Porthpean Sailing Club  
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December 17th.
Turkey in September
Well I had thought that I had finished with the Blog for the year, but after attending the AGM yesterday I thought it prudent to mention a few things, to hopefully remind us as to what was said and to fill in for those who didn’t attend as to what happened. I should stress that any comments or descriptions here are purely my own thoughts and recollections and have nothing officially to do with the Club. Oh yes the picture alongside was taken in Turkey last September, a far cry from the cold and turbulent seas that we have been experiencing over the last few weeks.

Having the AGM on a Sunday afternoon seems to be an accepted practice now and although I didn’t count the number of attendees I think it was somewhere in the 50s so that alone was a good representation of the Club, and with a packed Clubhouse the 63rd AGM kicked off at 14.00. There is no point in me saying too much about the various reports as all members have had copies and enough opportunity to read and digest them.

The first item on the agenda was the Commodore’s report and one item on it “the ongoing rent review” provoked quite a few comments. Unfortunately this still isn’t settled, but it goes to show how vulnerable organisations like ours are when having to rent premises from a local Council. They seem to have the power to almost close an organisation down by demanding an exorbitant rent if they so wish. I am thinking more of the St. Austell Arts Club at the moment where they have seen their rent increase from a nominal £400 / year to £30000 / year, which will surely close them down unless they can get the Council to come to a more sensible agreement. Fortunately our proposed increase isn’t quite so harsh as we were already paying a lot more than the Arts Club; but our Membership, strong as it is still fluctuates around the 80 units number and we clearly do not have enough members to sustain exorbitant rent and still run the Club in a responsible manner. Without blowing our trumpet too much PSC does bring in some good revenue to the local area most years when we host Nationals. We have been a presence on the beach for over 60 years and in that time have provided a sailing experience second to none for thousands of people. Many of the local school children have had the opportunity to take part in sailing. In short we are an asset to the area and should be encouraged to maintain our presence at all costs. It is pointless to offer any more comments as until we have proper consultations with the powers to be and then we will have an EGM to discuss it further.

The engine on what is popular called “The Love Boat” is in a very poor state of repair, so the intention is to buy a new engine for No1 RIB and pass the older engines downwards. The type of engine that we will buy provoked a lot of debate over whether to buy another engine with a hydraulic assisted lift, as we already have or go for an electric tilt version which can make it easier for the RIB drivers to raise and lower the engine. Now both versions have their merits and in our case both versions have their drawbacks. We always have to raise and lower our engine when leaving or returning to the beach and I for one have never had any problem with the hydraulic assisted lift. The fact that the engine can be unlocked and then driven up the beach when a sea is running or just running aground on the last part of the approach is a distinct advantage, whereas an electric assisted lift cannot be disengaged and so the engine would have to be raised when returning to the beach, which invariably would prevent a driver from driving up the beach. I suppose we could get over this sort of problem by ensuring that if we do have a bit of a sea running then we use the RIB with the most suitable engine that day. One other disadvantage with an electric tilt is that it is one more thing to possibly go wrong. Anyway the sub Committee making the decision certainly has quite a lot to debate to consider.

Our Tasar Nationals was a financial success and helped put a few more pennies into the Club funds, though we will get no such extra next year as a decision was made to have a year to allow the stalwarts who invariably run these things to have a year off.

The Cadet side of the Club has seen an increase this year, with quite a few of them sailing on race days and almost all turning out on Tuesday nights for what is popularly named “The Capsize Club”. Our Club Picos and Laser have been heavily used this season and we have very fortunately managed to secure a grant from “Sport England” to help purchase a new Laser with different rigs and a Vago to allow more people to be get involved with sailing. In fact as I write this Liz and Anna are on their way to pick the boats up from Laser.

The Treasurer gave a very comprehensive report and although our funds are healthy at the moment, we still have the rent position to finalise and with that in mind the need to raise subscriptions was aired and passed. We have been lucky in having Hilary as Treasurer for the last 3 years, but she has now stood down and unfortunately there was no one willing at first to volunteer to take on this most demanding post. Very fortunately Nick Haskins stood in at the last minute and I am pleased to see him appointed as the new Treasurer. What’s more all the vacant Committee positions were filled so we will sail into 2013 with a full Committee and the knowledge that all our needs will be well tended.

Nigel followed with his Sailing Secretary’s report. Well I don’t need to go into it but one point worth emphasising is the success and growth of the Cadet section. Our Cadet Regatta in June attracted 12 entrants with about half of then coming from other Clubs and organisations. The successful promotion and organising of the Regatta fell on the shoulders of Liz & Anna and I was very impressed with their organisation and planning on the day. There is no doubt that the standard of sailing amongst the Cadets is improving as the months go on and their boat handling during the quite windy Cadet’s Regatta was an impressive sight to see.

The sailing rota often provides quite a bit of controversy and for the past few years Nigel has produced the rota inserting the names as he thinks fit. I think that this has worked quite well and the only thing I would change is to produce a list of names who don’t have to do their duty when racing is cancelled and then pencil them in to the next vacant slot. That way there is an equal chance that we will all do some duties over the season. For 2013 Nigel brought along a blank form and has asked people to volunteer themselves for up to 5 duties. He may need to edit it somewhat to even up the number of “volunteers” but at least it gives him a good start to what can be a bit of an onerous task. In fairness to the old system I think that very few people missed their duties this year and it was a relief, especially when it was someone who doesn’t sail much, to see them turn up for their duty.

After a short break the meeting reconvened to discuss any other matters which whilst I was there revolved around the content of sailing for the 2013 season. This year we have had 2 fleets, the Tasar fleet and the handicap fleet. Unfortunately the Tasar fleet has been rather depleted at times, sometimes with only 2 Tasars out. A certain amount of enthusiasm was given to having just handicap fleets but to make them “fast” and “slow” or as some don’t like the term “slow” we could call them “gold” and “silver” fleets. One very good advantage of fast and slow is that the faster boats could be given an extra lap to keep them out sailing as long as the slower fleet. I think that there was a certain amount of enthusiasm to sail the cadets in the slow fleet but also to extrapolate their results to form a cadet fleet as far as prizes go. This should encourage them not to get too depressed when they see faster boats way in front of them.

There was a keenness to see more variety in race course setting, by trying “P” and trapezium courses at suitable times. I know that at times it is very difficult to lay a proper course as the wind can be quite fickle some days, but I have known times when the set course has degenerated into a procession with a one tack beat, fetch and a run. This can usually be corrected by the RIB driver parking at a suitable mark and getting boats to sail a reverse course when they reach the RIB. This may not be a conventional sort of racing but does have the affect of making the race more tactical.

We may try and sail one or two pursuit races next year as this can be a very popular format. The only thing I would suggest here is that to keep everybody sailing once they have been overtaken by faster boats is that a sort of raffle is held after racing where a finishing position or two are drawn out of a hat to provide consolation prizes. That way it doesn’t matter where you finish you still have a chance of a prize.

The Easter Cup may take a different format in 2013 as it has become obvious over the last few years that the Saturday race day is not very well attended, so the Easter Cup may well be sailed over two Sundays. I would suggest that as we are starting the 2013 season on 24th March then we sail either one race or two that day and 2 races on Easter Sunday which is the 31st and combine both days for the Cup. Anyway food for thought for Nigel and his sailing committee.

Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera with me so haven’t taken the “Committee” pictures for the web site but hopefully this will be remedied over the next few weeks. The more observant of you will notice that the countdown clock has suddenly lost 7 days. The reason being is that I had originally programmed it for 31st March, whereas James tells me that we will start on 24th March. Roll on 2013

November 25th. The last day of racing in 2012
Water running off the Green
So here we are, another sailing season at Porthpean all done and dusted and after a very good spell of almost uninterrupted racing we closed as we had raced most of the season with a bit of a blow. Actually we were very lucky with our weather today, as for most of the week we had experienced heavy rain and strong winds and yesterday, Saturday, was no exception. We had well over 12 hours of solid, heavy rain that caused floods all over the county and then just as a bonus we had gales during the night. By this morning, Sunday, the rain had finished and the wind had abated or so it seemed when we turned up at the Club to decide whether we could race or not. Our own car park was completely waterlogged and I don’t think anyone dared to park in there for fear of getting stuck. There was torrents of water coming off the green, more water than I have ever seen before, which hopefully I have managed to capture on the picture alongside. The south westerly wind strength blowing at Polruan was in the high 20s peaking in the 30s, but our bay was comparatively sheltered by Blackhead, sheltered enough to whet the appetite of 8 boats and crews to take to the water for one more time.

Very fortunately we brought the beach marks in last week, as the gales over the last week could have easily destroyed them. They were anchored this year by some new and very strong tackle and will be able to be re-laid next season with the minimum amount of hassle.

Once upon a time, say 20 years ago, the last race of the season was at the end of September or mid October and would result in most of the boats being taken home for winter maintenance. In those days most boats were made of wood and needed lots of TLC to ready them for the next summer. Nowadays, almost all our boats are GRP and the amount of maintenance work is much less, consequently we can race further into the year. However I still like to take mine home for a bit of maintenance and possible shelter from the gales that we will inevitably get over the winter from time to time. In fact this year my boat needs quite a lot of TLC and for me home is the best place to be as it will enable me to thoroughly wash and clean it and be able to carry out little bits of work on it. One job that requires attention is my bailer. For the last few months, we have been plagued by water seeping in from it. One fortunate thing about having windy races meant that the bailer was almost always open so could take care of any ingress. The bailer itself has been sitting there, working well for over 20 years and hopefully may only need servicing with a new gasket. I am told that the cost of a new bailer of the same type is somewhere in the region of £150!! I am sure that it is only the gasket which has probably been repeatedly squashed and has perished and worn so the end of the season will be an ideal time to take it out, strip it down and hopefully find out where it is leaking and more importantly repair it. Other jobs that require attention are checking all nuts and bolts, rigging and security of fittings. Toe straps, bungee and cleats are another area to check. My toe straps have been on the boat for over 20 years and they too are showing signs of wear, as are the foils which will require some filling and painting.

Paddy & Steve were tasked with RIB duties today, but fortunately for them there was only one race scheduled and as the weather turned out I think we would only have sailed one race anyway. The decision was to keep it simple and sail a triangular course of 50 rounds. That was enough to cause a stampede to the galley to buy plenty of Mars bars. The sea state looked relatively flat but there was quite a lumpy swell showing on the beach, but not enough to make launching too much of a struggle. In fact as we left the beach it was relatively calm but once out near the beach mark the wind picked up considerably and once again we knew we would be in for a hard sail. Hard sailing conditions have been the norm this year. As week after week has been a struggle, constantly fighting variable wind strengths and directions. I would go so far as to say that it has been the windiest season ever. The autumn series was an 11 week series of races and surprise, surprise we have sailed every one. The September Cup was scheduled amongst the series and that was the only race day that was cancelled in a spell that started on the 9th September. We did lose some of the afternoon races as quite often we started the day in fairly brisk conditions, brisk enough to cause many of us to say enough is enough when we arrived back on the beach for lunch. Yet despite this being a windy year we have lost very few racing days, far fewer than in most years.

Once again the race course was set up for the south westerly wind that was blowing across the bay and all 8 boats crossed the line more or less together and once again Jeremy & Suzanne were ahead at the end of the first beat, with Richard in his Contender hot on their heals. Pleasingly there were 3 Tasars out today and it was a welcome back to Dennis & Brian, after Dennis’s cruise on the QE2 and it looked like the weather had been ordered especially for them, with the beat being very hard work in the gusty wind. I think that they had some sort of problem on the first beat as we had a nice lead over them as we slipped round the first mark in 3rd position and even increased our lead somewhat down wind. That wasn’t to last more than 2 further beats before their extra weight and better technique upwind proved telling and they overtook us. Fate put an end to our race when the bracket holding the whisker pole on the boom snapped on the 2nd gybe. Well this wasn’t too much of a problem as Ken swopped it to the other side of the boom, but to compound matters the bracket on that side of the boom snapped on the very next gybe, resulting in us being unable to stow the pole so I opted to retire and sail in before anything untoward happened. It’s not very easy to sail a Tasar with the whisker pole sliding around the cockpit, especially in today’s’ conditions.

The handicap fleet were having a few problems of their own, apart from Richard and Tom Bittle. Tom sailing his Laser was back in the pack with the Scorpions & Kestrel but sailed well to pull through and stay in front of both Scorpions and the Kestrel, who all had a capsize at least once at various times in the race. Very encouraging all capsizes were righted without the assistance of the RIB and all managed to finish safely at various different times. Andrew Kendall took Kristien Harris out as a crew and for the first few laps had a good lead on the other Scorpion of Beacky & Kelvin, but a capsize undid all their good work, by letting them through, though Beacky & Kelvin too came to grief on the gybe mark. Janet & Pete were another victim of a capsize. I know Ken & I had a couple of dodgy moments when we were almost blown in, but a quick dump of the main and a luff prevented disaster.

We had launched through a little bit of surf, but with the tide making that had more or less disappeared when we landed, which was a bonus to all, as it made getting the boats onto the trolleys and safely up the beach so much easier. Oh yes the 50 rounds were shortened to about 5. Fortunately the cold was getting to Paddy & Steve and they cried off before most of the fleet did.

The Sailing Club Dinner in January was limited to 60 tickets and this morning Anna sold the last of them. She has been told that the Cornwall Hotel can if necessary take 70, so if you haven’t booked your ticket yet then I would advise you to get in touch with her ASAP and claim one of the last 10 tickets available. I know that Anna has sent a list of upcoming socials to all by email, but just to remind you that the AGM will be held on Sunday 16th December at 14.00 in the Clubhouse. My memories of last year’s AGM tell me that it was a day similar to today with very heavy rain falling all afternoon. I hope that it won’t be the same this year. Then on the Wednesday the 19th we will be having a Christmas party in the Clubhouse which I expect will be very well attended. It’s one of those that will rely on everyone bringing some food that will be shared around. I think that we will even have some entertainment as we have a Magician in our membership now. He has already been to some of the Wednesday socials and baffled those there with some of his tricks, so you too could fall under his spell.

From the Club’s point of view 2012 has been a very successful season. Sailing numbers have been very strong race after race. The Tasar Nationals too were well attended and although I don’t know how much the Club made I know that it was a financial success. We have gained some new sailing members, which is always a bonus, but have lost 2 stalwarts to the cycling bug but it would be nice to get some of the other boats that remain in the field out racing. I do hear rumours from time to time about other people joining us, and I would love that to be true. We do offer some of the best sea sailing around. Competition is keen and the racing standard is very high. Our Club itself is renowned for its friendliness and we also have a good crop of juniors coming on. So if you know anyone in the area who sails elsewhere or someone who just wants to sail then try & persuade them that Porthpean is the place to be. There will be a host of socials up and coming after Christmas, the Annual Club Walk and the Fish & Chip supper being just 2 of them. Full details will be forthcoming from Anna in due course.

Well that’s it; the Blog is complete for another year. I may decide to try & report on activities as they happen but until next March farewell, have a happy Christmas and New Year.

November 18th
The Clubhouse and dinghy park
What a difference a day makes. Sunday, was a gorgeous day, unfortunately with no wind to start with, but that didn’t stop plenty of people gathering, drinking coffee and to various degrees getting their boats ready for the day’s racing. For the first time for me, this side of Christmas I woke up to see a layer of frost covering the car. Fortunately by 09.00 it had all thawed as the sun raised the temperature enough. Today, Monday, as I write this it is very wet, quite windy, in fact bad enough that I am sure we wouldn’t have sailed at all. So yesterday’s fine weather was surely a bonus for us all and justification enough to attempt to sail right through November, and with only one Sunday left we have practically done it.

Well back to yesterday; the bay was looking very peaceful, and very flat without a breath of wind to be seen, nice for walking but no good for sailing. The weather was nice enough to tempt quite a few down for what would be the penultimate days racing of the 2012 season. The sun was shining down from a cloudless sky and it felt really warm and pleasant just standing around in the yard. Unfortunately the lack of wind caused the postponement flag to be raised as we waited for the dark line that graced the horizon to make its way across to us. Progress was so slow that an early lunch was proposed with the hope that the wind would have arrived to enable us to do 2 races back to back in the early afternoon. We should have had more people down but the month of November seems like one month too much for some and they haven't come down.

Sure enough by 13.00 there was enough wind to encourage an eager fleet of 15 boats to launch. Once again we had a south westerly blowing, though much more gentle than the last 2 times that we have had wind from that direction. The arrival of the breeze also saw the arrival of dark looking clouds and suddenly the warmth of the day quickly disappeared. Paul & Kelvin were our RIB drivers for the day, and just to scare the daylights out of some of the less experienced racers Paul announced that he was taking a black flag with him. Why he wanted a black flag I will never know as we haven’t had one general recall this season at all. At least we were saved from seeing it raised so that was one bit of pressure lifted.

Once again it was what seemed to be a Noah’s ark race with 2 Contenders, 2 Tasars, 2 RS400s, 2 Lasers, 2 Toppers & 2 Picos making up the bulk of the fleet, with the addition of 1 Kestrel, 1 Super Nova and 1 Scorpion. The wind was moving around quite a bit just prior to the start and for a while it looked like a port hander start would pay off, but in the last few minutes the wind swung back far enough to ensure everyone started on Starboard and maybe with the fear of a black flag lurking in the back of our minds we all made a clean start. Nick Eggett, was sailing once again after a lengthy holiday away in Germany and soon established himself at the front of the fleet by the end of the 1st beat, with Jeremy & Suzanne in 2nd and the 1st RS 400 sailed by Paddy & Steve in 3rd. I think Richard was in 4th, we were in 5th and Nigel & James in 6th. Our initial downwind pace was good and we overtook Richard on the 1st reach, though the reach itself was very boring, too broad for our liking, as we had to carry the whisker pole all the way down, before gybing at the beach marks onto a closer reach. Both Richard & Nigel overtook us as the race progressed. Jeremy was once again finding some special speed as he closed up and overtook the faster Contender of Nick to claim line honours on the eventually shortened course. The rest of the handicap fleet were never too far behind as came apparent when the results were worked out. Nick hung on to claim a victory, but close behind on corrected time was the Laser of Tom Bittle in 2nd and the Kestrel of Jan & Pete Barnes just 2 seconds behind in 3rd. Richard who had made some progress after his slow early race pace only just took 4th ahead of the Topper of Luke Bilkey. A very good race for Luke which gave him the scalp of the leading RS400 of Paddy & Steve who could only finish in 6th place and they were only 12 seconds in front of Brian Reeves in his Laser. In fact there was less than 1 minute separating boats from 6th to 10th and the rest of the fleet were not too far behind either.

A quick turnaround quickly got the 2nd race underway and a very competitive start saw Simon Robins in his Supernova recalled due to being a little too eager. By the time he had returned and rounded one of the ends he had lost quite a bit of distance; in fact too much to make a comeback from. Nick, once again proved to be much faster than everyone else and this time he pulled away enough to put a lot of distance between himself and Jeremy. Richard too had a better race, this time finishing in 2nd overall. Nigel & James too had a better race, passing Paddy & Steve to finish only a few seconds behind Richard, leaving Paddy to finish in 5th. Ken & I appeared to be a lot slower in this race which gave me time to watch some of the handicap fleet behind us. There seemed for the first lap like quite a battle going on between Tom, Janeet & Pete and the Kendalls, who were having a much better time in the 2nd race. Although Janet & Pete were the first of that batch on the water, the finishing position went to Tom who also beat Paddy into 4th place, with the Kendalls in 6th & Jan & Pete slipping to 7th. Simon, despite his poor start was only just behind Janet and in front of Brian Reeves’s Laser. The battle of the Toppers this time went to Finn, also having a good race was Shane Hendra in one of the Club Picos as he managed to finish in front of Luke.

Just to emphasise that we are reaching the end of the season, the beach marks were hauled out and brought ashore. We have been lucky this year that we haven’t lost either of them. The fact that they were properly overhauled last winter and had good tackle affixed proved a winning formula and hopefully will be copied for next season also.

November 11th
An array of masts
What a smashing day it was for sailing. In fact I would go as far to say that it was a perfect day for sailing at Porthpean today. For the first time for quite a long time we had a very nice force 2-3 north westerly blowing, which for us means an offshore breeze and flat water BUT today it was also extremely shifty; frustratingly so. Anna & John Bittle were our RIB drivers today with Liz and Shane in the race box. Unfortunately our fleet has become rather depleted from the summer highs but we still had a good turnout of 12 boats in total which is still fairly healthy and still extremely highly competitive.

A few of you will remember that a film crew were down last Sunday, filming and interviewing racing and people in the Club I believe that the programme will be transmitted on Monday, the 12th, from 9pm until 10pm and you can watch on either, Sky channel 212, Freesat 401 and on their website www.cornwallchannel.co.uk where it is also available for a number of weeks. Its not to missed, tell your friends and family to tune in aswell. This is really putting Porthpean and Cornwall fimly on the map and without viwers it wouldn't be possible so go and support your local TV channel.

And on to today’s racing, well it was a bit like Noah’s ark again with 2 Tasars, 2 Scorpions, 2 RS400s & 2 Supernovas making up the majority of the fleet, with a mix of Laser, Kestrel, Pico, Contender & Topper, completing the rest. As per normal we were all a little late assembling for the start but eventually enough of the fleet were present ready for the off. We had a good look at the start line for the first race, but there wasn’t enough port bias to tempt us to have a go at a port hand start. Richard in his Contender was not put off and had a go, but this went wrong and he had to sail behind most of the fleet to cross the line. As it happened this didn’t do him any harm as by the end of the first beat he was well into the lead. Jeremy & us rounded almost together and we sailed most of the first reach side by side, with us rounding the gybe mark on the inside to retain our lead taking us on to the next beat where Jeremy eventually just passed us. Paddy & Steve in the RS400 were back in 4th place after the first beat but their spinnaker pulled them through on the reaches. Janet & Pete were sporting a new suit of sails on their Kestrel and it certainly gave them quite a bit of extra pace, especially on the reaches, which saw them eventually take 2nd place behind Richard in the handicap fleet, pushing Paddy & Steve back into 3rd. The 2 Scorpions out today were those of Beacky & Kelvin racing against the Scorpion of Sarah & Jenny Kendall, whilst Andrew took the opportunity to sail Colin’s Supernova against our new member Simon Robbins who is enjoying his sailing on the open sea, much better than in the confines of Fowey Harbour. Beacky & Kelvin managed to beat the Kendall girls by some 9 minutes to finish 4th and almost half a minute in front of Tom Bittle who is fresh back from the Laser circuit, where he has been doing very well in his first year sailing with the big rig. Simon Robbins slipped into 6th place which put Tom in between him and Andrew.

It’s quite nice at this time of year to have the beach to ourselves and it was a good thing too today as the tide was making fast and all our boats had to be pulled up to the top of the beach by the wall to escape the incoming tide whilst we had lunch. It was really a very pleasant experience to be able to sit out on the decking, under blues skies and quite a warm sun, made especially warm as we were sheltered from the cool north westerly breeze. Almost too nice to go out racing again.

The course was tweaked a bit for the afternoon race, but the wind was predominantly in the same direction, it was though a little fresher with more pronounced gusts and some very tricky changes in wind direction to keep us all on our toes. Nigel & James joined us with their RS400 to have their own battle with Paddy & Steve. We had a good look at the start line and thought that there was just enough bias on the line to convince me to have a go at a port end flyer. We judged it to perfection, just sweeping across the bows of the fleet right on the gun. I thought we were sailing the beat well as we slowly pulled away from the 2 RS400s behind us but Jeremy & Suzanne, who for them had had a poor start, steamed in from under the cliffs to take a good lead at the beach marks. Nigel & James managed to come from 3rd boat at the end of the beat to 1st boat for the start of the 2nd beat, but a poorly judged tack put them onto port right in front of Paddy & Steve, who had to take avoiding action. The resulting 720 dropped Nigel right out of contention and effectively gave the race to Paddy.

There was a much closer fight going on behind us in the handicap fleet. Once again Janet & Pete were storming along in their Kestrel and not far behind them was Tom Bittle, having a much better race than in the morning. Sarah & Jenny Kendall were also having a good race, being quite good distance ahead of Beacky & Kelvin. They held this position until the last round when Beacky’s experience paid off and were beaten by almost 2 minutes.

After all the corrected times were worked out Tom split the 2 RS400s taking 2nd place, and Beacky & Kelvin moved up into 4th, which pushed Janet & Pete back down to 5th, Simon took 6th place and Sarah & Jenny down to 7th. Finn who missed the morning race due to rugby practice battled almost alone in his Topper but still finished ahead of Andrew Kendall in the other Supernova, which left Kris Harris who has recently joined us bringing up the rear in one of the Club Picos.

Now we are down to the last 2 Sundays of the season and the weather is gradually getting colder, but we have had a good run lately with the weather, though apart from today it has been a little breezy at times.

November 4th
Nice weather to go sailing
After 2 hard races I was ready for a lie down so left the Club early with the request to email me the corrected results. Unfortunately they hadn’t arrived by the time I got round to writing this so not sure how accurate it might be; but here goes anyway.

Arriving at the Club was almost a déjà vu day from last week. There was no wind at all in the bay but the forecast was for a fairly fresh south westerly, but where was it? Way out on the horizon dark patches could be seen. Yes there it was and within 30 minutes it had swept completely across the bay and racing was definitely on. Ken had been watching the Polruan weather site and saw that the wind speed went from 3 knots to 26 knots in the space of a few minutes. There was no doubt that this was going to be another breezy day.

Mike Voyzey and Dave Saunders were our RIB drivers for the day and set one of the largest courses that we have had for ages, which gave our beat across the bay right in the path of the mussel farms and what shelter we may have had from Blackhead was lost allowing the full fury of 20 knots plus to hammer over us. It might not have been so bad if the wind had been constant but it varied quite a bit in intensity and what was more disturbing, direction, which had the threat of capsizes hanging over us like the sword of Damocles. I checked on the historical data from Polruan and the wind strength varied between 20 & 30 knots all the time we were racing, not what you want for a cold Sunday in November.

We had a much reduced fleet from last week with only 10 boats setting off from the beach to brave the elements. Without doubt the colder, windier weather is taking its toll with our attendances, which I think on the whole has been better than last year. Chris & Tony were making their last appearance of the year and were in demob mode, but for the rest of us we still have 3 more Sundays to get through and I for one will be glad for some lighter sailing conditions if we get them. Paddy & Steve were out in the RS400 and looking to use their weight to their advantage, but at the end of the first beat we were lead around with Jeremy & Suzanne in the lead followed by Richard Armstrong in his Contender, us and just behind Paddy & Steve. The first reach was too tight for them to fly their spinnaker and the Tasar surged away from them, but the 2nd reach was broad enough for the spinaaker and off they went roaring past us in pursuit of Richard & Jeremy. Behind us was Chris & Tony and right on their heels, Jan & Pete in the Kestrel. Again the long spinnaker reach proved a Godsend to them and they soon passed Chris and started to close up on us. Behind those 2 were the Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin and Andrew & Jenny Kendall, both hoping to capitalise on the spinnaker legs.

Our large course appeared to be getting bigger. The leeward mark was starting to drift away towards Par, which I suppose did broaden it a bit but made the beat even longer. Richard had spots of bother when tacking when sometimes he ended up in irons. Paddy & Steve caught and passed Jeremy and though I don’t have the corrected scores I think that easily won the handicap class, especially as both Scorpions capsized.

Ken & I arrived on the beach relatively dry, but whilst Ken was retrieving the trolley I managed to catch a wave broadside whilst holding the boat, resulting in the boat rolling overt the top of me, getting completely soaked to the skin in the process; not a good experience at all.

Chris Hazell had been in touch with a company who are making a series of TV programmes about sports Clubs for Sky – Cornwall, which is a new channel on me. The programme will be transmitted on a Monday evening. Chris will have all the details about it, which I will pass on when I know. They interviewed a few members on the beach and took a film crew out on the water to record the start of the afternoon race, so expect some thrilling pictures and interviews to hit a TV screen near you soon.

Mike & Dave reset the course for the afternoon, making it shorter, but still basically the same shape. The fleet changed round somewhat. Richard decided not to sail, Paddy & Steve switched from the RS400 to the Tasar, giving us 4 Tasars out racing. Brain Reeves turned up to take his Laser out as did Anna taking the Club Laser out. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne were first to the windward mark and thereafter had a lonely race, whereas Paddy & Steve and us had a cracking race with both of us swopping places each round. The beats were fairly evenly matched, but they had better downwind speed on the first reach whilst we had better speed on the 2nd reach. Anyway we started the last reach with something like a 20M lead, which half way up the beat had been cut back to about 2 boats lengths. Maybe lady luck shone on us as rather than tack on top of them to cover I spotted a patch of wind further out at sea. Once we sailed into the wind we soon experienced a massive header, tacking on that one put us on an enormous lift which suddenly gave us at least a 200 M advantage, and with only a reach back to the beach marks to go gave us a very nice 2nd and also not too far behind Jeremy & Suzanne.

It was a relief to sail back to the beach and how calm and serene it was there, what a contrast to the wild weather out at sea. I had taken off my wet jumper and replaced it with 2 dry ones for the afternoon race so was warmer and drier but my little upset upon coming ashore after the morning race was repeated again in the afternoon, though this time I didn’t roll under the boat so managed to scramble up before I became too wet again.

So now we are only 3 Sundays away from the end of the 2012 season. To my memory 2011 was quite a windy year but 2012 has gone down in history as the wettest summer in any of our lifetimes and the wind strength has been equally strong, if not stronger. It was only a few months ago that my mast snapped in strong winds and quite a few others have suffered damage at one time or another.

October 28th
Pete & Jan texting each other
Wow wasn’t it cold on Saturday? Fortunately it was only a tiny touch of what will be coming in January & February, so I think we were all relieved when we arrived at the Club this morning to find it somewhat milder, slightly misty and somewhat apprehensive that there was hardly any wind. A fact compounded by the sight of a lonely Pico crawling along out in the bay. We had all had an extra hour in bed as the clocks went back the night before and we had a healthy number of members who wanted to sail and despite a few rain showers were soon taking off the covers to ready their boats to go racing. All apart from Dennis who didn’t believe that the wind would pick up and didn’t fancy a slow time, sitting in the boat crawling around the race track. Fortunately for us Dennis was totally wrong. We all had the luxury of rigging in quiet conditions and even launching into very flat almost windless water but once out near the beach marls we benefited from a building south westerly breeze, and it wasn’t long before we could easily plane downwind and hike hard up wind. Dennis missed some excellent racing, but 15 other boats made the correct decision.

Ron & Michelle were our RIB drivers for the day and were well wrapped up against the colder weather, whilst Kay & Gary had the luxury of the heated Clubhouse to do the officiating. The course was set for the south westerly wind and off we went into the starting sequence. Now here Ken & I had a bit of good fortune. I had arrived at the line a little too early so gybed round intending to spin right round just to lose some time. Unfortunately my main sheet became completely twisted around the ratchet block and I was in a bit of a tangle and with only a few seconds to go I knew that our start was going to be severely compromised. However Ron had spotted a major wind shift and with only 10 seconds left on the clock aborted the start, phew a bit of relief for us. We had to wait around for a good 20 minutes whilst Ron moved the course to suit the westerly wind which had now taken over the bay, giving us a beat into the beach marks. Well I know that we often moan about the winds in the beach marks area but I think today they were the worst I have ever known. Not only was the wind extremely shifty but also very violent as the strength and direction constantly ebbed and flowed. I would think it was every bit as bad as any reservoir sailing that I have done. We weren’t the only ones to benefit from the aborted start. Pete & Jan in the Kestrel had major spinnaker problems, with knots in their halyard. The extra time taken due to the delayed start allowed them to move all their sheets around to get the system moving freely.

We were back up to 3 Tasars racing, with Jeremy & Suzanne back from Turkey, 2 RS400s and 3 Scorpions, all competing against each other. As per normal Jeremy lead at the first mark, but encouragingly we were not too far behind and managed to stay there for 3 of the beats. Richard Armstrong in his Contender trailed us for the majority of the race, only passing us on the last set of reaches. Steve & Polly, once again out in their Scorpion set a scorching pace being3rd boat at he end of the first beat and was slowly overhauled by first Richard and then the 2 RS400s of Nigel & James and Paddy & Anna. In fact the 2 RS400s had the most exciting race of all as Nigel & James overhauled and built a good lead on Paddy & Anna, but threw it all away on the last beat allowing Paddy to get his nose back in front and it was only within the last 50 metres of the final beat that Nigel just managed to get ahead and take the win by 1 second. Beacky & Kelvin had been setting a good pace over the other Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny Kendall, but a capsize with spinnaker flying cost them too much time to get a better result than 7th. Andrew & Jenny finally retired due to getting their spinnaker trapped under the boat. It strikes me that spinnakers might give you extra power down wind and also look very pretty when flying but I have to question their true worth when you see so many problems week after week that must impact on their overall results. Whilst Paddy & Nigel were playing cat and mouse up the last beat, Simon Robbins in his Supernova was quietly gobbling up the distance and finished just 40 seconds behind them on corrected time. Simon has just joined us for the autumn series and is enjoying the racing so much that he has joined the Club, which should give John Hill & Jeremy Rowett some good competition when they come sailing again next year. Another battle going on in the race was the 2 Toppers of Luke & Finn. We tend to forget the slower boats sometimes when we are battling it out, but they still have the same sort of problems to contend with as we do and so Luke must have been well pleased to beat Fin by some 10 minutes. Young as they are they are still building up a good data base of sailing and racing knowledge that will stand them in good stead as they mature into bigger and faster boats.

The late start from the morning race, pushed lunch back a little and we were all a bit slow out of the blocks to start the afternoon racing. The conditions were very similar to the morning race and the course was left unaltered for an Olympic (old style) course. Richard & Steve had called it a day after the morning race leaving a smaller fleet to sail in very similar conditions to the morning race. The highlight for Ken & me was managing to get away with a port hand flyer. There was just enough bias in the line to tempt me to have a go. Our timing was spot on and we just managed to clear the entire fleet. Once again it was Jeremy & Suzanne first at the windward mark, with us again 2nd. This time both RS400s were much closer and both managed to get past us during the race. Nigel & James built up a good lead, and beat Paddy & Anna by almost a minute. Beacky & Kelvin managed to keep upright and to their pleasure managed to beat Paddy & Ann on corrected time by the magnificent margin of 1 second. Once again Simon was snapping at their heels being just 20 odd seconds further back. Unfortunately for us Jeremy opened up a bigger lead on us making their margin up to over a minute and a half.

Well that’s the end of October and now there are only 4 weeks of sailing left. I know that several of us regulars would now rather sail 2 races back to back rather than come ashore all nice and warm, have lunch, cool down and then have to launch and race again, so maybe we will have a meeting before racing next week and decide whether to adopt that. Obviously conditions on the day may well affect the decision.

October 21st
An Autumn Afternoon
How typical of life, I went away last weekend and missed the F&C supper for the 40th anniversary of the Club house opening. I believe about 40 people sat down to Fernley’s F&C. Prominent amongst the attendees were 2 ex Commodores, Peter Miln & Guy Morgan, plus Geoffrey Spencer Smith, who used to sail an Enterprise at Porthpean in the early 70s but now lives in Bridport. There were quite a few “old” pictures of the Club from its early days displayed for all to see. It’s quite amazing how we take our Clubhouse and dinghy park for granted but it all had to be dug out and built by first removing what had been built many years previously. In fact if we wanted to do the same today I am sure it would be banned as the old fish salt cellars that were on the Club house site would have been granted listed building status and we would probably be operating from our car park field. Even more frustrating was that I also missed 2 well attended races, with an interesting offshore wind keeping 17 boats cruising along. So much for the weather men predicting gales for the Sunday the previous Wednesday. What a useless bunch.

I suppose we were lucky to be racing today as once again we had an easterly wind, roughing up the waters and blowing on the shore. Fortunately the wind hadn’t been present for long so the waves pounding the beach weren’t too bad. In fact all 11 of today’s racers managed to launch without too much trouble, though one or two were swamped and had to return, drain the water and weed out before leaving the shore. Ken & I were luckier as we managed to sail out through the surf at the first attempt, prompting a huge sigh of relief from me. Yes today, with only 11 boats out, our attendance was well down on some of the high turnouts experienced lately, but with some still on holiday and others attending open meetings being the cause.

Our racing was conducted by Ian Whale & Shane in the safety boat and Paddy & Liz in the race box. After the inevitable delay we were off on a lumpy ride with a beat out to sea before we turned right for, at times, quite a fast plane across the swell before the real enjoyment started when we gybed around and flew down the waves, sailing towards the beach marks. In all honesty I suppose it doesn’t matter what boat you are sailing, when it comes to down wind in waves they all seem to pick up their skirts and fly. Only the speed is different from boat to boat. All I know is that it is the favourite leg when sailing a Tasar and all feels efficient & under control. Not like my Enterprise days when a fast plane down wind was like living on a knife edge. There was spray flying everywhere and it needed 100% concentration to keep the boat upright.

For once the Tasars were outnumbered by the Scorpions. We only 2 Tasars sailing against 3 Scorpions today. I suppose we could actually get 5 Scorpions on the water now, if only Kay & Ron would bring theirs out to play. Steve Mitchell has brought his immaculate Scorpion down to sail for the rest of the season, and what a nice looking craft it is. Polly tells me that it isn’t quite as roomy as a Tasar and tacking is a bit of a squeeze, but she is enjoying playing the spinnaker. The weather wasn’t too kind to Sarah Kendall & her boyfriend sailing the family Scorpion as they had a major problem when the rudder snapped, necessitating the safety boat to tow them back in. Luke & Matt also had a spot of bother when they capsized Liz & Anna’s Vago as the rudder fell off the upturned boat leaving them to wait for their turn for a tow back to the shore.

The course was triangular and sailed as an average lap race, so we were all finishing in similar times and then it was off for the lottery of landing on the beach. However that wasn’t too bad for us. We managed to come in during a quiet spell and with a few people round the boat it was only a quick lift and onto the trolley, with the minimum of weed and waves to contend with. Whilst we were all on the beach a snap poll was taken as to how many would race in the afternoon. In the event there were only 6 of us and with the prospect of a lively set of waves to contend with and a heavy RIB to manhandle it was decided to cancel the afternoon race and so the marks were retrieved and everything packed away. All the dinghies that had been racing had accumulated lots of sea weed and all needed a good hose down.

Looking at the calendar I see that we only have 5 more Sundays of racing left and just to heap more depression on you all I see that the clocks go back next Saturday night, which is the first major sign of winter; definitely not my favourite time of year. The weather too is changing with the weather pattern set to bring strong cold winds down from the north, which will certainly lower the temperatures. Yes it can only get darker & colder from now on for a few months.

I see that we are due to visit a new venue for the forthcoming laying up supper which will be on January 19th. The venue will be the Cornwall Hotel, which I haven’t visited before but I am told nice things about it, so that is something to look forward to. Menus and tickets will be distributed by Anna shortly. Don’t forget it is an evening dress code for the function, which will allow our ladies the luxury of wearing their best ball gowns, and for us gents the chance to strut our stuff in a suit or DJ.

The more observant of you may have noticed that the Web Cam display has many lines across it. Well the good news is there is nothing wrong with your Computer. The bad news istha Paddy thinks that the camera has a fault and may need replacing, so bear with us for a while until the problem is rectified.

October 7th
Retrieving the RIB

Click on this link to see the RIB landing through the surf.

What a fantastic weekend I had for sailing. I was invited by Peter & Jenny Pope to have a sail on Alexis on Saturday as it was their last sail of the season before the boat is lifted out for the winter and what a great day it turned out to be. Saturday was a very sunny day with a moderate easterly breeze. Our initial plan was to sail across to the Helford, find a nice quiet spot, moor up for lunch and then sail back. In the event Falmouth bay was quite choppy and by the time we were off the Helford Estuary it became obvious that there would be a lumpy sea to contend with. Time for plan B; we tacked around and beat our way back to the Fal. We sailed up the river on a course for Malpas. By the time we reached the King Harry Ferry the breeze had become much more fickle and we motor sailed up to a pontoon, just up from the KHF, where we moored up, then sat in the sun in the cockpit eating a delicious lunch prepared earlier by Jenny. It was really very tranquil and unexpectedly warm and very, very pleasant. After the late lunch we set sail again down the Fal, across towards St. Just and then made our final turn back to the moorings, where we finally moored up around 18.00. All in all a truly fantastic day’s sailing; Thank you Peter & Jenny.

And so on to today; winter showed its teeth for the first time this autumn, when we sailed in a very cold easterly breeze. Don’t forget only just over a week ago I was sitting in the sun in Turkey in temperatures in the high 20s, and that was in the shade. So sailing today was a bit of a shock. Anyway I suppose any sailing today was a bonus because the forecast for today last Wednesday showed a very fresh south easterly blowing which if it materialised would have stopped us from launching and recovering. As per usual the BBC weathermen weren’t quite accurate. We did have an easterly blowing but the wind strength was fairly low and the waves were more irritants than anything else. Richard Morley & Shane took the RIB as the scheduled RIB drivers didn’t turn up so to we were very grateful to Richard & Shane as it prevented us having to put names into a hat to do the duty. We were also joined by some sailors from Pentwean, whose season has suddenly ground to a halt as their tractor which is essential to them for launching and recovering their RIBs has broken down. We all managed to launch successfully and sailed out into what was developing into quite a fresh breeze. There was certainly enough meat in the breeze to give good surfing on both reaches and hard hiking on the beats. 17 boats prepared to launch and initially it looked like we would have 3 RS400s, but Nigel & James thought better of it and took their RS Feva instead and Paddy & Steve Coello took their Tasar, which gave us 3 Tasars. Jeremy & Suzanne had hoped to have had an invite to the Endeavour Trophy but the Tasar fleet wasn’t deemed important enough to be chosen. Their 2nd choice was to sail with us in the afternoon as Finn was down for rugby practice in the morning.

The start line was rather biased for the pin end and indeed it was the most congested place to be. Nick Eggett made the best start and we managed to slot in just behind him, with Paddy & Steve behind us and Dennis & Brian with Richard Armstrong down to leeward of us. The majority of the fleet sailed along the shoreline towards Charlestown and indeed the leading boats at the first mark all came from that side of the course. Once again Paddy & Steve made their extra weight count on the beat, sailing higher to windward than us but we still managed to get to the windward mark just in front of them and managed to pull away on the first reach, only to be pulled back by them on the 2nd reach. Indeed this game of cat and mouse went on for several rounds, before they managed to get in front of us just before the start of the last beat. We hung on and although starting the reach about 50M behind them managed to find enough speed to just creep inside for the gybe mark. The fast & furious last reached proved just right for them and they managed to pass us and just beat us over the line by about ½ a boat length. Even though we lost it was still a very good tactical race, keeping both of us on our toes throughout the race. Dennis & Brian lying 3rd, were never quite out of contention, using their heavier weight to good effect in closing us all down on the beat and 2nd reaches.

Nick Eggett was never troubled, sailing on his own at the front. The 2nd handicap boat was Richard in his Contender. Probably he had a more exciting race as he had to come from behind the Tasars to make his way forward and that wasn’t easy as the Tasar downwind speed was equally as fast as his for most of the time. Once Richard had passed us all he started to pull away. The Blazes were the next pair of fastest boats out sailing and once again honours here went to Roger Williams, finally finishing almost 7 minutes ahead of Steve Wingrove, who I owe a huge apology to. Steve was the meat in the sandwich between Paddy & us at the beach marks as we finished and my language was rather coarse, urging him to luff up so that we could make a better angle for the finishing line, hoping to get there before Paddy. It was all said in the heat of the moment. Competitiveness overshadows most things at times and I soon calmed down. The RS Feva of Nigel & James again showed its quality by taking 3rd on handicap, only 27 seconds behind Richard on corrected time. I think they were the only handicap boat that could actually fly their spinnaker, apart from the RS400 of Jim Sharatt & Steve Pitcher and I think that very wisely they kept theirs in the bag as they found the stability of the RS far more challenging than that of a dart. Simon Robbins has joined us with a Supernova and showed haw fast these boats can go down wind in a blow, planing not much slower than a Tasar, finishing just 4 seconds behind Janet & Pete’s Kestrel, sporting a new rudder assembly after they lost their old one a few weeks ago.

The race was eventually shortened after what for us was about 6 rounds and then we had the task of trying to get back to shore safely. A task that with help we all managed successfully. I always feel very relieved after a safe landing as a Tasar can get badly damaged if the landing goes wrong. I have seen masts snapped off when capsizing in the surf. At a Tasar Nationals at Babbacombe one year I saw the whole bow of a Tasar snap off when they sailed it straight down a wave onto the beach. The boat pitch poled and the crew also suffered a broken leg. Once we had all landed it became obvious that we would not be launching again as the surf was building so the decision was made to cancel the afternoon’s race & retrieve the racing marks and a reception party assembled on the beach to help recover the RIB. When the sea conditions are bad then the only way to land is to free the engine, secure the fuel tank and then run in flat out, hit the beach and kill the engine, as can be seen from the accompanying video clip at the top of the page.

There are 2 reminders for everybody. The first is the talk, this Wednesday evening by Steve Cockrill, who is a very accomplished sailor, having won quite few dinghy nationals and came 2nd here a few weeks ago in the Tasar Nationals. Steve will be giving a talk on tactics and will be answering questions. The intention is to actually start the lecture at 19.00 so please get to the Club by 18.30, which will give time to get a drink and find a seat. The 2nd reminder is a F&C supper next Saturday as a celebration of the Clubhouse being 40 years old. Anna is collecting names and orders. Unfortunately I won’t be there as a pre organised trip to Basingstoke is taking preference.

September 30th
Padstow in September
You may wonder what the picture alongside has to do with Porthpean, well nothing really but it was taken less than 3 weeks ago when I had a cycle ride down the Camel trail to Padstow and just goes to show how beautiful some of our surroundings are when the weather is good. Unfortunately our weather is rarely good enough to promote weeks of such conditions on a regular basis and is the reason why so many Brits have a holiday abroad when affordable. In fact quite a few of our members have just returned from holidaying abroad from warmer climates including me.

After 2 weeks lazing in the very hot climate of Turkey I’m back to the more hum drum life of normality and the more uncertain British climate, which for us all has been more than a disappointment this year. So what have I missed in the Porthpean sailing world since I have been gone? Well for a start the early series September racing was completed with all 4 scheduled races sailed. The early start series has proved very popular and more importantly has enabled our evening racing to extend through to the end of September, rather than finish after the first Wednesday in September as it used to do. The autumn series continued on my first weekend away, but the last of the cup series of races, the September Cup was blown off with an easterly gale, which if nothing else would have provided a spectacular sight with large waves crashing down on the beach. Fortunately our beach marks withstood the battering but maybe we should soon be thinking of retrieving them before even stronger gales rips them from their moorings and we lose them.

My return from Turkey involved landing at Bristol Airport at 06.00 this morning and after a sleepless night we finally arrived home at 09.00, which would give me enough time to be able to make the afternoon race. Whilst travelling home I managed to listen to the weather forecast which didn’t seem too encouraging to me. The thought of a strengthening south westerly wind blowing over the cold grey sea didn’t appeal too much after the balmy waters of the Mediterranean. However these things have to be done and it was pleasing to see the racing marks attached to the beach marks as I travelled down the hill to the Club. In fact the view of the sea didn’t look too bad, so sailing was definitely on; but as it happened not for me.

I soon found out that the south westerly blowing was indeed quite fresh and quite a few of the 18 boat fleet had retired during the race; 7 from the handicap fleet and 2 from the Tasar fleet. Retirements being caused by either breakages or for others just too fierce conditions to contend with. Nevertheless there were some close finishes, Jeremy & Suzanne practicing for next weeks Endeavour Trophy and sailing the RS400, just managed to beat Tom Bittle in his full rigged Laser by only 7 seconds. Richard Armstrong struggled round to take 3rd, but the closest finish was between Charlie Nunn in his Laser 4.7 who just managed to beat Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion by 2 seconds. Roger Williams retired from a strong position with a breakage that he was attempting to repair when I arrived in the yard. In fact the conditions were considered so fierce that the 2nd RIB was launched to help with the numerous capsizes that were littering the bay. The culprit of all those capsizes was the strength and direction of the gusts. The wind itself wasn’t too bad for most but the sudden change in direction and viciousness of the gusts caught quite a few out. The conditions suited Dennis & Brian who kept upright throughout and powered away from everybody to take a good win in the Tasar fleet with Mike Voyzey & Dave Saunders being the only other Tasar to finish, although 8 minutes behind Dennis.

The reports of the conditions, the numerous capsizes, my tiredness and the strength of wind showing on the Polruan weather station web site were enough for me to decide that today was not the day to go racing so I made the decision to stay ashore rather than risk an immersion in a sea that was at least 10 degrees colder than what I had grown accustomed to. Anyway a reduced fleet of 12 launched for another battering. The fleet was joined in the afternoon by Nigel & James who elected to take their RS Feva rather than their RS400, which was probably a very wise decision in those conditions. Their race got off to a terrific start when they managed to cross the fleet with a port handed flyer and although not the first to finish had enough time in the bank to take a good win by over a minute from Adam Eastham sailing a Club Pico. Adam did extremely well to finish 2nd as he beat quite a few of the Club regulars by keeping upright when others were falling in. Roger took 3rd, 9 seconds behind Adam and in turn was just 13 seconds in front of Tom Bittle. It was quite impressive to see 2 Toppers battling it out, both suffering from the dreaded capsize syndrom from time to time but it was the reefed Topper of Finn who managed to beat Luke who eventually retired due to breakages.

Dennis & Brian were the sole representatives of the Tasar fleet, sailed on and their finishing time was enough to beat the rest of the handicap fleet on corrected time. It was interesting to see how many boats elected to wear round the gybe mark rather than gybing, hoping to avoid a capsize; but for some even doing this was not enough to prevent capsizing as a certain yellow hulled Scorpion was seen showing too much of its hull after such a manoeuvre.

The Wenesday night series may have finished but the Wednesday socials now start from 19.30. Unfortunately that does not include Jenny's bacon butties, but maybe it could be added as an extra attraction? I think it could go down quite well, say butties from 20.00. One other thing, many of you may have seen the plaque outside the Clubhouse entrance commemorating the opening of the Clubhouse on October 14th 1972. Well that anniversary is fast approaching. I wasn’t a member when this event happened but others are. Maybe someone who was there could write a few lines about it which I can append to the Club history, that I intend expanding on this winter. Any photographs taken at the time would also be gratefully appreciated.

September 13th
Lonely dinghies
Last night’s race was in bonus time, which means that without the early start series then our Wednesday night season would have already finished. As it is we had last night and hopefully 2 more scheduled race nights before Wednesday nights are officially declared closed.

As Ken & I will be missing for the next 2 races, so couldn’t qualify for the series if all 4 races are sailed we were quite happy to do RIB duty last night. We launched in plenty of time to set a nice triangular course to suit the westerly wind that was blowing quite nicely from the land. We made it a starboard hand course to try and get the reaches in more breeze towards Charlestown as we knew the breeze would eventually fade somewhat. Encouragingly 15 boats came out to race, and although we were ready to start on time we actually held the starting sequence for 5 minutes to allow the stragglers to reach the start line, and all but one of them reached us in time.

Jeremy & Suzanne, hoping to sail in the Endeavour trophy borrowed Steve Coello’s RS 400 to battle it out with Nigel & James. That gave Paddy & Steve a good chance of taking the Tasar class win as there were only 4 Tasars out, especially after the chaotic start. The start line was quite interesting as there was enough bias on the line to tempt a port hand flyer from Nigel & James. Jeremy & Suzanne had no option but to start on port as they were one of the last boats to get to the start and the port end was the closest end for them. As it happened maybe a port hand start wasn’t the best as Nigel was caught by Dennis & Brian coming across the line on starboard. Dennis was hailing but when he didn’t get the right response from Nigel had to crash tack to avoid a collision. As a result Dennis came to a near halt and any chance of them winning the race was blown away as initially it dropped them to the back of the fleet. Nigel & James had to do turns, which effectively dropped them quite a way back also. Meanwhile Jeremy’s start, being slightly later, enabled them to sail behind most of the fleet straight into clear wind and it came as no surprise to see them get to the end of the beat in first place, just in front of Nick & his new crew in the Osprey and Paddy & Steve in the Tasar. Roger Williams had a good first beat and was in front and stayed in front of the other 3 Tasars to eventually take 2nd place in the handicap fleet. That trio of Tasars being lead by Justin & Geoff, though the 3 of them were within touching distance of each other, and stayed that way down the 2 reaches, Chris & Tony were looking quite fast downwind.

Nigel & James made steady progress through the fleet and without their 720 could have made a very close tactical race with Jeremy. Nick’s position was compromised by slow spinnaker work, but then the 2 of them were learning to sail the boat together. Dennis & Brian soon gobbled up Justin, but could not make any inroads into Paddy & Steve’s lead, whilst Tony & Chris slipped further back.

Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion had a lonely race with no comparable boats to race against, but enjoyed the spinnaker legs and finished 5th not far in front of Finn who easily won the battle of the Toppers as Luke who had been leading had a capsize on one of the reaches when trying to sail by the lee. Kelvin enjoying the lighter winds was going quite well in his Contender but managed to capsize twice when tacking, which dropped him down to 8th just in front of Adam in the Club Laser. Still Adam was in front of the other Lasers, and although Nick Haskins finished last he was 3 ½ minutes late to the start, taking that time away he would have actually beaten the other Lasers and probably Kelvin as well. So the moral here is get out in plenty of time for the race. The majority of our races this year have been starting out at sea and it can take at least 20 minutes to reach the starting area and it’s well worth being there at least 10 minutes earlier as it gives you time to try and asses how strong the wind is, which way you want to go up the beat and try to plan where to start to carry out your plan. Starting ill prepared is a recipe for a poor result, especially if you are in a slower boat as you will almost always be sailing in poor wind the entire race. Being in a faster boat can often be quite good fun when behind as it brings a few tactical problems and solutions into play.

The RIB was probably the last boat to be towed up the slip after racing and although the light was fading the aroma of freshly cooked bacon was wafting over the slipway, giving us that extra special impetus to get packed away and changed. There will be no more blog for a couple of weeks whilst I am away. Hopefully all will be restored at the beginning of October.

September 9th
preparing the boats
Only a week ago we were finishing off the Tasar Nationals and this week we are back to the more humdrum life of Club dinghy sailing and the start of the last series of 2012, the autumn series. Looking back we were really lucky when we chose the Tasar National Dates. The 2 weekends before the set date were wet affairs and if we had held it this week we would have been beset with very light winds and in fact yesterday, Saturday, we wouldn’t have sailed at all as there was no wind in the bay, which would have meant trying to get enough races in today to complete the Championship.

Saturday was listed in our sailing programme as a bit of a fun day to help us celebrate the Nationals. Unfortunately not that many turned up which was a shame as those of us who did took some canoes and the RIB to Silvermine beach where we had a sumptious BBQ and a few games in the sun, before heading back to Porthpean.

Fortunately today was better attended & 15 boats launched in very overcast conditions to race in a fitful south westerly. In charge of the RIB today was Nigel & Dr Nick. The course looked a little on the small side but for the initial light winds was adequate enough. We were down to 3 Tasars as Jeremy & Suzanne borrowed Steve Colello’s RS400 to get some practice in for the forthcoming Endeavour Trophy, which is a series of races for the Champions of each Nationals Class. They don’t know at this stage whether they will be selected or not but the racing will be held in Xenons which class of boat is never seen down in this part of the world, but to a degree are not too dissimilar to the RS400. The boats are made by Topper and is yet one more class that dazzles on paper but has failed to sell in any great number. The main advantage of using the Xennon is that hardly anyone has sailed them thus producing a more level playing field.

It was good to see Roger Williams back in his Blaze after several weeks sailing and helping at Rock. His was the only Blaze to sail as Steve Wingrove broke his main halyard last Wednesday and hasn’t sourced a replacement yet. Both fleets were a little depleted as there were no Contenders either and only 3 Tasars to make up the 15 boat fleet.

I’m not sure what to make of the south westerly race course as today it was quite shifty and varied quite a bit in strength, making progress on the beats, frustrating at times with the variety of shifts and wind speed changes making life very frustrating. The offwind legs were equally challenging as one moment you could be up on the plane and the next wallowing in the slightly choppy waters, not only frustrating to me but to everyone else as well. I suppose that is one of the interesting things about sailing as the course and wind are constantly chamging, posing fresh challenges just about every time you go afloat.

There was enough bias on the line to invite a port hand flyer but no one was prepared to take up the offer and the entire fleet crossed the line on starboard. Dennis & Brian made the best of the first beat rounding first, with us a few boat lengths behind as were Jeremy & Suzanne in the RS400 and Paddy in his RS600. We had a very good first reach, passing Dennis & Brian and holding off both Jeremy & Paddy and were still in this position at the end of the 2nd beat. Andrew & Jenny, in their Scorpion had a terrific first beat and were a long way in front of Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion and for a while it looked like there could be a major upset on the cards, but Beacky’s better downwind speed slowly brought them through to pass Andrew. Janet & Pete in their Kestrel and Roger in his Blaze had an excellent 2nd beat and by the end of the next reach had passed Dennis and were snapping at our heels. Fortunately a slightly fresher patch of wind came to our assistance and we managed to spurt ahead again, on a nice Tasar reach, which also saw Dennis passing them. Inevitably the extra speed of the RS400 & 600 told and both Jeremy & Paddy overtook us but our main goal was staying in front of Dennis & Brian, which by the time the race finished we still were.

Roger’s early surge and his continuation in the top half of the fleet proved excellent conditions for his Blaze and gave him a 2 minute clear victory on corrected time over Jeremy & Suzanne. Janet & Pete who had been doing so well must have made some major mistakes later in the race as they could only finish 5th on handicap, behind, Beaky & Kelvin’s Scorpion in 3rd & Brian Reeves’s Laser 4th. Adam Eastham, sailing the Club Laser finished 6th ahead of Andrew & Jenny who again must have had big problems as they had been well up in the lead on the first beat, in fact they were only 20 seconds in front of Colin in his Supernova. Paddy's RS600 is a very fast machine which unfortunately translates into quite harsh handicap number and this put him down into 9th place, only a few seconds in front of Luke Bilkey, sailing his Topper, the slowest boat in the fleet. Dave Mackrell hasn't sailed much at all this season rounded off the handicap fleet in 11th.

Whilst we had our lunch the wind, as forecast, increased in strength and by the time we sailed to the start area, the wind was well and truly lively, causing some capsizes, and unfortunately for Janet & Peter, major problems when their rudder sheared off from their boat and floated away, necessitating a tow back to shore by the RIB. Guy Whale in his RS Tera also came to grief, finding the wind to be too strong for him and had to be towed ashore also. Eventually after the delays the afternoon race started. Once again Dennis & Brian were first up the beat and once again we managed to overtake them on the reach, with Jeremy & Suzanne a bit further back. Chris & Tony also had a good couple of beats in their Tasar, remaining in contact with the leading 2 Tasars. What made this race so frustrating was that we seemed to have plenty if not too much wind on the beats and not enough at all on the reaches. I was hoping to capitalise on the down wind legs to pull ahead of Dennis to make up for their extra grunt up wind. As it was we couldn’t pull very far in front on the reaches but by working hard we managed to keep ahead on the beats after all. Jeremy & Suzanne eventually sailed into the lead and then blasted off, leaving us no hope at all of catching up but by the end of the race we were only 4 seconds behind them on corrected time, which then brings you into the realms of interrogating yourself into what would have happened if……. Jeremy had his own back on Roger who had done so well in the morning by beating him by almost 6 minutes on corrected time, who in turn was only less than 20 seconds in front of Beacky & Kelvin. Not far behind in 4th place was Finn Hawkins in his Topper, beating Paddy who had a hard time in his RS600 in the decidedly fresh conditions. Andrew took Sarah out for this race but unfortunately they had a mega problem with their spinnaker and limped home into 8th place behind Luke Bilkey in his Topper & Brian Reeves’s Laser. Tony & Chris, although appearing to be much further back, actually were only 3 seconds behind Beacky on corrected time which shows how fast they really are.

Fortunately we did manage to beat the weather which had promised rain, spreading in from the south west and we ended up with a dry day after all. Today was my last race for a couple of weeks as a holiday beckons and in fact several regular sailors will be missing over the same period as they too disappear on holiday, so our fleets may be a little undermanned until October.

September 5th
Incredibly, the schools are back, autumn is here and the weather suddenly improves. A large high pressure system has slowly built over the UK basking us in very warm sunshine during the quite noticeably shorter days.

Last night was the first night of the early start series and encouragingly we had a very good turnout of some 15 boats or more. Actually I’m not too sure how many boats we had out in total as I was relying on looking on the results sheet for final numbers but unfortunately the latest series hasn’t been entered into our Sailwave programme yet. The yard had only 3 Tasars in it today but as the afternoon drew on and as more and more people arrived their boats were brought down from the field one by one, and by the time I went home the yard was almost half full.

I tweaked my right shoulder a few weeks ago and the amount of sailing that I have done over the last few weeks has not given it time to heal up properly, so I was quite happy to do RIB duty to give my shoulder a rest, but Jeremy couldn’t sail and offered to swop with me letting me take his boat out. Probably with hindsight I should have declined the offer as my shoulder feels even worse today, but the offer was too good to refuse. I’m afraid that I didn’t give his boat full justice, as we had a very poor start and I managed to tie myself into knots trying to get used to Jeremy’s different set up with his traveller. The boat itself is a dream to sail. It cuts through the water much better than my boat and the whole performance of the boat was better in many ways. Paddy & Steve, sailing Jeremy’s green boat got off to an excellent start and led from start to finish. Justin & Geoff in their Tasar were initially quite close behind Paddy and we rounded the first mark behind the 2 of them, and by mid way through the 2nd reach we had caught and passed Justin. The wind however wasn’t playing ball. In fact we had quite a gusty northerly to contend with which gave us a beat across the bay from right to left and was up in the high teens in terms of wind strength, so not ideal for me trying to get to grips with a different boat. Nevertheless it was quite an eye opener as it was the first time that I have sailed another Tasar in a race for many years, and I have noticed that there are some things that I can do to my boat to hopefully improve its performance.

We did have a good range of boats out sailing, comprising of 4 Tasars, 2 Scorpions, RS400, Kestrel, Lasers, Vago, Pico, Toppers & RS Tera and in order to give everyone a good sail many boats did less laps than the faster ones. The finishing results times are then calculated using average laps formulas. This can often be a help to the slower boats in the evening races as the wind tends to fall lighter, but tonight the fresh northerly stayed strong. It looked like we still had plenty of light when we arrived ashore with clear blue skies, but amazingly the darkness came I quite quickly as the autumnal nights are starting to draw in.

Now just in case anyone has missed it, the latest version of the sailing programme has been released and can be found from the link on the front page. Something that many may have missed including me is that we have a fun day scheduled for this Saturday, when the destination is given as Silver Mines, with an 11.00 hours start. The weather forecast looks good, there will be no pressure on racing, just a jolly in the sun, so if you have the time then come down, join in and have some fun, before the serious racing of the autumn series starts on Sunday.

September 3rd
Tasars on the green
After months of planning and waiting, the Tasar Nationals finally arrived and from early in the week the competitors had slowly been pulling into Porthpean. We ended up with an entry of 30 which was seen as a positive sign by all, and very encouraging as well as a relief, as within a week of the reduced entry limit we only had 10 entries. However the pressure of having a loss making Nationals evaporated as the entries started to come through. My hopes of having all 30 boats on the green were dashed by the monsoon conditions we have experienced this August. In fact over the last 2 weeks we had 3 days when it had rained almost 24 hours non stop. The green was almost like a quagmire in places and impossible to walk on let alone put a boat on. Still we did manage to get 20 boats there with the rest using the dinghy field.

Once again Porthpean Members excelled at producing one of the finest Nationals we have ever had. After weeks of soggy wet days, we actually had some very nice weather, which together with our spectacular scenery, the proximity of the car park / camping area, boats on the green, produced some very happy smiling faces. Even those who had a bad day on the water, were soon smiling again after experiencing the famous Porthpean hospitality. Foe a few competitors, it was their first time at Porthpean and I could tell from talking to them that they were very impressed with it all. We were also very generously blessed with some fine sponsorship from Kia Motors, Hawkins Motors, Signal Locker and Rooster Sailing. Due to their generosity there were gifts of sorts for everyone.

With 4 days of racing and 8 races to be run the Race Officer, Ron Barrett decided to try and get 2 races in on Thursday. That came as a disappointment to me as the wind forecast for the day was to be a fresh to strong north westerly and indeed that’s what we got in spades. From looking at the Polruan weather data base and talking to those on the Committee boat the wind was never below 20 knots, mostly in the high 20s and occasionally into the 30 plus region. For us oldies, not quite so pleasant; despite that there were very few capsizes as most people managed to handle the conditions very well. The upshot of this gave Chris Bilkey the opportunity to take some terrific pictures of everyone. Pictures good enough to publish and links to them all can be found on the front page of the web site. The beats proved really hard going but the reaches were out of this world with the boats planing non stop on both reaches and some hard work keeping the boat driving, paid off handsomely.

Tasars on the green
Launching was perfect as the offshore breeze, although strong out at sea was very benign on the beach. All the boats carried a berth number on their bows, which related to their trolley numbers and the trolleys were stacked in areas by our very efficient gang of trolley dollies, under the watchful eyes of Beach Masters, John Hill & John Bittle, ensuring that we all had our safety tallies. Indeed recovery was just as smooth. We even organised for the tide to be fairly high to reduce the distance to pull up the beach. There was only our dreaded hill to pull up afterwards, which after all the energy we had used up out on the race course was almost an effort too far.

The racing area was at the far side of the bay, a good 3 miles from our beach, but it didn’t take too long to reach there driven by the fresh breeze. Our course consisted of a triangle, sausage, triangle, sausage and a short reach to the finish line. This configuration allowed the Committee boat, provided by Peter & Jenny Pope to remain at anchor, thus saving precious time. The decision to have racing sessions also proved good as it gave the Race Officers, Ron Barrett and James Dowrick to conduct as many races as they wished, thus ensuring that we would get the full programme of 8 races in during the Championships.

In the first race Ken & I had a very poor first beat and played catch up for the rest of the race, but catch up we did and managed to sail into 11th position. Unfortunately I probably made a bad decision as we came to the end of the run. With only a short dash to the finish line, I asked Ken to leave the whisker pole up and retrieve it after we finished. As it happened everything went wrong, we crossed the finish line ok but, in what seemed like even windier conditions, capsized as Ken was trying to get the pole down. That produced a catalogue of problems, as first the dagger board slipped down the slot, disappearing from sight. Fortunately we called a near by safety boat over and they looked for the board which I hoped was floating near by, but it couldn’t be seen. Shane in the safety boat peered down the slot and saw that the board was still in there, so Ken went under the boat to try and push it through. That didn’t work, so Chris Bilkey (my hero) dived under, found that the board was caught in the diamond wires, moved it out and pushed it upwards, leaving enough board to right the boat. That should have been that but the whisker pole had twisted on the mast eye and the release piston had jammed. It took several minutes to resolve that problem. In the meantime the 2nd race had started, so we sailed for home, ruminating on what might have been. Those 2 hard races certainly took their toll as a few others also retired due to broken fittings or had had enough. The forecast for the next 3 days was for less wind, which hopefully would suit the majority of the fleet.

Tasars on the beach
The Championships were dominated by Jeremy & Suzanne, Malcolm Davies & Sam Richardson and Steve & Sarah Cockerill, almost always being in the top 3 with the occasional appearance of Steve Mitchell & Polly Newman, Nathan Bachelor & Pam Williams, Jack Hawkins & Olly Cooper, in the top 3 occasionally.

Our galley was well populated under the supervision of Jenny March. Jenny had enough volunteers to ensure the galley was always manned and one of their most popular meals was a full English cooked breakfast served each morning for the hungry campers who had stayed in the car park.

The Commodore’s reception took place on Thursday evening and catering for this was provided by Anna & Liz, who put on a marvellous spread, which was well appreciated by us hungry sailors. We had discussed putting on entertainment, but there wasn’t any need as most people take the opportunity at a Nationals to catch up on news and things since their last meeting which in some cases was quite a few years ago. They all seemed more than happy to just sit around, drinking and talking.

2 more races were sailed on Friday, again in quite fresh conditions and it was a very tired fleet who hungrily tucked into the BBQ provided by Simon Pryce, augmented by a nice salad and variety of puddings, again supplied by Anna & Liz. There were even enough burgers for seconds for some, so nobody went hungry.

The weather was kind enough on Saturday to get 3 races in. I should add that the race distances were perfect as each race was completed in full and took just about an hour each time. There was usually enough time to try and make some gains to offset, especially in my case, losses sailing upwind. Somehow I managed to make mistake after mistake on the beats and it also became apparent when the winds eased that we were not pointing quite as high as many others.

Tasars preparing to launch
The meal on Saturday night was provided by Simon’s Pizza Emporium. All the Club members were eagerly awaiting for this with great expectations after sampling the Pizzas only a few weeks ago in a trial run of the night’s meal. All the visitors were delighted with their freshly cooked pizzas and together with a salad and variety of sweets, once again provided by Anna Liz, were well fed.

Sunday dawned overcast and a bit drizzly, but it was still fairly mild and we only had 1 race to do, which was advertised as the long distance race. We did have a long distance race, but unfortunately the wind direction wasn’t in a favourable position as I was hoping to go round the mussel farms and have a long beat back to our beach marks for a finish which would have been in full view of the Club house and the watchers. The breeze was much lighter and more south westerly, with a nice flat sea. I changed the rig settings for the Sunday race and surprise, surprise it seemed to work. We had much better upwind performance. The only trouble is we chose the wrong side of the beat to sail and suffered immensely. It was heart breaking when we saw the distance that the leaders were in front of us. It was no compensation to be in the company of other ex Champions and although we closed down and overtook some of those boats in front of us we could only once again just get into the top half of the fleet.

It seemed to be a jubilant fleet that returned to the beach and made their last pilgrimage up the hill. The galley provided lunch, boats were packed away, prizes came out of their wrappings and results spewed out of the computer. Paddy gave a fine speech, thanking all our helpers both on shore and on the water. Those helpers on the water experienced quite a cold experience on Thursday and Friday with the stronger winds causing quite a bit of wind chill. One or two, including me were pleased to have them standing by as some boats experienced breakages that required towing them back to the beach. Fortunately Signal Locker, our Tasar agent was on hand to replace broken parts.

In no time at all, almost all the visitors had departed, to different parts of the country, including Constantine and Jan who live in Holland and make it a formality to attend every National Championships. David, Alex & Trixie Morgan so love Porthpean that they uncovered their Tasar which hasn’t sailed for several years and travelled down from Llangorse to sail with us.

To any Tasar sailors who attended the Nationals may I say a big thank you to you all for coming. I think that you all enjoyed it here and we certainly enjoyed your company. We even had a protest committee standing by if needed, but that need never arose as any controversies in the races was sorted out at sea meaning no need for the protest room. Thank you all.

August 29th
Steve Cockerill unloading his Tasar
Here we are with the last few days before the Tasar Nationals starts and due to that we had switched the midweek race to Tuesday this week and what a good turnout we had. 20 boats started the race tonight, although 3 of them were visiting Tasars, but nevertheless it was good to see so many boats out in what some thought may have been blustery conditions. Actually we had an almost perfect south westerly blowing, giving us a beat across the bay from left to right, before an interesting reach with the swell towards the beach marks. I say interesting as sometimes it paid to sail low on this reach and sometimes higher. Once we had gybed we were heading back out into the bay again, with some very nice planing moments, before tackling the beat again.

Nigel & James using the repaired RIB were our safety boat crew for the night and were launched quick enough to ensure a prompt 19.00 start. Surprise, surprise, after a few were caught out by not launching quick enough last Sunday, everybody was in the starting area in good time. Please forgive me if I don’t comment too much on the handicap fleet, but with 8 Tasars out racing, my concentration was centred on our fleet as it was so competitive, and I think during the course of the race we all had our moments at times.

The first boat to the windward mark was Nick in his Contender, once more disappearing off into the distance to have the loneliest of time, but quick enough to give him outright victory. Right behind him were 5 Tasars all within a few seconds of each other. Almost to be expected the first Tasar round was Jeremy & Suzanne, closely followed by another contender for the Nationals title, Steve & Sarah Cockerill. Next round was a young star from Restronguet, Jack Hawkins, sailing with father, James. Jack is part of the 29er youth squad and has featured right at the top of their results, winning a race in the 29er Nationals last week. Dennis & Brian were the next round just in front of us. Jeremy & Suzanne pulled away on the first reach and the other 4 of us were drawn together almost like magnets. Probably Ken & I had the better of the first reach, overtaking Dennis and then Jack to move into 3rd. The reach out to sea was nice and tight allowing the Tasars to stretch their heals a bit

The 2nd beat developed into a close battle between Jeremy & Steve and to my surprise the Cockerills were in the lead by the end of the beat, but weren’t quick enough down wind to hold the Hawkins off. Needless to say Jeremy had to concentrate much harder on the next beat to ensure that he wasn’t passed again. Meanwhile my attention was centred on trying to keep Jack & James behind us, especially on the beat, where they proved to be quite quick. Ian & Sue Butterworth, our other guests for the evening were a bit further back but Sue told me afterwards that they had really enjoyed their sail as there normal sailing waters is a reservoir, so sailing on the vast space of the sea with tonight’s mini swell was a pleasurable affair.

Jack & James are so taken by the Tasar that they are seriously considering buying one and joining us here on a regular basis. James is sure that his wife Jo would be quite happy sailing a Tasar whereas his RS800 is another thing altogether.

Paddy & Steve Coello will be teaming up in a Tasar for the Nationals, but elected to take their RS400 out tonight, trying to ensure their position in the handicap fleet results. Anyway they rounded the first mark just before us, very sportingly after hoisting their spinnaker, sailed low thus keeping us out of their dirty wind. The 2nd reach was a bit too tight for their spinnaker, much to their annoyance and we caught them up somewhat in the race until the wind went lighter and they pulled away form us, finishing 2nd in their fleet. Tom Bittle must have been well pleased as tonight was his first time sailing his Laser with a full rig on it. His extra power paid off and although he finished 5th on the water behind Jan & Pete’s Kestrel and Beacky & Kelvin’s Scorpion, his corrected time mover him into 3rd, only 5 seconds behind Paddy & Steve. For only about the 2nd time this season we had 3 Scorpions out racing, the other 2 sporting the latest plastic mainsails, however Andrew & Sarah Kendall were 1 ½ minutes behind Beacky, whilst Kay & Craig were almost another minute behind them. We even had 2 Toppers out tonight, with the honours going to Luke Bilkey, who finished almost 30 seconds ahead of Finn. Splitting the 2 Toppers was the Blaze of Steve Wingrove. The only boat not to finish tonight was Clive I his Laser Radial. I don’t know what went wrong there but I did see the safety boat alongside whilst we were on one of the beats.

The appalling weather on Monday has left much of the green waterlogged and the hopes of getting all the Tasars on there have been dashed. Fortunately we do have enough room in the field to accommodate them all. As I write this it is currently pouring down again, so no chance of the green getting any better. The only good news on the weather front and I am aware that our weather forecasts are normally unreliable, but if believed, state that we will have a high pressure system moving over us by Thursday which should mean a dry and mostly sunny Nationals. This will be a Godsend as I realised that if they had been organised for the previous 2 weeks earlier then we would have had quite a few race cancellations and a much curtailed sailing programme. The wind will be moderate to fresh on Thursday, gradually going lighter as the weekend progresses.

August 26th
Fowey Winners
The date today tells us it’s only 4 months to Christmas. We are almost at the end of August and to me September marks the start of the Autumn season. Indeed when Club racing starts again in September we will be starting the last of our racing series. It doesn’t seem that many weeks ago that we were launching for the first time in 2012, but that was actually 5 months ago. Never mind we still have the best part of 3 months to go before the sails come down for the last time this year.

Last week was Fowey week and it was good to have a couple of Porthpean boats entering it and it is even more pleasurable to say that our 2 boats came 1st & 2nd in their fleet. James & Luke came 1st in James’s RS Feva and Finn came 2nd sailing his Topper. There were 6 Toppers sailing so really he was 1st in that class. I think we can all feel rightly proud of their achievement; well done Guys, see picture alongside.

Jeremy & Suzanne and Steve & Polly were both away this weekend sailing at Torquay regatta, in what could be described as a rehearsal for the Nationals. Jeremy’s biggest rivals there are Malcolm Davis and Steve Cockerill, both winners of Nationals before and I would be bold enough to predict that this Year’s Tasar Champion will be one of those 3, that’s if Ken & I don’t sail a blinder and beat everyone else.!!

After last weeks no wind day, we arrived today to find that we did have a nice little westerly breeze to greet us, which was good as we had 2 visiting boats join our fleet. One was a Tasar who has travelled down early to have a bit of a holiday as well as sailing the Nationals and the other was Clive Eplett who has sailed with us before and was sailing his RS100. They helped swell the day’s fleet up to 19, which was a pretty good turnout. As an extra bonus it was even quite warm and sunny, which to me was an ideal opportunity to don my sailing shorts once more. Chris & Luke Bilkey manned the RIB today and managed to launch in plenty of time to enable an 11.00 start. Ken & I they were a bit late setting off from the beach but we managed to reach the start area within the last 2 minutes of the countdown. Unfortunately some didn’t get there in time and paid the penalty of either starting late or sailing home. Although we managed to line ourselves up on the start line we were caught by Dennis & Brian, our boats made contact and we ended up doing a 720. That alone would have been enough of a problem but trying to do it as other late starters crossed the line put us way on the back front, with an almighty hurdle to climb to catch up and pass the other 4 Tasars. Needless to say Dennis & Brian shot away from the start line to be first Tasar at the beach marks, our guests Ian & Sue Butterworth, from Milton Keynes, were 2nd Tasar with Chris & Tony next but contact with the 2nd beach mark cost them dear, allowing us to slip by them. Mike & Dave were the other Tasar sailors but they were one of the late starters so they too were sailing on the backfoot. We stuck to our task, making progress here and there until some luck came our way on the penultimate beat when the wind went very light and we all slowed down. Fortunately we were the nearest to a band of wind lying just off the shore which once we managed to find it propelled us into the lead which we held onto to take the win, with Dennis 2nd and Ian & Sue 3rd, Mike & Dave 4th & Chris & Tony 5th.

Nigel & James were scorching in the morning race. Their light weight suited the conditions and it wasn’t too long before they established a commanding lead which they held to the end, winning by a margin of over 2 minutes ahead of Richard Armstrong in his Contender. Only 1 second behind Richard was our other visitor Clive Eplett in his RS100. We only see and RS100 when Clive visits us, but what beautiful looking boats they are. They do struggle a bit upwind and are slightly slower on a tight reach against a Tasar but once they get on a leg when they can fly their, spinnaker they absolutely storm away. Clive has very generously donated 2 copies of a book that he has written & published “ Club Sailor: from back to front” to us for allowing him to sail with us. One copy will be a prize for the mid position Tasar in our forthcoming Nationals and one copy a prize for a mid fleeter in our Club racing.

Paul & Kelvin once again dominated the 3 Scorpions that came out to race, finishing in 4th place a good minute in front of Adam Eastham sailing the Club Laser to a very creditable 5th position just 2 seconds in front of Jeremy Rowett in his Supernova. The handicap today was made up of 10 different types of boats, with 7 different types taking the first 7 places.

Unfortunately things went a bit awry for the afternoon race. The RIB launched in plenty of time for the scheduled 14.00 start, but as we arrived in the starting area, it was obvious that something had gone wrong. The RIB had developed a serious problem with it’s engine and the 2nd boat had to be launched to take its place. To compound matters the wind started to swing round to the south west, which should have resulted in the course direction being changed, but time was against us so we went with what we had. Anyway we started using the same course as the morning race, with a very heavily biased port start line. After my problems in the morning race I managed to position ourselves right at the pin end on starboard as the gun went. We sailed on for quite a few metres before tacking onto the favoured port tack. This put is right on the inside of the lift and we managed to reach the beach marks just tucked in behind Nick Eggett in his Contender and more importantly quite a way in front of our other 4 Tasars. Unfortunately when the wind changes as it had we were left with a one tack beat, a run and a very tight reach, which didn’t give much scope for much tactical sailing, and left the race rather processional.

So now we are only a few days away from the Tasar Nationals and the weather is still spluttering with rain and unsettled conditions but there may be just a ray of hope on the horizon as a high pressure system is set to move over us on Thursday which should give us some better weather which will be a great bonus for us. We have 29 boats coming to my knowledge. I was hoping for 30, but in the light of lower attendances at other Nationals will be happy with that. I know that you have all had emails reminding you that midweek sailing this week will be on Tuesday and not Wednesday, so if you are not racing then please come down and help move your boat into the field. Please feel free also to come along to any of the socials, with a buffet on Thursday night, followed by a BBQ on Friday & Simon’s Pizza emporium on Saturday.

Just to leave on a much lighter note and to see some good Laser sailing then copy and paste this link into your web browser.

August 22nd
Preparing to race
It looks like I owe Fowey week a bit of an apology over my disparaging remarks in my last blog. The number of dinghies racing is up I think from previous years, proving that not everybody is deserting them. What’s more they have had 2 entries from Porthpean this year and both teams are winning races which is a good tribute to the standard of sailing at Porthpean as both winning teams are juniors. James Dowrick, crewed by Luke Bilkey sailed James’s RS Feva to a win yesterday and Finn Hawkins beat all 6 Toppers to claim 1st prize also. Now the last time that I sailed there we had races both morning and afternoon, but I think that there was only 1 race on Tuesday morning as that is the only result shown on their web site. It’s also nice to see that both teams managed to get a place in their Dinghy Park as that takes out a lot of the hassle of launching and recovery at Caffa Mill slipway. After the disappointing week at Falmouth I think I would have much rather sailed at Fowey, though to be honest there aren't many dinghies in “C” class, so any victory may not have been a good reflection on performance. The weather this year has turned out to be much better, and the race that I would have been in lasted about 90 minutes so ample time to give a good sail. I usually enjoy the problems that occur as we start to catch up with the Troys and River boats, gauging whether to overtake to windward or leeward. Mark rounding can make some huge differences and the tidal affect can also play a big part in ones final result.

Oh, oh maybe I spoke too soon, I wrote the above on Tuesday after seeing the Fowey results on line. The guys were down at the Club last night so I asked them how they fared on Tuesday afternoon, to be told that their races had been cancelled owing to the fact that the “Troys” were racing in the river and that it was too dangerous. Well that’s all well and good if safety is deemed the issue but what about a refund of race fees? That’s a no can do and not what you expect when you sign up for a series of races. However the boys were back to their winning ways on Wednesday morning, both James & Finn winning the morning races, whilst problems sailing back in the river to the finish line, in the afternoon race were blighted by the magic of sailing in Fowey harbour.

Tonight’s sailing was a rather frustrating for some, especially me. Roger & Steve were our RIB drivers tonight and set a slightly different course with the beat into the beach marks and then a reach off towards Charlestown before a gybe took us back out to sea. The attendance was slightly down to what I expected as the weather had been quite nice during the day with an westerly breeze blowing. In fact I took one of my Granddaughters out for a sail in the afternoon, using only a mainsail, but even that configuration proved a bit too much with some of the stronger gusts causing some dramatic heeling, which was not appreciated by Jessica, so our time on the water was cut short to about 15 minutes.

Sarah Desjonqueres was making her last appearance before setting off back to Luxemburg with her family. The boys really love their time here and all have taken well to water sports with lots of sailing and canoeing on most times during their stay here. Sarah signed off by taking the Club Laser out to race and managing to beat the other 2 Lasers out racing. Beacky won the battle of the Scorpions, in fact sailing fast enough to take the handicap race itself, leaving the pot hunting combination of Paddy & Steve in the RS400 in 2nd place. 3rd Place was taken by Andrew & Sarah in their Scorpion, a good night for spinnaker boats. The ever consistent Johnny Hill only managing 4th position in front of Sarah, Brian Reeves and Clive.

With Paddy & Steve in the 400 it meant that we only had 4 Tasars out, won once again by Jeremy & Suzanne but not before we gave them a good fright by initially taking the lead at the end of the beat when Jeremy went for the wrong beach mark. He was put right by Suzanne (why are women always right?). Jeremy’s fright was compounded again on the next beat when we came from behind on a good wind shift and took a good lead, which unfortunately disappeared on the 3rd and final beat. Even then we retook our lead only to run out of breeze within a few meters of the beach marks, allowing them to sail over us. Further back behind us Dennis & Brian were having a good tussle with Mike & Dave for the honour of 3rd, which finally fell to Dennis, who wasn’t enjoying the end stages of the race as the breeze was rapidly dying.

There is only a week now before the Tasar Nationals are upon us, which leads me to remind everybody that racing will take place next Tuesday rather than Wednesday, as I expect Tasars will be arriving during the day, so shore side arrangements will be too hectic to have racing that day.

August 19th
An empty beach in August!
Well this has been a week of strange weather; ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Last week, Falmouth Week, was plagued with wind and rain. There was so much wind that sailing on Wednesday & Friday were cancelled and now here we are 48 hours later still with plenty of rain but absolutely no wind. That was the state when we all met up this morning for the resumption of Club sailing. The rain was falling steadily and the wind had totally disappeared. There was neither change, nor sign of any change coming and at 11.00 the postponement flag was flown. By 12.00 several potential sailors had decided that the wind would not arrive and had drifted off, so by 12.30 we decided to abandon for the day. The sun then decided to break through to bathe the deserted beach in golden warmth, as the picture alongside shows.

Out on the horizon we could count about 40 cruisers very slowly making their way from Fowey down to Falmouth, where on Monday they and the Falmouth fleets would all race back to Fowey ready for Fowey week to begin.

Overall Falmouth week for me was very disappointing. The numbers in the various fleets were down again considerably from last year and previous years and the immediate future of Falmouth week may be in doubt unless some radical changes take place. Maybe it’s time to bring back the multi courses round the Carrick Roads of years gone by instead of the regimented starts and courses that dinghy sailors have nowadays. There was some success for our Club members. Jeremy & Suzanne won our class and Finn, at the age of 9 raced every day in what was the slowest boat there, his Topper, but still managed to finish almost halfway up the fleet that they had drafted him in. He was the only “slow” boat there this year. Taking all that into account he did incredibly well, sailing in some very strong winds and was awarded £100 worth of Henri Lloyd vouchers as a prize.

As I mentioned earlier it is Fowey week this week and I will be interested to see how many dinghies take part in their regatta. I know that I haven’t sailed there for a few years. The high entry cost and difficulty in finding cheap launching, plus some incredibly poor courses over the years have put me and maybe others off from going. It’s a shame really as a plethora of dinghies sailing brings some good colour and makes for good spectating for the considerable crowds around the waterside. The organising bodies just don’t make the effort to encourage dinghy sailors to come. Everything seems to be concentrated on the Yachts, which maybe brings in far more money to the town than us dinghy sailors do.

With only 2 weeks to go before the Tasar Nationals, I am starting to get nervous. Not so much with my performance but whether the weather will be kind to us or not. I do know that if the event had started this Thursday just gone by then we would have had a near disaster on our hands with very little sailing taking place. In fact I think it would all have taken place late Friday and all day Saturday, as the only days available with reasonable winds. The green at the moment is completely sodden and we may have to use our field as the dinghy park if necessary, which unfortunately means further to pull up the boats. At least we do have an alternative plan if that happens. There is a promise of a high pressure system coming in for next weekend which may help dry the green out and indeed dry us all out. We can certainly do with some better weather.

Please don’t forget there is a work party scheduled for Monday 20th from 6.30 onwards, where we will tackle some of the growth around our dinghy park Laser Area and the rear of the Clubhouse. There should be racing as normal this Wednesday but next week our usual Wednesday racing will be brought forward a day to Tuesday. This will give us an extra day to ready the Club and yard for the Nationals. All boats in the yard will be moved up into the field. If you know that you will not be sailing your boat before the Nationals could you please make the effort to come down and move it, especially at the weekend, as there will be plenty of us around to give you a hand and it will also make life easier for us if we don’t have to move so many on the Wednesday.

I think that most jobs have been allocated by now, though there will still be room for volunteers, should you wish to help. There will be 3 socials on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. 2 Tickets are free for each boat entered but extra tickets are available at £6.00 /person for each function. On Thursday night there is a finger buffet provided by Anna & Liz and includes a pudding. Simon is providing a BBQ on Friday night and his Pizza night on Saturday. Again both nights include a pudding. Even if you are not racing in the event nor helping it would be still great to see you there.

August 17th
beach with surf
Well I expect many of you have been wondering about the absence of any blog for a few days. As many of you already know Jeremy Suzanne, Finn, Ken & I have been down at Restronguet for Falmouth Week. I think that this was the 8th time in succession that Ken & I have sailed Falmouth Week and I should have realised when I look back at this summer that the weather was as truly bad as it could be. There were some sunny intervals on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday afternoons the weather was dominated by some strong winds. In fact racing for all classes was cancelled on Wednesday due to the sudden appearance of gales. Thursday was still quite windy and racing was not for the faint hearted, being somewhere in the 20 knot plus range. The forecast for Friday was almost as bad, so much so that we packed the boat up after Thursday’s races and brought it home, with the proviso that if the weather wasn’t too bad on Friday then we would travel down again. Unfortunately the wind and rain were sufficiently bad enough on Friday morning to convince me that I would be wasting my time and straining the boat to little or no avail, so decided to give it a miss. In fact I have become so disillusioned with poor weather at Falmouth Week that I don’t think that I will bother going again.

The first year that I went was quite a light winded affair and we had plenty of sunshine. In fact it made it a good relaxing week with some good racing but nothing too extreme. Every year since we have lost some races due to strong winds and this year was no exception. Usually a good beat is set but maybe due to the restrictions on space the reaches tend to be very broad and every race this year necessitated flying the whisker pole on every reach. The entries have been falling year by year and in fact this year they were the lowest since I have been going and the entry fees have been rising. Maybe it’s time that POFSA sat down and analysed what may be going wrong and try and rectify it.

Well that’s enough of doom and gloom let’s concentrate on the positives. Jeremy & Suzanne again dominated the week, with only the visiting Fireball that is there every year giving them any real trouble. We did get in front of them in a couple of races but fell back as the races progressed. In fact Tuesday & Thursday were a bit too heavy for my liking. Jeremy’s nephew, Jack Hawkins borrowed Dave Hancock’s Tasar and despite never having sailed one before showed us a clean pair of heels on more than one occasion and it will be interesting to see how he gets on when sailing the same boat in our Nationals.

Finn was sailing in his Topper, now usually there are one or two other Toppers and or several Picos racing but not this year, leaving Finn as the only entry in his class. They moved him up into the next division, so he had some quite long courses to sail in some very strong conditions but he came through it all with flying colours, which I think was absolutely fantastic for a 9 year old. Not surprisingly he was looking rather shattered most days after racing.

There was no racing at Porthpean this Wednesday. The gale which was slowly blowing itself out was still strong enough to force yet another cancellation. The picture above shows how wild the sea conditions were. I’m almost afraid to say in case I’m wrong that the forecast for the weekend is looking a little better as the weather should be improving, but for how long?

August 8th
Windless beach
After what seems like weeks & weeks of quite fresh breezes, the wind God actually shut down yesterday. In fact the weather had been very quiet all day and so it was no surprise to arrive down at the Club to be greeted by a very flat, windless bay. Even the most optimistic of us realised instantly that there would be no racing. Just take a look at the picture alongside to see how calm it was. Very frustratingly there did appear to be a band of wind way out on the horizon and the Fowey Yachts could be seen taking advantage of it. It was also obvious that the band of wind would never get to Porthpean so the Abandonment flag accompanied by 3 sound signals was soon flown, which then heralded a stampede to the bar for some and a spot of boat maintenance for others. 3 boats were in the process of being packed away. Roger Williams was taking his Blaze off to sail in Camel week and Jeremy & I were packing up our Tasars to go to Falmouth week.

Falmouth week over the last few years has been quite a windy affair at times and though it is far too early to accurately forecast the conditions for this year, it does look like the start of the week will be fairly light and warm. That alone will make a pleasant change. The poor economic climate appears to be taking its toll on the sailing fraternity as the entry list for Falmouth week seems unusually low at the moment. Hopefully their web site listing the entries is way out of date and their will be a lot more than I fear. I notice that the Signet Class is holding its Nationals as part of the week. They have a fleet of about 10, I don’t think that I have ever seen a Signet before but they are quite small boats and probably frequent small ponds and rivers, so it will be interesting to see how the perform if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

August 5th
D Class lifeboat
Well this was a very busy weekend of sailing, it was the weekend of the RNLI August Cup. We had 2 days of racing plus an excellent social on Saturday evening when Simon Pryce brought his portable Pizza oven down to the Club and cooked pizzas for everyone. Simon will be leaving the RNLI in the near future and has decided to make his fortune cooking and selling fresh pizzas. Saturday night was his first outing and together with Sarah, Robert & Tegan provided us with very tasty pizzas cooked to order.

The RNLI also had a major presence at the Club, bringing a “D” class lifeboat which was wheeled into the yard for us to prod and poke and look at all the equipment that they contain. We were told that it costs £39,000 to put one of these boats fully equipped on the water and that they are probably the most well used of all the lifeboats, due to their calls for holiday makers being cut off by rising tides or stuck on inaccessible rocks. The RNLI night continued after the pizzas with a talk on the RNLI by Tamsin Thomas who is the PR manager for the whole of the south west. A quiz produced by Tamsin followed and we were divided into teams. The winning team was captained by Brian Phillips, but this was a quiz with no losers as all the teams were given a prize as their scores were revealed.

Simon's Pizza Emporium
Now onto the sailing; Saturday gave us a very gusty southerly breeze. In fact standing in the dinghy park it didn’t seem too bad. It wasn’t until we started the beat and neared the windward mark set off Ropehaven that we felt the full strength of it. To say it was gusty is a bit of an understatement. The gusts came in very sharp blasts and to add confusion to us all it was constantly veering, necessitating some very quick reactions to try and keep upright. Our Sunday sailing attendances have produced some high numbers this season, but Saturday sailing of which we have had 3 now are very poorly attended and maybe we should question whether to race on Saturdays in the future. Anyway despite that we still had 5 Tasars racing, which was a pretty good turnout for us, but only 3 dinghies in the handicap fleet and all 3 of them were single handed. Once again there was no stopping Jeremy & Suzanne, sailing straight into the lead and building on it all the time. The main battle for other honours fell to Dennis & Brian, Paddy & Steve, Chris & Tony and us. The Paddy team were 2nd to the windward mark, followed by Dennis and then us and although we closed up on the downwind legs, still languished in 4th, and that was the way things looked like staying until Dennis & Brian took a big swim close to the windward mark. The wind was rising and a huge gust blew them in as they made their final tack for the rounding. This was a capsize that they couldn’t recover from and a broken tiller necessitated them being towed home by the RIB, crewed by Pete & Jan.

Sunday dawned far differently, we had a lot of rain during the night and heavy clouds surrounding us promised more of the same, but in fact we appeared to have our own little micro weather system at Porthpean as we were blessed by sun for most of the day. Unfortunately the wind decided to have a day off; such a change from Saturday. The August Cup was run by the handicap fleet and the format for Sunday was for 3 races. The breeze had swung to the south west, not at all northerly as had been forecast which didn’t bode well for it lasting too long. Andrew & Jenny were to be our safety boat drivers for the morning race and gave us a good course but the start line was heavily port biased and was very difficult to cross on starboard and we ended up in a bit of a log jam with quite a few boats rafting up in the very light breeze. We also had a much larger fleet out with 6 Tasars and 9 handicap dinghies racing with another 6 boats just out for a jolly, so the bay was looking a little crowded and very colourful.

Lifeboat Ladies
Jeremy & Suzanne took an early lead, but eventually lost out to Steve & Polly who were showing exceptional speed in the very light conditions. Paddy & Steve, Dennis & Brian and us all arrived at the first windward mark very close together. We managed to climb upto 3rd by the end of the 2 reaches but slipped back again behind Paddy at the end of the beat. Strangely enough it was our turn to pass Paddy on the next beat, which we held to the end. Today saw the return of Jeremy Rowett and he produced some excellent speed in his Supernova, taking a good win from Jan & Pete in their Kestrel and Nick Eggett in his Contender. Today also saw 2 of our other new members, Alice Burford and Tom Bittle in their Laser Radials. They had a very close race, with Tom beating Alice by only 5 seconds, which was probably no more than a boat length in the very light wind that we finished in. Finn was out in his Topper but must have regretted putting up the smaller rig as he made a very slow progress round the course, though he still managed to beat Nick Hakins who was the slower of the 2 full rigged Lasers, Brian Reeves taking the higher position of 6th just in front of Sarah & Jacques in their RS Feva. Poor Jacques suffered a swollen thumb when his hand became squashed between our hull and the Feva in some of the shenanigans that occurred on the start line.

Very frustratingly the wind appeared to pick up during the lunch break only to fade away just before we launched for the afternoon race; and what a disappointment this race turned out to be. No sooner had we started then the very light breeze moved around enough to ruin the course leaving us with an almost one tack beat, a run and a reach, making it almost impossible to change positions. Jeremy & Suzanne managed to hold Steve & Polly off. Paddy & Steve had an excellent first beat to finish 3rd, leaving us in 4th. Alice was in better form in the afternoon, not only beating Tom but also taking the overall win, in front of Jeremy, who had been doing very well until a poor 2nd beat did for him, though he did take 2nd place splitting the 2 Laser Radials. There was no doubt as to how light the conditions were when Nick couldn’t better 6th place, leaving Sarah in 7th and Nick 8th, with quite a few of the other boats retiring in frustration.

August Cup Prize winners
The RNLI presented some prizes for the racing, a raffle was drawn in which all Sarah’s boys won a prize, so they went home happy and the RNLI went home with a sum of money donated by the raffle and race entries. Although we are great supporters of the RNLI, we are proud that in the 61 years of sailing we have not had to call on them to rescue any of our sailors, but it is reassuring to know that their volunteers are ready at any time to come to assist and rescue anyone who requires them.
August 2nd
Sarah & Brian preparing a Tasar
The little glitch with the pictures on the front page is resolved, thanks to help & suggestions from Jeremy & Paddy. My little fingers had been doing some changes without appreciating what I was doing. Fortunately an earlier version of the page allowed me to restore things as they originally were. The entry list for the forthcoming Tasar Nationals has now topped the 26 mark and I expect a couple more entries at least, so with a bit of luck we may get very close to the 30 our organising committee had budgeted for. Only a few weeks ago we were struggling with 10 entries but the cut off date for the early entry discount proved a winner and brought the numbers to the respectable level we were hoping for.

We are now half way through the sailing season; the nights are starting to draw in, Summer may have peaked last week and tonight the sailing shorts were forsaken for the warmth of a wet suit. Hopefully we may still have some better weather to come but the forecast for the immediate future is not very optimistic. On the plus side the sea temperature is starting to warm up and on days that we have light winds then sailing can be a very pleasant pastime indeed. Falmouth week is only a week away and then the Tasar Nationals will be hosted here at the end of the month, so there is still plenty to sail for including the August Cup which is being held this weekend. There will be an entry fee for the racing, proceeds going to the RNLI who will have a Class D lifeboat on display in the yard. Racing will be on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, with a social on Saturday night provided by Simon’s Pizza Emporium.

Staying on the theme of Tasars, we had our best Tasar turn out of the year last night with 8 Tasars racing, which took me back to our glory years of the late 1980s when 8 was a regular number and we often saw a fleet of 10 or more. Anyway our Tasar numbers last night made up half the total fleet, which was a respectable 16. We had a brisk wind all day and I for one was sceptical that we would actually sail, but as usually happens in late afternoon the wind strength died away and we actually launched into a flat calm with most of the fleet having to paddle out of the cove to reach the tiny zephyrs that could be seen further out. Fortunately once in the beach marks area the wind started to fill in again and we all made it to the starting area where our safety boat drivers for the night, Pete Pope & Steve Coello sat patiently waiting for us. The forecasted breeze was to be a south westerly but our new breeze was more a westerly breeze that gave us a beat to the beach marks, with a reach out to sea followed by a reach along the top to bring us back to the beat again.

For once there was enough bias on the start line to tempt one or two to chance their luck. Ken & I for one managed to get to windward of Nigel & James, but had to tack off for the Contender of Nick Eggett. Nigel managed to find a clean line, banged the right hand corner of the beat and found themselves at the beach marks with a big lead which they capitalised on to sail off into the distance and claim a win. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne proved too fast for the rest of us Tasars, reaching the beach marks just in front of Dennis & Brian, who in turn were just in front of us. Our fleet of 8 Tasars saw a welcome return of Mike Voyzey & Dave Saunders, Justin Phyall & Geoff Richards, our latest members John & Sue Tripp, Paddy & Sarah, and the reunited pairing of Chris & Tony.

Our lighter weight gave us just enough speed to pass Dennis down wind and we started to pull out a nice lead on them which was very lucky as the wind which had been quite benign suddenly found some teeth and within the space of a few seconds of starting the beat started to give us a few problems, falling into the hands of Dennis & Brian whose extra weight was a boon and saw them claw up to windward of us bit by bit and by the time we reached the beach marks were within a couple of boat lengths from us. Fortunately the down wind legs restored some of the distance, which was enough for us to maintain our position on what turned out to be the last beat.

Paddy & Sarah had been expecting great things but fiddling about with the boat prior to the racing upset some of the tuning and they really struggled to make the boat point and finished 5th Tasar beaten by Justin & Geoff. John & Sue were caught out badly when the wind came in stronger. They came to a sudden halt when rounding the leeward mark, too much movement of the tiller caused them to go into irons which in turn caught out Steve Wingrove who was close behind. Steve capsized whilst trying to avoid the Tasar. I think he said “whoops” or something similar.

Beacky & Kelvin teamed up in what may the last sail for a while in the Enterprise. Their restored Scorpion is about to grace the bay at the weekend. Anyway the redundant Ent served them well taking them to 3rd overall behind Nick who couldn’t make up any ground on Nigel & James. The 2 Lasers of Brian Reeves and Nick Haskin spurred on by the televised Olympics battled it out with Brian claiming a win over Nick by almost a minute. Andrew & Jenny, sailing with their newer sails only just finished a few seconds behind Nick on corrected time, although they did beat them on the water. Steve Wingrove’s capsize proved costly as it dropped him down to 7th. Finn had a lively time in his Topper and thought at one time that he had finished in 3rd place on corrected time but a fault with the computing came to light and unfortunately dropped him down to 8th.

July 30th
Lunch time
It was pointed out to me at the weekend that the picture display on the front page of the web site is not working. This was news to me as it all works fine on my PC at home. I have since discovered that the problem seems to occur for people running Internet Explorer from Microsoft as their web browser. I use Google Chrome and everything is fine with that browser. The pictures also work fine on an Apple Mac and they use a web browser called Safari, so something has happened this last week, whether I have caused it or not with Internet Explorer I don’t know, but I will look into it and hopefully all will be restored soon.

The really hot weather that we have enjoyed has disappeared, leaving what may best be described as typical summer weather. It’s still quite warm and the winds are mainly light to moderate westerlies, which makes sailing at Porthpean very pleasant indeed. This weekend was busier than the norm as we also had Charlestown regatta on Saturday. This Regatta takes place around the same time each year and for the last few years a Family birthday has taken us to Bristol, but this year our Grand Daughter Jess is having her Birthday in Cornwall which meant that I was free to sail in it.

For some silly reason it is a regatta that has been ignored by the majority of our sailors and so numbers attending have been so poor that it has been left to Pentewan Sands CS to organise the event. Fortunately this year we seem to have had a better attendance from Porthpean and whilst we were not there mob handed we did have a respectable number of 9 boats, which included 5 Tasars, joining 7 cats from Pentewan. The programme was for 2 races with results from both races to count. We had a mass start with the Cats which could have caused quite a few problems, especially as the very long start line was so biased that virtually every one wanted to be at the pin end of the line. To compound our problems the breeze which seemed so light and docile at Porthpean was actually quite fierce when subjected to the infamous Charlestown Gap. The wind swirling out of the harbour there certainly lived up to its reputation, giving some massive gusts, headers and lifts & I suppose very good entertainment to any body looking over at the harbour walls at us. Despite all the wind I think I only saw one boat capsized during the races and that was a Dart that was being sailed single handed. I was actually quite surprised that we beat some of the cats on the water let alone on how we might have done on handicap. Our course was a fairly long, predominantly one sided beat to a mark set to one side of the harbour with a reach across the harbour entrance to another mark, gybe and then a run back to the start. With 2 races scheduled we were told that the first race would be just one round. That was quickly changed to 2 laps when we actually completed the first round in just over 10 minutes and that was us in a Tasar, let alone the leading cats that were a good way in front. A good start and first beat from us put us well into the lead, but we were hunted down by Jeremy & Suzanne who passed us on the 2nd beat. We had a strong come back on the reach and run and closed them right down but lost by 2 seconds. Quite amazingly we actually beat Nick on the water in what I thought were ideal conditions for a Contender, but maybe some of the extreme wind variations slowed him down too much. Chris Bilkey with Luke in their first competitive race of the year sailed well & took 4th place in front of Paddy & Sarah, who were sailing Jeremy’s spare Tasar. Nigel & James had quite a struggle up wind in their RS400 and could only finish 6th, John & Sue Tripp, our visitors from Scotland slotted into 7th in front of Finn who managed to beat Anna & Adam by 1 second. Finn suffered the most as he sailed with his larger rig, one of many of us who were fooled by the benign conditions we had at Porthpean. Full results of both races for cats and handicap dinghies can be found on our results page.

Sunday dawned as another nice day and from what I can gather Cornwall had one of the better weather days than the rest of the country. My son in Basingstoke reported heavy rain showers. My daughter who travelled down from Bristol in the morning had heavy rain most of the journey down and the outside temperature dropped to 12C. Her Mother in law in Gloucester had a hail shower. In contrast we had another sunny day with only light clouds around. So it was very frustrating to be drawn to be doing duties rather than sailing, but such is life. Anyway Ken was down for RIB and I was in the race box with Richard Morley. The sun was enough to tempt some 18 boats out and very nice too it looked as I gazed forlornly at them all from the Clubhouse. Even without us sailing and Ken & Polly being at Plymouth Regatta there were still 5 Tasars out, once again dominated by Jeremy & Suzanne. I suppose the main battle in the Tasar fleet was between Dennis & Brian against Paddy & Steve. Dennis managed to carve out quite a good lead in the early stage of the race but suddenly Paddy seemed to move into another gear and started to pull them back, but couldn’t quite do it, losing out by only 5 seconds at the end. It certainly kept Dennis sweating hard. A little distance further back was Chris & Tony, reunited again after Tony has finally returned from his enforced time out.

Nigel & James in their RS400 took line honours but were demoted to 3rd place on corrected time giving Richard Armstrong in his Contender took overall victory just in front of Roger Williams in his Blaze by only 11 seconds. Steve Wingrove was right up with Roger after one round but rudder problems caused him to retire. Alice & Tom were back with us in their Laser Radials & I was rather surprised to see them sailing back in before the race even started. It turned out that Alice had forgotten to put the bung in the back of the Laser and was trying to get back to the shore before the boat sunk. Tom was escorting her back just in case the water won and she needed assistance. Our 2 slowest boats out sailing were Sarah Desjonqueres and Jacques in her RS Feva, and Finn in his Topper, but their handicaps are such that they moved up in the results to finish 6th & 9th respectively. Brian Reeves won the battle of the 2 Lasers putting some 6 minutes between him and Nick Haskins. Jan & Pete Barnes sailed their Kestrel into 4th place. Andrew & Jenny used an older suit of sails on their Scorpion, and that dropped them down to 7th. Kelvin forsook the safety of crewing Beacky’s Ent and took his Contender out, but a series of capsizes dropped him right back to last position, but at least he did manage to finish the shortened course.

Apres Sail on the decking
The wind if anything pipped up a little for the afternoon race but was still predominately a westerly and an Olympic course was set. This time we had an extra Tasar out with John & Susan Tripp completing the 5 boat Tasar fleet. Jeremy & Suzanne got away at the start, had the lead at the beach marks and were never caught. This time we had 2 duells in the Tasr fleet and once again Dennis & Brian had the beating of Paddy & Steve winning by a better margin of a minute. The other duel was between Chris & Tony against the Tripps. Chris & Tony took an early lead but were eventually caught and passed by the Tripps who went on to beat them by some 7 ½ minutes.

Once again Nigel & James took line honours in the handicap fleet and once again were demoted to 3rd on corrected time by the same 2 boats, but this time their positions were reversed and the victory went to Roger in his Blaze with Richard and his Contender settling for 2nd. Jan & Pete were late for the start but nevertheless moved up to 4th place, just beating Alice Burford in her Laser Radial by 5 seconds. This race lasted quite a bit longer than the morning race and Sarah & Jacques in their Feva took almost 105 minutes to complete it but still managed to sail into 6th place, beating Brian Reeves who was the last finisher. The fresh conditions caused the rest of the fleet to retire.

Next weekend is the August Cup and will be sailed over Saturday afternoon and Sunday and will be run by the Handicap fleet. There will be a bit of a do on Saturday night and Simon Pryce will be feeding us with his mobile Pizza service, which makes us guinea pigs for the Tasar Nationals. Obviously there will be charge for this and I am sure that you will be mailed sometime during the week giving full details.

July 25th
safety boat at anchor
So no blog last Sunday,fortunately no one missed it. As many of you know it was Sue’s 60th on Sunday, so a day with all the family was the priority of the day. According to James when I saw him on Monday “You didn’t miss much” was his comment so I should think the excitement level was pretty non existent. The weather was the brilliant hot sunshine that we have been longing for all summer, but was accompanied by very light winds, which as we all know make for frustrating sailing. However I was sent the results to publish so I could have a good look at who was out sailing. In the morning it was light enough for Nigel & James to take out their RS400, beating Paddy & Sarah by some 4 ½ minutes in the other RS400 and Beacky & Kelvin taking 3rd in the Enterprise. There were two Scorpions sailing, Kay made one of her rare appearances, though I’m not sure who was crewing but nevertheless took a good 4th place, beating the other Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny by about 2 ½ minutes. The times between boats may have looked large but in very light winds may only have been a matter of several boat lengths. I see that Anna showed a bit more of her versatility, taking the helm of Paddy’s RS600, finishing 4th on the water but 9th on corrected time.

There was a new face helming a Tasar on Sunday. Finn was at the helm with Jeremy crewing and he sailed them into 2nd position, just behind Steve & Polly, and was almost 2 & 6 minutes ahead of respectively Dennis & Brian and Chris & Colin. Jeremy told me that he left all the decisions to Finn, so was well pleased with his 2nd position. We have some other new faces sailing with us for a week or two and that is John & Sue Tripp, down on holiday from Scotland; so we welcome them & wish them some happy sailing days with us at Porthpean. Their future plans may allow them to move down to Cornwall to live and if so then they may join Porthpean full time which would be excellent for our Tasar fleet which has been decimated this year with Stacey & Allan pursuing other sports and pastimes.

I hear that it won’t be long before the Scorpion of Beacky & Kelvin, which has been lovingly restored with new fittings and several coatings of varnish and paint carefully applied, makes its first appearance for the year to swell their fleet. Steve Mitchell has also bought a Scorpion in which he and Polly intend racing at this year’s Nationals, so that too may be making an appearance down here for some fine tuning.

We ended up at Porthpean outdoor centre in the afternoon, letting the Grand children loose on go karts, rock face climbing, archery and other attractions. That did allow me to peer over the field edge where I could see our boats out racing in the bay. From the top the scene looked very peaceful in the very light airs, though up at the top where I was there was quite a brisk breeze blowing. I believe that the wind at sea level, although light was a little fresher for the afternoon race than the morning race but this didn’t prevent the same 2 RS400s dominating the handicap fleet. Steve Wingrove complete with new mast pushed the mornings 3rd placed Beacky back into 4th by claiming 3rd place himself. Kay again won the battle of the 2 Scorpions. Steve & Polly had another good win in the Tasar fleet and this time Dennis & Brian, probably the heaviest crewing partnership took 2nd ahead of our visitors John & Sue Tripp who managed to push Chris & Colin back into 4th place.

That nicely brings us to Wednesday. Well as we all know, our topsy, turvy weather has now produced some of the hottest and best weather for several years. The beaches have been packed and we might just get a decent summer after all.

The winds in St. Austell Bay had been very light all day with large areas of glassy patches which didn’t bode well for racing tonight, but in the event a very nice north westerly filled in. In fact the breeze had just enough bite in it to have us planing flat out at times and fully hiked on the beats. Inevitably we had the usual fun and games as we approached the beach marks. There was a lot of movement in the wind and mark rounding there could be as frustrating as ever. The really good news for me anyway is that it was another Tee shirt and shorts race. However I did take a spray top which I donned just before the start, as the amount of spray flying about was a warning that it might get colder as the sun went down.

It was a very pleasant surprise for us all tonight to see Stewart Page out, helming his own Tasar for the first time in about 8 years. It was also good to see a classic Tasar sailing as Stewart still sports the original Dacron sails on his boat. The safety boat was run tonight by Beacky & very sportingly Pete Barnes, who stood in for Peter Pope. Also for once we actually started on time and everyone was out in the starting area on time, which is a bit of a Brucie bonus. With Jeremy away on holiday, it was left to Dennis & us to battle out the Tasar places, excluding Stewart who was having to get to grips again with his sailing. We had 2 RS 400s out with Paddy & Steve seeking revenge for the drubbing they had at the weekend from Nigel & James.

The first beat was a closely contested affair, with Nick Eggett rounding first, and Dennis pushing us out via port and starboard at the first beach mark to round 2nd. Nigel & James rounded just in front of Paddy & Steve. The very first reach benefitted us as it turnrd out to be quite tight and we took good advantage of a nice gust as it swept out from the shore to take us in front of Dennis and away from the 2 RS400s. Our lead over them came to an end on the 2nd reach as with spinnaker drawing, Nigel cruised past us and Paddy came right up to us but had to give us room on the leeward mark. We kept up with the pair of them on the beat, but the next set of reaches allowed them to pull well away. Paddy’s heavier all up weight was enough to overpower Nigel on the beat and took the lead by the beach marks. Their extra power was then used again as they could fly their spinnaker on both reaches, which was necessary as Nigel was the faster on the 2nd reach, but couldn’t make up enough ground to catch them. Needless to say Paddy slowly pulled away to extract some revenge for Sunday.

It is also nice to welcome back Sarah Kendall, who has been working in a sailing school abroad. Sarah took the helm of their Scorpion with Jenny crewing, Andrew did get a sail in as he crewed for Stewart. Kay & Craig sailed the other Scorpion. I didn’t see any spinnakers flying from either boat, but then I wasn’t looking back at them but Kay dominated, beating Sarah by 2 ½ minutes. I did note that both Kay managed to stay in front of Stewart the entire race, and as he wasn’t too far behind imagine that his presence spurred her on. Brian Reeves found the conditions to his liking taking a good 4th place and Steve Wingrove split the 2 Scorpions.

We have a possibly full weekend racing to come with Charlestown Regatta being held on Saturday. The racing will be run by Pentewan Sands SC with 2 races planned, starting at 14.00 for handicap dinghies and handicap cats. There will also be 2 courses laid to try and keep us away from the cats, though I guess we will both probably share the same start and finish line, so things may get quite interesting at times. Entries will be taken at our Clubhouse for the Porthpean boats. The question is; will the weather hold?

July 20th
sailing at Restronguett
As you may have noticed there was no blog from me from Wednesdays racing. I had decided to give Sue a night out in the fleshpots of Liskeard, fortunately for me it looked like I missed another hard sailing night. Due to the wonders of modern day tech I could see a few boats out sailing from the webcam. Unfortunately the quality isn’t good enough to pick out individual boats but I could spot Sarah Desjonqueres RS Feva due to its sail colour. By the time I drove down the northern Bypass I could see quite a few sails out as the fleet were mustering for the start. I see that from the results only 4 boats actually finished. The blustery conditions caused the rest of the fleet to retire at various moments. But what’s that I see on the horizon, yes it may be Summer. At long last the jet stream being blamed for our appalling weather is back on the move northwards, which means in turn that our weather should start to improve from this weekend onwards. Well that’s difficult to imagine as it is raining yet again as I am writing this short piece. The weather forecasters claim that we should see much better weather from the weekend onwards. Now whether they well be right or not is another thing, but we should all be buoyed up a bit by their optimism. The weekend isn’t far away so we will not have too long to wait. This weekend also coincides with the start of the main holiday season and for the next 6 weeks our beach is likely to be packed out at weekends if we get sunny days. That’s nice to see but also causes a few problems when the tide is coming in and the available beach starts to disappear, compressing the holiday makers into the space that we will most likely use as we come in from sailing.

I will also be missing from sailing this weekend as I will be celebrating, together with my family, Sue’s 60th Birthday. Sunday is actually the big day and a family lunch beckons. However if the forecast is to be believed sailing may be a little disappointing as the forecast is for very light winds, which if true will be very frustrating. However just be content with some much needed and welcomed drier and warmer weather.

Saturday 22nd July is a date for your diaries as it will be the day of Charlestown Regatta. Once again this is being organised by Pentewan Sands SC and I believe the format will be for 2 races back to back with both races to count. There will be a separate course for the dinghies and cats. Start & finish may well be close to Charlestown harbour, so the breeze may be a bit fickle in that vicinity. I don’t know what the entry fee will be but I suspect that entries will be taken at our Clubhouse. Time? Well again I don’t know but I would guess about 14.00 ish. I am sure that Mike Ward will explain all on the Saturday. I think that we will have one of our safety boats in attendance though not sure who will be crewing it.

The photo at the top of the blog is one from my archives and was taken sometime in the 70’s at Restronguet, when I was a member there. You may notice that I had much more hair then and it was a better colour, but then it was 35 years ago. Long live youth.

July 15th
jeremy & suzannet
Before I write anything else I would like to say a big thank you to Ron Barrett, Nigel & James Dowrick, Chris Bilkey & Shane who ran the Tasar Open Meeting for us this weekend. Theirs was a wet and cold weekend, not wet through rain but wet through spray and cold from the fresh to moderate westerly breeze. Stewart Page & Colin were in the box and Jenny brought down some scones that she had made during the afternoon. It was a first class effort and once again showed Porthpean to be a well organised Club.

Now the next statement has got to be kept a secret as I don’t want other people knowing, but we actually had a dry weekend and even more amazing a very sunny day on Sunday. Yes the sun screen had to be applied and people could be seen on the beach in swim wear and even a few hardy souls actually went swimming. Even some of our sailors from the weekend went swimming but theirs was capsizes but at least they were better prepared for getting wet, with their wetsuits or dry suits. The offshore breeze blowing, gave a sheltered beach allowing the temperature to move upwards making a very pleasant day for those sitting on the sand.

Steve & Polly
The Tasar Nationals will be at Porthpean in less than 7 weeks time and this weekend was an ideal time to hold our Tasar Open Meeting. It was especially a good time for the main Race Team of Ron Barret & James & Nigel Dowrick to take a practice shot at Race Officer and course setting for the main event. We had almost ideal conditions for the Saturday racing, with a 10 -12 knots westerly blowing, resulting in a relatively flat sea. Ron took us way out in the bay to try and escape any gusty weather that we invariably get around the beach marks. Sailing out to the start was quite a pleasant affair but it did take a good 20 minutes to reach the starting area. Unfortunately numbers were a bit down on previous years, many of our own Tasar owners haven’t done much sailing at all this year, so we only had a fleet of 9 for Saturday’s racing with all our visitors coming from Babbacombe and it was very nice to see them. There was another visitor in transit, travelling down from Scotland, but heavy traffic on the M5 and A30 delayed their appearance, so they had to miss the Saturday racing.

My new mast tube had arrived on Thursday evening and so I took the best part of Friday transferring bits and pieces from one mast to the other. The diamond adjusters had taken quite some punishment over the years and during the week I had given them a real overhaul. Anyway the job was completed, and on Saturday the new mast was joined to the top section and lifted into place. Very pleasingly the sail ran up the new track just as it should and eventually we left the beach for the long sail out to the start. Once out there we set the boat up for the beat and did a few practice tacks, ensuring that the spanner fitted into the ears on the boom, yes that worked fine as well. Then whilst completing yet another tack Ken suddenly found that the mast would not rotate. It suddenly dawned on me that my loose diamonds were allowing the adjuster screws to drop down out of the base of the mast heel and were fouling the pin assembly that the mast sits on. Very fortunately I always carry a few spare shackles and a length of elastic in case of emergencies. This time the elastic came to our rescue. We managed to compress the diamonds which lifted the screws clear of the pin plate and hold them tight to the mast with the piece of elastic. Phew!! Our get of jail card worked and all was well again with the world.

Lionel & Ken
The course for the day was the “q” shape which in theory gives us a couple of tight reaches, allowing the Tasar to blast off down wind, before ending the round with a run back to the leeward mark. The fleet was extremely well behaved on the start line and we were away at the first attempt. Jeremy & Suzanne took their usual place in the lead, never to be challenged. Much to my surprise we arrived at the windward mark in 3rd place just behind Tim Martin sailing with his son Owen, one of our visitors making his first appearance at Porthpean,. Steve & Polly were behind us and showed that they could muster a bit more down wind speed than us and overtook us on the 2nd reach. However we managed to get the 2nd beat spot on and opened up a good distance between us and Steve who had managed to pass Tim on the beat. The race was shortened to finish after that round. We were too far in front of Steve for his extra down wind pace to catch us, giving us a 2nd. Paddy & Steve Coello were moving forward all the time and took 4th. Chris Hazell, crewed by John Mark had a really good race, jockeying for positions and came home 6th.

The wind was quite shifty and there were a few gusts but being so far out from the shore were much easier to read and handle. Nevertheless we had to wait quite some time before the next race started as Ron was waiting to let the breeze steady before he let us off the leash again. We were off on the 2nd attempt. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne took the lead but quite exciting for us we found ourselves 2nd at the first mark. Once again we were overtaken by Steve & Polly on the reaches and were also closed down by Paddy & Steve C. Our windward performance that had been so good was starting to unravel as first Paddy passed us and then Guy Hester looked like he had sailed through us. Fortunately we managed to claw our way back to just round the windward mark in front of Paddy & Guy. This time we worked our socks off on the reaches and we drew well away from Paddy, which gave us enough space to cover them to the end of the race giving us a 3rd. Dennis & Brian had a very poor first race but improved considerably in the 2nd race, and this time Chris & John fell down the leader board to finish 9th.

Paddy & Steve
We then had a long, long beat back to the shore. The beat seemed endless, but eventually we arrived and then had the unenviable task of pulling all the boats up the slip to the Club to be ready for another hard sail on Sunday. An impromptu fish & chip super took place in the evening. The F&C came from Holmbush and I am told were tastier than the ones that we have had in the past from Fernley’s so maybe something to tuck into the memory banks for next year.

Malcolm Davies, ex National Champion, turned up for the Sunday racing and at first it looked like he would be Jeremy’s closest contender, but he didn’t have it all his own way, as Jeremy took the 3rd race as well. John & Sue Trip also completed their long journey down from Scotland, arriving the night before. John & Sue intend spending some time in the area and may well ne sailing with us several times in the next few weeks, so will make a welcome addition to the fleet.

Dennis & Brian
The courses for Sunday was to be Olympic style consisting of 1 triangle followed by a sausage then another triangle plus a short beat to the finish line. The breeze today was much stiffer, making the beats very hard work indeed but the reaches gave some full on fantastic planing moments, which were very, very exhilarating. With a 6 race series it had been decided to give a 2 race discard to enable anyone to get a full result by just sailing on the Sunday. The fresher breeze was not what I had hoped for and it was no surprise to see Dennis & Brian who had suffered quite a poor first day take off on the first beat to be right up with Jeremy & Malcolm who was crewed by Sam Richardson. We managed to slot into 4th ahead of Steve & Paddy but Steve had a fairlead breakage at the end of the first beat and sailed back to the shore to affect a repair. Jeremy & Malcolm had extended their lead but the wind although quite fresh was also quite shifty and we managed to close up quite close to Dennis & Brian. There was hardly any difference in our respective speeds on the tighter first reach, but the 2nd reach was a bit broader and we made good use of our lighter weight to pass them which gave us another 3rd, Dennis 4th & Paddy 5th. Chris Hazell & John Mark again showed some good form, being right in contention more than once after one round but slipped backwards as the race went on.

The tables were reversed in the 2nd race of the day as Malcolm took a good win, but not before he survived a challenge from Jeremy who actually passed him at one time but fell back to finish 2nd. Steve & Polly were back out for this race, taking 3rd to our 4th.

Chris & John
Lunch followed a long sail back to the beach and then an hour later we were off out to the race course again. The wind had swung more westerly and we had to wait for the course to be reset, and then we were off again. This time Steve & Polly struck gold when they benefited form a mega wind shift on the 2nd beat and went from 3rd straight into the lead, which they held to the end. This played nicely into the hands of Jeremy as though he & Suzanne finished 3rd it meant that it would be impossible for Malcolm to win. Just to make sure Jeremy won the next race, pushing Malcolm into 2nd and Steve into 3rd. I suppose Ken & I were quite consistent by taking another 4th. Dennis & Brian who had been quite well up in the fleet, suffered a capsize on the last full beat and by the time that they had recovered had dropped right back to last position. Paddy & Steve started the last beat just in front of Jim & Owen but disaster struck when their main sheet fitting exploded, allowing Tim to slip through for 5th.

The conditions were generally quite hard going and over the 6 races there were quite a few capsizes. Looking at the Polruan weather web site I can see that we had winds in the region of 20 knots for most of the day and as we were so far out in the bay have no doubt that we too were sailing in that wind strength. No doubt if we had been doing Club sailing today then we would have been remarking as to how challenging sailing in the beach marks area it would have been, with some enormous gusts and wind direction changes. At least further out to sea the wind direction was more settled and the gusts could be seen coming allowing us (well some of us) to get ready for them. With 2 races in the afternoon it was well after 6.00pm before the prizes were presented and although the conditions were a little too strong for some, did show Porthpean to be a fantastic place to sail. The Tasar Nationals will be here in just over 6 weeks. It will be nice to see some more sunshine again, but I am sure that most of us will be happier with a little less wind.

July 11th
Steve's broken mast
“Fifty shades of Grey” is the rave book of the moment but “Fifty shades of Grey” is also the summation of the weather we are getting, as yet another wet & grey week hits Porthpean. A sure reflection of the weather is the number of boats out sailing and this Wednesday, after the good turnout of last week was disappointingly low with only 7 boats. There were enough people down to make it a half respectable fleet but many of them, probably quite wisely decided to keep their boats and themselves dry. A brisk westerly wind was showing its force as we witnessed the many dark patches as they swept out from the shore and was probably another factor in their decision not to sail.

Andrew & Jenny, looked quite wet & bedraggled, and that before they launched the Safety Boat. Although they were dressed up properly they soon felt cold in the very miserable and wet weather that we insisted they go out in, and indeed it was a good job that they were out there as for the 2nd time in less than 2 weeks a broken mast featured in the race. This time it was the fate of Steve Wingrove. He discovered that things weren’t quite right as he recovered from a capsize when he noticed that the boom was much lower than usual. His mast had cracked in two right on the rivet line for the plate for the lower mast support bracket, as can be seen from the picture alongside. Steve’s race ended then & there and it was a case of dropping the mainsail and getting towed back in. That left a lonely Nick Eggett to once again sail around on his own.

We sailed out to the starting area and were fully drenched by a very wet squall that blew through. The wind strength rose and the water turned silver with the amount of rain as it poured out of the clouds, making for a very bleak evening indeed. Our massive fleet, well all 7 of us, started the race off together with a beat in from the beacon side of the bay in towards the beach marks. Once again it was a bit of a survival night plus lots of snakes and ladders with the gusts lifting one moment and then heading in another moment.

Once round the beach marks it was a very broad reach that had all 5 Tasars flying their whisker poles as we ran out towards the gybe mark. At least the next leg was a full on reach which all 5 Tasar crews revelled in. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne pulled clear on the first beat, but behind we had a good battle. Steve & Polly appeared to be lying 2nd but we lifted up through them just before the beach marks. I delayed our final tack into the marks, only to see Steve who had passed behind us lift up and make them both – how frustrating. Dennis & Brian slotted in next just ahead of Paddy & Steve Coello who were languishing behind after a poor start. I think we sailed about 4 beats before the course shortened flag went up as the safety boat was involved in its long slow process of towing the mortally wounded Blaze back to the shore.

Steve & Paddy used their extra weight to good affect, passing us on the 3rd beat, which effectively dropped us back to 4th. With only about 200M plus tacks to go to get to the beach marks a much stronger than normal gust swept over us. Steve & Polly were the first to be hit and in they went. This was almost a case of déjà vu from a couple of weeks ago when Steve & Polly were capsized in almost the same spot. Back then we also were hit by the extra strength gust and capsized. Armed with that knowledge we were well prepared to ditch the power when the gust hit us as well. Fortunately we managed to ride out its ferocity and sailed on, which gave us our 3rd place again. Steve did affect a good recovery and still managed to finish just in front of Dennis & Brian.

The rain continued to pour down as the boats were put to bed and then it was a case of changing into dry clothing and into the Club house for some of Jenny’s bacon butties and a well earned drink. Some of the older members may remember a person called Tim Reeves, who used to sail here some 30 years ago. Tim, aged 65, has just passed away in Torbay Hospital. He has requested that his body be cremated and to have his ashes scattered in the bay. I have passed the request on to Paddy and I will let you know when I know what arrangements have been made.

July 8th
water running off the green
For those of you who were not at Porthpean on Sunday I'll let you into a little secret; we had sunshine!! At 8.00 in the morning it was very overcast and quite misty, with quite a fresh north westerly breeze blowing. It certainly didn’t look very nice for sailing, but by 10.30 all had changed as the clouds thinned out and the sun made an appearance. Unfortunately I seem to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as when I went to get changed I realised that I had left my wetsuit at home as well as my hat. Fortunately the appearance of the sun also brought a rise in temperature so I decided that my sailing shorts would be the clothing to wear for the day and in the event that proved sufficient. Porthpean had suffered from rain for about 36 hours previously and when I arrived at the Club the water was pouring off the green. A sure sign that the grass was well and truly waterlogged, as can be seen by the picture alongside.

Today was destined to be the July Cup, a 3 race series for the day and was to be run by the Laser fleet. Our newest member Tom Bittle was joined by another Laser sailor also in a Laser Radial, Charlie Nunn. I think it was the first time that Charlie has sailed at Porthpean as most of his sailing has been done at Fowey and from what I gathered he really enjoyed the experience of being on a nice flat open sea, so we hope that we see him again in the future. Hopefully these new youngsters may help revitalise our resident Laser fleet. We also had another youngster sailing with us and I believe that he may also be joining the Club. His name is Piran and I am told that he is the Grandson of Peter Miln, our longest serving Commodore. He was out sailing in one of the Club Picos and sailing very compently.

Very strangely despite the better weather we only had 12 boats racing, which was quite a drop on our high turnout the week before. There really seems no logic in this but what with the sun and a nice north westerly breeze, we had all the ingredients for a good days sailing and that is precisely what we got. Once again the wind direction caused endless wind shifts as we approached the beach marks. One reach was fairly broad causing the Tasars to set their whisker poles, whilst the other reach was tight enough to give some very impressive planing. Jeremy & Suzanne, very wisely, took their best bost out today and used its impressive speed to win all 3 races, though they did have to work a bit to gain the lead in the some of the races. In fact so much happened during the racing that I can’t quite remember everything. Ken & I did have our moments, challenging and passing Steve & Polly in the first race but fell away as the day progressed and we were soundly beaten by Paddy & Steve Coello who had borrowed Jeremy’s spare boat. Richard Armstrong had a very comfortable win in his Contender in the handicap race, finishing almost 3 minutes in front of the Laser of Tome Bittle on corrected time. Just behind Tom was Charlie Nunn, who in turn pushed Jan & Pete – owners of a nice new launching trolley, down into 4th place.

The first race in the afternoon saw us taking a port hand course to the beach marks and after a fairly good start we were up with the leaders with all going well when we found that we were suddenly on the wrong side of a massive windshift that swept the entire fleet that had appeared to be behind us ahead. We actually were looking like being the last boat to round the beach marks, but fortunately for us Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion happened to hit the first beach mark and by the time they had extracted themselves we had sneaked past. Steve & Polly were the first Tasar round, closely followed by Chris Hazel, crewed once again by John Mark. We had to play catch up big time and did make some inroads into Paddy & Chris, but we only managed to overtake Chris on the last beat. Jeremy had a lot of distance to make up on Steve, but again got past on the last beat to give him another win. Nick Eggett, missed the morning race, but took his normal 1st position in the handicap fleet, with Tom Bittle taking another 2nd and Janet & Pete’s Kestrel 3rd. Richard was one of the other boats like us who was caught the wrong side of the earlier windshift could only take 4th place.

The 3rd race also developed into a slightly fluky affair and this time Nick Egget was the caught out, being a long way behind at the first rounding of the beach marks, whereas Richard was the first boat round and instantly capitalised by storming away on the downwind legs to finish a good margin in front of Nick, whose consolation was to take 2nd spot. Tom who had been sailing consistently well also suffered and was relegated to 4th with Jan & Pete moving up into 3rd. Andrew & Jenny are still trying to grips with their new sails, missed the morning race but hoped to do well in the remaining 2 races suffered badly what with their beach mark rounding problems in the first race and struggling upwind in the 2nd race could only take a couple of 5th places away. Jeremy & Steve had another battle for a while before Jeremy took a commanding lead, and Paddy & us had our own private race with Paddy once again coming out on top.

The insurance company has agreed to replace my mast & now it is a race against time to be ready as the earliest I can get it is next Friday, the day before our Tasar Open Weekend, so I guess that I will be frantically transferring bits and pieces from one mast to the other. Jeremy’s spare mast has kept me sailing but the spanner doesn’t engage with the lugs on my boom, which has caused Ken a lot of cursing and frustration and we have had to jury rig it, which isn’t ideal. Hopefully the new one will be ready in time.

Having looked at the forecast for Wednesday, my hopes for the social sailing, look to be a bit flimsy again as it looks like that we are likely to retain our normal weather pattern of wind and rain. Anyway I will turn up and see what we actually get and will be pleased to see whoever else wants to come and have a sail.

July 4th
My broken mast - ouch!!
In the middle of yet another wet spell of weather appeared a window containing some very pleasant sunshine and a moderate fading to light southerly breeze and more importantly it was a Wednesday - Race evening. 16 boats launched to make the most of it and what was even more pleasing that almost the entire fleet was on the water for the 7.00pm start. Launching conditions were a little tricky as the tide was right up to the slipway leaving very little room for launching. Nevertheless it was mission accomplished.

Pete & Janet were in charge of the RIB tonight and set a good sized triangular course. It is becoming quite rare nowadays to have a southerly breeze. Last night’s conditions gave us a beat from the beach marks towards Blackhead, then the left had turn took us across the bay, before the following gybe brought us back towards the beach marks, which in the fresh breeze and swell gave us some excellent planing conditions. There were sailing conditions to suit everyone. The earlier beats had enough power in the wind to give us steady hiking, whilst the reach across the top varied a bit in direction, but mainly gave the spinnaker boats a good reach to make use of their extra power, whilst the tighter 2nd reach in the swell were ideal for us Tasar sailors.

It was Noah’s Ark sailing again tonight with the main competition being one against one as we had 2 RS400s, 2 Blazes, 2 Toppers, 2 Lasers and 2 Tasars within the fleet. The early fresh breeze was enough to let Nick Eggett in his Contender to lead the fleet at the first mark, never to be seen again. Really life must be very boring for Nick as he rarely has another Contender to battle with. The RS400s are in theory faster, but not if a Contender can trapeze, then nothing much can live with them.

I was lucky to be back on the water so quickly after my mast breakage last Sunday. Jeremy very generously lent me a spare one that he has. I transferred most of my fittings and by the time of the race I was up and running again, though the spanner position is a little different and gave Ken some problems at times. Anyway we were up and running and that was the main aim of the game. I had been worried that the sails may have been damaged last Sunday as they took a real battering with the mast shearing in two, but there were no tears nor horrid creases and appeared to set correctly, so from that point of view got away fairly well.

Due to faffing around with all the bits and pieces, we were caught course side at the 1 minute gun so I elected to start on port but had to tack for the 1st of the 2 Blazes, helmed by Steve Wingrove. Starting on port wasn’t too bad as I heard that there was a bit of shouting and boats making contact close to the safety boat. I don’t know why but we always get quite a bit of barging when we have a port hand course starting by the beach marks. Somehow the Safety boat end is a magnet for most of the fleet and last night was no exception. We managed to climb up over Steve, but could not tack away as Roger in the other Blaze was sailing harder on the wind. Eventually with Roger’s co-operation we tacked across his bows but I knew that we had overshot the lay line by quite a margin and by the time we reached the windward mark were already more than a minute behind Jeremy & Suzanne, which didn’t bode well for the rest of the race. Paddy & Steve Coello were the first RS400 to round, followed by Nigel & James, but by the time they had reached the wing mark, the lighter team of the Dowricks were ahead, but then lost out as they couldn’t maintain their speed on the tighter leg, allowing Paddy & Steve back through.

I was quite encouraged by our down wind speed as I could see that we had closed Jeremy down quite a bit on the 2 reaches. Upwind was a different matter as they seemed to outpoint us, but nevertheless our speed through the water was quite good and we didn’t lose out as much as I feared and then on the downwind legs we again closed some of the distance. On the 4th round we managed to get close enough to claim water for the beach marks, but still couldn’t hold Jeremy off on the last beat which turned out to be quite a duel in covering. The breeze which had been delightful for the majority of the race was starting to fade big time and our superior downwind speed came to an abrupt halt and we had to settle for 2nd position, but nevertheless we both had a good race, though the tacking duels cost us time against the handicap fleet.

The 2 RS400s also had a good battle, but as the wind eased, so Nigel & James moved forward. They weren’t disadvantaged on the beat and by flying their spinnaker on all the reaches overtook and started to pull away from Paddy & Steve. Although Roger & Steve Wingrove had way over stood on the first beat, they still managed to make up some ground, especially Roger, who eventually sailed into 3rd place on corrected time splitting the 2 RS400s. Of the 2 Toppers out the glory went to Finn Hawkins, powering his little Topper into 5th position, much to the disbelief of John Hill who had to settle for 6th place a minute behind. Brian Reeves, proved to be the faster of the 2 Lasers beating Nick Haskin by some 3 minutes. Andrew & Jenny Kendall had a terrific first beat, being not too far behind us, but problems with their spinnaker, which Jenny eventually cleared by crawling on the foredeck, cost them a lot of time and they never recovered from that setback and had to settle for 8th.

Last night was the 1st race of the Summer Wednesday series and the Club house was buzzing with the après sail. Jenny's bacon butties doing a roaring trade as also was the bar. The evenings are still light at the moment but with the summer solstice been and gone the evening light will start to fade by the end of July, so let’s hope for some better weather and that more boats will take advantage of it and boost our fleet into the 20 plus zone that we can easily achieve.

July 1st
The fleet starting the 1st race
The longest spring time ever continues, as we patiently wait for summer to eventually appear. Today was another day waiting, and though there were glimpses of sunshine occasionally to be had, the fresh westerly wind conspired to keep the temperature surprisingly low and though it was predominately dry we did suffer from one or two showers from time to time. However we are becoming hardy souls and I’m afraid we just have to get on with it.

In fact sailing conditions this morning were actually very good, with enough grunt in the fresh breeze to keep us on our toes going upwind and sufficient to get all boats planing down wind at times. The breeze proved quite shifty round the beach marks, causing many a groan when suddenly headed or pleasantly pleased when we were equally suddenly lifted. Today was another good turnout with 19 boats racing and we were pleased to see join us for the day, Sam Chilton, sailing a Laser 4.7. Sam together with Alice Burford and Tom Bittle have given us a welcome increase to our Laser fleet. In fact we had 5 Lasers out racing in total which included Tim Baily and Brian Reeves in their full rigged Lasers, which are potentially faster, but today they trailed behind the 3 smaller Laser rigged boats, showing that biggest isn’t always the best. All 3 youngsters enjoyed their outing on the sea, which gives them some welcome practice as all 3 are competing on the South Western Laser circuit.

Paddy & Harry were in charge of the RIB today and soon had a nice little port handed course set up which took us on a beat to the beach marks and then off on a good reach heading towards the mussel farms before we took a hard left to cross the bay to the leeward mark before we took the uphill road again. 5 rounds were displayed on the Clubhouse race board, which due to the wind direction actually gave us 6 hard beats. The start line was rather short for 19 boats, far too short for anyone to attempt a port hand flyer. Once again the first boat to the windward mark was Nick in his Contender, followed by the Tasars of Steve & Polly, Jeremy & Suzanne and then us. There was quite a melee of boats behind, competing to round the beach marks, too many for me to take in but the laser radials were up there together with the Tasars of Dennis & Brian and Chris Hazell, today teamed up with John Mark. Yes it was good to see John out again, we have missed him since he sold his Tasar. Anna & Shane were another pair sitting pretty at the first time round the beach marks in the Vago, very close to Roger Williams in his Blaze. Steve & Jeremy pulled away on the first reach, but by the time we reached the leeward mark we had pulled up to a close 3rd. Unfortunately we dropped a further back on the next beat, and in truth fell back a little further on the subsequent rounds. In fact our race became a bit of a battle with Roger’s Blaze as he soon pulled away from the rest of the handicap fleet. Roger proving to be very fast on the reaches but slower than us on the beats. Steve & Polly proved to have the best downwind speed today and built up a nice lead but Jeremy & Suzanne started to peg them back on the beats. Steve & Polly started the last beat about 20 seconds or so in front of Jeremy & Suzanne, but Jeremy soon closed the gap, and Steve failed to cover when Jeremy split tacks, which may have been a decision that he regretted later when in the closing 200 M to the beach marks Jeremy popped out ahead to take the win.

Nigel & James, probably very wisely, decided to take their RS Feva out today rather than the RS400, and proved yet again what a good boat the Feva is in handicap sailing, finishing 3rd on corrected time behind Roger 2nd & Nick 1st. Luke Bilkey & Finn Hawkins sailing a Club Pico made it into 5th position in front of the Lasers of Alice Burford, Tom Bittle and Sam Chilton. It was good to see Tim Baily back with us for only his 2nd outing of the year, but he still managed to beat Brian Reeves, who was a few seconds ahead of Andrew & Jenny Kendall, who found their Scorpion a real handful in the fresh conditions. Anna & Shane who had started so well, fell further back and finished just 7 seconds in front of Matt Searle, sailing single handed in the other Club Pico. Oh yes, it happened to be Matt’s birthday today which he kept quiet. At least Matt must have felt relieved as he managed to beat his Dad, Richard who was sailing his Comet. Happy Birthday Matt.

The beach at lunchtime
The tide had been out in the morning and by the time we were ready to go out for the afternoon race had come in quite a long way and some of the boats were in danger of being floated off. During lunch the wind had swung a little south westerly but without us really noticing had increased in strength quite a bit. We had a good clue when we could see quite a lot of white water outside the mussel farms and no sooner had we cleared the cove then the full force of the fresher winds hit us. I would estimate that some of the gusts were well in excess of 20 knots and were very fierce with little or no warning when they swept in to give us additional problems. Due to the wind swinging, we were sent round the opposite way with a beat across the bay towards Blackhead and then the very tightest of reaches to the beach marks before a comparative broad reach back to the leeward mark.

The extra wind strength was like a Christmas present to Dennis & Brian, who had for them, quite a poor race in the morning. Well this afternoon they were in their element, blasting away from the start line to head our Tasar fleet at the windward mark, never to be caught despite Jeremy & Suzanne pulling them back somewhat, but a poor mark rounding by Jeremy allowed Dennis & Brian to pull out a big lead. We were trailing around in 3rd, with Steve & Polly, after a very late start further back. Although the conditions were tough they were quite sailable. Chris & John unfortunately capsized before they even reached the end of the first beat. They were in the water for quite a while before eventually righting the boat, but I think the effort sapped too much of their strength and they retired. All was going well for us, well we were surviving, but we came to grief big time on the 2nd time that we sailed the broad reach. A particular strong gust hit us and we were powering on when there was a terrific bang and the mast disappeared over the side, bringing us to a sudden stop. Initially I thought that one of the side stays had snapped, as that had happened once before. Fortunately there was no capsize for us and as we started trying to sort out the mess it soon became apparent that the mast had sheared in two, right across where the diamonds spreader bar bisects the mast. Ironically the diamonds are there to support the mast, but in this case they became a weakness point that couldn’t support the wind force and that was too much for the mast. With the help of the Safety boat we gathered in all the bits of rigging and sails and then were towed home. I am now about to find out how good my insurance company is, as I haven’t had a claim for a few years Just after we came to grief I noticed that Steve & Polly had capsized as they gybed at the beach marks which though they recovered and sailed on, stopped them from improving their position.

The handicap fleet had lost a few boats for the afternoon race, but gathered an extra with Beacky & Kelvin in the Enterprise. Once again Nick showed his mastery in the blustery conditions, winning by a margin of over 6 minutes on the RS Feva of Nigel & James. Tom Bittle took 3rd, only a few seconds in front of Roger in his Blaze. Alice Burford had been in a stronger position but a capsize just before the end dropped her back to 5th, but she was still a minute ahead of Sam in his Laser 4.7. Beacky & Kelvin, although having some good planing moments, could only manage 7th just ahead of Andrew & Jenny’s Scorpion. I think that the strong conditions must have made a full rigged Laser difficult to sail as it reduced Brian to 9th and caused Tim to retire early. So ended a very eventful day, the conditions were quite extreme at times but did give some very rewarding sailing.

I have just seen the forecast for next week and once again it is not a very good forecast at all. It seems that we are set for another breezy and wet week, which I am sure will have a detrimental affect on our sailing. We have an evening sail to Polkerris planned for Tuesday, but if the forecast turns out to be accurate then that will most likely be cancelled. The Wednesday afternoon social sailing looks as if that too may not be nice enough to just go out for a jolly. I will still go down to see what conditions are like, but I may not have a mast on my boat for a few more days yet, delivery is the big problem, due to its length.

On the positive side, we had 19 boats out racing this morning with another 18 still sitting in the dinghy park. I know that it appears a little ambitious but we do have the potential to have 30 boats racing, and what a good sight that would be. One of the pictures above shows the start of the morning race, taken by Chris Bilkey.

June 26th
Ken with his cake
Fog, the scourge of sailors everywhere, paid us a visit yesterday, and once again sailing was cancelled. Yes a thick, cold, clammy fog shrouded the bay bringing visibility down to no more than 50 metres on the beach, and that was enough to persuade everyone to take to the Club house to help Ken celebrate his 50th Birthday. There was no way that could have been kept a secret as Anna had baked a pair of cakes, shaped into the figures 50, which was presented to Ken, before being cut into and distributed to the non sailing sailors. I had a piece and it tasted delicious. Now if I could only persuade Anna into believing that I too will be 50 next birthday then I may also get a cake.

I was hoping to continue the Wednesday afternoon sailing that started last week. I had already cancelled it with Stewart, owing to the poor weather, after all it is meant to be relaxing, pleasure sailing. So no point in going out in what was cold and manky weather. The wind which wasn’t too bad was cold and was rather south easterly, which in itself would have produced a few wavelets on the beach and a lumpy sea further out. I did go down but left again after ¼ hr, so apologies to those who did come down later, hoping to sail. We will try again next week.

Steve Wingrove should be back with us at the weekend, after his foray to the Blaze Nationals, which were held at Brightlingsea last weekend. They too had quite a windy weekend and I think this kept their numbers much lower than expected and quite a few of those who attended declined to sail in quite a few of the races. In fact the racing scheduled for Sunday was blown off, so they had a very frustrating Nationals. It reminded me of last year when I attended the Tasar Nationals at Whitstable, not that many miles away from Brightlinsea. They too turned out to be a very windy affair and also lost the last day due to high winds. It seems that we in Cornwall are not the only ones to suffer from the ravages of the weather.

June 24th
Cadets on the beach
The Cadet’s Regatta has been on our sailing Calendar for a few years now & it has usually been held in almost perfect conditions, so we were all a bit apprehensive as to how we would fare this year. Well the weather wasn’t perfect, but then this year is it ever? No matter 19 young cadets arrived from as far away as Rock, Polkerris & Pentewan to join our home grown Cadets, for a day of fun and racing. Anna & Liz had once again provided 6 of their Picos and their safety boat to provide us with enough boats for everyone. Some of our cadets sailed the Picos round from Pentewan on Friday evening in what were very challenging conditions but with a tail wind behind them their ride was fairly fast and furious.

Registration, followed by a boat allocation and an introduction by Liz, who allocated the various boats and decided who was sailing single handed and who was sailing 2 up, followed by a briefing about the course, starting procedure and racing format by Ken and then they were off down to the beach to ready the boats for the racing to come. Meanwhile our safety boats complete with racing marks had been launched and a triangular course, supervised by Beacky (Race Officer for the day) & Anna was laid. The south westerly breeze blowing over the headland gave sheltered conditions in our cove for launching and initial clearing of the beach. Once out by the beach marks the full force of the force 3 could be felt, but these were ideal conditions for them and were nothing that they couldn’t handle.

The format was for 4 races with one discard; 2 races in the morning, followed by lunch in the Clubhouse and then 2 more races. Chris Bilkey was afloat with his camera and took quite a few pictures which can be found on Facebook, by following this link. The pictures clearly show the fresh conditions and the smiles on many of their faces show the enjoyment they all had. The conditions were such that I think every boat but 2 capsized at one time or another, some from a leading position, which must have been frustrating. The Picos and Toppers are very resilient boats, designed for youngsters and beginners so are fairly easy to right after capsizing, so although we had enough safety cover we didn’t have to rescue anybody, apart from one Pico that lost it’s rudder.

Matt and Jamie were the stars of the day, winning 3 of the 4 races in a Pico, but were pushed hard by Adam Eastham, in another Pico, who finished 2nd in the each of the first 3 races and won the last race. Luke Bilkey, who though hasn’t sailed that much this year, showed that he is well in control of his Topper, 2 third paces allowed him just to pip Finn for 3rd overall. Finn, one of the younger Cadets sailing, did well in his Topper but found the conditions rather tough for his size. James, has had a fraught time lately organising the Regatta, borrowed a Topper, rather than sail his Feva, but lack of Topper racing cost him quite a bit of time in the fresh conditions and didn't do as well as expected. All the results are to be found on our Sailing Results page and you can see that there were only a few seconds separating some of the race positions, so some will be feeling relieved whilst others will be feeling “If only….”

After the 4th race all boats returned to the shore and then the long task took place of hauling them all up the slipway back to the Club. Prizegiving took place after everyone had changed and had some more refreshments.

The fresh breezes experienced by the Cadets on Saturday were still in evidence on Sunday. At least the rain that had been falling all night finally relented and by 10.00 had stopped, but we still had quite an overcast sky that threatened more rain. In the event the rain held off and later in the day the sun actually burst through and by the end of racing the decking was a very restful place to be. Maybe the wet Saturday night and the fresh breeze blowing today was enough to deter some from racing as our numbers were reduced to a very low 12 boats racing. In fact today was a bit like a Noah’s ark conference as we had 2 Contenders, 2 RS400s and 2 Tasars racing. Quite disappointingly the numbers were a lot lower than we expected, though we do have some people away and obviously others either couldn’t or didn’t want to chance a ducking in the sea.

Today we were back to our normal routine of Club racing. The fresh conditions of Saturday were still there but the south westerly wind had swung round to the North West. Nevertheless the breeze that we had was very challenging as the beat was a very shifty one, which made it almost a game of snakes and ladders but that aside it was one of the best winds that we have had this year. We all have to take turns running the safety boat and today it was the turn of Jeremy & Suzanne to take the safety boat and they managed to set a very interesting course. The down side of it was that it was starboard handed, which usually in close quarters gives an advantage to the 2nd boat, but it did make for some interesting reaches as the first reach took us from the beach marks along the shore line towards Charlestown and the infamous “Gap”. It soon became evident that there was no set way to go on the beat as the wind was shifting around and changing intensity quite a lot, which really gave everyone a good chance of either getting the beats right or wrong. Nick Eggett, in ideal trapezing conditions, was first to the windward mark and we were very close on his heals in 2nd place and most pleasing, we had pulled out quite a nice gap on Steve & Polly in the only other Tasar. Unfortunately it didn’t take too long for the spinnakers on the chasing RS400s to power past us on the reaches. Steve & Polly pulled up very close to us on the 2nd beat and from then on we had a game of cat and mouse with them chasing us, passing us, we chasing them before finally passing them on the penultimate beat to take a very hard fought for win.

Paddy & Steve Coello were the heavier crew in the RS400s compared to Nigel & James & made good use of their extra weight on the beats, losing some ground but significantly not too much on the down wind legs. Richard Armstrong in his Contender was also in the mix and clashed with us all at some time or other before finishing in 2nd position. The rest of the handicap fleet were left far behind and Jan & Pete in their Kestrel had only Andrew & Jenny’s Scorpion and Anna Weld’s Laser to fight with before Andrew & Jenny called it a day and retired early. Saturday’s racing had fired up the Cadets who were sailing and Adam, Shane & Finn had their own little private battle in the slower boats further back.

The tide was way out when we launched for the afternoon race and I noticed that the beach was empty with only 1 family occupying it. By the time we returned 90 minutes later there were scores of people who had suddenly realised that the weather had improved and that the beach was the place to be.

The afternoon race saw a much depleted fleet take to the water, with the 2 RS400s, 2 Tasars and Nick’s Contender actually making the start line, but once again the lively conditions gave some excellent racing and once again it was game on for the RS400s and our 2 Tasars. Once again Nick sailed off in his own lonely race, but for us the intensity and concentration was just as strong as in the morning. Once again the heavier crew of Paddy & Steve proved too much for Nigel & James up wind and their race came to a premature end when they succumbed to a capsize on one of the gybe marks, leaving Paddy & Steve to sail on unopposed. Meanwhile Steve & Polly and us continued our battle from the morning with Steve taking the early lead before we passed them, but they retook their lead on the penultimate beat and close covered us up the last beat to make sure that there was to be no repeat of the morning race, so we came off the water with one win a piece, which seemed a fair result. The racing was some of the best that I have had for a long time. There was never any time in the racing when you could relax. The beats were hard, but some of the planes were out of this world and the concentration levels were truly demanding. Sailing doesn’t often get better than this.

Just a reminder now to anyone who wants a more relaxing sail and has time on their hands during the day to come along on Wednesday afternoon about 13.00 for what I hope will be a nice easy bit of relaxing sailing. Any of you who have studied the latest version of the sailing programme will notice that we have an evening sail to Polkerris scheduled for Tuesday 3rd July with an 18.30 start. Nigel is looking for volunteers for the safety boat, so if you fancy going over and don’t want to actually sail then you could drive the safety boat. Nigel will be pleased to hear from you.

June 21st
A wet Wednesday evening
Oh dear, yet another Wednesday night’s sailing lost to poor weather, why am I not surprised? Yet again the weather forecast men were wrong when they gave out their 5 day forecast last weekend. We were supposed to have Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday as fine days with rain and winds coming in on Thursday. Unfortunately the poor weather came in at least 12 - 24 hours too early and once again our racing took a hit and was cancelled. A fresh to strong easterly, plus driving rain and a dumpy surf on a high tide combined to make the cancellation inevitable. I am not sure if the picture alongside plays full justice to the weather. It was taken about 18.30 so you can see that there hadn’t been any desire to uncover the boats.

Some of us did get out for a sail earlier in the afternoon. I had been thinking for quite a while that we don’t always make the best use of our facilities, & I had this dream that on nice Wednesday afternoons in the summer it would be quite pleasant to get some of our more senior sailors down for a social sail. No emphasis on racing, just the pleasure of sailing off into any direction we wanted. Well, armed with the weather forecast on Sunday I decided to put my dream into operation this Wednesday, so I sent an e-mail round inviting anyone who was available and was so inclined to come down for a sail. You can imagine that as the weather turned so inclement that I was quite disappointed, but we did manage to get 4 boats out on the water, which in the circumstances was a good effort. I am not limiting this weekly outing to just seniors but to anyone who has some time on their hands on a Wednesday afternoon and wants to come for a sail, to just turn up. The only constraint at the moment is that there is no safety boat cover. Indeed if we only sail in nice weather then the need for safety cover is hugely reduced.

I took Stewart out as crew yesterday. It was the first time that he had sailed for over 8 years & I expect that he will be aching today, but also hope that he enjoyed it enough to come again next week and if the conditions are right then take his own Tasar out. The low tide had just turned as we launched, through the surf. The wind was blowing onshore, but at that time it wasn’t strong enough to prevent any sailing and without too much trouble we had all 4 boats launched and out sailing. After a few tacks and getting the feel of the boat Stewart & I set out on a long tack that took us towards Blackhead, just skirting the right hand side mussel farm, before turning back to sail between some of the Mussel farms buoys on a long reach back towards Charlestown. There was enough of a swell to allow us to get the boat planing on quite a few of the waves, which no doubt added to the pleasure. Anyway within an hour we were back on shore which was just as well as the wind was starting to increase and with it the size of the surf on the beach.

This Saturday we have the Cadets Regatta on the programme and we are expecting Cadets from around Cornwall to come along. Last year was a brilliant day, organised by Liz & Anna. I know that quite a bit of food has been purchased & all the organising is in hand. The only fly in the ointment so to speak is once again the dreaded weather. Once again the forecast isn’t too good but we can hope that once again they have it wrong and a full sailing programme can go ahead. I think help is still needed to support the Regatta, so if you are available on Saturday then please come along and I am sure you will be welcomed.

Finally, today is June 21st and is supposed to be the longest day and some also call it Midsummer’s day. Yes I know that actually daylight hours will start to recede, but it will take a few weeks to notice much difference and normally the daytime temperatures and sea temperatures tend to creep upwards, so don’t despair too much just yet.

June 17th
Preparing to sail
We have all been suffering from the dreadful weather of the last few days. Torrential rain and gales over Thursday & Friday, still strong winds over Saturday, but the weather men did promise us some sunshine and warmth plus lighter winds for today. Well they got 1 out of 3 right. We did have lighter winds at times today, almost had some sun this morning and maybe it was just a tad warmer, but not significantly so. I was swept away enough to dare to wear my sailing shorts & in the morning just about got away with it, but the temperature fell away at lunch time and the darkening clouds persuaded me to swop over to my wet suit; this turned out to be a good decision, as not long after we launched after lunch it started to rain and the wind increased for a time.

The long awaited better weather tempted another good turnout today with 18 boats racing, plus some others out cruising, which was very pleasing to see. There were still 4 or 5 regulars who for one reason or another were not sailing so I expect to see the 20 barrier broken on several occasions later this season.

Nigel & James were the Safety boat crew today and decided to set a trapezium course for the morning race. In the event it didn’t go quite to plan as the 2nd “reach” turned out into a beat rather than a reach and this turned the race upside down a bit, making the actual beat much longer. However we all had to cope with it and I think they did move the offending mark after we had all rounded it to try & give us the promised reach.

Jeremy & Suzanne were away this weekend and Steve & Polly took full advantage by claiming 2 wins. The wind started a little fresh for the first race and there was quite a tussle up the first beat with Nick Eggett sailing his Osprey single handed taking the early lead, followed by Paddy in his RS600 & Steve & Polly in their Tasar with us rounding in 4th. We made up quite a bit of ground on Steve & Polly on the first reach in a dying wind and had caught them up by the time we reached the beach marks. We managed to overtake them on run, but they sneaked past us on the next set of reaches & remained ahead to take a nice win. Dennis & Brian were the only other Tasar out and the lighter winds were not to their liking as they dropped behind by quite a margin. The leading 2 handicap boats were caught by Richard Armstrong in his Contender, and although he finished 3rd on the water, took the win on corrected time. Nick & Paddy were the first 2 to finish a shortened course but their corrected time put them back into 4th & 7th respectively. Lurking not too far behind the leading bunch was Roger Williams in his Blaze who took 2nd just in front of Janet & Pete Barnes in their Kestrel. We had 2 of our new members out today. Alice Burford sailing a Laser radial, took 5th place, finishing nearly 2 minutes ahead of Brian Reeves, sailing a full rigged Laser. Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion sailed into 6th place. Anna & Liz were supposed to be sailing their Vago but Anna, not feeling too well relinquished her position to let Liz helm with Shane as crew and they managed 9th, just 7 seconds behind Brian Reeves. Jeremy Rowett, the other new member, in only his 2nd appearance in his newly acquired Supernova, failed to get a result as his clew shackle came adrift came apart just before the start and he had to drift back to the shore to attempt a repair. Colin Wainwright cheered by his success on Wednesday started well but fell back to a frustrating 11th place. Jamie & Luke Bilkey sailing a Topper & a Club Pico couldn’t make too much progress in the lighter conditions finishing behind everybody else.

We had a change of course for the afternoon race. The 4th mark was removed and we went for a more conventional Olympic course. This promised to be a more exciting race as the rain came down but more importantly the wind filled in. Steve & Polly hit the start line at speed and shot away into a good lead. Our start was supposed to be as good but I happened to be just a little slower away and had to start just to leeward of Adam Eastham & Shane in the Vago. Liz had stepped down and Adam was yearning to give his helming skills an airing. In fact he was doing a very good job of slowing us down with a blanketing affect. It was impossible for us to tack away so we just had to hang on before we cleared them. Our tack away was frustrated twice as first we were caught port & Starboard by Alice and then on the approach to the mark by Janet & Pete. Dennis & Brian had a much better first beat and were 2nd Tasar to the windward mark. Fortunately we did make up some ground on the reaches and managed to overtake Dennis on the 3rd beat. We were helped in this as the breeze once again was starting to fade away. In fact on the 2nd run the breeze disappeared completely for a while before spluttering back to life. This lead to a few changes, with some people bunching up whilst others managed to increase their lead. The biggest loser that I saw was to Richard who had been up with Paddy & Nick, but lost a lot of ground, which dropped him down to 6th on corrected time. Roger kept his Blaze gliding along and once again finished behind 2 of the faster boats, but on corrected time took a good win. Janet & Pete, maybe thanks to a good first beat, hung on well in the lighter stuff to claim 2nd place, just in front of Nick in his Osprey. Jeremy Rowett with a repaired boat enjoyed a good race to take 4th, finishing behind Andrew & Jenny's Scorpion, but benefiting on corrected time.

Due to the strange wind conditions the race was halted early, which was pleasing to some as they had made good progress whilst sailing through the doldrums but proved frustrating to others as the steadier new wind may have given them a better chance. The season of National Championships is upon us and next weekend sees the Blaze Nationals at Brighlingsea. Steve Wingrove is intending to sail in them and was packing his boat away today after our racing, so we wish him luck and a safe journey and will be scouring the Y&Y for his results. I mentioned on Wednesday, Bugle Band festival which was held yesterday and how James & Catherine were playing. Well their band, St. Dennis Band, won their class, which was the first time for 18 years, so they were both very pleased with that. You will be able to congratulate Catherine next week as she will be on galley duty on Sunday.

Many thanks to all who enquired about my legs, after my injury 2 weeks ago, fortunately everything is healing up nicely, although the first week made for a very uncomfortable time. It was extremely painful to walk up and down stairs in a normal manner. I had to shuffle up and down one step at a time, but the stiffness has more or less gone now and the bruising has almost disappeared. I was told at Penrice hospital when I went for a consultation that I should have had a stitch in one of the wounds but I had left it too late so I would just have to let it heal up naturally. Anyway I had no bangs on my legs today so hopefully nature is taking its course. Polly & Steve also capsized that weekend and she still has some nasty looking bruises on her arms.

June 13th
Finn Hawkins
Let’s start off with a big congratulation to Finn Hawkins who at the age of 9 won his first ever race at Porthpean. Maybe, just maybe he is the youngest ever winner at Porthpean in a handicap race, racing against the adults. Last night’s race was a joy for Finn and a bit of a horror for others, me included.

We started out with the largest fleet so far of the season with 20 boats hitting the water. Unfortunately the light southerly breeze was already failing as we launched for the 7 pm start. Dennis & Brian were the safety boat coxes for the race and made their intentions clear that we would be starting on time by getting the safety boat launched before 6.30. Fortunately the start line was going to be by the beach marks, so no one had to sail too far to get to the start, which was just as well as progress was very slow in the light stuff. My plan was to start at the pin end and head out to sea with the hope that the light breeze would hold more than any breeze that maybe lurking under the cliffs. For a while all looked good and when we finally tacked onto the port lay line for the mark, things looked even better as the rest of the fleet were spread out below us but then we stopped dead. We could tell progress was at a halt as we looked at little bubbles etc in the water and could see that we were making no progress against them. We had been going for almost 30 minutes and the windward mark still looked a good 200M away, I noticed that at least 3 other boats had set off on the long paddle home and I decided to call it a night, as I thought that the wind had died away for the night; wrong!! We broke out the paddle and headed back to the beach.

Jeremy & Suzanne had almost reached the windward mark but the tide was pushing them backwards away from it when we all noticed that Chris Hazell, partnered by John Mark, who was a long way back was suddenly gliding along in their own private current. Actually they were one of the first boats to get the benefit of a completely new wind that was just starting to come out from the shore. Probably because the Tasar is so light it benefited much earlier than the 2 RS400s, one crewed by Nigel & Beacky whilst the other had Paddy & Steve in it. Close by them was the Osprey of Nick Eggett and not far behind them was the rest of most of the fleet, who had all drifted along at much the same speed for ½ hr. Such was Chris’s speed that he looked like he would be the first to reach the windward mark, but Jeremy just managed to find the new wind in time to round in first, with Chris hot on his heels. Nigel & Nick slipped into 3rd & 4th and Colin Wainwright who was another who had been further back but benefited greatly from the new wind almost sailed past John Hill. By now even the slower boats much further back were sailing in the new breeze and even more importantly were starting to benefit from the breeze becoming much firmer, sweeping them up to the faster boats in front.

Inevitably the race was shortened to just one round, though with a fresher breeze now evident, those still racing could have easily managed another round, which may have helped the faster boats gain back some of their lost time. Anyway the shortened course probably resulted in the classic quote from the bible that “he who is last shall become first” etc. Yes Finn who due to the slow speed of the Topper is normally languishing at the tail end of the fleet, managed on corrected time to take his first race win by a margin of 6 minutes on the Supernova of John Hill who was just 17 seconds in front of Colin. Nigel & Beacky who were the first to actually finish in the handicap fleet were relegated to a lowly 8th on corrected time.

Jeremy Rowett
Tonight was the first outing, racing, for Jeremy Rowett, who has rejoined the Club after an absence of many years. Jeremy long ago, partnered Barry Vigus, in the dim mists of time when Porthpean was a hotbed for the Scorpion fleet. Jeremy has bought Nick Haskins Supernova and spent most of the race close to us up the first beat, before our graceful retirement. Unfortunately we had parked in the worst part of the course as it was the last area to gain the new breeze, but Jeremy managed to make up some ground finishing less than a minute behind the other 2 Supernovas. Unfortunately what brought the breeze was the rain as quite a heavy shower followed, drenching everyone after their sail. Jenny is away for the next 2 weeks and so we thought there would be no bacon butties. Fortunately Paddy showed his true colours as Commodore and cooked them himself, so we didn’t go hungry after all!

20 boats out racing tonight was the highest attendance this season and there were at least 5 other boats that have sailed regularly not out, so the overall numbers are very encouraging. That was also the last race in the Wednesday Spring series, and from Sunday coming we will be starting the Summer series. It was also nice to see Peter Phillips out sailing again. I didn’t catch up with him afterwards so not sure if this was just an occasional sail or whether we will be seeing him out regularly. Another newcomer to sailing with us is Guy Whale, sailing in his new RS Terra. Guy is one of the new Cadets sailing with us this year. In fact we have a very good Cadet section coming along now and maybe it would be as well to give them their own series, as I am sure that some of the older members won’t want Finn beating them on a regular basis just yet. Incidentally Finn’s corrected time also put him 6 minutes ahead of parents Jeremy & Suzanne, much to their pleasure.

We haven’t seen too much of James Dowrick over the last week & the reason for this is that he and his Mother, Catherine, both play in St. Dennis Band. They are practising hard for the Bugle Band Competition that will be held this Saturday, so we wish them every success and expect normal sailing to return for James next week.

June 10th
On the beach at Polkerris
The Polkerris day sail has, over the last few years, disappeared from our sailing calendar, but by popular demand was reinstated this year; and today was the scheduled day. Well we all know what our weather has been like for the last few weeks, - wet and windy. The wind which has been so dominant lately, fizzled out to a very light and variable affair and the rain which we have had so much of, dwindled away to only drizzle, but there was still no sign of that essential ingredient that we all love so much – SUN. Yes it was another grey, yucky day but fortunately 10 boats launched to undergo the very slow sail to Polkerris. There would have been at least one more if I hadn’t dithered so much, but with Family down for the weekend and the thought of a late arrival back at Porthpean, when Sue was wanting an early evening meal, meant that I erred on the side of not sailing. That was a decision that probably turned out to be correct as it did take quite a while to reach Polkerris. I waited at the Club whilst all the boats launched, then went home and had my lunch before setting off by car to see the boats arrive. By the time I reached Polkerris at 13.00, all had arrived apart from Nigel, James & Ken in their RS400, but they were just approaching the shore. They had been last to launch and with 3 up in wind so light meant that their progress would be slow.
On the beach at Polkerris
Most of the adults headed for the Pub, to order drinks and meals, whilst our younger element took to the water, with a few lead by Finn, jumping off the end of the harbour. Finn impressed everyone by doing a full blooded somersault each time he jumped. It brought back memories to me of when in my youth we used to jump off the top of the building at the end of Newquay harbour. A few of our other members arrived by car and joined the sailors for lunch. By 15.00 Chris & Tony were still wet and getting cold so they were the first to launch and head off back to Porthpean, in what looked like slightly better breeze than they sailed across in, which probably boded well for the rest of the fleet who as I left were starting to carry the boats, which had been left high and dry by the receding tide, back down to the water’s edge.
On the beach at Polkerris
I know that the weather wasn’t ideal but nevertheless the day was enjoyed by all who sailed across. After all it is always an adventure when we leave our beach and sail off to another destination. It makes me think of the “Swallows & Amazons” books by Arthur Ransome that I read in my youth. Anyway the day was a success and I am sure that it will be back on the sailing programme for 2013. Next Sunday sees the start of what almost laughingly is titled the “Summer Series” of races, so is an ideal chance for some to make more of a commitment and get out and sail more often. On a brighter note we had a paid application today to join the Club by Tom Bittle and we also had Adam Eastham rejoin, which is very good news for our youth side of the Club. I think Adam has just completed a course, making him a sailing instructor, which I am sure will be very helpful to him in the future.
June 6th
early evening at the Club
The picture alongside, depicts a very nice summer’s evening when people were just starting to ready their boats for racing. Well that picture was taken last week when it really was a superb night for sailing, but it wasn’t quite so nice tonight. Actually tonight’s sailing had been in some doubt due to the strong south westerly wind that had been blowing throughout the day. Indeed the Polruan weather station had been recording some very strong gusts that would have devastated the fleet if we had been so brave as to have been sailing then. However as so often happens in the summer, the strength and intensity of the wind started to fade as evening came on and tonight was one of those classic occasions. Our main obstacle to sailing tonight was the height of the tide. At 6 o’clock it was almost up to the slipway and still had another 2 hrs to go before reaching its peak. Fortunately there were no waves to contend with so launching was relatively easy once you had secured a place on the narrow beach.

After my misshap on Sunday I had been in doubt whether I would be able to sail at all, as I was still limping and my super thin blood was still oozing out of my wounds. I was also under strict orders from a higher authority “not to sail” I decided that I could keep my wounds etc dry if I wore my dry suit. My proviso to myself was that I wouldn't sail if it was too rough. Well in the event the wind had abated somewhat, the sea state looked calm and I felt good to go. Hiking was ok but any movement in the boat like tacking or gibing was quite a painful experience. I was dreading taking off my dry suit after sailing to see whether my wounds had opened up again or not. Well I felt so relieved when all appeared intact and no further damage could be seen, which was a good job as the sympathy from Sue would have been rather thin on the ground if I had gone home bleeding again.

It was good to see Ron & Michelle down at the Club again tonight, but unfortunately they were only there to perform their task as Safety boat drivers. Ron is another member that is taking a sabbatical to go cycling. Ron’s particular theme is mountain bike riding, which I know he enjoys but I am sure we would all prefer him to come sailing again. Ron will be the Race Officer for the Tasar Nationals so tonight was an ideal opportunity to hone his skills on course setting and to that extent all went well tonight. The earlier weather had left a lumpy sea further out and we had this to contend with as the south westerly breeze gave us a beat across the bay towards the house. The bear off from beat to reach gave us the opportunity to get some planing in with the waves to help our progress, before a long reach out across the Charlestown gap took us back to start the cycle again. With on discernable port bias the 15 boat fleet all took off together, beating out to sea. Nick Eggett in his Contender, soon sailed into a lead and was followed quickly by Paddy & Steve in their RS400. Behind those two the 4 Tasars found their slots with Jeremy & Suzanne soon into the lead. By the time we reached the windward mark, Dennis & Brian had slipped into 2nd Tasar position, out sailing us on the beat. Any hope that we had of making up ground on the reach were quickly dashed as Paddy & Steve were perched up to windward of us and without be able to hoist their spinnaker more or less sailed along at our speed. Fortunately when we all reached the gybe mark, they were able to hoist the kite and they were away, which gave us time and opportunity to sail into the 2nd Tasar slot just before we started the 2nd beat. This beat was much better for us and though we couldn’t make any inroads into Jeremy’s lead we did pull well away from Dennis & Brian. In fact as the race went on Chris & Tony started to catch up and at the end were only 20 seconds behind Dennis; not quite emulating their sail of the previous Wednesday.

Nigel & James took their RS Feva out tonight, adjudging the conditions as too much for their RS400 but I think they realises that the wind was dropping all the time they could have managed the 400 after all. Paddy & Steve pulled through the Contender on the reaches and although they took line honours, the corrected time results gave the win to Nick by over 2 minutes. Despite Nigel & James being much further down the fleet in the finishing order and finishing some 15 minutes behind the RS400, their corrected time gave them 3rd place, just in front of John Hill in his Supernova. Kay & Craig made only their 2nd appearance of the season and suffered what can only be described as a spinnaker malfunction when after leaving it in its bag all race decoded to fly it on the last reach. All went well until it was time to take it down and the spinnaker took on a life of its all, dropping in front of the boat and then disappearing underneath it. With Kay lying flat on the foredeck struggling to pull it back in they sailed well on past the leeward mark almost into the path of a square rigger that was making its way into Charlestown. That ruined any chance of making inroads into the lead of Andrew & Jenny who finished 13 minutes in front of them, who finished in front of the Laser of Brian Reeves and the Blaze of Steve Wingrove. Clive Stephens must have felt pleased as I noticed he was in the yard just watching people rigging earlier. When I asked him why he wasn’t sailing he cited the weather conditions. Fortunately I persuaded him that the wind was abating and he decided to sail. Well he managed the conditions really well and got another sail under his belt after all.

I suppose we were very lucky with being able to race on Wednesday evening as overnight the weather has taken a turn for the worse, with yet another low making its way up the Bristol Channel giving us another wet and windy vile day. Will we ever get another fine summer? I for one am not too sure, which is why it pays to make the most of every good day that comes along. We have our Granddaughters staying with us this week and it is so frustrating not to be able to have any beach days this week, instead we have to wrap up and choose our moments when to head out for the great outdoors. Fortunately we are not going to Royal Cornwall, where I expect the car parks will be a really sticky experience for many and the wind and rain will make the whole visit a rather frustrating day out.

June 3rd
Beach at Lunchtime
There’s no two ways about it, I am in pain!! And feeling rather disgusted with myself into the bargain, more about that later. Today was the June Cup and was a 3 race series, so far so good. Unfortunately the forecast was rather dire, but sailable, and what a contrast it was to last Wednesday which to me and maybe most of the fleet was an almost perfect evenings sailing. Instead of the light offshore breeze, blue skies and warmth we had on Wednesday, today we had a very gusty and at times strong offshore wind, grey skies and a temperature of no more than 14C. Altogether it was quite intimidating and not particularly inviting. Nevertheless I think something like 12 boats turned up for the Cup. I honestly think quite a few took one look at the weather and decided to go and celebrate the Jubilee in some form or another, rather than go sailing.

The Cup was to be run by the Tasar fleet and Chris & Tony took the safety boat for the first race. Chris also worked his charm on Jenny March who very sportingly undertook to do the time keeping and also the galley. Now before I go too much further I must congratulate James Sharratt & Steve Pitcher who had more capsizes today than I have ever seen. Despite capsizing innumerable times they fought on, righting the boat each time, before finally calling it a day after the 2nd race. They are fairly new to the RS400 and I know from when I have sailed one that they are a real handful and in today’s winds, they had a real tough battle, so well done to them for battling for so long.

Today we also welcomed a prospective new sailing member, one Tom Bittle, who has been sailing quite a lot at Fowey. Tom sails a Laser Radial to a very high standard and is quite keen to get some sea racing in to help his improvement. I think he managed to complete all 3 races without capsizing. With only 4 Tasars out, Jeremy & Suzanne, Steve & Polly and Dennis & Brian and us I knew it was going to be a struggle for us. Nevertheless we did get off to a good start and at one time passed in front of Jeremy & Suzanne and were also ahead of Steve & Polly, but by the time we reached the beach marks Jeremy had built up a good lead and we rounded in 3rd, not too far behind Steve & Polly with Dennis & Brian bringing up the rear. There was going to be no catching Jeremy & Suzanne who powered away on all legs. It was a slightly different matter with Steve & Polly and by the time we had started the 2nd round we had closed them right down. We were so close that we had to tack away as we rounded the leeward mark, but somehow I found a big header to be much further behind as we finished the 2nd beat. Our good fortune came to us on the 3rd beat when we sailed through a particularly stronger gust than normal. Steve wasn’t so lucky and they were blown in. Seizing our chance we swept past them only to be flattened ourselves just before we reached the beach marks. Now normally the Achilles heel for a Tasar when capsizing is a complete inversion. I though that we might have a chance of avoiding the inversion by throwing myself over the side deck to land on the dagger board. Well in the excitement I actually fell over and landed knees first and boy did it hurt, but I stopped the inversion. I managed to heave the boat upright, but when Ken moved over to help me get back in the boat our combined weight was enough to roll the boat over on top of me. Result one inverted Tasar, so the pain was in vain. We eventually got the boat upright but by this time Steve & Polly plus Dennis & Brian had both long gone, so I decided that I had had enough and retired back to the sanctuary of the shore. Steve & Polly had another capsize on the last beat, which gave away their 2nd place to Dennis & Brian who managed to sail through all the gusts without any major dramas.

Nick Eggett lead the handicap fleet, but despite trapezing all the way was still behind Jeremy at the end of the beat and couldn’t make any headway on the reaches also. Finally deciding that he didn’t like the course he elected to sail away all by himself practicing his reaching skills. So bad were the conditions and so many were capsizing that only 3 boats managed to finish. The winner being Tom Bittle in his first race at Porthpean, followed by Brian Reeves in his Laser & James & Steve in their RS400, so their persistence paid off for them.

I was feeling quite stiff and also was in quite a bit of pain, so after lunch I peeled off my wetsuit to see the damage. My right knee had a big lump on it and a big bruise, but the worst pain was from my left knee which was bleeding quite a bit. Unfortunately due to my medication, any cut bleeds quite a lot and can be quite difficult to stop. My knee area was also badly bruised and I am not looking forward to the next few days when I am sure the discomfort will get worse. I have been dinghy sailing for well over 40 years and this is the worst damage that I have ever had happen apart from the heart attack 2 years ago. Maybe age and slower reactions are taking their toll, but I still feel far too young to stop sailing yet.

Nigel & James appeared for the afternoon races and rigged the Feva up, which was a very wise move indeed. I don’t think that would have survived in their RS400 in the prevailing conditions. Being the slowest boat on the water it was inevitable that they would be the last boat to finish. They did in fact beat Brian Reeves on the water as Brian was one of the others who had numerous capsizes. On corrected time they won in style being 28 seconds in front of Tom.

Once again Jeremy dominated the Tasar fleet, taking another win, with Steve & Polly 2nd and Dennis & Brian retiring. With two wins under his belt Jeremy elected to take the safety boat. Steve & Polly had had enough and so Dennis was the only Tasar left to sail the 3rd race, which he sailed to win, giving him and Brian 2nd overall.

With one win a piece Nigel & James & Tom started the 3rd race. Unfortunately for Tom he had problems just before the start and was by far the last to cross the start line. Paddy & Steve were first to cross the shortened course finish line, followed by Tom with Nigel bringing up the rear, but once again on corrected time the Feva had another win; this time by almost a minute and a half over the Laser Radial.

A very weary bunch of sailors finally landed on the beach, thoroughly worn out after one of the hardest days sailing we have had for a long time. The forecast for the next few days isn’t very good but I think that we might have another sunny day next Wednesday

May 31st
Chris & Tony
Sometimes, sailing at Porthpean can be one of life’s best experiences; and such it was last night. After a cloudy start in the morning, the sun had burnt through the clouds by lunchtiime, the temperature had risen and all this was accompanied by a light offshore north westerly breeze. The sea was like a blue shimmering millpond, with just a tiny ripple of surf kissing the beach. The tide itself was still dropping so we had acres of beach in which to ready the 17 boats for racing. Absolutely perfect.

Stacey & Lucy manned the Safety Boat and launched in plenty of time which enabled a prompt 19.00 start. The breeze out at sea was strong enough, I reckoned about 10 knots, so was enough to get Nick Trapezing on his Contender and the rest of us enough to get into full hiking mode. The weather was so good that once again my sailing shorts came out of the bag, that’s twice in a row that I have managed to wear them. Will this weekend make it a hat trick? Stacey managed to set a good length, challenging course, fortunately for us we sail on the sea, so it was good to see such long legs, not for us those convoluted spiders webs from mark to mark of some inland sailing clubs.

The start was a hotly contested affair, with the majority of the fleet lined up for a very competitive start. Nick Eggett, the only Contender sailor out tonight, soon took the lead and had a fairly lonely life as he remained in the front for the rest of the race, though 2 of the RS400s did close him down on the first set of down wind legs. We had our entire fleet of 3 RS400s out tonight and this soon became an epic duel between Nigel & James against Paddy & Steve Coello. The race to the first windward mark was won by Paddy, with quite a nice lead over Nigel, but their lead was short lived as the much lighter pairing of Nigel & James soon gobbled them up on the down wind legs, with enough distance between them to make the next beat an easier affair for them. However on the 3rd beat complacency set in and they failed to cover Paddy who benefitted from a huge windshift to take a considerable lead by the end of the beat. Although Nigel & James pulled them back and even passed them again down wind their lead at the start of the next beat was so little that the extra power that Paddy & Steve generated soon gave them back the lead which they hung onto giving them the race by some 14 seconds.

A little further back, ploughing along on his own, was the Blaze of Roger Williams. Roger showing that a Blaze in the right hands is very competitive, and though he looked like he had been dropped by quite a margin by the RS400s actually beat them by a good margin on corrected time. The 3rd RS400 was sailed by Jim Sharratt and Steve Pitcher. They are still getting to grips with the boat and went for an early bath when rounding the beach marks, when a stronger gust blew them in. They weren’t alone in the capsize department as Steve Wingrove, John Hill and Finn all fell in at some time during the race. There could have been others but I didn’t see them.

With only 3 Tasars out, I thought that our battle would be up against Dennis & Brian. We had a good start and first beat & I was very pleased to be the 2nd boat to the beach marks with only Nick in his Contender ahead of us. The first reach was a slow affair as we sailed along with our whisker pole out, but the 2nd reach was a full on planing affair; lovely. As expected Dennis was the next Tasar to round but not far ahead of Chris & Tony, who hounded them down wind. They stuck to their task and were only just behind them at the end of the 2nd beat. They promptly sailed past them on the reaches and once in front of them, they even managed to pull further ahead, resulting in them taking a very creditable 2nd. To see their beaming faces when they eventually landed was a sight to behold. (Hence tonight’s picture) I fully expected to see a bottle of bubbly being opened at the bar later.

Back in the handicap fleet, Jan & Pete Barnes were also having a good race; the Barnes making good use of their spinnaker on the reaches. Pete was also celebrating the fact that he has just become a Grand Father. Brian Reeves headed the 4 Lasers out racing and had a good battle with Nick Haskins to beat him by some 8 seconds. John Hill was down the pan tonight, finishing in a lowly 9th, his capsize costing him dear as he is usually in the top 3. The prompt start caught out Dave Mackrell who was at least a minute late starting but he also had trouble by forgetting to put the bung in his Laser, resulting in a heavier boat than normal, thus a slower speed than normal and could only make 12th, but still in front of Jim & Steve, whose capsize took them a while to recover from. Finn Hawkins brought up the rear, but it is much harder sailing a Topper when battling away on your own, with nothing around to compare with. However he is in his first season with the boat but I am sure will soon be much higher up in the results.

Our race ended in just under an hour, but the race was shortened for many of the slower boats a round or two earlier which then gave Ken the headache of working out the final positions on an average lap basis.

Now a little bit of housekeeping, this coming Sunday will be the June Cup and will be run by the Tasar fleet. The format will be for 3 races and will probably be one in the morning followed by 2 back to back in the afternoon. The following Sunday will be the resurrected Polkerris day sail, when if the weather is suitable we will sail across to Polkerris, beach the boats, have some lunch and play some beach games and then as the incoming tide floats the boats we will sail back to Porthpean. It will be a good opportunity for families and friends who don’t sail across to drive and meet us over there.

May 27th
Action during one of the races
A beautiful weekend, marred only by the wind; far too much on Friday & Saturday, and far too little on Sunday. The Friday night series at Mylor was cancelled due to the 30 plus knots sweeping up the Carrick Roads. The wind continued blowing throughout the night & unfortunately for Porthpean, all day on Saturday. What we also had though was oodles and oodles of sun. After bitterly complaining about the low temperatures in May we have been eventually been blessed with some Mediterranean weather, which for the majority has been gratefully received.

This weekend was the scheduled Contender Open Meeting. The attendance numbers have been dropping over recent years but this time it reached an all time low and may well be the last Contender Open we stage for a while. We had 3 visitors turn up but they had no Club opposition to sail against. They did have the luxury of being able to sit on the beach on Saturday as with the very strong onshore wind blowing, whipping up the surf, it was obvious to them that sailing wasn’t going to be an option.

The wind had blown itself out overnight and by dawn on Sunday we were looking at a windless bay, shrouded with mist and low cloud. The sun had gone up country to display its rays there instead of shining us. Fortunately 11.00 there was just enough breeze and visibility to attempt to get a 4 race series in. Beacky was the RO for the day, and the 3 competitors knew that they would have to be on their best start byline behaviour, as he carried the dreaded black flag with him!! James who will be the assistant RO for the Tasar Nationals, was there to give Beacky a hand whilst Nigel, Kelvin & Colin manned the other RIB. Unfortunately, club racing had been cancelled, so we all had a day off, but I for one would sooner have been out there racing than cutting the grass.

Although the racing started under very light conditions the wind did slowly increase so that by the end, all 3 helms were trapezing and experiencing some planing in the sunshine that was attempting to break through the clouds. Even with 3 boats there were quite a few permutations to work out. The winner of the first 2 races, Stuart Hudson with 2 wins under his belt, appeared to have the meeting under his control when leading the 3rd race, but a capsize dropped him back to 3rd, and a 3rd in the last race, in the stronger conditions wasn’t good enough to give him the win as David Davies won the last 2 races and importantly had a 2nd to give him the result by 1 point.

Chris & Tony went out for a cruise in their Tasar and caused a bit of consternation in the race box when they disappeared for quite some time from view, but they actually sailed across to Carlyon bay where they landed to eat their lunch. Oh yes, they reported that there are still some naturists using the beach over there, though I’m not sure whether they shared their picnic with any of them.

The picture above, was taken by Colin Wainwright, shows the fleet at sea during one of the races.

May 23rd
This is what happens when you don't pay your parking fees
After what some claim has been the coldest May for years, the weather actually managed a U-turn this week. Most of the country has been in the grips of a mini heat wave since Monday & although the temperature has started to climb, the sun itself has been a bit elusive this week. Well today was our turn and when the sun came out May suddenly transformed itself into the bright colourful month it should be. It was a pleasure to come down to Porthpean tonight to see the cove at its best. The breeze that has been predominantly northerly or easterly for weeks and weeks backed round to a more westerly direction, giving us that superb blue and flat sea that can produce fantastic sailing conditions. In fact the weather was so good that I elected to wear my sailing shorts for the first time this season, which was remarkable as only a fortnight ago I was shivering in my normal wet suit attire.

Thousands of people who dinghy sail regularly in this country do so on ponds and reservoirs and even rivers that often give them very smooth water but they are very restricted in the area that they can actually use. Not so for us last night when with the light offshore breeze we had one of the biggest ponds available to us to sail anywhere we wanted without the constriction of no more than 5 minutes on any tack. Even launching was much easier with the tide still making and about 5M below the slipway. Things were a little congested there as not only were we trying to get down launching but so also were some canoeists and speeding boat users, all with their cars. Anyway we all managed to launch without any difficulties and were soon out from the shaded beach into full sunshine and a 6-8 knot offshore breeze.

Before we get to the racing a quick update on the capsize club. This has been running for a few weeks now, but I think has been suffering from the poor weather, but last night, the more seasonable conditions was enough to get 7 boats out on the water. People of different levels of competence were whizzing about practicing their skills. The “big pond” of the bay looked very peaceful, apart from the noise of a jet ski, with its interminable whine. I have driven one of those in Turkey and they are good fun, but they are very noisy and a real nuisance on a nice quiet evening. Whilst many were out o the water enjoying themselves another group of big boys were finally getting round to burning up some of the foliage that had been cut back over the winter, plus burning an abandoned wooden boat, that had been sitting in the hedgerow for some years now.

Now onto the race itself. 15 boats launched under the watchful eye of Nigel & Ian Whale in the safety boat. The safety boat had been readied earlier by Ken and so the boat was launched quite early, with the intention of starting on time. I mentioned earlier that the wind was offshore and indeed it was but it was such that it made laying a good beat with the beach marks in their anchored position rather tricky so we ended up with a bit of a one sided beat. The reaches were a lot better, giving the spinnaker boats a help on 1st reach and the other boats a help on the 2nd reach.

The start line was set with enough starboard bias on it that no one was tempted into a port hand flyer. Nevertheless we all got away to a clean start apart from Jeremy & Suzane who were still making their way to the start line and were last to start. Paddy & Steve Coello in their RS400 were up to windward of us and reached the beach marks 1st with us just behind and Richard in his Contender slotting into 3rd. Tonight was the first proper outing for Kay & Craig in her Scorpion & despite dicing with and falling behind Andrew’s & Jenny’s Scorpion managed to get ahead on the last beat to take 4th place on corrected time, beating Andrew by some 3 minutes.

Paddy & Steve with the help of their spinnaker crept away from us but Richard slowly closed us down and on the 2nd reach caused us to do some hard defending to keep him behind. Jeremy & Suzanne despite starting last had pulled right through the fleet to be just behind Dennis & Brian at the end of the first beat, where they stayed until they caught and passed them on the 2nd beat. Our luck deserted us somewhat at the end of the 2nd beat as we were sailing in quite a soft patch of wind and we could here the speed of the 2 Tasars behind us catching us as they were sailing in much fresher wind, oh how frustrating was that. Chris & Tony, both back from their respective holidays brought up the rear of the 4 Tasars.

Jeremy & Suzanne managed to overhaul us on the last set of reaches and we had quite a tussle on the last beat with them covering us all the way up, though we did manage to break cover towards the end and I thought we were in with a chance as I expected them to have to make another tack to make the mark. Unfortunately the wind lifted enough for them to just avoid a tack and creep round the first beach mark before we arrived, so giving them a well earned victory. Richard was the next boat after us to finish, which was enough to give him 1st in the handicap fleet, leapfrogging Paddy & Steve, who had finished first on the water but with not enough time in hand over the Contender. Steve Wingrove had been plodding away behind the main group and managed to take 3rd place, just 6 seconds in front of Kay.

We had 2 Lasers out tonight and one of them for the first time out this season was Tim Baily who must have been pleased as he beat Brian in his Laser by a minute and a half. Finn Hawkins, sailing his Topper really well managed a very creditable 8th in front of Kelvin who was taking advantage of the lighter conditions to try and master his Contender. We did have 2 RS400s out tonight, the 2nd one being sailed by Jim & Steve who normally sail a cat at Pentewan, no doubt sailing a dinghy is a different experience, especially with the spinnaker but struggled a bit tonight in the light conditions, but still managed to beat Clive Stephens in his Laser Radial.

The lovely sunny weather may well last over the weekend but the weather men seem to think that by then we will be into the grip of a quite brisk easterly wind which may well have a detrimental affect on our Contender Open Meeting. As mentioned earlier, if the conditions are suitable and there are enough club boats wanting to sail then we may well put on a race for our dinghies also, though at this stage we are still low on the ground for help on both galley and on the water.

May 20th
The Finn Gold Cup Prize presentation
The pictures shown today were taken on Friday & Saturday. The Friday one was from the prize presentation of the Finn Gold Cup, which was won by Ben Ainslie. Friday was destined to be the medal race day when only the top 10 from the week would race. Ben’s lead going into this race was insurmountable, but in the event the wind was so light and variable that all attempts at racing was abandoned and so the fleet were towed home. The first 3 were presented with their trophies within minutes of them coming ashore, hence them all wearing sailing gear. Great Britain did exceptionally well taking the first 2 positions with another Brit, Andrew Mills, further back in the top 10.

The 2nd picture was taken yesterday in St. Austell when the Olympic torch relay passed through the town. I have never seen so many people in the town before. The streets were packed and lined both sides along the route, with cheering people and there were also quite a few other attractions going on. Quite a few of the shops closed so that their staff could see the torch pass through. I should think by the time the flame arrives in London it will have been seen by many millions of people.

Olympic Torch
Today saw the end of the Spring series and almost as a coincidence, surprise, surprise, the weather is set to warm up a bit next week. I was down at the Club on Thursday for a Tasar Nationals meeting and there was a very strong easterly wind blowing, which produced quite a big surf pounding onto the beach, resulting in quite a few surfers out plying their trade. What a difference it was today though, at 10.00 there wasn’t a breath of wind and the bay had a very glassy look over it. The prospects of sailing were looking extremely poor. Quite a few people had arrived hoping to sail and when there was no improvement by 11.00 and with a postponement flag flying several of them decided to call it a day and disappeared, leaving a few hardy souls to stay and wait to see whether the promised wind would arrive.

By 12.00 little zephyrs were appearing in the bay and so an early lunch was taken whilst the zephyrs slowly merged to show a very light breeze over much of the bay. Ken & I were on duty today. Ken took the safety boat with Shane whilst Richard Morley and I took our positions in the race box. Due to the light breeze we decided to keep things simple and just sail triangles. Initially it looked like the beat for the day would be across the bay from right to left but as Ken started to drop the marks, it became apparent that the beat would be from the Blackhead direction to the beach marks, and so some 2 ¾ hrs late the morning race was started.

Due to so many people leaving early we only had 8 boats heading for the start line, including 3 Tasars. Today was the first outing this year for Dennis and not in the conditions that he wanted. Nevertheless he had a good result in the first race. Initially after the first triangle Dennis & Brian were lying 3rd but a good 2nd beat saw them take the lead, for a while before being overtaken by Steve & Polly, which resulted in Jeremy & Suzanne pushed back to 3rd.

The light conditions suited Nigel & James right down the ground, with them soon pulling through on the down wind legs to take a good lead. Paddy in his RS600 looked set to dominate today but a breakage on his trapeze gear held him back too much and he finished up in 3rd, beaten by Beacky & Kelvin in the Enterprise. The wind started to move around and fade away too much in this race, so we shortened it and reset the course to be the other way round for the 2nd race.

The 3 Tasars were again closely matched and Dennis & Brian lead at the end of the beat, but were passed by Steve & Polly on the 2nd reach, then fell back to 3rd on the next round when Jeremy & Suzanne passed them on the run.

Once again Nigel & James sped away but didn’t make as much distance on the Tasars as the previous race though they still managed to win, on the water and also on corrected time, but this time only by 6 seconds in front of Beacky & Kelvin, which was extremely tight. Paddy had again shown signs of good pace but the conditions didn’t favour him and this time he was much further back from the leading pair.

Finn & Matt struggled manfully in their small boats but Matt grew bored of the conditions and retired early. Finn hung on and still finished both races with reduced roundings and his time had to be averaged up, which is not fully satisfactory but still gave him an idea of how he was going against the other boats. It’s just a shame that we didn’t have more Cadets out as they could have some very close racing of their own.

Next weekend we have a Contender Open Meeting scheduled. At this moment we have no idea of how many may enter, but with only 1 of our 4 Contender sailors intending to sail it may be that we have quite a low entry. I believe that we will also put on some racing for Club members and we may share the same course, though start after the Contenders. It is a sort of decision that will have to be taken on the day, depending on conditions and number of entries. Either way it is still worth coming down and then make your final judgement as to what to do.

May 16th
Nigel & James
After missing an all time record of 4 Wednesday races on the trot, we actually sailed last night, in what for us was our first south westerly breeze of the season. The sun had been shining most of the day, but by the time we launched it had clouded over and it was still very cold. Here we are right in the middle of May and the weather still shows no sign of improving. I think so far this year, we have had the records of the sunniest March, the wettest April & now the coldest May. I wonder what June will have to offer. The tide had peaked at about 16.00 and there was virtually no surf, so launching and recovery was nice and easy, though until we get back to full springs the beach will remain soft and squidgy, as at the moment it is a bit of a pain pulling up the boats when getting towards the top of the beach.

Peter Pope & Beacky set a very nice course & the 14 boats racing crossed the line to beat across the bay towards Blackhead. From where I sat, Paddy, sailing Steve Coello’s RS400 seemed to get the best start, coming in at speed right at the pin end of the line; though at the end of the first beat it was Jeremy & Suzanne who lead the fleet, closely followed by Nick Eggett in his Contender. Also in the mix were Nigel & James in their RS400, Richard in his Contender & Ken & me in our Tasar. Not far behind us was Roger Williams in the first of the 2 Blazes, and started to close us down on the reaches. The lightweight combination of Nigel & James proved to be a compelling combination that suited them as the breeze slowly faded as the evening drew on and they finished 8 minutes in front of Paddy. In fact I think we actually sailed a round too far, as on the 3rd round the breeze had gone much lighter and had started to move into the west. As we started the 4th round the reach out to sea turned into a very light run, which was painfully slow. In fact the last round did give some joy to Richard, as he managed to creep past Nick on the last few hundred metres. The last reach to the beach marks, turned into a very light beat. Even Ken & I managed to sail past both the Contenders on this last challenging part. Roger too gained at the expense of the Contenders, closing enough to take 3rd place on corrected time. I noticed that as the wind went light, the spinnaker driven Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny Kendall started to power them along, overtaking the Blaze of Steve Wingrove, who until then had been having a good race, being not too far behind Roger. Unfortunately it was one of those evenings that as the breeze starts to fade then the boats further back lose out big time to the early finishers. This really affected Clive Stephens in his Laser radial as he almost came to a stop as the breeze faded to next to nothing.

May 13th
<--- Now that's what I call a Safety Boat!!

SUNSHINE, yes I’ll say it again SUNSHINE. Today is probably the day that we have all been waiting for. After what seems like weeks and weeks of very poor weather we finally had an almost perfect day for sailing; because we also had a very nice 10 knots or so southerly breeze. There was just enough breeze to make us hike hard up wind and fresh enough to give some lovely planing moments down wind. Sue & I have just returned from a few days away, and learnt that it had been pretty bad here all week, with no sailing on Wednesday, so I didn’t miss out there. In contrast our weather in the north wasn’t too bad, with most of the rain that we had confined to the night. The weather was good enough today to tempt some 20 boats out onto the water, which was a very pleasing sight.

Today was totally different for us as we had been asked to do a sail by, past the Coast Watch station, which was celebrating it’s birthday. We were part of a flotilla comprising the cats from Pentewan Sands SC, a couple of Charlestown gigs, the Fowey Lifeboat, the Fowey - Meva Ferry and a few fishing boats. In fact all in all quite an impressive fleet of boats sailed past the Coastguard Station.

Chris Bilkey & Tony Dunn took charge of the safety boat and course laying today and were launched with enough time to get things ready for an 11.00 start. Although we did try to start on time, inevitably we were a little late, but even so some boats were still late to the start line. Interestingly enough no boats were late in the afternoon when it was announced that we would be starting on time!

With only 3 Tasars out the results will look almost predictable, with Jeremy & Suzanne pulling away from us all right from the start. We rounded the first mark in 3rd but managed to catch Steve & Polly up on the 2 reaches to be just behind them when we started the 2nd beat. Steve tacked to cover us, but we managed to break cover when we overtook them right at the end of the 2nd beat. We held them off over the 2 reaches but unfortunately we started the 3rd beat right behind the RS 400 of Nigel & James. Not wanting to sail in their dirty wind I elected to tack off and let Steve sail in the dirty wind instead. Unfortunately we charged off on the wrong tack whilst Steve managed to lift over Nigel which allowed him to sail in much cleaner air. When we finally crossed tacks we found ourselves about 20 boat lengths behind. Due to the “sail past” the race was shortened to 3 rounds so we didn’t get another chance to overtake them.

We had a good 20-25 minutes to kill before the sail past and we used this up very pleasurably by sailing off into the distance on some very close reaches. I suppose as we do so much racing we don’t always just take some time out and have a fast pleasurable sail, so today gave us ample time and opportunity to do just that.

The handicap fleet had a good variety of boats racing, with the faster Contender sailed by Richard and Paddy in his RS600 battling it out in the front of the fleet. Only just behind them was the RS400 with Nigel & James on board. Jeremy had more competition holding the 2 fast single handers off than racing against us. In the end Richard, took line honours over Paddy by only 2 seconds, but enough to give him a comfortable win on corrected time. Steve Wingrove, fresh from a fortnight’s holiday sailed his Blaze into 3rd place. In the battle of the double handers, Nigel & James beat Janet & Pete Barnes by less than 30 seconds with Beacky & Kelvin another 30 seconds further back.

We had quite a few slower single handers out today and Matt Searle beat them all in his Comet, almost a minute ahead of Liz, sailing James’s Feva single handed. Anna tried her luck sailing the Vago single handed, but came to grief when she capsized at one of the gybe marks. There were for the first time in years, 3 Toppers sailing and they were lead home by over a minute by Luke Bilkey, sailing for the first time this year. Behind him was Finn Hawkins, followed by newcomer, Nyles. Today also saw Colin out in his Supernova for the first time and also an appearance by Kay & Gary for their first outing together, they managed to complete one lap before sailing back to the shore.

The breeze had freshened slightly for the afternoon race and had moved slightly more to the west. Once the course had been swung to meet the wind we were off, right on time. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne hit the lead, with Steve & Polly in 2nd and us bringing up the rear. Once again we pounced on the 2nd beat when we took advantage of a good wind shift to sweep past Steve & Polly. This time we made fewer mistakes and not only held onto 2nd but managed to put some distance between us, so I for one came ashore happier than normal. The beat itself was quite tricky as the wind was continually moving in both direction and strength and we had some very frustrating moments, when we would be headed one moment and then lifted a few seconds later. However the fresher breeze was pure manna for a Tasar on the down wind legs, especially the reach into the beach marks as there was enough wind and waves to make that down wind leg very thrilling, though it didn’t suit the spinnaker boats so well, though I suppose they had their turn on the much broader 1st reach.

Nick Eggett had turned up for the afternoon race and soon took his normal position at the head of the fleet. Paddy & Richard were again having a close tussle but Paddy lost out and finally retired after a series of capsizes, blighted his day. Liz, crewed for James in his Feva for the afternoon, but James paid the price for posing for the camera when his lack of concentration caused them to capsize. Nigel had a better result in the 2nd race, with Anna sailing as crew and they were once again dicing with us. We were taking it in turns to pass them on the beat whilst they with their flying spinnaker would come past us down wind. Nigel & Anna were fast enough to beat Janet & Pete by over a minute on corrected time, and they were some 6 minutes in front of Beacky & Kelvin, though I am not sure what caused such a time difference. Steve Wingrove didn’t do so well in this race, finishing just behind Beacky though several minutes in front of Dr Nick. Andrew & Jenny, despite a lovely new suit of sails are having trouble in getting them set right and are not getting the results that they would normally get. No doubt when all the tweaking has been done then we will see them in higher positions. I think that they would certainly benefit by having some other Scorpions out to sail against.

We had visits today by 3 ex members, all looking very well and fit. The first down was Jeremy Rowett who is thinking of joining us again and may be buying Nick’s Supernova. The 2nd was Paul March, who was on a quick visit whilst over here on holiday and the 3rd ex member was Allan Mitchell who lives in Newquay and had called over to see Steve. Unfortunately just to finish off on a bit of a sad note but Frank Bethwaite, designer of the Tasar died last Friday. Frank was 91 and was one of the most astute dinghy designers and sailor in the World. He was still involved in dinghy sailing right to the end and was working on a Tasar carbon fibre mast to replace the current alloy, version. Frank has sailed in the UK quite a few times and even took Jeremy out for some coaching when the Tasar Worlds were held at Brixham in 1994. My boat number is 2576 and Frank sailed 2577 at those Worlds. Both boats were produced in his workshop.

May 6th
A new Finn
I don’t know how many of you are aware, but the Finn Gold Cup will be held at Falmouth from 13th – 18th May. They are also holding their Nationals over this weekend, which should have finished by the time you read this. I went down to Falmouth on Friday to see the boats, all 90 plus of them. The dinghy park was free to enter and it was an ideal opportunity to see at close hand some immaculate looking boats where on some there is a fantastic attention to detail. However there were also some tubs there that look no better than tired Club boats & have seen far better days and looked very poor indeed. I was also hoping to see some rock stars and in that event I was fortunate to have a chat with Ed Wright, who is the current Finn World Champion, but was, unfortunately for him, beaten by Ben Ainslie for the GB spot for the Olympics. I also saw Giles Scott who is the current National Champion, the young up and coming Finn sailor. All 3 of their boats were parked alongside each other. Ben’s boat was covered and he wasn’t on site. I had quite a few chats with several other British sailors, who typically of dinghy sailors everywhere tended to be friendly and quite open about what was what on their boats. One boat in particular looked immaculate and I was told that it belonged to the main MD of Vauxhall Motors in Liverpool. The entire deck was made from carbon fibre. Every sheet was carefully spliced and every fitting was brand new and possibly the best that could be bought (top picture). Anyway if you get the time this week then get down there and have a good look round. Although the Worlds don’t start until the 13th there will be plenty of Finn sailors down there, tinkering and practicing so there will be plenty to see. Incidentally I parked on the roadside adjacent to RCYC and then walked the length of the Fore Street to the dinghy park which is alongside Trago Mills. Full details including programme can be found on the RCYC web site, which can be accessed from our “Cornish Sailing Clubs” web page. All pictures shown today were taken by me on Friday.
OK so on to today for us mere mortals. Needless to say the weather is still far from settled and once again the temperature was well low for the time of year. In fact I think the car temperature gauge only showed about 8C. Just to compliment that we had a very cold wind blowing straight in off the sea. Yes a dreaded SE, but fortunately for us had not been blowing long enough to kick up any big waves so at least wee could get out to go sailing. We seem to have lost too many races of late and I think we all were determined to go sailing if there was a chance. There was a good fleet of about 14 who launched for the morning’s race. Today was a good chance to say hello to Alice Burford who hails from Fowey & of late had been sailing at Roadford reservoir, but the costs and logistics of travelling up there have persuaded her to try Porthpean. Alice has been sailing at a good level and has come up through sailing Oppis and is now sailing a Laser Radial. Well today certainly didn’t show Alice Porthpean at its best, with the south easterly giving us a choppy beat out to sea, but nevertheless she tackled our course with gusto finishing with a 2nd in the morning race and a win in the afternoon race.
sailing home
Richard Armstrong & Chris Hazell were our RIB operators today and set a port hand course with the beat from the beach marks out to sea. There was enough strength in the wind to make both reaches exciting & interesting enough to give us plenty of planing. The main problem we had whilst sailing was the amount of weed and other rubbish floating in the sea. We all had moments when we had to reach over the transom to clear weed from our rudders. In fact due to the south easterlies we have had this weekend then we will have plenty piling up on the beach to rot as we will soon be moving over to neap tides to the weed washed ashore will stay there until the next set of springs, hopefully washes it all away.
Spanish Finn
5 Tasars started the race, with Dave Hancock & son entering their first race. Their aim was just to get round, without any catastrophes and to this end they achieved just that. I had a go at a port handed start, but by the time we got to the port end there was no gap so had to sail a bit lower and tack in behind some other boats. This gave Jeremy & Suzanne a lead that they never relinquished, with Steve & Polly in 2nd and for a time Mike Voyzey & Dave in 3rd. We did manage to just get in front of them by the end of the beat, which gave us a 3rd. There was more excitement in the handicap fleet with Janet & Pete having an excellent 1st beat, closely followed by Paddy in his RS600 & Roger in his Blaze, with Alice tucking in just behind them. Paddy showed that he is getting to grips with his RS600 and managed to make the most of the downhill legs, pulling away from Roger and looking for a win, but a capsize on the last reach proved to be his downfall and by the time he had recovered and sailed on his elapsed time put him down to 3rd. Janet & Pete managed to hit one of the beach marks and a 360 slowed them down too much for their handicap. Today was the last day sailing with us for a while for Sarah Kendall as she will be jetting off this week for warmer climes to become a sailing instructor abroad. Sarah will be away until the end of September so we wish her the beat & hopes she enjoys her opportunity. I suppose that will allow Jenny to get more sailing in. Their Scorpion was looking very majestic, racing with a complete new wardrobe of sails. All Andrew needs now is some other Scorpions to sail against to gauge how good the sails are.

The breeze for the afternoon race had swung to a more southerly direction which caused a delay for the start as the course was swung to reflect it. We still started from the beach marks but due to the longer course we had some very nice reaches to get our teeth into. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne flew away from us into the distance. We managed to get to the first mark in 2nd place but were overtaken by Steve on the 2nd reach, so once again had to settle for 3rd. There was more variety in the handicap fleet as both Nigel with James and Steve Coello with Matt took out their RS400s. Nigel won the battle between the 2 RS 400s and was the first handicap boat to finish. Paddy decided to sit this race out so the main tussle behind the RSs was the Blaze of Roger & the Kestrel of Janet & Pete. Alice finished 4th on the water but on corrected time she was placed over 2 minutes ahead of Nigel & James who was only a matter of seconds ahead of Roger. It was good to see Nick Haskins out today as he had a very wet sail and was quite cold as his dry suit is away for repairs, so he had to resort to his wet suit.

Next Sunday is the annual anniversary of the Coastwatch over at Charlestown and to commemorate it we have agreed to do a sail past at 12.00, so we will have to get on with the racing in good time. Tony has all the details and will be coordinating us on this next week.

We have the Contender Open Meeting scheduled for the weekend 26th & 27th of May. Normally we don’t have Club racing but as we think that there will only be a low Contender turnout we have decided that we will also have Club racing on Sunday as usual. Maybe it will be a good opportunity to catch up with some missing races. Anyway I think that we will all have the same course, only the Contenders will be starting 5 minutes before us, which will mean that quite a few of our boats will be lapped at sometime or other. It would be a nice gesture not to interfere with any

The forecast for the rest of this week is very poor with rain promised every day and a brisk breeze promised for Wednesday, so nothing to look forward to in the line of enjoyable sailing for a little while longer yet. I’m afraid we will just to have to grit our teeth together for make the most of what we have and pray for summer to come along soon.

May 2nd
Kay's boat
Well it was yet another non sailing day this evening, but the weather was a complete contrast from last Sunday. Then we had driving rain lashing down from gale force winds. Today was in complete contrast, with possibly the best day of the year so far. We had very light winds and wall to wall blue sky with the temperature in the mid teens. For a day at least we have had a glimpse of summer. Unfortunately the light winds happened to be a killer as those winds were also from the east and we all know what happens in the evenings when the breeze is from that direction; they die away and unfortunately tonight was just the case, and you could see lighter patches appearing on the water. There were still some waves on the beach but not bad enough to prevent launching, but the lightness of breeze meant that progress would have been so slow, with the sails flopping about in the choppy sea. Despite people’s obvious disappointment the abandonment flag was flown and the bar and pool table opened. The gales on Sunday, lasted throughout Monday & Ken shot a short video clip of the sea conditions during the day. Here is the link to it click here .The gale proved too much for one of the RFYC’s racing marks as the remains of one turned up on Porthpean beach tonight. It had torn away from its mooring tackle and then driven by tide and wind ended up on our shoreline. Very fortunately we are in a slightly better position with our beach marks. Both have survived their ordeal, but one of them has dragged it’s anchor quite a way and will need to be re positioned on Sunday or the next time we sail.
April 29th
Steam Train
You may well wonder what the picture alongside has to do with sailing. Well in a word, nothing, but it was certainly more interesting watching 2 steam trains roar through St. Austell station yesterday than watching the wind & rain batter the Clubhouse today. Needless to say sailing was well and truly abandoned for the day. Surprisingly the sea state didn’t look too bad close in as we were quite well sheltered from the north easterly gales that had howled throughout the night. The rain had also started in the night and continued to pour down today, and the wind was still far too strong to atempt to sail. Nobody complained when the abandonment was flown at 11.00. Looking ahead it looks like it will be much warmer and calmer by Wednesday, so maybe we will have turned a corner and things will slowly improve; after all we will be into May by then.

Some of us sailed last Friday evening down at Mylor, in very pleasant conditions. Peter Pope has a boat down there, Andy Nancarrow, ex member, also has a boat down there and Richard Armstrong & I crewed on another boat that needed a crew, so Porthpean was well & truly represented. After a day of mostly rain, it did finally dry up and we sailed in winds of about 10 knots in a mainly blue sky, which came as a much appreciated relief to us. Mylor YC has had a magnificent new Clubhouse built, and was opened last year by HRH Princess Ann. The Clubhouse is on 2 levels with the lounge and a large sitting out area on the 1st floor, giving very panoramic views out across the Carrick Roads. It made drinking a pint and eating a pre 20% VAT pasty after sailing a very enjoyable experience indeed. I think that their membership has increased considerably since the new Clubhouse has opened.

One little bit of good news to finish off with. Mike Voyzey has decided not to sell hi Tasar and intends to race it again, so we look forward to seeing him & Dave back on the race course with us again soon.

April 25th
The beach tonight
We came, we looked, we groaned and we knew we wouldn’t be sailing tonight. The gale of the night before had faded to a mere breeze but it’s legacy was still in evidence with the large sets of rollers that were queuing up to pound the beach and the wall of rolling surf was something that had us beaten. There was no way that we could even launch the RIB safely through that and no way at all that a dinghy would have been able to sail through it either.

I think many regular sailors had either looked at the web cam, or had been put off with the forecast and decided not even to come down, anyway in compensation the bar was opened early and a pool tournament soon started so we did make the most of another non sailing night. Unfortunately, Sunday too may well be another non sailing day as the unsettled weather is set to continue with yet another low, driven by almost gale force winds is set to descend on us. So far the 2012 season is proving to be very frustrating, it’s cold, wet and windy, but there is little we can do about it for now.

There was quite a good attendance for the Capsize Club on Tuesday. It was still cold but that didn’t stop several boats taking to the water, so if you are feeling frustrated with your lack of sailing, and the weather next Tuesday looks better, then come down, have a sail and get in some much needed practice. The Club is open from 6 pm, so if you are timely then you can be on the water by 7 pm. The bar is usually open afterwards so there is plenty of time to socialise; and if you have any friends interested in sailing then Tuesday nights is an ideal time to bring them down and get them involved.

Don’t forget it’s only 8 months to Christmas!!

April 22nd
Richard & Contender
We were eventually beaten by the weather again today, but not before 8 boats chanced their luck and launched into a nice flat sea, fortunately we were sheltered from the frisky north westerly that was blowing over our heads. In fact our progress sailing out from the beach was quite slow and peaceful until the first of the overhead gusts caught us and then we were off on a roller coaster ride out to sea, with spray flying everywhere as we skimmed onwards, and the bailer sucking noisily as any errant drops of water were sucked out of the boat. Out at sea, a bed of white caps waited for us. They may have looked picturesque from the shore but I can assure you they looked more than menacing as they were whipped up into a frenzy by the 20 knots plus wind. Fortunately many of the gusts could be seen coming but when they arrived they were very strong, requiring instant response on easing the sails and quick tiller corrections in order to remain upright. I had decided to use an old dacron mainsail rather than impose any more wear on my better, though more expensive, mylar main. This in itself caused us quite a few problems as the spanner kept jumping out of rotation, probably due to backwinding from the jib. We finally dealt with it by over rotating the mast as though we were reaching.

Jeremy & Suzanne had the dubious luxury of running the RIB today and had no sooner laid the port hand course that would have given us a beat to the beach marks when they suddenly had to up anchor and shoot shore wards to recover one of the large Tribute marks which had parted company from the beach mark that it was attached to and was drifting out to sea at quite a rapid rate of knots. Anyway it wasn’t too long before everything was all in position again for a start. By this time I had had enough of struggling and decided to call it a day before succumbing to a capsize and immersion in what is still at this time of year very cold water. We still had to sail the best part of half a mile to get back to the beach and endured a few hairy moments before we reached the shore. We were the only one of the 8 to quit early and by the time we reached the beach marks the other 7 were just starting.

The first to the beach marks was the Contender of Richard Armstrong, with a nice lead over Nick Eggett in the other Contender. With only 2 Tasars left, Steve & Polly soon opened up a lead over Chris & Tony. The other 3 handicap boats consisted of father and son team of Pete Barnes in a Kestrel, Janet very wisely letting Pete take the boat, Beacky & Kelvin in the Enterprise and Brian Reeves bravely sailing a Laser. I think all the fleet survived the first round without mishap, but Nick stormed past Richard and by the time he next reached the beach marks had a very handy lead. His lead increased dramatically when Richard capsized at the next gybe mark and it took him quite a bit of time to recover and sail onwards. Chris & Tony too came to grief at the gybe mark and spent quite a bit of time also trying to recover their boat. This must have been a very unlucky mark to round as the next boat to reach it was the Enterprise. Instead of gybing they elected for a "pansy tack" (phrase credited to Fin), but that went spectacularly wrong when they too went in when they tried to bear off onto the new course. Both boats were eventually righted without any assistance and sailed on, but Chris & Tony had another ducking when they started the beat. This time they really struggled, as the boat constantly flipped over as they righted it and eventually required Jeremy to get into the water to help. Chris was tiring fast and a decision was made to put him in the safety boat and let Jeremy & Tony sail the boat home. Even with Jeremy helming they still struggled and had a capsize or two. Tony took quite a pounding to his body and had quite few bruises to show for his days sailing when he was in the changing rooms afterwards. I’m sure that he will ache for a day or two after tpdays experiences. Brian Reeves too suffered quite a few capsizes, and being on his own had to deal with them all himself before he managed to retire to the relative quiet of the beach. Out of the 8 boats that set off to race only 7 actually started and only 3 finished without capsizing. It was truly a day of attrition and I felt my early decision to retire was well judged, I don’t feel that I want to go swimming in such cold water at my age is to be recommended!!. I had glued my dagger case packing back in last Wednesday and fortunately it all remained in situ today which was pleasing to me. At least Ken, I and the boat live to sail another day, the lack of damage, was for me, a result in itself. Needless to say all racing for the rest of the day was abandoned, the warmth and peace of the Clubhouse proving to be a much nicer place to be, plus there were many tales to tell.

The forecast for the coming week isn’t very pleasant, the unsettled wet & windy weather is set to continue right through the week and we may lose a few more races before the weather eventually settles down to more pleasant conditions. Oh well such is life. We have never yet managed to sail right through a season without losing races and the early and late parts of the season are usually the most vulnerable.

April 15th
safety boat to launch
For the last few weeks our weather has been dominated by quite cool weather, the wind has been consistently from the north & east and the air temperature as a result has barely risen above 12C and more like 8C of late and this weekend’s sailing was plagued again by a cold northerly backing to north westerly wind. Nevertheless a good fleet of 16 boats ventured out from a very sheltered beach with hardly any breeze, to the openness of the bay where a northerly wind of varying intensity between force 2-4 swept the water.

This past week has been quite a busy one in the Rigby household as we have been entertaining our 2 Granddaughters and then we were joined on Friday by Neil, Lisa & James and Sarah. It’s quite a long time since we have had all 3 Grand children rushing around the place, but they seemed to enjoy themselves and we are now suitably tired out and last night the house became empty as they all took off for their own homes and peace descended on us. I decided to give sailing a miss on Sunday morning and let Neil helm my boat with Ken crewing, so I felt quite like a holiday maker watching the boats come down the slope and rigging up on the beach. I should imagine for the holiday makers we do provide quite a spectacle for the 30 minutes or so we spend on the beach, hoisting sails and going through our launching procedures. Most people launched without any drama and my Grand children were quite happy to help haul launching trolleys up above the high water line.

The 16 boats gathered for a start out towards Blackhead for a beat across the bay. Anna & Liz were in charge of the RIB and had quite a problem setting the course as the wind was not playing ball and kept swinging from the north back to the north west, making the beat quite shifty and the reaches varying from tight to very broad. I did watch the start from the confines of the Clubhouse and the start was quite chaotic as both the single handed Contender of Richard and Blaze of Roger were caught by a vicious gust and over they went. Neil & Ken managed to impede Steve Coello and Paddy in their RS600 and had to do penalty turns, leaving Jeremy & Steve to battle out the Tasar fleet from the front, Jeremy & Suzanne taking the early lead from what appeared to be a faster off the wind Steve & Polly. A major shift on the 2nd beat thrust Steve & Polly into the lead from which they were never troubled again, Chris & Tony laying 3rd in their Tasar eventually succumbed to a capsize, allowing Neil & Ken to take their 3rd place.

Unfortunately I don’t have the results from the days racing as Ken was having to do some major surgery to the data base for “Sailwave” so they will have to wait until Wednesday before I can put them on the web, so I can’t say too much about what happened with the racing. However for the first time in quite a while we had 2 RS400s out. Unfortunately for them in quite challenging conditions and quite rightly both did struggle to control the boats in the days wind strength. Nigel must have been really pleased as today was the first time ever that he and James had sailed the boat and after surviving today without a capsize then things will really improve. The 400 is a whole new world away from the little RS Feva that they have been sailing over the last several years and I am sure that after today there will ne no looking back. Steve & Paddy beat them in the morning race but the tables were turned in the afternoon in a case of the tortoise and the hare. Steve & Paddy to gain extra speed flew their spinnaker down wind only to be over powered and capsized, whereas Nigel & James kept their spinnaker under the deck and stayed upright. Nick Eggett dominated the handicap fleet, though couldn’t overtake Steve’s Tasar. The rest of the fleet had a few problems at times and the safety boat was kept busy trawling the bay for upturned boats. The exhausting time for some resulted in them calling it a day at lunch time and a slightly smaller fleet set off for the afternoon’s adventure.

I took the helm for the afternoon race and found the conditions to be very lively out in the bay. Allan Orton was also out in his Tasar with Matt Morley crewing for him. The wind had swung more westerly for this race and so the course was swung to accommodate and this time we had a starboard rounding, with a beat into the beach marks. We had quite a good first beat but weren’t pointing well enough in the fresh breeze allowing both Allan & Jeremy to reach the beach marks just before us. Our problems were compounded when our tack to round had to be repeated as we couldn’t quite lay the 2nd mark. Allan held Jeremy off for 2 rounds but eventually fell behind on one of the broad reaches. We were tucked nicely into 3rd with Steve & Polly a good distance behind us, but unfortunately our dagger board packing became dislodged and was hanging out under the boat, which had the unfortunate effect of allowing gallons of water to pour into the boat over the dagger board case and slowed us down sufficiently for them to pass us on the last round. All in all a rather poor end to the race for us. I’m not sure what happened to Beacky & Kelvin as although they were out waiting for the start of the race I don’t think they actually started, maybe due to another capsize. Richard had been going well in his Contender, though behind Nick, and was another unfortunate victim of a capsize, which took him a time to right. Roger Williams was revelling in the conditions in his Blaze and wasn’t very far behind us at the finish.

Those holiday makers who might have watched us leaving the beach would have been even more amused watching us returning as though the sea was fairly flat we did have quite a high dumping set of waves on the beach, which resulted in quite a few boats, mine being one of them, swamped as a wave broke right over the transom, making the resultant weight almost impossible to pull out of the water until we got sufficient numbers assembled to pull the boats out.

Ian & Guy Whale
I may have mentioned in an earlier blog that Ian Whale & family have joined the Club and have bought Ken Higman’s Tasar. Well yesterday they were down with a brand new RS Tera that they have bought for the one of their sons, Guy, to sail in and Ian took him out for a sail in the boat for the first time. Both boat and proud owners are shown in the picture alongside. Let’s hope we see a lot more of him this year. In fact we have quite a little community of cadets beginning to sail. We have 3 Toppers, a Comet, & the Club Picos. The next generation of sailors has got to start sometime and it is very pleasing and reassuring to see them all out and sailing.
April 12th
Chris's Tasar
Tonight was almost nigh on perfect for sailing, with a nice F2-3 offshore north westerly blowing out from the land, giving us a nice flat sea. Unfortunately it was still, I suppose seasonably, cold. Nevertheless, there was still a good entry of 15 boats out racing with another 3 just out for some experience. The tide was ¾ in and still making, so launching & recovering was a nice calm experience, nicely helped by solid blue skies and a setting sun.

Allan Orton & Brian Reeves took the RIB tonight and set a decent sized course for the conditions. After my 2 previous lousy starts I was anxious to make a better attempt tonight and so I stationed us close to the RIB to get a timing signal from the RIB for the 5 minute gun. Job done I joined the ranks of boats awaiting the rest of the countdown only to discover much to my horror that my watch had started and then stopped. I think I pressed the start button twice very quickly which in turn started then stopped the watch. I thought that I would have to wait and reset my watch on the minute gun, but as I was setting it up that gun went too, so now we were in the last minute with no accurate countdown it made the final approach a little tricky. However we had just tucked ourselves to windward of Sarah & Andrew’s Scorpion & suddenly heard her counting the final seconds down to the start which was good enough for us to power up knowing that we wouldn’t be over prematurely. Yes it was a good start for a change and we charged up the first beat and crossed just in front of Jeremy & Suzanne, with Nick Eggett in his Contender further in front. By the time we reached the beach marks Nick was round and Jeremy had passed us. We were sailing in some dirty wind & I had to squeeze up hard to make the marks, which almost caused a major problem as both Paddy & Sarah & Chris & Tony were thundering in on the opposite starboard tacks. Fortunately we had a couple of boat lengths on them, so kept our position and off we swept on the reaches, though couldn’t make any inroads on the Hawkins team. Chris & Tony had slotted into 3rd Tasar leaving Paddy & Sarah the task of trying to pass them. These positions were held for 2 laps but on the end of the 3rd lap, Paddy had pulled right up on Chris and a little port & starboard incident took place which went to the protest room, though as I left the Clubhouse I don’t know the result at this stage.

It was difficult to see what was going on in the handicap fleet, but obviously the first beat was a heavily contested affair for all, apart from Nick Eggett who was way in front. Roger Williams, sailing his first Wednesday race in his Blaze, slowly took charge of the rest of the fleet and pulled a minute and a half by the end of the race over Steve Wingrove in his Blaze. Tonight was also the first outing for John Hill in his Supernova and once again he gave a good account of himself, finishing 3rd on corrected time, almost a minute in front of Steve Wingrove. Andrew & Sarah for the moment are the only Scorpion sailing, so life is strange for them without any other Scorpion to dice with. It was good to see the RS400 team of James & Steve from Pentewan flying round in their RS, but a lot more practice will be needed before they start to get the real performance from their boat, but it is tempting Nigel to get his RS400 out for him & James to try their luck. I think they have outgrown their Feva in all but the stongest of conditions. Liz was without Anna tonight but came down and gave Shane his first taste of racing as they took part in the race and had boats behind them at the end. Kelvin had no dodgy meeting tonight and so took his renovated Contender out and although finishing last still enjoyed himself.

By the time we finished racing the wind was dying fast and it was quite a slow sail back into the cove with the daylight fading rapidly, and quite a few boats were washed off in the dark, accompanied by the waft of grilling bacon emanating from the Clubhouse.

Due to lack of time, waiting fore the protest I didn’t manage to get the results on my memory stick so full results for tonight’s racing will appear at the weekend when I hope the result of the protest will be settled.

Tonight also saw the last sail for a month or 2 of Sarah (Fryer) and her 3 boys who return to Luxemburg this week. The boys have really taken to sailing and are quite happy taking the family Feva out on their own. Sarah & Family will be back at the end of July to spend the summer holidays here and I am sure will be missing their Porthpean sailing. Until then they will have to just watch us on the web cam.

April 8th
RIB going to the beach
Wow, what a difference from Wednesday, when the temperature was recorded at 5C whilst racing & yes, even today, it certainly still felt cold when the temperature reached a balmy 12.5C and in fact that probably crept up a little more when the sun shone. The weather, this weekend also gave us a fairly brisk north Westerly for the 2 day series of the Easter Cup. Rather disappointingly only 6 boats entered on Saturday in far from ideal conditions, but we did have a very respectable 17 boats out racing today for the first race but the lively conditions caused some to call it a day after only 1 race.

I sat in the race box on Saturday to record the times whilst Ken went with Nigel in the RIB; James was away “banding” this weekend so Nigel very graciously volunteered for the race box today and also tackled the galley!! I say the conditions were quite lively on Saturday with both Paddy, in his tricky to sail RS600 and Anna & Liz, in their Vago, succumbing to a couple of capsizes each which destroyed their races. In fact the 1st lap was fairly close with Jeremy & Suzanne having a hard tussle with Nick Eggett in his Contender, whilst Chris Hazell battled with the fast flying Vago of Anna & Liz. Meanwhile Paddy a little further behind showed the speed of the RS600 down wind making rapid gains, before his capsizes. Anna & Liz’s attempts at glory also founded when they had their couple of capsizes. Technically Nick’s Contender is faster than a Tasar but couldn’t keep up with Jeremy’s blistering pace, finishing some distance behind on the water.

The forecast for Sunday was for lighter winds but when we arrived at the Club it was obvious that it was far stronger than that with quite a few white caps out in the bay. That wasn’t enough to put off the 6 Tasars and the 11 boats of the handicap fleet from going afloat to sail on the Olympic course set by our volunteers for the day, Brian Phillips and Harry Fryer. Now in the changing rooms before we set off a certain gentleman sailor was heard to say that he would have to learn to sail an Enterprise again. When told that his challenge might be to get it up again after a capsize then he was quick to point out that there would be no capsizing with the weight of helm & crew in the boat. Guess what, within 15 minutes of launching a red Enterprise could be seen upside down in the bay!! Oh dear.

Although the Tasar & handicap results are split, it is always interesting to see how we all compare as we all start together. In the first race Nick Eggett powered away from everybody and his overall time was quick enough to beat all the Tasars also. Nick’s time gave him a 17 minute lead on the Enterprise of Beacky & Kelvin. They finished 7th in the Handicap fleet but after correction moved into 2nd place. The Enterprise having its first outing for over 12 months, as it has been rested whilst Beacky & Kelvin concentrated on sailing their Scorpion. In fact the 7 boats behind Nick all finished within 2 minutes of each other, so they all had some very interesting racing. It was nice to see Tim Haskin who is down for the Easter Weekend sailing Nick’s Super Nova. This boat is for sale and would make an ideal boat for someone looking for a low maintenance single handed boat.

The Tasar fleet saw some very close sailing for the earlier part of the race with 3 Tasars finishing the first round within a few seconds of each other. The early lead was held by Allan Orton, crewed by Matt Morley, just in front of Jeremy & Suzanne who in turn were only just in front of Steve & Polly. I must confess to having 2 appalling starts today which made everything so much harder, and we only just finished the 1st beat just ahead of Chris Hazell, crewed by Sarah, home on holiday from Luxemburg. Sitting nicely in 4th was Paddy & Steve Coello sailing Jeremy’s spare Tasar. Jeremy & Steve moved up to 1st & 2nd on the first run when both gybed early, making huge gains on Allan who decided not to gybe. We managed to overtake Paddy on the 3rd beat and by the next set of reaches had overtaken Allan to put us into 3rd. Alan came back strongly on the last beat to overtake us and claimed 3rd place.

The afternoon race was sailed in slightly less wind, which was a Godsend to me as the morning race was rather too physical for my liking. Again Jeremy & Steve had a close race for the early part until Jeremy once again pulled well away into an invincible position. The lighter conditions suited us better than the morning and we eventually sailed into a very comfortable 3rd position. One of the highlights of today was feeling the speed when we accelerated away on the reach. It certainly makes even a disppointing result so more acceptable.

The handicap fleet was once again dominated by Nick, but this time he finished behind Jeremy on the water and many plaudits go to Tim Baily who was out for the first time this season today and sailed himself into 2nd in this race which was good enough to give him 2nd overall. In fact Tim Baily, Beacky/ Kelvin and Tim Haskin all finished on 6 points, so the places were awarded using the RYA procedure, which gave 3rd place to Beacky & Kelvin.

The very popular “Capsize Club” starts this Tuesday and it is a chance for anyone, both novices and experienced alike to come and enjoy some friendly sailing. We also hope to introduce some newcomers to sailing. Last year we had attendances of up to 17 boats out on the water, so although the weather may be rather inclement to start with I am sure we will get some very nice summer evenings out there. Unfortunately Jenny won’t be there so no bacon butties, but they will be on the menu on Wednesday after racing.

April 4th
Steve Coello
On Tuesday, Sue & I had a walk from Porthpean to Blackhead & back. It’s a walk that I have never done before, but I certainly knew I had leg muscles by the time we arrived back at the Club as they were aching. It isn’t too far to walk but there are some very steep hills to go up & down, especially taxing are the steps. What a difference the bay looked since Sunday. The wind was now offshore and so the bay was looking much flatter and launching from the beach looked a real doddle, but, yes there’s always a but, the wind was quite fresh, cold and gusty, and out by the beach marks and beyond there was enough strength in it to cause quite a few problems for any one sailing. The forecast for Wednesday is for the winds to be near gale force, but whether it will have abated enough for us to sail by evening time I’m not sure.

Well well, here we are on Wednesday, it’s cold, in fact very cold with the car temperature showing just 5C, that’s even colder than when we were “frost bite” sailing last November, so as you might guess there weren’t very many members with any enthusiasm down for tonight’s first Wednesday race. Anyway Ken & I were amongst the few who elected to go racing and so we gathered on the beach ready to sally forth into a brisk north easterly wind, which was kicking up plenty of white caps in the racing area. Fortunately the waves from Sunday had disappeared making launching much easier. Nevertheless I waited until most had launched to see how the others were coping. Jeremy & Suzanne in their Tasar seemed ok as was Nick Eggett in his Contender and Steve Wingrove in his Blaze. However quite a squall swept in, with hails bouncing off us on the beach. Out at sea Paddy in his 600 went swimming as did Andrew & Sarah in their Scorpion. Now that sea water is still very cold and I for one didn’t fancy joining in with swimming at this time of year so we stayed on the beach until the squall had gone. We did finally launch but by this time the starting sequence was away & I don’t blame them for not waiting for us, as it was pretty cold and miserable for Streve Coello & Tim Baily sitting in the safety boat.

Typically no sooner had we launched the wind disappeared completely leaving us wallowing alongside Liz & James out in the 2 heavily reefed Picos. Eventually we crossed the start line but the rest of the fleet were already on the next leg. Unfortunately the wind must have swung 180 degrees after being set as the course turned out to be a fetch, run, and a one tack beat, giving us absolutely no chance of gaining any distance back. In fact the race as such developed into a procession with Nick drawing away from Jeremy, from Steve and in turn from Andrew. Fortunately after 3 rounds, or was it 4? the RO decided that we, and especially those in the RIB had had enough punishment and shortened the race. Coming back to the beach was almost a complete copy of us getting out as there was hardly any breeze to sail in and the breeze that we had was constantly swinging around.

Eventually every body was back including the freezing RIB operators and as we pulled the boats up into the yard we could smell the bacon being cooked ready for the Jenny’s bacon butties, which went down very well. Somehow I suspect that tonight will be the coldest night’s sailing we will get this year

One of the Wednesday evening talks a few weeks ago was presented by Anna, giving us the benefit of her experience as a trained Safety Boat person, showing us how to do things, aided by an RYA video. Well I have found a little article on another website which gives a few useful hints and tips which were all given to us by Anna, but I thought they are so important that it is worth showing them here:

1 Always wear a kill cord.
2 Keep your hands on the throttle and wheel at all times when moving.
3 Always switch your engine off when dealing with a person in the water.
4 Wherever possible keep your boat speed to a minimum so that you do not create unnecessary wake, and make it easier for people anticipate the safety boat intentions.
5 When approaching a capsized dinghy, it can sometimes be best to approach bow first, from up wind, keeping the prop away from the boat hazards and crew.
6 Avoid steering directly astern of those who are racing, in case they capsize, fall out or alter course
7 If it is necessary to come alongside, it is best to do this when a sailing boat has stopped on a close reach and the safety boat can come in on the windward side of the dinghy and hold the shroud to keep them close. Once in place turn the engine off if necessary for ease of communication.
8 If approaching a moving dinghy let the helm know your intentions, communicate clearly, approach from the windward side.
9 Always have an escape plan up your sleeve, know which way you‘re going to turn to get out of a situation before things go wrong - sometimes just dropping into neutral will do it!
10 Above all maintain a good look out around your safety boat at all times!

Tip No 11. We operate our RIB with a bridle on the back for towing the marks. Every year without fail the bridle gets caught at some time or other by the prop, resulting in at best a stalled engine which can be freed or worse, sometimes the rope needs to be cut through to free it from the prop. I notice that it has already been caught; cut and re tied this year after only 3 outings. Maybe we ought to have a best practice notice issued for the RIB Operators to try and eliminate this problem. In the wrong conditions this could lead to a major embarrassment for us.

BTW if anyone was wondering who the mystery person is in the picture it is Steve Coello dressed for the evening’s conditions.

Ken Higman has had his Tasar advertised on the “For Sale” page for a few weeks, well I can now tell you that he has sold it and fortunately it is staying in the Club as it has been bought by Ian Whale, so we look forward to seeing Ian accompanied by members of his family from time to time sailing it in the near future.

April 1st
Fuelling up
The blue skies and sunny weather have lasted right through the week and were still with us when we turned up at the Club for the 2nd Sunday of sailing on the 1st of April. This time the weather was making an April fool of us as the lovely weather was accompanied by a nasty COLD south easterly breeze, which as per normal causes quite an unpleasant set of breakers on the shore. To compound matters even more so the tide was still rising to meet its high point at 13.00, which gives even more problems as the waves dump onto the beach, giving less room to manoeuvre as the water gets so deep so quickly.

This was so unfortunate as there was a good turnout of members coming down to sail, some for the first time this year, well they will have to wait a little longer before their first sail. I had already made my decision not to go but there were a few brave souls who were determined to beat the conditions but when they realised how wet and cold they were going to get trying to steady their boats in the surf until they adjudged a lull in the waves sufficient enough to push of through then they too decided that it was too early in the season to be too keen. The conditions were not forecast to moderate very quickly so unfortunately the decision was made by 11.30 to abandon sailing for the day. At least that didn’t commit people to hang around in the hope that things would improve. I believe that the same conditions forced Pentewan Sands SC to abandon their first day of racing also, so we weren’t the only ones to be adversely affected by the weather.

At least we don’t have to wait too long before the next opportunity comes along to sail as the Wednesday racing starts this coming Wednesday, but be forewarned it is a slightly early start of 18.45 for the this race, to try and beat the darkness. Fortunately Jenny March was down today, stocking up the galley, so she knows to get the bacon in for the après sail butties, so popular with every body.

It is inevitable that we will lose some of our race programme as the season goes on and unfortunately there is never any set pattern. It is just one of the frustrating facts of sailing on the sea that we have to put up with. In the early years of the Club, sailing only took place between June and September, so nowadays we do have a much longer season to get our racing in, so it is just a matter of being patient and taking full opportunity to sail when the conditions are right.

This is a PS as, since the blog above this paragraph was published, I have heard from Mike Ward that Pentewan indeed did sail today and it is only us who are Wussies (my term not his).

March 25th
Rodney Patterson
The Count down Clock has been ticking for the last 4 months and on Saturday, it ticked away the last few hours to bring us to the first day of British Summer Time and the very first day of our2012 season. Having watched the weather forecast for the last few days I knew our chances of sailing on this the first day were very slim. There isn’t much chance of launching and recovering safely in the teeth of a force 4 south easterly blowing into Porthpean, but despite the dire forecast we actually turned up to witness a complete calm bay with only small waves left over from Saturday dumping onto the beach. We almost didn’t sail at all as the breeze which didn’t seem too bad in the dinghy park was completely absent on the beach.

I think 10 or 11 of us launched and took what seemed an eternity to reach the beach marks, which had just been laid by Paul & Kelvin. The beach marks were laid by GPS from readings taken the preceding year, which means that we can repeat that every year from now on. Due to the very light conditions & I use that expression very guardedly as it was almost impossible to get much forward motion out of the boat when the sails were constantly flopping from side to side. Anyway a course of sorts were laid and after the inevitable Porthpean postponement, we eventually started. It was nice to welcome back Jim & Steve from Pentewan who have joined us to sail on Wednesday evenings, but as Pentewan don’t start their season until next Sunday decided to join in with us today. Well they did get their feet wet but it wasn’t RS400 weather and a little lack of knowledge as to where the first mark was probably cost them dearly as they had to make quite a detour to round the mark.

Ken & I were a little late to the start, well a minute and 20 secs actually by my watch but we did have the advantage of starting at the pin end of the line which from time to time put us on the lay line for the first mark. Paddy had the best start of all and managed to squeeze himself round the windward mark, many minutes before we reached the mark side by side with the Scorpion of Andrew & Sarah. They had the inside position and were able to tack long before us and appeared to creep away from us, but we did get lucky once or twice on this the 2nd leg which turned out to be a beat and sail into some extra pressure and with the help of those little extra puffs pulled us through & clear of them and surprisingly we started to make some inroads into Paddy’s massive lead. Our only competition in the Tasars today was Chris & Tony, but we slipped past them on the first beat and they spent quite a long time struggling to find even the lightest of zephyrs to get themselves going.

Well we have passed the first test and got the first race under our belts and we all headed back to the beach for lunch before we did battle with the conditions for the afternoon race.

The conditions out at sea in the afternoon were just as light as in the morning and Both Chris & Tony & Ken & I had had enough as did the 2 Blazes of Roger & Steve so it was a depleted fleet of handicap dinghies that raced in the afternoon. Once again Paddy got well away on the first beat and sailed off into the distance to claim his 2nd first place of the season. Jim & Steve got their spinnaker up on the first reach and it looked from the shore that maybe I had missed much better racing conditions than I thought were out there. However it was clear on the 2nd round that the wind was dying away yet again and it was a painfully slow progress that the remaining fleet took to go round again and quite a few decided to retire and paddle home. So I did feel a bit of relief that I hadn’t put us through another hour and more of slow torture.

The picture at the top shows the new Porthpean sign that has replaced the one we used to have. That one rusted away and was removed to be renovated, but has never been returned, so Colin drew up a design for a new one and Brian Phillips made the new one, which has been galvanised and painted so should last us for many years to come. Colin had the honour of screwing it onto the wall during the week. It was amazing how many people, me for one, who have walked past it without noticing it.

So here we are, the 2012 sailing season is finally with us, there may not have been much wind for the first race but it was so nice just to be out in such beautiful sunny weather and hopefully we will get lots more sun and some good breezes as the coming weeks and months come & go. Now all we need are a lot more members to come and take part.

March 14th
finished path finished path
Clearing up
I will be away this weekend so no updating of the Blog for then, but I am pleased to say that almost all the work party jobs are finished. No doubt there will be some last minute tidying up but we should be ready to go sailing on the 25th March providing the weather is good. Sunday 25th is also the start of BST, the day the clocks go forward, giving us much appreciated more daylight in the evenings.

After some lovely spring weather, Cornwall has slipped back into the colder climes of winter. For most of this week we have been bedevilled by a clammy mist and some drizzle which have had the effect of bringing the temperatures down. What makes it seem more unfair is that most of the rest of the country have still been enjoying warm, spring weather, whilst we have been suffering the effects of living on a peninsula. Sue & I were lucky on Monday as we set off for a circular walk from Mylor to Flushing, but seeing the clouds and mist rolling in as we left St. Austell forced us to change our plans and instead we loaded up our bikes and set off for the Camel Trail where we cycled from Bodmin down to Wadebridge in quite pleasant sunshine. We found a nice little tea shop off the main shopping centre and sat basking in very nice sunshine whilst we had our lunch.

As can be seen from last Sunday’s blog the entrance pathway was only half completed, so a small gang of us arranged to meet on Wednesday morning to complete the job. It did look quite inhospitable when we arrived as we were greeted by a very cold blustery wind blowing off the sea, but once we up and running we soon warmed up and within 3 hours had mixed and laid the necessary concrete to complete the job. I think another patch of soft original concrete, outside the changing rooms has been earmarked to be replaced on Sunday as we have some sand & cement left over, but apart from that we are ready to go sailing.

March 11th
Stewart Mixing Team
Cement wheeling Cement laying
Cement laying
Well there’s no doubt about it; spring is definitely here. Today was a beautiful spring day down at the Club with plenty of sunshine and a light southerly wind blowing round the headland. Indeed it looked like a superb day to go for a sail, but with the pathway into and out of the yard still needing to be finished then that wasn’t possible. However we had yet another record turnout, with the concentration of the work going on with mixing and laying of cement. Stewart had put down the shuttering during the week and today saw the first half completely filled in, tamped down and smoother over, with just enough finish to give a decent grip for anyone to walk on.

I have added quite a few pictures of the work being undertaken, so you can get a real flavour of the amount of work that has been undertaken by all the volunteers.

Mike McIntrye
I think a small team of us are going to finish off the rest of the work on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the rest of the rubbish was moved from the yard. Ken set to with his strimmer cutting down all the grass and weeds round the Laser park, with Peter Pope clearing the corner of said park. Nigel completed the installation of the new Klaxon, which we are hoping will be more ear friendly to those on the shore immediately close to its housing. Time will tell.
Mike McIntrye
The countdown clock which has been steadily ticking for months and weeks will drop down to single figures this week as the start of the season draws closer and due to the plentiful numbers of volunteers coming down on Sundays we are almost and will be ready for the season to start. I just wonder how kind the weather will be to us then and more importantly how many sailors will be ready. I do hear tales of quite a few boats still needing plenty of work doing to them. "Midnight Express" is still waiting completion of a new shroud pull back system and hopefully that may be complete this week, though I am still waiting the arrival of some cleats, but I am hopeful.
March 4th
Rodney Patterson
It was a very busy weekend for me as 4 of us went to the Dinghy Show at Alexandria Palace. Steve Coello took us in his company van, but to do it in a day means an early start i.e. 05.00 departing St. Austell. Fortunately it was dry when I left the house to meet Steve & Ken and then off we went to pick up Paddy. Although riding in the van is rather noisier than travelling in a car, the van did eat up the miles. A 6 speed gearbox gave the engine an easy time and we arrived at Ally Pally by 10.15 and that included a short stop for a quick bite en route. Fortunately the traffic was fairly light on the roads so we weren’t held up at all.The journey back was just as good. There are always queues of traffic on the North Circular, but nothing out of the ordinary today and we soon reached the M4 when Steve could unleash the turbo. We pulled off the M4 to find some pub grub rather than have to suffer the ridiculously expensive motor way food trough and then back onto the M4 for the long haul south, arriving in St. Austell about 10.30. So thanks to Steve for a good safe journey.
Mike McIntrye
The show itself is a Mecca for all dinghy sailors and virtually every class of dinghy that is sailed in the UK is represented, and so it is a very good opportunity to poke, prod and generally examine all sorts of boats, of which some we only hear about rather than see in Cornwall. It is also a good opportunity to replace any worn or obsolete sailing gear either parts or clothing as there are numerous trade stands there and quite often a good bargain can be had.

This year there were several new boats on display. The main ones were various new designs seeking to become the Ladies double handed skiff for the 2016 games. Without doubt all of those at the show looked the bees’ knees, with a great deal of carbon fibre & Kevlar to be seen. There were also some very good examples of boats of vintage age, especially in the entrance hall where there was a tribute to the late Jack Holt with an exhibition of many of the classes that he had designed. These included the original Merlin, which looked nothing like any Merlin that I have seen. There was also E1 complete with its terylene sails

Olympic hopefulls
Again this boat looked nothing like any Enterprise that you will see sailing nowadays. There was also a very early example of a Mirror dinghy, in this case sail number 14. I can remember this boat attending the very first National Championships that Newquay SC hosted back in either 1968 or 69 when I was a young member there. I was so impressed with the Mirror back then that I almost bought a kit which in those days retailed at about £64 including sails. The only thing that prevented me buying one was that at that time I was learning to sail on a school Enterprise and found that to be a lot more exciting than the Mirror dinghy. In fact within a few months I had saved up enough to buy E4573 for £110 from a member of Restronguet SC. Apparently now a Mirror dinghy kit for hull only, retails at about £1000 and then you need at least another £2000 for spars and sails. Or you can buy a complete FRP version for about £5000-£6000, a far cry from the prices in the late 60s.
Steve & Paddy
I mentioned earlier that there was Merlin 1 on show. Well moving forward many years, the latest examples were on display and now you can look forward to spending well over £20000 if you want the latest state of the art version. That together with the even more expensive International 14, are truly a rich man’s class of boat.

The Dinghy show is only on for a weekend, but during it there are some very good lectures on the main stage and I happened to be there when there was an interview with some past Olympic Gold medal medallists together with some hopefuls for this years Olympic Games. The first person to be interviewed was the legendry Rodney Patterson who was once the most successful Olympic sailor from the UK, with 2 Golds & a silver medal to his name. That position has been replaced today by Ben Ainslie. Another gold medallist there was Mike McIntyre who had competed in a Finn but went on to win gold in the Star class in 1998. The 2 hopefuls on stage were our girls sailing in the Ladies 470 class. They were Hanna Mills and Saskia Clark. Photographs of all those are shown alongside.

Filling the trailer
We are now into March and as I see it Spring and more importantly only 3 weeks before we start sailing yet again. Well of late it has been remarkably mild, but today after a long night’s rain the temperature was noticeably several degrees cooler, maybe reminding us that winter may not quite have finished with us yet. Fortunately the rain had moved on allowing the sun to make an appearance and with it some warmth in the lee of a very bracing north westerly wind. The bay was not looking at all inviting today as a series of white caps danced their way across the water and the ominous dark patches showed where the gusts were dropping down from the cliff tops. No not at all a day to want to venture out to sea. Indeed later in the morning a squall complete with hail shower swept over us, turning the bay into even a more forbidding looking place as the visibility dropped quite alarmingly.
Filling the trailer
With only 3 weeks to go to the start of the season the emphasis now moves to the completion of the concrete path in the Dinghy Park and today began the removal from the yard of all the debris that had been dug up over the previous weeks. Fortunately Pete Barnes had brought his trailer down and that proved the ideal tool to move the rubble where it was removed to the field and was either dumped or spread around in the gateway to try and fill in the ruts that are appearing from the constant flow of cars over the years. Simon Pryce was to be heard as well as seen as he set to on the longer grass around the field edges. Sometime soon we will have the delights of a bonfire to burn up all the bits of trees that have been cut back. Hopefully during this week Stewart will insert his shuttering for the path, the sand and cement will arrive and then a few of us with time on our hands will start the mixing and laying of concrete to try and restore the pathway to its former glory, ready for another 40 years or so use.
Simon strimmingr
February 26th
Working on the pahway
Well that’s another Sunday morning ticked off towards the 2012 sailing season, and another well attended work party. Fortunately today was another dry and mild day and for a while the sun came out, making it appear very spring like indeed. Today the entrance pathway that was attacked by Stewart and his hammer drill last week saw the rest of the old concrete removed and wood shuttering inserted. We still need to remove lots of sand to make room for hard core before a new bed of concrete is laid on the top. There are lots of stones around in the dinghy park which hopefully will be used as part of the hard core.

Tony & Colin completed the restoration and fitting of the outside notice board and then made a start on the housing for the revamped klaxon, which I believe is going to be wireless. The horn has been tried and works and by fitting it within a tube that ducts the sound outwards, should be better heard at sea and hopefully will be less obtrusive to those on shore.

The changing rooms now have auto detect lights which will hopefully save electricity in the long run as it means that the lights won’t be left on accidentally when everyone exits the changing rooms. Harry made very good inroads in clearing the cluttered up space adjacent to the fuel bunker, so all in all the yard is getting a thorough makeover.

It’s remarkable how much work has been tackled this winter. The Clubhouse interior has had a total makeover, the yard will have had a total makeover and the field itself has had many of the unruly trees pruned. All in all a fantastic effort by all who have given the time to carry out these tasks. It is only by undertaking the majority of work ourselves that the Club can continue, as employing others to do it all would bankrupt us completely.

The more observant of you will see that I have removed the link to the forum. I noticed a few days ago that the company that runs the forum had closed us down due to lack of activity. In fact the last entry was made last November, so it wasn’t being used at all. However not all is lost as we do have a Facebook page, which can be used exactly the same as it is open to anyone who wants to use it. I know some people have a dislike to Facebook and don’t want to be part of it but it is possible to join using a pseudonym without disclosing any personal information, so your identity can remain hidden. The link to the page is on the front page of the website. It is all straight forward. James Dowrick is the moderator and can remove anyone who misuses the system, so in the immediate future please try it out and make any postings that you like and we will see how it pans out.

February 19th
Richard painting
At last the moment we’ve been waiting for…………..Sunshine. After quite a few weeks of being confined to the Clubhouse for maintenance work, a rise in temperature, well 7C is hardly balmy but out on the decking and in the lee of the Clubhouse plus the appearance of the sun certainly made it seem more Spring like and thus there a mass exodus this morning to start on some of the outside maintenance jobs. More importantly there was a very good attendance which was certainly put to good use as quite a few tasks were started. Richard & I started painting the exterior walls, so eager were we to start that we neglected to first clean the gutters and facia boards, so had to wait for the paint to dry before we could tackle that. Pete Barnes, Ken & Nick were busy trimming the bushes on the back hedge, Harry & Chris were in the Ladies changing rooms, painting, whilst Tony, Andrew & James were clearing the 2 extreme corners of the yard of an enormous amount of rubbish which had accumulated over the last 12 months.
Andrew moving blocks
Colin & Nigel were measuring and discussing the fitting of a new, remote controlled horn, to go alongside the flagpole. Beacky was looking at the beach marks ground tackle and Stewart, complete with hammer drill started digging up the concrete path in the dinghy park where it is breaking away. Beacky told us that the path was laid in 1972, so it has seen a lot of boats and feet traversing it over the years, but unfortunately the original concrete wasn’t laid thick enough and has gradually been deteriorating over the years, and is now in need of a complete repair. There are still lots of little jobs to do; the concrete that Stewart is digging up will need to be taken to the dump and we will have to organise hard core, sand, cement and a cement mixer to finish the job. In all honesty the complete pathway requires replacing but I think just the urgent work will be done this side of the sailing season, with the rest to be planned in for next winter.
Colin measuring up
Many of us cast a speculative eye out at the bay which looked very inviting, with a flat sea, graced by quite a light to moderate offshore breeze. It looked absolutely perfect for a sail, but unfortunately we will still have to wait officially for another 5 weeks before the fleet launch in earnest again. We had a very successful rules evening a few Wednesdays ago, that was well attended, and everyone was given a printout of the Rules by Jeremy and a very interesting discussion then ensued as to how they were interpreted on the race course. Some of the more observant of you may have noticed that I have put a link to a rules test on the front page of the Web. The link that I am using is the old one but this time to another and better site that I have found, so if you feel like pitting your wits against it then please have a go. I found that I was doing better against the difficult ones than the easy ones.
Stewart with Jack hammer
I believe that this Wednesday there will be a discussion on the duties of OOD by Gary Lewis and how to carry them out. Again it is scheduled for 7.30 and should be good help and a good refresher for those who only get to be detailed as OOD a couple of times a year. It will involve how the timing sequence goes, what information should be transmitted between Club house and Safety Boat. How times are recorded and what is done with them afterwards. We actually use a computer programme called “Sailwave” to crunch all the numbers. Access to it is limited to a few members, but that shouldn’t put anyone off from learning about how it works and how the data is entered. Saturday the 25th sees a 60th Birthday Party for Pete Barnes and all Club members are invited to come along. I am told that there will be music and a light buffet form 7.30 onwards.
Pete pruning the hedge
Just as a little light relief, many of you will know that we have had our Grand Daughters down with us this week. The youngest, Katie was in bed with us last Sunday morning and I asked her “How old are you Katie?”
“5”, she replied.
“Well actually you are 5 ½”, I said; her birthday is in August.
“No Grand Dad, 5 ½ is my shoe size”. She told me in quite a knowing way.
It just goes to show that even from a young age women always know best! The website saw a new milestone during the last week when the hits counter turned 100,000. I have been watching it slowly creeping up and wondering exactly when it would reach that milestone. I guess it will take almost another 10 years before the 200,000 clocks up, but at least I know the site is well used, even in the winter months.
February 12th
The Clubhouse floor
What a contrast today was from only a few hours earlier at the fish & chip supper, which was another well attended social. Last night produced a heavy frost, yet by this morning the temperature was positively balmy. It would have been possible to sit outside on the decking and just enjoy the view, but unfortunately there were still lots of work to do. BUT things are starting to take shape. All the tables that needed new end stops on the legs were fitted with their new protectors, (see the picture alongside), courtesy of Nick Haskins, who had been busy during the week turning the end stops down on his lathe. The skirting boards around the Club house were refitted, Ken was busy on his hands and knees busy scrubbing the vinyl flooring to removing the rust stains from the previous contact with the table legs that hadn’t been fitted with end stops. Stewart, Chris Hazell & Brian Phillips were busy in the changing rooms, cleaning and painting. Nigel & Colin were looking at the logistics of putting up a new housing for the horn. The re painted flag pole has been put back in place. The interior walls of the Clubhouse have been repainted, mainly by Harry Fryer, and the outside is still waiting for an improvement in the weather before painting begins there. We did lose one set of tackle from one of the beach marks at the end of last season so another needs to be made up, though we do have the buoy which very fortunately made its way back to the beach when the tackle broke away.
January 31st
The Clubhouse floor
The annual Club Walk, dented the work party number this Sunday somewhat. However we are making good progress with the new flooring. Anybody who has been down to the Wednesday socials will see just a bare board sailing Club. Tony has met with one or two companies to give us a quote for new flooring and I believe an order has been placed and the new floor will be laid before the F&C supper which is only 2 weeks away now. The picture alongside shows a few new floorboards going down, as some of the original ones had been badly damaged by water ingress over earlier years. The Club house is also going to benefit from a new coat of paint so the whole place will look in pristine condition for the start of the season which is only about 50 days away.

The walk, this year had a lower attendance than previous years, mainly I think due to the poor weather forecast. I know of at least one member who has just acquired a new bike from Halfords, which is an all singing and dancing terrain bike, with super telescopic suspension and enough gears to climb Everest, didn’t make his expected appearance, as he didn’t want to get his bike wet!! What a let down, our bikes were so muddy when we got home that I had to hose them down, dry them off and oil all the bare metal bits. We too don’t usually go out in the rain, but Sunday was an exception, though we probably wouldn’t have gone if it was raining before we started.

So far this winter we have had mainly mild weather, and the bay has looked very endearing sometimes when we have been down with an offshore wind blowing, but unfortunately the beasterly easterly winds have arrived and with it a plummeting of the temperature. Suddenly the thoughts of sailing have gone on the back burner, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to conjure up those thoughts of some balmy summer days when we will be moaning of the lack of wind as we sit around on the shore waiting for some of those summer breezes to fill in on a flat sea.

Sometimes I think, our Club isn’t used enough and I have thought that it would be a good idea to introduce a social side to the sailing, especially for those amongst us who are retired. In fact when you look at the demographics, there are quite a few regular sailors who are retired or not working and I think it would be good to have an afternoon a week set aside for casual sailing. Now I’m not sure what would be the best day, a Wednesday could be good as the evening racing would then follow on, so it saves putting the boats away twice or maybe a Friday afternoon, as we might be joined by some “workers” who sometimes finish early on a weekend. I was only thinking of sailing in conditions where we wouldn’t need a safety boat as we don’t want to incur costs. So far it is just an idea but I would be pleased to hear if there is any interest form other “retirees”.

John Hill is one of those in the retiree category and at the moment he and Linda are enjoying a cruise in the Far East. He sent me an email this week describing their progress, which I am sure he won’t mind me publishing here, so the next paragraph is John’s account of their trip.

“Just arrived in Ambon (in the Spice Islands/ Moluccas), Indonesia. All going well. Crossed the equator yesterday. King Neptune had half the crew thrown in the pool. Weather hot and humid but have dodged cyclones so far. Lots to do on the boat on the days at sea, with excellent lectures and workshops, even the evening shows are pretty good considering how small the MV Discovery is. Its very old as cruise ships go, bit rusty, but many people have been on previous cruises, some back to back, so they are a well travelled bunch. The boat has been every where (almost).It reaches the parts other ships don't reach. It’s not full, only about 500. Darwin next stop. Lots of amazing outrigger dugout canoes."

Well that seems much more interesting than battling through our winter, even if it is unusually milder than most winters. I am sure John & Linda will have lots to tell when we see them next.

January 15th
The Clubhouse floor
Week 2 of the maintenance parties and we were greeted by a very cold strong wind blowing off the sea. Yes the surf was pounding in on the beach and there was no way anyone could launch a boat let alone sail in those conditions. In fact it was with great relief that we had quite a big job indoors to get on with. For some time now we have had to put up with the deteriorating state of the floor tiles on the top level of the Clubhouse. I suspect that the flooring has suffered due to the use of an industrial type polisher that has damaged the edges of many of the tiles which in turn have let in water and sand. Anyway the time has come to do something about it, but first we had to rip off the old tiles. Well about 8 of us took it in turns to use a series of hammers, wrecking bars and spades to lift off the old tiles which had been laid on a bed of thin plywood, which in turn covered the original tongue and groove floorboards. By the end of the morning we had a pile of old tiles and plywood, waiting to be taken to the dump.
The Clubhouse floor
We now have a choice of what to do with the flooring that is left. We could sand down the floorboards and then varnish / seal them but there is some damage to repair first and it will make quite a mess with all the dust that it might generate. We could put down some more plywood to create a smooth surface as before and then cover that with either tiles or a one piece vinyl floor covering. Either way there will be a cost, but although I think the old floorboards might look nice if they are revitalised I think that the Clubhouse would look more modern if it was re tiled. I daresay that quite a few different views will be voiced before a decision is taken, but at least we have almost finished the worst job.

Meanwhile whilst we were inside with our project, Andrew, complete with chain saw was giving some attention to some errant trees in the dinghy park. I think we have enough wood piled up now to have a very nice bonfire.

Tiles all stripped off
Keys? Ever lost your keys? Well I know that Nick lost his a few weeks ago and ended up finding that it was cheaper to buy a new car than a new set of keys. Well that happened to me last week on Thursday afternoon. Our mild winter gave us quite a nice sunny couple of days last week so I thought that I would go for a bike ride down the Pentewan trail. My bike is in the garage, locked up to Sue’s bike, so before I could go anywhere I had to undo the lock. I went to get the key from the drawer where it is kept only to discover that the key wasn't there. Well I searched high and low but couldn’t find the key. Sue also had a good look when she came home but to no avail. This now meant that I would have to cut the lock off if I needed my bike. Well as it is still winter I thought that the chances of me needing the bike in the next few weeks is fairly slim so decided not to go mad and cut the lock off just yet. It's made of hardened steel and would be difficult to cut, plus I knew very well that if I cut the lock off then I would almost immediately find the missing key. This morning I had a eureka moment, when as strange as it might seem I temporarily lost my car keys also. This old timers disease is getting bad, I’m not looking forward to old age!! Normally the car keys are hung up when I come in but this morning I had done something else before coming in and had put my keys in my coat pocket. The eureka moment was wondering if I had done the same when I last used my bike. I cast my mind back to last December when I last used the bike. Did I wear a coat? No, but I did wear an old splash top anorak that I keep in the car, so I went to check it and sure enough there was the missing bike key, nestling in one of the pockets. Well what a huge relief that was as now I can unlock the bikes when I want and more importantly I don’t need to cut the lock off. Oh yes the key is now back in the drawer.
January 7th
Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
The more observant of you will have noticed that there have been no blog entries since we finished sailing at the end of November. Well the reason for that is that our sailing season has finished, but believe it or not I have been asked to try and continue it over the winter. In that case take this as my first entry for 2012 and I will try and keep them going until our new sailing season starts in March.

I took my Tasar home the week after the sailing season ended to start some much needed work on the boat. Actually she doesn’t need too much doing but my dagger board packing has been loose for quite a while so I wanted to strip it out and re fit it before the cold weather came. Well it is all done and now I do have sufficient time for the glue to cure properly. The other job that I am thinking of undertaking is to fit the new type stay slider controls to the boat. I have noticed that the faster boats nowadays tend to sail with quite a lot of tension on up wind and the new type roller blocks certainly make it a lot easier to operate than the standard system. Fortunately I still have several weeks to get all the materials together and fit them all on.

I think the only person who has sailed since we finished our season is Jeremy. He went down to Restronguet for their Christmas pudding race. 54 boats in all competed and Jeremy & Suzanne made 2nd place, beaten only by a B14. The course was a windward leeward one, which isn’t always the best for a Tasar, so given that they did remarkably well.

Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
Just recapping a little on last season, we had the 2011 AGM 2 weeks after sailing and it was one of the best attended AGMs for many a year. For the first time ever we actually had a vote for a new Commodore. Chris Hazel, elected last year, was quite happy to serve at least another year, but Paddy Seyler wanted to have a tilt at the post himself. Paddy had been duly proposed and seconded and was elected after a vote. There were a few other changes on the Committee and the full list of faces and jobs can be seen on the Committee page of the web site.

Now for the sailing as seen by me and please note these are solely my own thoughts. To me the 2011 season was quite a breezy one and not to my personal taste as I found that I was struggling many times to keep upright, though I think that I only had 2 capsizes whilst racing all season, and one of those was due to the mainsheet becoming uncleated. The 2nd time we capsized was the result of being blown in by a huge gust. We were blown in just after the start of an afternoon race, when an exceptionally strong gust, beat my reactions and in we went. This was the time that I realised that my buoyancy aid rode up far too high which in turn gave me too many difficulties when I tried to right the boat. I have modified the buoyancy aid now and I am hopeful that if there is a next time then events will be easier to manage, though I don’t intend practicing capsizing too much in the future.

Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
Despite the stronger winds this year we still managed to complete most of the races, especially at the start of the season. The weather in the spring was exceptional in that it was so mild and sunny and lead us into a somewhat false security, making many of us believe that we were about to get a summer of good weather. However, once again summer turned out to be a big disappointment, with July & August proving to be wet and windy.

The Tuesday night training nights proved very successful, with sometimes more than 15 boats out sailing. The Club Picos were well used both for training and also racing, though the Bug has been hardly out at all.

Our first open event of the year was the Tasar Open. Now for the last 3 years we have been blessed with fine weather and we almost succeeded again, the Saturday started off with a fine day and a good sailing breeze. Allan Orton, crewed by Paddy Seyler started off in great form, winning the first race in style. The 2 of them initially lead the 2nd race but were robbed when the breeze faded away to drifting conditions and they ended up in 6th place. The 2nd race was won by Steve & Polly. Unfortunately the weather deteriorated over night and we arrived on the Sunday to a very strong southerly wind which produced som fierce surf on the beach. Some of the more gung ho sailors launched but the Race Officer found that conditions out at sea were unsafe for racing and the meeting was abandoned, which gave the final result to Rob & Claire, visitors from Llangorse, who had taken 2 second places to secure their victory.

Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
In early June, 3 of us from Porthpean undertook the long journey to Whitstable for the Tasar 3 day Nationals. The forecast was quite dire but when we left and arrived on the Thursday afternoon all looked quiet and Peaceful, but by the time we rigged on Friday morning, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and a very strong wind was blowing that in turn had whipped up a vicious looking sea. Quite a few launched and though we rigged I could see that some of the early launchers were coming back, some with broken masts. A capsize at Whitstable often results in a broken mast as the bay is fairly shallow, so I decided that I wouldn’t take a chance and wait for Saturday in the hopes that the weather would have moderated. Saturday dawned slightly better and we were all rigged ready to go but were held on the beach when a delay was caused when the tractor used for launching the rescue boats broke down and it took a while to repair it. By the time repairs were affected the wind had got up again and once more I chickened out of sailing. Jeremy & Suzanne had 2 good races on Friday and went out again to win 2 of the 3 races held, which put them into the overall lead. Sunday dawned with even stronger winds blowing and by 09.00 I already had the boat packed away to come home. It came as no surprise that the decision was made to abandon all racing for the day. That decision was gratefully received by Jeremy & Suzanne as it left them as National Champions, and we all got to start the long trek home early.
Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
The big event for Porthpean in 2011 was hosting the B14 Nationals. 28 of them descended on Porthpean for 3 days of racing in which 10 races were completed. Race Officer Ron Barrett succeeded in getting all the scheduled racing completed in what were very difficult conditions at the time. Quite a few of the fleet capsized at different times. In fact I would say that almost the entire fleet had a capsize over the 3 days. The wind was in the 20 knots range for at least the first two days and the combination of wind, waves and tricky to sail, boats guaranteed plenty of capsizes. I was in a rescue boat so can vouch on the strength of the conditions. When they were upright they proved to be devastatingly fast and many of the sailors came ashore with huge grins, though also with tired bodies. The B14 fleet were very impressed with Porthpean and will be returning again in a few years time.

The Tasar fleet has once again been the mainstay of the sailing in 2011 and has been highly competitive, so much so that Steve Mitchell resorted to buying one of the newer 2nd hand Bethwaite boats that seem so fast nowadays, mainly thanks to Jeremy & Suzanne. The Tasar fleet should be bigger again next season when we hope to see Justin back sailing again, plus Jeremy’s old boat has been sold to someone who is re joining the Club and Stewart Page tells me that he will come out of self imposed retirement, if his legs can stand it, and sail his 20 year old immaculate Tasar once again. Chris Bilkie could have a choice of crews this year, though Luke may be tempted top sail his Topper more as Fin has just joined the Topper fleet. I wonder if Nigel & James will be moving up a gear and buying a faster class boat as James is now in his mid teens. They would make another ideal Tasar crew between them, though maybe an RS200 might suit them better if they wish to retain a spinnaker type boat. Only 2 of our 4 Scorpions sailed regularly last year and I would like to hope that the other 2 will make more of an effort this year. Both Stacey & Alan have Contenders and Tasars and so sail both boats at different times. Stacey has spent quite a lot of the latter part of the 2011 season sailing with daughter Lucy and hopefully this combination will be seen regularly in 2012 as well.

Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
Richard Armstrong came back to us again in 2011, taking up the challenge again in his Contender and I think he is really enjoying it, so he should hopefully be staying this year. John Hill manages to make his Supernova perform well and Nick Haskins still has one for sail if anyone is interested in getting a relatively fast single hander. Steve Wingrove has been in a transitionary year sailing a Blaze and has been joined by a very enthusiastic Roger Williams, who travels over from Rock and has converted his temporary membership to a full membership so expect him to be sailing regularly with us in 2012 . Roger used to sail at Burghfield, at what is probably the hot bed of Blaze sailing so really knows how to make the boat go. I hear murmurs that the interest may spread to one or two others who want a more challenging boat than say a Laser. There is also a possibility that another Blaze sailor may be moving into the area and he too would consider joining Porthpean also.

Paddy took on a challenge last year when he bought an RS600. These are very fast boats and take a lot of taming, Paddy has had to undergo many duckings but is staying upright for longer periods of time nowadays, though I think he would rather sail a Tasar too for the greater competition. The dear old Scorpion used to be the bedrock of sailing at Porthpean in the 60’s, though we only have 4 now registered at Porthpean and although all 4 have put in an appearance this year only Beacky & Kelvin and the Kendalls have sailed with any degree of regularity. Maybe we can tempt the other 2 to become regular sailors again this year. Our Laser fleet just about limps on, we have quite a few registered at Porthpean but not many sailed regularly last year, the main 2 sailing being Dr Nick and Brian Reeves. Pete & Jan managed to sail their Kestrel quite a bit last year but were hampered somewhat with Pete’s work pattern, but I still expect to see them as often again this next season.

Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
The Cadets, under the tutelage of Anna & Liz, are starting to thrive and maybe there will be enough of them this year to have their own series, with maybe a smaller course than ours as it can start to get very lonely when they are a long way out on their own, behind the rest of the fleet when we have larger courses.

The big event for Porthpean this year will be the Tasar Nationals at the end of August. This 4 day event will be the 5th time that we have hosted the Tasar Nationals and in itself will pose quite a challenge, as many of our members will be sailing in it, so we will be looking for an even greater commitment from other members to be able to run it. We do have sufficient people and resources and if we get the sort of numbers participating as we have had in the past then it should be another good financial event for the Club.

Sue & I went to Basingstoke over the weekend to visit our Son and family and I took the opportunity to visit Queen Mary SC on Saturday where they were hosting the Bloody Mary. There were over 300 dinghies entered, though no Tasars and no Mirror dinghies, but there must have been at least one or two of most other dinghies, and what an impressive sight it was. The most spectacular of them all were the foiling moths and they had a fleet of about 20 racing. The weather was nice and dry with a weak sun bathing the Club in a nice winter light but quite a cold force 4-5 blowing in off the water. The first boats to start at 12.00 were the Toppers, all 34 of them, to sail for 3 hours. The 20 or so foiling Moths started last and what a sight they were, impressing everyone there. Within 5 seconds of going afloat they were up on their foils and flying, not only flying above the water but travelling so very fast. They started 80 minutes after the Toppers, but in no time at all were screaming through the 200 plus fleet in front of them, travelling so fast that the experts took the first 4 places. The first “conventional” dinghy was a Fireball, and the first Topper to finish was back in 34th place. All in all it was a most impressive sight and very well organised as more than 90% of the boats entered were visitors, so parking and unloading posed quite a few logistical challenges.

Queen Mary, Bloody Mary
Being away meant that I managed to miss the first of our maintenance Sundays. This year they are being managed by Tony Dunn and if the weather down at Porthpean was anything like in London then I am sure should have been well attended. There are jobs that anyone is capable of doing from cleaning, painting to repairing. The countdown clock on the front page showed 77 days last Sunday. 11 weeks, before the sailing season starts again, so we must pull together and get all the jobs out of the way by then, a target that is achievable.

I am hoping to get this uploaded today so it will also coincide with the first meeting of the new Committee under the stewardship of Paddy Seyler. Next Saturday we will be hosting the 2011 Dinner Dance at the Bosun’s Diner in Charlestown, where once again both Men and the Ladies will be dressed up in their finery. Anna is our new Social Secretary and I look forward to seeing what delicacies she will be coming up with but I am sure that the old favourite, Fish & Chip Supper Night will be among them. Hmm sounds quite tasty already.

Well not too long to wait, see you all soon.

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