bit on the reaches when the lighter ones amongst us were planning away.

Whilst we were sailing a yacht had sailed into the bay and eventually moored up just off the beach. The lone sailor then came ashore to pay us a visit, where he conveniently found the bar open and the smell of grilling bacon. Although Jenny March is away on holiday, her sterling work has been done by some excellent volunteers and tonight we found bot Kay and Jenny Kendall preparing the butties. The lone sailor is called John and he has visited several times before. He had sailed up from Penzance over the day, he was mooring off Porthpean for the night and today is heading up to Plymouth, with the intention of getting to Salcombe for the weekend. He was telling me that our cove of Porthpean is his favourite spot on the south coast and always loves sailing in our bay.

There was another strange face in the Clubhouse last night and he was a stranger to us all apart from John Hill, he was in fact Kevin Nolan, a former member of the Club in the late 50s and early 60s before leaving to become a doctor. He and John were cadets at that time, Kevin now lives in Vancouver, Canada and is over on a holiday staying with his Sister who lives in Gorran. Kevin used to own a Merlin Rocket and I think it can be seen on the “Early days at Porthpean” CD which many of you will have seen. I think that there is also a picture of it on one of the older blogs but not sure which year I posted it. Kevin was amazed and impressed with the Clubhouse, I think he was a member when the Clubhouse was originally built but it has changed enormously since those days, with its layout and extension and general all round improvements.

There was a Committee meeting last Monday and I believe that the date of the annual dinner dance was arranged to be January 14th 2012 to be held at the Bosun's Diner. Full details regarding menus and prices will be publicised nearer the time. It also looks certain that we will be hosting a 4 day Nationals for the Tasar fleet next year right at the end of August and beginning of September. This will be the 5th time that the Tasar fleet has come to Porthpean. The last time they came here was in 2001 so it will be good to see a large fleet of Tasars mixing with our own in the Bay.

May 8th
Weed infested beach
Oh dear, another Sunday without sailing, plus no sailing on the last 3 Wednesdays. We are getting just a little depressed. The weather men unfortunately were spot on once again when they forecasted strong southerly winds for today as that is just what we got. The picture of the sea alongside may not look very rough, but if you look carefully then you will see quite a lot of white water being blown off the top of the waves. It was strong enough for everyone who turned up to realise that we wouldn’t be sailing at Porthpean today.

Now for the good news; the weather is set to improve and by the time Wednesday comes along we should be in a nice Westerly air flow, which will warm us up a little but more importantly, flatten the sea down and hopefully encourage a good turn out.

I know that I have been dismayed a little at our smaller than normal turnouts but looking at other local sailing club web sites, I notice that most of them are having quite low turnouts as well. Most surprising to me is the low turnouts at Restronguet, which must be the biggest dinghy sailing club in Cornwall. I haven’t looked at them all but if Restronguet and our turnouts are low then I guess many other sailing clubs are worryingly low also.

Over the last 12 weeks or so we have had major roadworks at the end of Porthpean Road where it joins the Bypass where a new set of traffic lights have been installed. It is only over the last week when the road marking have gone down that it appears that there will be no right turn for anyone leaving Porthpean Road nor will it be possible to cross the Bypass to head towards Mount Charles. Instead, all traffic leaving Porthpean Road will have to turn left and negotiate the often very busy Asda roundabout. To me this seems a ludicrous situation. Surely the installation of traffic lights should allow traffic exiting Porthpean to be able to turn left or right or go straight ahead. In fact there is so much land available there that the Council could have constructed a roundabout, which may have allowed traffic to flow much more smoothly and maybe far cheaper than the junction that they have now created. I have noticed that the new system has been heavily criticised in the local press and now seeing first hand what is proposed, I can most heartily agree with the critics. Time will tell as to how much of an impact it will have but I can see many cars etc turning right at Duporth and travelling up through Charlestown to use the Penrice roundabout, which in turn will increase the traffic flow through that village.

Back to the sailing front; we were having a general chat about suitable boats for Porthpean last Wednesday and Paddy who is looking for a more exciting challenge than his Laser became quite excited about an RS600, especially when he heard that Ian Marshall who sailed with us many years ago had one and did so well in our race results. Well since Wednesday, Paddy has gone out and bought one and RS600 sail No722 will soon be gracing the waters of Porthpean, where we expect him to sample the water in more detail until he learns how to master the boat. Hopefully the forecast of some lighter winds to come will prove ideal for Paddy to get to grips with the boat.

May 4th
Weed infested beach
May the 4th be with you!

Yet again we have lost another Wednesday race. Tonight’s was the 3rd in succession and this time cancelled due to the still lively south easterly which has been blowing since the weekend. To compound matters we are also in the grips of the annual weed invasion, which is now starting to cover the beach, as shown on the accompanying picture. The weed is brought in by each successive tide and will be left at the top of the beach until we get either a spring high tide with an offshore wind or the council come down and take it away. Launching and recovery would have been difficult also as there is very little beach available to get the boats onto. The wind itself last night felt very cold, a far cry from a week earlier when we were experiencing quite balmy weather. It seems a bit of a shame as it is only Cornwall that is suffering this sort of weather at the moment.

Jenny is away on her holiday at the moment but Janet was down and it wasn’t too long before she had the grill on and the smell of cooking bacon filed the Club house. The bacon butties augmented the pints of lager / beer and wine for the posh ones. I’m not too thrilled with the forecast for the weekend either as at this moment in time they still forecast strong southerlies, which will keep the waves active and keep the weed pilling onto the beach. The poor weather conditions caused us to cancel the Capsize Club on Tuesday, but hopefully we will be back to normal by next week.

I sent in a report of the Tasar Open to the Yachts & Yachting accompanied with some of the pictures taken by Chris Bilkey. The report was published and Y&Y even show on their front page the shot of Stacey sailing out through the waves. They have a series of pictures that come up at random when you log on so only appears sometimes. The picture shows that the Tasar is still one of the nicest looking dinghies despite its age it looks quite spectacular.

May 1st
Stacey & Steve
Oh what a frustrating sport sailing can be unless your name happens to be Ainslie, Goodison, Craig or Gilbert. as once again the weather Gods took their toys away and left us feeling rather frustrated.. The annual Tasar Open was sailed this weekend and over the past few years we have had some very good sailing and some excellent weather, which as anyone knows can be quite iffy in April. This year we have been blessed with fantastic weather for almost the whole of April, which has produced some excellent racing at Porthpean, but like all good things it eventually came to an end. This weekend, unfortunately, was the time for it to end. The 5 day forecast issued last Wednesday forecasted some quite dire weather for the forthcoming weekend, our Open meeting, so we waited with quite a lot of trepidation to see what we would actually get. Unfortunately for once the Weather Men were almost spot on with their forecast, with a fresh easterly wind, which always causes us problems with a surf building on the beach. However Saturday wasn’t quite as bad and the wind was probably a bit lighter than forecasted and so the 13 boat fleet, including 5 visitors, from as far away as Torquay, Clevedon and Llangorse, launched for what should have been 3, 45 minute races on a “q” shaped course. 12 of the 13 made it to the start line on time for the first race. The exception was Steve & Polly who were last to leave the beach and managed to get swamped as they tried to sail through the surf. By the time they managed to empty the boat the fleet were well on their way round the course.

Chris & Tony
Allan Orton, crewed by Paddy Seyler was 1st to the windward mark and they managed to build on their lead to take a good win. Rob Dangerfield & Claire Ellis, our visitors from Llangorse, arrived 2nd but were challenged hard by Stacey Bray & Steve Coello, but Rob & Claire had the legs on them on the downwind reaches to take 2nd. The race was shortened to 2 rounds. The 2nd race started in slightly less wind but we still had a very lumpy sea to contend with. Once again Allan & Paddy made it to the windward mark in 1st position, with Stacey & Steve, followed by Rob & Claire not far behind them. Steve & Polly with their first proper start slotted into 4th. The last leg of the round was the run and here things went badly wrong for Allan. He was the first to gybe onto starboard and head for the right hand side of the run, closely followed by Stacey. Rob and Steve stayed on port and when they finally gybed on to starboard came to the leeward mark in 1st and 2nd place, with Allan & Stacey very close behind. We had also stayed on port for the longer time and arrived at the leeward mark right on the heels of Jeremy & Suzanne Hawkins. Jeremy tried to force himself into the narrowest of gaps upwind of Allan and the 2 came together; a touch that resulted in Jeremy finally retiring. As we all sailed along the 2nd reach of the 2nd round it became obvious that the very light breeze was fading. Eventually we started on the final run, but this felt so tortuous in the almost non existent breeze and our safe 4th position evaporated as first John Lawton and Samantha Richardson and then Stacey and Steve drifted past us, leaving us with a frustrating 6th place again. Allan & Paddy managed a lowly 7th position which dropped them down the results table. Unfortunately the lack of wind brought any thoughts of a 3rd race to an abrupt end and the fleet paddled to the shore.

Jeremy & Suzanne
The Clubhouse came alive in the evening as the fleet tucked in to a delicious Chilli and baked potato meal produced by Tony & Lynn Dunn. This was followed by a Tony Dunn Quiz, which for once I managed to be on the winning Team as we scored 32 out of 40.

The wind and the rain came in the night and by Sunday morning we were subjected to a very stiff easterly breeze blowing in from the white capped sea. There were fairly big waves on the beach but it was decided that we would try and get some racing in. The Safety boats were launched with the help of a beach party, steadying them as the crews revved up to thrash their way out through the surf and I think its here that we should say thanks to them as without exception they all were thoroughly soaked, with a mixture of wind blown salty sea and driving rain. Without volunteers from other fleets it would be impossible to run such an event but Porthpean is blessed with members who are willing to give their time for our open meetings.

Rob & Clair
Chris Hazel & Tony Dunn were the first of the 8 declared racers to launch. They were soon followed by 3 more, but as they launched a fierce squall swept the bay and those out sailing disappeared in the torrential rain and overcast conditions. By this time, Paul Beacon as Race Officer decided that safety could now be a big issue and decided to abandon the racing. All four who had launched managed to sail back to the shore and were recovered by the beach party without any mishaps. One by one the 3 safety boats landed on the beach and the weary crews trooped up to the Club house.

Quite typically, as happens most times after we abandon racing, the weather clears and today was no exception. Within ½ hour the squall had cleared and conditions vastly improved. However the forecast was for more wind and rain and at that time we had no reason to believe that anything different would occur. In the event the weather didn’t really get any worse and with hindsight, we could possibly have got the racing in.

With only 2 races sailed, both results counted which left Rob & Claire with 2 second places as 1st overall. Allan & Paddy tied with Stacey and Steve on points, but took 2nd on count back. The inclement weather frustrated quite a few competitors as they were hoping to discard some unfortunate results from Saturday if we had been able to manage to sail.

Chris & Tony had very good first beats in both races and for a while matched us on the downwind reaching legs for speed. Chris & Luke Bilkey had borrowed Jeremy’s spare set of mylar sails and found some very fast speed downwind on the closer of the 2 reaches. I can definitely see a new suit appearing on “Yum Yum” soon.

I noticed that Richard King was packing up his Merlin Rocket, which is on the market as he has a potential buyer. He too has been impressed with the accounts of the new icon and will be having a trial sail next weekend at Burghfiled SC with a view to buying one, so I will be interested to see how he gets on and even more interested if he buys one and brings it to Porthpean.

April 27th
Preparing to go sailing
After the strong winds of the weekend we have fallen into the doldrums for the 2nd Wednesday in a row. For me wasn’t too bad, as anybody who saw my bruises and sores from Monday’s outing in the icon could see that maybe a rest would do me good. What has made it worse for me is that I have been working at the brewery this week and it has been a real effort walking up and down some of the steep staircases that are there. The lack of any wind persuaded us all that sailing was a no no this evening but a few took their covers off for a bit of maintenance and adjustments instead. The cancellation was flown about 6.45 which allowed us all to either carry on bumbling or take to the bar. Believe it or not by 7.15 a light offshore breeze was filling the bay and if we had had the nerve to go out earlier then we could have been quite happily racing.

The Capsize Club had their first sail of the season on Tuesday and it was a fine sight to see 7 boats sailing quite happily across the bay as they practised several manoeuvres under the watchful eye of Liz. However by 7.45 the light south westerly breeze that had been powering them along had died and they ended up either paddling back to shore or being towed by the safety boat.

This weekend is the Tasar Open. For the last 4 years this has been a very successful event with a reasonable entry and some good sailing conditions, though last year was a very light winded affair. This time the weather men are predicting some quite strong winds and easterly as well, so could have a detrimental affect on our attendance. But the weather men do make rather a habit of getting theses things wrong and I guess we all hope that this weekend’s weather proves them wrong again.

April 26th
The icon at Wimbleball
Not content with the strength sapping sailing over the weekend, I dragged my weary body across to Rock where I had arranged to go for a sail and a race in the dinghy world’s latest creation, the icon. This boat has been developed and refined over the last 15 months and is now in production. One of the first to buy one is Toby Peacock who had “donated” his original NS14, for development and was used to make the moulds which the boat is based on. The modern NS14 is probably what the Tasar would have developed into if it hadn’t been frozen in time back in 1975.

The icon is very pretty to look at and also looks very modern. It is easy at first to compare it to a Tasar as the sails look very similar with the red edging and black carbon filaments, but they are quite different in many ways. The laminate is stiffer and so should last longer than the Tasar sails. As the jib is hoisted up, the luff is zipped up around the forestay and halyard. The halyard is routed along the foredeck where it is cleated in such a manner that the tension can be easily altered whilst sailing. The jib also has a dangily pole that is connected to the clew which can be used to hold the jib out on broad reaches. The main has quite a distinctive squared off top and is loose footed as is the norm for most boats nowadays. The boat has a centre board and there is no thwart, though I believe that one can be installed as an extra, but from my hour and a half in the boat I don’t think a thwart would be necessary.

The weather was nice and sunny with a light breeze and so it was that I made my first mistake – no wet suit but sailing shorts instead. Crewing the boat is not the easiest of experiences. I spent much of my time in the light stuff on my knees, which have been torn to pieces and are feeling very sore. Fortunately I wore my sailing hat, because I banged my head several times on the kicker arrangement, which is a conventional type with pulleys and spectra. Headroom is very limited and my hat was knocked off several times. I also have a very sore forehead where I banged it quite hard on the kicker in one of my impromptu moves across the boat. Maybe the boat would be more crew friendly if fitted with a gnav. I would say that knee pads are an essential bit of personal kit if you want to sail one of these boats regularly as even the helm has to crouch low and kneel in light conditions. There are no cleats for the jib, so the crew must keep the jib tensioned up all the time, which isn’t as easy as it sounds when you start to look around at other boats etc then it is quite easy to ease the tension. The mainsail is sheeted off the boom, which seems very strange when you have spent a life time sailing with a more conventional arrangement, but I think once you have adapted to it then it is a good way to go. Toby hasn’t had much time in the boat so he would be the first to admit that mastering both tiller and mainsheet is tricky and we almost had one or two swims when monetarily out of control.

The icon at Wimbleball
We were entered in the race and so lined up with a menagerie of boats ranging from 505, Fireballs, RS200, RS400, RS500, Blazes and toppers and Vibes. Even a Devon Yawl was racing with us. I am pleased to say that we did lap him during the 1 ¼ hr race on a triangular race course. Unfortunately the course denigrated to the worst configuration possible when the shortly after the start the wind moved round to give a one tack beat, a fetch and a very broad reach., which made it very difficult to assess how well the boat went. It was noticeable that when the breeze was present and we were both hiked out that she pointed very high, but over a force 2 I think that we were over powered and had to start spilling wind. She was up and flying on a close reach and I would say that she had the legs and would easily outpace the Tasar. We spent most of the race sitting behind a Blaze. We couldn’t pass him to windward in the light stuff, nor overtake him down wind in the light stuff, but towards the end of the race the wind veered back and picked up a little and we easily out paced him, much to our relief.. We sailed well above him on the beat and pulled further away on the close reach. Unfortunately he managed to catch us up on the broad reach and passed us to leeward as we rounded up for the last beat as confusion reigned with us for a few moments whilst Toby managed to gather both tiller and mainsheet together. Without that problem we would have easily beaten the Blaze to the finish line.

I did have a go on the helm after the race and the boat seemed very light and responsive on the tiller and sailed along very smoothly and was quick to plane when on a close reach. The sails set very nicely and the cockpit is very uncluttered. It is quite comfy to hike though not quite as comfy as a Tasar. The Tasar also has a lot more head room for both helm and crew, so it would be interesting to see what Ken thinks of the crew’s room as he has spent some uncomfortable moments at times crouching in the Tasar in light weather. I would have liked to have spent a bit more time helming but my knees were starting to become quite painful and my left shin was bleeding, so I think I will wait a little longer before trying it again.

The icon has been reviewed in this month’s Y&Y but I haven’t read it yet so will be interested to read their comments and see how different or similar to mine they are. The current selling price is very competitive, at least £2000 cheaper than a Tasar, but whether it will sell in enough numbers to make it a successful racing class is another matter, especially in these austere times. It’s not the boat for a beginner, but once mastered will be a very good 2 man, 2 sail boat, though I don’t think too suitable for light weights.

April 24th
Putting theh boats to bed after today's sailing
I’m writing this after 2 days of very hectic sailing. The conditions turned out, especially on Sunday to be quite strong and not at all for the faint hearted, and were very testing for both sailors and boats alike. The wind strength today in particular must have been around 20 knots at times sometimes with gusts even stronger, but what made it so much worse was the changes in wind direction, particularly when we neared the beach marks. So challenging were the conditions that only 4 boats of the 17 who salied, survived the weekend without a capsize. The 2 safety boats were kept very busy busy as they sped from one capsized boat to another.

The Easter Cup for once brought beautiful sunny weather but ominously quite a fresh north westerly wind. However it wasn’t too strong on Saturday, or so it appeared from the shelter of the Clubhouse and yard, and it was decided to have a long distance race comprising a short beat to the beach marks and then off on a reach out to the SW Water mark and then another reach back across the bay, around all the mussel farms before starting the long beat back to the beach marks and as the breeze was strong enough we would have 2 laps. Well there was nothing wrong with that and off we went . The start line posed quite a problem because as we all sailed in on starboard for the start we suddenly had a massive shift and some of us, Ken & myself included, couldn’t cross the line so had to eventually tack to cross it. No such problem for Jeremy & Suzanne, they were in the right position to tack off immediately which saw them shoot off into the lead and they had quite a comfortable lead at the beach marks. Our start by comparison was diabolical and we eventually arrived at the beach marks as 5th boat, but we managed to overtake the Merlin of Steve & Polly and the Tasar of Stacey& Colin to move up to 3rd. Allan in his Contender had to play catch up to Jeremy but eventually overhauled them to take a comfortable 1st place. The 2 laps were completed very quickly and no further gains or losses were experienced by the first 5 boat. It was a little trickier further back for the Lasers as Tim managed to capsize at the SW water mark and one of the other Lasers managed to run into the safety boat so there was quite a bit of carnage there. The wind slowly increased as the race went on and I think we were all relieved to cross the beach marks at the end of the 2 laps.

Jeremy organised an impromptu BBQ after the racing and it was extremely pleasant to be able to sit on the decking in the evening sunshine. The wind though instead of decreasing as it usually does in the evenings continued to build, which didn’t bode too well for Sunday. A larger fleet of 17 boats, which is the best turn out of the year, assembled for the Sunday racing and it was pleasing to see Dennis, crewed by Justin make his first appearance of the year as it was for Paddy Seyler. The bay itself looked quite serene shimmering in the bright sunshine from the clear blue sky. The wind was forecasted to be a light to moderate north westerly. Instead it was a fresh to strong north westerly that lay await for us out on the race course. I think that the fleet would have been even bigger, but one or two decided to keep the covers on their boats and wait for more sedate weather, before venturing out for their first sail of the season..

Today was a day for Stacey to prove his mastery of the conditions, together with Steve Coello riding a s crew managed to power their way to the front and though briefly challenged by Jeremy & Suzanne built up a very considerable lead and actually beat Allan in his Contender by the margin of 8 seconds on corrected time. No mean feat when the Contenders thrive in those sort of conditions. The course today was an Olympic style course, which in the fresh conditions, seemed like a waste of 2 good reaches With Jeremy trying to hang on to Stacey it was up to us to try and keep Denis and Justin behind us. We were certainly faster on the downwind legs but much to my delight we managed to match them almost for upwind speed. The chase was ended quite early when a gust caught them out and in they went, though they managed to recover in time to stay ahead of Chris & Tony. Further back in the fleet there quite a few capsizes going on and a 2nd safety boat was launched to help ferry ashore those who were in difficulties. Of the 16 boats that started only 8 managed to finish. Anna & Liz had a very good first beat, but fell as the race progressed as too did Pete & Jo Barnes, who showed some very good speed downwind with their spinnaker powering them along. Of the 4 Lasers out, Paddy sailed the best and managed to come 3rd overall in the handicap fleet.

The wind showed no sign of abating for the afternoon race, in fact actually increased in strength and only 13 ventured out for the race. Again Allan got off to a blistering start, as so did Stacey, Jeremy and Dennis. Dennis and Justin were keen on improving on their disastrous morning race and were 2nd Tasar at the beach marks, but Jeremy sailed up and over them on the first reach. I didn’t think on current form that we could catch the leading 2 Tasars but set Dennis and Justin as our target. I think we were catching them but they had a major wobble on the first run and once again capsized, which allowed us to shoot past them. We too had some major wobbles of our own on a couple of the beats each time as we drew near to the beach marks when we were hit by massive wind shifts. One very nearly did for us, how we survived I don’t really know. I think I will put it down to lightning reactions but on the other hand maybe we just got lucky, but we did scoop up quite a few litres of water, which the bailer managed to drain quite quickly. Anyway we survived and it was with the greatest relief that we eventually heard the finishing siren and sailed back to the relative peace of the beach. Well that was a very hard weekend of racing and I am very relieved that we survived without any breakages, especially as next week we have the Tasar Open meeting, which will be sailed on Saturday & Sunday. I am expecting at least 7 visitors so those together with our fleet should make up a nice little number. The competition will be intense as the Tasar Nationals are only a month away.

One poor sailor's excuse for not sailing was that he had repaired his dry suit by putting a new foot in it. When he went to use the dry he realised that he had glued the foot in back to front!! One last thing before I finish; the Capsize Club started last week with no wind but will be running again this week with a 6.00pm start, hopefully we will have a breeze this time.

April 20th
Flat windless sea
It was only a matter of time before it happened and so tonight was the night. Yes tonight we have lost the first race of the season. The massive high that is covering the country has given us some very light winds lately and the typical fallout for such nice weather during the day tends to be a windless evening with a very flat sea as can be seen by the picture alongside. Reluctantly, though with a certain amount of relief, the abandonment flag was hoisted when we had to accept the inevitable. Actually we also suffered on Tuesday as that was the first evening of the capsize club and that too had to be curtailed and all training was shore based as it was impossible to even try and sail in the windless conditions.

Going nowhere
Tonight rapidly turned out to be an early bar opening and talking night for the social minded whilst some others had their covers off to do some extra boat tuning. Both the Scorpions of Beacky and the Kendalls had tape measures out and settings compared, whilst Allan Orton could be seen setting up a new mast and boom, which he is hoping will improve his pointing ability, something he has realised he is missing when comparing his boat to some of the top ones that he has encountered on his Open Meeting travels.

Our attentions now turn to Easter Saturday which is only 3 days away when the first of the cup competitions will take place with 3 races scheduled, the 1st on Saturday afternoon, with another 2 on Easter Sunday. Conditions at the moment don’t look like being very lively and we may yet have to suffer another abandonment.

April 17th
Anna & Liz putting their boat to bed
Wow, another cloudless sky, almost unbelievable and we are still in April, but when I arrived at the Club today it was feeling distinctly chilly as a fresh south easterly was blowing in off the sea. Fortunately it hadn’t been blowing long enough for a surf to build so launching on the falling tide was very easy. There was no dilemma as to whether to wear shorts or not as the cold wind made up my mind, though the length of time that I spent holding the boat whilst Ken trekked up the beach with the trolley would have made wearing shorts distinctly chilly, so the wet suit was the chosen article to wear today. So over the last 3 sails I have worn shorts and Tee shirt, drysuit and a wetsuit. At least my sailing gear is having a good airing.

A larger fleet launched today and it was a hello to Nick Egget, who used to sail here, before moving to Restronguet when he moved down to the west of the county. He wanted to tune imself up against Allan Orton, before he ventured back onto the Open meeting circuit. It was also hello time to Mike & Dave launching the freshly painted blue Merlin and also the first sail of the year for Nigel & James back in their Feva It was also a first sail of the season for Pete & Janet Barnes in their Kestrel and Chris Bilkey in his Tasar, today crewed by Colin Wainright.

Beacky & Kelvin took the yellow peril for another adventure and this time gained the admiring cheers from the rest of the fleet when they managed to capsize in the very light winds. I believe that Kelvin got trapped between the mast & boom when they gybed and his extra weight on the wrong side resulted in them inspecting the hull of the boat.

There were only 2 Tasars sailing the Olympic set course as Chris & Tony were on duty with Stacey, but that didn’t hold Jeremy back, sailing this morning with Matt Searle. We managed to stay with them for the first round but after that Jeremy continued to slowly draw away from us. The breeze was so light and steady that there was only one way to sail the beat, which left little scope for much tactical work. The 2 Contenders swopped places more than once before Allan came out on top, but meanwhile not too far behind was the Vago of Anna & Liz. Their strict dieting regime over the winter paid major benefits today when they made the best use of their spinnaker and lighter weight to finish close enough to the Contenders to take 1st place by a mere 7 seconds. Nigel & James sailed into 4th place, pushing some of the more established sailing stars further down the fleet. Beacky & Kelvin recovered enough from their capsize to beat Nick Haskins & Steve Wingrove who is still coming to terms with the idiosyncrasies of the Blaze. It was also good to see Luke Bilkey having a go at racing in his Topper, but it must be very disheartening for him when the faster boats come round to lap him. However I am sure he will look back at all that in a few years time when he has graduated into something far faster.

We had a “P” shaped course for the afternoon race and as usual some of the morning fleet dropped out and were replaced by other sailors. Today Steve Coello borrowed Colin’s Supenova, but wasn’t too impressed with its lack of pointing ability in the very light breeze, that wafted in from the sea. Finn Hawkins had been away at a gymkhana with Mum, Suzanne in the morning, where he took 2nd place in the competition. Jeremy had pre rigged his Oppy and he took that out for a sail, alongside Matt Searle who had relinquished his morning ride with Jeremy and took out a Club Pico. Suzanne claimed her usual seat in the Tasar and off we all went for another tense sail. Another poor stat from me put is behind Jeremy at the end oft the beat and this time we were no where near him, sailing between the 2 Contenders. In fact the end of the 1st run was very heavily congested as Nick just beat us to the beach marks and Anna & Liz were right on our transom. Fortunately our pointing was quite good and we managed to sail up away from Anna & up through Nick to put us close behind Allan, who we managed to pass on the 3rd beat. So it was that Jeremy had his 2nd win of the day. Nick managed to get past Allan, mainly because Allan hit one of the beach marks and his resultant turn allowed Nick to close right up on him. Andrew & Sarah had a good race in their Scorpion to give them another position ahead of Beacky, but at the final reckoning it proved to be another victory for Anna & Liz, ahead of the 2 Contenders with Nigel & James again claiming 4th position.

There will be a pause in our normal weekend sailing for a couple of weeks as next week we have the Easter Cup, and then the week after we will have the Tasar Open, where we are expecting at least 8 visitors, so those together with our fleet may give us 16 or more Tasars sailing in the bay. I also expect to see a few more of our regulars appearing on the water to help swell the slowly growing fleets.

Oh yes it was really very pleasing to start both races today almost on time. In fact they both could have started on time but the Race Officer did give a small bit of leeway to enable some of the stragglers to get to the beach marks in time for the start. Don’t forget that the Tuesday night Capsize Club starts this Tuesday, I know Liz and Anna will be grateful to have as much help as possible and if the weather is nice there is plenty of opportunity for anyone to go out for a pleasure sail. Why not bring a friend or work colleague to give them a go at sailing. Apparently Tony had a very good social evening at Senor Dicks Mexican restraint in Newquay on Saturday night. There will be a full report and write up appearing very soon. I would have liked to have gone along but we have our 2 Grand Daughters down for a week’s holiday with us, so child minding is the name of the game. Just to rub it in, Katie, the younger decided to pay us a visit at 5.30 this morning, whilst her sister Jessica slept in until 8.15. I wonder how the rest of the week will progress.

April 13th
Preparing the safety boat-LAST SUNDAY
What a difference 3 days makes; from sailing in shorts and Tee shirt on Sunday to having to dress up warm in a dry suit for tonight’s racing. The blue skies and sunshine of Sunday have been replaced by the overcast skies and a fresh south westerly breeze blowing across the bay. It was reasonably sheltered at the Club, but the white horses further out at sea told a slightly different tale.

For the racing fraternity we were down to the magnificent 7 again. Our 2011 season is still only spluttering, and we are still waiting to see when many of the boats in the overflowing dinghy park, will eventually get out onto the water. Certainly tonight’s weather wasn’t conducive to attracting many of the missing out. However the undeterred helped launch the safety boat and Mike & Dave laid a good shaped course, that with the prevailing wind strength didn’t take too long to get round. In fact we sailed the prescribed 4 laps within 30 minutes, which was as well as although the nights are becoming lighter, it was still dark by just after 8.00, so we had enough time to get all ashore and packed away. There was no Jenny down tonight but fortunately Janet came to the rescue and complete with apron and spatula, she soon had plenty of bacon butties on the go for the hungry masses. Although there weren’t many sailing there were still quite a few members who had come down to partake in the après sail atmosphere.

The handicap fleet only had 3 boats out and they were lead round the course as were the Tasars by Allan in his flying Contender. John Hill seems to be making a determined effort to attend on Wednesdays and was one of the few who went for a port hand start, though the strength of the wind made it a little more risky than normal as it could have resulted in a crash tack which could have been rather fraught on the start line. Steve Wingrove is still getting to grips with his Blaze and I suppose you say that it was quickly extinguished tonight as his upturned hull could be seen on more than one occasion. There is a bit of banter on the Forum about a suitable name for the Blaze, (usually involving the wings) and tonight he found that it was a very quick boat but demands some lightning fast reactions.

The Tasars were slightly better off with 4 boats and it was good to see Steve Coello & Nigel pairing up in Stacey’s boat. The RS400 has just been refitted with a carbon bow sprit and Steve was ready to take the boat for its first outing tonight when he had a phone call from RS asking him to return the pole as it was part of a rogue bunch that hadn’t been built strong enough as many of the new owners were finding to their cost when the bow sprits were snapping off when they came under load. Ken & I had the best start being up to windward and ahead of the other 3. Jeremy had miss heard the starting sequence and was some 30 secs behind as we started. Chris & Tony had a good first beat, just rounding in front of Steve & Nigel. Within a lap Jeremy & Suzanne had passed the other 2 and were closing up on us. We held them off for 2 laps, but Jeremy sailed through us on the 3rd beat to take a lead which they held to the end. WE almost lost our 2nd position on the 3rd beat to Steve & Nigel, but pulled our socks up so to speak on the ensuing reaches to put some distance between us again.

That was the first time that I have worn my dry suit to race in for quite a while and although it is a popular bit of clothing by many, I find them too restrictive for comfortable sailing and much prefer my long john, with spray top as my normal sailing wear. Although the conditions weren’t very pleasant it was good to see Luke Bilkey & James, rigging up and taking one of the Picos out for a sail. They kept it upright, which was another good achievement. It won’t be that long now before we have another bunch of cadets maturing into full blown helmspersons and long may it continue.

April 10th
Launching in the afternoon
How can the weathermen get their forecast so wrong so often! On Saturday when I heard the forecast for Sunday I was lead to believe that today was going to have increasing cloud with the possibility of a few showers and a light north westerly breeze. Instead what did we get? Unbroken blue skies, which gave us another sun drenched day and a very light southerly breeze. With the sun out, I for one was not going to complain too much, but certainly not vintage sailing conditions like last week. Actually the weather was so nice and warm that the black sailing shorts came out of my bag for their first appearance this year and we are only in April!! Well that seemed a good plan until it came to launching and the bits of surf that were still there from Saturday’s fresh south easterly caused a few “Oohs” from me as the waves rode higher and higher as I was trying to hold the boat steady whilst Ken dealt with the launching trolley. I certainly felt a bit underdressed as I saw quite a few wearing their dry suits, but it is so nice to be able to sail in Tee shirt and shorts.

First a few hellos to members returning after their winter hibernation. Allan Orton turned out in his Contender. Actually Allan has been sailing for a few weeks now but has been doing some Contender Opens so not sailed at the Club this year yet. Dr. Nick took his Laser out for its first outing and we also had Adam Eastham and Luke Bilkey sailing. Adam was sailing the Club Laser and Luke was out in his Topper. Richard Morley has bought a Comet for him and Matt to sail and in the afternoon Jeremy turned up with an Oppie for Finn to sail in.

Due to the almost non existent breeze we had the inevitable postponement, but by 12.00 we were up and running, sailing a nice little course to suit the light conditions, laid by Liz who was our duty Safety Boat Cox for the day. The start line was quite starboard biased and there was a premium to be had by getting a good start and this time I failed dismally, just getting to the line too early and how time drags when you are trying to keep from crossing the line too early, well the gun went and those fearful words were shouted “Lionel, you’re over”. Unfortunately that meant a severe slowing to pass behind everyone and to re round the start line and start again.

For the morning race, the handicap fleet consisted of 5 Lasers, which was very encouraging to see, plus Contender, Supernova, Topper and the Comet, all in all a quite a diverse fleet whilst there were only 3 Tasars out. Steve and Polly made the best start and at the end of the beat rounded ahead of Allan, then Chris & Tony, Andrew and Sarah in their Scorp closely followed by Simon in his Laser and then us, so we had lots of ground to try and make up. By the time we had completed the 3rd round we had pulled through into 3rd boat on the water but reached our plateau as there was no way that we could catch up with Steve & Polly who had started putting distance between themselves and Allan.

Allan walked away with 1st in the handicap fleet but the fight for 2nd, 3rd and 4th was very keenly fought, with the 3 Lasers of Simon, Brian and Adam all finishing within 30 seconds of each other. An excellent result for Adam, who normally sits in the front of Beacky’s Enterprise as he was sailing the Club Laser, which doesn’t come with all the goodies of the other Lasers and he was leading Brian until the dying moments of the race, when Brian passed him, finishing only 6 seconds in front.

Richard & Matt
After a pleasant lunch sitting in the sun a slightly larger fleet set out to race on a larger course to try and get the most out of the prevailing light southerly breeze. This time we were joined by Jeremy & Suzanne in their Tasar and Beacky & Kelvin in their newly acquired Scorpion. They had spent the morning setting up the twin spinnaker pole system so this was the first time to try it out in anger. Finn was also launched and with encouragement from Mum & Dad sailed out into the bay. In fact whilst we raced, Finn, Matt and Luke sailed around the beach mark area just having a jolly, which is by far the best way for them to get into sailing at their tender age. I think it’s far better for them to learn how to control a boat than to get into the problems of racing round our quite daunting course. Racing will come soon enough.

The start line for the afternoon race had a bit of port bias on it and for once I made one of my better starts. We came in at speed, on port, in the light breeze, right on the gun and sailed across the entire fleet. That put us in a strong position and we rounded the first mark in first position, ahead of Jeremy and Suzanne, Steve and Polly. The downwind legs were quite boring but nevertheless still demanded utmost concentration as Jeremy appeared to have slightly better speed tha us, but because we lead we had the advantage upwind, which allowed us to reclaim some of the distance lost down wind. Steve took a bit of a flyer by sailing out to sea on the 2nd round but this went badly wrong as when he got to the end of the beat found that he had slipped down to 4th with Chris & Tony ahead of him. However by the end of that round he & Polly had taken 3rd spot back again. So it went on for 4 rounds in very light conditions and it wasn’t very thrilling but at least we managed to get a win out of it, so I’m not complaining.

Finn in his Oppy
Down in the handicap fleet things were also exciting with the battle of the day going on between the 2 Scorpions, which Beacky & Kelvin got the better of, but they only just finished on corrected time, 9 seconds ahead of Simon, leaving Andrew & Sarah not far behind in 3rd and it was another 4th for Adam.

News comes in that there will be no Beach attendant this year. The Council, in its cost cutting exercise has decided that they can’t afford one. This may give rise to some problems as the season progresses when I am sure Porthpean will be deluged by speed boats and jet skis when their owners realise that there will be no one stopping them launching. I can see the slope and the bottom of the slipway becoming a bit of a battle ground as the 4 wheel drives try to manoeuvre down to pick up the various craft. The beach may become littered with trailers, which no doubt some children will trip over. Well time will tell, but let’s hope that I’m not being too pessimistic.

April 4th
Steve preparing his Blaze
When I first saw that the first race of the Wednesday series would be the 6th April, I inwardly groaned as I thought that it would be cold weather, but in the event Wednesday turned out to be a glorious day, with almost unbroken sunshine and indeed it was quite a warm day. BUT it was warm due to the lack of wind. Yes all day in St. Austell the breeze was very light and southerly, so much so that when we came down to the Club we were greeted by an almost glassy bay, with little patches of breeze wafting in from time to time. That was enough for the lunatics to break out of the asylum and boat covers started to come off and Nigel & Steve readied the Safety boat. Very reluctantly we joined them and our cover came off and the sails prepared. I am happy to say that at the moment we only have 7 lunatics in the Club as that was the number of boats that launched and paddled out to the beach marks where we were assured that there was a nice 5 knot breeze waiting for us. I think that the breeze waited just long enough to get us there and then promptly disappeared. Our merry band comprised 3 Tasars, 2 Supenovas, a Blaze and a Pico.

The start line was quite biased at the safety boat end and it was interesting to see John Hill try one of his famous barging starts, but this time to no effect as Jeremy effectively closed the door on him and he had to tack away and try again. We lead away at the start and on the first crossing had a nice lead on Jeremy & Suzanne, but shortly afterwards the breeze totally collapsed and shifted round and our lead like the breeze disappeared, allowing Jeremy to round the windward mark first. After that it was a bit of a procession as we sat rather uncomfortably trying to urge our boats onwards on the downwind legs. Occasionally we came right up onto the transom of Jeremy and then he would pull away again as the light zephyrs ebbed and flowed across the bay. Fortunately the race was shortened to just one round but even as we approached the first of the beach marks, disaster struck and with no way on us at all we were sucked into the buoy, much to the amusement of the entire fleet. Fortunately we managed our 360 and floated across the finish line which enabled the paddle to be broken out for the trek back to the beach. Behind us Colin Wainwright had taken the lead in the Supernovas and lead the way round only to be passed by John Hill on the last leg . In fact both Supenovas managed to overtake Chris & Tony, who were busy reading the Cornish Guardian and were too engrossed to notice them.

All in all a disappointing first Wednesday race of the year but we were compensated by the smell of Jenny’s bacon butties as the bacon sizzled on the griddle. There are still a lot of regular faces missing from the fleet at the moment and I know that one or two still have work to do at either home or on their boats. No doubt numbers will improve as Easter comes.

April 3rd
Richard & James putting the Merlin to bed
The 2nd weekend of the season gave us our first taste of wind for 2011. A fresh south westerly greeted the 9 boats that left the beach. Yes only 9 boats today, but that’s one better than last week and this week we greeted Simon Pryce, Anna Weld, Brian Reeves and Jason Jarvis for their first races of the season. Nigel & James stood in for the absent Ron & Michelle and set us up for the south westerly. The forecast was for the breeze to swing to a north westerly during the day and to drop off from the 15 knots or so that we had. I suppose that Mother’s day may have accounted for some, but for those who did sail then they had a very exhilarating pair of races, when bodies and boats were thoroughly tested.

The fresh breeze kept the fleet fairly close together up the first beat with Steve & Polly reaching the windward mark first, followed by Jeremy & Suzanne and to their pleasure and surprise, Chris & Tony just in front of us. We did pass Chris & Tony on the first reach and set about making some inroads into Jeremy, but up in front Steve & Polly were pulling nicely away. However an uncharacteristic mistake on the last beat let Jeremy catch them right up. We had our chance earlier in the race when we at one time pulled up alongside Jeremy, but eventually fell back. The competition in the handicap fleet was mainly between the Lasers, which Anna got the better of, beating Simon by only 7 seconds. Line honours went to Andrew & Sarah in their Scorpion, but they finished 4th when the handicaps were adjusted. Jason had quite a torrid time in his new Laser, capsizing a total of 7 times, that was enough for him and he didn’t take part in the 2nd race.

After lunch, the showers had moved away and the wind swung into the forecasted westerly, but though quiet on shore was still quite fresh out at sea. For this race Beacky & Kelvin appeared with their new Scorpion, that they had been and collected last Monday. They spent the morning putting all the bits and pieces together, but couldn’t rig the spinnaker. We were also joined for their first sail of the season by Richard and James King in their Merlin.

As far as I’m concerned this race was one of the most competitive and hard fought races that I have been in for quite a few years. The breeze was constantly changing in both direction and strength, which kept us all on our toes. Initially the race was lead once again by Steve & Polly with Jeremy laying 2nd and us 3rd but the reaches were so competitive that allowed us all to either surge away or catch up and the beats were so that getting any of the shifts right or wrong, again caused huge distances to vary between us, and on the 2nd or 3rd time round we all took the lead at one time or another and it wasn’t until the last complete round that Jeremy & Suzanne took enough of a lead to secure 1st place, whilst we had enough distance on Steve & Polly for 2nd. This turned out to be a very physical race and 100% concentration was needed at all time.

The handicap fleet had an equally torrid time, but Simon prevailed this time to take 1st place with Beacky & Kelvin cementing their first outing with a 2nd, quite a way in front of Andrew & Sarah who eventually retired after several capsizes.

At this stage it looks like there will be hot competition between both fleets over the season, the only thing we desperately need is for more of our regulars to join us. Well this Wednesday will be the first Wednesday race of the year, but as it is still early in the year, we don't have enough daylight yet so we will be starting at 6.45. Judging by the evening temperatures at the moment, warm clothing will be a must, but don’t forget the reward for our sailing will be Jenny’s bacon butties, a feast not to be missed.

I have had a few questions as to why the web camera isn't working. However Chris Bilkey who installed it is aware that we have a problem and will be resolving it soon.

March 20th
Steve Christening his new Blaze
Well the Count down Clock has finally reached zero and we are off into another sailing season. I think for the 60th year, dinghies have been trundled down the beach to take to the waters of Porthpean Bay for racing. Fortunately today’s dinghies bear very little resemblance to those of 1952. Instead of the heavy wooden boats with cotton sails and wooden spars we now have, much lighter, mainly fibreglass boats, with either Dacron or mylar sails set on alloy or even carbon spars. I dare say that in another 60 years, sailing dinghies will look so much more different again, but one thing will remain and that is the pleasure that you get when after launching you point the boat out to sea, draw in the sails and feel the swoosh of the water as it passes under the hull. All in all a fantastic feeling; one of almost complete freedom as you look back at the beach rapidly disappearing behind you as you head out into the bay. Today was no exception for the minute fleet of only 8 who risked life and limb to brave an almost windless sea. Windless yes, but the blue skies and warm sunshine made up quite a bit for the quiet conditions, and as it was the first time out for several months for some then "quiet conditions" wasn’t too bad a thing.

Today saw the launching for the first time of Steve Wingrove’s new steed. A steed that he hopes will bring him fame and glory as he attempts to control his new boat whilst sitting out on the wings, a far cry than the Solo that he has now passed over. The Blaze is a very exciting boat to sail, is quite fast, but can be quite tippy so Steve is now embarking on a steep learning curve, so we will watch his progress with interest.

Due to the almost windless morning we decided to postpone the morning race and instead hold 2 races back to back after lunch, when we hoped that the forecasted breeze would come in. As usual the Met office forecast was hopelessly wrong. We had been promised a north easterly of about 12 knots. Instead we got a southerly that hardly made a ripple on the water, so we set out for 2 very light weather races. 4 Tasars made it to the line for the first race and we were lead away by Steve and Polly, followed by Ken and myself, in front of Chris & Tony, followed by Richard & Matt. Steve built up a useful lead over the first round and out attempt to go up the 2nd beat in a slightly different way almost created a disaster when we were caught and almost passed by Chris & Tony. Fortunately our down wind speed was better and we pulled away from them. But the damage was done as far as Steve & Polly were concerned, giving them the first victory of the year. Liz & Adam took a couple of the Club Picos out to join battle with Steve Wingrove and the newly refurbished Scorpion of Andrew & Sarah, but the light conditions didn’t suit them at all and Liz elected to be towed ashore after making very little progress. Adam hung on and in the end was only about 30 seconds behind Andrew on corrected time.

A better breeze appeared just before the start of the 2nd race, enough for us to hear the ripples as the boats cut through the almost flat sea, and allowing the sails to pull us along much more efficiently. This time Ken and I had the better of Steve & Polly. We just slotted in, in front of them at the end of the first beat and this time it was us who had the slightly better boat speed to open up a slight gap. This race was scheduled for 5 laps and it was for us real nail biting stuff as we concentrated so hard to keep Steve at bay.

The handicap fleet was reduced to just the Scorpion and the Blaze. The better breeze allowed Andrew & Sarah to get their spinnaker up and flying which ultimately gave them their 2nd victory of the day.

So that was it; a small fleet sailing for the first day in not very exciting conditions, but we are at the start of what will be a long and eventful season. I am sure that we will get our fair share of light days and heavy days, wet days and gloriously sunny days, favourable winds and not so favourable winds. Those of you not sailing for whatever reason come along and join us. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

March 20th
An almost windless Wimbleball Lake
Yesterday was our first sail of 2011 and it almost didn’t happen. Midnight Express has been subjected to quite a bit of maintenance this winter which included a serious look to find a persistent leak. This included removing the gudgeons to check the fixing bolts. Fortunately everything seemed ok there and they were refitted. The leak was found to be on the starboard gunwale and is now sealed up. Our first sail, like last year, was booked to be the Exmoor Beastie, which is held annually at Wimbleball SC, high up on Exmoor. Our Tasar fleet has a long association with Wimbleball as they too had a Tasar fleet when we were going strong in the 80s and 90s so I have been sailing there almost once a year fro over 20 years. Sadly their fleet is almost extinct with only 1 home based Tasar sailing there yesterday, but with Jeremy & Suzanne making the trip we were also joined by boats from Babbacombe and some other visitor to make a mini fleet of 5. I say our first sail almost didn’t happen, because as I went to fit the rudder onto the boat I found that it didn’t fit properly. Quite a bit of force was need to push the rudder on. At least one of the gudgeons had been put on upside down and the symmetrical looking fitting clearly wasn’t! Anyway with a bit of persuasion the rudder was fitted but was very stiff in action, which certainly took a lot of feel away from the tiller.

The Beastie is a 3 hour pursuit race and the Tasars started 24 minutes after the first boat started. Weatherwise it was a cracking day, with a cloudless sky and quite a bit of warmth in the air, even though we were some 800 feet above sea level. The wind, or lack of it, was a bit of a disappointment. There was only the slightest hint of a breeze on the water and this wasn’t at all consistent, giving us all periods of flat calm, interspersed with almost encouraging puffs. Jeremy & Suzanne made the best showing away from the start, shooting quickly into a lead from which they were never to be caught. We had moments of despair and joy when we went from 4th, a long way back up into 2nd and for a while we put on a good distance from the other 3 and for a while had hoped that we might catch Jeremy up. Then in one of the calm spots we parked up whilst the rest of our fleet sailed serenely past us. Oh such frustration, but then I have sailed there before so know what can happen. We eventually managed to get back our 2nd spot only to lose out again in yet another calm spot, to eventually finish 3rd of our bunch. My biggest pleasure came when we arrived back on shore and discovered that the inside of the boat was completely dry. Hopefully the leak has now been banished for the time being anyway.

The Porthpean sailing season is now less than a week away and the last bits of Club maintenance are being put together. It looks like we will be able to use the new gate entrance soon as the Council Contractors have been busy this last week, putting our new gateway and a fence in position. Hopefully the roadway will be installed this week, so we should be able to move boats in and out when necessary. All in all this should be an improvement in usage for us.

I hear that Steve Wingrove has bought a Blaze to campaign this year, so no doubt he will be looking forward to launching that next week, hopefully a light wind day will suit him down to the ground, to enable him to get the feel of it, which will be quite different to his Solo. The Blaze is a very good offwind boat and this season should see Steve much further up in the fleet, up with the Lasers in fact. We are also looking forward to seeing Luke Bilkey in his first season of Topper sailing. Steve Coello looks like reverting more to his RS400 this season, with Nigel crewing for him, but whether this will be Wednesdays only or Sundays as well I don’t know. This would assume that James pairs up with someone else in his Feva. Both Stacey and Allan will be torn between sailing their Tasars or Contenders during the season as the Contender Worlds will be held in Weymouth later this year as will the Tasar Worlds at Torquay in September. Steve and Polly seem to settled in their Tasar so should be sailing that more, though may make some forays away at Merliin Opens from time to time. It’s something of a dilemma as there is no doubt the Merlin is more challenging to sail but the Tasar offers the best competition at Porthpean.

The handicap fleet will look different this year, with Kay splashing out on new sails, hopefully Ron & Michelle may be able to sail on Sundays also. Anna & Liz should be a force to be reckoned with, they have both been dieting and their lighter weight will surely prove to be an advantage to them. Mike Voyzey has been busy working on his Merlin, so will be interesting to see what sort of progress they make in their first full season with the boat. Tim & Hannah who previously owned said Merlin have joined the Tasar fleet so we should be hopefully seeing more of them on the water this year also.

Well the countdown clock is in single figures, the sailing programme is all mapped out, most dinghies are ready to sail, and the weather is slowly warming up. The B14 fleet will be with us in July, spring is definitely here, all we need now are fair winds and a keen sailing fraternity and 2011 should prove to be yet another good sailing season for us all.

Oh yes, 3 hours or more sitting on a hard side deck have given me a very sore backside. Yes I certainly know the sailing season has started!

March 13th
A very tranquil looking bay
With now less than 2 weeks to go before the sailing season starts, Club maintenance is still much in evidence, but today it was clear that Spring was just about upon us. An almost cloudless sky with a very light north westerly gave us a very warm day in the in the dinghy park. The sea was sparkling and it looked so tempting to go for a sail as the picture alongside shows. Last weekend was quite a tiring affair when 5 of us went up to the dinghy show at Alexandra Palace. This is usually a good show as it is such a good opportunity to look at other classes of boats, some of which are new designs. This year one of the nicest boats at the show was the new “Icon”, which is loosely based on the NS14, an Australian designed boat. The Tasar which has been a mainstay dinghy at Porthpean for the last 25 years was originally designed on the 1975 lines of the NS14, though that class has
Chris Hazel and me on the Tasar stand
evolved quite a bit over the last 36 years and I suppose the Icon is not too far away from what a modern Tasar would look like. The Icon is slightly bigger than a Tasar in both length and width, plus has a very modern suit of sails set on carbon spars and I am sure it will be quite a bit faster on most points of sailing than the Tasar, so it will be very interesting to see if the Icon becomes a success. The designer was telling me that it is designed to sit at about the Merlin Rocket speed, so that alone should prove significantly faster than a Tasar.

Both safety boat engines have been to Falmouth for overhaul, so fingers crossed we should have very little trouble from them, providing we take sensible precautions and don’t swamp them on the beach. The water reclamation scheme is well advanced and should be commissioned in time for the start of the season, though I think the horn in the wall is still defective, so that will need some attention.

Dinghy Park
Quite a bit of painting and repair has done inside and outside the Clubhouse, the Gents changing rooms have been spruced up. The windows in both sets of changing rooms have been renovated so that they open and close without too much effort and we have a new garage door to be fitted sometime soon. This one should last longer than the existing one as it is a fibre glass one, whereas the existing one is very poor quality steel and has rusted away in several places. Janet has given the galley area a complete spring clean. We are still waiting for all the legalities to be finalised with the Council over our field. We need that to be completed so that the Council can give us a new gateway to exit the field as the existing one is deemed too dangerous due to the cliff fall that happened last November. I did have a close look at the cliff from the beach today and I think that there is every chance that even more of the cliff could come down in the foreseeable future, though hopefully that will not affect us this time.

It might have looked tempting to go sailing today but there was no way that I could go sailing as “Midnight Express” is down at Hayle, where she is having some much needed TLC, care of mainly Jeremy, who has kindly been doing some work on the hull, making a proper job of the bodge I did to the transom, when the boat fell off the road trailer in 2009. We have also taken the opportunity to do some other much necessary work which also included finding and fixing a frustrating leak that has been giving me some trouble over the previous season. Time will tell if the leak is fixed but it looks like the water was coming in through an area where the gunwale looked like it had split. Anyway that has now been opened up, dried and glued back together and totally sealed so if the leak was from there then it is now cured. There is only a little more work needed and she will be ready and willing to embark on yet another season. In fact if the weather looks reasonable next weekend, then Ken & I may got up to Wimbleball to take part in their Beastie pursuit race.

The fitting out supper will be our next social but I still have to put a music quiz together for the evening and as we are celebrating 60 years of sailing at Porthpean this season and the theme for the night is “60s” clothing, then I thought it appropriate that the music quiz will be a “60s” themed event also, so you have 2 weeks to brush up on your 60s music..

February 18th
Working on the water reclamation project
Well here we go with the first blog of the year, so - Happy New Year to all and as we ease into 2011, the Club is starting to come to life again. We have already had the dinner & prize giving for the 2010 season, with a healthy attendance of 93 and the first social of the season, the fish & chip supper which was once again very well supported with over 50 portions served.

Club maintenance is the main theme of Club activities for the next few weeks, with lots of painting and other necessary work being carried out. Both rescue boats have had their engines professionally overhauled, so they are ready to go. One of the main jobs is the finishing of the water reclamation project which started last year and hopefully will be finished in the next few weeks. The picture alongside shows one of our quieter members!! Drilling a hole through the wall in the Ladies changing room, to accommodate the feed pipe and electrics. The main water collection tanks are being installed behind the end wall of the Clubhouse and will be filled with rain water from the roof gutters. Knowing the amount of rain we get over a season, we should be able to save quite a bit of our water rates and give us a greener footprint. Maybe we should also consider placing PV panels on the Club house roof to take advantage of the “green” power initiative. It could turn out to be a good investment when looking at the promised returns.

A new garage door will be fitted to replace the current rusted out unit. Last November we were affected by the cliff fall just outside our field gateway, which was then placed out of bounds on for health & safety reasons. However the Council has started work to reinstate the coastal footpath by using part of our field and will also create a new gateway for us, which in many ways will be better than before as it will remove the bends we had to negotiate for exit and entry.

The 2010 season proved very successful to the Club, though sadly we lost, prematurely, 3 of our Members when Dennis Stone, Robin Hadlow and Buck passed away. I almost joined them but I managed to secure a good deal in hospital which has allowed me to continue sailing, so hopefully I will be around a bit longer to harass you all for a place on the leader board. The winds were quite kind to us and I am sure we managed more sailing than normal, so that proved a big bonus. We did miss a few of the late autumn series due to bad weather, but still managed to sail up to the last Sunday before Christmas, though the fleets were very small at times.

Last season was our first with the training boats and the Tuesday evenings training proved very popular and will be repeated again this season. The Cadets under Maria's Liz's and Anna's influences was a bounus, culminating in the Cadet's Regatta late in the season, where despite a nice sunny they all seemd to get wet through.

The Osprey Class visited us for the 2nd time. We must have pleased them as we did get several mails from competitors congratulating the Club on its friendliness and efficiency. The Osprey fleet will be joining us again in a few years time when they will be celebrating their 60th year.

We have a new Commodore this year as Gary has stepped down after 3 hard working years. Gary & Kay have worked very to keep the Club on a sound footing and we seem to have a seamless transfer of “power” yet again, which bodes well for the future.

Early this year we were contacted by the B14 fleet to see if we could host their National Championships. We agreed and a 3 day Championship will be held in early July, so that is an event worth seeing and looking forward to. The B14 is almost the same weight as a Tasar so shouldn’t be too hard to pull up the hill after racing. There won’t be too many of them so the green should be able to accommodate them all.

Nigel & Ken are busy completing the programme for this season but I expect it will closely follow the format of last year. Once again we will be hosting the Tasar SW Championships and a Contender Open Meeting, but sadly no Laser nor Enterprise Opens. These 2 fleets seemed to have died a death in Cornwall, though Looe SC are holding their “n”th Enterprise Nationals this year, they seem to be the only active fleet in Cornwall nowadays. We don’t have any Mirrors of our own racing at porthpean, but this is still a popular Class in some other Clubs in the county, notably Restronguet, Penzance and Looe.