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December 11th
A likely bunch
Summary of the 2014 season
My Sailing Blog started off 9 years ago as a way of building up a bit of history of everyday sailing at Porthpean. I notice that it has expanded somewhat from the early days in 2006 & I hope that it doesn’t bore the readers too much. I usually skulk around with my camera on a race day, trying to get some unguarded photographs to spice it up a bit. I thought that I was finished for the year but have decided to write one more time and reflect overt the past season. This is a rather long blog so I suggest you take this opportunity to grab a cup of coffee to help keep you awake whislt reading!!.

Well here we are, winter has finally arrived and the temperatures have plummeted, helped mainly by a very keen set of northerlies and sometimes easterlies. The long warm days of summer are now but distant memories. The good weather did hang on for all of September and October and the winds were even kind to us in November, allowing all the autumn races to be sailed. So far we haven’t had any hard frosty mornings, but I am sure that they will come. Cornwall, like most of the rest of the country is snuggling down to get through the next few months. For me, winter is quite a depressing season; what with low temperatures, cold winds and long dark nights, nothing much outdoors is appealing. Anyway no point in moaning too much, I, like the rest of us have just got to grin and bear it.

We had the AGM last Sunday afternoon and it was a very well attended meeting with very few changes to the Committee, as the majority were quite happy to stand again and without much ado were re-elected. One fine piece of news that was welcomed was the fact that subscriptions have been frozen for the 2nd year in a row. The bad news is that our income from subscriptions alone doesn’t cover all our expenditure. Fortunately profits on Nationals help keep us in the black, so all that hard work and sacrifices do pay off. All in all the AGM business went through very smoothly and this was then followed by a general discussion on the sailing programme, duty man and one or two other sailing issues. Outside the sea looked quite inviting as the breeze was a nice moderate north westerly, giving the usual easy launching and flat sea, though there were quite a few ominous dark patches where the gusts were blowing. Still no one ventured out so we will never know just how good it was, and over the next few months there will surely be the odd times when sailing might be undertaken by anyone who still has their boat in the yard.

On the social side, the Clubhouse is still open for drinks and chat on Wednesday evenings and is usually attended by a nucleus of anything up to 18 members. Another bit of good news from the AGM was that Tony Dunn was elected as Social Secretary, a post he does enjoy and I am sure that he is already working on a list of socials to take us through the winter months, starting with a New Year’s Eve party in the Clubhouse, followed by the annual dinner and prize giving in early January, though these 2 socials have been organised by our outgoing Social Secretaries, Jan & Pete who have done a sterling job throughout the year.

I will take this opportunity to have a quick review of the 2014 sailing season, and here I will crib quite a bit from Nigel’s Sailing Secretary’s report. Once again we started our racing season on the last Sunday in March. This is traditionally the start of British summer time and the sudden loss of an hour in the morning is a rude awakening, but the lighter evenings more than make up for that. I always find it a huge pleasure to be able to push off from the beach for our first sail of a new season; usually into reasonable conditions and head out to sea, knowing that we have 9 months of sailing to look forward to. The first contact with the sea as my feet get wet is usually a gasp as by that time the sea temperature has cooled down to its lowest temperature of the year and a capsize is the last thing we want to have to undertake.

A quick look back at the race results show that we lost far fewer races this year than from many previous years, which in itself was quite a bonus. Some of the races lost were due to bad weather but we did lose quite a few of our Wednesday races due to complete lack of wind, but hey sometimes that’s not too bad when you can sit and chill out in the evening sun. To me the main highlight of our Wednesday racing is the supply of bacon butties provided by Jenny after the racing. The butties together with a pint of lemonade (???) go down very nicely. Unfortunately Jenny couldn’t make every Wednesday but her missing bacon butty duties were ably filled in by either Chris Millard or Shane, so from me a very big thank you for what is now an almost invaluable service and part of Club life.

Our Tasar Open meeting was very poorly attended with only one visiting boat, but they really enjoyed sailing at Porthpean and will certainly look to come back again, most likely in May. The other Open meeting organised this year was a Scorpion Open meeting. This was the first Scorpion Open for many years and was held at the request of the Scorpion association. Rather disappointingly not one visitor turned up but we did manage to get 5 of our own Scorpions out. The racing was dominated by Steve Mitchell & Polly, sailing their new Scorpion, winning every race with ease. Maybe we will have more luck next year if we decide to hols another Scorpion Open meeting. Once upon a time we used to have very well attended Enterprise and Laser Opens but there are only about 2 fleets of Enterprises racing in Cornwall and none at all at Porthpean. We do have quite a few Lasers, but the Laser association tends to fix their Opens for the year well in advance and if we want to be included then we will have to arrange it sooner rather than later. It would be a good for the Club as we do have several Laser helms whom I am sure would love to see a few more of them racing here. The main draw back with Open meetings is that it does impact on Club sailing, which isn’t too bad when we attract a good fleet but not so good for others when the attendance is low and who have to lose a days sailing.

Our highlight of the year was the Osprey Nationals. The Osprey fleet returned for the 3rd time to thrash around our bay, and once again they weren’t disappointed. The fight for the Championship went right down to the last race and over the 4 days of racing they had a broad spectrum of weather, fantastic hospitality from the Club and a promise to return again in the future. There are no Nationals scheduled for 2015, as the Club would like to give its many volunteers a well deserved rest. Some of the busiest people involved are always Nigel & James, in charge of safety boats and Jenny March who has always been heavily involved in the catering, especially the breakfast run, which is very, very popular, with competitors and helpers alike.

Talking of Jenny, reminds me that she has now joined the quite small but distinguished list of “Honorary Life Members”. Jenny was elected to the peerage at the AGM in acknowledgement of her unstinting work for the Club over many years. Jenny even crewed for me one season in the early 90’s for the Wednesday races and we won quite a few races. Back then we didn’t have bacon butties.

The Tasar fleet formed in 1986 when Dennis & Heather brought the first one to Porthpean. In fact the Club was going through a bit of a rocky patch with sailing numbers starting to dwindle. The Tasar revitalised the Club, I moved over to St. Austell to live in 1986, being a member of Restronguet SC at the time but I joined the Club in 1987 and was quickly won over by the boat’s performance and stability, so much so that I went out and bought an old one right away. The fleet quickly grew and I think at one time we had about 17 in the Club. The Club hosted our first Tasar Nationals in 1991, when we had over 40 boats attending. The Tasar has been the mainstay of the Club since then. Our numbers are not as good now but on most days we always have the largest number of boats participating in Club races and on a good day we can still get 7 or 8 Tasars out racing.

This year the Tasar fleet was joined in mid summer by Kim Furniss and Sal Erskine, who are already showing high levels of competition. Unfortunately I think we might be saying goodbye to Mike Voyzey as he hasn’t sailed his Tasar at all this season but the good news here is that he has sold the boat to Justin Phyall who is hoping to team up with Charlie Austin next season. They have already sailed together once this season and got on very well, which bodes well for the future. Justin now has an old Tasar for sail. Steve Mitchell, badly damaged his Tasar on a very windy day (I stayed ashore that day as I considered it too windy for me) early in the season but has since had it repaired and has come back sailing faster than ever, and I expect to see him & Polly at the front of the fleet next year. Polly has been missing for the last few months due to a spot of illness but is well on the road to recovery. We haven’t seen quite as much of Jeremy and Suzanne this year as they have been giving a lot of time and support to Finn who is excelling in his wind surfing, so much so that Finn is now a member of the RYA squad, which means that his away training days will be even more numerous next year, which again may mean less of Jeremy & Suzanne racing.

Not content with his current boat, Jeremy has bought a brand new, yet to be launched, Tasar which is sitting at home just waiting its opportunity to take to the water. Dennis & Brian were to be seen sailing more often this season after Dennis had finished his almost endless supply of holidays and are very fast in the stonger winds. Chris & Tony have sailed, very regularly over the season and are still enjoying jockeying for better results. Pascal & Sue Dazza joined us this season and have ventured out on some quite windy days to try and learn the nuances of Tasar sailing. They are still keen and should be out a lot more next year. Stewart Page, who has been unable to sail for the last few years, also ventured out a few times, usually with either Pascal or Sue crewing for him. Stewart has the most immaculate Tasar in the World, save for Jeremy’s new boat, made even more remarkable by the fact that it is 19 years old and still sports a suit of the Dacron sails, rather than the new plastic rubbish that has replaced them. It has been good to see Stacey sailing with daughter Lucy with us again towards the end of the season. Unfortunately the competitive lure of cycling is still in the forefront of his mind, which might impact on his appearances next year. Ian & Claire are another crew who just didn’t make it on the water this season. Again their commitment to their boys windsurfing has kept them otherwise occupied. I almost forgot Ken & myself, still sailing “Midnight Express”. My boat has been with me for 20 years now and Ken has been crewing for me for, I think, 11 seasons. We don’t fall out with each other. He still lets me get away with some silly mistakes, and we still manage to win the odd race and trophy. In fact if we knew the number of miles that we have sailed in the boat it would be mind blowing. My love of dinghy sailing remains completely undiminished and if my health holds up and the conditions are to my liking then I expect to be racing for many years to come.

Our racing this year has been divided into fast and slow fleets. Joining the Tasars in the fast fleet have been Paddy & Steve Coello in their first season in a B14. Their capsizes have been quite numerous and sometimes spectacular but as the season went on their skills have improved and those, together with many improvements to the boat and its fittings have seen some better results, often finishing way ahead of the rest of us on the water. Fortunately for us their onerous handicap drags them back into the sphere of ordinary mortality. The 2 Blazes of Roger and Steve also joined us in the fast handicap fleet this year. Roger in particular shows how well these boats perform and has won a few races this year. Steve has struggled more in his and has sold it and bought a very pretty looking Scorpion which at this moment in time is in his garage, being spruced up ready for the 2015 campaign. Jan & Pete in the Kestrel also made the transition from slow fleet to fast fleet this year and have struggled to keep up with the Tasars at times, though their spinnaker is a very useful tool which they can employ on many of the downwind legs. Their Kestrel has sailed its last race at Porthpean, unless someone here buys her as a new Kestrel is on order and is due for delivery in February. The new makers have breathed on the hull a little and a much faster boat should be competing with us soon. Another regular in the fast fleet is Richard in his Contender. We used to have several Contenders racing with us but both Stacey & Allan Orton sold theirs leaving Richard as the sole Contender sailor. Richard had a spell of ill health earlier in the season but is now back to full fitness and once again is harrying the Tasar fleet in the lighter stuff.

And so on to the so called slow fleet. The bulk of this fleet is made up of the Scorpions and we have all witnessed the battles between Beacky & Kelvin against Andrew & Jenny throughout the season. I think that they were quite evenly matched in 2013 but Paul bought Steve Mitchell's previous Scorpion and has suddenly moved up a gear or two and have had the upper edge all season, especially with their down wind speed. As mentioned earlier, Steve has had a long time love affair with the Scorpion class, learning to sail in them, so although owning a Tasar he took the plunge and has bought one of the new breed of plastic Scorpions and in turn he and Polly have also moved up another gear. Their boat speed is such that they can beat most of the Tasar fleet on the water let alone on handicap, which is rather impressive. Craig & Jake Varley bought Paul Jenkin’s Scorpion to sail this year. Unfortunately the boat had been laid up for so long that some of the fittings weren’t up to the rigours of the sea and several running repairs have had to be carried out during the season. Hopefully they will be back on the water next season to continue their campaign. Kay’s Scorpion has sat in the yard most of the year, only venturing out on Wednesday evenings, when she has usually had Craig crewing for her. It would be great to see her get a more regular crew and join the others on Sundays when possible. Sarah Kendall & Martin come home occasionally and sometimes use the spare family Scorpion so we can in theory put 7 Scorpions on the water.

Our other main component of the slow handicap fleet is our Lasers. This year James & Finn have been the dominant sailors, but as the season progressed Finn has spent more and more time away on wind surfing courses, leaving James to fight it out with the Scorpions. Finn's wind surfing skill levels have soared and he is undoubtedly a huge talent in the wind surfing world and I am sure that if he decides eventually to get more involved with dinghy sailing then he will be hugely successful in dinghy world as well. Luke Bilkey is another good helm who has joined the dark side of wind surfing and he and James had a very good close tussle at the youth open Regatta that we held in mid season. Nick Haskins still has his Laser but hasn’t sailed quite as much this year. Nick has been a stalwart of the Club for many a year and I don’t think he is ready yet to completely give up sailing just yet. Brian Reeves had quite a bit of the season off due to a shoulder injury but was back to more regular sailing towards the end of the year. Tom Bittle is probably our fastest Laser sailor but work has kept him on the sidelines most of the year and his appearances have been few and far between. Clive Stephens is another helm who can only make Wednesday races, which is a shame as his results would improve no end if he could get more time on the water. The Laser fleet will be joined by another radial next year. We will be pleased to see Janet Preston joining us. Janet has sailed at Pentewan for years, learning her sailing in her Dad’s Enterprise before they settled for many years on a Dart. Dad eventually gave up and Janet took the helm with her husband on the wire but he too has decided that he has had enough so Janet has decided to buy herself a Laser and join us. Charlie Austin has had a quiet year in his Topper. Last year he had Finn to sail against, but sailing around at the back of the fleet on your own is a hard thing so the fact that he will be crewing with Justin next year is a real bonus for both of them and it still leaves him the option of sailing his Topper on days that suit him more. Another year of growing will soon see him tall enough for a Laser and then more excitement to come. Shane is boatless but is often to be seen out in the Club Vago. Once again it would be good for him to get either a regular crew or team up to crew in someone else’s boat.

Now our other little mini fleet is the Supernova fleet, or Supersofas as some of us irreverant people call them. We do have 4 in the Club but rarely ever get them all out. I would say that Simon is the keenest but his work schedule means that he is often missing for 3 weeks at a time which impacts on him winning any series. John Hill usually only sails on Wednesdays but when he does is often to be seen at the head of the leader board, but he again is another whose results are affected by not enough sailing. Jeremy Rowett rejoined the Club last year and as a stop gap bought a Supernova, but isn’t convinced that this is the boat for him so don’t be surprised to see him in something different next season. Colin still has his Supernova but has rarely sailed this year and is thinking of selling it. So anyone fancy a Supernova? Colin is down on practically every race day and although he hasn’t sailed much this year is always willing to help out with boat recovering and a myriad of other little jobs that appear almost weekly that require some attention.

Now I mustn’t forget our Sailing Secretary Nigel, responsible for compiling our racing schedule, and very well aidied by James. Nigel has been our Sailing Secretary for quite a few years now and is at the Club almost every race day, making sure that the RIB and race box are manned. Unfortunately he hasn’t done much sailing himself. Initially his boat wasn’t ready, just awaiting some repairs, but at the moment is crewless. However he has achieved some glory by crewing for Steve Mitchell in the autumn series which they won.

Over the last season we have grown to find the race timing electronics, designed and constructed by Paddy to be a great help. Mind you it still requires concentration by the time keeper to ensure the correct buttons are pressed at the correct time. His latest wheeze is to have a cctv camera focussed on the beach marks to help the time keeper see who is who. The next step forwards will be to record the boats as they go past the beach marks to help and correct any queries that may arise. Modern technology is well and truly with us nowadays. I can remember buying my first stop watch to hang round my neck for race starts in the bad old days of 10 and 5 minute guns. I think it lasted all of 2 weeks before water ingressed and it stopped.

“Dutyman” was a new introduction for compiling the duties list this year. I’m not sure how well it has been received, some people appear to be rather frightened of it but it does work and I believe it will be used again next season with I hope some more success. Duties are always a bane, but unfortunately with a small Club like ours is a necessity of life. At least the majority of people turn up for them and it does help get some appreciation of what racing is all about. With our present numbers I think we all have to do something like 5 duties minimum, but with some 70 races in the program then missing 5 isn’t too big a deal, especially as you can also claim average points when doing your duty.

Overall I think we had a better than average season than many previous years. The weather for the main part was great. We had our usual fair share of windy days and also some very quiet days. Our largest fleets were usually on a Wednesday evening and once or twice we broke the 20 boat figure. Our Sunday fleets were pretty good, with the largest turnouts in the summer and some of those getting in the high teens. Even the autumn series was well attended, quite often there would be 12 or more boats racing. The Wednesday night autumn series seems to be well established with the 6pm start, which now allows us to sail every Wednesday in September. The table on the decking has been full most Sundays over lunch time and again packed on most Sundays after sailing when the bar is open and the drinks appear. There is a certain amount of enjoyment, sitting in the sun, drink in hand, slowly winding down after some after a keenly contested days racing.

So there we are with a quick sort of round up of the 2014 season. The countdown clock is ticking away to 2015 which is currently just over 100 days away. Once we get into the New Year it will be down into double figures and we should start to see the daylight time lengthening slowly but surely. 2015 will bring new challenges, new delights, new boats for some and hopefully the same stability of a very efficiently run Sailing Club.

Happy Christmas & New Year.


November 23rd
Lim's Tasar
The final race day of the season
Well that’s it; the 2014 season all done and dusted and the final blog written. We started the season on 30th March and in what seems to me to be a blink of an eyelid it’s all finished. Yesterday brought us to the end of the autumn series to bring the curtain down and the sailing to an end. The autumn series consisted of 10 races and unbelievably we managed to sail every race which is a remarkable achievement, as at this time of year it is almost inevitable that the weather becomes quite changeable and we are forced to lose some racing. This year for the first time ever in my memory, we had the weather pattern on our side and managed to sail them all. Indeed the weather this last Wednesday, Thursday & Friday were very wet and windy days and if Sunday had been anything like them then we wouldn’t have got any racing in; such is life.

Life at Porthpean will not stop just because the racing has finished. We have the AGM in only 2 weeks time, followed by Boxing Day morning when the Club will be open to watch and encourage the swimmers. A New Year’s Eve party is planned and the dinner and prizegiving is scheduled for January 10th plus I expect one or two socials, especially the fish & chip evening to tide us over the winter before the next sailing season starts towards the end of March. The Club is also open on Wednesday evenings for drinks & chat, plus Paddy& Steve's snacks. Oh yes and there’s the matter of winter maintenance which will start on Sunday mornings in January. Last winter saw the installation of the new kitchen but I don’t think this winter will see anything as dramatic as that but life on the coast does give a lot of wear and tear and I am sure that you will be hearing from our Works Manager, Tony Dunn before too long.

Once again we had a modest but strong fleet out racing for our last Sunday, including 6 Tasars; still the strongest fleet in the Club and yesterday saw a past World Champion and 2 past National Champions sailing so our numbers may be modest compared to some Clubs but our depth of talent is far stronger than most. The strong south easterlies of mid week had given way to the more friendly north westerly’s which in turn had flattened the sea down somewhat and more importantly soothed the waves away, leaving just a small surf on the beach, which made for easy launching and recovery.

Beacky & Kelvin took the RIB whilst Andrew & Jenny manned the race box so our Scorpion fleet was non existent on the water, something that should change a little next season when Steve Wingrove will be racing his new boat and hopefully Craig will be making more appearances. There were 13 boats out racing and 10 of those came from the fast fleet, leaving the slow fleet comprising just 2 Laser radials and a Supernova. Jeremy & Suzanne are kept very busy at the moment ferrying Finn around to Wind surfer training events, but this weekend had a brief respite when the squad training was held at Restronguet, allowing them the chance to sail again at Porthpean. Jeremy tells me that his new boat is almost ready to sail but who needs a new boat when they can sweep all aside when sailing their present boat? Next season will reveal at least 2 brand new boats sailing with Jan & Pete being another crew taking charge of a shiny new Kestrel. We will also be joined by Janet Preston who has joined us and bought a nearly new Laser Radial. Anyway I digress.

B&K set a very nice starboard course giving us a beat to the beach marks. The start was interesting as the line was very biased favouring starboard tack starting and so the pin end was very congested and caught a few out judging from the shouting that I heard. One crew who suffered very badly was Dennis & Brian who were totally squeezed out and had to abort their start and come in again dropping them to the back of the fleet. As per usual J&S led at the first mark, but very encouraging for us was the fact that we were 2nd boat around and also having a very good first beat was Jan & Pete, rounding in 3rd & were licking their lips with the anticipation of 2 spinnaker reaches ahead to keep them in contention. Meanwhile Steve & Nigel in their Tasar were starting to sail through the fleet and they passed us just after the 2nd beat. Steve seems to be able to point his boat a lot higher in the wind than I can and that certainly allowed him to claw a lot of distance back. Further back in the fleet after the first beat was Paddy & Steve in the B14 and inevitably they eventually took their place at the front of the fleet due to the huge speed of the B14 down wind, but somewhere on the 3rd or 4th beat all their hard work came undone when they presented the bottom of the hull to the viewing public with yet another capsize. Very bizarrely the mainsheet jammed on one of Paddy’s gloves, and then suddenly released, the unbalance then dropped them in to windward; oh dear.

The 6 Tasars were spilt into 2 distinct fleets with J&S, S&N and us in one fleet having what appeared to be our own private race with Sal & Kim, Chris & Tony and Dennis & Brian in the other fleet, with all 3 of them leading their mini fleet at one time before Sal & Kim finished just ahead of the other 2. Kim & Sal are still getting to grips with the Tasar but are showing some excellent speed at times. I suspect that Kim is enjoying his renaissance sailing once again at Porthpean after his many years in his youth sailing Scorpions, before he elected to take up Cat sailing and the Dart in particular at Pentewan; A class that crowned him both National & World Champion at different times.

Life wasn’t as exciting for the slow fleet but Simon in his Supesofa was first home only to be displaced by the 2 Laser radials of James and Brian Reeves on corrected time. In fact James finished almost 2 minutes in front of Brian to claim and easy win.

Lunch was taken and the round table on the decking was full as several people ate their lunch basking in the quite mild weather and strong sunlight – maybe the last time for that this year. J&S packed their boat away as they had to go & pick up Finn, reducing us to only 5 Tasars. Then the fleet launched for the last race of the year. The wind had swung round to a northerly direction and picked up a little in strength and so for the 3rd time this year we set off on a race which took us across the bay towards Par. Ken & I have had some very good starts this year but for the last race I produced a proper howler. I was stuck to windward of James in his Laser and completely stopped when the gun went. In desperation we tacked immediately onto port but had to let a raft of starboard tackers through and then couldn’t squeeze past the RIB so off onto starboard we tacked again and left the start line in a lowly last position. Both Steve & Richard were off like a bullet from a gun and were well ahead at the end of the first beat, never to be seen again. Our only success on the beat was to overtake Chris & Tony but a good way ahead of us as they started the reaches was Kim & Sal followed by Dennis & Brian. Fortunately the fresher breeze produced some good planing opportunities and our down wind speed came to our aid and slowly but surely we started to close them down. Dennis & Brian had caught and passed Kim for a while so they were fully occupied with each other but our persistence eventually paid off and we managed to gain an inside overlap on the pair of them as we started the 3rd beat. D&B tacked off to try their luck on the other side of the course, but lost out too much leaving just K&S and us to battle it out, before we increased our lead on the last beat to give us a comfortable 2nd in the Tasars but overall 3rd behind Richard who revelled in the fresher conditions.

The sun was still shining on us out on the sea but the land was already in the shade as we headed home for the last time. There will be a few facts and figures to chew over in the next few weeks but I would say overall that we have had quite a good season on the whole. The count down clock on the front page of the web site is ticking down the days, hours and minutes before we start again. Keep an eye on it, once it gets below 100 days the time will pass quicker than you think. Thanks for reading. x

November 16th
New mast being fitted
Very unusual sailing conditions
Sue & I had a short break in London last week and I think we had better weather than you in Cornwall, which came as a bit of a bonus. We managed to visit Salisbury Cathedral, saw some tennis at the O2, no less than Roger Federer. We also saw the poppies, an amazing site even in the rain; we had a boat trip on the Thames and saw the musical “Sunny Afternoon” about the Kinks. All in all a very pleasant mid week break. We only had one morning of rain, which helped give us a very good week. Just as an aside I don’t know how often you travel up country by car but it always appears to me to be warmer as we pass through Exeter. Invariably the car outside temperature gauge goes up by a degree or two as we approach Exeter and then drops off a little as we drive away.

Anyway enough of that and on to the subject of Sunday’s racing. Again we had a fleet of 11, which I suppose isn’t too bad considering we are in the middle of November. It was great to see Charlie Austin pairing up with Justin to crew in Justin’s Tasar. Hopefully Charlie enjoyed his experience of being at the sharp end of the fleet and his racing knowledge and enjoyment should come on leaps and bounds in the future. Today gave us a fleet of 4 Tasars. In fact the fast handicap fleet was again the largest fleet with Paddy & Steve’s B14, Richard’s Contender and Jan & Pete’s Kestrel making a total of 7 In the slow fleet there were 2 Laser radials out and 2 Scorpions out, actually making today their last race of the season as both Beacky & Kelvin and Andrew & Jenny are on duties next weekend.

Due to the bad weather during the week, I was half expecting not to be able to sail this weekend, but the south easterlies had subsided enough over the preceding couple of days to make launching through the surf acceptable. Now as you may be aware I am more than cautious now when launching and recovering so as the launching area of the beach was nice and sandy we adopted the safe approach of getting the boat off the trolley early and beaching the boat on the sand whilst the trolley was disposed of. We waited for a suitable break in the wave pattern and launched quite easily. I noted one or two others did the same and they all launched unscathed. Not so for the 2 Lasers of Brian and James; both tried to launch in the more traditional manner and each was caught by a rogue wave that effectively washed their boats right over them. Fortunately there were no injuries to either helms or boats and then they too were off, beating into the light easterly breeze.

Dennis & Brian took charge of the RIB today and looking at the course as laid we presumed that we would start at the beach mark and beat out towards the Gribben. So we were quite surprised when we saw the RIB moored over towards Blackhead, with an expected beat across the bay, which was very much almost a one tack beat. The start line itself was so heavily biased that it was very difficult to lay on a starboard tack so we seized the opportunity to try and sail across the fleet on port. Well it didn’t quite work but did place us in a very good position to lead the fleet quite handsomely at the first mark. The subsequent legs were a run and a very tight reach, hardly thrilling. Our large lead was severely dented on the next beat when a large wind shift appeared, which favoured all the boats behind us and we only just rounded the windward mark in the lead. On the next beat we seemed to be going slower and slower and Steve & Nigel who had had a poor start were moving through the fleet quite quickly and overtook us. In desperation I looked over the transom to discover to my horror a large clump of weed being towed along. Once it was cleared our boat speed returned but too late to get back on terms with Steve & Nigel but just enough to remain out of the clutches of Jan & Pete who were having a very good race, always being in the leading bunch of boats. Sal & Kim were lying a lowly 4th Tasar until the last beat when a tack out to sea gave them a good lift into the windward mark and right up with Justin & Charlie. They both sailed down the last run almost side by side, and Justin had just enough room to claim water on the mark and nosed ahead to take 3rd Tasar. Paddy & Steve were late for the start and could only play catch up to take line honours but the conditions today were certainly not B14 weather.

Andrew & Jenny had a new mast to show us today, but couldn’t produce enough speed to prevent Beacky & Kelvin taking another win, but at least they finished far enough ahead to save their time on the 2 Laser radials of James & Brian.

The fluky conditions of the morning were carried over to the afternoon’s race. The course was re set and we had the expected start from the beach mark straight out to sea for a port hand rounding, down towards Charlestown. Again the wind was very light, and the line was heavily biased and my attempt at starting at the pin end had to be aborted as we couldn’t quite lay it and a quick gybe and port hand start was called for. We struck out left just behind Richard, but tacked early for the mark. Richard who stuck to his tack for longer made the windward mark first just ahead of Kim & Sal. The subsequent reach suddenly turned into another beat, which proved very fortunate for Steve & Nigel who caught it first and overtook Kim to eventually give them their 2nd win of the day. The new wind direction and slight increase in pressure stayed with us for the rest of the race. The sea state and colour was quite different from our usual conditions and it was a strange experience to be able to surf down waves whilst actually beating. Fortunately our down wind speed was good enough to be able to close right up to Kim’s transom ready for the last beat and we had to tack away to try and get some clear wind, which was just enough to edge in front by the time we reached the lay line and then remain in front for the last broad reach back to the beach mark. Although Richard led at the first mark, the light conditions did not suit a Contender and he couldn’t finish far enough ahead of the Tasars to save his time, although he did manage to beat the Kestrel by the low margin of 7 seconds. Once again Paddy & Steve took line honours but once again crashed down to the back of the fleet when their handicap was taken into account.

It was another one two for the Scorpions with Beaky & Kelvin almost a minute in front of Andrew & Jenny but this time both Lasers had time in the bank and James and Brian took first and second places on corrected time, though Brian’s corrected time was only 11 seconds in front of Beacky, so another close race for them.

Despite all the poor weather we have managed to have a very good slice of luck on race days, but next Sunday sees the last race of the season and I believe that the races may be sailed back to back as the afternoons are becoming shorter by the week as we rush towards the shortest day.

November 9th
Steve & new boat
A surprisingly quiet day's sailing
Apologies for a very short blog this week; Sue & I are going away for a few days and time is of the essence. Rather surprisingly we had quite pleasant weather yesterday for a change, with almost no rain and quite a light variable south westerly / westerly breeze. Foe the last 3 weekends we have endured some quite lively weather so it was for me at least rather a nice change to be able to sail in less strenuous conditions. The down side was that there were no fast and furious downwind legs to be able to plane on, ah well you can never have it perfect. At least the promised afternoon of heavy rain never materialised and in fact we got away with only one squally shower just before we started the morning race. Apart from that it was a fairly sunny and peaceful day.

Steve Wingrove was down bright and early in the morning with his “new” Scorpion under heavy wraps but before too long they had been removed to reveal a very nice looking boat. Surprisingly it is about 26 years old but its condition bears testimony to the care that has been lavished on it from its previous owner. Steve sailed it yesterday and has now taken it home for him to apply some TLC to bring it up to concourse condition. I believe that when we see the boat next spring it will be sailing with a new suit of P&B sails. Apparently it was showing very good pace up the beat in the afternoon’s race, so once the spinnaker skills have been mastered we can look forward to seeing some real pace. Most people Christen their new boat with a bottle of bubbly or something simliar, not Steve, he managed to pursuade an overhead flying seagull to Christen the boat for him. We may have to wait a few months yet to see what sort of luck this has brought him.

A good luck charm
Brian Reeves and Tony O’Hallon took the RIB today and were set a very challenging time trying to give us the perfect course for racing. A task that proved almost impossible as no sooner had the breeze settled in one direction then within 15 minutes it had sauntered off to settle 90 degrees from a different direction. This was not only frustrating for them but also us. 10 boats set out to race today. Our heady entry of 7 Tasars last week was back down to only 4 this week, still the largest fleet though we were almost caught by the sight of 3 Scorpions on the water. This could rise to a theoretical level of 6 for next season, which would be another record this century for Scorpions sailing. In fact the slow fleet yesterday was the Scorpion fleet. For once there were no Lasers, Toppers, or Supersofas. The fast fleet being the fleet to be in with 4 Tasars, Contender, B14 and Roger in his Blaze racing.

Steve Mitchell sailed his Tasar with Nigel crewing. Polly is still recovering from her operation and is making rapid progress which will see her out and about sailing very soon. Nevertheless Stve showed us all the way to go with 2 convincing wins. We recovered from a very poor first beat in the first race that at one time saw us almost last in the entire fleet but we made up some ground to take 4th in the first race with Roger finishing 2nd in his Blaze and then Paddy and Birthday boy Steve in the B14 3rd. Once again the B14 took line honours by 3 minutes over Steve & Nigel but their onerous handicap placed them only 6 seconds behind Roger.

It was soon apparent that the 3 Scorpions racing was down to 2 when Steve & Ashley went for a bit of boat practice leaving Beacky & Kelvin to race boat on boat with Andrew & Jenny. It appeared that Beacky just had control of the situation gybing onto the last leg with spinnaker flying. Unfortunately the last leg was a tight fetch, something they hadn’t spotted. By the time the spinnaker had been retrieved, too much time had been lost and the Kendalls swept by to take the lead and the win.

The afternoon race saw the breeze apparently settle into the south west and for once we had a very good beat to sail up with the lead changing hands once or twice before Steve & Nigel rounded in front with us being a close 2nd. It wasn’t too long, well at the end of the 2nd beat before Paddy & Steve overtook us, but they came to a shuddering stop just before the start of the next beat when throwing in a crash gybe. Over they went and the race ended there and then for them. The lighter conditions just were not strong enough for Richard’s Contender and though he drew close to us several times it was never enough to be able to overtake us and by the end of the race we had stretched out a reasonable distance between us. Stacey & Lucy were another team who found the conditions too light and they struggled to generate enough speed to keep them in contention. Meanwhile further back were Chris & Tony, planning celebrations for Chris’s 70th birthday which is imminent.

Beacky & Kelvin extracted some rebenge for their loss in the morning this time beating Andrew & Jenny by 1 ½ minutes to salvage some pride. Further back was the new pairing of Steve and Ashley still discovering the secrets of Scorpion sailing. This all brings us down to the last 2 races of the season and with an evil weather forecast for the next 5 days so we will be anxiously watching the rolling forecast to give us a hint of next Sundays weather, though judging by the weather maps things are not looking too hopeful at this stage.

James Dowrick is an agent for Rooster sailing and he is putting together a big order for sailing kit. I believe that he has secured a discount from the advertised prices so I suggest if you want to treat yourself to some new kit for next year or would like your nearest and dearest to buy a little Christmas present for you in that department than you look at the Rooster web site, choose what you want and then give James a ring on 07742155853 to see what he can do for you. The good news is that there is no P&P to pay so you can save quite a tidy sum by ordering through James. Alternatively there is an order form in the Clubhouse.

Expect to see 2 brand new boats on the water next season. One will be Jeremy’s new Tasar, which is sitting in his drive at the moment just waiting final fitting out and the other will be ……… I won’t spoil his thunder by announcing it just yet, but I believe the deposit has been paid. Well that’s one way of having a new suit of sails!!

November 2nd
beach at lunchtime
3rd weekend in succession of south westerlies
Last week Ken & I were on duties so not actively sailing but were there to run the races in what was quite lively conditions, though nothing too hairy, but as the fleet sailed around the bay enjoying our sport, 3 people drowned, only 25 miles away from us, in the heavy surf on the north coast at Mawgan Porth. No matter how attractive the sea looks, events like last week only go to show how deadly the sea can be and how we should always respect its power. A respect that I can empathise with after my rolling over with the boat on top of me in the piddling little surf we had a fortnight ago. There is a massive amount of power in the waves as they crash onto the beach. Very fortunately our beach is fairly sheltered and for the most part is easy to launch and recover from. I don’t think we would be able to sail half as many races in a season if we had to sail off the beach at Pentewan, which is far more exposed to waves than at Porthpean.

So here we are in November; the last month of the sailing season and today there was a distinct chill in the air. Down from a heady 18C on Friday when I went cycling on the Camel Trail in shorts to today’s temperature of only 13C. Saturday night had given us 50 MPH winds and heavy rain but this morning the bay was looking relatively benign, with only a small swell on the beach and the clouds not looking too heavy with rain. That alone was enough to tempt 13 boats out to race and for the first time this season 7 Tasars, wow if we could only replicate that most weeks it would surely enhance the competition. 3 Lasers also boosted their fleet; partly the reason for the larger fleet was that Jeremy, Suzanne and Finn were back from their travels boosting the numbers by 2 boats.

Steve Mitchell & Beacky took on RIB duties today and launched without too many difficulties and before long had a course set and start line laid. There was a straggly line of boats reaching out from the shore to the start line area towards the Gribben. For the 3rd week in a row we had a south westerly breeze blowing, which again was quite blustery especially around the windward mark, and gave us all sorts of problems in our approach and rounding of it. As we neared the starting area I could see the postponement flag flying so knew that we would be in time when I suddenly noticed that there were 2 flags flying which meant that we were within 4 minutes of the start. No time now to check the line for bias or check the compass for angles. In fact we could see Steve with his hand on the 1 minute flag ready to drop it which gave us a minute countdown. Due to our position we had no option but to start on port alongside 2 of the Lasers but ominously Stacey & Lucy, making a rare appearance were speeding down the line towards us on starboard with most of the fleet just behind them. A crash tack was called for, completed and we were off. The prompt start had caught a few of the stragglers out, being nowhere near the start line and one of those was the Tasar of Jeremy & Suzanne, but knowing their boat speed I suspected that it wouldn’t be too long before they moved through the fleet. Sal was helming their Tasar in the morning and somehow had a coming together with Richard in his Contender. I think the fright slowed her down somewhat as she never really got going from that mishap. Stacey & Lucy led around the windward mark and we closed up a few times on the downwind legs but they were better upwind and in fact pulled out a larger lead on the penultimate beat. A better battle was going on behind us between Justin & Phillip Harrison battling with Dennis & Colin, before Jeremy caught up and passed them on the same beat before Justin overtook again. J&S passed them on the reaches and set off in pursuit of us, but fortunately we were on the last lap and tantalising we stayed out of reach. Dennis and Colin conjured up a little extra on the last beat and overtook Justin. Meanwhile Richard in his Contender started the race off behind most of us Tasars and slowly overhauled us one by one apart from Stacey & Lucy to claim 4th place on handicap.

The slow fleet was down to 5 boats today and Andrew & Jenny, the only Scorpion sailing claimed line honours but lost out to James & Finn, both having enough time in hand for Finn to claim 1st and James 2nd on handicap, leaving Brian Reeves in 4th place and John Hill bringing up the rear. That’s 2 weeks on the trot that John who is usually at the front of the slow handicap fleet has had a poor result. Clearly more time on the water may be needed.

We all left the beach in good time for the afternoon race, but there was a sudden absence of breeze. Not only that but the breeze that we had suddenly switched to a more westerly direction making the start line and first beat very biased. My intention of being at the pin end on starboard went terribly wrong when we were forced over the line early and had to return to restart. At least we were now on the more favoured port tack, though crossing behind the entire fleet was a setback. Jeremy & Suzanne had a much better start and with full overdrive mode selected disappeared into a world of their own, leaving the rest of us 6 Tasars to squabble amongst ourselves and it actually developed into a very fascinating duel between Stacey & Lucy, Kim & Sal and ourselves with each one of us heading our mini fleet from time to time. Now here I have to admit to a terrible mistake. We started the last beat with a reasonable lead on the other two and all the text books in the World tell you to cover, cover, cover but looking at our compass I could see that we were sailing in a headed direction from the previous beats so I decided to tack off and try and increase our lead. Well that went hopelessly wrong as 3 minutes later I could see the damage that I had caused us when both Stacey and then Kim sailed across our bows with enough of a lead to condemn us to our fate. Even now a day later I am still kicking myself for committing such a basic error. At my age I can hardly put that one down to lack of experience.

Richard too, after a good start, was having a better race this time round being well ahead of us on the course and also, I should imagine, on handicap but succumbed to a capsize midway through the race attributed to a shredded main sheet, which cost him any hope of a good result. James had a better race against Finn beating him by quite a good margin but again fell to the better handicap of the Laser 4.7 by just 5 seconds. I’m not sure what happened to Andrew & Jenny but this time they lost out to all 3 Lasers.

I almost repeated my rolling over in the surf again this weekend but this time I ensured that I was on the seaward side of the boat when a wave I could see coming smashed into the side and the boat went flying shoreward’s with me clinging to the boat. This time no damage was done and we recovered her onto the trolley without any further dramatics. Chris & Tony were another pair who had difficulty landing and their boat became swamped and we had to capsize it on the beach between waves to drain it sufficiently to lift onto the trolley. Amazingly there were very few waves around but when they came they had plenty of power behind them.

With the colder temperatures it is nice to find that we have a bit of luxury in the men’s changing rooms, a fan heater. For a few years now the ladies have had a heater in their changing rooms and last week Colin & Nigel fitted one into the gents and it certainly made quite a difference to the temperature in the changing room this afternoon and again is a very welcome addition. At the end of racing Steve & Beacky brought in our one and only remaining beach mark, taking the opportunity to recover it whilst the weather is still calm.

Now I am reliably informed that Steve Wingrove had disappeared “Up country” this weekend to view a Scorpion with the intention of purchasing it if the boat met his expectations. I have seen photographs of the boat and it does look very pretty indeed, so watch the “boats & owners” page to see if another Scorpion appears.

October 26th
RIB launching
A quiet day on the beach, breezy at sea
Goodbye British Summertime and (not) welcome to winter time for 5 dreary months. Winter time it might officially be but the air temperature is still quite warm, thanks mainly to the south westerly winds that we are currently being wafted with. The sea is still warm enough to tempt swimmers to frolic in the water, yes there were a few of them in the water today in only costumes.

With me suffering from a badly bruised and infected shin and taking antibiotics, Ken & I elected to offer our services to carrying out duties today. Ken in the RIB and me, nice and dry in the race box. We also had a couple of new additions helping out today with Tony O’Hanlon in the RIB with Ken and his wife Pam in the box with me. Tony & Pam have a boat at Mylor and use it mainly for cruising. Tony, has a Power boat certificate and also helps out at Restronguet for their racing, but he / they are quite willing at times to come down and help us out as well, as they live not too far away from us.

So on to today’s racing; The wind like last weekend was a south westerly but unlike last week quite a lot less in its strength, which I think would have suited us far better than least Sunday, but there you are, you have to be prepared to sail in all sorts of conditions, and I must admit to feeling very envious as the fleet left the beach to rendezvous with the RIB out at the start line.

The hour changed last night and you would think that an extra hour to prepare would have the entire fleet in the starting area, champing on the bit raring to go before 11.00. Unfortunately not quite so but at least everyone had launched by 11.00 and the postponement flag wasn’t flying for very long before we were off and away. There was also a larger fleet than last week with 12 boats out racing, which gave a nice picture as they set off on the beat across the bay. There was no surprise to see the B14 of Paddy & Steve, blasting out in front of the entire fleet and once they started the reaches they were off into a spray of their own with spinnaker flying. Richard Armstrong soon found his stride quite quickly and shot up the beat to be quickly followed by not the 3 Tasars out today but the fractionally slower Blaze of Roger Willimas, not only in front of the Tasars but considerably in front, never to be headed and in fact went on to take the race by a good margin. Yes with us out of the action there were only 3 Tasars out and one of the favourites to win was Dennis & Brian, but unfortunately for them found themselves stranded quite some distance from the start line at the gun and had to dig deep to try and catch up, having to sail through the entire slow fleet to do so. The Tasar fight in the early stages was a closely contested trial between Sal & Kim, still getting to grips with the Tasar and Chris & Tony and in fact they were almost neck and neck first time at the beach marks. They were also sailing in close company with Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion and Jan & Pete in the Kestrel, Sal & Kim took the lead and as they started the last beat appeared to have everything under control , but a fast closing Dennis was distracting them and a poor tack, involving the tiller extension becoming jammed slowed them enough to drop behind Dennis & Brian and then also Chris & Tony as they extricated themselves from the problem. Meanwhile Dennis & Brian played their “get out of jail free” card, edging the last beat and remained in front of the fractionally faster downwind Hazell team on the reach to the finish line.

fleet launching
Jenny had left Andrew behind this weekend to visit daughter Sarah to see her new house, but undaunted Andrew was pleased to take Steve Wingrove as a replacement. Steve is very interested in buying a Scorpion so today was an ideal time to learn the complexities of the boat, but they were far behind Beacky and Kelvin who actually finished just ahead on the water of Sal & Kim and also Jan & Pete. Now you would think that that would be enough to take the win in the slow fleet but oh no, in fact they were not far enough ahead of both James in his Laser and Simon in his Supersofa who were also making good speed and between them took 1st and 2nd respectively when the number crunching exercise had been completed.

Knowing that the afternoon daylight sunlight was going to be in short supply there was a concerted effort to get the race started on time. The wind had swung a little and Ken & Tony adjusted to compensate having the affect of lengthening the course. It was nice to see John Hill, and Brian Reeves, both have been missing for quite a few weeks rejoin our ranks again today. I was really surprised to see John so far back in the fleet. Normally you can guarantee John to be in the top 3 of most races but today he languished at the back with no hope of making any inroads into the pace setters.

Once again it was the B14 of Paddy & Steve who made all the early running and with the ability to fly their spinnaker on both reaches must have fancied their chances of taking a convincing win, but not today as their spinnaker pole jammed when trying to drop the spinnaker prior to the last beat. They came to an agonising stop for a few minutes whilst Steve spent time on the foredeck wrestling with the jammed pole. Richard also soon struck clear wind and spent a lonely time chugging round the course but was strong enough to claim top spot with another race win. This time Dennis & Brian were on the start line on time and stretched out a nice lead on Kim (helming this afternoon) and Sal who in turn left Chris & Tony a minute behind. Roger who had been flying in the morning just couldn’t get into his stride this afternoon and finished too far behind all the Tasars to be able to make an impact on handicap. Likewise Jan & Pete who beat all the Tasars in the morning were another team who couldn’t repeat their speed and consequently suffered accordingly.

It was another race win on the water for Beacky & Kelvin and this time to their relief they were far enough ahead of James in his Laser radial to ensure their outright victory, by almost 3 minutes. Simon was another to have suffered this afternoon, failing to capitalise on his morning’s race. I don’t know what Steve Wingrove thought of Scorpion sailing as they never managed to challenge Beacky & Kelvin, nor many others, though not flying the spinnaker didn’t help their cause, though I know Andrew damaged his mast last week when the spinnaker became entangled in the rigging. Maybe he didn’t want to place too much strain on the rigging. Better to finish in a lowly position than not to finish at all.

Paddy has installed a new piece of kit in the race box as an aid for the time keepers and that is a CCTV with the camera focussed on the beach mark(s), making it very easy to get an accurate picture of boats rounding. The external background light was rather too bright in the morning but better in the afternoon as the gloom started to become more noticeable. The automatic race timer is still working superbly well but again I have a couple of observations here. The first is to place a guard over the finish button or move it elsewhere. It is too easy to press by mistake, as I did today, when boats are just rounding rather than finishing. Fortunately it didn’t confuse anyone as I don’t think they heard it, but could have been more than embarrassing if they had reacted to an early finish. The second is to programme the timer to show only complete seconds rather than show part seconds as it does at the moment. It saves the time keeper having to round up or down when writing on the sheets.

October 19th
Damaged shin
Painful day for me but a triumphant day for Dennis & Brian
My gloomy mutterings about the autumnal weather turning colder proved wrong this week as the weather has taken, albeit for a short while, a turn for the better, with fresh southerlies coming to us from way down south from the tropics. So for us the temperature and today’s sunshine was a bit of a bonus. Unfortunately for me in particular the extra strong winds it brought were not to my liking at all. Last week we had a rare northerly breeze which was the first of this year, today the wind was in the exact opposite direction, giving us a south westerly and those to have been very rare this year. I suppose the bounus was that we had the gybe mark at the beach mark. Yes beach mark singular, not plural, as one of them has gone AWOL. In fact the course looked so strange with only one of the Tribute marks out and not the two.

Steve Mitchell and Andrew took the safety boat this morning, Andrew's daughter Sarah and Martin were down for the weekend and they sailed the Scorpion, leaving Jenny ashore in charge of the galley, a decision considering the wind strength probably suited her down to the ground. The weather station at Polruan was broken so we were not sure what sort of wind strength we had but the radio forecast and the sight of all the white horses in the bay coupled with the way the boats shot through the water had Dennis and Brian licking their lips in anticipation. Not so for me as I knew that we and a few of the others would be struggling and the ensuing race proved this to be so. Only 9 boats launched, yes only the brave or maybe the very optimistic sailed today. James, the only laser sailing took some comfort by using his 4.7 sail to try and make his life easier.

The race start was rather hectic and we managed to shut the door on Dennis & Brian, forcing them to tack away from the pin end and start behind the whole fleet, well that gave us a little respite from the struggle I knew was to come. Well we lead for a round but it was clear from the off that Dennis & Brian had far superior boat speed on the beat to us and it was no surprise when they sailed through us on the 2nd beat. Our slightly better down wind speed kept us close to them but each subsequent beat saw them stretch their lead. Paddy & Steve had been flying down wind on the first lap, though it was quite noticeable that their spinnaker stayed firmly in the bag. I think that would have been a step too far. In fact the gybe on the 2nd rounding saw them come to a sticky end and 5 minutes or so floundering in the water wiped away any chance of a good result for them. Apart from them I think the rest of the fleet managed to stay upright, though I almost dropped us in on one gybe when all went wrong but we did manage to save it and sail on again.

Janet & Pete in the Kestrel had a moment when their rudder jumped off the pintles and bent enough to prevent it being re hung so they were towed in by the safety boat. In the slow fleet, Martin & Sarah found the going too much and beat a hasty retreat for the shore, leaving Beacky & Kelvin to sail to take the gun, but much to their dismay and annoyance saw that the Laser 4.7 of James take the win on corrected time. Simon too found the conditions to be a strgle having the first of his capsizes for the day before the start of the race and never managed to get enough speed out of his Supersofa to bother the front runners.

Ken & I had a little trouble as we landed on the beach in what seemed like very docile conditions, but as I decamped the cockpit an extra large wave hit the side of the boat, swamping it and sweeping it right over the top of me. When I finally struggled to my feet I could feel a lot of pain from my shins where the gunwales had landed on me. Despite wearing a wet suit I was still badly batterd and bruised as the picture above shows. I decided there and then that I had had enough and we hauled the boat, full of pebbles up to the yard where Ken set to with the vacuum cleaner and emptied the cockpit. I also had quite a lot of water in the buoyancy area, which had to be drained. Time flys by so quickly but it is exactly 12 months ago this week that I ruptured my Achilles tendon and for a few minutes I did wonder whether I had damaged it again. I was more than pleased to find out that I had managed to avoid any major problem in that department. The thought of having to walk with crutches again does not appeal to me in any way whatsoever. The relief of that far outweighed any disappointment from not sailing this afternoon. I think that Beacky and Kelvin were also swamped as they arrived on the beach but saved the ignominious of being run over.

spinnaker wrap
The white caps appeared to intensify during the lunch break and some of us decided not to venture out for the afternoon race. That was a decision some wished that they hadn’t taken as the wind appeared to drop down a notch or two just after the start, but actually more boats came to grief in this race as the gusts when they came were quite ferocious and I think only Dennis & Brian in the Tasar and Jan & Pete in the Kestrel were the only ones to stay upright. Andrew & Sarah took their Scorpion out for the afternoon and for a time gave Beacky & Kelvin an extremely good race. Both boats capsized at different times at least twice which saw the lead swap round a few times before Andrew’s last capsize proved a disaster as the spinnaker that was flying at the time, wrapped itself round one of the spreaders, proving impossible to free until they reached the shore. Dennis & Brian sailed serenely through all the chaos completely untroubled to take their 2nd win of the day, as did Jan & Pete who also flew their spinnaker sometimes on the broader leg out to sea. Once again the Laser 4.7 of James triumphed on handicap to give him 2 wins also taking him into the series lead, of which appears at the moment to be a 3 horse race.
October 12th
getting ready
The first north easterly of the season
There was a distinct coolness in the air when I set off for the Club this morning. Gone are the mild days that we have almost taken for granted over the last few months. The cold north easterly wind blowing today has seen to that. Fortunately it was more sheltered down at Porthpean, though the dull overcast weather made everything look rather dismal. Fortunately the autumnal conditions hadn’t put too many people off and by 10.00 quite a few boat covers were coming off and we were looking more like a sailing club again.

A total of only 13 boats took to the waters today, which wasn’t too bad considering that if some of the missing regulars had been here then we could easily have had 20 boats racing. For the first time this season we raced in a north easterly wind which provided a beat across the bay from right to left. I mentioned to Ken that I quite enjoyed this wind direction because it was so rare that no one knew which way to sail the beat. Some always bang out to sea hoping for fresher wind and only having to do just the one tack. The trouble with that approach is that getting the tacking angle right is very tricky and can result in either bearing off as you may have overstood the mark or trying to squeeze the last amount of pointing out of the boat, with the resulting lack of speed, in the hope of rounding without having to put in 2 extra tacks. I think over the day both sets of tactics were used with different results. What I did notice is that there were some subtle wind shifts and getting those right were the real key to sailing the beat. That was most noticeable in one race when we were forced to stay on a headed tack as we were pinned down by Paddy & Steve. This resulted in us reaching the windward mark in 5th place but did give us a challenge to try and pass the boats in front.

James and Shane took the RIB today and set a very good course. The trickiest part of course setting with a north easterly or indeed a south westerly is getting the reaches right and today they were spot on. The first reach was slightly closer than the second reach, but neither were that extreme, thus allowing spinnakers to be flown at times on both reaches, but were close enough not to force the Tasars to set their whisker poles. The so called fast fleet, was the largest fleet out today and comprised 4 Tasars, B14, Contender, Kestrel and eventually RS600. The slow fleet was much reduced but did have 3 Scorpions out in the morning.

It had been decided earlier that we would probably sail 3 races today with the aim of trying to recoup one of the lost races from earlier in the series, and for the life of me I don’t think there is any way that I can recall events in the correct chronological sequence for 3 races so I will dispense with that and try and recall more pertinent facts.

The start line for each race was starboard biased and this gave some very congested starts with all sorts of cries of “Up, up!!!” as people were squeezed towards the RIB. Two memories of the starts were the very first start when Paddy & Steve in the B14, with wings like an aircraft carrier, became joined in holy matrimony with the Tasar of Chris & Tony. Divorce accompanied with words soon followed and again in the 3rd race when quite a few had to take emergency action to prvent ramming the RIB. The start for the 2nd race of the day saw an empty start line as the gun went. A sudden wind shift just before the start forced all of us to bear off to get over the line. Fortunately no one was having a go at a port end flyer but if they had they would have sailed over the entire fleet to possible victory.

Paddy & Steve in the B14 were first across the finish line in each race, but only converted one of those into a race win, by beating Ken & me by the magnificent margin of 2 seconds; ouch. In fact Ken & I had quite a good day of racing with 3 good starts and heading the Tasar fleet home in each race, having to come back from 3rd Tasar in the 3rd race when we rounded the windward mark behind Dennis & Brian and Kim and Sal. Kim & Sal are swapping helming duties, Sal helming in the morning and Kim in the afternoon. It’s not taking them too long to get to grips with Tasar sailing and both seem genuinely impressed with the response and simplicity of Tasar sailing. The boat is well over 30 years old but in effect just as fast as a newer Tasar. The only other class I know of that has boats of such diverse age performing as equals is the Firefly class.

Richard in his Contender had his work cut out today to get good results. He realises that he will struggle unless he can trapeze fully and today there was just not quite enough wind to stretch his legs upwind. Dennis & Brian both look forward to fresher winds to allow them to power up the beats but were disappointed with the lack of wind strength today, nevertheless headed us all for a while in the 3rd race. Chris & Tony who started this series off in fine form by winning the first set of races, were right out of contention today and slipped back to mid fleet status. Jan & Pete in their Kestrel were in mid fleet mode today also and I think they too would have appreciated a little more breeze to fully power their boat up and to fly the spinnaker to more effect.

The slow fleet were well reduced in numbers today, with the Laser contingent missing completely. Finn was away on a windsurfer training weekend which also removed Jeremy & Suzanne from today’s racing. How else do you think we did so well? Steve and Polly are still missing and won’t be sailing as a couple again until next season as Polly is still recovering from an operation she had a few weeks ago. I am pleased to say that she is recovering well, driving and getting out and about.

There were 3 Scorpions out and about today with Beacky & Kelvin the star performers; not only creaming all 3 races but also well up and in front of some of the Tasars, finishing in front of them on the water. What a difference buying a fast boat has made to their results. One of the Scorpions sailing today was Jake and Craig Varley and I think this may have been their last sail of the season as I saw the boat being taken up into the field after the morning race. Andrew & Jenny had some close competition in the morning race with Simon Robbins in his Supernova. Due to his work, Simon is often away and today was the start of a 3 week home leave, but unfortunately he couldn’t sail the afternoon race as he had to go away to Scotland for a work course. It was good to see Piran Fisher out today. Piran bought James’s Supernova late last season but hasn’t raced many races this year. Hopefully next season may see him sailing more.

Looking at the sailing programme I see that we only have 6 more weekends before the curtain comes down, so if you read this and you are one of those who don’t sail too often then try and make the effort to come and sail. There are far too many boats in the yard whose covers stay on week after week. I know the best of the weather has now passed us by, but with the right clothing on it is much warmer out there than you think, in fact the sea temperature is still quite mild so launching and recovering isn’t too bad.

October 6th
Watching & waiting
Heroic Commodore sails through the pain barrier
Golly, what a difference a week makes. Only last Sunday we sat around at the Club in windless conditions, unable to sail but at least we could bask in the warmth of the beautiful temperate weather in Tee shirts and shorts. This Sunday, well it was almost a repeat as once again we sat around in the morning, vainly waiting for some breeze to arrive as we gazed out at a very still Porthpean bay. The waiting certainly helped James, who was sitting down looking distinctly pale around the gills, the cause? A hangover, ah the joys of youth!! However most of the warmth of last week had disappeared and there was just enough chill in the air to warrant a pullover or similar. The wind and plenty of it was forecast and in fact when Ken looked on the radar it was already blowing 24 knots at Lands End so it was on the way. The plan therefore was to have an early lunch and then 2 races back to back. Well the plan like most plans didn’t run entirely to plan. The pasties were loaded into the oven but 45 minutes later when they were checked there was no change. The oven hadn’t been switched on; Oops!! By the time lunch was eventually served the breeze had arrived and was already reported to be blowing about 24 knots at Polruan. Yes we were about to launch into a quite fresh southerly breeze.

The beach buoy line has gone giving us the freedom to sail right across the beach if we feel we need to and we also appear to have the beach all to our selves. The more observant of you may notice that the council has had some work done down at the bottom of the slipway to try and repair some of the damage caused by last winter’s storms. On the face of it things look pretty good but to my surprise no attempt has been made to dig the sand away from the main part of the lower slipway where it has been heavily undermined by the storms, and pack the void with concrete in order to strengthen it. I suppose at this moment in time the void is currently filled by sand and pebbles but it won’t take too much of a storm to expose it and damage the concrete even more. We may get away with it for a while but I am sure that eventually we will have the perfect weather conditions that will remove the sand and expose the base to more wear and tear. We are also coming back onto spring tides which hopefully will remove some of the sea weed that has parked itself at the top of the beach and is giving off some vile smelling odours.

Pet & Jan were our RIB drivers for the day and with the breeze having arrived set us a large course, with the windward mark set under the shadows of the Blackhead, which in turn produced the most erratic shifts and headers that we have had to endure for some time. The reaches however were fast and furious, especially the 2nd reach in from the gybe mark back to the beach marks. Surfing down the waves produced another few extra knots and every boat in the fleet flew down looking more and more spectacular from the shore for the few who didn’t or couldn’t sail. Unfortunately only 9 boats launched with the ratio being 6 to 3 for fast and slow. The Tasars produced the largest turnout with 4 gracing the bay. One of the 4 was Justin & Kaya, sailing their newly purchased boat courtesy of Mike Voyzey, who has decided to sell his boat due to lack of crew. I hear that he is currently looking at buying a Phantom, but we will have to wait and see.

The biggest dramas of the day were produced by the B14 of Paddy & Steve. A pair of indifferent starts saw them playing catch up during the first beats but once unleashed down wind they sped off, but there was no sign of the big kite coming out of the bag today, the reaches were too tight. Their biggest decision in each race was whether to gybe or not at the wing mark. Gybing or wearing round, doing pasty tack as Finn once claimed were the choices on the menu. The pasty tack was the chosen meal but alas each time they disappeared into a watery grave. Janet took some photographs of the day and some of a very unhappy B14 can be seen on the Porthpean FB page. So much time was lost righting the boat that their races ended with the capsizes. What we weren’t aware of was that Paddy had dislocated his shoulder in one of the capsizes and had to be dragged feet first onto the RIB so that he could manoeuvre the joint back into its socket. Now that is painful but something Paddy has had happen before, but even so it was fortunate that the RIB was there.

With the breeze up around the 20 knots plus mark it was no surprise to see Richard in his Contender disappear over the horizon, gobbling up the waves on his way to 2 victories. The real racing was in the Tasar section of the fleet, with the heavier Dennis & Brian powering up the beats and us just having the edge down wind. In the first race Justin & Kaya, decided to get into the mix and showed some very encouraging down wind speed sweeping into 2nd place and closing us right down, before losing out on the upwind legs, where Dennis & Brian took a turn at leading us around the course. They looked set for being 1st Tasar until we started the last reach, we had just overtaken them at the previous gybe mark, but they repeatedly powered up to windward of us and in a very tense last reach we were neck and neck at times but at the end we just had our noses in front to beat them by 2 seconds.

Kim & Sally, helmed a race each with Sally helming the first race. Their mainsail had been ripped a few weeks ago when Kim capsized and landed on the sail. It is repaired now, looking very sinister with some bright red patches along some of the seams. They must have had a poor start as at the end of the beat they were quite a way behind so had to do a lot of catching up to do but couldn’t manage to breach the gap. Kim gave another customary capsize between races when he took the helm. This time he avoided jumping onto the main and no damage was done.

With the wind getting decidedly fresher we started off on the 2nd race. Fortunately with today being our first day out for 4 weeks we managed to pull off 2 excellent starts and our lead by the end of the beat was making our race look decidedly easy, but rustiness and a stiffening body nearly undid all our good work when we went to gybe, a combination of waves and wind seemed to unbalance us and we almost went for an early bath. I let go of the tiller and the boat turned into the wind which saved us from the dreaded capsize and gave us enough time to gather all loose sheets again, bear away and this time successfully gybe, fortunately still in front of Kim who was showing extremely good down wind speed. By the time we reached the beach marks they were only just behind us. Yes it’s not taken him long to get to grips with dinghy sailing again. Competition will be heating up very nicely next year.

Once again Dennis & Brian came into the mix, sailing a superb 3rd beat to take the lead at the end of the beat, some 10 or more boat lengths in front. Again we had a little more down wind speed and had closed them down but couldn’t get the crucial breakthrough before we reached the gybe mark. Dennis, aware of our speed, sailed higher to prevent us sailing over them, but we managed to hit a lucky wave bore away and managed to sail underneath them to take the lead to what I thought was victory, but found that when we reached the beach marks we had to sail another round. Fortunately we managed to just hold them off on the beat and sail away to take a very tiring victory.

Now with only 2 racing in the slow fleet and a great disparity in speed between James in his Laser radial and Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion, there is little to report. The conditions were strong enough to prevent the Kendalls from flying their spinnaker and this allowed James to remain not too far behind them on the water. Andrew & Jenny were first over the finish line each time, but when the handicaps were taken into account James always came out ahead, helping him to clear his hangover.

Jeremy & Suzanne left us this weekend to play amongst ourselves, choosing instead to sail in the Tasar Inlands at Wimbleball, an event that was won by Steve & Polly last year. At this moment in time I don’t know how they got on but expect news to filter through sometime today.

Without a doubt we are well into autumn, the temperature is starting to fall. No doubt we will get some nice weather to sail in occasionally but the long heady days of summer are well and truly behind us. On a brighter note the Clubhouse is open on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 pm onwards for anyone wanting some fun and chat and a drink. Usually Steve Coello, barman extraordinaire, provides some nibbles for the more adventurous to try.

September 28th
Postponement flag
Beautiful warm autumn day BUT no wind
Well here we are at the tail end of the season, with only 2 months to go before the 2014 season comes to an end. In all honesty I think it would be wishful thinking if we managed to sail all the scheduled races as the weather will become more and more uncertain as the autumn creeps on. The last series of all, the autumn series started last Sunday, with 2 new names on the fast handicap leader board for the morning race, namely Chris Hazell and Tony Dunn; Congratulations to them both.

The Autumn Wednesday series finished last week and unfortunately a 4 race series was commuted to just one race, which was last Wednesday. Creating that series has been rather a bonus for evening sailing as we have created the opportunity to have 3 more races than we used to do, so with only one race there was no discards and the cups were settled that night.

It seems a long time since I last sailed at the Club. In fact I don’t think that I have sailed at all here this September, what with weekends away on family duty, the Tasar Nationals and then last week a holiday abroad. All the Wednesday races when I was here were cancelled due to no wind, too much wind and high seas running and today the last Sunday in September, we had yet another cancellation as there was not a breath of wind worth launching for. We waited in vain, had lunch and there was still no sign of wind so the inevitable abandonment flag went up. On the plus side the weather itself has been rather stunningly warm with the whole of September so far being completely dry. I don’t suppose it can continue for much longer, but it is still very nice to feel the warmth of the sun on our backs.

One or two were curious as to why there has been no blog for a few days, well quite a simple answer really; we had a week away in Mallorca again. I went back to examine the spot where I ruptured my Achilles tendon, this time making sure that there was no running into the sea, but I can see how the injury happened. It was case of stepping in the wrong spot at the wrong time. An inch further forward or back when my left foot landed would probably have had no adverse affect, but there you are freak accidents can and do happen.

September 16th
Tasars asleep at Torquay
2014 Tasar Nationals
Well the beastly easterlies claimed yet another Porthpean Sunday with surfing taking over from sailing. Now Nigel might know this big chesty weather lady but I don't but what I do know is that at this time it doesn’t look too hopeful for Wednesday with a fresh north easterly forecast, but time will tell.

A few of our regulars were away this weekend. The most successful of us all was Finn who attended the windsurfer nationals at Rutland Water. Finn did extremely well, finishing 2nd in his group and 17th overall. The full results can be found if you follow this link and look for results. Finn was sailing a techno. Also racing in the same Nationals was Jeremy Whale who finished 28th, extremely good results for both, plus one or two others from our area, meaning that Cornwall was well represented. Jeremy had to give up sailing in the Tasar Nationals to take Finn to Rutland but he felt it was well worth it considering how well Finn did.

Ken & I attended the Tasar Nationals last Friday, Saturday & Sunday which were due to be held at Babbacombe. I held off making the decision until Thursday as I was following the weather forecast which was forecasting quite fresh Easterlies, which I know produces large waves on their beach which faces due east so very similar to ours. The clincher to go was when they announced that due to the conditions the venue was going to be switched to Torquay, which meant sailing from the harbour. In the event 21 Tasars turned up to race, not the largest fleet ever but was still full of quality with at least 4 ex National Champions racing which increased to 5 when Steve Mitchell turned up on Saturday. Polly is not able to sail just yet but Steve managed to have a volunteer crew from Babbacombe. You may remember the state of Steve’s Tasar several months ago when the king post collapsed and the foredeck gave way. Well all has been repaired and the boat looks in excellent condition again though with a few scars to show.

Friday was a 2 race day and the wind was fairly fresh to start with but faded away a little as the 2nd race started and we opened our account with a 9th & 10th. Not too bad, the beats were very hard but the down wind sailing was out of this world, with some very steep waves to play with, and we were much faster than any of the boats in our immediate vicinity, overtaking quite a few. Saturday was a 3 race day and the wind was back. Once again the beats were a struggle but the down wind sailing was even better and we had a 13th and 8th for the first 2 races, again our downwind speed improved our position, then disaster struck. It was our habit to heave to between races and have a chocolate bar and a drink. Unfortunately after the 2nd race I had a problem. As per normal Ken left the jib cleated and I tacked the boat around. I usually flick the main out of its cleat so that the boat will just come to a halt but as I reached down to release the main sheet I lost my balance and fell out of the back of the boat. Over we went, our first capsize for over 2 years, and there we were one on each side of the boat. I readied myself to reach the dagger board when to my horror it slipped down out of sight. We frantically looked for the dagger board as it should float, but no sign of it. I soon realised that it must be under the boat so I had no option but to duck down and get into the airspace under the boat to look for it. Now what a noise was going on down there as waves were pounding the hull and the noise was a constant banging, making the whole experience very eerie indeed.

I entered my area of the boat as I am not normally allowed into Ken’s area and luckily I could see the board. It had slipped down into the casing but was prevented from coming out completely by the boom and kicker. I released the main sheet as there was no way we could recover from a capsize with the main cleated, she would just have blown straight over again. Unfortunately I couldn’t push the dagger board down properly so I had no option but to duck down again and get into Ken’s part of the boat. This time the board was easy to move and I pushed it upwards. In fact it was so easy that it appeared to move upwards on its own; very spooky but nevertheless I was glad to see it back into the correct position. Now all this took quite a few minutes and some of our fellow sailors had seen us capsize but could only see Ken. I think at the time Ken wasn’t aware that I had gone under the boat so was a bit panicked when asked the question “Where’s Lionel?” No one knew where I was and how long I had been under for, which considering some people can get trapped inside capsized boats is quite a worrying thought when presented with it for real. Very fortunately Rod Porteous leapt out of his boat and clambered onto mine and it was he who pulled up the dagger board when it re appeared, not some magical levitation. Within a couple of moments I surfaced from my capsized boat and Rod righted it for us, then had to leap off and get over to his boat which too had capsized leaving his wife in the water. I am glad to say they recovered ok and went on to win one of the 3 races on Sunday morning, a just reward indeed.

Once the boat was upright we could both clamber aboard. Fortunately although I had been in the water for about 10 minutes I wasn’t too cold. We ate what food we had left, drank our water and with not too much waiting set off on our next race, which we finished 13th, the previous race was 7th. After all the mucking about that wasn’t too bad and I was quite glad to get back into Torquay harbour.

Unfortunately our problems didn’t end there, when we came to take the main sail down we found it jammed and the only thing we could do was to turn the boat on its side to see what was wrong. Quite bizarrely part of the bolt rope had pulled through the mast groove and was jamming on the join of the main mast and the top section. We eventually had to uncouple the forestay, to separate the 2 mast sections and then take the sail out of each section and then reassemble everything. All in all Saturday was turning out to be a disaster. Due to our last minute decision to sail we had decided to travel each day from home. The journey taking about 1 ¾ hours, but that was lengthened on Saturday going home as a motor cyclist had crashed on the Liskeard by pass, the road was closed and we had to take a diversionary route.

Never mind Sunday would be easier, except when we arrived in Torquay the sea was looking very lumpy and the wind was blowing quite strong. The Committee boat which was a 30 something yacht decided that he wouldn’t take his boat out in the prevailing conditions especially as the entire Committee boat crew had been sick on Saturday, so a decision was made to run the races from a RIB. We launched in comparative light conditions and sailed out of the harbour heading towards Paignton and then the wind really hit us and we took off on a helter skelter ride across the waves. I must admit my heart was in my mouth and thoughts of yesterday flashed through my mind. Anyway after about 10 minutes or so I decided that I was well out of my comfort zone and took the decision to head back to the harbour. 3 races were held, 2 of which were used as our discards, but we had to count one of DNC which brought our score up a bit, leaving us in 13th position overall. I had been hoping to make the top 10 but this time (again) failed. Steve’s crew was very inexperienced and he too decided that the conditions weren’t good enough, so that was rather a disappointing weekend for him as well. There were some capsizes for others in the fleet on Sunday and rather annoyingly for us the wind did abate somewhat & I am sure that we would have been ok but once negative thoughts creep into your head it is very difficult to shake them off.

Whilst the boat was upside down I noticed that the packing on the dagger board slot was deteriorating so I have spent sometime this week replacing it and renewing the slot packing to hopefully prevent the dagger board slipping out again in the event of a capsize. Still, accidents apart it was still good to see many familiar Tasar sailors, even though sometimes you have to wait a year or two before meeting them again; they really are a friendly bunch. The Tasar fleet is having its Inland Championships at Wimbleball in early October so some of us may well be missing again. That too will seem very strange sailing on a reservoir after the sort of seas that we have experienced this past weekend.

Now will the wind have eased off enough for racing this Wednesday? The forecast that I have seen indicates another lost evening but we will still be down in the hope of sailing.

September 10th
Surf's up
Surfing but not sailing
Well there’s not much to say tonight as our Wednesday sailing has been interrupted once again by adverse weather conditions. A fresh south easterly blowing all day combined with a high tide produced some rather pounding surf onto our reduced beach. Even the most optimistic amongst us realised that sailing would once again be cancelled and the boat covers remained firmly in place. So our 4 race autumn series with a discard is looking rather decimated with the possibility of only 2 races to be sailed with no discard. Oh well such is life.

I know that I was away last weekend but I don’t think I missed any excitement as the weather on Sunday was almost the exact opposite of today’s with hardly a breath of wind to be seen. Instead sun bathing and fettling were the preferred topics of the day. I was watching the web cam with interest and could see the lack of wind by the limp looking spinnaker hanging from the Kestrel’s mast. I expected sailing to be cancelled but the more patient of the enthusiasts were finally rewarded when a slight breeze made an appearance in the afternoon, long enough for 2 short races to be held, much to the delight of Paddy & Steve in their B14 and Simon Robins in his Supernova, both winning their respective classes for the September Cup.

yard full of boats
Steve Wingrove tells me that he has sold his Blaze and intends joining our building Scorpion class. He is avidly studying the 2nd hand market at the moment so expect to see another of these Club stalwarts gracing the bay sometime soon.

I see that this Sunday will herald the end of the summer series and the weekend after will see the start of the last series of the year; the autumn series. Unfortunately another year has almost passed by and our superb summer weather will soon be replaced by autumn and early winter. Our turnouts have not been quite as good as previous years, but have remained consistent throughout the year, with our best attendances hovering on the 20 boat mark. Potentially we could have more boats sailing but there is always someone away or else others on duty, keeping the numbers low.

This weekend is also the weekend of the Tasar Nationals at Babbacombe, 3 days racing over Friday, Saturday & Sunday. We held the Tasar Nationals in 2012 and I made the decision that it would be my last Nationals and indeed I didn’t bother going last year when they were held at Lymington. However I have been tempted to have another go but the current easterly winds are having quite a large say in the matter. Babbacombe faces due east and they too will find it very difficult to launch and recover, though they tell me that their contingency plan is to take all the boats to Torquay and launch from the harbour, which is quite good decision. Ken & I are waiting until Thursday to make a decision whether to go or not. The possibility of having to race 3 Championship races on 2 days is rather daunting to me if the breeze is going to be as fresh as it has been today. I am hoping that it will drop down a few knots to make my decision easier. So if we are not at Porthpean on Sunday we should be at Torquay, in which case we should be back at Porthpean next Wednesday ready to take on the World again.

September 3rd
First launch of 2014
Only the breeze was missing
Take a look at that very rare sight in the picture. Yes that’s Nigel & James in the RS400, launching for tonight’s race. The only thing the picture doesn’t show is the wind; a most desirable commodity for a sailing boat. They knew that there was hardly a drop of wind but the boat, after sitting upside down for almost a year, had only been reassembled last week and there was a need to make sure that all would work when sailing and I suppose to that end the launch was successful. For the rest of us it was a disappointing start to the autumn Wednesday series, but I guess the writing was on the wall with the forecast being correct. The killer was a “light easterly breeze”. We all know by now that normally heralds a cancellation. The breeze such as it is invariably falls away to nothing by early evening, leaving a lumpy disturbed sea and lo and behold that is exactly what happened tonight.

Tony Dunn & Dave Cobbett were our RIB drivers for the evening and keen as mustard readied the boat for a prompt start. We took the RIB down to the beach and launched them, and it wasn’t too long before they reached the beach marks and answered the question “Is there ant wind out there?” with an emphatic “No”. Nevertheless they decided to try and set a course but despite there being small patches of breeze here and there they were eddying around with no consistency. Despite these obvious signs 4 other boats decided to launch and try to get to the start area – Just in case. Fortunately for us potential sailors sitting on the wall in the evenings sunshine the wind stayed away and, sanity prevailed and the abandonment went up with the signal "postponed to be sailed another day". Ken is checking the sunset figures just to see if we have enough daylight on October 1st to sail the postponed race.

Watching & waiting
This Sunday will be the last of the Cup races for the year and for a change the course is going to be a windward leeward one and Beacky & Kelvin will be running the races from the RIB. There is a great skill in sailing a boat dead down wind. For a small boat, under 14 ft long, apparently it pays to run directly before the wind but for a 14 ft + boat then the fastest way downwind is to gybe on wind shifts, if you can spot them or to gybe to find better pressure. Well that’s the theory and on Sunday the theory can be put to the test. The course should certainly be to the likes of the B14 and RS400 should they race. Unfortunately I will be missing as we will be in Basingstoke for Neil’s 40th Birthday so will be very interested to see the eventual results. Is there anybody out there, willing to step up to the plate and produce a blog for the weekend? - PLEASE

Meanwhile we are in the middle of quite a settled weather pattern again, which is great for us all, but let’s hope that the easterly wind direction swings round and gives us those beloved westerlies again.

August 31st
The beach at lunchtime
Has summer returned?
Let’s start off by wishing a warm welcome to Kim Furniss and Sally Erskine who are joining us and will be sailing a Tasar. Kim is no stranger to Porthpean, being a previous member and a very successful Scorpion sailor from days gone by, who left Porthpean for fame and fortune at Pentewan when he changed his allegiance from dinghies to catamarans and in doing so became National and World Dart Champion. Kim and Sally have acquired Tasar 259 and also currently sail a Troy at Fowey. I think Kim has now staked yet another claim to fame by being the first member here for many a year to dive through the mainsail as the boat capsized. Apparently a gust had caught them whilst on the beat this afternoon, the boat went over onto its side and Kim made a dive for it; right through the mainsail, ruining a perfectly bad sail in the process. Fortunately he still has a very good Dacron sail to use for the moment.

Summer has almost returned again to our little area of Cornwall. The weather over the last 3 weeks has been very poor for August, but just as we are about to roll into September, the old current bun has reappeared again and temperatures have soared upwards. Unfortunately the poor weather over the Bank Holiday weekend once again thwarted Jan & Pete’s plans for a social sail, where I think Polkerris was to be the preferred location, forcing aonther cancellation. I was caught out today good and proper by the nice weather, when I realised in the changing rooms that my sailing shorts had been left at home and with no time to return for them I had to wear my wet suit instead. Note from the picture above that the holiday crowds have really thinned out now and we almost have Porthpean back to how we like it.

Once again we had a reduced fleet, though quite a few are away on holiday or were performing duties, nevertheless 16 boats launched for sailing. One pairing who we haven’t seen for a week or two is Steve & Polly. They left in early August for the Scorpion Nationals which were at Teignmouth. Unfortunately, on their last day Polly had an accident on her bike whilst cycling from the campsite to the sailing club. She hit a pothole which threw her off her bike, injuring her face and wrist. She spent 3 hours in A&E and is still feeling rather battered and bruised, so I am sure that you will join in with me in wishing her a speedy recovery. Meanwhile Beacky & Kelvin have taken on the role as top Club Scorpion in their speedy machine, so much so that Beacky resorted to using a smaller spinnaker on Sunday just to give the others a chance. Their boat is still very fast as I can state with confidence as he and Kelvin tried to sail over the top of us yesterday afternoon on one of the down wind legs. A quick luff from us soon stopped that sort of nonsense, but believe me a Scorpion down wind with the kite flying is a very fast machine, as also proved to me yesterday was the Kestrel. Fortunately the 2 sail reaches were enough to restore dented pride and sanity.

Colin & Steve Wingrove were our RIB drivers today and an early launch gave a hint to anybody watching that we could be starting on time, but no, as Ken & I arrived in the starting area, the postponement flag was flying; but as it happened not for long and we soon went into the countdown sequence. As we looked back up the course we could see that one or two boats would not make the start in time. One of those was Jeremy & Suzanne, who would now have a very difficult time to make up a huge time gap and they must have been up to 4 minutes late crossing the start line. Their saving grace was the wind which at that stage was very light and fickle and they arrived at the beach marks just ahead of Kim & Sally.

I think that we were the first to the beach marks, but it was a close run thing as right behind us were Paddy & Steve in the B14, the Scorpions of Andrew & Jenny and Beacky & Kelvin plus the Kestrel of Jan & Pete and the Contender of Richard. The first reach was a very broad affair and we all struggled to produce some forward motion, though without a spinnaker we probably struggled the most. However Jeremy & Suzanne mysteriously managed find a little extra breeze and by sailing much lower than everybody else made up a lot of ground, and by half way through the race had managed to close us right down. For a whole beat and the next 2 reaches we held them off but a Laser prevented us from properly covering on the last beat and they managed to sneak in front of us and then covered us all the way to the finish. All in all a very frustrating race for us, but a very satisfying race for them. On the plus side for me is that last weekend away sailing on a reservoir has certainly sharpened up my sailing skills and we did manage to use the wind shifts to good avail at times today. Paddy & Steve had a real nightmare of a race. Their spinnaker giving them a large lead on the reaches but we came from behind twice on the beats to lead them round the windward mark and eventually beat them on the water.

Paul & Kelvin had yet another good race with the Kendalls but eventually opened up a large gap, beating them by some 4 ½ minutes. Jeremy Rowett in his Super sofa sailed quietly and steadily into 2nd place but even so was still 4 minutes behind the lead Scorpion. There were 3 Lasers racing, Finn, Brian and April Halls. Brian was the first on the water but Finn’s Laser 4.7 handicap pulled him through to be ahead of them both.

The breeze had piped up a little for the afternoon race and right on the dot of 14.00 we started the penultimate summer afternoon race. The line was slightly port biased and I fancied our chances of pulling off a good start. Beacky & Kelvin had also nailed their colours to the wall and were lining up as well. As the gun went we shot over the line, right place at the right time BUT there in front of us was Finn in his Laser. Fortunately there was just enough room for us to tack and even better was the fact that we were still in a good position or so we thought. We even sailed up into Jeremy forcing him to tack off. Rather than follow I held on for some time before tacking on the lay line. Well that was the intention but as we approached the beach marks we were caught in a massive header and Jeremy, the 2 Scorpions, the B14 and the Kestrel all rounded the beach marks ahead of us. What a disaster, and with the first reach so broad we could only try and limit the damage to ourselves. Some advantage came back to us after gybing but we were still behind the Scorpions when we started the 2nd beat. In fact it wasn’t until the 3rd beat that we managed to get the beat right and sail away from the slower boats making enough distance to allow us to breathe easier, but way too far behind Jeremy & Suzanne. Paddy & Steve had a much better time this afternoon, enough to take off the gloom of doom that Paddy was wearing on his face at lunch time. There’s nothing like the thrill of speed when sailing downwind in a dinghy in planing breezes.

Although there was quite a bit of place changing in the 2nd race, sailing along quietly in the background was Finn in his Laser 4.7 and was steadily eating into everybody's times, so it was no surprise to see him take a a very convincing win. In fact his time was so good that he even beat everybody else apart from Jeremy & Suzanne. Well done Finn.

Our summer Wednesday series ended last week and this Wednesday sees the start of the 4 week autumn series with an earlier start time of 18.00. Hopefully if the forecast is correct it will seem just like a normal summer’s evening and we should still have some daylight left when we return to shore. Next Sunday the 7th is the last of the Cup day specials with all to play for in one day. RIB crews and time keeper has all been sorted and I expect a prompt start will be the order of the day in order to get all the racing in, so make sure that you are on time. Unfortunately I will be away on a family visit, so will miss all the fun and games.

August 26th
Roadford Reservoir
Pastures new
August has been quite a busy month for PSC sailors. Steve & Polly travelled to the Scorpion Nationals; James, Finn and April entered Fowey Week. Jacques & I had a sail at Falmouth Week on the Thursday. Finn has subsequently travelled to Phwelli Wind surfing whilst Ken & I have had a go at the Goodacre Cup at Roadford Reservoir, an 8 race series held over the 3 days of this August Bank Holiday.

James had a win on one of the Fowey days and Finn had 2 3rd places, but apart from that they both suffered the frustrations that we all get when sailing at Fowey – the dreaded harbour entry & exit. I was watching on Friday afternoon as James and 2 other Radials were battling it out for 2nd and 3rd, a Laser Standard was first home with enough margin to take 1st place. Anyway the 3 radials were struggling to find enough wind to keep their momentum going when from out of almost nowhere a Laser Radial who had been way back suddenly shot into the harbour and just kept going and going until he was only a few lengths behind the 3 to beat them all by quite a distance on corrected handicap times. Now that is frustrating!!

Ken & I started our weekend off in style by winning the first race, though we were chased down by some very good Laser sailors. The course sailed was a series of triangles and sausages, which with long runs and a broad reach weren’t ideal for the Tasar as we don’t move down the runs much faster than Lasers, yes a Laser on a reservoir is a very potent weapon indeed. Our first race also included a perfect port tack flyer, which saw us leading the 34 boat fleet at the first mark. With the aid of 2 very good reaches we sailed into an unassailable lead and on we sailed to victory. The 2nd race wasn’t so good. I managed to ignore my compass, deliberately sailing on a header, which in the previous race had always turned into a lift, but not this time and we were actually beaten on the water by one of the Lasers, we eventually finished 7th; very demoralising, leaving us 4th overall. However it was a nice sunny day. Other boats racing included RS800, RS400, RS200, Buzz, Fireball, all Laser variations, Devon Yawl, Day boat, Megabyte, Laser 4000, Comet, Lightning, Wayfarer and there may be one or two others that I may have forgotten. All in all a mixed menagerie; I think only 1 of the faster boats beat us over the weekend which was very encouraging.

Sunday was a 4 race day and despite the forecast remained dry. Once again we started the day off with a 1st place which included a collision with an RS400, we were on starboard beating, he was on port running, so fortunately it was only a glancing blow but we stopped dead as his bow sprit invaded our boat lodging itself between Ken and the mast. We pushed him off and then he promptly capsized. That shook us up a bit but our lead was good enough for the win. Out of the 4 races on Sunday, we won 2 of them and on Monday morning found we were lying in 2nd place, 1 point behind the leader – a Laser, so all to play for. Once again we had 2 good races but when the scores went up on the doors not good enough to take first spot and we had to settle for 2nd overall to the Laser.

We drove up on Monday morning in the rain and it looked really miserable, knowing we had to go out and sail in that but the rain turned into drizzle, the breeze remained moderate and so more or less on time we started the last 2 races. Again we had good beats but again we had lots of Lasers breathing down our necks on the runs. There was never enough wind to drive us fast enough and although we finished in front of them the top Laser was not far enough behind us so another win went to him.

As we were sitting close hauled waiting for the slower boats to finish the race an RS300 that had been out for a jolly sailed up to us, the helm whipped his hat off, to reaveal that he was George Cousins, who some of you may remember from a few years ago as a very keen Laser sailor. I think he joined us for a few Wednesday races as he usually sailed at Penzance. Anyway he lives and works in Bristol nowadays but his parents still live on Bodmin moor and he keeps his boat at Roadford for pleasure. He joined in the last race and I think he won it. I say think as the results haven’t been published on their web site yet so only guessing somewhat.

Although we didn’t win either of the last 2 races our results were good enough to keep us in 2nd place which in many ways was a fair reflection when taking into account the courses that we had. The beats were quite lively at times and there were many capsizes over the weekend to keep their rescue boat busy. The Club members were all very friendly; the only blemish for me over the weekend was that my buoyancy aid mysteriously went missing on Sunday. I searched high and low to no avail and had to revert to a spare one for Monday’s racing.

Out of the 8 races we had 7 very good starts, always being in clear wind. Our only blemish was my fault on race 5 for not getting close enough to the committee boat to set our watches so had no idea when the start was actually going to sound. Anyway we ploughed on, found a gap and after a few minutes managed to sail out into clear wind and arrived at the windward mark in 2nd position, just behind an RS800. Although we always had plenty of wind on the beats the reaches apart from Saturday were always a disappointment, always sailing into sheltered spots on the reservoir or too broad and these did cost us precious time. Our results were determined by how good our beats were and to this end the compass was a great aid.

Now although we missed Sunday’s racing I have received an excellent report from Nigel. In fact his report is so good that I would like to think he could do a few more for me. Actually it wouldn’t be a bad idea if we could have a group of people who would carry on this good work. I know when I do my blog it is usually based on what I see, but as the fleet spreads out it is difficult to be able to get to grips with what actually happens. A report coming from someone on the RIB might be better all round; food for thought perhaps.

Any way here ‘tis.

The day of Double Bubble !
The forecast from the voluptuous Carol Kirkwood was a morning of light winds & overcast followed by rain in the afternoon as the front edge of a week long spell of rain pushes in across the UK.

Believing Carol to be a lady of her word the offer was made to the days assembled 13 willing participants of having 2 races back to back before lunch & the impending rain. Then if not to bad after lunch we could catch up a missed race from the week of the Hurricane. Not expecting to be sailing after lunch Nigel & Brian set a small triangular course with the aim of 2 quick 30 min races.

The Box & Galley were manned by the rock solid team of Paddy & Colin who got proceedings under way just after 11 A.M. with a southerly breeze of about 10 knots blowing into the beach. The wicked short start line was set which focussed the minds of the competitors. Most were neatly lined up on Starboard & well up. The exception was Paul & Kelvin in their scorpion who elected to come in some 5 seconds late at the rib end & peel off straight away on to Port & head for the Cliffs. The bunch made their way up the left until about half way then headed back towards the cliffs & as you would expect with today’s wind the right was the side that pays & Paul found himself lead slow fleet boat. The fast fleet ( today joined by Kim & Sally trying out Lionel’s spare Tasar ) got to the Windward mark together but soon Richard in his Contender & Roger in his Blaze started pulling away. The top reach was nicely broad so spinnakers were flying & the fleet were making quick progress around the course. The boats soon came across the Jibe mark where I would suggest the only error of the day ensued. The spinnaker boats decided to drop before the jibe mark & re-hoist or 2 sail down the reach to the beach marks. This allowed the Lasers ( today joined by Martyn & Sarah, down to spend the weekend with mum & dad ) to make back ground lost. After 3 rounds of the course & little change in position James came out 1st in the Laser radial by only 8 seconds from Paul & Kelvin & Andrew & Jenny following in their Scorpions. In the fast fleet Roger got the better of Richard by 30 seconds as Richard found it difficult to shake Roger off his tail.

Race 2 saw little change in the order of service as the wind increased slightly, again same start approach as race 1, Paul & Kelvin gave the fleet a head start wanting to go Right, but this time Andrew & Jenny saw straight through it & flopped over onto port to cover making it more difficult for Paul to break free. Unfortunately Andrews Scorpion just could not point as high as Paul’s & eventually they had to give up the cover. In the fast fleet once again Richard & Roger broke free with the Kestral left to dice around amongst the Scorpion action & Kin & Sally feeling their way around the course & a new boat. Sue & Pascal were making better ground this time, with two commendable finishes for the morning. So in for Lunch we went, all happy & dry & even a hint of sun as we walked up the slipway. A quick look at the rain radar on the inter web thing showed the front moving more up the Bristol Channel than we first thought & little in the way of rain on show. So a tentative offer of 2 more races was put the assembled & to my surprise roundly excepted ( double bubble ) ! get in there, 4 for the price of 2, happy hour. The wind had gone slightly more to the South East over the Lunch break as the wind increased . Brian & I looked at the course but decided to leave it be as the spinnaker boats would have broader angles for the off wind bits & thinking that the rest of the fleet would appreciate slightly easier beats. The line was left short but this time with an increased port bias due to the wind direction change.

So Race 3 started with Roger going for the Port flyer & James quick enough to call starboard on him down the port end & force a duck from Roger. The rest of the fleet lined up like in a gentlemanly like fashion at the rib end. The fleet made their way up the beat with all going for the right hand side in roughly the same order ( Richard followed by Roger – Paul followed by Andrew ) as the mornings race. This time it was going to be about spinnaker & boat handling. The spinnaker boats confidence was building & several Jibes were made with kites up, occasional spinnakers blowing inside the jibs & an hour glass from the Barnes duo for good measure made for a great spectacle from the rib. Race 4 start saw James & Richard circling the port end for a couple of minutes contemplating a flyer & hats off to them they went for it. The fleet missed an opportunity to chop then off by getting to the line early & the two of them took 8-10 boat lengths out of the fleet ( “that’s the way to do” ).The race proceeded much as race 3 but this time Roger getting the better of Richard in Fast & Paul getting the better of James in the slow fleet.

So there we have it, hardly a drop of rain & double bubble, what better way to spend a Sunday. Although I think the spinnaker boys & girls may have forgotten to shout the race team Bear for all those spinney legs. Sleep well Janet.

August 20th
Sarah & Jacques
The evenings are drawing in
It looks like our fantastic summer has been brought to an end prematurely by Hurricane Bertha. Ever since she swept across the Atlantic, landing on our shores, the weather has been abysmal. There is a glimmer of hope however that temperatures may start to rise again sometime over the weekend and we do have a history of fine weather in September so not all hope of a fine Autumn is lost just yet. One symptom of autumn though is the mornings and evenings drawing in and this was really evident tonight as darkness closed in on us by 8.30 and was full on night time by 9.00pm on the penultimate race, summer Wednesday night series.

However, tonight it looked like we were back to summer with a lovely little westerly breeze flowing out into the bay and Ken & I looked on enviously as we took our turn in the RIB. 18 boats sailed off the beach to join us for a 7 o’clock start and by launching early we had a nice course set up, just waiting for some action. I say a nice course as the beat when we initially set it was spot on, but by the time the starting sequence got under way there was a distinct port advantage developing and it looked at one time as if the beach marks could be reached on one tack. Fortunately it drifted back as the count down wore on but there was still enough bias on the line to tempt Justin & Kaya in their Tasar to try the port end start. In fact they had to dip one or two boats but once clear of the fleet they sailed off into what was the best pressure of the night over towards Charlestown and to no surprise were the first team to round the beach marks, followed, but not that close, by Paddy & Steve in their B14 and shock, horror Jeremy & Suzanne in the 2nd of 5 Tasars out tonight. Sarah & Jacques took my spare Tasar and made a very good first beat and scurried away very nicely down wind, leaving Dennis & Brian trailing in their wake.

Andrew & Jenny were the leading Scorpion for most of the first round before Beacky & Kelvin swarmed all over them towards the end of the 2nd reach and pulled well away as the race went on to take 1st place overall. Another boat having a good race early on was John Hill, being well ahead of Jeremy Rowett and Colin Wainwright in the other Super sofas, but in the fading breeze towards the end, John failed to cover Jeremy and the error became obvious as Jeremy took out over a minute on John and sailed into 2nd overall, pushing Andrew & Jenny back to 4th. Brian Reeves proved the best Laser sailor out tonight, finishing in 5th and Colin, sailing in only his 3rd or 4th race this year won the battle of the seniors over Nick & David. Poor Charlie & Olli really suffered towards the end of the race as their slower boats were heavily penalised as the wind faded away.

Over in the fast fleet, it wasn’t long before the B14 with supercharged spinnaker had overtaken everyone and then Jeremy & Suzanne started to get their skates on and by the end of the 2nd beat had overtaken Justin & Kaya. Despite Paddy & Steve’s extra speed they were relegated to 3rd place on handicap but only 4 seconds behind the Tasar; so close and so near. Dennis and Brian managed to overtake Sarah & Jacques who had quite a few problems on the last beat and had to retire. Steve Wingrove made the best of the early breeze but was another one to suffer badly in the dying breeze and was relegated back to 5th. Richard Armstrong had a very bad first beat, deciding to bang into the cliffs but totally ran out of breeze and to his dismay saw almost the entire fleet sail to the beach marks ahead of him. It was a good night also for Pascal & Sue who managed to complete another race and their persistence brought them home in 7th position.

At this time of year we do suffer badly from fading breezes as the dusk approaches and I wonder if we should consider starting 15 minutes early from August onwards. We will be starting the autumn series at 6 o’clock when September comes and although an hour earlier it will be imperative to start on time to try and beat the darkness which is showing its teeth far too early for my liking.

James & Finn have been sailing at Fowey week and so far Finn had had a couple of 3rds and James has suffered somewhat, especially with the vagaries of sailing in the river itself. I have banged my head on the deck several times over the years with pure frustration at the anomalies of that stretch of water. Ken & I are going to try pastures new for both of us this weekend as we are travelling up to Roadford reservoir for an open meeting of sorts. It is a 3 day affair involving 10 races. The forecast for Saturday looks like being nice and sunny with light winds but then getting progressively worse as Sunday & Monday approaches. It is a lake that I have seen more than once and have always wondered what it would be like to sail on, so this weekend is my chance. I’ll let you know next week what it is like.

August 17th
Today at lunch time
Another hard day on the water
We were almost back to summer weather again today. Although it started very grey & overcast there was a nice westerly breeze blowing out of the cove, leaving some dark patches in its wake, advertising the fact that it could be quite lively out there. Rain was threatening and indeed it did rain for a short while but soon cleared up to give us a warm & sunny afternoon. Unfortunately only 9 boats and 4 wind surfers turned up to sail in what were some very tricky conditions. The forecast for the day may have put some off, but in true contradictions to the “Met Men” it actually turned out a lot better and provided some thrilling yet challenging conditions and only 1 boat, Richard in his Contender, flashed its hull to the skies.

Yes it’s not often that we have windsurfers out, but today Finn, Luke and Jeremy Whale were joined by Lowenna Penny to test themselves on a Club course to see how they got on. They managed to monopolise the safety boat end of the start line for the morning race, getting in the way of some of the dinghies. So much so that for the afternoon race they actually started on our minute gun, thus enabling them to clear the start line before we started our blitz up the beat.

Paddy & Steve were our safety boat drivers for the day and set a good sized port hand course with the beat in to the beach marks from the Gribben direction. Unfortunately the first reach turned out to be almost a dead run to the gybe mark, which was a very nice bonus for the 3 spinnaker boats, consisting of 2 Scorpions and the Kestrel. The 2nd reach was a better affair for us Tasar sailors, although the way the wind was swinging round that too became rather broad sometimes. The wind was from the west and was very frustrating as it continually swung round, quite often in 30 or more degree shifts, not only that but the gusts when they came were quite brutal, making handling them another challenge all together. Sometimes the swings would only last a few seconds whilst other times the shift persisted for much longer, making the decision whether to tack or not to tack quite a dilemma.

Jeremy with Suzanne lead at the beach marks with Richard & his Contender very much on their heels. The pair of them drew away from us and engaged in their own private battle, which kept Jeremy in front. We on the other hand seemed to be constantly locked together with Dennis & Brian, in what I think were more their conditions than ours and our positions swopped round quite a few times on the 4 laps and a beat course that we had. Dennis managed to point quite a lot higher than us and often managed to pass us upwind and then we would return the favour by overtaking him down wind. We just managed to keep our noses in front on the penultimate beat, but couldn’t pull out much on the down wind legs, so we actually started the last beat with only a few lengths separating us. Quite interesting as we started the last beat there was quite a massive wind shift and as we tacked on it we realised that if it held we could lay the beach marks in one tack. As the breeze had also piped up a few knots it gave an advantage back to Dennis and Brian as their extra weight gave them better driving power than us. Our saving grace was the fact that they had to sail behind in our dirty wind. Nevertheless as we closed on the beach marks they were almost up behind of us and then there just in front of us was Sarah & Ollie in their RS Feva. We dived below them as it was the shortest distance to the line whereas Dennis went above them to keep out of their dirty air and closed us down a few more metres. Fortunately we managed to hang on and scrape 2nd by only 2 seconds.

Behind us Beacky & Kelvin were blasting well away from the rest of their fleet and were making great inroads into the distance behind us every time they reached the beach marks. The broad reach / run allowed their spinnaker to generate far greater speed than ours and each time they pulled up quite close, even out distancing the faster Kestrel of Jan & Pete. They even outpaced Andrew & Jenny’s Scorpion to take their win by some 3 minutes. Sarah & Ollie may nave been the slowest boat on the water but still put up a good showing to take 3rd place after their handicaps had been taken into account.

The course was adjusted for the 2nd race and this time we had a starboard rounding of the beach marks as the breeze had swung round by some 60 degrees or more. This time it really started to play fun and games with us, with some very dramatic shifts to cope with. Even though we had a good start it wasn’t enough as Jeremy & Suzanne lead round the beach marks. However we had some good fortune as this time not only was Richard behind us but slightly further back was Dennis & Brian. We had an excellent 2nd beat; good enough to round ahead of Jeremy but his slightly faster down wind speed gave him water on us at the gybe mark and after that we fell further behind, but still well ahead of Richard & Dennis.

Meanwhile Beacky and Kelvin were having a closer battle with Andrew & Jenny, who told me that they didn’t have a short holiday in France when I inadvertently claimed they had; don’t know where I got that from. Once again the Beacky & Kelvin pulled out a good distance to take another win, but this time only by 1 ½ minutes. It was another 3rd for Sarah & Ollie and another 4th for Brian Reeves in his Laser.

Both James & Finn are sailing at Fowey next week. Both Lasers were packed up on their respective road trailers waiting for the off, so we wish them all the best in their endeavours. I was intending to enter but all the kerfuffle with my leg a couple of weeks ago caused me to think that I wouldn’t be up to a week of sailing plus a lot of walking around, but hey ho I feel a lot better now so I think I only had a slight strain and I think I should have entered.

August 13th
Birthday Boy
Happy 18th Birthday James
After the largest Wednesday turnouts of the year last week, we were back to a more mundane 13 boats tonight, as one or two of our regulars were missing. Maybe some were put off by the weather as in all truth it had been rather blustery during the day. The forecast was for it to die down somewhat during the evening and true to form it eventually did.

James Dowrick was one of the missing sailors tonight, due to heavy celebration during the day of his 18th Birthday; Congratulations James. I can still remember the 1996 Regatta when Nigel had to retire early as Catherine had just given birth. Now doesn’t that make me feel old, fortunately I am still able to get round the race course which is a great thing for me, and long may it continue.

Andrew & Jenny, fresh from a few days away in La Belle France were our RIB drivers tonight and managed to set a fair course in the blustery westerly breeze that was streaming out from the shore. The emphasis, once again, was to start on time to get the most out of the breeze, but we were slightly delayed trying to launch all the boats from the ever shrinking beach as the tide marched relentlessly forward in its quest to reclaim Cornwall. I suppose the delay only amounted to about 10 minutes so nothing really lost and without much ado we were off on another roller coaster ride around the bay.

There was a little port bias on the line but nobody took the bait with the entire fleet electing for a nice starboard start. The Tasars made up the largest number of the 13 boats with 5 of us dicing for the lead on the 1st beat. Our fleet was completed by Paddy & Steve in the B14 so our entire fleet was made up of “Bethwaite” boats. Father Frank producing the Tasar and son Julian the B14, just 2 of the very fast boats that they have produced over the years. As per normal it was Jeremy & Suzanne who forged ahead enough to pop round the beach marks first, just in front of said B14. Dennis & Brian, revelling in the stiff breeze weren’t too far behind either, leaving us struggling to keep up and once again it was very nice to see Justin & Kaya only a few boat lengths behind us, but could we keep them behind us? Once again the beat was its normal shifty self, causing some real snakes and ladders as we approached the beach marks. Kaya is new to sailing and I think tonight may have been only her 3rd outing and without doubt the strongest conditions for her to sail in so I am hoping that she enjoyed the more strenuous and in truth enjoyable aspects of sailing, especially the 2nd reach which was fun time in the Tasars as we managed to get on the plane.

The first reach in each set was not so good for us Tasars, as whisker pole setting was de rigueur for the very broad reach. For 2 rounds, Justin & Kaya were never very far behind us but lost their way a bit on the 3rd beat. We managed to claw our way right up to Dennis & Brian on the 2nd beat but rather annoyingly I got the next shifts wrong and they had regained their lead over us by the end of the beat. I suppose Mother nature came to our rescue on the down wind legs as the wind suddenly dropped a few notches and our faster downwind speed brought us up to their transom at the gybe mark and onwards to overtake on the next reach. The next 2 rounds became a bit of a cat and mouse game as we sort to protect ourselves up wind and then gaining a bit more distance downwind. Meanwhile Paddy & Steve sailed away from us all with their big yellow kite showing us their whereabouts downwind, but although they are improving every race they still have quite a time deficit to overcome and had to settle for 3rd tonight leaving Jeremy & us in the first 2 spots, with Dennis & Brian 4th. Justin & Kaya were back in 5th but still almost 7 minutes in front of Chris & Tony, who at one time decided to take the beach marks in the wrong order before realising the error of their ways.

The closest battle in the slow fleet was between the Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin and Kay and crewing tonight, Steve Wingrove. They were very close up the first beat with Beacky having the edge and stayed locked together, never very far apart for the entire race, but crucially Beacky kept the lead to take 1st place and Kay 2nd. Lurking further back was the ever dangerous Finn in his Laser 4.7 and although Finn finished some 4 minutes behind Nick in his full rigged Laser and 10 minutes behind Beacky he still managed to take 3rd overall, pushing Nick down to 4th. Surprisingly, Sarah & Ollie only managed 5th place. Sarah was telling me that she had great difficulty on the beat, but off wind they were much faster. All that left Charlie in 6th place, though I noticed that before the start he had a series of capsizes that must have drained some of the strength from him but nevertheless did finish and so beat Shane and Jacques in the Laser Vago who had troubles enough causing them to retire.

By the time we reached the shore there was no beach left so to speak of and we all landed more or less right on the bottom of the slipway where Nigel & Richard Austin were waiting with our trolleys and most of us were then towed up the hill by Richard’s mighty Volvo – Thanks Richard, an old man certainly appreciated the tow!! The Clubhouse was a happy place to be afterwards as Jenny’s bacon butties were in plentiful supply, the bar was booming and then it was lights out time as a Birthday cake and a pint of lager came out for James and it was our turn to join in a rousing version of “Happy Birthday”.

August 10th
A windswept beach
Strong winds finally stop play
After waxing lyrical over the summer evening last Wednesday I suppose I could almost wax lyrical about today’s sailing or in this instant non sailing, but as we were all disappointed I won’t bother. Now I say non sailing because despite the Club house being fairly full of eager sailors, the more experienced amongst us knew that the picturesque bomb blasts hitting the water and rapidly spreading outwards told us how windy it really was. This weekend's weather had been forecasted by the met office sevearl days ahead, and full marks to them, they did get their forecast spot on this time. The remnants of hurricane Bertha struck during the night and though not quite the severe gales that we had been expecting still delivered a very strong wind, strong enough to keep us ashore today. So it was no surprise when the inevitable happened, the postponement flag went up and our recent run of constant sailing came to a windy end. The rest of the week looks equally unsettled, so at this stage there is no guarantee that we will mange to sail on Tuesday nor Wednesday either. The empty beach had been re-profiled over night and is now an even sloped, sandy, perfectly smooth beach courtesy of the spring tides and at the early part of the morning was still clear of holiday makers.

Almost as a coincidence, today is the start of Falmouth Week. Now how many times over the last 10 years or more have I sailed down there in some very fresh breezes?; more times than I care to remember so strong winds in August are nothing new. The possible saving grace for Falmouth Week this year is that they are having the dinghy series next week, in the hope that they may arrest falling numbers. Meanwhile Rock Week over on the north coast seems to attract well over 80 dinghies each year and goes from strength to strength and long may it last. Incidentally Rock Week starts on Saturday 16th August.

This irritating weather will also be affecting other Nationals scheduled for this week in the West Country. Steve & Polly have travelled up to Teignmouth for the Scorpion Nationals, whilst over at Looe they have a large fleet of Merlin Rockets sitting on the quayside waiting to begin their Nationals. It looks like both fleets will have very lively and weather interrupted Championships.

August 6th
Tony getting ready
A lovely Wednesday night for sailing
Sometimes there’s so much to tell that it’s hard to know where to start, but I will start by my setting off for home last night. It was about 21.40 when I walked out of the Club to my car which was in the field. What a beautiful evening it was; the light westerly that we had for sailing had faded to nothing, the sea in the twilight was as flat as a pancake yet you could just hear, very faintly the sound of the small wavelets as they brushed up onto the beach. The lights of Polkerris were shining brightly in the distance, sharing there existence with the flashing lights marking the mussel farms. Behind me there were the sounds of happiness coming from the still fairly full Clubhouse. Yes, for more than the first time I realised just how lucky I am living in such beautiful, peaceful surroundings.

Well enough of that, and back to the evening’s sailing. 17 boats launched into the enticing, very flat sea. It would have been 18 but Steve Wingrove found at the last moment before he launched that a fitting on his boom was broken and needed a vital repair, which would take some time, too much to be able to launch in time.

Once again we had the beach almost to ourselves, as most of the holiday makers had gone home for their teas. Stewart & Shane were in charge of the RIB tonight and set what looked initially like a vey nice course, the only problem was that the wind shifted round and racing may have been better if we had raced the other way round as we ended up with an almost one tack beat, a run and a very tight fetch. Tactics went out of the window and it developed almost into a drag race. Maybe the boats that enjoyed the course most were the conventional spinnaker boats that lapped up the run, whereas the Lasers (4) and Tasars (3), Topper (1), Contender (1) all engaged slow mo mode for that particular run. Even Jeremy & Paddy in the B14 wandered off somewhere towards Charlestown hoping for some extra pressure to little avail. Anyway it was still a gorgeous evening to spend on the water.

The start was rather hectic as the line was very, very port biased. Rather than get caught up in the melee that was going to start on port we thought we would have some fun by sailing down the line on starboard and cut them all off. A cunning plan that almost worked, apart from James in his Laser radial who just had enough time and speed to escape us and get a perfect start. From the RIB end of the line it was possible to sail on one tack to the beach marks, thus ending any hopes of sailing on wind shifts etc. Nevertheless it was the B14, Contender and us who arrived at the beach marks first and set off on the long slow run to the gybe mark. Not far behind us was the Tasar of Justin and Kaya, first Wednesday sail this year and the Laser of Tom Bittle and then some of the spinnaker boats lead by the Kestrel of Jan & Pete. It was quite obvious that their spinnakers were working well as they slowly overhauled some of the non spinnaker boats on every run. Fortunately the close reach was enough to power our Tasar along, just clinging on to the coat tails of Richard in his Contender.

It was good to see Kieran & Harry Spencer participating in, I think, their first race with the Club in their Magno and not disgracing them selves either, by finishing in front of Nick & Dave Mackrell in their Lasers. How about that; 3 doctors racing and all finishing together. Beacky & Kelvin, engaged sport mode tonight and pulled well clear of Kay & Craig and Andrew & Jenny Kendall, beating them by 3 and 4 minutes respectively and more importantly beating Tom Bittle in his Laser by 2 seconds on corrected time to take 1st place in the slow handicap fleet. James despite his good start had to settle for 3rd place, just in front of Kay’s Scorpion. Sarah & Ollie were another crew to suffer from the course direction as they needed better reaches to benefit from their asymmetric spinnaker, and duly slipped nicely into 5th position demoting Andrew & Jenny to 6th, just ahead of Charlie in his Topper 7th.

Although we finished 3rd on the water behind Jeremy & Paddy and Richard we still took 1st place on corrected time, with Richard demoted to 2nd and Jeremy & Paddy really suffering as they were pushed down to 5th. Jan & Pete, benefitted greatly from their spinnaker and had been swopping places on the water with Justin and Donna and in fact not only took 3rd place but also beat them on the water as well. Chris Hazell was without Tony tonight but had the very enthusiastic Jacques crewing for him and they were our tail gunner tonight but suffered greatly as the wind was starting to fade away big time as they approached their last beat, thus slowing them down.

For the 2nd racing session in a row, we managed to slice through one of the giant jelly fish which are with us this year. Each time we have hit one the boat has suddenly almost come to a halt, the dagger board has pivoted backwards , which is quite un nerving at the time as there is no prior warning. No doubt my dagger board packing will require renewing soon. My biggest problem tonight though was with my Achilles Tendon problem which I ruptured last October. The healing process has been going on quite successfully, but on Sunday I lost my footing during a tack, slammed across the boat and strained my Plantar fasciitis (bottom of the foot), or so I’m told. Anyway I am in a bit of pain, especially when trying to walk, and I did find tacking a real problem last night as my left foot did not want to flex enough, resulting in some very poor tacks and gybes.

The forecast for this weekend isn’t too good at this stage, so I for one will not mind if we do not sail as rest may be my only cure, though we have had quite a good run of sailing conditions over the last few weeks. In fact the only conditions that have stopped us sailing lately is lack of wind, rather than too much wind.

August 3rd
Sarah & Jacque, preparing the Feva
August Cup & Scorpion Open Meeting
Welcome back Richard Armstrong. After several weeks convalescing, Richard made the big decision to get back into his Contender and back onto the race track. A decision that proved correct in what at times today became quite blustery conditions. He even survived a capsize, so things are looking up for him there. Richard’s return helped swell today’s fleet to 17 boats, another good turnout.

Late last year the Scorpion Association asked the Club to put on a Scorpion Open meeting, which we duly did today & guess what? Not one visiting Scorpion deigned to come down to Porthpean to take on our fleet on their own territory. Nevertheless all 5 of our Scorpions took to the water, probably for the first time this year and made up one of the classes for the August Cup. The Scorpions were given their own start, 5 minutes ahead of the handicap fleet. Due to our small numbers, fast & slow were all lumped together.

James & Nigel were in charge of racing today and using 2 RIBs were also being helped out by Nick Haskin, managed to set a good course well off our normal area of sailing, which made quite a pleasant change, and gave us some different challenges to pit our wits against. The courses designated for the day was to be triangle sausage, with the time keeping RIB about ¼ up the beat.

The Scorpion fleet was dominated by Steve & Polly who managed to win all 4 races, though the last race was in doubt right to the end as their spinnaker halyard jammed and they couldn’t drop it for quite a while which allowed the majority of the fleet to take on the challenge of sailing at the front. Into the lead swept Kay with her new crew for the day, Steve Wingrove. Steve is thinking of joining the Scorpion fleet and today gave him an excellent chance of sailing in a Scorpion in a competitive mode. Yes I think there may be another Scorpion in the dinghy park quite soon. Despite Steve & Polly taking the win, Kay & Steve held on to take 2nd place and the thought of what could have been if they had sailed all 4 races. Beaky & Kelvin ended up 2nd overall, just 1 point in front of the Kendalls, the 2 of them swopping places in most of the races but Beacky just having the better result in the end. Bringing up the rear was Craig & Jake Varley but they need a lot more time in the boat to bring them up to a more competitive level.

Due to there being only 3 boats in the slow fleet and they were all Lasers I fully expected them to be lumped in with the fast handicap fleet but they were allocated their own fleet. Finn dominated the 1st race sailing in his 4.7 rig, but a breakage in the 2nd race plus not being able to sail the afternoon races dropped him right out of contention. Instead Brian Reeves took full advantage to take 3 wins and the slow handicap cup.

We had a very poor start in the first race, but managed to break out into clear air we actually sailed through the entire fleet to round the windward mark first, in front of Jeremy & Suzanne, Richard and Paddy & Sarah. We managed to hold off Jeremy on the reaches, but they passed us on the 2nd beat but we managed to close them down again on the last reach but still had to settle for 2nd. Roger Williams was looking good in his Blaze, being not too far behind and finished in 3rd on corrected time.

Race 2 and it was another win for team Hawkins and they had to hold off Richard, leaving us to battle with Paddy & Sarah. Again we were so close at the end that 2nd place on corrected time was again ours. Again Roger was showing his intentions and was looking solid for another 3rd but actually slipped back to 4th just 2 seconds behind Richard on corrected time. Chris & Tony who finished last in the first race, made a good recovery in this race, sailing into 5th place, taking the scalps of Jan& Pete, Kestrel, 6th; Dennis & Brian 7th, Paddy & Sarah 8th and Steve Wingrove 9th.

Jeremy & Suzanne couldn’t race in the afternoon and were pinning their hopes of winning the August Cup on us not have all 4 of the scheduled races. In the event all 4 races were sailed which opened up the competition for several of the rest of us. By the time we sailed out to the course area the wind had swung round somewhat and the course had to be re-laid so anything that we had learnt from the morning race had to be dumped whilst we grappled with another set of conditions. Despite the disparities in handicaps the battle at the front of the next 2 races developed each time between our Tasar, Richard’s Contender and Paddy & Sarah’s RS400. I didn’t help our cause when in a very tight situation, intending to duck the RS on a beat we actually collided resulting in us doing penalty turns, which seem to take forever to complete.

The Scorpions had started their 4th race as the wind was moving further round and increasing in its intensity. That took Chris & Tony completely by surprise and they capsized, giving us all some entertainment whilst waiting for our start. They did recover in time for the start so didn’t lose out too much, though did cool them off quite a bit. By the time we were under starter’s orders for the 4th race the wind had swung round so much that the beat had now turned into a reach. James, the Race Officer, had a difficult decision to make. Either race as the conditions were or abort and reset the course. His decision was to race with the wind as it was, so this time we had a reaching start to contend with. I knew that the Tasar would come into its own with a good reach but to be affective we had to get a good start. I should add that at the time of racing we had no idea of the previous results. They were still written on paper and had not been entered on Sailwave and we were very much aware that Roger was looking good for overall victory in his Blaze, so we were quite pleased to see that he had undertaken a hull inspection as we charged off at the gun. Dennis & Brian who were hoping for the extra wind strengths had their hopes of doing well dashed by being over the line at the start and had to re round to start last.

Again the battle at the front developed between us, Richard and Paddy, with Richard taking a significant lead on the first real beat. Fortunately for us he had his capsize on one of the runs, allowing us to close right up on him and keeping our time deficit to a minimum.

So with 4 races completed and knowing that Jeremy couldn’t win we all sailed home waiting for the computer to reveal its secrets. Well that wasn’t s quick operation as the file for the racing hadn’t been set up and required the brain cells of the experts to sett up the operation. When finally resolved it showed that Ken & I had managed to win both afternoon races, which with our 2nds from the morning was enough to give us the August Cup.

20 years ago this month, several of us went to the Tasar Worlds which were held at Brixham. Sarah Desjonquers or Fryer as she was then, crewed for me and in a way lead me astray by telling me that she had been looking at the Australian boats and there was a very pretty one actually for sale. Intrigued I went across and had a good look. The boat she had spotted was “Midnight Express” a boat that wasn’t even 12 months old, and was looking gorgeous in her green and white livery with a blue band at the waterline. Over the week I had a little chat with the owner and ended up taking the boat home, and I have been the proud owner ever since. That boat has sailed hundreds of miles since and has quite a few wins under her keel. Unfortunately she doesn’t look quite as pristine now as when I bought her, but some of the fittings and ropes are still the original. It has been tempting at times to trade her in for a newer model, but she is still a fast boat. It’s only the owner who is slowing up as he ages, not really the boat. There is another hole to repair sometime as the engine of one of the RIBs punctured the transom a couple of weeks ago as it was being moved in the yard. A temporary repair is keeping the water out at the moment, whilst we wait for the end of the season.

July 31st
James readying his Laser
Best race attendance of the year so far
Twenty boats our racing last night; yes 20 boats, the highest turnout that we have had this season so far. In fact there is no reason why we shouldn’t have 20 boats out for most races but the realists know that modern life puts all sorts of demands on modern man and sometimes sailing is low on the priorities.

Welcome home again to Sarah, Jacques, Oliver and Reuben, back for a few weeks for their summer holiday. They only arrived on Monday but have already been out sailing on Tuesday evening and again tonight. Let’s hope they have some of that beautiful weather that we have been experiencing this summer. Paddy took Sarah out in his B14 and she was seen afterwards to be limping around after cutting her leg on something sharp on the boat as shown in the picture alongside.

The bulk of the fleets were made up of 5 Tasars and 4 Scorpions, supplemented by 2 Supersofas, plus 3 Lasers, B14, Blaze, Kestrel, Vago and Topper, so quite a variety all in all. Our, quite frankly, lackadaisical approach to race time starts was blown out of the water last night when Stacey & Millie, who were our RIB drivers for the night, launched by 6.15 with the intent of starting on time. By 6.45 the course was set, and RIB on station for the start, Jenny was in the OOD box and the computer was straining at its electrons , all waiting to go. Believe it or not but just about everyone arrived in the starting area in time, though I think it was a close call for one or two.

The biggest benefit of starting on time was to us the sailors as we completed the race in a light, soft westerly. Unfortunately light enough to prevent the Tasars from planing, but light enough for all the spinnaker boats to benefit. By 8 o’clock the breeze was starting to fade away, but by starting on time we managed to get 4 full laps plus the final beat, making it a nice tactical race rather than the lottery you can get when the wind fades in one area of the bay only to appear somewhere else a minute or two later.

We launched early so managed to do some upwind sailing before the start to try and assess the wind and the shifts, there is little point in using a tac-tic if you don’t have time to check the numbers. The start line had enough port bias to tempt 3 of us to have a go, but we were all thwarted by the line of starboard tackers streaming along the line. Even so our start wasn’t too bad as we managed to tack in a gap and didn’t lose too much though we had Jeremy, Paddy and Steve in very close company. Steve was the first to tack away and head for the Charlestown cliffs, but the 3 of us hung on and eventually tacked more or less on the lay line. As it was, our route proved slightly better and we all rounded in front of Steve. By the 2nd reach, Paddy had made his bid for the front and sailed off, rarely to be seen again. Quite pleasingly, we managed to hold Steve, Polly & spinnaker off on the down wind legs and appeared to pull out a bit upwind until I made the fatal mistake of tacking too early for our run in to the beach marks. Steve hung on, tacked later and benefited from a very nice lift to round 3rd only just behind Jeremy. Whilst we were proceeding up the first set of reaches we could hear lots of shouting coming from a cluster of boats all trying to round the beach marks together. It sounded like they were having a lot of fun, so much so that a protest form was filled in after racing. It looks like that there could be some more fun to come.

Steve’s new Scorpion is in a class of its own and was well away, finishing some 5 ½ minutes in front but the other 3 Scorpions. Andrew & Jenny had a very tight battle with Beacky & Kelvin and for several rounds had the better of team Beacky but eventually fell behind them to finish in 3rd, almost a 1 ½ minutes behind. Also embroiled in that particular group was the Tasars of Dennis & Brian, and Chris & Tony, the Kestrel of Janet & Pete and the Blaze of Steve Wingrove, all faster boats and it took them a while to get past the Scorpions.

In the slow fleet the first 3 places went to Scorpions but Sarah in her first race for over a year, sailing with novice crew Ollie sailed their Feva into 4th place beating quite a few more experienced crews. I’m not sure but tonight may have been the fisrt time that the veteran sailors John Hill and Jeremy Rowett have ever sailed against each other in the Sofas, but John’s experience told, beating his young rival by 1 ½ minutes. Of the 3 Lasers sailing the best place here went to James Dowrick but he could only make 7th place finishing a minute behind Kay & Craig in the 4th of the Scorpions. Even Charlie in his Topper, slowest boat on the water, made a very good showing beating the last Wednesday winner Nick Haskin to take 10th spot.

Going on to the fast fleet, it was very pleasing to see Stewart out again in his immaculate Tasar, sailing with the white sails and paired up with Colin. Their combined age of 152 was quite daunting and it was so nice to see their zimmer frames sitting on the beach waiting for their safe return. All joking apart, it goes to show that sailing is a sport that you can participate in for maybe your entire life. Once again Jeremy and Suzanne dominated the fast fleet, but in the lighter winds I sported my newer suit of sails and we clung on to their transom for much of the race, pulling up to within 30 metres at one time and the pair of us managed to hold off the fast improving team of Paddy & Steve in the B14 who sailed into 3rd position. Dennis and Brian were the next boat to finish, but not far enough in front of Jan & Pete’s Kestrel who took 4th on corrected time. Chris & Tony managed to overtake and beat Stewart & Colin and most surprisingly bringing up the rear was Steve Wingrove in his Blaze. Steve had been mush further forward in the fleet earlier on so I must assume that he had some sort of problem to drop him so far back. Rumour has it that he might also be seen in a Scorpion next year, if a suitable crew can be sourced.

The Club house was buzzing after the racing. Jenny’s bacon butties were being scoffed like there was no tomorrow and she soon ran out of bacon. The bar had a queue of people waiting to be served and much discussion took place of race positions, finishes and final results. On the minus side we are at the end of July and we can see that the evenings are starting to draw in. Like it or not but summer will soon be slipping away, but for the moment we can still enjoy moments like tonight.

This Sunday sees not only the August Cup, but also the first Scorpion Open Meeting that the Club has hoisted for many years. Our 5 Club Scorpions should all be out and racing, but the question is, will we get many visitors? The Scorpion Nationals start in only just over a week and that maybe too close in time to tempt many of the “hot” boys down to Porthpean. The Scorpions will have a separate start and the racing will be controlled by the experienced race team of Nigel & James. The weather looks fairly settled with light to moderate south westerly winds forecast. Is that enough to tempt another 20 boat fleet out again? I hope so.

Now finally, if anyone wants to comment on my assessment of the racing; put me right where I may have misunderstood things, then please email me and I will publish your comments as a footnote to my blog. Don’t be shy, don’t be rude. You can contact me by just using the “contact us” on the front page of the web site.

July 28th
James readying his Laser
Come back Suzanne, all is forgiven.
Without a doubt, this July has been one of the hottest for years, the breeze hasn’t always been at its best but nevertheless our Osprey Nationals was a well loved event and showed Porthpean off at its very best. This weekend, especially Saturday has been another fine weather blessed time and some of us luckier ones managed to sail on both days. In fact Saturday was the first time this year that I have raced in only tee shirt and shorts, plus buoyancy aid of course.

Only 4 of our boats went over to Charlestown for their annual regatta on Saturday, to join 6 catamarans that had sailed around from Pentewan for an afternoon’s fun in the sun!! Yes we had sun but we also had a very tricky north westerly breeze that only sprung up just before we set off from Porthpean. To compound matters even more, the Pentewan race officer set the windward mark right under the cliffs adjacent to the harbour which gave no end of problems as we sailed into that area. We had 3 races and I managed to make a hash of each race, mainly by always getting the lay lines into the windward mark wrong and to make things worse those errors were so bad that we even managed to become becalmed more than once when trying to sail away for the mark. All in all a very frustrating afternoon of racing and not a good day for us; but the dinghy side of things was won by Jeremy Rowett in his Supersofa followed by James in his Laser Radial and in 3rd Paddy & Steve in the B14. They all managed to overcome the tricky conditions better than I did.

Today was a different kettle of fish as we were back onto the more familiar waters of our own bay and with the benefit of our beach marks being much further out to sea went somewhere to making the windward roundings less painful. Even so there were still some fraught moments and extra tacks called for as we approached them. This was the first race since the Osprey Nationals, as Wednesday evening was cancelled due to a total windless evening. That plus a week of fantastic hot weather was enough to encourage 14 boats out for the first race of the day. Fortunately for us all, Liz and Shane took the RIB today and despite some early difficulties in the very shifty north westerly managed to set what became a superb course and was one of the largest triangles that we have had this year with our leeward mark being less than 100 metres from the mussel farms. The Laser contingent with 4 sailing was our largest fleet and guesting this morning, in the Club Laser, was Jeremy Hawkins crewless whilst he was waiting for Suzanne & Finn to return from France where Finn had been competing in the Junior Worlds wind surfing competition. 3 Scorpions sailed out to the start line, with the return of Steve and Polly joining regulars Beacky & Kelvin and Andrew & Jenny. Ian & April Halls made up the 8th member of the slow handicap fleet in the Club Vago. Our fleet was slightly smaller with 3 Tasars, 2 Blazes, B14 and Jan & Pete in their Kestrel, which all in all gave lots of mini competitions throughout the fleets.

Once again the 8-10 knot north westerly was difficult to read but Ken & I made it to the beach marks first time round in front of the entire fleet only just ahead of Steve & Polly, who once they had their spinnaker up and pulling soon passed us, like wise Paddy & Steve in their B14, languishing quite far back at the beach marks but again with spinnaker pulling, soon motored through everyone to sail ahead of us all at the front of the fleet. Roger Williams in his Blaze powered along down wind and reading the wind shifts better than most took an unassailable lead early on in the 2nd beat, which was good enough to eventually take victory, finishing some 2 minutes in front of us. We had an early battle with Dennis and Brian, but once again our lighter weight down wind gave us enough speed to demote them further back and to compound their misery they were beaten on the finishing line by Chris & Tony who had taken a bit of a tactical gamble on the last beat by sailing hard towards the cliffs. Janet & Pete were well up with us for a couple of laps and it wasn’t until the breeze built a little more that we could get away from them, leaving them 3rd in our fleet.

Steve & Polly dominated the Scorpions taking a very convincing win in the slow handicap fleet. Our guest Laser helm, Jeremy, despite saying he knew nothing about Laser sailing still managed to beat our other Laser boys by taking 2nd, almost a minute in front of James in his radial. It was good to welcome Brian Reeves back to sailing after his long lay off due to a shoulder problem.

Now I don’t know what went wrong with the other 2 Scorpions, as Beacky & Kelvin managed to get into a heated battle that went right to the line with Andrew & Jenny with the Beacky machine beating the Kendalls over the line by 1 second. A very tight finish indeed and almost ended in the protest room, but was dropped due to lack of witnesses.

Lunch was a quick turn around and we were soon off to sail out to the mussel farms for round 2 of a good days sailing in a slightly fresher breeze. Jeremy had had enough of Laser sailing and was quick to become guest helm in Chris Hazell’s Tasar as Tony had another commitment for the afternoon. It was no surprise to see Jeremy & Chris pop out at the front of the fleet at the end of the first beat, followed closely by Steve & Polly and then Ken & myself. Steve’s spinnaker soon made short work of Jeremy and we too closed up but couldn’t generate enough speed to complete an overtake. Just before the 3 of us reached the gybe mark we had to contend with a fast closing B14 streaming through at speed. Well at least as soon as that had passed we could settle down to a more tactical battle between Jeremy and us. So intense was our battle that at one time Dennis & Brian were threatening to pass us both. Anyway our battle continued up wind and down wind for a couple of laps before on one of the reaches we hit a sweet spot of wind and made our push to get past Jeremy. Once overtaken we managed to put quite a good distance between us and sail on to take what for us was a hard, but satisfying win.

Steve & Polly had another good win, beating the entire fleet quite convincingly. They were followed by the 2 remaining Lasers of James and Brian in 2nd and 3rd. Beacky & Kelvin still managed to beat the Kendalls again this time by a greater margin even though they gave them a good chance of victory by capsizing under spinnaker at one of the gybe marks.

July 23rd
Coming home after the last race
What no Pasty boat?
Another Nationals, the 24th in total, a return of the Osprey fleet and another Porthpean success. Basking throughout in HOT sunny weather, we witnessed a fleet of 39 Ospreys swooping across the bay. The planning for the event had been going on for over a year and after much anticipation the start of the Championships finally arrived. Many of the competitors arrived on Friday and before too long Mrs Petherick’s car park was starting to resemble a large camp site as most of the sailors not only possess large boats but equally large camper vans. One by one the boats were dragged onto the green, one or two luckier ones were given a berth in the yard whilst the overspill went into the field. An entry of 40 was just about the perfect number for us to hold, without stretching Club resources too far. Even the limited space on the beach was at a premium, but what a spectacular site they made as one by one they launched and set off for the racing area.

Due to the paucity of breeze on the last 2 days the full racing programme of 10 races was truncated to 8, which gave the fleet 2 discards. The Championship started on Saturday, with a slightly delayed start, whilst we waited for the wind to settle and finally in about 8-10 knots of south westerly breeze we were off. 2 races were held in ideal conditions, and a tired but contented fleet eventually arrived back on shore for the first of the socials.

On Sunday morning the eager sailors had to confine themselves to fettling and sunbathing as the bay was completely windless, conditions we are quite used to in the height of the summer; but as happens on so many Sundays the breeze could eventually be spotted on the horizon and after an early lunch the fleet launched for a long day at sea with 3 races planned. I had a shore based job so couldn’t witness any of the action on the water but by the end of the day and 5 races sailed a definite pattern had set in with the 4 crews closely contesting the Championship.

Monday and another early windless day and the fleet were held ashore yet again until mid afternoon, waiting for the elusive wind, frustrating for all as 3 races were planned. Eventually the breeze appeared and settled to allow the fleet to launch but in the event only 2 short races were held and the leader board was now very tight with only the odd point separating the leaders. The leader himself being happy if we didn’t sail again and as Tuesday dawned his wish looked like coming true as we were presented with yet again another hot sunny but windless day. Once again the breeze light, as it was, popped up and the fleet eventually launched for another 2 races. The first race was sailed as planned but just before the 2nd race was due to start a massive wind shift occurred and the start sequence was stopped. The time limit for starting a race on the last day was 15.00 and that time was reached before the course could be reset and so the Championship closed with 8 races sailed, giving a discard of 2 and the fleet, under spinnaker headed for shore. This was a mini race in itself as we had been loaned a small tractor for the event and this was used to haul the boats 3 at a time off the beach and up the hill to their resting places, so the race was on to get an early slot with the tractor.

I happened to be Beach Master for the event so can safely say that the sailors from rock stars down to lesser mortals were all friendly and very happy with their Championship. Only one protest was lodged, which we managed to dismiss as no rule had been broken. The protestee shrugged his shoulders and accepted the verdict, which in itself was a great relief.

Once again the Club has pulled together to put on a first class Nationals, which has only enhanced the reputation of Porthpean. I know we always say thanks to everyone and it is sometimes wrong to mention names as it is easy to offend someone by leaving other names out accidently, so I will leave that job to Paddy, but to me Nigel & James worked tirelessly with their rescue crews keeping the water side flowing nicely, Jenny March, Jan & Pete Barnes, organising the galley together with a host of other helpers, Sue Hazell driving over each day from Nanstallon to help with the breakfasts. Andrew and Jenny Kendall’s tractor was one of the stars of the weekend, I think without it there would have been a lot more tired sailors who would have had to haul their boats up themselves.

The sun shone not only on Porthpean but also the Osprey fleet, oh yes, our famous pasty boat was left ashore not to be used this time. The lack of early breeze put paid to that, but what a small price to pay for such marvellous weather.

July 16th
racing-June 29th
Where has the wind gone?
Now how can I put this? Last nights racing was …….. interesting / frustrating / annoying / disappointing, take your pick, but for me it was all 4 and maybe a few more as well.

After weeks of some exciting racing conditions we were thrust back into not quite so exciting conditions. The wind for most of the day had been up about 10-12 knots, south westerly, but quite noticeably was starting to fade away. Couple that with a flat sea and we had all the ingredients for a fine summer evening’s race. Unfortunately the day promised much but the evening delivered very little. Dennis & Sue Dazza took the RIB and surprisingly set quite a large course. The first thing that we noticed was that the wind had now swung from a south westerly to a north westerly, which gave us a beat from the Blackhead direction into the beach marks. The breeze was still moving around a little and by the time the start gun went had produced a severe port hand bias on the start line. Enough to tempt most of the fleet to start on port.

We were joined this evening by Paddy and Anna who have borrowed Simon Pryce’s Osprey for the weekend’s Nationals. Yes that’s right Anna; she has flown home from Oman, especially to race in the Nationals and it was really nice to see her again, still looking as young as ever. It’s not until you see an Osprey close up that you start to appreciate its size. At 19ft long it dwarfs most of our dinghies and it also has quite a turn of speed to match. Back in the 1960s there were good fleets of them at Cornish Clubs, Newquay, Restronguet, Looe, Rock and Mounts Bay. Nowadays, Mounts Bay is the only Cornish Club that has a fleet and hopefully some of that fleet will be sailing here at their Nationals.

And so to the racing; the start line was very congested with at least half the fleet aiming for the favoured port hand start. Nigel & Steve in their RS400 with a bit of weaving through the starboard tackers were the first to hit clear air, likewise Roger Williams in his Blaze, Paddy & Anna and Ken & me. For once Ken & I had the pleasure of being first round the beach marks and began our slow crawl up the first reach, whisker pole extended trying to keep the others behind us. Not surprisingly the RS with spinnaker drawing took the lead for the start of the 2nd beat. The slower fleet further back were quite tightly bunched and I did hear quite a lot of shouting as they converged on the beach marks, but in the early stages no one appeared to have a large lead, though Andrew & Jenny Kendall appeared to be having the best of the 3 Scorpions that were out and Tom Bittle having the best of the Lasers, with John Hill in his Supersofa high in the mix.

The breeze on the 2nd beat really started to fade and we settled down into crawl mode and we were more than surprised when Nigel & Steve rounded the beach marks first without a shortened course being made. Surely there wasn’t enough wind to sail the triangle again? We were hoping to slot into 2nd place on the beach mark rounding when we had to give way to the starboard approaching Osprey. “Oh dear” or something like that came out of my lips as 2 tacks later we managed to crawl past the 2nd beach mark and then the RIB shot off to position itself at the next mark with a shorten course flag flying. To make matters worse the entire slow fleet homed in on the beach marks in the start of the breeze having a 2nd wind and they started to sail through our fleet. John Hill made the most of this, unfortunately I don’t have any results to guide me as I write this but I would say that John probably took the win in the slow handicap fleet race, and I think the Kendalls maintained their lead over the Scorpions but maybe the star of the fleet was Nick Haskins, who beat the young hot shots of Tom & James over the line.

In our fleet, Roger who we had made a lot of ground on, benefitted from the new breeze and sailed up through us to take a good win & I think we may have finished 2nd as we were only a few minutes behind Nigel and Paddy. Chris & Tony initially way back also sailed up on the new breeze to take 3rd. So good news for some and bad news for others, but there you are, all part of life’s rich tapestry and it will be the sort of race that we will probably remember for quite a while.

After paddling back to the shore it was a long haul up to the field as we were emptying the yard ready for the Nationals. Ken & I managed the Tasar all the way unaided and it was really hard going; not the sort of conditions that I could put up with for long. It did make a pint and a couple of bacon butties more appealing though. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera down last night so have had to use a picture taken a while ago for window dressing in this blog.

July 13th
racing-June 29th
A hard day at sea
Well for the 3rd sailing session in a row we have had very fresh north westerlies to contend with and I think that today’s offering was the strongest of them all, so no wonder that there were several capsizes to keep the RIB occupied. Once again the bay looked idyllic when we showed up to ready ourselves for today’s races, with a very flat looking sea but accompanied by the tell tale bomb blasts down at the waters edge. Still by now we are becoming acclimatised to it. Indeed when Ken & I first launched we were sailing out very serenely towards the beach marks, before the first gust caught us. In no time at all it was full on planing, with spray flying and water rushing past the hull. Yes welcome back to full on sailing. By the time we arrived at the starting area, it was full on strong gusts. You almost had to be there to comprehend how blowy it was but looking at the historical graphs from Polruan weather station showed the wind strength to be around the 25 knots the entire day.

Steve Wingrove and Shane took the RIB today, and I noticed that they were both wearing dry suits which given the conditions were a “must have” item of clothing if they wanted to stay dry and warm. Maybe the stronger conditions were enough to put some off as our fleet was down to 10, but again we were missing several due to holidays or other events. With both Jeremy & Suzanne and Paddy & Steve away the fast handicap fleet was rather depleted but the heavy weight crew of Dennis & Brian were licking their lips at the prospect of some heavy weather sailing and they weren’t disappointed. There was enough bias on the line to tempt us into a port hand start and as the gun went we were off and crossed the fleet. We should have tacked when we were windward of the fleet but instead held onto a long port tack before we headed for the beach marks. Well that was a mistake as out in front of us popped Dennis & Brian and also the flying Scorpion of Steve & Polly. By the end of the first round we were closing fast on Dennis. Steve & Polly, in the meantime, found the 2nd reach too close for their spinnaker and in dropping it found themselves in all sorts of trouble, which I think included a capsize, effectively dropping down to near last in their fleet.

Dennis & Brian, enjoying the beats, extended their lead and it wasn’t until the very last beat when the wind died down a little that we started to close them down again but not enough to prevent them from taking a good win. I think at one time both Beacky & Kelvin and Simon Robbins were both capsized at the gybe mark. Simon made the best of his recovery and went on to take a win. His capsize wasn’t too much of a problem as all the rest of the slow fleet succumbed to swimming at one time or other apart from Andrew & Jenny, they were pushed down to 4th place by just 1 second by the fast charging Beacky & Kelvin. James, too, had a swim or two but he finished less that 20 seconds behind Simon on corrected time. We had to keep looking back at Jan & Pete in their Kestrel, who kept powering along and managed to finish in front of the Chris & Tony, who were finding the conditions very challenging.

It was much of the same for the afternoon race and this time we were joined by Stacey & Lucy and Stewart & Sue Dazza, so 5 Tasars on the water for a change. Janet and Pete called it a day after the morning race. The conditions appeared this time to be even more challenging than in the morning, the gusts were far stronger. This time, one or two others decided to take the port start challenge, one of those being Stacey. However he was far too early and was called back by the RIB. Unfortunately for them, confusion reigned in the boat and as Stacey turned back I noticed that the jib was still cleated, which was enough in the strong breeze to roll them in. I was very impressed with Stacey’s agility as he was over the side and onto the plate in an instant but even so couldn’t prevent the boat from turning turtle, and effectively out of the race. Stewart & Sue found the conditions far too extreme for them and decided at the end of the first beat to sail to the shore, calling it a day. By the time we reached the beach marks it was once again the Tasar of Dennis & Brian heading the fleet closely followed by Steve & Polly in their Scorpion. Once their spinnaker was up they were flying and Ken & I lying 3rd had a job to stay with them. Our down wind speed eventually prevailed and we started the next beat in the lead, only to be overhauled once again by Steve & Polly, who when they rake their rig right back can out point my Tasar by several degrees, like wise when Dennis & Brian use their weight upwind they too out point us considerably. Our dicing went on for a couple of rounds until we struck lucky on the 3rd beat. A good sustained lift put us well ahead of both Steve & Dennis and the subsequent reaches saw us extend our lead even more, giving us a good enough lead to take our first win of the day. Fortunately for us our lead was enough to hold off Dennis as they too had a very good sustained lift on the last beat that halved our lead. Chris & Tony, managed to avoid the dreaded capsize and sailed home into 3rd position.

Steve & Polly’s speed in the slow handicap fleet was far too good for the rest and they rectified their poor first race with a good win this time. Simon, this time, had to settle for 2nd, but was still sailing well enough to beat James in his Laser radial by over a minute on corrected time. James finished 4th on the water one behind Beacky & Kelvin, but took 3rd place on corrected time, pushing Beacky down into 4th who in the end finished just 30 seconds in front of the Kendalls. It was a very tired fleet that eventually sailed ashore.

My day was marred by a runaway safety boat in the yard, that smashed a hole in the transom of my boat. Fortunately the hole is above the water line and can be covered for Wednesday’s race, before the “time out” for the Osprey Nationals takes place, when a more permanent repair can be affected. Yes the Osprey Nationals which have been on the calendar for well over a year are almost upon us and with an entry of almost 40 looks like being a very busy time for the Club. Once again the membership is pulling together, though I think there is still a need for some volunteers for the catering side of the event, so if not already committed and you want to help then please contact James ASAP. On Wednesday night after sailing, all the boats will be taken into the field, which will give us an empty yard, ready for the marquees and RIBs etc. There is a work party scheduled for tonight, Monday, to cut the grass and tidy up, so again help will be much appreciated.

July 9th
Sailing with Dolphins
Who’d have thought it, but last Sunday’s strong wind racing was just a warm up for last night. The wind direction was almost identical, but had a bit more northerly in it but last night the gusts were stronger and hit with very little warning and what was worse was the sudden change of direction, especially as we closed with the beach marks. Just to prove my point there was a higher than average number of capsizes. Needless to say it was back to wet suit clothing, my shorts stayed in my sailing bag.

Sue & I spent quite a bit of time on Wednesday over at Newquay and looking at the white on the sea out there prepared me for another night of non sailing. The wind was gusting over the sea at anything up to 30 knots. Mind you it had provided a good surf as could be seen from the dozens of surfers out in the bay. Arriving back home I could see that our sea was looking much flatter and there was a distinct lack of white horses close to the shore. Checking our web cam showed a very flat sea with gusts of wind blowing out to sea, though the Polruan weather site showed wind strength of around 30 knots. Not to be too put off I set off for the Club with my sailing bag packed and ready to be greeted by the normal breezy offshore conditions. The sight of one or two boat covers coming off looked promising. Now normally the breeze dies down as the evening progresses and that is exactly what happened on Tuesday for the Capsize Club. Expecting that to happen lulled us all into a false sense of security and the decision was made to sail.

The fresher conditions did mean a smaller fleet but nevertheless 11 boats took to the race course and yes as we left the shore and sailed into the fresher breeze the full power of the wind could be felt. But we were not alone!! A pod of dolphins were delighted to see us out in their territory and what a marvellous front row sight we had of these magnificent creatures as they leapt out of the water almost alongside our boats and they even appeared to be grinning at us as they played with us.

Liz, back for her summer holidays, and Shane took the RIB, for what proved to be quite a busy night for them. They set a good sized starboard hand course and only about 15 minutes late we set off for the ride of our lives – well not quite that dramatic, but even so stronger conditions than we expecte . The Paddy & Steve combo in their last race before the B14 Nationals this weekend in Paignton and Jeremy & Suzanne in their Tasar both elected to start on port, but this was completely the wrong decision as virtually all the “on time” starboard tackers” sailed in front of them. Dennis and Brian in only their 2nd outing this year used their extra weight to good effect on the first beat, but that wasn’t enough to stay in front of Jeremy who despite his poor start had enough boat speed to lead at the beach marks. We arrived there not too far back and just managed to pass Dennis before the gybe mark. Meanwhile Paddy & Steve started the reach in 4th place but the speed of the B14 was enough to slot into 2nd place at the gybe mark. In fact the 3 of us at that time could almost jump from boat to boat if we had so wanted, we were that close. A little further back in our fleet, Jan & Pete thundered along in their Kestrel and Steve Wingrove perched way out on his wings as he fought to keep control. The upwind legs were hard work, but the down wind legs were fantastic, especially when the breeze piped up in the right direction. It’s difficult at times to describe the thrill of down wind sailing, but last night we had that thrill in spades.

So far so good, all 11 boats were still upright, with the Scorpions of Andrew & Jenny and Beacky & Kelvin, Simon in his Supernova, James in his Laser radial were powering along in the strong wind. It was even good to see Clive Stephens, who can only sail on Wednesdays also sailing in what must have been for him the strongest wind strengths this season and keeping his boat upright until……; well I don’t know what happened but he suddenly appeared in my eye sight with a broken mast and his evening ended being towed in by the RIB. Meanwhile there were capsizes for most of the fleet. Beacky had 2, James at least one and Paddy & Steve flipped in at one of the gybe marks as did Dennis & Brian. Jeremy almost went at the beach marks, his boat taking on a lot of water and we had a scary moment at the gybe mark when a routine gybe almost went horribly wrong. Like an idiot I had my tiller extension sticking up too far in the air as the boom swung across and collided with it, knocking it clean out of my hand, but what made matters worse was the extension then became caught between the boom and the mainsail. It now became a matter of survival as the boat did a complete pirouette. I managed to free the tiller extension and then we put in another gybe to resume our course, phew that was a very close one.

Steve Wingrove ended up as another casualty. He too capsized but in the process of getting the boat upright, the rudder came off. Even with assistance from the RIB he still couldn’t re fit it and so the mainsail was dropped and he too was towed back to base. I have to admit it but as the race went on we certainly struggled on the beats. The wind which we expected to die down seemed to have reinvented itself. I think the sight of seeing so many of the fleet struggling gave it a 2nd wind as it vented its fury at us all. Thank goodness after enduring 5 beats our punishment was almost over. I say almost because we still had to endure the more erratic wind shifts as we neared the shore, but at least as we neared the beach the ferocity slowly eased and we ended up almost drifting in. I was relieved!! Bacon butties and a drink were waiting.

This weekend sees Finn & Jeremy Whale move off to Weymouth for the 2nd event of a windsurfing competition, before Suzanne and Finn venture further afield to Brest for the International Youth Windsurfing Championships, so we wish both cadets the very best of luck and more importantly have an enjoyable time.

July 6th
ready to go sailing
Fresh winds, showers and sunshine
Sorry if this seems rushed but I am rushing as today, Monday, Sue & I are going to Newton Abbot races, so only have about an hour to spare. We’ve never been there before but have had an invitation to go so decided to say yes and we have a train to catch in just over an hour.

Yesterday was the July Cup and so was a 3 race series. That on its own isn’t too bad but couple it with a very lively offshore breeze and I came home feeling absolutely shattered, so much so that I only felt like sitting down and watching a little TV which included the end of Wimbledon, highlights of the Tour de France, courtesy of Yorkshire and a recorded version of the British GP.

Anyway here we are with another bright sunny day, just as it was yesterday and anyone looking out to sea would have seen a very sparkling looking stretch of water and setting off from the beach it looked so peaceful and welcoming, so much so that once again my sailing shorts were preferred to my wetsuit. However once out by the beach marks and beyond we could soon tell that the breeze had plenty of meat to it and concentration would be of the utmost importance. As per usual there were some big swings in the wind direction and strength, especially as we approached the beach marks area. The subsequent down wind legs gave some delicious planing reaches, and the spray was flying

Once again we were bedevilled by a small fleet, although the fast handicap had 6 boats in the fleet so competition was pretty keen. It was an ideal time for Paddy & Steve to hone their skills on the B14 as next weekend will see them up at Paignton sailing in the B14 Nationals. Chris Bilkey & Colin took the RIB for us today and set quite a good sized triangle which we were delegated to sail as an Olympic course, which included a long run in the gusty offshore conditions. Incidentally Chris was once more taking plenty of photographs as he had done the week previously and the day before for the Youth Regatta. These are extremely good quality pictures and there is a link to them all from the gallery page on our front page. Go and have a look and you may see what I mean when I say that it was rather fresh & gusty, although sometime pictures alone don’t tell the entire story.

An extra buoy was laid for the afternoon races giving us a Trapezoid course and a little bit of variety. The fact that it was partially under the cliffs made life interesting at times, especially if the wind had died a little, making progress painfully slow, but it did give us an extra reach and when the wind was favourable was delight as the water there was even flatter than on the main part of the race course.

Now so much happened over the course of the day’s sailing that I cannot write about everything. There were some capsizes, some turns, some retirements and some breakages. Those who escaped unscathed were lucky. Ken & I managed to avoid a capsize but suffered a partial breakage when the whisker pole fitting jammed on the mast bracket, preventing it from coming off. A huge bit of brutal treatment saw it twisted free but unusable for the rest of the racing on the first of the afternoon races and we had to sail any subsequent runs as a series of broad reaches.

Paddy & Steve lost one of their tiller extensions during a moment of out of control but fortunately Janet found it poking up through the water as if it was a submarine periscope and managed to retrieve it. Yes the morning race certainly took its toll and several of our racers called it a day. We even had one or two heavy showers to contend with but at least they were useful to wash any salt form the sails. Incidentally the beach smells appallingly at the moment as dead seaweed is rotting away. Hopefully the spring tides which are approaching later this week will remove the worst of it. There are still jelly fish out in the bay. Once again we didn’t have any mishaps but several did and Paddy Had remnants of collisions with some still on his new dagger board.

So a quick recap; Jeremy & Suzanne once again dominated the fleet with 3 wins out of 3, we managed 2 second places and Paddy Managed a 2nd in the race where we lost time when having to deal with the broken whisker pole fitting. Andrew & Jenny had an easier ride in their much depleted fleet winning all 3 races. Jeremy Rowett, just returned from another mammoth holiday found his Supernova quite difficult to control and elected to take the Club Laser for the afternoon races, but found that just as difficult to control and soon retired. It was good to see Craig & Jake tackle the morning races in their Scorpion but one race was enough as they too were seen to be struggling.

July 3rd
Taking the RIB down to the beach
A good turnout but light winds again
I'll just start off by wishing my daughter, Sarah, a Happy 38th Birthday today, not that she will read this, but it certainly makes Sue & me feel older than we want to be.

How ironical that after the superb sailing conditions last Sunday, that within 3 days we were back to a rather turgid south easterly moving to a southerly breeze. What’s more the crystal clear, flat waters of Sunday were replaced by a dark and lumpy sea, festooned with sea weed that was piling up on the beach. However that wasn’t enough to deter 16 boats and a wind surfer from launching for a nice summer’s evening race. Once again the start sequence was delayed to allow some stragglers to get off the beach, which was frustrating for the majority who were sailing around the start line checking bias etc. Even so at least 2 of the stragglers missed the start, which probably ruined any hope of success for them. The accompanying fine weather was good enough for me to once more leave my wetsuit in the bag and don my shorts. Even the spray top seemed a bit OTT but as the evening drew on and the sun dropped then I was glad I still had that on.

Jeremy & Suzanne were our RIB drivers tonight and they had managed to leave work at Hayle in enough time to get to Porthpean, prepare the RIB, change and launch and get the course set and be on station for a prompt start; well done. Of the 16 boats to launch, by far the biggest number were the Laser fleet with 5 of them, unfortunately 2 of those number were guilty of a late start, so late that they eventually ran out of wind and paid a frustrating price for their tardiness.

For those of us out in good time we noticed that there was a very generous wind swing to favour a port end flyer and tempting as it was I could see that a number of others were eying it up as well. In fact there were too many for comfort for me so elected to start on starboard right by the pin and hope to prevent the port hand tackers from gaining the initial advantage. With about 15 seconds to the gun I realised that we were slightly ahead of schedule and so a frantic boat slowing exercise went on which just slowed us enough to stay on the right side of the line before the gun went and then we were off, pulling immediately into a lead, closely followed by Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. Our 2 star Laser sailors, James and Finn and Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion were caught on the port tack melee and were effectively stopped in their tracks, though Beacky managed to keep his momentum, sail behind the fleet and pop out into clear wind.

We were first boat to arrive at the windward mark, followed by the B14 of Paddy & tonight Nigel. The Kendalls made the most of their good start to slip in ahead of Beacky and Chris & Tony were also up there in the mix too. Well the wind was very light, only about 2 knots, with only enough drive for one on the side deck upwind and both of us on opposite sides of the boat down wind. However there was enough breeze for Paddy’s spinnaker to fly and they started to hunt us down, closing right up by the end of the first triangle and passing us on the next beat. There were 3 Scorpions out racing tonight, but the real battle turned out to be the old rivalry of Beacky & Kelvin against the Kendalls with the lead between those 2 swopping around, Beacky being much faster downwind but the Kendalls slightly faster upwind, or so it appeared to me. Eventually Beacky & Kelvin taking the slow fleet victory, on a shortened course, by some 24 seconds, which in distance in the ultra light breeze was no more than 4 or 5 boat lengths. They were followed by 2 Supersofas; Simon finishing 3rd and now about to depart for the Supernova Nationals which start this weekend – Good Luck Simon, and in 4th place Colin Wainwright in only his 2nd or 3rd outing this season. Kay & Craig, first time out this season in Kay’s Scorpion were some 2 ½ minutes adrift of the other 2 Scorpions in 5th place, just in front of the first of the 3 surviving Lasers, the first of those being Finn, followed by James and then Clive.

There were only 4 competitors in the so called fast handicap fleet, and the ultra light conditions certainly didn’t suit Jan & Pete who struggled to get their heavy Kestrel up to speed and out of the clutches of some of the slower fleet. Chris & Tony were initially well up in the fleet and for a time looked good for 2nd place but somehow had a very slow 3rd round and that effectively dropped them behind the B14 on corrected time. Our first triangle leading the B14 was enough to ensure that our corrected time gave us the outright win.

Reaching shore was a nightmare experience, due to the vast amount of weed in the surf. It was very cloying and clinging and as Ken said “It was like walking through treacle”. This is a good time to say a big thank you to Shane and Richard Austin who gallantly dragged heavily weeded launching trolleys across the beach as we waited in the water and then helped pull the boats out of the water. Also a big thankyou to Shane for taking over so gallantly from Jenny by making all the bacon butties that we consume after the sailing. Bacon butties after Wednesday sailing has become such a ritual now that we almost take it for granted, but it does take time to prepare and it is also a good earner for the galley, so THANK YOU Shane and Richard.

Although last night was a pretty good turnout we are still way down on last year. The other downside of that is that there are less people to share the duties with, so last year the average number of duties that we did were about 5. However this season I think we will all have to do a few more, which is rather unfortunate. It’s rather a shame that we can’t find someone who would be quite happy running the RIB more often. Time keeping on Wednesdays isn’t too difficult to find volunteers for, but again not so easy for Sundays, when running the galley is also an extra chore. It appears that there are no volunteers for this Sunday, so names out of a hat may be necessary unless someone comes down and decides that the conditions on the day don’t suit them and they would be happy to run the races.

June 29th
Sailing Team
A good fleet and fair wind, what more could we want?
We sail for about 9 months of the year in quite a variety of weather. Some conditions are more exciting than others but occasionally we get a really exceptional day, and today was one of those exceptional days. Sunny all day long, a north westerly with its shifts and gusts all day long and superb courses all day long. I think the helms and crews of the 16 boats that raced today would wholeheartedly agree. At the end of the day it was the usual faces at the top of the leader boards, but most of us enjoyed many aspects of the racing. I came home feeling absolutely shattered and had to sit quietly for several minutes trying to regain my composure. Without a doubt I had put my body through more exercise than it normally gets and its not just physical work there is plenty of mental exertion taking its toll as well as concentration needs to be 100% all the time. No wonder there was quite a body of members sitting around the decking in the afternoon sunshine after the racing, relaxing and taking in the stunning views that we are so lucky to have from Porthpean. Never, ever take it for granted; we are some of the luckiest people in the Country to have all this on our doorsteps and no doubt in the years to come there will be all sorts of demands from politicians to build even more housing that slowly and surely will erode our present lifetstyles. Enjoy it while you can, and enjoy it I did. Once again my wet suit was left in my bag and once again my sailing shorts allowed my legs to dazzle anyone who cared to look. The down side of wearing the shorts is that my legs get no protection whatsoever from anything that I may bang against whilst sailing. Fortunately I came away this time unscathed. The breeze was fresh enough to keep the spray top on, so I did manage to stay nice and warm throughout.

Several members had quite a rude shock this morning when the starting sequence started smack on time with half the fleet still faffing around on the beach or had just launched. Nevertheless there still enough people on the start line ready to start at the appointed time. However the race team took pity on the stragglers and the starting sequence was abandoned to wait for the latecomers. Chris Bilkey and Shane took the RIB today and judging the conditions well set a superb large course giving us a beat from the Blackhead direction to the beach marks. Judging the beat wasn’t easy as in normal Porthpean fashion the wind leaving the shore had its own mind on direction and strength in sufficient quantities to test us all.

The start line had a nice bit of port bias on it but somehow we talked ourselves out of trying it as we judged the line a little on the short side. Not so Jeremy & Suzanne and Beacky & Kelvin, both had a go at port starting and both got away with it, so much so they both arrived at the beach marks ahead of the rest of us. Ken & I slotted into 3rd with Paddy & Steve in the B14 just a little further back. The first reach was rather broad and it was enough to prevent us from passing the Scorpion until just before the gybe mark. The following close reach was enough for the Tasar to plane away and for us to try and catch Jeremy & Suzanne, a task not made easy by them having their own private gust of wind whilst we were crawling along with the Scorpion. Eventually the B14 overtook us and started to pull away, but only for a short while before a capsize stopped them dead in the water and put paid to any hopes they had of getting a good result. Of more concern to us was Roger in his Blaze, lurking not too far behind as he was revelling in the downwind legs, but he revelled too much at one of the gybe marks and his capsize also ended his hopes of beating us.

Beacky & Kelvin’s good start gave them a much needed boost and they finished well ahead of the 2 Lasers of James and Finn. Even the very generous handicap of the Lasers wasn’t enough on corrected time leaving them trailing the Scorpion by some 2 minutes. Unfortunately Andrew & Jenny did fall to the Lasers, despite beating them on the water, like wise Martin & Sarah in their Scorpion fell behind, neatly split by Nick in his Laser.

There was quite a change in personnel and the course for the afternoon. Stewart fresh from his storming win with Sue Dazza last week became her guest helm, whilst Pascal is recovering from bruised ribs (she packs a mighty strong punch!) took their Tasar out. Simon Robbins, home on three weeks leave rigged his Supernova and Luke Bilkey who has spent months honing his wind surfing skills took out the Club Laser to try his luck against the lasers of James and Finn. The course was left unchanged but for this race we had to do triangles and sausages, just to add some more spice to the mix and also an aid to the spinnaker boats.

Again there was enough port bias on the line to tempt a few to have a go at a port start but this time they were rumbled as several of us started much further down the line to thwart them. Paddy & Steve came out of the blocks and stormed up the first beat to be first at the beach marks as did Jan & Pete, who had a blinder of a first beat, even beating Jeremy to the beach marks and us a little further back. The Kestrel’s spinnaker gave enough power to leave us Tasar sailors snapping at their heals. I think Jeremy passed them during the first round but we were held off until the 3rd beat when fortune smiled on us and suddenly thrust us past not only the Kestrel but also Jeremy. Well that lead was taken from us on the next beat but we still had a good battle with Jeremy as our down wind speed was better than normal today.

Apres Sail
Stewart & Sue had a very poor start until they suddenly clicked into gear and took great gains out of Chris & Tony, before passing them to beat them by some 3 minutes, What went wrong there? Paddy & Steve sailed round the course virtually on their own, their only enemy was the clock which on corrected time pushed them down to 3rd. Jan & Pete despite having 2 exceptional rounds found enough snakes to drop them down into 5th just behind Roger in his Blaze. It was interesting watching Roger’s downwind technique on a broad reach in his Blaze. He takes the marriage proposal stance, kneeling on one knee to keep the his weight in the centre to keep the boat balanced.

Now for the slow fleet; The repeat of Beacky’s impressive morning start on port this time went horribly wrong, caught by the majority of the starboard tacked fleet, dropped them out of contention giving them a very difficult first beat. They recovered well to be first slow handicap boat on the water, but it wasn’t enough and they dropped to 3rd on corrected time. Sailing very impressively, the win went to Luke sailing in his first race of the year. He beat the next Laser, sailed by James by just over 3 minutes and also beat Simon’s Supersofa into 2nd place by some 44 seconds, again on corrected time. I think Andrew swopped Scorpions with Sarah, which allowed Sarah to make up for a disappointing morning race and this time beat Dad by some 3 minutes. Another capsize casualty was Nick who lost enough time to drop him down to 7th.

Yes there were a few capsizes out there today and we too very nearly succumbed to one when nearing the beach marks the wind suddenly backed hard on us and I was left sitting in the water, fully expecting the boat to roll in on us, but my buoyancy aid and Ken’s quick movement saved us from that most undignified event and we sailed on as though nothing had happened. One bonus of having Chris Bilkey in the RIB is that he usually he carries his very good quality camera and he could be seen snapping away at most of us as we passed him. Hopefully he will send me a copy of the pictures and I will create a gallery page for this year and display them on there for all to see.

June 25th
Sailing Team
Bad news - it's a south easterly
The current heat wave that I think we have all enjoyed for over the last fortnight is set to disappear and as part of the change, we were given a strong south easterly wind blowing during the day and anyone who had looked at the web cam during the day would have been well prepared for the site that greeted us when we arrived at the Club last night. Strangely enough it didn’t look too bad and I think launching would have been possible if you took your chance when lulls occurred between the waves, but with the tide well up onto the slipway there wasn’t much manoeuvre room if something went wrong. The biggest chance for trouble would have come when we returned to the beach and although the tide was dropping there was still enough strength in the waves to cause problems if the landing went wrong. It was no surprise then when the “postponement to sail another day” flags went up and the bar opened instead.

Although there was no action at Porthpean there had been plenty of action down at Restronguet over the last few days with James coming 3rd in the Laser Open Meeting on Sunday and Finn & Poppy representing Roselyon school winning for the 2nd year running the Pico double handed class and Charlie, representing Chatlestown school, coming 6th in his Topper class; a very good effort guys, well done to all.

I was waiting until today to write this and as I look out of the window the first rain drops for over 2 weeks are falling down out of the sky. I know the parched grass and the gardens in general need it, but I think I prefer the blue skies, sun and heat of the summer. Hopefully this is only a blip and in theory we still have several months left when we can expect some much better weather. Mind you it is Glastonbury this weekend so the rain hasn’t come as a surprise.

Just to bring us all back to reality the Osprey Nationals start 3 weeks on Saturday, so here is an early plea. If you don't expect to sail between now and then could you please come down and take your boat into the field as the yard will need to be cleared. Finally, today is Ken’s Birthday. I won’t embarrass him by disclosing his age, but he is considerably younger than me, so Happy Birthday Ken.

June 22nd
England Coach
Tortured by lack of wind
Well let’s get the football out of the way first. After all the hype about how good the England payers were, the truth has finally sunk in and the reality is that they are not very good at all. No doubt some of them are quite skilful players but as a team England is just not good enough, well not this year that’s for sure.

We have been very fortunate to have had 2 weeks of superb weather. We have had plenty of sunny days, coupled with very warm temperatures, with plenty of breeze inland but very little on the coast and today the weather fell into that familiar pattern. We arrived at the Club in a blaze of sunshine, but also a glazed sea surface; from a windless sea. It wasn’t too long before the postponement flag was flown and an early lunch was planned in order to get 2 races in back to back as early as possible if the wind band, visible far out to sea came our way. By 13.00 a very light breeze rippled the sea surface and one or two boats launched and crept out to sea in the lightest of breezes. Like it or not racing was about to take place, for a decimated fleet when only 10 boats launched. For once Ken & I weren’t too upset as we were designated duty boys for the day. I manned the race box whilst Ken & Shane took the RIB.

It was really good to welcome Stewart down with his Tasar. The boat hasn’t been in the water for 2 years, but still looks as good as the day it came out of Kim’s workshop 20 years ago. It was also nice to see the boat dressed in Dacron rather than the plastic sails we all fly nowadays and in truth didn’t slow him down at all. It was also a first outing today for Colin, but I knew that he wouldn’t enjoy the conditions as they were far too light to enjoy for anyone.

I think it was also another first for Chris & Tony reaching the windward mark before anyone else. They also went on to win on corrected time by the smallest of margins – 1 second in front of Paddy & Steve in the B14, with Stewart and Sue Dazza finishing 3rd. Steve Wingrove’s race was completely ruined when he became moored up to the beach mark at the end of the start line. That and the resultant 360 dropped him way down the results. Colin in his Supernova was the first to finish in the slow handicap, but unfortunately his handicap figure dropped him down into 5th leaving the 2 Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin and Andrew & Jenny in the first 2 positions just ahead of our visitor Laura Smith who sailed into 3rd just one place in front of Nick.

The 2nd race was marred by even a lighter breeze than the first race. The early advantage went Beacky and Kelvin’s way as they crossed most of the fleet on port but this time Paddy & Steve led at the first mark and managed to crawl round for 2 laps before we shortened yet their lead wasn’t enough and Stewart and Sue took their first win sailing together. Chris & Tony, stars of the first race, fell much further back in this race and only just finished on corrected time behind Paddy & Steve in 3rd place.

Steve Smith swopped over with Laura for the 2nd race and guided his Laser radial along in magnificent style and although finishing a minute or so behind Beacky had enough time in the bank to claim the win almost 4 minutes. Once again despite a long tuning session in the morning the Kendalls had to give 2nd best to Beacky by almost 2 minutes.

All things considered it was a terrible day for racing, with little enjoyment for anyone and I was more than pleased to be able to sit the racing out up in the Club house. Our fine summer weather is forecast to be with us for only a few more days but by Wednesday there is a chance that the breeze may be slightly stronger which I suspect will be more than welcome to all of us.

June 15th
waiting for the breeze
Best Wednesday racing conditions of the year so far.
“Oh ye of little faith”; Heard that one before? Well it applied to some of our members last night when they were greeted by the sight of a flat bay almost devoid of wind. It certainly looked like another night of non sailing. What breeze there was appeared to be a very light southerly, which showed every sign of fading to nothing as happened the previous evening for the capsize club. I too was one of the doubters that we would be able to sail but nevertheless the cover came off “Midnight Express” in the hope that things would improve. Not so Janet & Peter, who decided that dog walking would be a far better activity than drifting. In fact they left and came back when the hope of sailing looked possible, only to up sticks and depart again. The forecast was for a westerly breeze to kick in sometime, but before that could happen the present southerly wind would have to disappear. So the question was “Would the new breeze appear in time to save our racing? The first boats to launch showed that forward motion could be induced and whilst hoisting our sails on the beach the first signs of the new breeze appeared; now things were starting to look promising. Nick, Colin & John Hill were 3 more who decided that the conditions were too light and airy fairy for them. Suddenly it was clear that a good breeze was coming, but for them too late as there was no way they could prepare to sail and reach the sailing area in time so they had to content themselves with watching with envy as 13 of us revelled in superb conditions that improved by the minute.

Steve & Polly took charge of the Safety Boat tonight and for a while struggled to set a course as the new wind was playing very fickle, initially promising to be a north easterly, but veering to a north westerly every so often. Eventually the north westerly direction proved to be the breeze for us and after a bit of a delay the race started with a beat from out at sea into the beach marks with a starboard rounding. By the time we started the conditions were up to the champagne sailing mark. The wind strength was about 8-10 knots with some slightly stronger gusts and wind shifts thrown in for good measure and with a close reach coupled with a broader reach there was something for everyone. So good were the conditions that my sailing shorts once again graced the decks of the Tasar. A sweat shirt and spray top were all that were necessary to keep me warm and dry.

As per normal, after a congested start line, Jeremy & Suzanne lead round the beach marks at the first rounding, followed closely by us and then the B14 of Paddy & Steve, who just managed to pass us at the end of the 2nd reach when the benefit of their spinnaker finally closed the gap between us. The 3 of us pulled well away from the rest of the fleet who, looking back, appeared to be having lots of fun and close racing. Unfortunately there were 3 causalities at the beach mark rounding. Kay & Craig, making a very rare appearance, only the 3rd of the year so far, had some rigging issues and parked up for what seemed a long time to resolve them. Finn, had an uncharacteristic capsize, took a blow to his head and ended up being towed home and the Club RS Vago, under the stewardship of Shane and Clive flipped over, which then took an age to right again. Apart from those 3 boats the remainder of the fleet remained unscathed in what at times were quite gusty conditions.

The highlight of the night for James was beating the very experienced visitor Steve Smith to the beach marks first time round. In fact their little bunch included the 2 Scorpions of the Kendalls and Beacky & Kelvin, the Lasers of Steve & James and the Blaze of Steve Wingrove. I’m sure that I saw all 5 boats leading that group at some time or other, before the superior speed of Beacky & Kelvin’s Scorpion gradually took over, giving them line honours, but the race on corrected time fell neatly into the lap of Steve Smith, in his Laser radial, by a margin of almost 2 minutes. Beacky & Kelvin beat James by just over 20 seconds. It was a very good night for Charlie Austin in his Topper, although being in the slowest boat on the water still managed to take 4th place in front of the vastly experienced Kendalls and Kay & Craig.

All in all it proved a very good night for racing. It made some of us very happy and left those who decided not to sail ruing what might have been. To cap an almost perfect night for sailing we were greeted in the yard by the aroma of bacon being grilled, telling us that bacon butties were waiting for us. Unbelievably this spell of good weather still goes on with the promise of another 5 days or more to come. Will it tempt more sailors out this weekend? I would like to think so.

Now cast your minds back to the America’s Cup last year and you will probably remember the terrible day when “Bart” Simpson lost his life when he became trapped in the capsized catamaran’s rigging. Well to commemorate his life a Global sailing competition has been organised and on Sunday 21st September, sailing Clubs throughout the Country / World have been asked to organise a race in his memory. Here is the link to the web site telling you all about it. I have raised this with some of our Committee to see if Porthpean wants to get onboard by holding a race of our own. Have a look and let the committee have some feedback. You will find it following this link

June 15th
Where has the sun gone?
I don’t mean this to be sour grapes because we didn't do very well, although it might appear to be, but today’s sailing was probably the most boring racing that I have had to endure for ages. The breeze was so light as to be almost non existent, the direction was southerly which meant a 2 tack beat and endless plodding reaches in a fairly lumpy sea. What’s more the weather which on Saturday was nigh on perfect being cloudless, hot and sunny with a very nice breeze yet today it was very overcast though mild but certainly not beach weather with a very light breeze and to really put the kybosh on it we had some rain as we finished.

13 of us took to the race track with a course laid by our Safety Boat drivers of the day, Jan & Pete, who in my opinion were in the best place of all. Our fast fleet only numbered 4, with 2 Tasars up against the RS400 of Paddy & Nigel and the Blaze of Steve Wingrove. The slow fleet had more competition with 2 Scorpions and 5 Lasers plus a Mirror dinghy and a Topper.

The only excitement for us was the starts which worked out ok. I had decided that on the first race to start down the line a bit and sail out to sea where I hoped the breeze would be a little stronger; wrong decision. Our start was good and we were immediately in clean air, and were dropping Jeremy & Suzanne but the majority of the fleet including Jeremy tacked early and to our dismay Jeremy’s Tasar and the RS400 and Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion beat us to the first mark. To make matters even worse we fell further behind the Scorpion as it had the benefit of 2 spinnaker reaches to increase its lead over our lumbering Tasar. Pride was hurt and it took us till the 3rd and last beat to overtake them and beat them over the finishing line. Fortunately they are not in our fleet so no position lost there, but they did win their fleet by over 7 minutes on corrected time with Finn finishing 2nd, half a minute up on James, who pushed the Kendalls down to 4th.

Yes no doubt about it a Scorpion in light airs is a very formidable machine, especially the more modern version that Beacky now owns. It certainly has the legs over the Kendalls, especially down wind and that was even more obvious in the afternoon race when Beacky had to come from a long way behind to catch and pass the Kendalls after a very indifferent first beat, which saw him behind the first of the Laser radials. His poor first beat was costly though as he was beaten on corrected time by Steve Smith in his Laser radial. Steve & Laura Smith and family are down sailing with us again this year. Steve sails at Chew Valley where he is top dog in a very competitive fleet. Laura sailed in the morning race and Steve took the helm for the afternoon race.

The light stuff suited Fin today with him being the fastest of the Club Lasers, even challenging Steve on the downwind legs this afternoon and managing to pull well away from James. It looks like this year, though down on numbers, will feature battles between our top Laser sailors and top Scorpion sailors.

The best battle this afternoon was between Jeremy & Paddy. Undoubtedly the RS400 with 2 spinnaker reaches was the faster of the 2 boats but struggled upwind to pass and it wasn’t till late on the 2nd round 2nd reach before the RS managed to sail out of the wind shadow and take the lead and sail away to win on the water by a good margin, but 2 of the 5 rounds spent behind a Tasar was too much of a time to make up, which gave the win to Jeremy.

June 11th
Paddy & Steve -B14
A bad evening on the race course
Welcome back summer, we do like you and want you to stay for quite a few more weeks yet, though I know you will hide away occasionally. In all seriousness, we are entering the time of year when the weather becomes more settled and hopefully this fine spell may be the start of this year’s settled weather. However our weather hasn’t settled just yet. Today, Sue & I had our annual walk around the Gribben. The forecast was for sunshine on the coast with cloud inland and for once the forecast seemed spot on. We did the 2 hour walk in beautiful sunshine whereas St. Austell and the surrounding area appeared to be stuck under large dark clouds and indeed when we arrived home that was still the situation. During the day a fairly fresh southerly was blowing, which if had continued would have given excellent conditions for this evening’s race. BUT by the time we arrived at the Club the once majestic breeze was now a painful, fitful series of eddies. That wasn’t enough to fully deter us and I urged people to hurry and get changed and catch what was left of the breeze before the evening calm set in.

Tonight was another race devoid of any Scorpions, with our most keen crew, Andrew & Jenny promoted to Safety Boat drivers for the night. Well as they launched, the Safety Boat seemed like the best place to be, as our fitful breeze was so very, very light. Ken & I were amongst the first to launch and after a few minutes paddling we managed to catch the tiniest of zephyrs to crawl out to sea where the Safety Boat was waiting, with a course set to suit the conditions at the time. Fortunately the sea was as flat as the proverbial pancake, so any breeze that skimmed the sails could be converted into forward motion. Slowly the rest of the 13 boat fleet managed to get close to the beach marks, which was very helpful as the breeze, such as it was, decided to come from a north easterly direction and indicated a beat from the beach marks over towards Charlestown, a course that we don’t appear to have sailed before. Well as luck might have it we managed an almost perfect start. In fact only Jeremy / Suzanne and us were the only ones on the course side of the line after over a minute and in the almost non existent wind, things were looking very good indeed. However nothing goes as planned and within 10 minutes a new breeze started to come form behind and all those the wrong side of the start line, now headed to what was the first mark of the course, not on a beat but on a reach. Disaster for us, from a very strong leading position we slipped down the snakes and were one of the last boats to round that mark.

We slipped even further back on the next leg and started the proper beat as 6th boat in our class, and with Jeremy & Paddy / Steve in the B14 way out in front things looked very bleak indeed. The breeze had settled by now into a north westerly and a good beat saw us pass Chris & Tony & Jan & Pete and brought us up very close to Roger in his Blaze, but our night of bad luck seemed to continue as just before the beach marks we sliced through a jelly fish. That brought the boat to a near standstill, but even worse stopped us from making the mark. 2 extra tacks dropped us quite a way behind Roger, but still nicely in front of Chris & Tony & Jan & Pete. Well I won’t go into all the ins and outs, but by the final round the breeze was starting to fade and as we started the last beat we were only just behind Roger. In desperation I tacked off, taking a chance on the right hand side of the beat – fatal. Not only did we drop further behind Roger but in the last half of the beat we also dropped behind the Kestrel & Chris & Tony. Roger took 2nd overall and the Kestrel finished 3rd, just 6 seconds in front of the B14 on corrected time, Chris & Tony 4th and us 5th. It was certainly a bad day at the office for us, when so much promise turned into so much disappointment. Still, over the last 4 years, I’ve survived a heart attack and learnt to walk again after a ruptured Achilles tendon, so to me a bad race in fickle winds, is quite low in the great scheme of things.

The slow fleet was quite thin on the ground tonight, made up only of Lasers and glory here went to Finn, making it a Hawkins evening race with the fast fleet dominated by Jeremy & Suzanne and the slow fleet by Finn, though James who had a very poor start looked for quite a while as though he was going to take the victory, but lost out on the last beat in the fading wind when Finn sailed past him. James too had a bad day on the race track. Clive Stephens was left to bring up the rear but nevertheless was less than a minute behind.

I don’t think that we were the only ones to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time as Steve Wingrove in his Blaze was left becalmed for quite a while before the north westerly reached him, leaving him with far too much to do before he could make any inroads into the rest of the fleet. It was also encouraging for Pascal & Sue to finish another race, the learning curve is steep but nevertheless they are climbing it and as Del boy used to say “This time next year Bruv, we’ll be ………….”

June 8th
Simon Robins
Another hard day at sea
A typical Cornish summer day greeted us as we arrived at Porthpean for the last 2 races of the spring series. Summer? More like autumn; instead of the blue skies and sunshine of last week we were back to the more common, grey sky coupled with a very fresh southerly, cool wind blowing. The wind was strong enough to produce white horses, out by the mussel farms and the Polruan weather station showed gusts of up to 30 knots. Nevertheless it didn’t look too bad in our race area and without too much persuasion the boat covers were taken off our dinghies as we readied for what promised to be a hard day’s sailing. Jan & Pete were our safety boat drivers for the day and I felt almost envious of them sitting in the RIB, tossed about in the waves rather than being blown around on the sea. However the wind, strong as it was, was quite steady which made the boats far easier to sail than in the gusty winds of Wednesday. We also had the added bonus of a nice little swell for us to surf down on the 2nd reach which brought us back to the beach marks.

In the event 13 boats launched for the first race, which under the circumstances was a first class effort and for a nice change the Tasars had the biggest turnout with 4 of us racing. Our fleet was completed by the RS400 of Paddy & Steve and the Blaze of Steve Wingrove. The slow fleet had the 2 Scorpions of Beacky & Kelvin and that of Andrew & Jenny Kendall, plus the 2 lasers of James and Finn and the Supersofa of Simon. Unfortunately 2 other boats rigged on the beach, launched and soon went home again, fearing that the wind was stronger then it actually was.

The start line was very heavily biased for a starboard end start, causing quite a bit of congestion and shouting, but remarkably everyone got away without any problems. Initially it was a Tasar procession with the Hawkins, the Brays and us rounding the windward mark in front of Paddy & Steve. It didn’t take long for the RS400 to pass Stacey and us but took 2 laps before they could pass Jeremy. I was pleased with our down wind speed and made it tell on the 2nd reach when we inched past Stacey & Lucy to beat them first time round to the beach marks. Stacey had better speed than us upwind and retook and held his position over us. Paddy & Steve took line honours but couldn’t save their time against the Hawkins. The wind by this time was starting to ease and give us some relief, but the broad reaches were proving frustrating to us Tasar sailors, preventing us planing on most of the reaches but proving to be very helpful to the RS400.

Back in the slow fleet the main battle of the day was between the 2 Scorpions, with Beacky & Kelvin in their new boat leading at the end of the first beat, but overtaken by the Kendalls at the end of the 2nd reach. All changed again on the 2nd beat, and this time Beacky & Kelvin started to draw away and remained untroubled for the rest of the race. It wasn’t quite so easy for the Kendalls who called starboard on Chris & Tony. Whilst trying to keep clear the Tasar crash tacked and capsized and the Kendalls broke a jib fitting and retired, leaving James 2nd and Simon 3rd with Finn in his laser 4.7, 4th.

A drop of rain over lunch kept most of us in the Clubhouse, but by 13.45 we were all back on the water. The course was hastily tweaked and another heavily biased start line saw the majority of the boats starting alongside the Committee boat. Again at the end of the first beat 2 Tasars rounded first with the RS further back, but on the soft broad reach it wasn’t long before Paddy, this time crewed by Nigel, swept past us and eased away into a lead that proved unstoppable, this time winning by some 3 minutes over Jeremy & Suzanne.

Beacky & Kelvin had a very leisurely start, being one of the last boats to cross the start line, but such is the speed of their new craft that they were still first of the slow handicap fleet to reach the windward mark and extended their lead throughout the race to claim first overall despite Kelvin falling out of the boat whilst carrying out a spinnaker hoist. Fortunately he managed to hang on and drag himself back into the boat without any further mishaps, and take a 30 second win over James. Simon was looking well placed in his Sofa but fell 20 seconds behind on corrected time to James in his Laser radial. Finn swopped rigs for the afternoon race from his 4.7 rig to radial rig, trying to take advantage of the lighter conditions but at the end was some 2 ½ minutes behind James.

This was another race where the wind strength slowly abated, leaving us with the unfortunate condition of light wind and a lumpy sea, almost bad enough to cause sea sickness for some of a delicate disposition. Believe it or not but today marked the end of the spring series, which means that we are approximately 1/3rd of the ay through the season. Attendances on the whole are disappointingly low, but it appears that those who regularly turn out are still with us and the competition is still as fierce as ever.

June 4th
safety boat
Winning with a broken hand
I called down at the Club on Tuesday evening to see the “Capsize Club” limping round in a very light breeze, but what a turn around it was tonight. Yes in less than 24 hours the weather had turned completely on its head with a very strong westerly blowing. Not surprisingly we were greeted by white horses in the bay and ominous dark patches as the wind swept over the cliffs and onto the water. Sunday may have been the first day of summer but tonight it felt more like the first day of spring with my car temperature gauge displaying 12C and with heavy clouds above it was certainly not summer in any sense of the word. The shorts and light weight spray top were firmly back in the bag and my colder weather gear was to be worn yet again, if we sailed.

Due to the conditions one or two who came down elected not to sail and I was almost one of them but decided that as the forecast for the wind was to ease off then I should make the effort. Steve & Polly came all the way down from Plymouth in some very heavy rain to take the Safety Boat out for us and set a cracking course. In truth I’m not sure if it did ease off much but we still sailed round without any major mishaps so from that respect it was mission accomplished. We did have one or two “moments” on the beats when we shipped a few gallons of water and suffered 2 dodgy tacks as we approached the beach marks, but the reaches at times, were out of this world. It was just a shame that they had to come to an end. In all honesty it wasn’t the strength of the wind that was the problem, more like the gusts and we did get some warning as you could see the darker patches moving towards us, but they were strong when they hit us, leading to lots of sail dumping and tiller waggling in our attempts to stay upright.

Now I may have sailed round but Jeremy & Stacey fairly raced round, having a very tight race at times before Jeremy, complete with a broken hand & Suzanne comprehensively beat Stacey & Lucy into 2nd place. Steve & Nigel left the B14 in the yard and instead took the more manageable RS400 out to sail, but without the use of the spinnaker dropped them further from the front than they expected, falling well behind Jeremy & Stacey and finishing just in front of us. Janet & Pete, sailing their Kestrel were very close to us for quite a while but somehow on one of the rounds we opened up a gap to sail away from them and they ended up racing almost head to head with Simon, in his Supernova. Jan & Pete making their gains on the beats with Simon overtaking on the reaches. Well that’s the way it went for a while before they both approached the gybe mark on the penultimate lap when they could be seen doing synchronised gybing. All went well in the Barnes’ boat but not so good for Simon, who ended up swimming. However even 2 capsizes couldn’t prevent Simon from taking the win in the slow handicap fleet with Finn in his Laser 4.7 second, beating James in his Laser radial into 3rd. Charlie, one of our up & coming youngsters, had quite a few capsizes in the stronger gusts, before he made the correct decision to retire, but a very good effort nevertheless.

June 4th
Jan & pete
First day of summer?
This weekend saw the lat day of Spring on Saturday and the first day of Summer on Sunday and what a contrast as I spent most of both days down at Porthpean. Saturday was without doubt the better of the 2 days weather wise, with the sun bursting out at lunch time to give a beautiful warm afternoon. Whereas Sunday stayed overcast all day to leave anyone on the beach feeling rather chilled. In fact by the time we finished sailing the beach was almost deserted. We had our Grand daughters staying all week and the weekend saw the arrival of Sarah & Terry with Jet Ski in tow; so on Saturday the Jet Ski was launched at Fowey and Mum & Dad motored across to Porthpean where the girls and I were waiting. Yes I did get to drive it and yes it is very fast but do I want one; NO, I have spent too many years dinghy sailing to want to change to a motorised craft, but it was quite thrilling zooming across the bay in the sparkling sunshine and the girls enjoyed riding around on it. I did feel quite envious of the Kendalls as they rigged 2 Scorpions and launched and sailed over to Polkerris for the afternoon. There’s nothing quite like watching a dinghy moving along quite effortlessly, heeled by a light breeze. The breeze on Saturday late morning was almost non existent but filled in quite nicely as the clouds broke to give excellent racing conditions, which brings me nicely on to Sunday.

Race day and the first day of summer and the June Cup, a 3 race series for fast and slow handicap fleets. Once again we were rather down in numbers over previous years, a trend which I think may continue throughout this season. Anyway for those wanting to sail there was one major obstacle to overcome and that was to provide RIB drivers for the racing. With no volunteers forthcoming it was time for the dreaded names in a hat routine to be carried out. Brian Reeves and Roger were the pairings for the first race, Pete & Jan for the 2nd and Paddy & Nigel for the 3rd. Pheew, Ken & I escaped the draw. Just to celebrate I decided to discard my wetsuit in favour of the sailing shorts, after all it is summer

The conditions for the morning gave us a light westerly breeze, giving me my favourite conditions, a flat sea, steadyish breeze with some windshifts thrown in. There was enough bias on the start line to persuade us to have a go at a port hand flyer and this time it worked a treat as just a few seconds before the start gun the breeze shifted slightly to make the port tack the lifted tack. We crossed the line right on the gun, well to windward of the entire fleet and swept into a good lead which after getting the next wind shift right turned into a colossal lead, which we managed too extend round after round, keeping the speedy B14 of Paddy & Nigel behind us the entire race. Chris & Tony had a good first beat and for a while looked like being 2nd boat round the beach marks, but on their final approach were caught port and starboard by quite a few boats and suddenly plunged right down the pecking order. The breeze stayed quite light but occasionally we had some stronger gusts enabling planing and some hard hiking at times.

There was a quick turn around for lunch and then it was the turn of Pete & Jan to take the RIB. The course was tweaked a bit but what a job they had, as the breeze moved into fickle mode and swung round alarmingly for a while before settling down into the west again. Steve & Polly came out to play in their new Scorpion for the afternoon races and were first boat to the windward marks, followed by the B14, with us a little further behind. The next 2 reaches were both spinnaker legs, which proved to be a real bonus for Steve & Polly, allowing them to open up a gap between us. We finally passed them on the 3rd beat, when they had problems stowing their spinnaker after the run. Roger Williams was our closest competitor and after the first triangle was fairly close to us but somehow he lost his way on the 2nd beat allowing us to open up a large gap on him, enough for us to take our 2nd win. Needless to say Paddy & Nigel took line honours in the B14 but their onerous handicap dropped them back to 3rd. As we had 2 wins then the fast handicap Cup was ours so I was quite happy to take the RIB for the 3rd race which allowed Paddy & Nigel to have another race. Nigel needs the time on the water as he has officiated at far too many races this year. It’s about time he had his boat repaired and took to the water again. That might tempt Paddy & Steve to sail their RS400 and heat up the competition somewhat.

Taking the RIB proved a master stroke as within 15 minutes of the race starting the breeze started to fade away big time, so much so that we had to shorten after two rounds. Steve & Polly again dominated their fleet, beating the only other Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny into 2nd place by a good margin. James had a very poor race this time, as he was much further back when the wind switched off altogether for about 10 minutes before a lazy breeze came back to bring him home.

It was good to see Richard visiting us at lunch time. Richard has just had major heart surgery, involving a triple by pass. He is now into recovery mode and is itching to get back into sailing mode as quickly as he can. Let’s hope it is not too long. Giant jelly fish are back in the bay. We saw one or two whilst racing but saw many more whilst idling in the RIB. They are very large when seen in the water, swimming along just under the surface. Fortunately we never hit any whilst sailing though Chris & Tony claim to have hit one or two. I know from previous collisions with them that the boat slows down alarmingly when the dagger board strikes them. They are nice to loom at and seen at their best in the water.

One other thing, the Club had a well attended evening at the Brit last Friday. Unfortunately due to family commitments we couldn’t be there, but Tony took a few pictures which will be put up on the web soon, with a short write up. It looks from the pictures that a good night was held by all and also just to remind you that a burger and blues night is planned for Saturday June 14th in the Clubhouse where Pete & Jan will be serving up gourmet burgers, with a healthy provision of blues and jazz thrown in to boot. Watch your emails for further news.

May 28th
John Hill
A beautiful evening for a race
When Nigel told me last Friday that he didn’t have safety boat cover for Wednesday I was quite happy to volunteer for it. Little did I know at the time that Wednesday, yesterday, would turn out to be one of our better nights for sailing, with a force 2-3 northerly blowing out into the bay. How glorious, a flat sea, steady breeze, with a few gusts thrown in, sunshine and not too cold and with the prospects of bacon butties to follow. What more could a dinghy racer want? For a start, not sitting in the RIB, but then we all have to do duties from time to time.

13 boats launched from a very small beach. The high tide had just turned, making launching and recovery quite easy and I had the added pleasure of taking one of my Grand daughters out for a trip on the safety boat. That’s 3 generations of Rigbys enjoying the delights of Porthpean. Like wise Lucy Bray, crewing for Dad, Stacey, another of the 3 generation set. We set what looked like a fairly large even course, though with the wind oscillating around we knew conditions could change at any time, mainly the wind strength which we knew would eventually fade. We almost succeeded in starting on time, which is really essential for an evening race as more often than not the wind fades away to very little as the evening progresses. Most interestingly we set a port biased start line but in the event only Paddy & John Hill spotted it. Both were late to cross the line Paddy by about 5 seconds and John by 8 seconds. In the event it made little difference to Paddy in the B14 as he had plenty of speed, enough to cross the other boats who were heavily bunched at the other end of the line. John didn’t fare quite so well in the slower Supersofa, getting caught by the starboard tacked fleet. Nevertheless it was the Tasar of Stacey & Lucy who reached the beach marks first, several boat lengths in front of the B14, but that lead didn’t last long before the huge spinnaker of the B14 powered them into the lead, a lead that they held to the end but such is the time handicap of the B14 that corrected time dropped them down to 4th.

It was a strange turn out of boats in the fleet tonight as it was the first time I think this season that there were no Scorpions out, but we had the consolation of seeing 5 Lasers racing, headed by Tom Bittle who won the slow fleet easily but had he been sailing against the fats fleet would have finished 2nd, a minute behind the Tasar. Janet & Pete were another crew having a good race, taking advantage of the good spinnaker reach out to sea to finish in front of the faster Tasar of Chris & Tony, beating them by 4 minutes. However Chris & Tony took 3rd by, wait for it…………… 1 second over the B14; probably the closest finish yet this year. Very nice for Chris & Tony; very frustrating for Paddy & Steve. Pascal & Sue Dazza started and finished their 2nd race of the season, though I noticed that Sue took over helming duties on the 2nd round and looked quite comfortable in the driving seat.

We had a couple of casualties to deal with during the evening, the first was Charlie Austin in his Topper who found the early conditions just too strong for him and we had to tow him home. Somehow I think a couple of years of crewing for a more experienced helm would be good for him, as I am sure he would learn a lot more race craft going down that route. The other casualty who sorted himself out was John Hill in his Supersofa who decided that though the wind was fading that there was still enough meat left in it to make the gybe mark a place to dismount. We stood by and watched for a while but eventually he was up and sailing again, but that detour was enough to cost him a good position in the race when he eventually finished a lowly 5th.

Showing how important it is to start an evening race on time was so evident last night. We were about 5 or 6 minutes late from the scheduled time and we just had enough breeze to finish after 5 rounds, with the slower boats going progressively slower as the wind faded away. Those 5 or 6 lost minutes can prove to be so vital and greatly add to the excitement and pleasure of sailing. I’m sure that many people get fed up with me harping on about starting on time, but sitting in the RIB, watching the wind fade away makes it so obvious.

May 25th
River Fal from Trelissick
The Sun has put his hat on and disappeared
It was rather strange for me this morning, as rather than sailing, I was sitting at home watching the boats ready to launch for the morning race. I was scheduled to attend a family Christening, booked for 12.15 so couldn’t make the race. However that fitted in well with Ken’s plans as he had been out of the county attending a wedding and he couldn’t make the morning race neither. I didn’t realise until I watched as to how much preparation is required to ready a Scorpion to sail. The need for a spinnaker makes it so important to prepare it so it will launch correctly when called in anger as the boat starts the reaches. It was also nice to see the boats going down the hill, trying to guess who was who, that wasn’t easy but at least the experienced eye could tell what sort of boat was going down the slip. The Mirror, Topper and Lasers being extremely easy to spot. I also watched the safety boat being launched and motor out to the beach marks, though the detail over that distance starts to fade away a bit but you can still make them out. You can even tell or make an intelligent guess as to where the wind is blowing from by watching the direction the safety boat takes after laying the beach marks. I don’t know what strength the wind was but launching looked easy and all boats seemed to slip through the water very quickly on their way out to sea without any dramas.

By the time I arrived at the Club most people were having their lunch but it was good to see David, Justin & Donna Phyall with their family. Justin had his first sail of the year, crewed by eldest daughter, having her first ever sail. They both enjoyed their outing and it looks like we will see more of them most Sundays from now on, so that will hopefully be another addition to our depleted fleet.

Obviously I didn’t see the race so it is difficult to make many comments but I see that Janet & Pete Barnes, in their Kestrel, won the fast fleet race quite comfortably by some 5 ½ minutes from Chris & Tony in their Tasar, with Paddy & Steve finishing 3rd in their B14. The sailing conditions were quite tough with the wind oscillating about in both direction and strength. There was enough power in the wind to give Beacky & Kelvin a capsize in their new Scorpion. Unfortunately for them the capsize proved very costly as the centre board case split in their endeavours to right the boat. Unfortunately this will take them off the water for a couple of weeks whilst repairs are carried out. Their mishap was a bonus for James Dowrick who capitalised by taking a good win in his Laser radial, by over 5 minutes ahead of the wounded Scorpion, with Luke Adams just behind in the Club Laser.

Ken & I were rigged up and changed all ready for the afternoon race and once again Colin & Shane fired up the RIB and attempted to move the course to accommodate the changeable breeze. The wind direction was most strange and our beat from the beach marks to a windward mark set almost off Silver mine was very tricky indeed, with an initial very light breeze that was determined to frustrate all who sailed it. Once round the windward mark we had a very broad reach across the bay before gibing onto a tight reach to bring us back to the beach marks. We had an excellent start but were overhauled by Paddy & Steve just before the end of the beat in their RS400, the B14 proving too much like hard work in the changeable conditions. Once round the windward mark up went the spinnaker and they started to pull away, though I was pleased to see that they weren’t getting too far ahead of us until the 3rd beat when we had trouble rounding the beach marks and that suddenly opened up the gap and I thought that was the end of the race for us. Very, very fortunately the wind piped up on the 5th & 6th rounds and that was enough to allow the Tasar to throw off the shackles and start to fly down the reaches. We were still quite far behind the RS400 at the end but corrected time was on our side and we took the win by some 16 seconds, which was a very close race indeed over a time just short of an hour. Janet & Pete were pushed down to 3rd ahead of Chris & Tony in 4th, finishing a few minutes ahead of Steve Wingrove, who found the fickle wind more of a challenge in his Blaze.

The slow fleet was heavily decimated in the afternoon but James was back on a winning streak being some 2 minutes ahead of the other Laser radial of Brian Reeves. The 2 Lasers sandwiched Andrew & Jenny Kendall, who had quite a battle during the race against the faster boats of Chris & Tony & Janet & Pete.

The weather today was wet and for the most overcast and I never got round to taking any pictures, but the picture above was taken last Wednesday from Trellisick House looking down the river Fal on a beautiful Spring day. The sailing waters there looked very tempting, with quite a nice breeze blowing.

Now for 2 bits of news; it came to my attention that Jan Powell died last Friday. Jan & her husband Peter were stellar members several years ago. Peter was often seen in the Race box, saving quite a few of us from that duty by volunteering so often himself and Jan quite often ran the galley, again taking that duty off other people. One of my memories of them was when Peter bought a Mirror dinghy and took Jan out for a sail. All went well as they reached across from the beach marks to Blackhead. Peter decided that they needed to tack to get back to Porthpean but unfortunately that was a manoeuvre that they had never tried before. Both were quite large and their attempts to cross over to opposite sides of the dinghy proved too much and they had their first and only capsize. The safety boat came to their rescue and towed them back to the beach. Jan never set foot in a dinghy again!!

The other bit of news is that there is a link on the front of the web page to the Duty Man programme. There are loads of vacancies for duties and it will be a great help to Nigel & James if you could look through and volunteer for some duties. Personally I preferred the old system where we had the opportunity very early in the year to volunteer on an open list, which could then be published. I know that we had problems with that from time to time but it did seem to work very well. However we will persevere with this system for the rest of the season and then review it at the end of the year. Duty Man isn’t too difficult to use, just try it and see how you get on. Should you have any problems then please contact either Nigel, James or Paddy and they will soon put you right.

By the way it’s only 7 months to Christmas!!

May 22nd
Ana on a home visit
Maybe the slowest race ever
Hello and a big Porthpean welcome to Anna, back in the fold for one night only as she pays a lightning visit to home soil before jetting off back to Oman on Friday morning. Anna was hoping to join in our Wednesday race by going out in the Vago with Shane, and I suppose that did happen. Well her paddling skills came in very handy anyway.

It doesn’t matter how I try and dress it up, last night’s sailing was a terrible disappointment; but all praise to the gritty few who stuck out for what has to be the most boring race so far this season, to limp round the course in a sub force 1 breeze. At 17.00 there was quite a stiff south easterly blowing in off the sea, but by 18.00 it had almost completely dropped away, though not quite enough to prevent 14 boats from rigging, hoping that the breeze might just switch on again. One by one boats were pushed out into the weak surf and enthusiastic crews paddled out into deeper water. Ken & I had our Tasar rigged on the beach and there it stayed as we watched the extremely slow progress made by all. Steve & Polly in the RIB hovered around to see whether the fleet wanted to race. Surprisingly some said yes and so a small course was laid and indeed some movement could be seen as the boats started to visibly move through the water. Paddy & Nigel in the B14 even hoisted the spinnaker and it actually filled for a few moments before it just hung there like a limp rag and then was hastily pulled dpwn. Our decision to stay on the beach was made easy for us when our nearest competitor in the Wednesday series, Chris & Tony, started paddling again but this time paddling for home, likewise the Vago with Shane & Anna in it. At least our sailing kit is still dry, ready for Sunday.

Well belatedly a race of sorts actually started with a supposed beat in towards the beach marks. The beat turned into a reach and John Hill in his Supersofa was first round the beach marks, followed by Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion then Paddy & Nigel in the B14. James & Charlie in a Laser Radial and Topper were very late to start and when they eventually reached the beach marks carried on drifting towards the beach. Their race was run.

The leg after the beach marks became a beat of sorts and John lost out to both the Kendall’s and the B14. By the time those 3 rounded the gybe mark all had changed again with the B14 heading the reach back to the beach marks, and John Hill back into 2nd with the Kendall’s 3rd. One by one the fleet limped across the finishing line, but at least had the knowledge that bacon butties were waiting for all and sundry when they arrived back at the beach. Now did I say the race was exciting? No; good it wasn't.

A week or two ago we saw some of the giant jelly fish that have been sighted further up the south coast. They are in the main quite harmless but they certainly slow a boat down if the dagger board happens to strike one when in full flight. Hopefully we won’t have the same sort of profusion of them this year but they are around at the moment so beware.

Steve & Polly have taken their new Scorpion over to Carnac in France for a big regatta that has been organised over there. Over 100 boats, consisting of Enterprises, N12s Scorpions and Larks have entered so should be a very spectacular sight as they race in their fleets. so beware.

May 18th
Fitting a new haliard
Summer appears to be here
Well I’ve had my week in the sun, and as a bonus returned in the early hours of Saturday morning to even more fine weather and to be able to enjoy the last of the “heat wave” that the UK has had over the last few days. Today may be the last day of strong sunshine and above average temperatures, but hopefully we may have another warm summer like last year. I really thought that the good weather would have brought more out sailing but alas only 8 boats graced the water this morning.

Ken & I were on Race box duty and Andrew & Jenny Kendall were in charge of the RIB so that took 2 regular boats out of those sailing. The conditions in the morning looked ideal, with a moderate to fresh southerly breeze blowing and with easy launching conditions the whole experience looked very tasty indeed. Chris & Tony were the only Tasar sailing today and they looked very cool as they planed across the bay. Paddy & Steve Coello were out in the B14 and I at first I thought that they may have some problems but the boys did well, keeping the mast above the water, though for a time were behind the Kestrel of Janet & Pete. In fact it was a spinnaker course today with all the spinnaker boats flying their kites on every reach. Steve & Polly launched their new, and I mean new, Scorpion last Wednesday and had teething problems but most of those were sorted by today. In fact the Club house becomes quite useful when having to fit new haliards! They initially had quite a battle with Beacky & Kelvin, with Beacky having the best of the beats, but Steve’s down wind speed was quite impressive and he eventually had a reasonable lead by the end of the race. We had 3 Laser radials out and they were dominated by James, who finished well in front of the other two. James must have fancied himself for the win but finished just 3 seconds behind Steve & Polly on corrected time, to claim 2nd place. Janet & Pete, though finishing a few minutes behind the B14, had enough time in the bank to take an easy first, leaving Chris & Tony in 3rd place.

I had a nice stroke of luck when Jenny March, who was down this morning, offered to do the time keeping with Stewart Page for the afternoon race. It was an offer that Ken & I gracefully were pleased to accept and with Steve Wingrove turning up in his Blaze, the fleet started to look better populated. Just to emphasise that summer weather is here, I wore for the first time this year my sailing shorts, so a bonus indeed. Unfortunately, the breeze had died off a little from this morning and any hopes of having some nice planing disappeared, which was a bit of a disadvantage, especially when the spinnaker boats could fly theirs on all reaches. However you have to be able to sail with the conditions on the day. Our best hope of doing well presented itself at the start of the race when a well timed port handed start saw us cross the entire fleet to take an early lead. It was a lead that should have seen us first to the windward mark, but rather annoyingly I over stood the mark, allowing Paddy & Steve to make the rounding first and also allowed Steve & Polly to start the reaches not far behind us. In the light breeze, we struggled to generate enough speed to keep the new Scorpion behind us and we managed this for 4 of the 5 rounds but on the last gybe mark, Steve just managed to get the overlap and escaped our clutches on the last reach. Still our real target was Janet & Pete in their Kestrel, who were not too far behind us, but fortunately were not close enough to dent our time on handicap.

Pascal & Sue entered their first race today and were delighted to sail 3 of the rounds without any mishap so it shouldn’t be too long now before they are racing more regularly. Chris & Tony were a few minutes further back but still far enough ahead to beat Steve Wingrove in his Blaze. For the 2nd time today Paddy & Steve had the glory of being first over the finishing line but also unfortunately for them finished last in both races on handicap. Hopefully for them the RS400 should be back on the water in another week’s time and then things should take a turn for the better for them.

Beacky & Kelvin, having lost to James by 9 seconds on corrected time this morning, redeemed them selves by finishing almost 2 minutes ahead on corrected time this afternoon. Brian Reeves has switched from a full sized Laser rig for a Radial one this year and it appears that although it makes the Laser easier to handle when the winds are strong is a bit too much of a handicap in the lighter winds.

I noticed that whilst I have been away a bit more sand has appeared at the end of the slipway, making launching and recovery far easier than a few weeks ago and with settled summer weather ahead should remain so for a few more months. Though any repetition of last winter’s storms will play havoc with what is left.

May 8th
RIB - ready to go
A race not for the faint hearted
Welcome back Stacey & Lucy; Thankfully another Tasar out sailing, but annoyingly there are still a few in the field that ought to be out there with us. Last night was another night of sailing that posed a bit of a dilemma for some, “shall I sail or not”. For a short while my feet were planted in the “not sail” camp as I watched some devastating bomb blasts dropping down from the cliffs and out onto the water. There were also several dark patches out on the grey sea, showing themselves as gusts and with an offshore wind I knew that the gusts would be quite savage at times. Quite rightly I cleared my head and took the cover off the boat. We were going; I knew that it was sailable, even though it could be quite tricky. Sadly, only 8 boats took to the water and with 4 Tasars out we made up half the fleet, the other half comprising 3 Lasers and the one brave Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny.

Pete & Jan were in charge of the RIB & I’m not sure whether they wanted to sail or were quite happy in the RIB, but the conditions at the start of the race probably favoured the RIB, though they were both very cold when they finally arrived on shore some 1 ½ hours later. Whereas we were comparitively warm after having to work so hard to stay upright. Initial launching was a very tame affair and we wafted along with a very light breeze pushing us out from the shore, but it wasn’t too long before the stronger stuff found us and off we went in curtains of spray. Memories of the previous weekend of fast planing suddenly came flooding back though it was completely different last night with a flat sea and gusty breeze, but nobody told the boats that, they just wanted to lift their bows and fly.

The first casualty of the night was Andrew & Jenny. It looked to me as though one of the stronger gusts caught them and just blew them over. The boat soon came up but the RIB spent quite a few minutes checking them out before they sailed off again. Meanwhile we were hoved to whilst waiting which is often the worse thing to do as you disappear down wind quite quickly and feel the full strength of the wind. Anyway after the inevitable delay we were off and for the first time this year sailing in a westerly breeze, beating in to the beach marks for a port hand rounding. As per usual the closer we came to the beach marks the more savage the gusts became. Couple that with an almost random series of lifts and headers made for a game of snakes and ladders. Out in front of us all at the beach marks popped Stacey & Lucy with quite a handsome lead, followed by Jeremy & Suzanne and then us, with Chris & Tony dicing with the Lasers and Scorpion. It wasn’t too long before Shane in the Club Laser and the Kendalls, decided to call it a night and peeled off for the sail back to the beach.

Jeremy, Suzanne and us gradually closed Stacey down on the reaches but they still retained their lead by the time we arrived at the beach marks for the second time. A good beat from us gave us 2nd place, before Jeremy & Suzanne sailed below us and then they closed on Stacey & Lucy to take the lead. We swopped places a couple of times with Stacey before our penultimate time rounding the beach marks. We made a fast rounding and shot off down wind whilst Stacey had the misfortune of having to put extra tacks in to round the beach marks, which ultimately dropped them too far back to be able to make a comeback before the race ended. The gybe mark, set out to sea, was usually quite easy to round but when we reached it on our last time round we arrived in the midst of a strong gust and it was a good testing moment as we went from gybe to gybe. Fortunately we came through it unscathed.

The breeze had the usual characteristics for an evening race by moderating as the race went on. The gusts were still there but fortunately not quite as vicious as earlier. James and Fin had another good tussle, with James beating Finn on the water in his radial sailed laser but unfortunately not far enough in front to save his time from Finn in his 4.7 sailed Laser.

I would sum up the nights sailing as challenging, very enjoyable at times and so, so frustrating at others. Racing last night was not for the faint hearted, but rewarding and active enough to give us all a good workout. In fact it was such a good workout that I need to take a week off to recuperate; Turkey is beckoning, I look forward to seeing you all in just over a week.

May 5th
Prize Winners
Tasar Open, the best sailing of the year so far
We’ve seen our open meetings over the last few years start to deteriorate culminating in us dropping our Laser, Enterprise and Contender meetings but so far the Tasar Opens have always been well attended. This weekend sadly the Tasars too have seen a big drop off with only 1 visiting Tasar joining 4 of our own boats to make a paltry fleet of 5. At one time we were expecting about 6 visiting boats and with the potential to have 8 of our home fleet sailing which would have made a respectable fleet. As it happened we had one of the best weekends sailing weather for a long time. The long reaches certainly suited the Tasars and I fear if we had have had Club racing we would never have had those long reaches. However that doesn’t warrant losing valuable sailing racing for the rest of the Membership.

We may have had a low turnout but the Club still laid on a first class event, that was appreciated by our one lone visitor, who has sailed at Porthpean before and tells me that they will be coming down a for a holiday next year, complete with their Tasar.

James Dowrick was Race Officer for the weekend, controlling the event from the RIB, ably assisted by Colin Wainwright, whilst with a small fleet we only needed one other RIB and that was run by Nigel & Shane on Saturday & Nigel & Andrew Kendall on the Sunday. Overseeing the race track from the Club house race box was Stewart Page and most importantly, Jenny Kendall in the galley.

Both days gave us perfect sailing conditions, which is strange considering we had south easterly winds blowing both days. Fortunately there was enough “south” in the breeze and with only 10 knots blowing gave us surf conditions light enough to launch and recover without any dramatics.

Two races were scheduled for Saturday afternoon and Current National Champions, Jeremy & Suzanne Hawkins took an early lead, in the first race, followed by Paddy Seyler and Brian Phillips who had borrowed Stacey’s boat for the duration. We slotted into 3rd place but had enough speed down wind to move up into 2nd place. Paddy & Brian, suffered badly down wind and soon had to give up another place to our visiting Tasar, Ian & Sue Butterworth who had travelled down from Milton Keynes. Final positions for that race finishing in that order. The wind dropped somewhat for the 2nd race and planing opportunities were few and far between, but by the end of the race the same 3 crews occupied the same 3 finishing positions. A definite pattern was starting to emerge.

Sunday morning brought more normal weather with nice sunny skies and an improvement in temperature, not only that but a bonus of a slightly fresher breeze, though still blowing in off the sea. These were the sort of sailing conditions where you only have to bear off and a Tasar leaps onto the plane; Couple that with some small waves and some very impressive gains and losses could be seen to be made, dependant on who caught what and when. The large “P” shaped course suited the fleet and the reaches were fast and furious finishing with a very interesting run dropping down the waves to the leeward mark.

Three races were run back to back, again expertly controlled by the Race Team, with fast turnarounds and by 14.30 we were all back on the beach, adrenalin still running after the fantastic long reaches and close competition. Each race was set to run about 40 minutes for the leader. The results show Jeremy & Suzanne winning all 5 races but they sometimes had to come from behind to take their wins, so not everything always went their way, being challenged more than once by either Ken & myself or Paddy & Brian. In fact the windward mark on the first round of several of the races was quite congested, with several crews vying for the lead and it was often the long reaches that created all the excitement and separation between boats.

Chris Hazel brought some merriment to the fleet and alarm to Tony when Chris lost his hat and then fell overboard whilst trying to retrieve it. Very fortunately Chris still had the mainsheet in his hand and managed to drag himself back to the boat and clamber back onboard. All this without capsizing; very impressive indeed.

The Tuesday social sailing is scheduled to start this week but at the moment the forecast is looking rather daunting, so may start off as a bit of a damp squib. However it is still worth while turning up as the weather may not be as bad and I am sure that some sort of on shore activity could be arranged.

April 30th
James rigging his Laser
A night full of promise - doomed to drift
Dinghy sailing? What an enjoyable pastime it is, well it is when the weather is nice and warm, but last night it was cool, damp, misty with a light southerly blowing over a rapidly diminishing beach as the tide came towards its zenith. No I for one wasn’t too bothered about changing, rigging, & launching in those sort of conditions but when 8 others decided to sail then my mind was made up and off we went. Although we are only half way through the week we have had quite a variety in our weather. One day I had been out in polo shirt and shorts and today I was wrapped up in coat and jeans. Yes here we are, the last day in April, with summer slowly creeping towards us. Will it be a wet, cool one or a nice dry sunny warm one, we have yet to find out.

The fast fleet were down to only 3 Tasars, with Steve / Polly and Paddy / Steve out with broken boats and Pete & Jan declining to join in our excitement and the rest of the fast fleet nowhere to be seen. There was far more excitement in the slow fleet with 4 Lasers and 2 Scorpions giving themselves some competition.

Our hosts in the RIB for the evening were Colin & John Hill and with the weather conditions didn’t look to thrilled about having to spend and hour or two sitting there. However, plenty of warm clothes and dry suits helped keep them warmish and set for the first time this season a beat from the beach marks towards Blackhead. There was just enough wind to get 2 up on the side decks, without any of the dramatic gusts that we had been having over the last few weeks and by 7.15 we were up and off. That ¼ late starting proved frustrating as the evening wore on when the breeze died away. The first round was reasonably competitive with the Tasars led by Jeremy & Suzanne leading at the first mark and us only just in front of Chris & Tony. Our down wind speed is still reasonably good and we made the most of the 2nd reach, with the help of the wavelets to pull away from Chris. It was quite noticeable that when we started the 2nd beat the breeze was decidedly lighter and as we approached the windward mark the sea was taking on a glassy surface and we slowed and slowed to a veritable crawl.

Andrew & Jenny Kendall had a cracker of a race and had by the end of the 2nd beat overhauled Chris & Tony who had decided to drop anchor somewhere on the beat for a while. They too suffered the same fate as the rest of us when the wind such as it was just switched off totally leaving us to crawl over the finishing line. Thankfully the paddle was available to help bring us home.

Jenny was away but very fortunately for us Chris & Jane Millard were in the box tonight and they cooked up a whole feast of bacon butties for us to devour after our sailing.

James Dowrick has asked me to put a couple of links to his “You Tube” and “Facebook” pages, hoping you will find some time to look at them and let him know what you think. You Tube Facebook

April 27th
The wind whistled in the rigging
And today we welcome Nick Haskins to the official Wuss Club. Nick turned up ready to sail and like me was put off by the forecast and conditions in the bay and became another non sailor. There were others who came down and didn’t sail either but whether the conditions put them off or whether they had other things to do I don’t know so will give them the benefit of the doubt. I did however redeem myself somewhat by rigging the boat and sailing in the pm race, but more of that later.

The 2 Brians, messrs Reeves and Phillips were in charge of the RIB today and taking the conditions into consideration set a moderately small course which gave plenty of laps but importantly kept the fleet together under their watchful eye, and yes they were needed so a good decision made there.

8 boats decided to take their chances in the very blustery north westerly, sweeping out into the bay. Sitting in the comfort of the Clubhouse I predicted that only 4 boats would finish and in fact I was right, but not the 4 that I had chosen. Launching was fairly easy, but the fun began as they arrived in the beach marks area. On the plus side I was told that the gusts, strong when they came, made their presence felt in a kindly manner, enough to be able to counter them by either flogging off, feathering or hiking harder, so all in all not too bad.

Safety Boat
After the almost usual delay the fleet set off with a first beat to the beach marks. Jeremy & Suzanne were about 30 seconds late for the start, but by the end of the first beat were lying 3rd behind the Tasar of Steve & Polly & the RS of Paddy & Steve. By the end of the 2nd round Jeremy & Suzanne had taken the lead, but had to give 2nd best to Paddy & Steve downwind when they brought their spinnaker into use. However that lead wasn’t to last too long before the top gudgeon of the RS ripped out, leaving them rudderless and necessitated a tow back home. A lengthy spell in the workshop may be needed before the RS sails again. Janet & Pete capsized at the gybe mark resulting in Janet becoming detached from the boat and needed rescuing by the safety boat, enforcing their retirement. The Kendalls found the conditions too much and they too succumbed to a capsize that saw them high tail it back to the beach. Beacky & Kelvin in their new Scorpion ensured they stayed upright by pasty tacking at the gybe mark, but the time they lost proved crucial as Finn in his Laser took the slow fleet race on corrected time. Credit must be given also to Luke Adams who elected to take the Club laser with full rig. Luke was over powered most of the time but still managed to finish to take 3rd place.

Steve & Polly appeared to have 2nd place all sewn up when the creaking and cracking noises that Steve had heard earlier came to fruition when the mast suddenly lost all rig tension. The king post between deck and hog was starting to crumble, leaving the boat almost un sailable. Again a hasty retreat to the beach was the order of the day, before things became worse. Steve reckons he can repair the boat but the excitement of the imminent arrival of a brand new Scorpion will be taking his and Polly's attention for the immediate future.

Broken RS400
The conditions looked equally challenging as the remnants of the morning fleet rigged for the afternoon race and this time I was persuaded, shamed, into racing. I soon found out how strong the conditions were as we reached the starting area; jaw and check clenching conditions were the order of the afternoon. To me the gusts were very savage, leaving very little time to react and in truth at times I felt quite uncomfortable. However we sailed the course for 2 rounds and were sitting in a very safe 2nd position, ahead of Pete & Jan, but I decided that enough was enough so at the end of the 2nd round I peeled off for the sanctuary of the beach. Quit whilst ahead was my motto for the day. Not ahead in the race but ahead of a possible capsize.

Beacky & Kelvin again took line honours in the pm race but again wearing round at the gybe mark proved costly as they were once again beaten by Finn in his Laser, this time by only a few seconds. The Kendalls managed to get round without capsizing and took the 3rd position.

The pattern for this season is for the moment looking quite windy, but hopefully calmer, more settled weather will be with us soon, which in turn should give us some bigger fleets. Just to show that summer is coming I believe that the Tuesday capsize club will be starting on Tuesday 6th May.

April 23rd
evening spring sunshine
St George's Day and spring time at Porthpean
A very pleasant spring evening brought 16 dinghies and a wind surfer out to play in St. Austell Bay. A moderate fading to light south westerly breeze gave us a few laps of the triangular course set by Nigel & Shane in the Safety Boat. The fast fleet positions were settled quite quickly with Jeremy & Suzanne taking up their normal position at the head of the fleet, pursued by Paddy & Steve in their RS400, but it did take them the best part of 2 rounds to overtake, though it took the extra speed of their spinnaker to achieve it. Steve & Polly chased them both but couldn't catch Jeremy, though they held their time against the RS400 to claim 2nd. Rather frustratingly we finished 4th, just 4 seconds behind Paddy on corrected time, probably due to my poor run in to the start line. I got the time and distance hopelessly wrong and was some 6 seconds or so behind the line when the gun went. I had been enjoying planing down the waves, sailing away from the start line too much to concentrate on making the line in time; slapped wrist for me.

The first 2 rounds were the most exciting with enough wind down wind to give us a thrilling ride but as inevitably happens on an evening the breeze started to fade away and tonight was no exception.

The slow fleet had the closest finishes of all but the night belonged to Simon Robins, languishing in the depths of his Supersofa. In fact Simon was fairly close behind us at the end of the first beat, in front of the faster boats of Chris & Tony and Jan & Pete. Simon held on to be the first of the slow handicap fleet to finish but only managed to finish 10 seconds on corrected time in front of James Dowrick in the first of 4 Laser Radials. 41 seconds further back was the first of the 2 Scorpions, with Beaky & Kelvin sailing their new Scorpion (there’s another 2 in the garage). Finn was the next boat home, only 18 seconds adrift, which is good news for the future with 2 youngsters in the first 4. The second Sofa out tonight was Jeremy Rowett, only 11 seconds behind Finn, and just 10 seconds in front of the other Scorpion out tonight of Andrew & Jenny Kendall. I noticed that both Scorpions had poor starts too, so I wasn’t the only one. The closest finish of the night was Brian Reeves in his Laser Radial finishing just 2 seconds behind the Kendalls, who in turn was 18 seconds in front of the veteran Nick Haskins in his full rigged Laser, leaving Clive Stephens to bring up the rear.

We launched and recovered in a low tide that had a few waves breaking on the beach but nothing too bad to put anybody into any difficulties. The south easterlies that we have had since the weekend has brought a bit more sand back and sand now covers all the broken off parts of the slipway, which in a stroke probably removes some of the safety aspects where people could have slipped down between the 2 parts of the slipway. The sand that had been heaped up at the far side of the beach has migrated back down to us again, making the beach look more normal.

April 20th
Love boat launching through the surf
Cold, wet & windy
Well I guess it’s official; I am a wuss. After being the last of 11 boats to launch on Easter Sunday morning, Ken & I arrived in the start area off Blackhead, to join 8 other boats to compete in the Easter Cup. The gusty, cold wind had soon powered us over there and we sat hovering into the wind whilst we started the stopwatch on the 5 minute gun. As we were sitting there the wind was sweeping past us at a considerable rate of knots. Looking around we could see white horses and low scudding clouds. Anyway not to be too deterred we hardened up to see how the boat was going to behave, only to be almost completely overpowered. Hmmm I thought, this is going to be tough. Anyway we sailed on for a couple of minutes, without any lessening in the wind strength so I decided under the circumstances that I wasn’t going to carry on any longer. There is no way I was going to risk damaging my recovering Achilles tendon any time just yet, so we high tailed it back to the beach. Of course sometime you live to regret decisions like that and today was one of them as within about 10 minutes the squall abated somewhat to a wind strength that I think we could have managed quite well. Mistake number 2 was to take the boat up back to the dinghy park and pack it away for the day as I thought the conditions would not get any better; too bad, they did improve and we should have sailed. Fortunately to help sooth my guilt we were followed in by 2 others who also found the conditions rather too strong.

Shane & Liz took the safety boat and set a smallish course that gave a beat in to the beach marks, but put the gybe mark out at sea, tricky for some. Dennis & Brian making their first outing of the season seemed to have the best start, leading the fleet up the first beat but soon fell behind to Steve & Polly who led at the beach marks followed by Paddy & Steve in the RS400. The ensuing reaches first time round were too strong for them to risk the kite so couldn’t keep up with Steve & Polly who went on to take the gun after some ¾ hrs of racing. Dennis & Brian although finishing 3rd on the water had enough time in the bank to take 2nd place on corrected time. Chris & Tony battled through the race and were handicapped by having to do a turn when they hit one of the beach marks. Just to compound matters they had to do another turn when they hit the offending beach mark again whilst doing their first turn!! Having his first outing this year was Tim Haskins sailing Nick’s Laser. Nick had tuned the boat up last week by taking a 3rd in one of the races but Tim gave it a little extra TLC today and sailed the Laser into a winning position; not once but 3 times in all, taking the slow fleet Easter Cup in grand style.

The rain started to come down in earnest during the lunch break but eased up enough to tempt 6 boats out to race in the afternoon. Again Steve & Polly led both races from start to finish despite Paddy & Steve’s spinnaker efforts with their extra speed downwind. They managed to take 2nd in the first of the pm races over Dennis & Brian who had a very poor first round, but took their revenge in the 3rd race with another 2nd to take 2nd overall. Andrew Kendall arrived too late for the first race but made up for that by sailing the pm races with a different crew, potential son in law Martin Rendall. Andrew & Martin, couldn’t make any inroads into Tim’s dominance, but did manage to finish in front of Brian Reeves in his Laser radial in both races to take 2nd overall.

Easter this year has been a bit of a disappointment after a wonderful week of sunshine, though kept cool by the predominant easterlies, both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday have brought us all back to earth with very cold winds and rain. I’m afraid we still have some way to go yet before we can stroll around in Tee shirts and shorts, but with all the greenery sprouting we have something to look forward to. All being well the Tuesday social sailing will be starting in 2 weeks time should the weather take a turn for the better by then.

On a brighter note, the south easterlies that we have had this past week have benefitted us somewhat by increasing the amount of sand at the bottom of the slipway and now almost covers the broken off slab which will make it far safer for holiday makers coming down to the beach. Another couple of inches will totally hide the slabs completely.

April 16th
Un friendly slipway
What a chilly evening
Spring tides and easterly winds just do not mix well for us sailors or in tonight’s case non sailors. The picture alongside, taken over an hour before high tide, shows the problems we would have had if we had launched to sail. Unfortunately we will be bedevilled with this tide height every fortnight for a few more weeks yet, until the spring tide coincides more to the weekends. The other complication that we have is the fact that the damaged part of the slipway is, to a degree, hidden in these conditions and it could be quite easy for someone to suffer quite badly if they were to slip into the sea by the slipway. I have heard a rumour that the Council may try to fix it sometime after Easter, but at the moment it is only a rumour. The other factor we had against us tonight was the cold. The fairly brisk south easterly blowing, not only gave us waves on the beach but also a bitterly cold temperature. I don’t think anyone wanted to change into sailing gear and sail around for an hour or so either; Least of all the safety boat crew. Instead the bar opened and general chit chat broke out among the faithful who had waited in vain to see whether racing would have been on or not. Jeremy & Finn decided to put the spare time to good effect by cleaning down and polishing the underside of Finn’s Laser. So there we are; the sailing season has started but we are spluttering along, with no consistency in the weather yet, though as we are still in April, there is plenty of time to allow the weather to develop into proper settled conditions and for the warmth of summer to break out. I see that the forecast for Sunday is to set to be only 11C, overcast with a northerly wind. It’s certainly not brilliant but let’s see how accurate the weather man is.
April 13th
First launch for the new boat
A perfect day for sailing
It’s so early in the season, yet we have just had an almost perfect day for sailing. A variable north westerly, clear blue skies and a wind strength varying between force 2 – 4. Fortunately there were 13 boats available to sail and race; and just as an extra Brucie Bonus we had an almost empty beach to ourselves. Dinghy racing rarely gets much better than today. Paddy & Steve must have been gnashing their teeth as it was their turn to take the safety boat, but in difficult conditions they set an extremely good course. One that gave us all some moments of speed, frustration and elation depending whether we struck gold on the reaches and beats and climbed the ladders or slipped badly down the snakes at other times. Just to add some spice to the ingredients there were one or two capsizes thrown in for the unwary / unlucky. The beat was from Blackhead direction into the beach marks, with a good reach out to sea followed by another reach along the top with Colin & Stewart in the race box to keep an eye on proceedings.

Beacky & Kelvin were out early in Beacky’s new Scorpion. Paul has splashed the cash and bought Steve Mitchell’s former Scorpion, which is in excellent condition. Now they have to learn how to drive it to get the most from it, but early indications show that the boat is a real goer. Meanwhile Steve & Polly have clambered back into their Tasar for a few weeks whilst waiting the delivery of a brand new Scorpion. Now I know some of you will expect me to say this, but to me a Tasar is the ideal boat to sail at Porthpean. It gives exhilarating performance, has simple but effective controls, is quite forgiving when hit by sudden gusts and is not too heavy to pull up our dear old hill after sailing. Like any other boat it has sweet spot conditions for maximum pleasure and today those were dealt to us in spades.

So on to the racing and lots of battles within battles, with initially 3 Tasars, 3 Scorpions, 4 Lasers and Vago, Blaze, and Supersofa. Needless to say, but Jeremy & Suzanne arrived at the beach marks first, just in front of Steve & Polly who had a poor start and had to cross behind the entire fleet, but came in on a good lift. Ken & I in the 3rd Tasar were slightly further behind but made good inroads on the reaches, sailing into 2nd position, which we held for another 2 rounds before Steve passed us and actually put themselves in front of Jeremy as they started the last round, before Jeremy re-passed them on the reaches. Careful covering on the last beat was enough to give Jeremy & Suzanne the win. The slower fleet were lead at one time and for quite a time at that, by Finn in his Laser Radial, before eventually overtaken by Beacky & Kelvin who took line honours but fell back to 4the due to a clean sweep of Lasers in front of him. The race win went to Finn who had a battle royal with James Dowrick, racing in his Laser Radial who was only 5 seconds behind Finn at the end. Nick Haskins, who edged me out from being the oldest sailor out there today did very well to take 3rd place. It has to be commiserations for Craig & Jake, sailing in their new Scorpion as yet again they were bedevilled by a breakage causing an early sail back to the beach. Jeremy Rowett in his Supersofa managed to capsize for the first time and what a time to find out that your nice shiny dry suit leaks! Well it does when the zip isn’t done up properly, Jeremy struggled for ages to get the boat upright and get back on board. There is a technique for righting Supersofas and that will have to be learnt; preferably when the weather is warmer.

beach at lunchtime
The afternoon race was sailed in far fresher conditions and again a few were caught out from time to time resulting in either capsizing or swamping. Once again it was Jeremy & Suzanne heading the fleet at the beach marks and for a very nice change it was Ken & me who slotted into 2nd place, in front of Steve & Polly and very satisfying too was the fact that we actually pulled away from them downwind. As the race progressed we gradually increased our distance from them and on the last beat closed right up on Jeremy & Suzanne to take a well received 2nd place.

The afternoon race for the slower fleet gave a deserving win to Andrew & Jenny Kendall, who only managed 7th in the morning, but fired up the turbo this afternoon taking full advantage of Beacky’s swamping, kept themselves upright, flew the spinnaker when necessary and built up enough time and distance to relegate Finn to 2nd place, although Finn did manage to open up a 40 second lead over James who took 3rd place. Brian Reeves, out today for his first outing, made it a Laser 2, 3 & 4, all finishing in front of Beacky & Kelvin on corrected time. Jeremy Rowett kept the Sofa upright this afternoon and although finishing just in front of Beacky fell back to 6th demoting Nick to 7th. Piran Fisher was another out for the first time today in his RS Feva, sailing it with main only as he had no crew, but still managed to get round the course without too many dramas, finishing just behind Jake Varley who in the absence of a working Scorpion took the Club Laser out.

It was a very tired but satisfied bunch of sailors who returned to the shore, basking in the unseasonal conditions. The sun certainly shone on us all today, proving that Porthpean is one of the best parts of the country to sail in.

From a personal point of view, my leg, ie Achilles Tendon, has not troubled me at all so far whilst sailing. I am very mindful of watching my step when de camping the boat, and also being very careful when pulling it up the beach and slipway. Sue has told me that I must ask others for help in pulling up the boat but so far Ken & I have managed. I have excused myself from heaving and pulling the safety boat, just I case that is a strain too much. Hopefully I will continue to improve.

April 9th
Midnight Express unpacked for her first sail
A cold night on the water
Tonight was the first time out for Ken &me and my race was full of trepidation due to my Achilles tendon. Yes it is almost 6 months ago that I ruptured it and tonight was the first time that I have sailed for over 6 months. Very fortunately for me, everything worked ok and I suffered no reaction. My ankle department did feel rather stiff but in all honesty didn’t appear to affect my sailing, though my boat handling skills are very rusty. The wind, fortunately was very light though I would have liked a little more, and the sea was very flat. Unfortunately the wind, a perfect light offshore breeze was starting to fade away as we left the shore, with only a glimpse of it on the seaward side of the beach marks. As we arrived there we seemed to pick up a slightly fresher breeze, not enough to get us both hiking but enough to let me sit on the side decks and drive the boat through the water.

With a decent dose of sun shining it appeared to be an ideal evening for a shakedown race and it was just a shame that only 7 boats launched to race and of the 7 only 6 actually made the start. Nigel & James took the RIB tonight and taking the conditions into account set a nice sized course giving us a starboard beat in towards the beach marks. Craig & Gary in their first sail of the season in their Scorpion were kept on the beach for quite a while when they found a problem with their kicker arrangement and they failed to fix it in time to get to the start line in time. The 2 fleets were equally balanced with 3 in each fleet. 2 Tasars and an RS400 in the fast fleet and 2 Laser Radials and a Supersofa in the slow fleet. I suppose the faster fleet was more competitive with Jeremy & Suzanne getting to the first mark before Paddy & Steve’s RS with us a little further back. The spinnaker pulled Paddy through and we closed up a little down wind on Jeremy. All changed on the next beat with Jeremy taking the lead again and me getting the beat wrong to slip too far back to make much of an input anymore, though we did finish only 12 seconds behind Paddy & Steve on corrected time.

In the slow fleet, Finn was making a good effort against Jeremy Rowett in the Supersofa, leading for most of the first round but eventually Jeremy took the lead and built up enough margin to take the win, leaving Clive Stephens trailing in 3rd.

By the time we reached the shore the temperature had started to drop quite a lot and I was glad to pack the boat away and change into something warmer before entering the Clubhouse to be greeted by the sight of Jenny behind the new kitchen, ready and waiting for us with a copious supply of Bacon Butties, now they went down well. One drawback with the new kitchen is that the extractor fan now blows out behind the Clubhouse so that nice bacon cooking smell wafting over the dinghy park is no more.

My biggest fear of the sailing was how I managed dragging the boat around. Several people had warned me that twisting and pulling were dangerous and I do believe them, but fortunately by concentrating on what I was doing and taking things easy the boat recovery all went well and we even managed to pull half way up the hill at a nice slow steady pace before Nigel & James helped pull us up the rest of the way.

Well that is the first race over and done with and it can only improve as the next few weeks go by as the evenings get lighter and the temperature gets warmer, and after postponing the last 2 race days we are up and running again. Now we also need some more sailors to make the sailing more interesting; surprisingly enough there at least 4 away on holiday at the moment. The weather has settled into a rather pleasant phase at the moment so that alone may bring a few members down to brave the cold sea.

April 6th
A wet & miserable dinghy park
Rain & wind stop sailing
After the pleasure of starting the season on the advertised date last week we are back to reality by losing our first Wednesday race and also today’s races. Yes, almost as expected, the Cornish / British weather has struck again. We had a touch of the dreaded south easterly wind blowing last Wednesday, which true to form disappeared to zero as the evening drew on, leaving us with just a sloppy swell and a very high tide, which in itself would have made launching difficult and possible hazardous, so we had no option but to cancel. Mind you it is still quite cold in the evenings at this time of year so I don't think anyome minded too much. Still the bar was open and the Clubhouse became a nice safe and warm environment; But no bacon butties!!

Today the weather was far different but still had the same affect. The wind had swung round to a south westerly direction, a rather strong one at that, with 28knots showing at Polruan, but was also accompanied by a heavy cloying damp drizzley mist; so dense that at times we couldn’t see the beach marks. Hence another cancellation resulting in gloomy faces all round. Still at this stage of the season not many wanted to venture out into such inhospitable conditions, as like it or not the water is at a rather low, chilly temperature right now. Once again the tide was almost brushing the slipway, so there wasn’t much beach left, but at least apart from a few dog walkers we would have had it all to ourselves. The good news is that the forecast for Wednesday is far better, with a lighter wind forecast and a lower tide state so with a bit of luck we should see the first Wednesday race of the season take place.

Now it looks like the “Dutyman” programme has, for the moment, fallen by the wayside and we are reverting back to the old tried and trusted format of volunteering, which will produce a list that will appear on the website. The list is incomplete at the moment but will appear as “updated” from time to time. I believe that the list has almost been completed up to the end of May, but there are still lots of dates and times to be volunteered or allocated throughout the rest of the season. Nigel & James will be looking for more dates to be filled as the season goes on, so a list with vacant dates will be appearing on the notice board fairly soon.

March 31st
Oh bogger!!
Day 1 and all systems go
And we’re off and much to my surprise and delight the weather didn’t turn out as forecast. Now I suppose that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as in my opinion, our weather forecasters are most times invariably wrong, unless they are talking no more than 6 hours ahead. Very fortunately the fresh south easterly breeze originally forecast failed to materialise. Although they were correct in forecasting the direction, the wind strength was far lighter than forecast. The first excitement of the day was trying to get Roger unstuck from the green. He had inadvertently driven onto a very boggy part on the incline and it took the help of several people with ropes and also pushing to give him enough traction to escape from the bog. Yes welcome back Roger; it was feared that he might not be sailing with us this year as last year he bought a Shrimper to sail at Rock and that was going to be his main aim this year but the lure of sailing his Blaze again at Porthpean seems to have prevailed.
slipway today
The first task of the day was to lay the beach marks for the season. Beacky & Kelvin loaded the RIB up and with a work party towed it down the slipway to the beach. Very fortunately much of the missing sand has returned but it was considered still too steep to use as it is and the launching boards that Colin had made up during the week were used to ease the angle between slipway and beach. After launching the RIB they motored out to the usual area, just outside the cove and anchored them down, before returning to the beach to pick up the rest of the racing marks and their associated tackle. From out of a half empty dinghy park, trooped sailors for 11 boats, which for a first race wasn’t too bad at all, They launched and set off through the low surf to rendezvous in the starting area. This year the partition between fast and slow fleets has been changed to try and even up the numbers of the 2 fleets and we welcome the arrival of Pete & Jan’s Kestrel and the 2 Blazes of Steve & Roger into the fast fleet.
slipway today
It seems that Pete & Jan are taking this promotion very seriously as they have invested, courtesy of Newton & Crum, in a new mast and were even seen last week with a tape measure and a tuning guide to try to exert a few more knots of speed out of their trusty and faithful machine. Steve has fitted a new alloy tube to one of the racks of his Blaze so that was another boat all tuned up ready to go. It was also good to see Tom Bittle back on the water. His injury last year was a lot worse than mine and it has kept him from sailing for over 8 months. Fortunately he is all healed up now and today was a good tester for him as though the breeze was relatively light, there was still enough out there to make him commit to full hiking mode.

Nigel & James’ RS400 is still having ongoing maintenance and is not ready to sail yet which allowed James to take his new Laser Radial out to race. None of the Scorpions are ready to do battle yet, oh the joys of a wooden boat!!, so Andrew Kendall took out the Club Laser. The 3 Lasers made up the largest number of the fleet, which ranged from the Tasar of Chris & Tony down to the Topper of Charlie Austin, giving us a total of 10 boats on the race track.

slipway today
The light breeze was pleasant enough for a shake down race, but with the light south easterly blowing the pleasure of sailing was somewhat diminished with the boats bouncing about on the choppy waves. However the breeze started to pipe up as the race went on and this certainly was well received by Roger who lead at the first mark and quickly built up a commanding lead as he planed down the waves on his way to the jibe mark and his first win of the season. It was also a good day for Chris & Tony who although taking a penalty for hitting a beach mark, managed to take 2nd place away from Jan & Pete by 4 seconds!! I expect Jan & Pete curse the fact that their spinnaker gear wasn’t working properly as this denied them of sufficient speed to have beaten the Tasar. It looks like racing is going to be close again this year. Steve Wingrove started well but slipped back a little as the race went on, finally finishing 4th.

The slower fleet was dominated by Tom Bittle. His corrected time would have been good enough to have finished 2nd if racing in the fast fleet, and he managed to finish 3 minutes on corrected time over 2nd to finish, Simon Robins in his Supersofa. James and Andrew had a close battle in their Lasers and although Andrew managed to finish in front of James on the water, James’s handicap was good enough to give him 3rd overall demoting Andrew to 4th. Shane and Luke sailing the Club Vago struggled in the light stuff to get the Vago moving fast enough to make any lasting impression on the faster boats. Charlie, in his Topper, managed to start but retired soon on the 1st lap.

The wind pipped up somewhat whilst we were having lunch and the fleet launched through a building surf to do battle for the 2nd race of the season, on an enlarged course. This time the RS400 of Paddy & Steve joined the party. A slow start saw them 3rd at the first windward mark, being behind the ever fast Blaze of Roger and the Laser of Tom. The first reach soon disposed of the Laser and the 2nd reach, which allowed the spinnaker to be flown, soon dispatched Roger, finally beating him by almost 50 seconds on corrected time. The fresher breeze proved more to Jan & Pete’s liking as they managed a role reversal on Chris & Tony to take 3rd place.

The fresher breeze saw only 3 boats sailing in the slow handicap fleet but once again the conditions suited Tom as he built up a lead to take 1st place some 3 ½ minutes on corrected time over Simon in the Supersofa and would have taken 1st place if racing with the fast fleet. Well done Tom and all credit to James for finishing AND most importantly not capsizing in the fresher breeze.

So there we are, unlike last year when we sat on the shore for the first few weeks of the season, this time we managed to race on day 1. The enthusiasm is still there and 2 membership forms were taken home by visitors, we may not have had any sunshine but Porthpean is up and running again.

March 23rd
making sandwhiches
2014 Season, on your marks, get ready, only one week to go
Where has the time gone? It only seems a few days ago that we pulled the shutters down on our 2013 season, Christmas has come and gone, 2014 is here and we only have 7 or less days to go before we blast off again on another season of sailing discovery.

Once again the Clubhouse and dinghy parks have been subjected to some much needed maintenance work, some of which could only be conducted when the Club has been lying dormant. Some of you will be seeing the new kitchen for the first time and I am sure you will be just as amazed at seeing it as everybody else who has walked through the door. The new kitchen has also heralded the arrival of some much needed replacement ancillaries, such as cookers, microwave and freezer, water heater. All in all the new kitchen is a fantastic improvement to the Club, and next Saturday will see the kitchen used in anger, so to speak, for the first time, when a meal will be cooked for the Fitting Out Supper. Those without tickets better get in touch with either Pete or Jan PDQ or you will be unable to eat with us. The picture above shows a work party, busy preparing sandwiches ready for the freezer. Safety boats and beach marks have all been serviced and will be ready to go next week. The Clubhouse exterior has had a fresh lick of paint on the walls, though still needs a rub down in some areas. The changing rooms have had a lick of paint and lots of unclaimed sailing gear has been disposed of, so all in all we are just about ready for next Sunday.

slipway today
One area that is not ready, not through our fault, is the slipway. Some of the sand has returned, but not enough to cover the edge, leaving us still with a drop onto the beach from a jagged looking chunk of concrete. The Outdoor Centre has already felt the detrimental affects and has had to cancel some of its courses due to not being able to access the beach with their equipment. We may be able to overcome some of our difficulties by constructing some ramps, though this will be a bit of a hit and miss and will need plenty of cooperation when trying to get on and off the beach, especially with the safety boat. I also think some of our Wednesday racing may have to be cancelled as the high spring tides such as we get every other week in the evenings will make it impossible to use ramps and the sudden drop onto the beach will make launching almost impossible and unsafe. The fact that access to beach is unsafe and difficult, for Joe Public, may influence the Council to give the slipway some much needed attention.

During the winter months some of our cadets have been turning themselves into very competent wind surfers. The question arises, will they prefer to windsurf rather than sail this season. I think wind surfing might well win out this year, especially for Finn who has been selected by the RYA squad for further coaching. One thing I have noticed over the years is that people who take to wind surfing become so proficient that they eventually only venture out when the wind becomes force 4 or above. The adrenalin rush fails to materialise in light airs, so hopefully they will drift back into sailing where tactics and rivalry can brush up their dinghy skills again.

Clubhouse steps
Now those of you who have looked at the duty list will be surprised to see that there are no names listed for duties. That’s not because we have become fully automated but because we are investing in a software package called “duty man”. The idea is that you will be all sent a blank copy of the race programme and will be asked to put your names into various slots. Your list will be sent back via the www and the amended list will be published on our website. You will also be sent an automated email a few days before your next duty reminding you of the forthcoming duty. There will be an area where you can try and swop with someone else if you can not make your duty. How well this will work is anyone’s guess, but although the idea is good the actual workings of the software is fairly tricky. Nigel, James and Paddy are still trying to get it work, hence the delay in you receiving your copy. Whether it will be satisfactory for our Club, we will have to wait and see. Anyway, don’t despair for the moment as we do have volunteers for the first few weeks so duty names will appear on the front page of the web site for the time being. Sometimes progress is a little slow!!

Last Sunday, 4 boats went out for a shakedown sail in ideal conditions, whereas this Sunday the conditions were anything but ideal as there was a cold brisk wind blowing out in the bay, showing plenty of whitecaps, so who knows what we will get next week. A little rise in temperature will certainly be welcomed, as will the clocks going forward an hour, which will give us the light evenings we so much look forward to.

March 9th
Damaged slipway
The dinghy show
What a fantastic weekend we have had, two days of glorious sunshine. It’s been a very long wait but finally spring is showing its first stirrings of the year. I think that this weekend has produced more sun than we have seen for the entire year so far and what’s more it looks like it will be like this all week. After a very wet and windy and almost frost free winter, we are finally into March and within the last 21 days on the countdown clock. Last weekend I, and up to 10 others attended the annual dinghy show, held once again at Alexandra Palace in north London. To the blasé ones amongst us it appears to be the same old format every year, but it is the best chance any of us get to see so many different dinghies at one venue. This year also saw the launch of 2 new single handed dinghies. Now why bring out new ones when there are so many existing single handers to choose from? I just don’t know why except that someone somewhere is convinced that the existing classes are still short of the ultimate performance single hander. A few years ago RS launched the RS100 to a great deal of hype and initially the boat sold in droves and though it looks nice the boat itself is at times difficult to sail and has proved very difficult to right after a capsize. Maybe the possible demise of the Laser has given fresh impetus to designing new single handers and so last weekend we saw the unveiling of the Devoti D-0 and the RS Aero. The D-0 is actually based on a dinghy called the Punk that was built and sailed by its designer Dan Holman quite a few years ago. The boat has had a good following and Dan was approached by Devoti to allow them to produce the boat in their factory in Poland and then distribute it to the general public. The boat looks slightly radical in the bow section and looks like it will be a very nice boat to sail. It is slightly heavier and also slightly more expensive than the Aero.
RS Aero
RS went back to the drawing board and their designer came up with the Aero. This is a very lightweight boat and has a choice of 3 rigs to suit the particular weight etc of the owner and is sold under the guise of Aero 5, 7 or 9. The hull is extremely light, weighing in at just 30 kg. To my eye both boats are very pretty and look appealing. Both boats have carbon mast & boom, which will keep the weight down. The D-0 has a mylar sail whereas the RS Aero has a dacron sail. The D-0 in the guise of the Punk has already proven itself whereas the Aero has yet to be proven, but if I was choosing one for myself then I would probably go for the RS Aero, mainly because it has a gunwale, which allows it to be picked up and carried quite easily; most essential when lifting out of the sea and and would be a boon when pulling up the slipway. The Aero is also lighter than the D-0. The D-0 has a smooth deck to hull join and is difficult to pick up which I think would be compounded with wet hands. RS also has the advantage of its advertising muscle and will probably have the edge on volume of sails. Both boats are pitched at around new Laser price (under £5000) although you will need launching trolley and cover to go with whichever you buy but both should take advantage of the problems that are currently affecting the Laser, and what’s more are both modern with better sail controls, so should be easier to handle. No doubt there will be full tests on both boats conducted by the Y&Y in the near future. I know I am a rather committed Tasar fan and the one on display was very nice looking, but there were also some other absolutely brilliant looking boats at the show. Wooden Enterprises, Scorpions GP 14s and Albacores looked far better than their plastic versions. The modern Merlins and N12s and all RS models looked equally good and then there was the exotic Cherubs, Moths, 49ers, Icon (still in my opinion the best value 2 person boat around) & Blaze and all the Hartley boats. There was a section in the entrance hall devoted to the history of the 505, which even today 60 years on is still the most beautiful looking boat of all when seen sailing. There was one very; very old original 505 on display and the controls on it were so basic. It had a simple metal mast, wooden boom, terylene sails, simple kicker and heavy duty jib and main sheets. It looked so old fashioned, yet what we laugh at today was considered cutting edge in its day. There was also a series of lectures and talks going on throughout the days and demonstrations of repairs to fibre glass boats, which in itself was quite absorbing. Food and drink I thought were quite reasonable, so to sum it up a great day out for the dinghy sailor and if you get the chance to go there next year then seize the opportunity. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Bottom of the slipway
Well with less than 3 weeks to go before the season starts, the list of outstanding jobs is tailing away. The newer of the 2 safety boat engines has returned from its overhaul, the flag pole is back up, the changing rooms have been painted, though the outside of the club house still needs a new coat of paint, which has been delayed for weeks due to the persistent bad weather. Pride of place at the moment is the new kitchen which had been lovingly installed by Colin & Tony. Nigel, James and Brian have installed all the new electrics and plumbing and this week the floor covering was finally laid. The final affect is stunning and a great credit to those 5 gents for all their hard work and skill. The lack of sand covering the bottom of the broken slipway is a concern to us all. At the moment it would be almost impossible to get the safety boat on and off the beach, let alone all the dinghies. From past experience the sand will most likely reappear of its own accord. In fact most of it is at the far end of the beach at the moment, but nature will no doubt move it all around again soon. This picture, taken by Ken, shows even more sand missing than on the pictures taken only a few weeks ago
February 16th
Damaged slipway
The slipway falls apart
What a surprise we had today; sunshine and lots of it. Yes after what seems like a lifetime of wind and rain, the weather actually relented for a change and gave us a hint of what we all hope is to come. The violent gales of the last 48 hrs had blown themselves out and we were left with a morning of blue skies, sunshine and little or no wind. It was time for people to get out and about and look at what damage had occurred. I suppose it is only fair to say that almost every part of the Cornish coastline had been damaged in some form or other and compared to what I have seen elsewhere our damage pails into insignificance. The web is awash with videos and photographs and I have put a link on here here to a short video I took on Friday evening, looking down the slipway at high tide. The result of that gale was that the foot of the slipway that had been damaged previously, suffered even more damage, with the result that now there are 3 broken sections on the beach rather than all attached to each other.
Damaged slipway
Strangely enough the latest damage has actually made an improvement for us as we now have a nice slope down to what will be the sand, whenever it comes back, rather than the very short sharp profile that the Council created quite a few years ago. Yes several years ago the Council affected a repair to the slipway that involved raising the level and fitting support concrete section to the edges. We have noticed for quite a few years cracks appearing in the joints showing that movement was occurring from time to time, but 8 weeks of solid gales and enormous waves crashing onto the slip eventually ripped all the joints apart and lifted the broken sections up and moved them several feet away from where they had been. The most noticeable piece was the latest damage when the top layer of the slip detached itself and “floated” off quite a few feet. It won’t be long before some of the sand comes back and buries it, only to be seen again at times of rough weather when the sand will be moved again. Unfortunately a section of the main slipway has started to be undercut and that too eventually may mean the collapse of the entire structure, but for the moment is probably safe enough.
Damaged slipway
The kitchen is really taking shape now. The tiles went on this week and today Nigel & James were connecting up all the sockets and appliances, whilst Brian was refitting and connecting the hot water boiler. All the cupboards and drawers have been filled and soon the only job to do to finish will be new floor covering. Colin & Tony over the last few weeks have done a fantastic job. Quite a few photographs have been taken during the construction and a good many of them will appear as a “project” in the near future. Meanwhile there are still quite a other jobs that require attention, painting the changing rooms, and Clubhouse exterior are the main ones now. The newer of the safety boat engines has been in for an overhaul and some seized up parts have been replaced. With only 6 weeks to go before the start of the season, things are starting to look a little more ship shape.
Damaged slipway
February 16th
Damaged slipway
Damaged slipway
The pictures above were taken on February 16th, showing that the sand had started to come back, but the crack was growing larger.
Just one little wave
What a surprise we had today; sunshine and lots of it. Yes after what seems like a lifetime of wind and rain, the weather actually relented for a change and gave us a hint of what we all hope is to come. The violent gales of the last 48 hrs had blown themselves out and we were left with a morning of blue skies, sunshine and little or no wind. It was time for people to get out and about and look at what damage had occurred. I suppose it is only fair to say that almost every part of the Cornish coastline had been damaged in some form or other and compared to what I have seen elsewhere our damage pails into insignificance. The web is awash with videos and photographs and I have put a link on here to a short video I took on Friday evening, looking down the slipway at high tide. The result of that gale was that the foot of the slipway that had been damaged previously, suffered even more damage, with the result that now there are 3 broken sections on the beach rather than all attached to each other. Strangely enough the latest damage has actually made an improvement for us as we now have a nice slope down to what will be the sand, whenever it comes back, rather than the very short sharp profile that the Council created quite a few years ago.
February 9th
Damaged slipway
Damaged slipway
The pictures above were taken on February 2nd, showing that the sand had started to come back, but the crack was growing larger.
Just one little wave
The weather; that 7 letter word seems to dominate our lives, and no one, neither young nor old, can have failed to notice the devastating effects of wind and water that have hammered our country, and our county, this week. Periods of gales & torrential rain have been relentless since just before Christmas and from the forecast are likely to prevail for the rest of this week at least. Very fortunately, St. Austell and our immediate coastline have managed to escape some of the worst of the weather. Many of us have witnessed some terrific sights of waves pounding our beaches and also seen some of the major damage that has been shown on television.
Then the savage storm during the night of February 3rd struck, note the picture, showing just one of the enormous waves that slammed onto the shoreline. Sometime during Tuesday, the waves scoured all the sand away from the underside bottom of the slip and part of the concrete structure, broke away and fell down onto the underlying rocks. The series of photographs over a period of a few weeks shows how we have progressively lost sand from the beach and the deterioration of the slipway.
Damaged slipway  
Damaged slipway
The pictures above were taken on February 5th, showing that part of the slipway had sheared off.
Damaged slipway  
Damaged slipway
Yet, amazingly, by Friday much of the sand had returned and almost buried the broken part of the slipway. I am sure over the next few weeks we will see the sand move around quite a lot more. We are on neap tides right now. So there won’t be much sea water swirling around the slipway but by next weekend will be back to spring tides so expect to see more movement again. In a perfect world I would expect to see the Council workmen move in and repair the structure, but when you look around and see the amount of damage elsewhere in the county then I think we may well be the bottom of any repair list for quite a while yet. The sailing season is still 7 weeks away, so for the moment we will just have to wait and see what will happen.
Damaged slipway  
Damaged slipway
Meanwhile the Club maintenance continues, though again that is being slowed down by the rain, limiting time spent outdoors. The main task in the Clubhouse centres on the new kitchen which is coming on well with Colin & Tony spending quite an amount of time during the week with the installation. Today Nigel was running the last of the power cables to the various new sockets, whilst Ken spent quite a lot of time up and down step ladders, vacuuming all the beams to rid them of the numerous spiders who have deemed the roof space to be their own territory. The changing rooms still require a lick of paint and last week I made a start on cleaning the PVC gutters, but was limited to what I could reach with my dodgy leg. Andrew & Jenny busied themselves by repairing part of the fencing in the field. Some one had cut part of the fence away hoping to come and steal something or other from the field. We cannot find anything that may have been stolen so maybe the soaking wet green put them off somewhat.
Damaged slipway  
Damaged slipway
I mentioned above my leg. Well I am now about 4 months in from my tendon rupture and feeling much better. Unfortunately I still walk with a limp, due mainly to the fact that I walk rather flat footed with my left leg. I just don’t have the strength in it to roll my foot properly when I walk. Try walking yourself and notice that as you are about to transfer your weight from one foot to the other your heel automatically comes up ready for you to take the next step. Well in my case the foot doesn’t come up properly yet, giving the appearance of a limp. All the experts tell me that it will take up to 12 months to heel properly; in that case I am only 1/3 of the way in the healing process, so still a long way to go yet. I do have a series of exercises to do daily and I am doing them, but it is frustrating when progress is so slow that you can’t measure it..
January 12th
Damaged slipway
2014 Maintenance Starts
Here goes with the first entry of the 2014 blog and a Happy New Year to all. I am sure that we are all looking forward to the 2014 season which will be on us sooner than we think but before that there is always the Club maintenance to carry out. Today welcomed the first day of “works parties” to the Club and grounds and it was fantastic to see so many members down, scurrying about undertaking some of the many jobs listed that require man power. We were greeted by a brisk south easterly blasting in over a very turbulent sea, making conditions quite unpleasant. It was certainly not a day to inspire anyone to want to go sailing. Quite large waves were crashing down onto our denuded beach. The previous series of storms that have roared over the entire UK has removed tons and tons of sand from the bottom of the slipway and taken it away somewhere. The slipway itself is looking quite damaged around its foundations and one huge chunk of cement has been removed from its anchoring place and moved down the beach. Hopefully much of the sand will re appear before we start sailing in approx 10 weeks time. One major job is currently well on its way to completion and that is the replacement of the kitchen. The old kitchen has been completely dismantled and removed. All the electrical sockets have been removed as all the plumbing. Sometime this week the new flat packed kitchen will arrive and will be lovingly installed by Colin & Tony with plenty of assistance from Brian Phillips (plumbing) and Nigel & James (electrical). Several photographs have been taken of the project and will appear as a dedicated web page when the kitchen has been completed. Due to all the cupboards contents being strewn around the Clubhouse then it was no surprise to see so many activities today being concentrated on the Dinghy Park, safety boat and field. The No1 safety boat has been packed on a road trailer ready to be taken to Penryn for an engine service plus some attention to the rubbing strips on the sponsons. The flag pole has been dropped ready for painting. The changing rooms have a surplus of bits and pieces in them that have been left over the season and I think the contents will all be dumped in one of the sheds in the field, to give us space to revamp the changing rooms. I think that the water hot water tank in the ladies is to be removed and we will have instant heat hot water supplies in the future.
Roger with hedge trimmer
Roger Williams was hard at work with his hedge trimmer, cutting back all the vegetation encroaching on the back of the Club house and Laser Dinghy Park. The cuttings being removed by Ken and others. Whilst removing some of the cuttings I noticed that the Council have planted a tree in the middle of the green, which looks very nice but I am sure will prove somewhat of a hindrance for parking boats during Nationals, so maybe we will have to use the field more widely in future. Once upon a time when all dinghies were wood, the yard was always clear in the winter as the boats went home to be painted and varnished; however with the advent of fibre glass, many of the boats remain in the dinghy park. Fortunately they had all been sheltered from the main force of the previous gales as all boats had stayed on their trolleys without incident. The external walls of the Clubhouse are showing the ravages of the winter with quite a bit of green algae appearing. A new coat of wall paint will go down very well and help improve the appearance. Hopefully by the time April arrives, the sun will be shining, the air temperature will be warming up and we will all be ready for sailing, even me. As many who saw me today, realise that the Boot has been removed and hopefully my healing process is well on its way. I still walk with a limp and my ankle is still rather stiff and believe it or not my right knee is starting to protest due to the extra strain that it might be taking. I am having physiotherapy and have a series of exercises to do daily, and whilst I notice little improvement, I am sure that progress is and will be made as it takes up to 12 months to recover from a ruptured tendon. I suppose that it is up to me to make sure that I continue with the exercises to help with the healing process. Fortunately my football days are over, I gave that up when I moved to Cornwall. My squash days have finished, I gave that up a few years ago. My skiing days never actually started and I am too old now to risk life and limb blasting down snow covered hills. Hang gliding? Well I’ve done that, and luckily survived it. In fact for me, most physical sports have had their day, I suppose almost everything apart from sailing, so with almost 3 months to go, clambering in and out of the boat and hiking should be achievable. Next week I may be allowed to go cycling on a static bike and then soon may be allowed back on the cross trainer. Now the bad news; My winter inactivity has resulted in some unwanted weight being incurred. Actually a moment after writing about weight gavin I staggered onto my scales and found that I have only put on 6 or 7 pounds over the last 4 months, which considering my lack of activity and the excesses of Christmas is not as bad as it could have been. A strong will power over my food and drink intake plus some vigorous exercise should soon result in some weight loss.

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