Porthpean Sailing Club  
Webmaster's Sailing Blog 2015
2006 blog 2007 blog 2008 blog 2009 blog 2010 blog 2011 blog 2012 blog 2013 blog 2014 blog

Return to the Beach.

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

Click on any picture to view a larger version.

December 16th
The beach in May
That was the season that was.

I did say a few weeks ago that I may do one last blog for the year and here it is, though it does look rather wordy so make sure you have a cup of tea or coffee by your side before you attempt to read it.

Well we have just had the AGM and a Christmas party so now the 2015 sailing season is officially over and we only have the prize presentation in January to come. The weather despite earlier warnings of a long cold winter is abnormally mild, though the winds of late have churned the sea up and sailing on our stretch of water hasnít looked very inviting at all so there is no doubt in my mind that our racing finished at the right time.

Ken & I had our last sail of 2015 last Sunday when we ventured down to Restronguet for their Christmas Pudding race. An unexpected window in this almost incessant windy, rainy weather came just at the right time, so we were quick to hitch ďMidnight ExpressĒ up and travel westwards. We were also joined by Jeremy & Suzanne and our finishing results were posted as J&S 14th and us as 15th. All the boats that beat us were either Darts or asymmetrical spinnaker boats. There was an RS200 classed as finishing in front of us but the race was scored on an average lap basis and he was scored as having completed 4 laps but in fact he only completed 3, though that was missed by the race recorders. The start was chaotic. The Oppis were supposed to start on the one minute signal. That produced a recall but quite a few of the fleet took it as our start and set off up the beat. Our 2 Tasars started on the ďGOĒ signal and we had quite a bit of work to do to sail up through the slower early starters. The breeze initially, when we arrived, was very light but increased to a promising level by the starting time and then unfortunately slowly dropped off as the race progressed. The course was triangular with a good sized beat followed by a relatively short close reach that we could have planed on if the breezed had been fresher and then a long broad reach back to the leeward mark against the tide. All in all not very exciting conditions but we did have a 50 boat plus fleet to sail in.

A jellyfish Now for a quick resume of our 2015 season and the most memorable thing that springs to my mind was the glut of giant jelly fish. We were invaded early in the season, in fact they invaded the whole of the south coast of the UK as well and I think that we all hit one or more in every race that we sailed. Unfortunately they took us by surprise every time we hit one and we quite often slowed down quite dramatically when they were struck by our dagger board. They were a pest and I hope that we are free of them for next year; keep your fingers crossed.

We have seen many capsizes over the year and I think that it is unfortunate that we havenít kept a tally, but that saves embarrassing certain people! Over the season I have witnessed quite a few of our Scorpion fleet upside down at one time or another and I suppose Paddy & Steve have had their fair share of hull inspections but then a B14 does take a lot of taming so no shame there. Even though there have been numerous capsizes no one was ever in danger and our RIB was always at hand to offer assistance should it be needed. In fact I needed it one night when we capsized and the rudder fell off the back of the boat. Fortunately Jeremy & Suzanne helped us fix it back on which allowed us to sail back to the beach. The capsize was my fault in as much as I didnít react quickly enough when the main sheet suddenly uncleated and in we went to windward.

The summer weather wasnít particularly good as we never had a long clear spell during the summer but on the positive side that probably gave us more races than some of the preceding years. I think we can all look back at Wednesday nights in previous years when the evening breeze had been so light that racing had to be cancelled. Mind you there are some people who are quite happy to go out and drift around, but I donít particularly like it. We also had a few Sundays this year when we were greeted, when arriving at the Club, by a completely flat bay and we had to sit and watch for the tell tale signs of a dark patch out on the horizon and then when spotted wait for it to slowly come towards us. It was always interesting to see how strong it would be and from which direction it would eventually settle in. I know that trying to set a course in those conditions can be very frustrating, but the only consolation is that the race conditions are the same for us all, and what may suit one type of boat may well not suit another type of boat. Unfortunately that is one of the facts of life when sailing in handicap fleets.

A briefing session Probably our most successful sailor over the year has been Finn Hawkins who has become a star in the wind surfing world. Finn is in the RYA squad and has travelled, courtesy of Jeremy & Suzanne, to quite a few parts of the country and Europe in his quest for success. Finn will also be racing Jeremyís Tasar on Wednesday nights next season, which might give us all a problem with his light weight in what could be light conditions, though my memory tells me that we had quite a few windy Wednesday nights this year. Paddy & Steve Coello have completed their 2nd season sailing a B14 and during this season have been joined by Jeremy & Suzanne in their new acquisition, giving each other some good competition. Success in the B14 Nationals to be held here next year will be their goal.

The racing for the season was divided fairly equally into 3 10 race series for the Sundays and 10 race series for the Wednesday spring and summer series with a 4 race autumnal series with an early start tacked on to extend our evening racing by a further 3 races. This latter series has been running for the last 4 years and initially it was very successful but attendance numbers were a lot lower this year.

We have had a ďCup DayĒ more or less each month throughout the season, but unfortunately attendance hasnít been as high as previous years, so whether they are retained or not is questionable, but we have had a good variation of courses, with triangular, ďPĒ, Olympic and windward-leeward courses, so enough variety for the lucky ones who sailed in the cup races. We didnít have any long distance races, or pursuit races, this year so maybe they could be brought back onto the calendar for next year. In the case of a long distance race we do need to make sure that the conditions are suitable for everyone from the safety point of view. Talking of safety, we have a very good record in that respect and from my observations every body using the RIB has behaved in a very sensible way. People doing duties have generally turned up for them, but we have had too many gaps in the programme and luckily for us, Nigel has often given up his sailing to take the RIB, so I would like to say a big thank you from me to him for that.

Our super duper, Paddy designed and built, race starting timer works well though it has managed to confuse a few inexperienced operators sometimes, especially if the time keeper forgets to radio the time of the next gun to the RIB, though I think that RIB crews should have their own watch running so that they know where in the starting sequence we are. Having done a few duties in the OOD box I know first hand that it can be easy to be distracted as boats cross the beach marks. Maybe Iím the only one who has had a problem as I donít think that we have had any disasters with time recording this year.

I always moan that our fleet numbers are down and to me they seemed to be lower than ever this year but Ken has done some number crunching of previous years attendances and we appear to be fairly stable, so I must have to accept that a small club has lower sailing numbers and there always seems to be someone away on family duty or on holiday or worse still working, which all contributes to keep the numbers down.

A briefing session Janet Preston has just completed her first season sailing with us in her Laser radial and has at times had some very good results which I am sure will encourage her for next year. In fact our Laser fleet has been well represented with boats on the water and the star this year has undeniably been James Dowrick, being first Laser in most of the races he has sailed in. I do hear a rumour that he & Nigel may be sailing in an RS200 next year, which would make a nice addition to our racing. They are very competitive and popular boats. I also hear that Mike Ward from Pentewan has bought an RS100 and may join us for Wednesday night racing and maybe some selected Sundays as well. Marc Heretier joined us in the autumn and has been using the Club Laser prior to buying a boat of his own for next year. Brian Reeves is another Laser sailor who has had some very good results this year and is often seen at the top end of the leader board. Clive Stephens is out most Wednesdays and Iím sure would benefit more if he could only get down here on a Sunday. Unfortunately Nick Haskins isnít sailing quite as much nowadays. The physical challenge of a full sized Laser rig is rather a lot to handle at times and there are only so many capsizes that us oldies want in any one race.

Our small, but beautifully formed, Supernova fleet has been well represented by Simon Robins who sails whenever he is home from his job that usually keeps him away for 3 weeks at a time, but it would be very nice to see more of Jeremy Rowett and Johnny Hill, but I think retirement for them has too many other distractions. Colin hasnít sailed his much this year and I believe it may be up for sale.

The Scorpion fleet has grown slightly larger this year, being joined quite regularly by Steve & Ashley Wingrove, Craig & Luke Varley and some Sundays by Sarah & Martin and on Wednesday evenings by Kay & Nigel, giving a potential of 6 racing. More recently Steve Mitchell & Polly have decided to commit themselves to more Scorpion sailing rather than Tasar sailing. Steve & Ashley have also bought an RS400 to sail as an alternative to their Scorpion and may be torn at times as to which boat to sail next year. There is certainly a lot more room for a crew in an RS400 than a Scorpion and the asymmetric spinnaker is easier to get to grips with than the conventional symmetric spinnaker. Paul Beacon and Kelvin have had more success this year in their Scorpion and have had a hard time sometimes battling to get past Andrew & Jenny.

A briefing session Charlie Austin has been out quite regularly in his Topper and is coming on in leaps and bounds and it has been nice to see him also crew for Justin on Wednesday nights where their teamwork has proved to be very competitive and has the bonus of teaching him more about tactics.

In the faster fleet we have suffered from a decline in Tasar numbers, though Chris & Tony and Ken & I have been racing most race days, and Justin & Charlie have been giving us a hard time on more than one occasion on Wednesday evenings. Dennis & Brian havenít sailed much at all but I do hear a rumour that Dennis may be considering an RS400 for next year. We havenít seen much of Stacey this year either but he did make an appearance one windy Sunday with Lucy crewing and promptly wiped the floor with the rest of us, but I do note that his Tasar is for sale on Apollo Duck. Richard has had a good year with his Contender but suffers trying to sail to his handicap in the lighter stuff but is blindingly fast in the stronger breezes.

The B14s have always been out in front in every race but quite often fall short with their corrected times. In order to keep the fleets more evenly balanced Pete & Jan in their new Kestrel have been promoted to the fast fleet this year and have done very well at times, especially if the breeze is on the light side when it can be very difficult to sail away from them. In fact on a spinnaker reach they are often faster than a Tasar, meaning we have to work harder on the beats to try and overtake them. It has also been nice to see Pascual & Sue out regularly on Sundays and their improvement can certainly be seen as a positive sign. We havenít seen very much of Roger Williams this year. The trek from Rock to Porthpean is a long one and Roger also sails a Shrimper against the Rock fleet which is proving to be a strong pull on his loyalties.

The After several years as Sailing Secretary, Nigel has decided to stand down for 2016 and his place at the top has been ceded to James, whom I am sure will do a cracking job. It remains to see if our sailing programme next year consists of more of what we have had for the last few years or will we try some new types of racing? There arenít enough numbers of any one type of boat racing regularly to have their own series, so I think we will stay as handicap fleets. I always find our massed starts rather exciting and the first beat in a lot of races can often see different helms rounding the windward mark in the lead.

The quite often windy autumn has caused us to sail 2 or more races back to back on quite a few days and I think the majority have preferred this rather than having to face battling in and out of the surf twice. So much so that we may well adopt that format of racing in the future should the weather conditions cause trouble in either the spring or summer series. The decision will have to be made on the day and can be announced maybe by displaying a message on a blackboard and placing it in view of the web cam, which may help those who do not live that close to the Club.

This season has been the first season for a few years without the Club hosting a Nationals for some fleet or other but that will all change next year when the B14s come back to fly around our bay again. Nationals are a good source of income and are also very good for Club morale. I think it will be a 4 day Nationals so shouldnít be too disruptive, but will be the high light of our 2 B14s season.

The count down clock on the web page is ticking off the days until next spring and I am sure that we will all be looking forward to more good racing to come. So from it's a Happy Christmas everyone and I look forward to 2016

November 29th
The dinghy park
That's it folks, the 2015 season sails into the sunset

Well thatís it; the 2015 season has come to an end. It certainly doesnít seem that long ago that we were taking our boats down in the chill of the spring for the first sail of the season. In fact it was actually some 9 months ago, though as you get older then the time really does zip by and to me that sums up the sailing season - gone in a flash. Unfortunately the end of the season has ended on a bit of a low as the weather once again took away another dayís racing. I think that we had all been looking at the forecast during the week with a certain amount of trepidation, and forecast after forecast gave this weekend to be wet and windy. Now wet we can cope with, but the wind in the form of gales is just a little too much for us and so it was no surprise as we drove down the hill to see a wind swept bay, covered with white horses, giving us the inevitable cancellation. My keyboard will also be due a little rest as this should be the last blog of the year, though I may try and write a review in a few days time. Now just to show you how poor the conditions were today, I have uploaded a movie clip that I recorded during the morning onto You Tube. You can find it by following this link.

Fortunately last weekend was so good that at least we went out on a high with 3 races in almost ideal, variable conditions, plus the beach marks were recovered which was also a bonus as it means we donít have to gather a special beach party solely for the purpose of launching and recovering the RIB and beach marks.

Yes the usual crowd gathered down at the Clubhouse today to gaze at the windswept sea, but accepted the inevitable and slowly dispersed to find other things to do. The count down timer is already ticking towards 2016 with only 118 days or less to go, so not too long to wait and there will be lots of Club maintenance to do before we officially start sailing again. One big job that we are hoping to tackle is a complete refurbishment of the changing rooms. Itís the sort of job due to the amount of time that it will take that can only be done when we arenít sailing. Colin has drawn up the plans and I think the project is almost fully costed and work will start right after Christmas. On top of that there will be the usual jobs to undertake, such as deep cleaning & painting in the Clubhouse, the RIBs and trailers need to be overhauled, Beach marks and associated tackle to be checked and readied.

On the plus side the dinner and the AGM are only 2 weeks away and the Wednesday night socials are still ongoing and there will also be a party in the Clubhouse on New Yearís Eve, so the next few weeks will go by in a bit of a blur and then no sooner are we into January then the prizegiving night will be held in the Clubhouse plus there will be the usual social nights that Tony is organising.

November 22nd
The dinghy park
As good as a summer's day

Letís start off with a big thank you to Denis & Brian, our RIB drivers for the day as well as RIB drivers last week. They, like us, had to endure sunshine and rain, calm and blow, topped off with a cool north westerly breeze. I think that they were both feeling very cold when they finally landed on the beach with the 4 race marks plus the beach marks that were pulled up for the first time since they were lowered into position some 9 months ago. Denis & Brianís pain was for our pleasure; though I must admit with the tricky conditions that we had today we too also felt a lot of pain and frustration dealing with what Mother Nature was to throw at us.

The forecast for next weekend at the moment is not too good, so today could have been our last racing session of the year. Trying to forecast accurately 7 days ahead is almost impossible for the weather men as they are usually inaccurate over 4 days let alone 7, so we will wait and see. Anyway, after days and days of wind and rain we were actually blessed with a beautiful autumnal day. We were greeted for a change to a flat smooth sea with just a hint of a northerly breeze blowing across it. In fact it was a great relief to be able to launch and recover from a sea devoid of waves breaking on the foreshore The fleet today was possibly the best of the autumn series with 15 boats launching, making up a fleet of 4 lasers, 3 Scorpions, 3 Tasars and 2 B14s plus Contender, Kestrel and RS400 and the fleets were evenly balanced with 8 in the fast fleet and 7 in the slow fleet. The breeze out at sea was actually more a westerly and the course was duly set, but as we came under starterís orders the breeze went on a walk about leaving us drifting around waiting for the breeze to return. Well it wasnít too long before a new breeze was spotted coming towards us from Charlestown, which was a complete 90 degree change, resulting in us all sailing across the bay to try a port hander course which would give us a beat to the beach marks.

The plan was to do 2 races back to back, have lunch then sail another race to try and catch up with races that we had missed earlier in the series. Now there is no way that I can remember what happened in each and every race but some things stick out. The conditions went from light to quite gusty with a heavy rain squall hitting us at some time during the first race but we also then had the pleasure of some planing when on the close reach. The wind itself was quite shifty making the beats very tricky at times causing much delight and sometimes displeasure dependant on where we were on the course at the time when sailing the beat. Even the reaches had their dramas at times and we had to set our whisker pole on more than one occasion as the wind veered around. Jelly fish; I had thought that we had seen the back of them but no, once again they were a proper nuisance and we hit several of them over the course of 3 races. Maybe there arenít quite as many as in the height of the summer but they are still out there in enough numbers to cause us some grief.

Paddy & Steve had a good battle on their hands today with Jeremy & Suzanne in the 2 B14s, I think that Paddy & Steve getting the better in the first 2 races, before Jeremy & Suzanne powered away in the 3rd race. Steve & Polly were back in their Scorpion and sailing well at the head of the fleet, as also was James in his Laser Radial who beat them in one of the dayís races. Our fast fleet had a good battle going on at all times between Richard in his Contender, Jan & Pete in their Kestrel and Finn & Nyles who took Jeremyís Tasar out to race. Their very light all up weight gave them a massive bonus that they exploited in the lighter moments. We were also in the mix and despite being behind all 3 of our competitors on more than one occasion managed to sail through and win the first and 3rd race.

The beach at lunchtime Ken & I have had some very good starts all season but todayís 2nd race start was a nightmare. With a minute to go to the start I suddenly realised that we were too far down the line and I desperately tried to claw some room to windward but only managed to come to an almost complete halt as were became blanketed by the rest of the fleet and I think we were actually the last boat to cross the start line so then had to commence a massive battle to try and sail through the disappearing fleet heading up the beat. Slowly but surely we managed to pass all our fleet apart from the B14s and I was feeling rather pleased as we headed up the last beat after finally pulling through Finn and the Kestrel only to hit a big header and we were crossed by the Kestrel who just pipped us to the line. Chris & Tony found the tricky conditions not suitable for them and lost quite a lot of ground on the beats, but persevered to finish. Richard too found the conditions too light to trapeze and though finishing well up just couldnít make enough time to save his handicap. Paddy pulled out a huge distance on Jeremy but despite his superior speed fell back to 3rd, behind us and Finn on corrected time. Finn showed what a good helm he is going to be, being ahead of us on more than one occasion and fortunately today an older head and experience was enough to beat youth and exuberance; well today anyway.

Although we had 3 races I can only find results for 2 but from what I saw James won the first race after a terrific start that saw him at the front of the fleet, a position that he converted into a good win. Janet Preston using her 4.7 rig managed to sail into 3rd position with Steve & Polly splitting the pair to take 2nd. For once the slow fleet series leader Beaky & Kelvin had a bad day, coming last in the slow fleet well behind Andrew & Jenny who took 4th ahead of the 2 Lasers of Marc & Brian.

High tide was predicted to be at around 13.30 and it was just after that time that we reached the shore and there was just enough room to park the boats. I donít know what would have happened during the summer as there was no beach left for anyone else to sit on in the area where we had taken over. In fact even without our boats there would have been very little beach for the holiday makers, so we were lucky in that respect.

Well we did have a 3rd race, which didnít start until after 3.00 pm and this time the fleet was reduced to 12 but still consisted of the main protagonists from the morning racing. Once again the 2 B14s were out in front having their own duel but this time I think Jeremy had the better of it. The 4 way battle that we had this morning was reduced to 3 as Richard had dropped out, but again a very keen battle took place, especially as we had Steve & Polly mixed up with us. They had a much better race than this morning and took the slow handicap race very easily indeed.

Moonlight shadows Towards the end of the race the breeze was noticeably lessening and after finishing the 3rd race as we made our way back to the shore the paddle had to be broken out as we entered a zone of completely flat windless water. By the time all the boats had been hauled up the hill, de rigged, and we had changed the daylight had turned to twilight, reminding me of what it is like on a Wednesday evening as we finish sailing. There was even a nice moon shining down on the still waters of St. Austell Bay, as can be seen by the picture alongside. The cloudless skies were to herald the first frost of the season.

It was good to see Steve & Ashley out in an RS400. They have been itching to try one for a few weeks but the weather hasnít been good enough to try what is potentially a powerful boat. Well today was the day and talking to Steve afterwards he told me that they were delighted. There was much more room than in their Scorpion and Ashely enjoyed playing the asymmetrical spinnaker, so they could well be teaming up together in the RS400 next year. Now they have to learn to drive it to its potential. In some ways it is a shame that we are at the end of the season, but there could be some odd times over the next few months when conditions are suitable for some sailing.

November 16th
Martin and Sarah
A brief respite from the weather

What a surprise it was yesterday to actually go sailing again. For the last 2 weeks we have been inundated with low pressure system after low pressure system passing over us, giving us almost endless windy and rainy days. The forecast for yesterday was for more of the same and the wind at Polruan weather station had been showing gusts in excess of 30-40 mph during the night, though it was abating a little as the day wore on. So it was quite a pleasant surprise to arrive at the Club to see an almost flat bay, albeit with some windy patches blowing across it. I almost went down yesterday without my kit as the forecast was for much stronger winds to emerge as the day wore on. In fact I was so convinced that sailing wasnít going to happen that I didnít even bother taking any lunch with me. Was Sunday going to be the 3rd Sunday in a row to be cancelled? Well in a word ďNoĒ. In fact when I arrived at the Club the RIB was already outside the garage, complete with race marks already to go. It soon became apparent that we could and would race and 8 boats rigged ready to launch and as a nod to the forecast it was decided that we would have 2 races back to back; a very good decision indeed, as I am sure that if we had gone in for lunch then there would have been fewer boats for the 2nd race.

I selected an old suit of sails for powering us along today as the possibilities of capsize and flogging of sails loomed largely in my mind, in fact I expected that most of their usage would be in a depowering mode. Dennis & Brian were our RIB drivers for the day and Nigel & Colin were in the Clubhouse to act as timekeepers and they were keen to get on with things. So without too much hanging around we duly launched the RIB and sent Dennis & Brian out to lay us a course. There was still a swell in the bay which produced a bit of surf to launch through but not too bad if you chose your moment to go for it. Jan & Pete were the first to launch and we launched quite successfully behind them. The sail out to sea was painfully slow at first but as we approached the beach mark area the westerly breeze from which, on the shore, we were well sheltered from announced its presence and with a whoosh; we were off! After 3 weeks inactivity it seemed rather strange and a bit scary to be planing along, especially as the gusts were rather meaty and utmost concentration was one of the main ingredients to staying upright. The other main ingredient was the ability to quickly react to the wind, as not only was it quick to increase and decrease its power; it was also equally quick at changing direction, keeping everyone on their toes.

A quick look at the start line showed enough port bias to encourage a port hand flyer. James was only the other one to be up with us waiting for the count down to the start but trying to hover on the line proved rather difficult in the wind and he drifted down far enough to present a lovely bit of space for us to cross right next to the buoy and as the gun went we swept across and shot up the first beat. Things didnít go quite as well as I hoped as the wind strength pushed us off our intended heading. That was mainly my fault as due to my lack of height I can find it difficult hauling myself back into the boat when the wind suddenly eases, so in the conditions we experienced I didnít like committing myself to maximum hiking and by the time we reached the beach marks we found Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion in front of us and James in his Laser radial almost on our tail; Still, we were upright and in those conditions it means a lot.

Once on the reach the Scorpion launched its spinnaker and at first pulled away from us but as we moved further out to sea the wind strength increased, the spinnaker came down and the Tasar powered to the front on the close reach. The 2nd reach was much broader and our whisker pole made its appearance, fortunately there was enough power in the wind to keep us surging along and out of the hands of the spinnakers flying behind us. Jan & Pete in their Kestrel were our main competitors today as both of us being in the fast handicap class and try as we did we couldnít seem to shake them off. Their boat was far more adept at sailing to windward in the gusty breeze and they managed to close us down on every beat, but we had the better on the reaches. We maintained our lead up the next beat and this time we managed to keep Beacky & Kelvin behind us. Sometime on the reach I looked back to see how back our rivals were doing, just in time to see the Scorpion roll over to leeward and the Kestrel having to take avoiding action so as not to sail over it. James too was having an excellent race and was at that time just behind the Kestrel and looked like he was heading for another win in the slow fleet. Fortunately Beacky & Kelvin managed to right them selves which was a good thing as the RIB was in action up by the leeward mark, assisting Sarah & Martin who were upside down alongside their Scorpion. Somewhere on the course was also Mum & Dad Kendall and they too also had their turn at capsizing. Fortunately after 3 rounds and a beat the race was shortened and we survived and with enough time in the bank to take a win. Even so our winning time was not enough to beat James who had a real blinder of a race, taking the slow handicap by a good margin, and even beating us on corrected time

Beacky & Kelvin had retired to the shore and I found out later that an errant screw holding a set of toe straps in, had pulled out which had the knock on affect of ejecting Kelvin over the side, hence their capsize. Hasty repairs allowed them to rejoin us all on the race course for the 2nd race. Much to my surprise all 8 dinghies that had started the first race stayed out for the 2nd race. The start line was still port biased and at least 3 boats queued up for a port hand start, so we elected to sail down the line on starboard and as the gun went all hell was let loose as the port handers had to take avoiding action, so much so, that we had to do an emergency tack to avoid James, then almost immediately tack again to avoid Andrew & Jenny. The time we lost at the start enabled Beacky & Kelvin and Simon in his Supernova to get well away and once again we found ourselves behind Beacky at the windward mark. We managed to overhaul them down wind as also did Simon, who was relishing the downwind performance of the Supersofa as he made the most of the downwind conditions. Jan & Pete really lost out at the start as they thought, wrongly as it turned out, that they were over the line at the start and returned for another go, which turned out to be a bonus for us as they never made any inroads into our lead.

Our overall victory was once again prevented, this time by Simon who although not in our class still beat us on corrected time, fortunately we still managed to hold our time over Beacky as I am sure we wouldnít have heard the last of that for the rest of the season. Of the 8 boats that raced, only 2 avoided a capsize so the RIB was kept in business rushing from boat to boat, making sure that all was well. I felt mightily relieved when the 2nd race ended and we could turn for home and with the tide out and only a small surf running, landing wasnít too bad at all. For the first time in ages we didnít hit a single jelly fish. In fact I didnít see any, though Ken saw at least 3 but they were much smaller than the giant ones that have plagued us this year. I sincerely hope that they donít make a reappearance next year as they have been the bane of all of us sailing this year and they have caused quite a bit of damage to dagger boards for quite a few of us.

With only 2 Sundays left, our sailing season is rapidly coming to a close. Christmas is looming ever closer and the AGM is less than 4 weeks away. They say as you get older time passes more quickly and I can assure any younger persons that is certainly true.

November 8th
June 19th
The picture alongside was taken in June & not today!!

For the 2nd week in a row all sailing was cancelled. Last week we suffered from no wind at all but today that had all changed when we were blessed with an abundance of wind. Unfortunately too much wind and also present was a driving drizzle. The beach marks and most of the bay were obscured at times, so it was no surprise when the ďNĒ was hoisted and we live on for another day. Just to dampen things further the long range forecast isnít very encouraging for sailing so I guess it is just a matter of seeing what next weekend brings along. According to the sailing programme we still have 3 Sundays left, so we can live in hope for a week or two yet.

I forgot to bring my camera down today so here is a shot from earlier this year, just to remind you that we do get some good weather. The picture above was taken in June. Remember those days when we had daylight until almost 10 pm? Shorts and Tee shirts were becoming fashionable for a few months and we were looking forward to more summer weather. Well Iím afraid those days have gone for another few months and we will have to endure winter with all its attendant frosts, gales, rain and possible snow before we relax in the sun again.

A few weeks ago, Sue & I booked to go to the Bridgewater Carnival. We have never been before so for us it was a venture into the unknown. We were picked up at 1.00 pm and arrived at Bridgewater at 5.00 pm, leaving us enough time to have some food and squeeze into a section of the route to wait and watch the carnival. Starting at 7.00 pm the procession takes a whole 2 hours to pass along any part of the route and it was round about 7.10 when the first floats came into view. What a spectacular sight it was with float after float passing by us. Every float was a fantastic sight, complete with lights, with some well in excess of 1000, accompanied by sound systems belting out music, with numerous participants, wearing costumes in the theme of the chosen float. All the floats are custom built for the carnival and the largest consisted of a large arctic, pulling 2 other trailers; the 2nd trailer housing a massive generator to supply the power for the float. Some of the more elaborate floats even had moving scenery on them. All in all an extremely impressive sight to see and I would thoroughly recommend going to any one who hasnít been before. We were so lucky with the weather as the wet and windy Friday night and Saturday morning was replaced by an almost cloudless, windless evening, making the whole experience wonderful.

Waking up today was like waking up in another World. The calm of the night before was shattered by a fresh breeze, set to increase as the day wore on and the dry night was also replaced by a quite thick mist which also housed pulses of drizzle. At times you couldnít even see the beach marks from the Clubhouse, let alone the further extremities of the course.

James took some video of the racing a few weeks ago when he was duty RIB driver. He has posted the video on YouTube and here is the link to it, Jamesís video

November 1st
Pete rigging his Kestrel
Welcome to the last month of the 2015 season

Well there are Optimists, Pessimists and Realists; I like to think that I am an optimist and so like 12 others my boat was lined up on the beach, pointing out to sea ready for the fray. I am also a realist and at the back of my mind was the thought that sailing today would be a non event. Once more, for the 6th week running, we were looking at an easterly airflow, and indeed the bay had more than a hint of a south easterly direction about it and there, yet again, was a surf to contend with though nothing as big as over the last few weeks. As the 13 boats gathered on the beach the clouds started to part, bathing us all in very nice autumnal sunshine. Steve & Polly took the RIB complete with marks and attempted to set a course that should suit the forecasted south easterly breeze. I stress, forecasted because that is all it turned out to be; forecasted.

Postponement again Now sunshine is all very well and good and at this time of year is a welcome bonus for us; but unfortunately as the clouds disappeared so too did our light breeze and in next to no time the breeze had trailed away to nothing. This didnít deter a few from launching and they paddled out through the surf only to come to a grinding halt as the paddles were shipped. It didnít take too long for the penny to drop that they were becalmed and they then broke out the paddles again and paddled ashore to line up with the rest of us and wait.

The beach which caused us so much grief last week as we recovered the boats has had some of its normality returned. The spring tides that we have just had have replaced the missing sand and either covered the smelly weed or taken it elsewhere as today the beach was so much easier to access, though I did detect quite a pong at times as we moved boats around on the beach, so I think a lot of it may still be there but covered The beach will change its profile many times over the winter, so we will just have to let nature take its course, and see what we have next spring.

Paddy on the roof It was obvious to us all that the wait could be a long one and so the pasties were put in the oven with a planned early lunch and the possibility of a 2 race afternoon. Unfortunately the bay was looking decidedly bereft of any wind at all. There was not even a hint of a dark patch out on the horizon to encourage our optimism, hence my realist side of not sailing at all today coming to the fore.

Paddy used the opportunity of the postponement to clamber onto the roof and check the electronics of the weather station as it has been out of action for a few weeks. Unfortunately, despite replacing the flat batteries, the electronics are still not working and more drastic action such as a replacement unit may be necessary. The decking proved the most popular spot today and so we sat around, drinking coffee, talking and planning for the future. I think that Steve and Ashley Wingrove were the most disappointed pair today as they were hoping to try out an RS400, which they could use as an alternative to their Scorpion when conditions merited it and today would have been an ideal to try out the more powerful, yet more stable boat.

Guess who? On the bright side it did look at one time that the breeze was going to make an appearance as there was a dark line on the Polkerris shoreline but the dark line remained there with no movement towards us at all. Lunch was taken and unfortunately the breeze continued to prove elusive and by 2 pm the decision was finally taken to abandon any hopes of sailing for the day. Now this is usually the sign for the breeze to suddenly pipe up within the next 30 minutes, but today there was none of that nonsense and the bay remained as flat as the proverbial.

The RIB was launched and the marks pulled up and the boats dragged back into the dinghy park and another week of the 2015 racing season is ticked off; only 4 more race days to go. We have had some strong winds over the last few weeks and our beach marks have held fast all season but I canít help but wonder whether we should pull the beach marks in very soon, especially if we have another calm period as it is only a matter of time before the autumnal gales come knocking on our doors. It would be a shame to lose them as the cost of replacing them is rather high.

October 25th
The bay at 10.30
Where is the Wind?

Hello & Iím back. Sue & I had a week away in Mallorca last week, trying to get some last minute sun on our backs, before winter finally caught up with us. As it happened there was probably more sun in Cornwall than in Mallorca but when the sun was out it was very hot and we had a very relaxing time, but all good things have to come to an end and we returned to Exeter last Tuesday. It was certainly too hot in the sun for me at times, but then I expected that in the Mediterranean. I also had my tablet with me and I connected to the Hotel free wi-fi, which unfortunately was extremely slow. Watching last Sunday, I could see that covers had come off the boats, so I knew that racing was on but I didnít realise that the conditions would be so light and that only 1 race would be held, so all in all I didnít miss too much especially as the excitement level was too low for comfort.

Now for the last 5 weeks we have endured an almost never ending flow of south easterlies and I finally thought that today would be the day for more conventional sailing with a nice south westerly blowing over us. Sadly that proved not to be the case. When I came down the hill I was greeted by the sight of a flat calm sea, with only a hint of a breeze way out on the horizon. The weather forecast was for a light south westerly breeze backing round to a south easterly, well if that was the case then we would have to wait a while for the breeze to materialise, so we did what we normally do, sat in the sun, which was very pleasant, talked whilst some bimbled.

The yard Given the conditions, the decision was made to have lunch at 12.00 and then hopefully start racing at 13.00. With that in mind the RIB was fuelled and taken down onto the beach as were a few dinghies so that they would be ready for a quick launch. As it happened, the breeze, seen way out at sea, slowly crept towards us and by 11.30 we had a nice little southerly breeze ruffling the former still waters. Lunch was duly held and without too much loss of time 13 dinghies were launched to race in the bay. Our fleet today included 5 Lasers and when you look at the ones not racing we could easily have double figures of them on the water. I appreciate that the Laser is a heavily criticised dinghy, but consider the advantages; they do have so much going for them. Prices range from a few hundred pounds upwards, they are easily put together, easy to sail (racing is another matter). There are quite a few different rig choices available which should suit most sizes. In fact the most popular rig at Porthpean and maybe in the country is the radial rig and there is also the 4.7 rig for lighter people. They are also very robust, which is a good thing when you consider some of the conditions that we have had to contend with on the beach over the last 5 weeks.

The beach James, Ciarran & Harry took the RIB and in no time at all had a nice sized port handed course set up, with a beat form the beach marks towards Blackhead, a reach across the bay and a further reach back into the beach marks. We intended having 2 races back to back with about 45 minutes race for the leading boats. Chris & Tony were the OOD and sat up in the Clubhouse overseeing the racing and, only slightly after the appointed hour the first race started. The start line was very heavily starboard biased; in fact it was impossible to cross it on port, thus the entire fleet vied for the RIB end of the line. We knew what the problems would be with so many boats vying for the favoured end that we had already decided not to get involved but instead start a boat length behind and tack immediately onto port and sail towards, what I expected to be, the favoured end of the beat. Well the plan was executed as intended but it went wrong when we found ourselves reaching the end of the beat in 3rd place. Richard in his Contender, was leading the way closely followed by Jan & Pete in their Kestrel. Jan & Pete were revelling in the lumpy conditions that allowed the heavier Kestrel to just punch through the waves, creating very little difference in boat speed between us and just to add to our woes the broad reach that followed allowed them to pull away from us with their spinnaker. The closer reach in towards the beach marks created extra speed for us and we closed the gap quite significantly.

Tony & Lyn We only had 4 boats in the fast fleet today, the 4th boat that we were expecting to be flying away from us all was the B14 crewed by Paddy & Steve, but they, very surprisingly, were missing from our exclusive group at the front. We found out later that shortly after the start one of the wings on the boat cracked in two and they were forced to sail for the shore and retire from all further proceedings. Paddy is hopeful he can buy new spares and have them fitted for next weekend. I did note that Beacky & Kelvin were way behind at the start, in fact they were something like 30 seconds adrift but by the time they reached the windward mark they were well in front of the rest of their fleet, which included the Kendalls who had another superb start, but unfortunately lacked the necessary boat speed to capitalise. Martin & Sarah also made the start line but I think a capsize spoilt their day.

For the first 2 laps we played catch up and then fall back against the Kestrel, before we made our break for glory on the 3rd beat when with the help of some windshifts we overtook and pulled out a sufficient enough lead to break their hold on us. In fact the 3rd beat was very good for us as we also closed down Richard, enough to give us the race win on corrected time As it happened, Richard who maintained his lead couldnít build up enough distance to save his handicap and when the times were worked out fell back to 3rd behind us and the Kestrel. I thought the giant jelly fish would have left us by now, but no, there are still quite a few of them swimming around out there as we found out to our cost on the 2nd reach. We were flying along, only to be almost stopped dead in our tracks as our dagger board ploughed into a big one. The board was rammed back into the packing and Ken had a mighty struggle to extricate it and get it back into its normal position. Fortunately we never hit any more whilst racing though we did see quite a few of them in the water.

Lunch time

Beacky & Kelvin built up a 2 minute lead on the Kendalls who actually fell back to 3rd after Brian Reevesís Laser radial who actually finished 3rd on the water, overtook them on corrected time. Marc Heritier, using the Club Laser in radial format finished 4th, displacing Janet Preston in her Laser 4.7 down to 5th. The wind had been slowly increasing as we raced and by the time the 2nd race was due to start there were quite a few white horses appearing in the bay. This time our first beat was a lot better though we were still a reasonable distance behind Richard who was now able to stretch his legs in the fresher breeze. At least this time we were in front of Jan & Pete in the Kestrel and more importantly we now had enough wind in the sails to be able to plane down the reaches to leave the Kestrel far behind. Beacky & Kekvin had a better start in this race and reached the end of the first beat not too far behind Jan & Pete and then overtook them under spinnaker on the first reach and went on to remain in front of them for the rest of the race.

Monitor Andrew & Jenny were having a better 2nd race than in the first until a capsize with spinnaker flying on the top reach gave them too much grief. The spinnaker became tangled with the spreaders and they eventually required assistance from the RIB before they retired and sailed for the shore. Once again Brian Reeves maintained his dominance of the Lasers to take another 2nd place, finishing almost 4 minutes in front of Marc and Janet and then we all had to sail back to the beach. We had launched in mid tide with the tide on the rise without any problems. By the time we arrived back on the beach, the sea state had started to build and the tide was almost up to the bottom of the slipway. That in itself wouldnít have been too bad but unfortunately the higher tide was now amongst the sea weed that had been there for 2 or 3 weeks. The disturbance of the rising tide released a vile smell of rotting vegetation, making us all gasp. We needed 4 or more people to drag each boat through the smelly mass and unfortunately for some, most of the boats took the odd weed filled wave over the transom to give us lots of cleaning to do when we eventually reached the yard.

From what I gathered, James had his video camera with him today, filming some of the racing. The clips of it were being shown on the monitor screen that Paddy has installed for use on Wednesday evenings in the Clubhouse. Jamesís video will be posted to You Tube eventually and a link will be provided on the FB page or / and also here eventually.

October 11th
Pascual's washing line
A hat trick of south easterlies.

For the last 2 weeks we have suffered from the wind blowing from the east /south east and fortunately we have managed to sail on both occasions. Though Ken & I have viewed it all from afar as they say as we have run the race box and Ken has provided the pasty lunches. Anyway we have awaited with bated breath the forecast for today. The first relevant 5 dayforecast was released last Wednesday and to be honest it wasnít looking very promising. We were set to have easterlies all week again upto and including Sunday. Day after day since then the forecast has been the same so with a pessimistic amount of trepidation, I sauntered down to the Club today, fully expecting to leave my kit in the car as we stood and watched another Sunday drift by with un sailable conditions. Fortunately the wind was much lighter than originally forecast, the tide was going out and the waves were coming through in sets, giving us time and opportunity to sail through them.

Early arrivals today were quietly amused when they saw that Jeremy Rowettís main halyard had been swinging loose and in the strong winds during the week had actually attached itself to the top of Pascualís mast in what looked like a permanent manner. It was far too high for any of us to reach, so we had to manoeuvre the 2 boats so that we could tilt the Tasar over enough for Pascual standing on a set of steps to reach the tangled assembly.

Pascual's washing line After several weeks of low turnout fleets, very surprisingly we had 14 helms sign on for todayís racing, an extremely encouraging sign. Once again we were short of volunteers for the officiating, with only Nigelís name on the list, but very sportingly, James and Janet volunteered to take the RIB and suddenlt things were looking very promising. The largest fleet today was the slow handicap fleet with 4 Scorpions out, 3 lasers, and a Feva; whilst in the slightly smaller fast fleet we had 2 B14s, 3 Tasars, a Contender and a Kestrel. All in all we had a range of boats racing for everybody to test themselves against. Unfortunately Pascual & Sue were the last to launch as they helped many of us to push out through the surf. I feel quite guilty about that as due to their lack of experience, we should have ensured that they were one of the first boats on the water and they too would have gained a little more experience of sailing in waves. They did launch but were unable to clear the breakers before being swept back onto the shore. I though that our launching wasnít too bad but before we managed to clear the breakers we had to take one or two over the bow, which also swept in quite large amounts of weed, which together took quite a time to clear through the bailer. Even so the upper hull of our Tasar looked decidedly manky with a large covering of particles of weed.

Once again due to the awkward launching problems we had decided to have 2 races back to back so that if the afternoon was abandoned then not all would have been lost. James and Janet gave us a starboard handed course starting at the beach marks, beating out towards the day marker. Our first challenge to overcome was getting over the short start line. For once the line had quite a bit of port bias on it, but due to the size of the fleet we decided on a safer starboard approach with the intention of tacking onto port early and to that event things went just about to plan and we reached the windward mark almost alongside Richard in his Contender and the pair of us were in front of the 2 B14s. However that didnít last long as once they rounded the spinnakers went up and off they went, but not quite as fast as they expected. In fact the breeze was far lighter than the conditions implied and the first reach was in fact a very broad reach, bordering on a run, making Ken & me question whether we would have been better off sailing the other way round.

The B14s had an interesting battle with both Jeremy & Suzanne and then Paddy & Steve taking turns at leading us round but it wasnít long before Paddy established a large enough lead to take line honours, some 2 Ĺ minutes in front of Jeremy. Richard had slowly increased his lead over us but not by a great margin of time, which helped our cause, giving us a win on corrected time to Richardís 2nd. Both Chris & Tony and Jan & Pete, fell behind Beacky & Kelvinís Scorpion on the first beat and subsequent reaches, but with great cunning Jan & Pete, who had spinnaker problems and had been quite a distance behind took a different route up the next beat and sailed through the pair of the boats in front of them, finally finishing 3rd on handicap, demoting Paddy to 4th. Chris & Tony also sailed past Beacky & Kelvin and to their delight beat Jeremy & Suzanne. Now this is where handicap sailing is a complete farce as if Jeremy & Suzanne had been in their Tasar then I am positive that they would have won the entire race by quite a substantial margin.

Beacky & Kelvin had a large enough lead that they easily took the slow fleet honours, beating Andrew & Jenny by 1 Ĺ minutes though they still finished 2nd. Brian Reeves was fast enough to finish in front of the other Scorpions to take 3rd. Steve & Ashley Wingrove had their last race of the season today as his Scorpion leaves today for some much needed repair work still needed since his centre board drama a few weeks ago. Craig & Jake Varley had their best result of the year when they finished in 4th position, which is surely very encouraging for them.

James & Janet had clearly been watching the fleetís progress in the first race and decided to tweak the course for the next race and also to send us round the other way. This meant a starting line in the Blackhead area and a beat across the bay. Once again the line was a little short and this time also had quite a large starboard bias on it, meaning the RIB end of the line was going to be a very popular place to be. We snuck in right by the side of the RIB and immediately tacked off to give us some clear wind, which clearly benefited us as we reached the windward mark just behind Jeremy & Suzanne. Paddy & Steve in contrast had a poor first beat and were quite a distance behind Jeremy and had no chance of making up the deficit. Our best bit of competition was against Richard in his Contender and we swapped places a couple of time during the race, before he developed problems with his rudder and lost a lot of time trying to sort it out, leaving us to take our 2nd win of the day. Richard was later seen in the dinghy park with a hacksaw in his hand cutting through his bent rudder pin in order to remove the rudder from the boat. Jeremy & Suzanne sailed on to claim 2nd on handicap with Jan & Pete taking 3rd. They were unable to use their spinnaker today as the halyard came undone and they were unable to do anything about it at sea. Steve & Ashley were another duo who had spinnaker problems and managed to rip theirs when they took it down at the end of one of the reaches. One benefit of racing the other way round was that we suddenly had a good planing reach with the waves as we surfed back to the beach marks after rounding the windward mark.

The slow fleet had a major battle for a while as Andrew & Jenny overtook Beacky & Kelvin on the 2nd reach and had a very handy lead as they started the 2nd beat. Unfortunately for them they became involved in a tacking match with Beacky & Kelvin, which finally resulted in them capsizing when the jib sheet became re cleated during one of the tacks. This left Beacky & Kelvin to take another easy win. Andrew & Jennyís capsize also benefited Brain Reeves in his Laser as he managed to split the Scorpions on corrected time to take a handy 2nd place.

Marc Heretier joined in our today, sailing the Club Laser. Marc has spent his entire sailing career sailing on reservoirs / ponds and so his first sail on the sea was quite an eye opener. Sailing in waves and swell suddenly brought a new dimension to his sailing world, though he adapted to it pretty quickly. I think he is finding it hard to believe when we tell him how benign and serene sailing in our bay can be when we find ourselves with a nice westerly airflow. At least he is seeing the worst aspects of Porthpean and knows that it will only get better.

Needless to say when we eventually sailed through the breakers to land on the beach, our relief was such that only 3 crews wanted to battle through it again, so all further racing was abandoned for the day.

October 4th
The well manicured beach
As like last weekend we had another day of south easterlies.

September, once again has produced one of the best spells of settled weather we have had this year, but inevitably all good spells of weather eventually come to an end. All week we have been told by the weather men that Sunday would see the end of the good weather but it should stay dry until evening time. Our real enemy though was the fresh to strong easterlies that have circulated the large high that we have been sitting under. They have fluctuated all week but were set to increase today as the high was being pushed out of the way by a vigorous low sitting out in the Atlantic, readying itself to give us a good dousing. The question was would we be able to get our racing in the time window that we had available?

I suppose I ought to say that I am very lucky. Why? Because right back at the start of this year I volunteered Ken & myself for our last 2 duties for the first 2 weeks of the autumn series as OOD. That was a real bonus for us as today was the 2nd of those duties, and for the 2nd week on the trot our brave sailors have had to launch and recover through waves caused by fresh south easterlies, whilst Ken & I sat in the relative warmth of the OOD box. The forecast for the day was for the south easterly wind to increase to possibly gale force. Though when we arrived at the Club the wind wasnít too strong at all, but there was a bit of a sea running. We expected that just like last weekend that nobody would want to launch twice in one day through the surf, so we decided to sail 2 shortish races back to back.

This weekend has also proved a bonus for me in another way as Saturday was my Birthday and we had our Daughter, Son in law and 2 Grand daughters down for the weekend. The weather on Saturday was spectacularly good and we had a great day out at the Screech Owl sanctuary over at Indian Queens. I can thouroughly recommend a visit there if you have never been before. The afternoon was followed by a very nice meal at the Brit in the evening. Somehow England losing against Australia didnít really matter too much.

Now, after about 10 days of south easterlies, our beach was looking a right mess. The beach was littered with mounds of seaweed, large piles of it are everywhere and it will remain there until the return of spring tides in 10 days or more time. What made it all the more uninviting though was the surf breaking on the beach. Fortunately the tide had just turned to go out and the waves were not large enough to deter 10 determined crews from rigging to test themselves and their boats in the challenging conditions. Now the forecast was for the weather to deteriorate, so our cunning plan was to get 2 short races in before the stronger winds came in, and for once the decision went to plan.

This week it was Paddy & Steve who took the RIB and had the course all set up ready for the scheduled 11.00 start, where they had to sit for a few minutes waiting for the fleet to sail out to them. Well 10 boats launched initially, but due to technical difficulties only 8 reached the starting area. The first of 2 casualties was the Tasar of Chris and Tony. I think that as they launched the rudder was fully down and in sailing through one of the troughs their rudder grounded and lifted off the bottom gudgeon. The resultant pressure twisted the top gudgeon and it was impossible to get the rudder to fit onto the other gudgeon. Reluctantly they sailed back to the beach, landed ok, but inevitably they filled up with weed and water and had to drag the boat out to get it onto itís trolley. The other casualty was Jan & Peter in their Kestrel. Their first problem was getting their rudder to fit properly. That was overcome and they launched through the surf only to find that the centre plate wouldnít slide down. In fact it was, as they found out later, absolutely jammed. They too had to sail back through the surf onto the beach and they too became water logged with sea and weed. Suddenly the thought of having to sit in the warmth and shelter of the OOD box rather than battling through the surf seemed like a very good decision to have made.

Steve Wingrove's jib
The resultant fleet of 8 boats left Richard in his Contender as the only fast fleet boat out, so he had the luxury of just having to sail round and enjoy the conditions to take a couple of first places. The real racing was between the 3 Scorpions and the 3 Lasers. Beacky & Kelvin dominated the Scorpions, taking a very early lead, which they held to the end of both races, though in each race they found it impossible to shake off James in his Laser radial. In fact, in the first race the Scorpion also fell behind Brian Reeves who finished as 2nd Laser but still 1 Ĺ minutes in front of the Scorpion. Andrew was without Jenny today but took our newest member, Marc Heritier as his crew for the day. Marc is an experienced sailor and has just moved into the area and joined the Club. He will be sailing next season in either his own boat or as a crew for someone. By the way Marc, should you be reading this then I wish you a very warm welcome to Porthpean. Believe it or not we do get some very nice weather and sailing conditions for most of our season. Although Andrew & Marc had to settle for 2nd Scorpion behind Beacky they still managed to hold off Chris Pearce in his Laser radial, which left Steve and Ashley back in 6th place. The only other boat in the slow fleet was Ciran & Harry in their Magno. Unfortunately they capsized whilst executing a gybe and decided that it was too cold to continue so made their way back to the shore.

More drama took place whilst waiting for the 2nd race to start when Beacky & Kelvin capsized. They recovered in time to make the start, but it gave them a rude awakening into what would happen if concentration was allowed to drop. Andrew & Marc werenít quite so lucky. They avoided a capsize but in a freak accident went too close to one of the beach marks and Andrew caught his rudder blade on one of the buoy lines, which in turn snapped his rudder downhaul. There was no way of fixing it so they had to drop the main and surf in under jib alone.

The 2nd race started with a much reduced fleet. Once again Richard only had to power his way round the course to take victory, whilst Beacky & Kelvin had to try and shake off James and the rest of the Lasers. Once again James made the best of his handicap and though he finished over 1 Ĺ minutes behind the Scorpion it was enough to take a very comfortable win. The other Lasers struggled too much in the building sea and wind to save their handicaps and Chris Pearce, 3rd Laser in the first race, sailed well clear of Brian Reeves to take 3rd overall. Steve and Ashley capsized and finished well behind but still managed 5th on handicap.

The rising wind strength was enough to deter anybody from wanting to race again so the race marks were hoisted aboard the RIB and Paddy & Steve hit the gas to land far enough up the beach to be able to just jump over the side straight on to terra firma.

Well thatís it, summer has well & truly gone, and autumn has us in its clutches. As I write this blog the rain is falling and the wind is blowing, the nights are drawing in very quickly now and we only have 8 more race days to come. How depressing

September 27th
The yard before sailing
Another day of the dreaded south easterlies.

Well you couldnít really argue with the weather this weekend unless you are a dedicated sailor. Saturday gave us a cloudless day with a light south easterly blowing. It was very warm in the sun, and the breeze was quite light, so would have been an ideal racing day at Porthpean, though maybe a little too light for some. Today was a slightly different affair; not quite so sunny and unfortunately a far livelier south easterly breeze blowing. Fortunately for me, Ken & I were down for OOD duties in the Clubhouse which meant that we didnít have the arduous task of trying to launch through any waves. Today was the first of 2 consecutive duties for us, maybe next weekend sailing conditions will be better and we wonít be feeling quite so relieved. Chris & Tony drew the shorter straw today as they were down for manning the RIB. That would have meant no Tasars racing at all, but fortunately John & Sue Tripp are still with us, but it also meant that they had no other Tasars to race against. Still racing against the Kestrel and Scorpions made some sort of challenge for them.

Landing on the beach
11 boats arrived at the starting area which was a beach marks start, giving a starboard hand course to the windward mark in the Beacon direction, before turning right to plane alongside the swell before the gybe and then the reach to heaven as the boats surfed down the waves to bring them back to the beach marks, ready to continue the cycle. The fastest boat out today was Richard Armstrong and Janet Preston in the Dart. The speed of the Dart was enough to take them straight to the front of the fleet where they sailed off at such speed that they lapped everybody at least once, apart from Paddy & Steve in their B14.

Inevitably there was enough strength in the wind to cause a capsize and thatís precisely what happened to Steve & Ashley in their Scorpion just after the start. The boat was eventually righted after a few pirouettes and they managed to sail on, but well behind all the other boats and it wasnít long before they bailed out and just sailed around on a jolly, before Neptuneís icy tentacles reached out to them again whilst reaching with the spinnaker up. Now that capsize took a lot of sorting and eventually required Kelvinís assistance to get the boat up and the spinnaker down.

Andrew & Martin had one of the best starts of the day, being one of only 3 who decided that it would be helpful to start at the front of the fleet and had a healthy lead over Beacky & Kelvin as they rounded the windward mark. However the more experienced Team Beacky soon pulled them back on the reaches and by the time the boats arrived back at the beach marks, normal service was restored and Team Beacky sailed on into an unassailable lead. Well we all thought the outright win would be theirs that but James & Brian in their Laser radials had other plans and made the most of the reaches. James eventually pulled well clear of Brian and by the time the 4 allotted rounds were up was close enough to Beacky to find that both boats had tied on corrected time. I know when that sort of thing happens to me I start to analyse the race and try and work out where I could have improved my times. Iím sure Team Beacky suffered and paid the price on the last reach when they took their spinnaker down too early, thus losing some of their undoubted speed.

Jan & Pete were late over the start line and were trying to play catch up with the 2 leading Scorpions but try as they did they just couldnít make much inroads into their pace and had to settle for finishing in front of John & Sueís Tasar. Young Harry Spencer in his Topper did really well, sailing around for as long as he did. Iím sure that a month or two ago he wouldnít have dreamt of sailing in those sort of conditions, but confidence is building and he is another sailor who will be racing with better results next year.

The landing on the beach after the race was the next challenge for everyone, though no challenge to Richard as a Dart just sails straight through the surf until it comes to a halt, when the crew just step off the boat straight onto the beach; so easy. The dinghies though, had to go through some anxious moments, as they surfed down the waves but the saving grace for them all was the fact that the tide was right out and all they had to do was sail through shallow water onto a nice sandy beach.; A trip that they all made safely.

During lunch the tide had turned and was already creeping up to the steeper part of the beach, the wind had increased and the bay was starting to look a little inhospitable. So much so that one after the other, boat crews decided that they didnít want to risk sailing in and out of the surf again, especially as experience tells us that by the time they would have returned the waves would have become steeper and also become much stronger. I think the RIB crew were also relieved as life on the ocean wave for a RIB crew was starting to become cold and uncomfortable. Anyway it wasnít long before abandonment was the preferred option. The RIB was launched one more time to retrieve the marks and by 14.30 everyone was ashore, boats put away and an air of relief and bonne hommie reverberated around the dinghy park.

dinghy park after racing
It was nice to see one of our youngest members take to the water for his first time today. Ron & Michelle were down with son William, Iím not sure of his age but I would guess about 2. Anyway they uncovered one of the Club Picoís and waded out through the surf with him in the boat to give him his first experience of being in a boat. I think he loved it and I expect to see him actually in a Pico, sailing with either Ron or Michelle next summer when the conditions are right.

As you all know the Wednesday racing is over for another year but the intention is to keep the Wednesday evenings going as a social event throughout the winter, so if you are in withdrawal symptoms or at a loss of what to do on a Wednesday over the next 7 months then be assured that you are bound to find a few kindred souls leaning against the bar, telling tales of sailing days gone by etc. Hopefully we might also organise some other competitive activities that might attract other members down.

Well thatís it for this week, see you all again next week and hopefully we will get some better sailing in.

September 24th
janet & simon
The last Wednesday race of 2015

With great sadness the Wednesday racing for 2015 was put to bed last night and we are left with 20 more races on Sundays only of the 2015 season. Time is really flying and Christmas is only 3 months away. The weather last night was fairly quiet and ominously overcast. The forecast was for rain to come in during the evening and although it was very cloudy for us it was also a race against time whether the rain would hold off whilst we were sailing. Our biggest enemy though was the darkness which due to the heavy clouds was already making itís presence felt, so it was imperative to start the race as close as possible to the scheduled time. Unfortunately that caught Jeremy & Suzanne out as they were late getting down to the Club and try as they did there was a complete absence of wind between the shore and the beach marks, which prevented them from getting to the start line on time.

Before I write anymore about the racing, I think it is appropriate to congratulate Finn who has just returned from the wind surfing championships at Grafham water, where he came 2nd in the Techno class under 15ís; an excellent achievement with the promise of more to come. Steve & Polly were also away last weekend for the Tasar nationals and had a good set of results to take 3rd overall.

The weather last night though cloudy was relatively mild and so probably for the last time this year I discarded my long john and donned my sailing shorts. We will be well into October before I next sail and the chances of me wearing them again this year are practically zero. Simon Robins and Janet Preston took the RIB tonight and set what for me is my favourite course, a port handed course beating in to the beach marks. The course was set and at least 3 of us were in the starting area for the scheduled time but the race start was held for a few minutes whilst we waited for the slow but steady stream of late comers to arrive. Thatís when our RIB drivers discovered their big whoopsie for the night; they had forgotten to bring the flag pole. At least they had the flags but had to hold them up manually until the race started.

It was a strange sized fleet as apart form the lonely Laser radial of Clive Stephens in the slow fleet the rest of the 11 boat fleet were all fast class handicap boats, with 2 B14ís, 3 Tasars, Kestrel, Contender, and RS400

The start was kind to us and although the line was port biased there was not enough line length to allow a port hand flyer, so the pin end on starboard was the place to be and we managed to nail it putting Nigel and James RS400 and Paddy & Steve B14 behind us as we meandered up the first beat and it was our little trio who rounded the 1st beach mark, more or less locked together as we entered an almost windless area and thatís where it all went wrong for us. We literally stopped. Nigel & James and Paddy & Steve managed to generate enough speed to round the 2nd beach mark and bore away with spinnakers hoisted to take, well in Nigelís case, an unassailable lead. Our misery was compounded when as we sat there immobile, first Janet & Pete who had been someway behind sailed up around us and sailed away, followed immediately by Richard in his Contender. John & Sue Tripp in their Tasar also entered our windless zone and fortunately for us we managed to get some movement back into the boat before they caught us and we managed to set off on the reach but by this time too far behind to make any impact on those in front. The light airs certainly suited Nigel & James and they had the advantage of being able to fly their spinnaker on every reach to build up a massive lead to take the win. Paddy & Steve struggled in the very light breeze and just couldnít build up enough distance for their handicap, falling back to 4th overall. Jan & Pete, once in front of us pulled well away and any hopes of catching them faded rapidly and we had to settle for a 3rd to their 2nd.

Chris & Tony were the tail enders after round 1 and the Tripps were starting to pull well away from them but failure to cover on the beats allowed Chris & Tony to make up a lot of ground and finally pull back the rest of their deficit on the last set of reaches and then out sailed the Tripps on the last beat to beat them on the water. It really was very gloomy when we eventually reached the beach, but at least this week the landing was without dramas as the neap tide was just gently lapping the sandy beach. I thought that the giant jelly fish had disappeared, not so, they were out there again last night in their droves, though I think we only hit one of them on one of the beats and as we were going quite slowly at the time, no damage nor great loss of time was incurred.

September 17th
John & Sue Tripp
The end of the summer??

Blue skies and sunshine, am I dreaming? No, it may be autumn but at long last we have a sunny and warm Sunday. What more could we want, well wind would be a good ingredient, but alas no, well not much anyway. Yes as we gathered at the Club on Sunday morning we were welcomed by the sight of a very flat windless bay and as we all know ďNo wind=no sailingĒ. There was nothing to do except sit, chat and maybe carry out a bit of fettling as we waited for the promised wind. Charlie went board skiing on the back of his uncleís speed boat. Lunch was brought forward with the intention to get 2 races in back to back in the afternoon, hoping for a 13.30 start. True to form that is exactly what happened. The wind when it arrived was from the south and was very light to start with but by the time we finished there was enough to keep us on the side decks up wind and just enough to enable a plane or two down wind. However from a Tasar point of view we could have done with a tad more as our planing moments were few and far between whereas all the spinnaker boats could fly their kites on both reaches.

PSC are pleased to welcome back past members Sue & John Trip (pictured above) who live not too far from Edinburgh. To reach us John first had to fly over 8000 miles from Mexico, via America, Canada, Iceland, UK, Italy and back to the UK, then drive 600 miles with Tasar on tow. No wonder he needs a holiday. Well he is here for 2 weeks so hopefully that will allow him to recharge his batteries. The weather was so good today that maybe for the last time this season I wore my sailing shorts. This has also been the only year in over 50 years of sailing that I have not worn just shorts and a tee shirt for Club racing. It just hasnít been warm enough, which is a sad indictment on this yearís summer; and they tell me that we are going to have a colder than normal winter. Roll on next spring.

the beach
Duty RIB drivers for the day were Colin and Jeremy Rowett, and despite the tricky conditions managed to set a very true course, and without too much of a delay we were off on the last race of the summer Sunday series. Once again we suffered from the lack of competitors with several of our regulars missing from the start line so only 11 of us started the races. The first race saw quite a bit of excitement when 4 of us met just metres away from the first windward mark. Advantage went to Beacky & Kelvin ahead of Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpions and us against our visitors John & Sue Trip in our Tasars. Coming in fast behind us all was Paddy & Steve in the B14. In the event as windward boat we rolled over the top of Beacky & Kelvin and despite their extra speed once their spinnaker was deployed managed to hold them at bay, until the slighter 2nd reach allowed us to pull well clear. It didnít take Paddy & Steve long under spinnaker to pass us all and off they went into the lonely world of leaders. John & Sue Trip maintained their lead over Chris & Tony who again were well in front of Pascual & Sue. Beacky & Kelvin increased their lead over Andrew & Jenny eventually finishing some 2 Ĺ minutes in front. Both Scorpions were fast enough today to be able to keep the 3 Lasers behind them. Charlie sailed really well in his Topper as he actually lost a minute in real time when he became entangled with a fishing net and still finished 4th just behind 3rd place Brian Reeves. Struggling at the back of the fleet were Jake & Craig Varley who are having their first proper season in their Scorpion. I know itís a steep learning curve but I expect that next year the transition will be remarkable.

Charlie wave skiing
The course was enlarged for the 2nd race, which allowed us all more time to stretch our legs. The southerly breeze was still blowing at anything up to 8 knots and with no bias on the start line we all started on a starboard heading and off we roared up the first beat. Paddy & Steve used their extra speed to reach the windward mark 1st & once there the spinnaker was soon hoisted and off they went. Once again we were first of the Tasars round and more surprisingly Andrew & Jenny after another good start headed the slow fleet round the first beat and 2 reaches. Beacky & Kelvin were in hot pursuit and the distance between the 2 was closing rapidly, but luck came to their cause when Andrew & Jenny capsized whilst executing a tack. Apparently the drooping spinnaker pole alongside the boom caught in Andrewís clothing, he lost his balance and in they went. That ruined their day as from a promising 1st place they plummeted to finish 5th. Janet Preston had finished behind Brian Reeves in the first race but more than made up in this race by not only beating him but finished 2nd to Beacky & Kelvin. Jake & Craig also benefited from the Kendallís misfortune to take 4th. Nick seems to be the only Laser nowadays to use a full rig and may be suffereing on handicap against the not much slower radials as he trailed further behind in 6th place.

I do note that there is quite an increase in sailors at PSC wearing helmets when sailing. A trend started by Kay has now spread to being used in several boats. I always wear my sailing hat and even that has protected me to an extent when hit on the head by the boom. A helmet can certainly make a lot of sense. They are light and not too bulky and their use is certainly catching on. Wednesday coming will see the last of the summer series of races and from then on we only have about 2 months left of the 2015 season. Unfortunately it is also likely to become colder

On a positive note, the jelly fish appear to have almost vanished. We didnít hit any last Wednesday and only hit one today before we started racing so hopefully that unpleasant distraction may be finally over for this year at least.

September 17th
James and his rudder
Be careful of sailing on a Wednesday with a high tide!!

Well letís start off this blog with a bit of good news. You may remember that James lost his rudder assembly in the surf last Sunday and despite several people searching in the surf it appeared to be lost and I am told would cost over £300 to replace. James came back down on Monday lunch time when it was low tide and searched along the beach and found the rudder amidst a clump of sea weed. What a relief that was and he must have thought himself very lucky. I think the chances of finding it would have been fairly low.

Despite my cynicism I still get taken in by the weather men and so I, like most of our members didnít think that we would be racing last night. The earlier forecast was for heavy rain and strong winds and guess what? No rain and not such quite strong winds. The very unsettled spell of weather over the last few days passed quicker than forecast and the sea had settled down somewhat but there were still quite a few waves dumping on the beach in the incoming tide, which we knew would only get worse as the tide was scheduled to peak about 8.00 pm and we should be ashore by then.

the beach
The first task was to launch Jeremy & Suzanne in the RIB through the surf. Fortunately that was easily accomplished and the motley fleet of only 6 boats and 1 windsurfer rigged and launched over the heavily weeded beach and by timing the launching we could get through the surf without any problems. In the event Ken & I launched ok but I had to struggle to hold the boat when one extra large wave suddenly came in. I managed to hold the boat head to the wave but the wave was still large enough to dump a lot of weed infested water into the boat. Anyway we managed to push off and sail, in the very light wind just off the beach, slowly out of the cove with quite a lot of water sloshing about in the boat. Well that will soon go, I thought, as we built up speed. The bailer would soon take care of that; wrong, as the water started to drain out of the boat, the masses of small bits of seaweed completely blocked the bailer up, leaving us to keep reaching down to try and clear it. It wasnít until the start of the beat that enough weedy water was out to allow a modicum of confidence to be able to concentrate on the race.

Jeremy & Suzanne soon had the course up and ready several minutes before everyone had reached the start line out at sea to suit the north westerly which out at sea was quite lively at times, coming in quite strong pulses from time to time. The short start line made for a lively start and John Hill attempting a port hand flyer was caught and had to perform an emergency tack to avoid us and off we went up the beat, which as approached the beach marks area had plenty of lifts and headers plus rapidly changing wind strengths to have us making rapid changes in hiking and sail trim to make it a very frustrating beat. It was no surprise to see Paddy & Steve who have now really got to grips with their B14 round the beach marks first and we made it 2nd boat just in front of Justin & Charlie. Once Paddy & Steve were around they were off and disappeared into the distance. Justin slowly closed us down, but importantly for us we managed to start the beat ahead and started to open up a useful gap, which increased over the next round.

the beach
The 3rd beat was looking even better for us, our heavier weight came to our aid upwind and then disaster struck. The main sheet slipped out of its cleat, my reactions were too slow and we rolled in to windward; our first capsize for 2015! As the boat turtled I saw the rudder assembly fall off the gudgeons. Fortunately for me the rudder blade is made of wood and the tiller tube is sealed so it floated long enough for me to be able to grab it and save what would have cost a lot of money to replace. I realised then that I had put the rudder on before we launched but failed to attach the holding clip that would have prevented the rudder from dropping off, so only myself to blame. Thatís a lesson I hope will be ingrained into my head for future sails.

With Ken on the bow and holding the rudder, I managed to struggle onto the plate and right the boat. I scrambled in only to realise that the jib was still cleated. The wind backed the jib and the extra pressure rolled the boat back into the capsize position. I reached in and uncleated the jib so hopefully the next righting would be more successful. But no, this time as the boat came up I needed Ken to stabilise the windward side, but with the rudder in his hands he couldnít get along the side quick enough so over we rolled again. We had no option now but to accept outside assistance from Jeremy who took the rudder from Ken and managed to reattach it to the boat.

the beach
The 3rd righting was ok. Ken managed to get down the windward side and climb into the boat, which allowed me to climb in also. By this time I was feeling rather cold, in fact very cold, & I was also feeling the affects of my efforts so we sailed back to the shore ready for the next problem, landing on a beach with waves and not only that the waves were also reaching the wall leaving us with very little beach to work with. As per normal the wind was almost non existent close to the shore and the boats were really at the mercy of the waves. Justin & Charlie landed without too much drama and then they became swamped by one of the inevitable large waves that rocked up every now and again. Fortunately there were enough non sailors on the beach to be able to drag / carry the boat out and onto the trolley.

We tried a somewhat different approach. I sailed alongside the buoy line and Ken pulled us towards the beach. We waited until there was a lull in the waves and then made the final pull straight onto the beach. We immedialetly dragged the boat up into the shallows but before we could get he trolley under the boat some larger waves poured over the transom and deposited quite a few gallons of sea water into the cockpit. Well we eventually managed to get the boat onto the trolley and along the beach to the slipway. What a night it was turning out to be. I was feeling drained and the thought of packing in sailing went through my mind for all of 5 seconds. I certainly wonít be going through the procedure of landing through waves like that again.

the beach
Paddy & Steve probably had the easiest of the landings as there is no cockpit to fill up on the B14 so a quick lift of the bows is enough to pour any water out of the boat and it was soon onto its trolley. John Hill in his Supernova, James and Nick in their Lasers were soon pulled onto the beach and onto their trolleys and suddenly everybody was safe and sound on the shore. The RIB was recovered without any undue dramas and with the assistance of Nigelís van we were all pulled up the slipway. Then the long wash and clean started. Copious amounts of weed were removed from the boats. In fact Ken removed most of our weed, water and all with the vacuum cleaner, but it was still quite dark before everything was put away and we were changed back into proper clothes. I was also paying the price for under dressing for the night, with only a rash vest under my long john which was topped by a light weight spray top; all completely adequate for normal sailing, certainly not adequate for capsizing sailing. However autumn is here and warmer clothing will be going on for the rest of the season, though the weather looks to be improving with a high building for the weekend, so maybe the warmer clothes wonít be needed this weekend after all. The most disappointing event of the whole evening was coming into the Club house after sailing and finding that there were no bacon butties, meaning I had to go home for my tea, poached egg on toast, but I suppose that was healthier for me.

I had a wander in the Market House earlier this week, to visit the music shop. Whilst looking around the building I saw a sign for the ďSt. Austell MuseumĒ. All it consists of is a gallery of artefacts to view. One piece caught my eye though. I thought I spied a Porthpean Sailing Club pennant. On closer inspection it certainly was something to do with PSC as it had the letters PSC on it and it was in a little cardboard box. There was no one available to ask as to what it was but I think that it maybe either a tie pin or a lapel badge. So if any of our more established members can let me know what it might be and how long ago it was available I would be very interested.

September 13th
the yard in the moring
Mid September and the start of the autumnal winds

I only expected to miss one weekendís sailing, which was last weekend but in the event, mainly due to the weather I have missed much more. Unfortunately I was away for the Scorpion meeting and the September Cup last weekend, but both events went off very successfully. Congratulations firstly to Steve & Polly who managed to win all 6 races to prove comprehensibly that they are the best Scorpion Team in the Club. Not surprisingly Beacky & Kelvin were 2nd and Andrew &Jenny were 3rd. Due to 6 of our boats racing in the Scorpion Open the other fleets in the September Cups were a little down on normal numbers but congratulations go to Finn & Niles who borrowed Jeremyís Tasar and won the fast handicap section and Simon Robins who took the honours in the slow fleet. Meanwhile both Jeremy & Suzanne and Paddy & Steve were over at Rock racing in the B14 Europeans, which was a 4 day affair and over the 4 days they had some quite extreme conditions starting with mammoth seas and wind on Friday to fairly docile conditions on Tuesday.

Unfortunately our weather which had been rather benign for the last few weeks started to become, shall we say, rather more challenging. In fact after quite a few sunny days this week, autumn has finally arrived and my days of wearing shorts during the days are rapidly coming to an end. Despite the sunny weather we had large seas with waves on the beach and a south easterly blowing last Wednesday and that combination put paid to the 2nd race of the short Wednesday series. The forecast for this weekend was not good either though Saturday provided a light south westerly breeze with plenty of sunshine. Unfortunately we were not sailing on Saturday but today. Our sailing day today was spoilt somewhat by the return of a strong south easterly which had gone round a little in the night to become more of a southerly, but had left a legacy of quite a few waves breaking on the beach. I must congratulate the weather men as todayís weather was as forecast and it looked initially as though racing today would be cancelled. The saviour of another cancelled racing day was the fact that the tide was falling, which made recovery when returning to the beach, a far easier event than if the tide had been in and though the wind was producing many white horses in the bay it was not quite as strong as forecast. At least the boats would be returning to a flat sandy beach with a larger space between the waves. Well that was the theory. A quite keen breeze albeit southerly put several off from trying the conditions and I was one of them. Nevertheless enough members decided to give it a try and managed with some assistance to launch through the surf to take their positions on the start line by the beach marks. I volunteered for the vacant OOD job so in that respect I was quite useful and allowed another boat to race.

the beach
Paddy & Steve, much to their chagrin or delight depending how they looked at it were down for RIB duty and with the help of the fleet managed to launch without any major dramas. My decision not to sail was eased when I saw both Jeremy & Suzanne capsize and also Beacky & Kelvin drop their Scorpion in at the same time. However once they were back up no other dramas occurred and with not too much of a delay we eventually started the race. Probably today was one of our smaller fleets and varied between Richardís Dart, today crewed by Ken and the 2 Laser radials of James and Nigel.

We were also short of a manned Galley but this was soon overcome when we had Charlie & Colin taking on the duty, both extremely competent and only separated by about 71 years in age difference!!! We also had 4 windsurfers racing with us and to help keep them apart we started them off 1 minute before the main fleet were released, which worked well and kept them apart for most of the race, but one of them, Adam? Was blisteringly fast and managed to lap most of our boats and pull well ahead of Richard & Ken. There was a bit of family rivalry with James competing against Nigel in the Laser radials. Victory by quite a respectable margin went to James as he steadily increased his lead over Nigel to claim his victory by some 1 Ĺ minutes. However both were quick enough to take 1st & 2nd over Beacky & Kelvin. Richard & Ken cranked up the speedometer and took victory over Jeremy & Suzanne in their B14 and Jan & Pete in their Kestrel.

galley mens

The challenge they all had to endure was landing back onto the beach again and this was also my main reason for not racing. In the event they all managed to sail in without too much drama. Richard & Ken had the easiest landing of all as all you need to do in a Dart is point it at the beach and keep going until it stops and you just step off. Jan & Pete landed ok but then managed to roll over in the surf and needed all hands to help right the boat and get it onto its trolley. James decided to decamp before he reached the beach. Unfortunately he climbed off the boat a little too early and was left hanging on the back and then took the decision to remove the rudder and place it into the boat. Things then went tits up when a rogue wave pulled the boat out of Jamesís hands and it nose dived down a wave throwing the rudder out. Unfortunately the rudder doesnít float and despite several people searching in the incoming surf it has disappeared. I believe a huge reward is waiting for anyone who can find it but in the short fall a new one may be necessary.

Well all the shenanigans in landing the boats was enough to call a halt to proceedings and lack of interest in launching again after lunch caused racing for the rest of the day to be abandoned. Our attentions now turn to Wednesday for the penultimate race of that series, but once again the unsettled weather forecast is already causing doubts and we may yet lose another race. However the weather men have a strong reputation for not being correct several days in advance so we may yet get our race in. Time will tell.

Now before I go here's a little bit of advertising. Sue & I were in Bournemouth last week and whilst there went to see the show ďThatíll be the DayĒ. This show tours every year and always visits the HFC, where it is always a sell out. This was the first time that we have seen the show and we really enjoyed it. Running time is 3 hrs and is a mixture of non stop singing from the 50s, 60s and 70s plus some comedy routines. The cast received a standing ovation at the end and performed one or two encores. It so happens that they are coming to the HFC for their Christmas show on the 24th of November and we have bought tickets for the show. These are good tickets, being in the 2nd row in the front stalls. Unfortunately we find that we canít make the date so I am hoping to sell the tickets. If you are interested then please contact me. The price of the tickets is £24.00 each.

September 3rd
safety boat heading for the beach
First of the autumn Wednesdays

Sorry guys, this is a very short blog as Sue & I are off for a few days and want to hit the road early this morning. Last night was the first of the autumn Wednesdays and would have had 10 boats entered and was scheduled to start at 18.00. Unfortunately Jeremy & Suzanne intending to sail their B14 but problems prevented them launching in time to reach the start. Instead we had a debut sail from Finn & Niles in Jeremyís Tasar. Would this very light weight duo be able to make their mark in their first race?

The fleet would have been divided 7 to 5 with only 3 boats in the slow fleet, consisting of James & Nick in their Lasers and John Hill in his Supersofa. No Scorpions launched at all, which was probably was a first for this year. They are obviously keeping them selves ready for the Scorpion Open this weekend.

Nigel & Simon set a very nice port handed course to suit the north westerly wind blowing offshore and with only a short delay we came under starterís orders. We had a good start and headed for the left hand corner. The breeze wasnít at all constant, with little headers and lifts and also the intensity varied. Things were looking good until we took the long port tack towards the beach marks. A pronounced header saw us fall behind Paddy & Steveís B14 but more to our concern was to see Justin & Charlie sailing comfortably through into 1st Tasar spot and then to compound our misery Finn & Niles also crossed our bows. Jan & Pete were not very far behind either so I knew then that we were going to struggle. Chris & Tony were bringing up the rear of our fleet.

We managed to overtake Finn & Niles but try as we might we just couldnít bridge the gap to Justin. They still had a nice lead when we started the last lap, but somehow we managed to get the best of the 2 reaches and by the time we started the last beat we were only a couple of boat lengths behind. Through gritted teeth we managed tp slowly get up to their transom and then had to tack off to clear our air. The next time we crossed we had made up our deficit and for once we became lead Tasar. Hard covering for the rest of the beat was enough to take the win, but whether we had enough time in hand to beat Paddy I know not as unfortunately the results havenít been published yet.

Finn & Niles sailed well even passing us again on the 2nd beat but eventually finished 3rd Tasar, well ahead of Chris & Tony.

Again without the results I am unable to say too much about the slower fleet, but I think the outcome would have been quite close between John & James.

Both the B14s of Paddy & Steve and Jeremy & Suzanne are making the short hop across to Rock at the weekend for the B14 European Championships so wish them both the best of luck for this one. Incidentally the B14 fleet will be heading to Porthpean next year for their Nationals.

September 2nd
midnight at Roadford
The Goodacre Cup

Sorry to say, no blog for last Sundayís racing as Ken & I disappeared to Roadford Lake for the ďGoodacre CupĒ. We competed in it last year and finished 2nd, beaten by a well sailed Laser. We tried to win it again this year and once again finished 2nd, beaten this time by a Laser 4000. The racing consisted of 8 races with 1 discard, so not much room for many errors, though it is the same for everyone, apart from those who may have some loval knowledge. We arrived bright and early on Saturday having left St. Austell in good time to try and navigate the Bodmin bypass hold ups. Rather surprisingly we moved through the roadworks without too much of a delay.

Roadford Lake is quite a nice stretch of water, with enough expanse to set some good courses. It lies about 5 miles north of Launceston and is about a 7 minute drive from the A30. The topography is such that no matter what the wind direction there are no obvious obstructions. Launching is quite easy but the water is very dirty looking, probably due to all the peat around. The water level was low enough to have to wade through a little mud. It is almost impossible to see the bottom of the rudder blade when looking down from above, and in the chilly winds of Monday almost felt quite warm when pushing the rudder blade down. There are dozens and dozens of boats in their dinghy park. Many of them looking very neglected and deteriorating, which is a shame because at some point they had been someoneís pride and joy.

For once we had a bright sunny day and on arriving were greeted by a very still looking Roadford Lake. Strangely enough after weeks and weeks of reasonable breezes Saturday was almost windless, though there was just enough to race. For the very first time and maybe the last time for 2015 I managed to sail in tee shirt and shorts only, plus buoyancy aid. We started the race in a very light, breeze that just faded away and though we were well into the 2nd lap the race was sort of abandoned and scoring was done on times at the completion of the 1st lap. Not perfect for many of us and I heard one or two grumbles, but I didn't mind too much as it wasn't very exciting. Our position was classed as 6th, which was not an encouraging start when hoping to win. Saturday was classed as a 2 race day, but as the conditions were so light it was deemed impossible to sail the 2nd race and it was cancelled accompanied by quite a few cheers, including mine. In true sailing traditions, within 10 minutes of the cancellation a nice little breeze came in from the south west, which allowed us to sail back to shore rather quicker than any progress made in the first race.

Sunday was billed as a 4 race day and we were greeted by a light breeze and rain, again not the most pleasant of conditions but at least the breeze,a light northerly, was a little better but only sufficient enough for me on the side deck most of the time. Now as I write this there are no results published on their Club web site, but I know that we won one of the races and our other positions were good enough to lift us up to 3rd by the end of the day. Our starts had been rather mediocre. The start line was very port biased and probably rather on the short side for the number of boats racing, and with all the faster boats reaching down the line a port hand flyer was out of the question. We were caught up at times in all sorts of tangles which always took a few minutes for us to wriggle away from some supposed slower boats. The start line also had something like 30 other boats all on the same start line at the same time. Just to add further spice to the mixture the weekend was also the ďBuzzĒ inland championships and there were 9 of them starting 5 minutes ahead of us. Needless to say they were of mixed abilities and in every race we managed to catch and pass several of the slower Buzzes. By the end of Sunday it was obvious that the main contenders for the chocolates was a Blaze, Aero 7, Albacore, RS 400 and 3 Laser 4000s, Flying 15 plus some good Lasers of different sorts and us.

I was particularly impressed with the Aero7, as it was the first time that I have seen one in action. The boat is a good all rounder, very pretty, sails well upwind, doesnít point quite as high as the Tasar but foots off very well. It was almost as fast as us on a close reach and only slightly slower on a broad reach. The boat seemed well mannered and the owner previously sailed an RS Vareo for 10 years but much preferrs the Aero to the Vareo. We have raced against Albacores before at Falmouth week and they are devastatingly fast in light airs. They are a heavy boat, but once up to speed sail through the lulls very well.

We arrived on Monday morning to be greeted by a much fresher northerly wind blowing down the Lake. The warmth and sun from Saturday had been replaced by quite a drop in temperature and it felt quite cold. Cold enough for some serious layers of sailing clothes to be worn. Monday was also scheduled to be a 2 race day but the RO decided to have 3 races back to back to make up for the lost one on Saturday and with a much fresher breeze blowing down the lake we were looking forward to it.

Due to the shape of the Lake and the direction of the wind, good reaches were impossible to set. We always ended up with a short close reach followed by a much longer broad reach. We sailed a mixture of 2 courses, decided by the RO. One was a conventional Olympic type triangle sausage and the other was a windward leeward course. Both courses had a start and finish gate which you were only allowed to pass through on the upwind leg.

Prize winners

The Monday racing was by far the best sailing conditions of the weekend as we were both up on the side decks hiking upwind and also at times on the close reach. The northerly wind varied in intensity and was quite shifty at times and the compass came into its own, allowing us to make some rapid progress up the beats. I never timed them but I think each beat lasted, for us, no more than 6 or 7 minutes. The wind being much fresher kept the rescue boats quite busy, standing by capsized boats. I changed our starting tactics for Monday and rather than start down at what seemed the favoured pin end, elected to start by the Committee boat, coming in at speed. This was enough to keep all the other boats apart from a couple of the Laser4000s below us and allowed us to tack away immediately we spotted a header. This worked better for us, as on Sunday we had often been pinned down whilst waiting for some of the more windward boats to tack. We had quite a few tussles with an RS400. We were almost always in front of him at the end of the beats and he almost always had the better of us down wind until the beat started again and most times we managed to pass him again. By the end of the weekend, we found that one of the Laser 4000s had taken the honours and we were 2nd, finishing on equal points to the Aero. However our better overall finishes gave us 2nd place. I think the Blaze finished 4th, the Albacore 5th and the Flying 15 6th.

I will have to wait until the results are published to see where we made our gains, but overall we were very pleased with the way it had gone. It certainly wasnít a good Tasar course so the fact that we could still get a good result was even more satisfying and once again the boat received some encouraging looks and comments when we managed to get up on the plane downwind.

August 26th
Preparing the RIB
Last Wednesday summer race for 2015

A brisk south westerly breeze was our driving force for the last of the summer series Wednesday racing for 2015. However those of you with a taste for Wednesday evening racing only have to wait until next Wednesday for the start of the autumn EARLY start series. Yes early start means starting racing at 6pm rather than 7 pm. This early autumn series was started a few years ago and surprisingly has been as well supported as the normal Wednesday starts. It is only a 4 week series with 3 races to count. Obviously with only 4 race days we are heavily dependant on the weather so letís hope for the best.

We had quite a good entry of 14 boats to see out the last race and were back up to 5 Lasers as well as 4 Tasars and 3 Scorpions, so there was enough competition for most of us. Even the Kestrel and Supersofa had some competition in the very lively south westerly, which as an added bonus gave us some great downwind surfing towards the beach marks. Paddy & Steve took a night off from their B14 and manned the RIB and set a very nice long course which suited us all. The breeze was quite fresh at the start and kept everyone on their toes. In fact earlier in the day I doubted whether we would sail or not as Polruan had been recording gusts over 30 knots. Still as happens most evenings the breeze was moderating and we were ready and waiting to sail.

Jeremy was back in his Tasar tonight but in the absence of Suzanne, took Richard Austin out as top crew. They hit the front from the start and try as we did we couldnít catch them. In fact after a rather indifferent start and poor first beat we were playing catch up with Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion and visitor Steve Smith in the Club Laser radial, who both started the down wind ride in front of us. Rounding close by us at the windward mark was Justin & Charlie, who we battled hard with for the rest of the race. The extra down wind speed of the Tasars took us past the Laser & Scorpion, though Beacky & Kelvin had the legs on us on the 2nd reach with their spinnaker. Justin & Charlie passed us on the 2nd beat and by the end of the leg had a tidy little lead on us, but we managed to claw most of it back down wind but still had to sail in their wake as we started the 3rd beat. We took advantage of a header, tacked off, waited for the next header, tacked back and were suddenly 50M clear; good old compass, still working. That was enough to allow us to stretch our lead and we made a comfortable 2nd on handicap.

Jan & Pete were quite a way behind us but had a strong battle with Chris & Tony and managed to just beat them on the water to prevent a Tasar 1, 2 3, 4. Tim Harrison did very well to sail round in the RS600 without suffering a capsize. I wouldnít have fancied my chances in those conditions, though they did moderate as the evening drew on. He tells me that tacking is the big challenge as it is so easy to sail into irons and then takes even longer to get going again.

Beacky & Kelvin put a 3 minute gap between themselves and Steve Smith, but on corrected time Steve still managed to take victory by 3 Ĺ minutes. Simon was the 3rd boat to finish but he fell behind James and had to settle for 4th, just in front of the lovely Laura who at least had the pleasure of beating Brian Reeves. The 2 Scorpions of Andrew & Jenny and Kay & Craig had a 1 on 1 battle for a while before a breakage on Kayís boat dropped them to last place.

cremated bacon

Landing on the beach was quite a fraught experience as the waves, though the majority were not very high, were occasionally joined by an extra large one with extra power and it was quite easy to be knocked over whilst holding the boat waiting for a launching trolley as some, including me can testify to! It was almost dark before the last of the boats were put to bed and we could retire to the comfort of the Clubhouse to taste a bacon butty or two and sink a pint or two. In the absence of Jenny, her role was taken over by Paddy who is almost getting to grips with this frying bacon thing. Paddy was ably assisted tonight by Richard & Charlie who were busy putting the butties together and taking our money. In fact we are all getting the taste for crispy bacon nowadays. Thanks Guys.

August 23rd
Jeremy & Suzanne
A welcome break in the weather for the August Cup.

August 2015 will surely enter the record books as one of the wettest summer months in Cornwall. Fowey week last week was particularly decimated. It started off with reasonable weather and the yacht fleets sailed up from Falmouth on the Monday in fine weather and a nice breeze but from then onwards the weather deteriorated. The sunshine and blue skies were replaced by rain and drizzle and for Tuesday very light, almost non existent winds. From Wednesday onwards the winds increased and to make matters worse for them the direction was south westerly, which gives quite an unpleasant swell in the harbour mouth. The weather was so bad on Thursday that the Red Arrows had to cancel their performance, which disappointed 1000s who normally trek across to Fowey to witness the spectacle. The yachts only had one race on the Tuesday. The other races being cancelled due to inclement weather. Quite an expensive week for them as no refund is given for cancelled races. One person who managed to gain some success for the week was James, who took his Laser radial across to sail in the Regatta. James had a good week with a mixture of wins, 2nds and 4rds to finish 2nd overall for the week. On only 2 of the races for the dinghies were allowed out of the harbour. So he had to contend with the shuttle racing on the other days of up and down the harbour which is an endurance test in itself.

Falmouth week in comparison fared a little better. We started on Monday rather than Tuesday so managed to get in 2 days of racing in sunnier weather before the rains, mist and drizzle set in there too. Ken & I had a mixed bag of races, finished last in the first race on Tuesday, to be followed immediately by winning the next. Iíll be the first to admit that Falmouth week doesnít produce the best courses for a Tasar as the reaches are inevitably too broad, but nevertheless they do attract some good competitors. Whilst we are suffering from an invasion of jelly fish they are suffering from massive amounts of weed floating on and just below the surface, which forced us to constantly check the foils for accumulations. All in all not a vintage week, the weather put paid to that but we did come out with 3rd overall, only 1 point behind the 2nd boat. The week was won by the class that we sailed in by a Laser standard that was sailed extremely well. He was head and shoulders in front of all the other Lasers and sailed the broad reaches almost as fast as we could, in fact he managed to overtake us on the harbour race at one time downwind.

The bad weather over the weekend, especially Saturday night, left me wondering whether we would be able to sail on Sunday. The forecast was for more sudden short, sharp showers. Well we must have been lucky as the deluge over Saturday night left the rain clouds empty and we arrived at the Club to witness gallons and gallons of water pouring off the green, something we normally only see in the winter. The debris on the roads and paths showed how heavy the previous nightís rain had really been. The sun was trying to shine, the breeze was rather light but at least it was obvious that we were going to be able to race, for the August Cup.

The better weather of the day managed to attract our best Sunday attendance of the year, with 17 boats entering the August Cup races. The fast fleet comprised 2 B14s, 2 Tasars, 1 RS400 and a Kestrel. The slower fleet was the largest fleet and that was made up of 4 Lasers, 3 Scorpions, 2 Supernovas and a Topper. For some time it had been planned to race a windward leeward type course for a change to our normal format of triangular types. This wasnít particularly good news for me, as a Tasar usually thrives on fast reaches and beats and runs certainly do not produce fast reaches. However with 7 of the fleet sporting spinnakers it was all good news for them. Beacky & Kelvin volunteered for RIB duties and set a very good sized course, and in the initial breeze was a true windward leeward course and which promised some good racing to come. Paddy gave a briefing of how the course should be sailed and we soon launched and sailed out to the racing area. Even the beach marks had been left out in order to suit the course parameters. The breeze was a fairly light westerly, though had been forecast to be a south westerly.

Now so much happened with the wind changing directions, and also varying between light and non existent and also the diversity of boats racing, ranging from Topper to B14s that it makes the day quite hazy trying to remember exactly what went on. So bear with me if I have missed things. My recollections tell me that Nigel & James raced well away in the first race in their RS400 and finished far enough in front to claim the win for them in the fast fleet. They were challenged throughout by the 2 B14s. 2 B14s? Yes Jeremy & Suzanne were out in their latest acquisition to challenge Paddy & Steve, which at least took some of the heat off us. The course parameters suited the asymmetrical boats far better and they charged off downwind making lots of ground on us all, especially Nigel & James. But as so often has happened lately, the breeze managed to play silly games and though the RS400 & B14s looked to be up and away the B14s werenít far enough away and 2nd and 3rd went to us in our Tasar and Jan & Pete in their Kestrel. The slower fleet was dominated by our visitor, Steve Smith. His superb light wind skills kept him in the hunt and only the faster Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny kept him from claiming line honours and that was by only 4 seconds which gave Steve a comfortable win by over 2 Ĺ minutes on corrected time. Simon Robins in his one of the 2 Supersofas out today brought his boat home 3rd on the water but was promoted to 2nd on corrected time, leaving the Kendalls in 3rd. Janet Preston showed that she is getting to grips with her Laser finishing the best of the Porthpean Lasers in 4th place. Steve Wingrove was without Ashley today but took out a young lady who is looking to take up sailing. She has never raced before so probably found the complexity of racing rather intimidating, what with the close proximity of all the boats on the start line and then witnessing the huge difference in speed and performance of the different types of boats.

The 2nd race followed on immediately and must have given an enormous amount of pain to Paddy & Steve. They were off after a very good start, disappearing into the distance with the rest of the fleet trailing miles behind. Their lead looked unassailable; Jeremy & Suzanne were a long way behind and then the breeze started its shenanigans and started to move around and come up and down. Suddenly Paddyís lead disappeared as he sat in a hole in a windless area of the course and in fact Jeremy & Suzanne and Nigel & James also came to a halt, but for some reason, not our Tasar. We just kept moving and closed up so that at the end of the race we were only a minute or so behind and that was enough on corrected time to give us a win, with the Dowricks in 2nd and the 2 B14s in 3rd and 4th. Compounding Paddyís misery was not only the fact that his magnificent lead was whittled away but he finally fell behind Jeremy & Suzanne.

beach at lunchtime in August!!
Steve Smith kept his winning form going, taking another win by a considerable margin, and the Kendalls managed to push Simon into 3rd taking 2nd place themselves, with Janet again finishing 4th and still best of the Club Lasers. We eventually sailed home for a very late lunch. Jeremyís B14 was taken straight up to the green for urgent repairs, so lunch for him was a rather hurried affair. The breeze, such as we had was starting to veer towards the south west, which gave our RIB drivers a bit of a problem but they managed to reconfigure the course to suit. Unfortunately just before we started the wind swung back to its morning direction and the course became almost processional with a one tack beat in one direction and a close reach in the other direction. Actually with a bit more wind it would have been ideal for a Tasar but unfortunately the breeze was too light. It was too late to postpone the race and reconfigure the course again so we had to sail with what we had. All this made the starting line a very large log jam as everybody wanted to start alongside the RIB. Jan & Pete, who had finished 3rd in the first race of the day, shot over the start line, in prime position, in what was probably their best start of the season. Clearly their appearance at the recent Nationals has given them more confidence and they rounded the first mark, leading the fleet. We too, together with Steve Smith, had a reasonable start, but not so for the other main combatants. I heard plenty of shouting behind as Paddy & Steve became entangled with someone, and Jeremy & Suzanne became bogged down, also Nigel &James suddenly headed for home. Apparently their tiller extension had snapped, but Nigel is confident that James will get him a Rooster carbon replacement so that may compensate him somewhat. Although we moved along quite nicely the breeze was just perfect for the Kestrel and their momentum through the quiet spells kept them moving along very nicely. The subsequent reach allowed them to fly their spinnaker and any hoped we had of overtaking were soon left floundering. There was a bit more drama to come as Jeremy collided with Janet at a windward mark, pushing them out from 1st place, enabling us to whip in and take first place ourselves. I thought that we could hold our position from the Kestrel and half way up the last upwind leg we were looking in fine form, but then we had our dose of bad luck. The wind, where we were, suddenly veered and we had to tack for the mark, whereas Jan & Pete managed to sail through without tacking and managed to overtake us. Once again the spinnaker reach was made for the Kestrel and we could not generate enough speed to come back at them, giving them the victory. So for the fast handicap, we had 3 races with 3 different winners, keeping the competition going right to the end.

Steve Smithís domination of the slow fleet was finally halted. For the 2nd time today the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny crossed the finish line in 1st place but once again fell behind a slower boat on corrected time. This time the win went to Simon Robins in his Supersofa and the dominate Steve Smith had to settle for 3rd, though his previous 2 wins was enough to secure him the cup win.

Now I am sure that there were many more incidents throughout the day, collisions with jelly fish were numerous for everyone so that hardly warrants a mention now. I feel I ought to mention the swell. During the morning a south westerly swell suddenly appeared which is quite unusual. I suspect that we are going to have quite a storm or very strong south westerly winds in the next few days; the swell being a precursor of it. It did make sailing through it quite difficult as it kept destroying our momentum.

Itís Monday morning as I write this and once more it is pelting it down with rain, which makes me grateful that we did manage to have a break in the weather long enough on Sunday to allow us to go sailing. I suspect that given the present weather outside my window that if it had been like that yesterday then the boat covers would have stayed on so we were very lucky indeed. Full results for the August Cup are on the appropriate web page.

Pascual's boat
Now before I finish, you all know that you were requested to take your boats up to the field after racing last Wednesday as the yard was wanted for a wedding party. Unfortunately the email for this request was a little late for Pascual who was on holiday in Spain. He sent a reply with his apologies but did promise a pint to the persons who took his boat up for him. Well just to prove to him how many people took his boat up to the field then the picture alongside is proof!!

Get your wallet out Pascual.

August 20th
Mid August, mist and drizzle, what a summer.

To sail in either Falmouth Dinghy Week or Fowey Week; that was a dilemma that I was going through only a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to wait as long as possible to check on the weather before I made any decision. After all there is no refund if racing is cancelled so the late entry fee charged by Fowey finally made up my mind, as it then became more expensive than Falmouth week plus on the face of it the racing should be better at Restronguet, with more races scheduled though they rarely configure their course to give any tightish reaches. You also get a greater variety of dinghies at Falmouth week and some of the helms are very competitive so all round gives some very good racing, plus the scenery around the Carrick roads is absolutely stunning. It is so relaxing to be able to sit in the sun in the peace and quiet sipping a drink and talking to old friends whist watching other boats sailing around.

So for the last 3 days Ken & I have been sailing in the exotic waters of the Carrick Roads. The total entries at Falmouth and Fowey have been falling over the last few years, with the result that there are only 2 classes of dinghy at Fowey, but more at Falmouth. The programme at Falmouth was to get 3 races a day in, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and to speed things up we started as 2 fleets. The first fleet was the asymmetric fleet which included 2 foiling moths and the other fleet was us with the rest so we had about 30 dinghies on our start line, which included a Fireball, Lasers of all varieties, Aeros, K1s and some other tasty boats.

Monday was a sunny day with a light breeze and sailing shorts was the order of the day and we started off our campaign with a 2nd and a 5th. Tuesday was another very light almost non existent wind day, well it was for the 1st race and we came last!!. The wind appeared form a different direction and lifted in strength for the 2nd race. A new course was laid and we won that race. Due to the light winds only 2 of the 3 races were run on Monday & Tuesday.

Wednesday dawned wet and windy and the lack of visibility was also a problem and a delay was instigated until the mist lifted enough to allow safe passage for the boats that were coming round from St Mawes. The first race was far too short and only took us 17 minutes. The foiling moths were around their course in less than 10 minutes. Still we had another good start but couldnít save our time against 2 very good standard Laser sailors and the Fireball giving us a 4th. Another good start in the 2nd race of the day gave us a 2nd, again just behind the top Laser sailor. Yet another good start in the 3rd race was all undone when a 2nd gun went and we thought that it might have been us over the line. We couldnít afford another bad result so bore away round the pin end and came through the line behind almost everybody and that included having to dip a topper who was on starboard. We eventually finished 4th on corrected time and we also had to play catch up against an Aero 7. This was the first time that I have seen one of those in action and my impression of them is that they make a very nice dinghy indeed. In the force 4-5 wind that we had it was flying along. He actually came 2nd in that race but his earlier results in the series hadnít been very good. Anyway our 4th in the 3rd race was enough to give us 3rd overall, behind the Laser and the Fireball. All in all not too bad as apart from only 1 race where we could plane downwind on a tight reach we had to fly the whisker pole. Today is the harbour race which is scheduled for this afternoon. The course will be given at a briefing but will last something like 1 Ĺ hours or more and we should get sailing on all points of the compass, so promises to be quite interesting.

James Dowrick has elected to sail at Fowey week and so far is having a very good series, with a win and 2 seconds and a 3rd. Unfortunately due to the poor weather yesterday, only the Troys, Fowey river boats and the dinghies raced and that was held in the river. So we missed nothing there. Today isnít looking too good at Fowey either, and I suspect that the Red Arrows due tonight will be cancelled, which will be intensely disappointing for all concerned.

Ken & I arrived sans boat back at the Club just before 19.00 to see the fleet heading out to sea to start the penultimate race of the Wednesday summer series. The breeze was almost non existent and I was somewhat surprised that anyone could be bothered going out in such abysmal conditions. Amongst the fleet was another B14; Jeremy went out and bought one for Suzanne for their 10th wedding anniversary. Jeremy certainly knows how to treat a lady. Back from their racing in the Kestrel Nationals was Jan & Pete and in a rejuvenated mode they took the win in the fast handicap fleet beating Justin and Charlie in the only Tasar out tonight. The 2 B14s finished in 3rd and 4th with Jeremy & Suzanne beating Paddy & Steve by just over a minute.

The slow handicap fleet was dominated by our annual visitor Steve Smith in his Laser radial. Line honours actually went to Beacky & Kelvin who started late but managed to find a private patch of wind and sail up through the fleet. John Hill another late starter also found the same patch and finished 2nd on the water. When the number crunching was done Steve had over a minute in hand to take a well earned victory. Beackyís late start allowed him to get the better of the other 2 Scorpions, beating the Kendalls by over a minute and Kay & Craig by almost 2 minutes.

August 17th
A jolly time in St. Austell bay
Mid August but still no heat wave in sight

Sunshine, beautiful sunshine; well it is at the moment as I start this blog, which also means that itís Monday morning and the majority are back at work. Not for me and not for several of our members as we are retired and what a gorgeous place to spend retirement. Today my retirement will be better as Ken & I are travelling down to Restronguet for dinghy week. I had been waiting until the last minute before submitting the entry as so often poor weather has blighted what should be a very good week. Last Friday it looked like the weather was going to behave itself as the lows that we have been dogged with this summer looked like they were going to be absent. But no, I now find that they will be back again on Wednesday / Thursday. In fact Monday & Tuesday look like being hot and sunny and almost windless. Sailing is a sport, especially this week, that can suffer dreadfully from the weather. Unfortunately Falmouth dinghy week does clash with Fowey week but if the sailing programme works out then it is much better value than Fowey. James is sailing at Fowey, where he may get some Laser competition and Finn is sailing his Laser 4.7 at St Mawes ,in the mornings and then Falmouth dinghy week in the afternoons.

Sunday at Porthpean for once had a better turnout of late with 15 boats making the start line and the RIB was manned by Steve & Polly, having a weekend off before Steve attends the Merlin Nationals at Whitstable starting next Sunday. Steve & Polly have just returned from the Scorpion Championship week at Lyme Regis, which was heavily disrupted by the poor weather. The breeze for us today was very light and was wafting in from the SS east, giving us a beach marks start and a port handed rounding. The conditions may have been good enough to sail and I also wore my sailing shorts but the overall conditions made racing quite boring and for once we felt rather envious of those with spinnakers as that does give the crew an extra element to grapple with. In yesterdayís conditions the Tasar just plods onwards and in fact was much slower than a Scorpion down wind.

It was great to welcome, for the 3rd year running, Steve & Laura Smith & family who are down on holiday for 2 weeks. They both enjoy sailing with us and take it in turns as to who is helming their Laser and who is baby sitting. This morning it was Lauraís turn to helm. In fact our Laser contingent featured no less than 6 helms, with 2 in full rigged Lasers and 4 in radials, not only that we also had 3 Scorpions out with a debut for the year of Craig & Jake Varley. In contrast the Tasars could only muster 2 with Chris & Tony up against Ken & me, and our fleet was completed by Paddy & Steve in the B14 and Richard, home fresh from a holiday in the south of France, taking his Dart 18 out single handed. However it was not a day for Darts, as in the very light breeze that flowed over the race course, Richard could only finish 4th. Paddy & Steve were the fastest round the course and to my surprise and delight finished 2nd just 4 seconds behind us on corrected time.

Beacky & Kelvin were reunited after 2 weeks apart and looked like they had the race comfortably in the bag but they only won by a few seconds, this time 7 seconds, over Janet Preston who was best of all the Lasers racing. Enjoying the best tussle of all was Chris ďfrom PentewanĒ and Jeremy Rowett. Chris in his full rigged Laser and Jeremy in his Supersofa. Chris taking line honours for the slow handicap fleet beating Jeremy over the finish line by just 1 second. However the corrected times dropped Chris down to 3rd and Jeremy down to 5th allowing James to slip between them. James being only 11 seconds ahead of Jeremy and in 6th place but only 4 seconds behind Jeremy sailed Laura, so those 3 were very close indeed. Charlie had a slow but satisfying cruise round in his Topper, and claimed the scalps of Craigís Scorpion and Pirran Fisherís Feva, so yes the Topper may be slow on the water compared to many of our fleet but can still do well.

There were a few changes for the afternoon. Richard took his Dart up to the field, Jeremy & Pirran also took their boats up to the yard, James left his Laser on the beach and teamed up with Nigel in their RS400, Steve and Laura swopped round the Laser and the course was enlarged to take into account the more southerly direction the breeze had moved to.

Both Paddy and Nigel roared out of the starting blocks and rounded the windward mark in that order and disappeared over the horizon. We in contrast had a very poor beat, I think I just went the wrong way. Our start was ok but somehow I cocked the beat up rounding behind Beaky/Kelvin and Chris & Tony. What made it worse was the fact that Beacky was actually pulling away from us downwind aided by their spinnaker. We passed Chris & Tony by the gybe mark and then on the next beat sailed through the Scorpion but we were too far behind the B14 & RS400 to make any impression on them on corrected time and we finished 3rd. In fact the win went to Nigel & James, demoting Paddy to 2nd again.

Despite Beacky & Kelvinís early domination they lost out by over a minute to Steve Smith who gave the rest of our Laser fleet quite a hammering. Nevertheless Janet claimed 3rd which went alongside her 2nd of the morning, showing that she is getting to grips with Laser sailing. Beacky & Kelvin were well ahead of the other 2 Scorpions and Craig & Jake must have felt chuffed as all their tuning efforts must have worked as they beat Steve & Ashley by 2 minutes. Both teams were able to fly their almost identical looking spinnakers making it harder to see who was who from a distance.

Pete & Jan are away at Brixham sailing in the Kestrel Nationals. So far I think that they are quite happy with their results finishing in the top half of the fleet in the 4 races that they have sailed. The weather for them seems rather light but they should stay dry and should be able to top up their suntans. The picture at the top shows Tony & Lyn relaxing, if thatís the correct description, in Richard Austinís donut, having a spin round St. Austell bay, somewhat faster than in a Tasar.

Itís off to Restronguet for a few days for Ken and me as it is dinghy week. Unfortunately it does clash with Fowey week but if the sailing programme works out then it is much better value than Fowey

August 12th
Scorpions getting readyy
A beautiful evening but alas no wind

Sunshine, blue skies, and a warm early summer evening in mid August, we had all the ingredients for a nice evening race; well almost. Unfortunately we were missing the most important ingredient of all, WIND. Although the breeze was forecast to be from the east and maybe earlier it had been, by the time we arrived it had disappeared and all we were left with was a glassy sea. Nigel went round the dinghy park to see who was up for ďracingĒ. Fortunately there were only 4 when I looked on the list and that was not enough to tempt the RIB crew onto the water. With great ceremony the appropriate flags were raised accompanied by the sound signals and most of us turned to other occupations. Undeterred 3 of the Scorpions rigged their boats and launched through the lumpy surf. Watching them paddle out, vainly looking for a non existent breeze gave those of us who declined the invitation to go racing a rather smug feeling.

Actually there must have been the flicker of a breeze out there for all of 10 seconds as at one time all 3 Scorpions had their spinnakers up and filling, though the non existent wakes behind them told us that not a lot of action was actually taking place. Unbelievably one Scorpion capsized!!! Steve Wingrove was sailing single handed, under the auspicious reason that he was testing his temporary repair of his centre board case for his leak. Getting the spinnaker up was successfully completed but single handed taking it down created a problem when he slipped; placing his weight in the wrong place and over he went. Recovery wasnít too bad but he had to get back to shore with a water filled boat.

The rest of us took to bimbling, talking and drinking. Paddy, as true Commodore as he is, took orders for bacon butties and soon had the grill pan fired up. The pool table had its balls clicking, accompanied by some oohs and ahhs and the normal aprŤs sailing routine came into force, albeit with no racing.

So thatís 2 Wednesdays on the trot that we have lost due to unfavourable weather conditions and I notice that there are only 2 more Wednesday races of the summer series left before the early starts September races are with us. The weather itself is still hit and miss and as I write this on Thursday morning all I can see out of the window is raindrops running down the window panes.

August 10th
lasers getting readyl
Grey skies again but sailing goes on

What a contrast of weather we experienced this weekend, which so typifies our Cornish summer this year. With some of my family down for a visit we had a ďday on the beachĒ time on Saturday in what must have been one of the best days of the summer so far. The tides are on neaps and high tide was about 13.30. I have never seen Porthpean so packed. It was very reminiscent of some of the scenes you see for Benidorm, with hardly a bare patch of sand to be seen. Sunday was the complete opposite. There were acres of beach to be had, but the main difference was the weather. Gone were the cloudless skies of Saturday to be replaced by grey clouds, low enough to hide the higher ground in a misty haze. The only good thing about todayís weather was there was plenty of room for us to park our boats at lunch time. If the weather had been as yesterday then we would have had quite a problem with the holiday makers.

The breeze was a westerly and appeared to be very light on the shore as we rigged ready for action. Action aplenty was waiting for us out in the bay as the breeze quickly rose as we left the shelter of the cove, though not too windy but enough to give us some thrilling planing moments. Tony & Richard Austin took the RIB for the morning and laid a very nice shaped triangular course, though we all found it rather on the small side. There was even a margin of port sided bias on the longish start line, a fact that Jeremy & us took advantage of. I must say that we were both a little late over the line at the gun, and should have been punished but fortunately we were still able to cross the rest of the fleet. With Chris & Tony down for duties we were down to just 2 Tasars, courtesy of Jeremy & Suzanne returning from their holiday in Latvia. Unfortunately for the rest of us they were soon back into their stride, leading from the word go and were briefly headed by Paddy & Steve in the B14 and also Finn sailing a more powerful windsurfer. Joining the fast fleet for the morning at least was Mike Voyzey in his Phantom. It was good to see Mike down for, I think, only the 2nd time this season, unwrapping his Phatom. The phantom is a very fast single handed boat and is also very powerful, requiring quite some handling, so Mikeís learning curve is going to be quite steep and the conditions out there this morning were very taxing for him, though he did escape capsizing so that alone proved to be very positive.

Paddy & Steveís forward progress was interrupted a couple of times in the morning race by a dreaded capsize. The 2nd capsize left them in the water for quite some time and any hopes of a good result were left floundering in the water, though they did finish in front of Mike on corrected time. Janet Preston was out in her Laser radial and also found the conditions the hardest that she has had to sail in yet, but despite a capsize came through her ordeal well and was quite happy to race again in the afternoon. The hero of the slow handicap this morning was Brian Reeves in his radial and converted his 3rd boat to finish on the water to first boat on corrected time. With only 2 Scorpions out there was always going to be a close rivalry going on and today this was between the Kendalls and Beacky with new crew Ollie Desjonquers. The reaches were a little too tight for the spinnakers to come out of the chutes which was a help to Beacky as it was one less thing for the inexperienced Ollie to cope with and though the Beacky machine was faster on the reaches the more powerful Kendall team more than made up for that on the beats. Nevertheless the Kendalls were only some 15 seconds ahead at the end. Dr Nick also made it out onto the race course this morning and must have struggled somewhat to drive his full rigged Laser against the smaller radials still managed to beat Janet by 3 Ĺ minutes to take 4th place. Charlie battled well with his full rigged Topper and managed to beat Piran Fisher who is another sailor we do not see enough of. Still it was good to see them both battling the elements.

New Tasar sail
After a common consensus the course for the afternoon was lengthened and another superb course it was, producing some very tasty reaches, but the wind wasnít playing quite as nicely as the morning, deciding to move around somewhat but still gave us some very nice racing. Alongside you will see a picture of a very strange rigged Tasar. Dennis, in the hope of generating more power has commissioned a modification to one of his old sails. As Brian wasnít available to sail he asked Jeremy to try it out and test it, and by sitting in the RIB would be able to study it and decide how well it powerd the boat along.

The start line was a decent length but the port bias had been removed and we all lined up for a conventional argument at the RIB end of the line. We won the start and set off with Jeremy & Suzanne sailing below us but they generated enough speed to convert to distance and eventually managed to tack and cross our bow. Extra power from the new sail? I am not sure as they had plenty of power in the morning race and after an hours racing we were much closer than we had been in the morning, so I think the jury might still be out as to whether the new cut sail is the answer to a heavier crewsí dreams. Dennis will have to sail it a few more times himself to see if it is beneficial to him. We were joined in the afternoon by Pete & Jan but the stronger breeze in the afternoon was not to their liking. They had a good first beat but the length of the reaches allowed the Tasars to well and truly escape their clutches and they could only make 4th position, falling behind Paddy & Steve who once again took line honours but once again beaten by the 2 Tasars.

Team Beacky had more success this time out, managing to keep the Kendalls behind him and this time took line honours and the race win by almost a minute. Brian Reeves who won in the morning fell back quite a way and this time could only finish 3rd someway behind the Scorpions though he still managed to beat Janet but only by less than a minute.

The jelly fish are still out there in the bay but we only touched one in the morning race when my rudder must have kicked against one fortunately without causing us any problems and then we hit one full on with the dagger board in the afternoon race, which slewed the dagger board right back in its case and probably cut the jelly in two. Unfortunately our fleet numbers are still down. Steve & Polly havenít been down for a few weeks and this week are in Lyme Regis competing in the Scorpion Nationsl. Pete & Jan disappear next weekend for Brixham to sail in the Kestrel nationals so we whish them all the best of luck. This week is Falmouth week and anyone visiting Falmouth will see a good number of yachts racing in the Carrick roads and the bay. I see one of the fleets comprises 10 or more Firebird catamarans. These are very fast machines and once they have their spinnakers up they really do fly and will be the fastest boats on the water. That week is followed by Falmouth Dinghy week, which clashes with Fowey week. Entries for Falmouth dinghy week are only 16 and make up a very diverse mixture of boats, which is a far cry from 10 years or more ago when the fleet of entries stood at over 50. Fowey week too has seen dinghy numbers dwindling and though it can be very tricky and frustrating racing in the river they do sometimes have some very good sea courses and Fowey too has its own unique charm during regatta week.

August 5th
Surf's up
A good night for the surfers

Hopefully this will be short and sweet, because once again the weather conspired to stop us racing. This poor summer weather came to a head on Wednesday when unseasonably cold temperatures conspired with heavy rain and dark clouds to give us one miserable day. We are also in the peak of the holiday season and the roads were chock a block with traffic, full of miserable looking holiday makers just looking for a glimpse of sunshine. Anyway the picture alongside shows Porthpean last night to be more of a surfing beach rather than a sailing beach. Not only was there quite a heavy surf breaking on the beach but further out there was the unusual sight of breaking wave tops, showing just how windy it was. Polruan weather station was showing gusts of up to 30 knots - certainly not dinghy racing weather.

As most of you will know by now, Finn, Jeremy & Suzanne have just returned from Latvia, where Finn has been taking part in the Bicc Techno boys European Championships in Latvia. Finn was one of the youngest competitors but still achieved a very good 24th out of 77 competitors and was top British boy; an extremely good result which I am sure he will go on to improve on as his height & strength improves. One of the skills of wind surfing is the ability to propel your self forward by repetitive fanning of the sail. Itís a discipline that takes an immense amount of strength and stamina. I know because I have seen them out in the bay practising whilst we have been racing.

After the disappointment of losing Wednesday night to the weather we do have the chance to get back on the water this Sunday. For once the forecast looks promising, though still cloudy, we are promised a quite sailable south westerly. Well we will see.

August 2nd
Tony Dunn
South easterly blowing but sailing still possible

My summation of the summer so far is, cooler and breezier than normal and I donít think that we have had any proper, settled spells at all this summer. When we have had a few days of sunshine they have usually been accompanied by quite cool northerly winds, thus keeping the temperature down. Now we are into August and the forecast for this week is not particularly good, so the waiting game for summer weather goes on for a bit longer yet.

When I saw the forecast for Sunday and indeed this week, my heart sank a little as a south easterly is often a death knell for us as the waves on the beach so often prove a wave too far. However this Sunday we were rather lucky as the breeze had only just turned south easterly and was quite light, so therefore hadnít been blowing long enough to generate too much wave action. In fact the tide probably became our biggest benefactor as it was high at around 08.00 and so dropping by the time that we turned up to race, which in turn stopped the shore dump. Unfortunately numbers were once again rather low, but the keen few decided that we could launch safely through the waves. It also meant that with a falling tide we would have lots of beach to play with when we made our return.

Nigel & Pascual took the RIB this morning and were the first boat to launch through the moderate surf. The rest of us managed to launch without too much trouble but we were lucky to have the services of Richard Austin to help us by steadying the boats whilst we clambered on board and then gave us a shove out through the waves. A triangular port handed course was set and with only a slight delay we were off and running. Well most of us were but I managed to get to the line just a second too early and was called back by the RIB so we had to return and start behind everybody. Now our fleet was only 3 strong comprising Jan & Pete in their Kestrel and the Tasar of Chris & Tony, so even a 3rd wouldnít have been too disastrous. But 3rd wasnít deemed good enough. Fortunately we made up the lost ground on Chris & Tony fairly quickly but not so against Jan & Pete. They were up the beat like a rocket, and then with spinnaker filling they disappeared down the reaches somewhat quicker than us. In fact we reached the end of the first beat, not only behind Jan & Pete but also behind the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny and the Supernova of Simon. By the end of the 2nd beat Andrew & Jenny were just in front of us and then caused some confusion to us by saying that we were doing triangles and sausages, and bore away onto a run. Not knowing any better we followed them leaving Jan & Pete and the rest of our fleet to continue with the reaches. Clearly someone had the course wrong and it turned out to be Andrew & us, so off we went to give chase. Andrew & Jenny however decided enough was enough and continued on back to the beach. All hope of catching the Kestrel had disappeared though in the closing stages the breeze turned up a notch and our downwind speed increased to heavily eat in to their lead and retake 2nd place form Chris & Tony.

poorly Scorpion
Steve & Ashley, unknown to us, had another sort of drama and also made an early return to the beach. Their centre board case had split and their problems were compounded when they lifted up the centre board and it jammed into the loose part of the centre board case and they couldnít budge it. This probably means the end of their sailing for a few weeks until a repair is affected, as the boat will require the attention of an expert. Once again Charlie was out in his Topper, sailing rather a lonely race but still competing, itís just a shame he doesnít have any other Toppers to race against at the moment. Still I think he is enjoying his crewing for Justin on Wednesdays.

Unfortunately I donít have the results available to me, but Simon looked like he was going extremely well & I should think he won the slow handicap fleet quite convincingly.

The afternoon racing was even better and more hotly contested. The tide was out so there was plenty of shallow beach to play with but because it was shallow we had to walk the boats out quite a way before we dare push off and hope to sail through the surf. This time we had to give thanks to Pete Barnes who helped us all out. Pete decided that with only 2 weeks to go before the Kestrel Nationals that he and Jan are competing in, it was not worth tempting damage to their boat if they came to grief in the surf, so they stayed ashore. Out in the afternoon sunshine also appeared Paddy & Sarah in Nigelís RS400 and James in his repaired Laser radial. This time the RIB crew comprised of Nigel & Sue Dazza, Sue swapping places with Pascual for the afternoon. The wind was basically from the same direction but had increased a little in strength and Nigel tweaked the course to give better reaches more suited to the Tasar (thankyou). The start line this time had some port bias on it, which tempted Paddy & James to go for it. Now in the morning race we were guilty of being over the line by a matter of a second. This time we managed to be just on the legal side of the line by again a margin of a second. Fortunately that gave us a brilliant start cutting off the port hand tackers and by the time we tacked back onto port we were well clear of the entire fleet, rounded the windward mark with a good lead and took off on the reaches. The RS400 was 2nd boat round but it took 2 laps for the faster RS to catch us. Unfortunately the strain of the spinnaker sheets on Sarahís hands was becoming unbearable and they left the kite in the bag for the next 2 rounds allowing us to romp away from them again and take a victory. Even without the spinnaker they were still fast enough to push Chris & Tony into 3rd place.

Again without the results it is difficult to say with certainty what happened behind us but once again Simon had another good race but whether he managed to beat James on handicap is difficult to say. The results should be up over the next few days. The return to the beach was always going to be fraught and as we approached the site of waves breaking in front of us and the thoughts of broaching were uppermost. As the beach was quite shallow at that state of the tide we had little option than to just try and surf in on a wave, and keep the boat pointing forwards. This worked a treat and we surfed in rock steady and literally just slipped over the side to stand in about 6Ē of water; easy peasy!!

July 29th
Sunday's weather
Wind & rain stop play, but only for Sunday

One of the wettest and windiest Sundays for quite some time cancelled all sailing for us last Sunday. We all woke up to the sound of rain lashing down from the skies and as we ventured outside we all could feel the strength of the wind as it rattled anything loose as it zoomed over us; well it is a British summer after all!! A small but stoic bunch of us rolled up to look at the conditions and the deciding factor of all to cancel was the sight of the waves breaking on the beach and the choppy seas further out. Any hopes of sailing were just that Ė hopes. By contrast Saturday had been rather benign for the 4 of our boats that sailed in Charlestown regatta. We joined the Pentewan Cats of which 6 had made the journey over from Pentewan to finally get some racing in. Sadly for them their active numbers are dwindling and they havenít been able to get much racing in so far this season. I suppose that we in some ways have benefitted by that as we have gained a couple of their members, though they are finding dinghy sailing quite a challenge after the relative stability of a catamaran. Richard and his son Phillip decided to unwrap his Dart which has been sitting in a barn for a year or so and try his hand at Dart sailing again. They must have enjoyed it as they won both races by quite a convincing margin. Our stars for Saturday turned out to be another father and offspring combination with Pete taking daughter Jo out in the Kestrel and taking the overall win by 1 point over Ken & myself.

The giant jelly fish were once again so prelevant; there were just so many of them either on or just below the surface and we have been slowed down dramatically at times when slicing through them but once on Saturday we actually came to a complete standstill and remained so for several seconds until Ken managed to extract the dagger board from the side of the dagger board case where it had become jammed after a very heavy collision. We must have hit a whopper. All in all it is quite an alarming experience when we hit one. Paddy & Steve sailed the B14 and initially took quite a good lead but the windward mark was set very close to Charlestown Harbour and the offshore wind took quite a varied and changeable route in getting out to sea to greet us all. There was often a dead patch within about 100M of the windward mark and it often extended way out to the gybe mark which itself wasnít too far off Duporth beach. To show how bad it was after one complete lap we were actually the 4th dinghy on the water, but by the time we sailed the 5th and last beat we were only just behind Paddy & Steve having dropped the Kestrel of Pete & Jo and the Supernova of Simon, miles behind, so we took quite an easy win.

The 2nd race looked like being a repeat of the first and we were first dinghy round the windward mark. The rudder had come up a little as we had hit yet anther jelly fish and we slowed down whilst I reset the rudder, which let Paddy & Steve glide away under spinnaker and then once again we had quite a lengthy battle down wind with Pete & Jo. The breeze was at times very light and the reaches were very broad, conditions that suited the spinnaker powered Kestrel very nicely and they pulled back our lead every time down wind and it wasnít until the very last beat that we started to pull away from the Kestrel, this time with a better margin. Meanwhile Paddy & Steve had done a horizon job on us all and looked to be taking an easy win. I managed to take our nice little lead over the Kestrel and turned it into a massive deficit by sailing into one of the windless zones and there we stuck for several minutes watching in vain as the Kestrel who had taken a different route upwind sailed past us and off to take the victory that gave them the overall win.

This week also sees a couple of big Nationals taking place in Cornwall; the Fireflys at Restronguet and the Enterprises at Looe. It came as no surprise that the Enterprises were cancelled, though having the benefit of being able to sail in the estuary, Restronguet managed to hold 2 Championship races. Monday dawned with no let up in the weather. The rain had stopped but the wind increased so both Clubs cancelled all racing. Fortunately by Wednesday the weather had taken a turn for the better. The wind, still fresh, still offshore, was a lot lighter and the sea was flat. All conditions ideal for a midweek race. Jeremy Rowett took charge of the RIB tonight and it was quite a pleasant surprise to see him accompanied by an ex member, Andy Nancarrow. Andy was one of the original youth who came up through the Scorpion ranks in the heydays of the late 60ís and early 70ís. I suppose the next step on the road to his rehabilitation is to get him sailing in his Laser and then rejoin and race and to see if he has still got ďitĒ. We also welcomed back tonight Tim Haskins, down on holiday and sailing in Nickís Laser plus another welcome to Sarah Dejonquers and family, though Sarah didnít race tonight.

Web master
Contrast this picture taken tonight showing far nicer conditions than the picture above taken last Sunday morning. With a cool, fresh north westerly blowing, it was no surprise to see a starboard rounding course set up and for once we were given a heavily biased port start line. It was no surprise therefore to see a few of us lining up to take advantage, but I made the mistake of arriving on the line not high enough and I could foresee us colliding with Andrew & Jenny Kendall, screaming down the line on starboard. Violent avoiding action was called for. Rather than sail over the line early I bore away hard and swept up behind some starboard tackers and found a gap, so we didnít made the best start in the world but at least we were cleanly away.

Our fleet tonight consisted of 3 Tasars, 3 Scorpions, 3 Lasers, Supernova, Kestrel and B14. We also had one or two helms left ashore for various reasons, so our fleet could have been much better. Nevertheless it was no surprise to see Paddy & Steve in the B14 round the beach marks first and then with spinnaker flying disappear down the reaches. Our first beat wasnít too good, as I just couldnít seem to get my head round some of the strange wind patterns. The breeze was up and down in strength and varied by quite a few degrees, especially as we came towards the beach marks. Justin & Charlie made the best of it and were 2nd round, at least 100 M in front of us. In fact we were caught up with Andrew & Jenny and Beacky & Kelvin and Simon Robbins and were fortunate to round just behind Beackyís Scorpion. As we pulled away from the beach marks we eventually came into the fresher breeze coming out from Duporth and Charlestown and that was just enough of an invitation for us and we were off planing on the quest to catch Justin. Well for the next 2 laps we played snakes and ladders with each other. We managed to overtake on the reaches whilst they repaid the favour on the beats, which I continued to get wrong. However by the 5th beat we had built up enough of a lead to keep Justin behind and eventually take our victory. Our tactical battle had taken us slightly off course at times so it was still gratifying for both Tasars to still have enough time in hand to be 1st and 2nd on handicap, finishing in front of the B14.

Pete & Jan, fresh from Peteís victory at Charlestown, struggled more so tonight and found themselves fighting with the Scorpions more than us which for us kept them fully occupied. Simon was having a very good race, using his downwind speed to keep him for quite a while way in front of the Scorpions but he was no match for Beacky & Kelvin who mot only took line honours in the slow fleet but also 1st on corrected time demoting Simon to 2nd ahead of Andrew & Jenny, who were about 3 minutes behind Beacky but 3 minutes ahead of Kay & Steve Wingrove in the 3rd Scorpion. Of the Lasers, only Brian Reeves finished.

Andy had his chance to sail a Laser in the bay earlier than he expected when the RIB was called over to attend to Clive Stephens. Clive had taken a nasty bang on his head whilst gybing and wasnít feeling too well. He was taken ashore in the RIB whilst Andy took the Laser helm and sailed it back to shore. All this gave Richard Austin the chance to come out in the RIB as replacement crew and check up at close quarters to see how Charlie was doing. The answer to that one is very well, sailing with Justin is giving him invaluable experience.

As for the jelly fish, we only hit one properly tonight on one of the beats and once again Ken had to struggle to free the dagger board from the packing, our biggest concern was the discovery that our boom was in imminent danger of collapsing. Corrosion had split the tube holding the gooseneck fitting in placed and the whole assembly was wobbling around. Fortunately it survived the evening and now I have chance to either fix it or replace it.

So thatís that, the end of July as we know it for racing. Yes another month has almost slipped away and we are about half way through the sailing season. So far I would say that we have had quite a breezy season, but havenít lost too many race days. Our biggest problem has been the numerous jelly fish still swimming about in the bay. Sailing wise the competition is still as fierce as ever. Finn is still flying the flag for us in Latvia, being leading Brit in his class. Steve Mitchell is having a busy time sailing Merlins at Salcombe and Whitstable, plus sailing in the upcoming Scorpion and Tasar Nationals. Paddy & Steve will be sailing at Rock in September in the B14 Europeans. I suppose life at Porthpean is ticking over as normal.

July 22nd
Tamsin's cake
Another good westerly breeze

This is a different blog today as I didnít race last night!! Very inconveniently, Sue decided to have a birthday yesterday and as we also had our 2 Grand daughters staying with us I decided to take them all out for dinner to the Brit. We went there last year and ate outside in the early evening sunshine and had a delightful evening; so a repeat tonight was the order of the day. Once again we had a nice sunny evening but what a difference in temperature. In fact the air temperature was several degrees lower than last year and we ended up having our meal in a marquee. Still the food was good, the girls enjoyed themselves and afterwards we de camped for Porthpean as Sue wanted to see Colin who she had missed earlier when he had called around with a Birthday present.

Porthpean was looking as good as ever in the setting sunlight. The westerly breeze was dying away and the last of the boats was being serenaded by the finishing horn as we arrived. The early finishers were already ashore and some even back in the yard, and Jenny was starting the first of many grill loads of bacon butties. All in all it looked like I had missed quite a good evening for sailing, as at least 16 boats had the pleasure of racing round a triangular course that Ken & Liz had set for the fleet. Jelly Fish yes there are still ďsmacksĒ of them out there. Apparently ďsmackĒ is the collective name for lots of jelly fish so Nick tells me. I think it is the jelly fish that get smacked by the boats as they cut through the water and last night was no exception as quite a few boats made contact with them as they raced around the course.

With Steve Coello back from holiday it was back to business as usual for Paddy & Steve in the B14 as they practice for the B14 Europeans over at Rock in September and when I say business I mean a few capsizes as well, just to welcome Steve back. The inclement temperature of the English Channel canít really compete with the balmy temperatures of the Mediterranean, so capsizing is not a thing to practice more than necessary. Anyway that didnít prevent them from taking Line honours but as far as corrected time goes it dropped them down to 5th but still quite a way in front of Chris & Tony. Justin & Charlie, who have been pushing all year, managed the top step tonight, so Charlie has now got his 1st win under his belt, beating the other 2 Tasars and also pushing the slightly faster Blaze of Roger into 2nd place. Jan & Pete, another couple who have been driving well this season in their new Kestrel took 3rd in front of a returning Dennis & Brian who relished the livelier conditions early on but paid the price as the winds became lighter as the evening drew on.

The slow handicap had a trio of Scorpions sailing and it was no surprise to see that it was Beacky & Kelvin leading them all home, with his nearest boat being almost 2 minutes behind and that was the Supersofa of John Hill who took 2nd place just 5 seconds in front of Brian Reeves, who has been suffering a loss of form lately but tonight seemed to be back to normal. The Kendalls slotted their Scorpion into 4th almost 2 minutes in front of Kay & Steve Wingrove. In fact Kay and the 2 boats behind her of Nick & Simon Robins were less than 30 seconds apart, so that was fairly close for them. That also left Clive in his radial at the back. We also had a visiting GP14 sailing with us but I donít think he was included in the final results so I donít know how he went on but he was telling me in the clubhouse afterwards that he had made one or two basic errors with his rig control during the race which had cost him some time.

We have a potential new member who has been coming down to the Tuesday Capsize Club and she came down last night after the racing had started and brought with her a cake that she had made earlier, for members to eat. Well it soon went and I heard all sorts of favourable comments so thank you Tamsin and a picture of the cake is shown, in its earlier splendour, at the top of the page.

It just happens to be Charlestown regatta this Saturday coming and the July Cup on Sunday. Unfortunately the weather forecast I heard this morning looks to be pretty vile, plus I also heard the dreaded words south easterly for Friday, so how much sailing we get in is a bit of a guess at the moment. But things can and do change from day to day, so we will just have to wait and see.

July 19th
De-rigging after the race
The most frustrating conditions of the year - so far

A day like today reminds me that sometimes you just have to be aware that racing can sometimes be a matter of luck; and today was one of those days. The morning race wasnít too bad, we had a westerly breeze that for the most part played ball and despite a few wind shifts remained fairly constant. The afternoon race was one of those days that proved lucky for some and a complete nightmare for others. Talking about the weather reminds me that the Met men were once again off track and the weather was much better than we expected. In fact it was yet another day when sailing shorts for me were mandatory, mainly because the wind was so light rather than heat from blazing sunshine.

Nigel & James were our race officers in the RIB today and with a light westerly breeze soon set a nice course to suit the conditions. The low number of sailors was a disappointment, though 13 is an improvement on some of the turnouts lately. We clearly have too many affluent members who can afford to take a holiday in the summer, as quite a few of our regulars are away, but even with less numbers competing we can still have exciting and interesting racing Nevertheless, we still had a reasonable turnout and we were pleased to welcome holiday maker, Gerard Lamie and family who have come down from Burwain SC in Lancashire for a weeks holiday in the area and have brought their GP14 with them, so we were delighted to show him the good sailing we have down here. Well what a surprise he had. He raced with us this afternoon and our strange winds thoroughly confused him just as much as they confused us, but we will come to that later.

The morning race was a typical westerly course type day. The start line had enough bias to tempt several people to have a look at a port start including us. Yes I thought, weíll have a go at it and see how it would turn out. After all with only 10 boats on the start line there would be still time to make up some distance if it went horribly wrong. From our point of view it went perfectly, we crossed the line right on the gun at full speed and crossed the entire fleet; that gave a very satisfactory feeling. Now it wasnít obvious at the time whether it was worth banging on for so long on a port tack, but the compass wasnít showing any heading from our previous look at the beat and our decision was reasonable as most of the fleet tacked onto port including our biggest rival for honours today, Jan & Pete in their Kestrel. New member Chris banged hard left in his Laser and certainly didnít lose any great distance by choosing that route as he was up with the Scorpions at the end of the beat. Anyway much to our delight our starting position and first beat was good enough to lead the fleet round the beach marks for the first time. The 1st reach was very broad and suffered from lack of wind and that was welcomed by the Kestrel who once flying a spinnaker can consume an awful lot of ground quicker than a Tasar and thatís what started happening round after round. We would gain ground on the beats and they would come back at us down wind, a situation that we found most frustrating and then there were the jelly fish. Wow, there are thousands of them out in the bay and we were suddenly slowed down on several occasions when we sailed into them. Ken tells me that they are very delicate and contact with the dagger board or rudder is enough to kill them, which is rather a shame as they look so majestic as they glide down the side of the boat. They are playing havoc with the packing foam in the dagger board case and some serious maintenance is due soon. Our duel with the Kestrel took a turn for the better as very fortunately for us we found quite a good wind shift on the penultimate beat and opened up an almost insurmountable gap, but with only 3 in our fleet even 3rd was a bonus.

The slow fleet was much better supported with 7 boats sailing and once again Beacky & Kelvin were the stars of their fleet though the initial advantage was held by a relative newcomer to our racing, Chris from Pentewan, sorry about that name but thatís what his name is in the race results! Chris normally sails a Dart but lack of racing at Pentewan has persuaded him to buy a Laser and sail with us. Their loss but our gain. Initially Chris was the leading boat in the slow fleet but lost out downwind to the superior speed of Beackyís spinnaker powered Scorpion on the down wind legs, but still ended up with a 2nd place, pushing Andrew & Jenny down to 3rd. Back from holiday was Steve & Ashley with their very pretty Scorpion but struggled to get the best out of the boat and were actually beaten by the Lasers of Nick & Brian and also the Topper of Charlie Austin.

The forecast for the day was for a westerly breeze slowly turning southerly, but as we set off for the afternoon race there was still plenty of westerly direction to it. Then just before the stat the wind started to go into hide and seek mode. And a sudden change of direction made it almost impossible to cross the start line on starboard. I suppose in retrospect we should have stopped the race and waited for the breeze to settle before starting again but we carried on which gave us all a n interesting puzzle to solve. Well we all managed to start on time but in the very fickle and light breeze we were impressed to see that Chris & Tony shot off into a very good lead and for the first 3 or 4 minutes had the privilege of looking back at us all struggling to get some forward motion. Then the wind died completely until a tiny zephyr arrived, turning the beat into a reach. We had a good slice of good luck by being on the left hand side of the course and fortunately benefitted from the new wind coming in from that direction, and were the first boat to be able to take advantage to arrive at the beach marks as leading boat. We had some illustrious company with us during the latter stages of the first beat/reach, the 2 Supersofas of Jeremy & Simon and the Scorpion of Beacky & Kelvin plus the ominous presence of Jan & Pete in the Kestrel, which lurves light conditions.

Lady Luck smiled on us letting us have the honour of leading the fleet round the beach marks and then away on the long slow reach out to sea. Onwards we plodded but were disheartened to see the Kestrel gliding along behind us at a somewhat faster rate of knots than we could muster and right at the end of the 2nd reach she was up alongside, but fortunately on our outside so we didnít have to give them water. The original beat was now no more and had disappeared and to our delight was replaced by a tight reach and the new breeze had freshened enough to give us planing conditions. Thank you very much and off we went powering away from the Kestrel into a strong lead but as the race progressed the wind died down then went westerly again but the Kestral kept on coming, so much so that on the very last beat the distance between us closed down significantly and I thought that they would have us on handicap but the fickle breeze actually came to our rescue. When Jan & Pete tacked for the beach marks they were suddenly headed and found that they couldnít cross the 2nd beach mark and were forced to put in another 2 tacks which inevitably cost them time and ensured that we had another win. What a relief that was.

The slow fleet had some very tight racing and initially Beacky & Kelvin had quite a lead over the 2 other Scorpions ominously for them they were chased by the 2 Supersofas of Jeremy & Simon, though Simon had quite a deficit to make up on Jeremy. Both were victims of the early shenanigans of the first beat, but their down wind speed was making good inroads into Beackyís lead. Once again the spinnaker of the Scorpion was the ďget out of jailĒ card and gave them enough power to escape the Supersofa clutches. Andrew & Jenny who had been much further back suddenly got their act together and slowly but surely pulled the Supersofas back and managed to take the 2 of them on the finish line; Jeremy by 3 seconds who in turn had 3 seconds on the fast closing Simon. 3 seconds after that length of time is almost nothing, in fact it is probably less than a tack, so frustrations and delight was shared in various ways on all 3 boats. However Andrew & Jenny slipped back down to 4th on corrected time.

Chris from Pentewan once again was the best of our Lasers and sailed into 5th position and managed to finish 6 minutes in front of our visiting GP14 who in turn beat Brian Reeves. Brian has been having some great results up to the last 2 weeks and now suddenly seems to have gone off the boil by having some quite indifferent results. Both Nick and the Wingroves found the conditions thoroughly frustrating and headed for home rather than tackling the last round.

Stewart & Colin were in the race box and had a very tricky time of it timing the various boats as they crossed the 2nd beach mark each time as within 40 mins some boats were starting to get lapped and others crossing the beach marks on different rounds. On reflection we always get a few funny wind conditions every summer when the sea breeze suddenly switches off and is eventually replaced by a land breeze, or vice versa and today was one of those days. Fantastic conditions when things go right but very frustrating when things go wrong. But conditions like todayís does create quite a talking point when we eventually arrive ashore. The jelly fish are just another complication.

July 15th
rigging to race
A gem of an evening

I had a target of 18 boats racing tonight and we almost achieved it. We actually had 15 dinghies racing plus a windsurfer making 16, plus we had a single handed Fireball and a Club Pico also on the water Ė total 18. In fact we also had 2 regular single handed helms on the RIB so yes 18 is easily achievable. Once again we somehow seemed to have plucked a gorgeous evening out of what is turning out to be a drab week. Monday & Tuesday were wet and gloomy, Wednesday started off very cloudy but by the afternoon, sunshine and blue skies was the order of the day and by Thursday as I write this we are back to thick cloud and drizzle. All in all a very mixed week but at least Mother Nature had saved the best weather for our racing.

Not only was the weather kind but the wind was also kind. We had a very nice north easterly blowing, with enough strength to allow us to hike and make a Tasar plane off wind. Unfortunately both reaches were rather broad which were better for the spinnaker boats but not so good for a planing dinghy, though with the way the wind swung around we did manage to get up on the plane now and again. However lurking just below the surface were thousands of jelly fish, more about them later. Simon Robins and Brian Reeves set our course from the RIB tonight. The course itself was smaller than normal, as there was enough wind to manage for a Tasar to do a lap in under 10 minutes. The shorter beat meant that life in the race box was never going to be boring as there was almost a non stop stream of dinghies rounding the beach marks, so top marks to Jenny & Dave Mackrell for keeping track on us all. The lighter conditions and well behaved crews meant that the RIB had very little to do once we were on our way.

I was delighted to see Anna walking down from the car park to the Club last night. I had no idea that she was coming home for some holiday time and she was made very welcome by us all. She was anxious to sail again, as the last proper sailing she had was here last year when she crewed for Paddy in the Osprey nationals, she was equally pleased to get her hands on the Club Laser and join us out on the water.

Once again there was not enough port bias on the line to tempt anyone so there was a heavy congestion at the pin end, noted by plenty of shouting. Nevertheless everyone managed to get themselves over the start line in reasonable quick order. Jeremy & Suzanne were actually almost late for the start and the shortest end of the line for them coming out from the shore was the RIB end so they actually came across on port but had to tack away as we came down on starboard. This was our finest moment of the night as their first tack took them behind us, but their next tack put them ahead and they were first around the beach marks and off they went to another victory.

The massive fleet tonight gave us 4 Tasars, Chris & Tony were back, they had been missing for a couple of weeks, due to family connections but more importantly for Chris, moving down to Flushing to live. How long he is going to commute to Porthpean is anyoneís guess, but we donít want to lose him. The distance isnít too daunting but the heavy traffic in and out of Truro maybe too much. Anyway they donít sail Tasars at Flushing, so that is another good reason for staying with us.

The largest fleet racing tonight was the Laser with 5 out and James was back with a repaired boom, hoping to continue his winning ways. 3 Scorpions also made the pilgrimage to the start line. Could it be 5 next Wednesday? 2 Supersofas also ventured out as John Hill made one of his very rare appearances to give battle to Jeremy Rowett, a true battle of the seniors. Yes seniors; now here is a frightening statistic, 7 of the 15 helms racing tonight are retired and a few others out there are not too far from retirement either!! A very sombre fact for the healthy continuation of the Club, but as far as I can see the age range is similar in many other sailing Clubs around the country.

One partnership of non retired persons tonight was the combination of Paddy & Richard Austin in the B14. Richard so far has had a go in crewing a Tasar, RS400 and now the B14. It would be interesting to hear his views on the different craft. I know he strained his back a little at the weekend in the RS400 but at least his racing last night in the B14 didnít result in any capsizing but the course was far too short for the B14 to show its true colours, at least they didnít finish last in the fast fleet, that honour fell to Chris & Tony who had a real disaster of a night.

Once Jeremy & Suzanne had disappeared in the lead Ken & my attention turned to Justin & Charlie who were behind us as we rounded the beach marks and we had a real ding dong most of the way round the course. They were fractionally faster than us down wind and managed to close us right down on the reaches but we managed to open up the gap again on the beats, and so it went on lap after lap. Each time we would open up a nice gap on the beats only to see the advantage whittle away on the reaches. Jelly fish, I mentioned them earlier; yes there are still loads of them out in the bay. In fact there are shoals of them are to be seen all the way up the south coast and I was reading an article in the Y&Y of an Osprey Open meeting in Shoreham at the weekend, where 2 Ospreys had their transoms ripped off by hitting jelly fish at speed, and one nearly did for us last night. We had hit one or two without too much of a problem but one particular jelly fish had 2 goes at us. Firstly it caught the dagger board which was partly up and slipped off there to then hit the rudder blade causing it to pivot back a little making helming a trickier job. There was no time to stop and push it down again as Justin was too close to us so we had no choice but to sail on for the rest of the race with a heavy tiller in my hand. We werenítí the only ones to hit jelly fish as I heard numerous tales from other people.

Jan & Pete were also early contenders for the leading bunch. Their spinnaker really helped them down wind, especially as we had 2 spinnaker legs, plus their upwind speed is pretty good as well. Fortunately for us they managed to get into a battle with the flying Scorpion of Beacky & Kelvin which helped us to get away. Yes of the 3 Scorpions out tonight Beacky was the fastest of them all, managing to finish some 4 minutes in front of Andrew & Jenny and 5 minutes ahead of Kay & Nigel, though Kay & Nigel suffered from a breakage, which undoubtedly slowed them down.

Jamesís winning streak came to an end as usually with his handicap allowance he finishes in front of the Scorpions. Tonight he had to settle for 2nd best to the Scorpion by almost a minute. Anna, despite her lack of time on the water brought her Laser home in 3rd position. Andrew & Jenny slotted into 4th, ahead of both the supersofas and here it was the experience of John who triumphed over his younger apprentice Jeremy to take 5th. Kay & Nigel split the 2 Sofas despite their breakage to take 6th, but only by 7 seconds. This left Nick and Clive to bring up the rear, before we all sailed home to the beach which was just starting to emerge from the recent high tide, which in turn meant less distance to travel pulling to the slipway.

Once the boats had been put to bed it was time to tuck into Jennyís bacon butties and grab a pint or for some of our more sophisticated members a glass of wine to round off a rowdy evening in the Clubhouse. We still have very light evenings but we are just about on the cusp of seeing the evenings start to shorten as the sun starts to slip away from us.

Despite the poor weather on Tuesday there was still an enthusiastic number down to take part in the Capsize Club, which is very good for the Club and one of our new members plus another prospective new member were out enjoying some tuition and guidance. So remember you donít have to be a novice to take part. Come along and practice some boat handling or just use it as an excuse to explore some of the coastline.

As you all know Finn is part of the RYA squad of young wind surfers and to help his progress Jeremy & Suzanne are taking him off to Latvia for the youth European windsurfer championships. They are making it a bit of a holiday so will be away fro a couple of weeks. Suzanne is promising to write a blog on their adventures and send each episode to me to broadcast on our website. Jeremy is very busy re fitting the van out for them to make the living accommodation a little more user friendly. They leave on Friday evening so we wish them a good trip and look forward to seeing some good results from Finn. No pressure then!!

July 12th
a couple of beauties
Who ordered the rain?

Here we are, mid summer, glorious sunshine and Porthpean looking at itís finest. That was the background for the annual Cadet regatta on Saturday with racing for dinghies and windsurfers. A 4 race series was arranged and it was followed in the evening with a BBQ. Fortunately we had one of the nicest days of the year for it, with a very good offshore sailing breeze and plenty of hot sunshine. The BBQ was held in the evening sun with the decking being packed out with the happy sailors and parents. The results are on the web site and James will be sending me a full report on it soon.

Today, Sunday, was an almost opposite sort of day as we woke up to rain; actually itís rather a common commodity in Cornwall but fortunately we donít get much of it on a Sunday. I suppose having just said that it will probably rain for the majority of the remaining Sunday races this year. All joking apart we do tend to get mainly dry Sundays but today was one of those exceptions and true to the forecast it was a wet morning and with some unusually low turn outs I wasnít expecting to see many down at Porthpean today. I must stop this pessimism as despite the rain and drizzle 10 boats rigged and assembled at the starting area alongside the RIB which today was manned by Nigel with Janet Preston.

It was a rather strange old breeze today, not as strong as we have had but not steady in either direction or strength and we did speculate for some time as to where the beat would be but the breeze, which started as a south westerly eventually settled into a westerly direction which gave us a beat from out at sea with a port rounding of the beach marks.

Web master
I was desperate to atone from my bad start last Wednesday. So the first thing was to go through the line bias checking routine, no port bias so a starboard approach as close to the RIB as possible was the order of the day. Initially as we approached the line it looked like we could have a problem trying to keep to windward of Roger in his Blaze who looked to be in prime position, but he was a little too early and had to bear away to keep moving which created enough of a gap for us to sail into and so I was delighted to hit the line at speed in clear wind and we charged off on a long starboard tack across the bay. Now it wasnít long before we spotted some of our other fleet tacking off towards Duporth. Knowing that it is possible to come out from there on a good lift I decided to tack over and cover them. Paddy & his new crew for the morning Richard Austin in their RS400 and Roger in his Blaze decided to hang on to the starboard tack and we crossed ahead of both. However we went the wrong way!!! Both Paddy & Roger were ahead of us at the beach marks and set off on a very broad reach out to sea. We rounded 3rd but not very far in front of Jan & Pete in their Kestrel and Beacky & Kelvin in their Scorpion. The long spinnaker reach favoured both boats and Jan & Pete closed up on us but very annoying to us, Beacky & Kelvin sailed below us and had water on us as we reached the gybe mark. The spinnaker was dropped anticipating a close 2nd reach and what a joy it was as it was close enough for our Tasar to ease past and lope away.

Richard in his Contender paid a dear price for hitting the Duporth cliffs. He sailed in much closer than anyone else but the huge lift he expected never materialised and he lost out badly, being far behind many of the fleet, which gave him a huge deficit to make up. Meanwhile Paddy & Richard and Roger were starting to grind out a good lead and we just hung on as best we could. Richard made up his deficit quite quickly and by the end of one of the reaches out to sea had overtaken us and was looking well placed until much to our surprise he capsized at the gybe and we waltzed past him leaving him upside down in the water, never to be seen in contention again.

It still looked like Roger had enough of a lead on us to save his handicap time but once again Lady Luck came to our aid and he capsized between the 2 beach marks. He had more or less righted the boat as we neared but then over he went again. James had been making excellent progress in his radial and looked as though he had another race win in the bag when we suddenly noticed that he had come to a stop and then not long after was seen being towed home by the RIB. We later found out that a rivet on his boom had pulled out leaving him without a mainsheet.

Beacky had been way in front of Andrew & Jennyís Scorpion but suddenly we noticed that the 2 boats were almost side by side. A near capsize with spinnaker flying had slowed Beacky down somewhat, a problem compounded by not having transom flaps & they had to wait until the self bailers had taken out the excess water to build up a head of steam again.

Our last beat turned out to be a good one as Paddyís lead which looked unassailable was suddenly reduced when we had a much better beat which reduced our time deficit enough to take the win on corrected time, by about a minute. Strangely enough Paddy was still a minute in front of Pete & Jan who finished 3rd in front of Richard, leaving Roger who had been in pole position to take the win languishing in 5th. Brian Reeves who has been having some good results lately could only finish in 3rd behind the 2 Scorpions of Beacky & the Kemdalls. Charlie in what I would call quite adverse conditions for someone his age sailed well in his Topper to take 4th.

beach at lunch time
A refreshed set of sailors set off in good time for the afternoon race. As we sailed out to sea it was obvious that the wind had swung into the south west and the course was hastily adjusted giving us a beat across the bay. Rather than triangles we had changed to an Olympic type, which took away the fast reach (for us) to the beach on every odd round, but in actual fact the run was still quite interesting so we didnít mind too much. Once again we managed a good start which was rewarded by being the first boat around the windward mark in front of the faster boats the RS400, Blaze and the Contender. The first reach was very Tasar friendly and even though we started being overhauled by Paddy, this time with James riding shotgun, we actually pulled further ahead when the reach became too close for their spinnaker. However our lead didnít last long. The 2nd reach was a good spinnaker reach and in no time at all we were gobbled up by the flying RS400 as it surged into the lead. Both Richard and Roger started to catch us up, with Richard passing us about half way through the race. We hung on finishing 3rd on the water but the corrected times gave us another win. Our success today was mainly helped by the fact that we managed to avoid hitting any jelly fish. We did see some around but fortunately not quite in the quantity that we have seen lately.

Beacky & Kelvin took complete control in the slow handicap race, making no mistakes took a huge lead over their closest rivals the Kendalls who were having a bit of an off day today and beat them by 3 minutes. Andrew & Jennyís woes were compounded when they discovered when the handicaps were worked out that they had lost 2nd place to Brianís laser radial by just 3 seconds. Now how frustrating is that! The forecast for this week isnít very good but Wednesday could give us a respite from the rain and I am hoping for a much better turnout of late. The target is 18 boats.

July 8th
a delicate bit of tuning
Beware, jelly fish in the bay

The sun has been conspicuous by its absence for the last few days, though the air temperature hasnít been too bad, but summer? Not quite. Once again we assembled at the Club to witness a bay with a squally offshore breeze sweeping out to sea. The Polruan weather station had been showing wind speeds of up to 28 knots for most of the day but the good news for us was that the trend definitely showed that the wind strength was starting to drop off. Anyone who sails at Porthpean regularly should be used to by now to the fact that the breeze often dies down as the evening progresses. Not so on Tuesday night for the first meeting of the 2015 Capsize Club. The wind had been strong all day and this time there was no easing off as the meeting started at 6pm. James & Ken had catered for this and rigged a Pico up on the green to demonstrate how to tack and gybe and several beginners took the opportunity to practise some tacking and gybing without any fear of capsizing. Hopefully next Tuesday will be quiet enough to allow proper sailing.

Tonight we were luckier because the breeze was slowly decaying, though some strong dark patches out there promised a lively sail for the first hour or so. Jan & Pete, this time with Jeremy Rowett took the RIB and set the course for a westerly wind direction giving us a starboard beat into the beach marks before reaching off towards Charlestown. The stronger gusts that we experienced just after launching proved a tad too strong for Beacky & Kelvin and with spinnaker flying, capitulated to one such gust and over they went, but did manage to right the boat without any damage and arrived at the starting area with enough time in hand. Again the speed differentials between boats ranged from the quite fast B14 to the not quite so fast Topper but as both boats were in different fleets it didnít matter too much.

Now I have managed to get some quite good starts this season but last night was a disaster. I managed to get squeezed out by Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion and then as I tried to accelerate in the gap behind them was also squeezed out by Jeremy & Suzanne in their Tasar. With no room to manoeuvre I had no option but to gybe round and come in to the start again, and had the dubious honour of being the last boat to start. Well I suppose it could have been worse but at least we had something to chase. The 2 Lasers were soon overtaken and we arrived at the beach marks 5th. The charge to the beach marks being lead by Paddy & Steve, courtesy of their B14, in front of Jeremy & Suzanne's Tasar, Beacky & Kelvin in the first of the 2 Scorpions and then the cause of my embarrassment, Andrew & Jenny. The Tasarís better reaching speed slowly came to our aid, but where was the breeze when you wanted it? The reach across to Charlestown was painfully slow as the breeze started to fall away. Nevertheless we managed to pass the Kendalls and close up on Beacky and we were outside boat as we went into the gybe. Fortunately Beackyís gybe was a bit of a cock up as they screwed up to windward leaving us with plenty of time and space to sail behind them, then squeeze up to give them some dirty air in the slightly fresher breeze. It wasnít long before their spinnaker went up and they started to catch us up, but even with our whisker pole up we stayed upwind of them, to start the next beat in clear wind.

Andrew & Jenny closed Beacky down on the next beat and the 2 of them were almost neck & neck as they started the reaches, though Beacky took full control on the next beat and opened up a significant gap to eventually take line honours. Whilst all this was going on sitting further back were the 2 laser radials of Brian & Nick, quietly going about their race with Brian opening up a nice gap on Nick. In fact Brian managed to sail fast enough to finish ahead of both Scorpions beating Beacky by the margin of some 20 seconds on corrected time.

Meanwhile in the faster fleet Paddy & Steve extended their lead pulling well ahead of the rest of us and Jeremy increased his lead over us. Now giant jelly fish are becoming the bane of our lives. We managed to hit one or two last Sunday but tonight was the worst collision I think we have had for some time. We were approaching the beach marks at speed having the breeze free us off, when we were almost pitch poled out of the cockpit by the sudden deceleration. We must have struck a large one, the dagger board was forced well behind the packing and Ken had a dickenís of a job trying to pull it out again. Eventually order was restored in the boat and we set off again but it is very disconcerting when this happens as you cannot see the jelly fish as you approach, though often see them as they pass alongside the boats.

After almost an hour the race came to an end and despite Paddyís greater speed he couldnít escape his time penalty and both Tasars finished close enough to save their time to take 1st and 2nd places. I mentioned at the start of this blog that we havenít seen much of the sun lately well lo and behold as I write this the sky is mainly blue, there are a few clouds drifting around but it is looking most appealing for a walk that is planned for today walking the coastal footpath between Menabilly & Fowey.

July 5th
brother & sister
The sail of the Magnificent Seven

One of the films that sticks in my memory from being a youngster was called the ďMagnificent SevenĒ, a western, filmed in glorious Technicolor and cinemascope and was a very good western. When you are about 10 or 11 these sort of things make a lasting impression. Now what does that, you may wonder, have anything to do with sailing? The obvious answer is nothing but the title relates to todayís sailing as, and I mainly blame the weather, we had just 7 magnificent sailors tackling the tricky conditions just waiting for us out on the race course. After the heatwave from a week or so ago we have been left with quite an unsettled weather flow, with a series of lows pressing in from the west which have in turn provided quite a series of windy days and showers; not quite the summer we dream of nor expect. There were at least 3 regular racing boats taken off the water due to duties and also several of our regular helms are either on holiday or sailing elsewhere which all contribute to the lower turnouts.

The day started off quite wet and with a gusty south westerly wind in the background had all the makings of a non event for the not quite so keen racer. I had studied the weather forecast and concluded that if it was accurate then we might get away with racing though knew that it would be quite lively. A look at the weather station at Polruan confirmed the wind strength with gusts in the high 20ís being the order of the last few hours and the trend was certainly not reducing. After a bit of dithering a decision was made that we would start at 11.30, only Ĺ hour later than the normal time (so whatís new there?) James and Steve Wingrove readied the RIB, the signing on and lunch sheets were signed off and Andrew & Jenny took their places in the race box and the magnificent 7 rigged their boats.

I initially decided that it was warm enough for sailing shorts that was until I reached the beach. The fresher breeze and the sight of waves breaking on the beach, was enough to change my mind and a quick retreat to the changing rooms saw me emerge with my wet suit on. I donít think the world today was ready for viewing my legs. The breeze out in the bay was a fresh south westerly, meaning that our normal course was signalled and our beat was across the bay from left to right, with a reach into the beach marks before the gybe and a further reach out back to the leeward mark. Our magnificent 7 would only have been 6 but Chris Hazel kindly leant his Tasar to Nigel who teamed up with Tony to join us as the only other Tasar racing. In fact the fleet was very diverse in the morning ranging from the blistering fast B14 of Paddy & Steve to the much slower Topper of Charlie Austin. With some of the stars missing it was decided that Ken & I would be the ones to lead the fleet round the course the first time. Jan & Pete decided that we wouldnít have an easy time of it and the 2 of us were quite close at the end of the first beat. Not so fast up the beat was the B14, the other Tasar nor Beacky & Kelvin in the only Scorpion out there today. Iím told that Charlie in his Topper was in front of one other boat at the end of the beat, which was terrific. Now at this stage of the race the wind wasnít as strong as we have had and fortunately there were no obvious dramas for us nor anyone else for that matter, though I do know that Beacky & Kelvin had a couple of turns of swimming, trying to bond with their Scorpion. The reach was fairly fast and furious and the Tasar just spat water out each side as she flew down the swell itching to get to the beach marks in good time. Further back Nigel & Tony were slowly getting used to their partnership and they started to come through the fleet, grinding down Jan & Pete in their quest to get closer to us. Paddy & Steve were initially very slow up the first beat but the B14 was certainly not hanging about on the reaches and once they decided to fly the spinnaker their outright speed eventually took them through to first place, though not too far in front of us and then on the last reach of the race the inevitable happened, a gust caught the spinnaker, a wing dug in, the boat slowed to a halt and slowly turned over. The 2 of them were standing on the upturned hull as we planed past them on our way to a victory. In the slower fleet, Beacky & Kelvin managed to take line honours but the win went to Brian Reeves in his Laser radial on corrected time, leaving Charlie in 3rd. We actually lapped Charlie out by the windward mark and it was blowing very strong at the time but he was still going for it. Iím pretty sure that this time last year he would have retired by now so excellent progress is being made there.

Lunch was a signal for some changes. Steve had sailed enough for one day so the B14 was hauled up the hill and Paddy rigged the Club Laser, Charlie too decided that enough was enough and he was replaced by Richard in his Contender. Almost true to forecast the wind was swinging to a westerly direction but as we launched there was a distinct lack of wind and we all wallowed around for a while before the breeze decided that it really wanted to blow from the west and came in with a vengeance. The course was quickly tweaked and we gathered at the original starting area but this time we were set for a port rounding. Now this westerly breeze was a real youngster and just like a young colt was flicking its tail and kicking its legs in delight at being able to share the race course with us. Unfortunately we were the ones being flicked and kicked as we struggled up the beat. Once again we were first to the beach marks but by this time Nigel was getting more used to the delights of a Tasar and wasnít too far behind us. In fact we stayed locked together for most of the first lap and by the time we reached the beach marks for the 2nd time they just had the edge on us. We were both so keen to round the beach marks that we both understood the 2nd mark and had to carry out some rapid manoeuvres to get ourselves round and we just managed to round inside, hit a gust and plane off to open up a better gap. Richard had a very poor start and had to come from a long way back to try and catch us. A task made harder by the sudden backers and gusts on the beat making trapezing all the more difficult. Jan & Pete found the conditions very challenging and dropped out of contention having to give 3rd place to Richard and Nigel & Tony 2nd to us by only 30 seconds. Beacky & Kelvin once again took line honours but once again was beaten by Brian Reeves, with Paddy bringing the Club Laser home in 2nd position.

The Cadet regatta takes place next Saturday and James tells me that the BBQ will be at 6pm and will cost some £4 to those coming. The forecast for next weekend is a lot better than that for this weekend with a nice friendly high coming in for Friday. The long awaited Tuesday social sailing starts this week. The forecast isnít looking the best but I know that there will be some shore based activities arranged if it is considered too windy for some of the novices. The evening starts off at 6pm which should give plenty of time for sailing.

July 1st
High tide at Porthean
Sunny evening after the storm

Here we are in the middle of the year enjoying a heat wave, well we were until our very short lived heat wave came to a very wet end earlier on today, when some short but very wet thundery showers washed over our green and pleasant land. Fortunately by the time we gathered to go racing tonight it had all passed over and we were greeted by a very nice summerís evening, though very slightly cooler than the heat of earlier. The breeze too had been affected most by the rain and at times it had boxed all parts of the compass before almost disappearing completely. However by the time we were ready for launching it had decided to settle into a south westerly direction and more importantly had picked up to give a most encouraging feel to it.

Launching was always going to be a tricky affair as high tide was scheduled for about 18.00 and indeed the tide was almost up to the bottom of the slipway. Fortunately the sea state was flat enough to pose no problems as we were blessed with no waves but the dinghies had to come down one by one all ready to sail and to be pushed straight in whilst the launching trollies were lined up vertically against the wall.

Skilled man working
Ken & I were the 2nd boat to launch and in no time at all we were speeding out of the cove with quite a nice breeze propelling us along. Immediately we were both hiking and it looked like it was going to be a rather exciting race. Numbers are still down but the Wednesday racing invariably has more entrants than the Sunday racing, and tonight was no exception with a total of 12 boats which included 5 Laser radials which could have become 6 if Nick, who was down but suffering from a wrist injury, had decided to wrist it. (sorry itís a pun). It was a welcome back time to Jeremy Rowett who is currently competing with Dennis to see who can have the longest holiday. Dennis may be winning this round as he is still away but Jeremy did start his holiday earlier. More importantly it was a welcome back to Steve Coello. Steve hasnít been able to sail for several weeks due to illness but as he is about to enter the retirement ranks he must have thought that that qualified him to join us geriatrics. To further celebrate the first sail Paddy brought the B14 down for its first appearance of the year. Janet Preston also made one of her rare Wednesday night appearances; her work normally takes her away mid week.

Jan & Pete, once more took the RIB and the race team was completed by Justin & Charlie sitting in the OOD box. Now with a south westerly we normally have a starboard handed course, beating across the bay towards Blackhead. Indeed it was that wind direction that I was moaning about last time out, so I was expecting more of the same. But Pete decided to mix things up a little and use the beach marks as the windward mark, laying his leeward mark over towards Charlestown harbour. This gave us a reach out to sea before gybing to scream down towards Charlestown. In fact as we were out early we decided to sail around the course to check for wind movements. Eventually we sailed the 2nd reach and boy was it lively and we were speeding down with the wavelets when we hit one of the giant jelly fish with such a force that the dagger board twisted and slipped right past the packing and wedge itself alongside the packing. It took quite a tussle for Ken to release it and certainly made us aware that the giant things are still out there. All in all rather disconcerting, but its something we have learned to live with.

12 boats started on the port biased start line, though no one tried the port flyer and in a line almost abreast we raced away. Almost inevitably Jeremy & Suzanne eked out in front to lead at the windward mark with Paddy & Steve in 2nd place just in front of us. Our other Tasar in the 4 boat fast fleet contained Chris & Tony and they somehow became caught up with the slower fleet as they exchanged pleasantries with some of their friends. Rather disappointingly the fresh breeze that we had started with was starting to fade and all hopes of planing down the reaches virtually disappeared and we had to contend our selves with some short bursts of fresher breeze, but as the evening wore on these became few and far between. J&S diced with Paddy & Steve for a couple of rounds before Paddy decided to cut loose, hoisted his kite on a downwind leg and virtually doubled his speed to disappear to finish 1st on the water, but the handicaps brought him back to 3rd, though still in front of Chris & Tony who lost out big time towards the end of the race when they suffered horrendously as the breeze faded away to virtually nothing. Fortunately the slow handicap boats finished a lap earlier.

Kay & Nigel forged well ahead of the slow fleet, but where was Beacky & Kelvin who I expected to be battling with Kay & Nigel. Beacky broke his tiller last Sunday but had waited until just before the race to repair it and could be seen with hammer and chisel (screwdriver) in hand, trying to remove rivets from the rudder head. Anyway although the boat was parked up just off the start it was down to a different problem this time. In fact a broken sheave on the mainsail system was to blame and under jib only they sailed home for the 2nd race in succession. I suppose that took the pressure off Kay and allowed her almost unrestricted sailing competition. However, spoiling her night was the close proximity of James in his radial. He was following far too close for her liking and although was dropped a little as the race wore on was still close enough to win the slow handicap by over a minute on corrected time. The next boat was the radial of Brian Reeves who had been keeping a close eye on Janet Preston as she had been hounding him all the way round the course, finishing only 5 seconds behind him, which was less than a boat length in the fast fading breeze. Jeremy Rowett was actually the 3rd slow handicap boat to finish on the water, some 3 minutes behind James but on corrected time fell down the results to 5th place but still comfortably in front of Clive and David in their radials.

By the time we sailed back to the beach the high tide had long past and we had another 10M of beach to play with. The sea state was flat and beaching posed no problems at all. Up in the Clubhouse the bacon was sizzling, he barman had pints lined up on the bar. The pool table had been brushed off and the aprŤs sail was about to start. The evening was still mild enough for those wanting a quieter drink to sit and look over what is probably one of the finest views in the UK Ė St. Austell Bay.

June 28th
A nice line in hats
Sailing on a glorious summer's day

Sunday started out as per forecast, damp & grey; certainly not the sort of weather that we have had just lately. In fact it was quite disappointing with some heavy rain showers araound at 09.00. However the forecast also said that the weather would dry up as the day went on and bring us a bright and sunny evening. Guess what? They were spot on.

Once again our numbers were rather low, what with holidays, sickness and lack of motivation; we were down to just clearing double figures. But then you canít make people sail. I just suppose that I am lucky enough to have a wife who is quite happy for me to go sailing on a Sunday, and some of our other regulars are either husband & wife teams or single. Life has to be a compromise sometimes, so I do accept that.

Brian and, in the absence of Dennis who is away on the Continent somewhere, Nigel took the RIB for what looked like a miserable duty in the mist and drizzle that was hanging over St. Austell Bay. The breeze at the time was a south westerly which I have come to dislike as it almost always appears to require a starboard tack out to sea before a long port tack to bring us to the windward mark. That then has some problems as the wind up by the mark is often very gusty and has its own little lifts and headers just to add extra spice to life. The following reach into the beach marks can be quite thrilling at times as if there is enough wind then you can get some very nice planing moments in the swell. Unfortunately they come and go and joy and delight can often turn to frustration as to whether you get a friendly gust or not as might be the case, and then there is the slow gybe before heading back out to sea again.

The start line was very biased and so it was no surprise that the entire fleet sailed away on a starboard heading with one or two tacking off early to either get some cleaner air or hope to pick up something a little better. In the event those who elected to go inshore all lost out to the section of the fleet who headed outwards. The sea had a little swell to it but nothing too rolly and, joy of joy, all the jelly fish, and yes there are still a lot out there as we did see some, appeared to be swimming a lot deeper than normal, meaning that we never hit any and lots of them have lived to see another day.

Jeremy & Suzanne just lead at the end of the first beat ahead of Paddy & today for the ride of a lifetime, James. We were right behind the RS and together we started our reach into the beach marks. As soon as Paddy & James had their spinnaker up and pulling they were off and easily overhauled Jeremy & Suzanne. Though we couldnít catch J&S we did manage to stay with them on most of the following reaches, Richard in his Contender was one of those who elected to sail part of the beat on the inshore tack and lost out to the leading 3 boats as too did Jan & Pete, though they had the satisfaction of a spinnaker to aid their down wind ride. Beacky & Kelvin found quite a bit of extra speed this morning and overhauled Jan & Pete at times on the reaches, and won the slow fleet by quite a margin beating the 2nd boat, Brian Reevesís laser by over 4 minutes, who in turn beat Finn by only 14 seconds. Finn was left cursing a capsize that was caused by missing his tow straps and falling out of his boat. Janet Preston had her first sail for over 3 weeks brought up the rear but not too far behind. Paddy & James took the gun in first place but lost out to Jeremy & Suzanne on corrected time but did have the pleasure of pushing us down into 3rd.

All things changed for the afternoon race. The sun was starting to find quite a few gaps in the clouds to bestow us with more of a summerís day. The wind was starting to play silly games too but was starting to swing more to the west. After a short delay it was obvious that the course needed to be sailed the other way round and after a bit of a delay and moving of the leeward mark we were off on another adventure. Once again the line was quite biased, this time heavily port biased and quite a few of us went up to look at the chances of sailing across the front of the starboard tackers. To be honest it was that biased that I knew very well that the top shots would be sailing down the line on starboard to cut off anyone wanting to chance their arm on port. In the event there was only Nigel who had swapped over with Janet who tried his luck and it went horribly wrong as he had to go behind boat after boat until forced to tack by Beacky. Jan & Pete took the opportunity to tack off early for a visit to Chatelstown harbour and it looked like they were going to come out in front of all the boats that had headed left. We were one of that fleet but we found a couple of wind shifts and we went from being behind Paddy & James and Jeremy & Suzanne to claim first place at the beach marks just in front of the Kestrel. Unfortunately the reach was very broad, meaning whisker pole up for us and then we were also forced to sail above the rhumb line to try and defend our wind from the fast closing Kestrel. This played straight into the hands of Jeremy as all he had to do was aim straight for the mark in a lovely gust and sailed straight to the front. Meanwhile Paddy & James and Beacky & Kelvin all used their spinnakers to good affect, also closing us down. In fact we were very lucky to actually gybe in front of the closing pack and set off on a nice reach to chase Jeremy & Suzanne. Paddy & James, in turbo mode, then surged past all of us to lead the race to the end. Our task was to try and stay close enough to take them on handicap. Simon Robbins was back for the afternoon sailing his Supersofa to good affect leading Beacky's Scorpion, a faster boat, by a reasonable distance until we noticed Beacky being towed in by the safety boat. A broken rudder was the apparent problem and that was the end of his race. Simon looked as though he would walk the race but he too retired with some sort of problem, which left Nigel sailing Janetís laser to take the win in that fleet, finishing 1 Ĺ minutes in front of Brian Reeves. Although Paddy & James were first over the line they were not far enough to prevent being beaten on corrected time by J&S or Ken &me. Jan & Pete despite their early form dropped back from the front and could only make 4th place, losing out to Paddy & James by only 10 seconds.

The tide had just peaked by the time we returned to the shore and was almost up to the slipway meaning our walk was not quite as long as normal, though that hill is still blooming steep. The weather improved as the afternoon wore on and by the time we de rigged our boats the whole bay was bathed in glorious sunshine. The decking was packed with happy sailors taking some liquid refreshment and joshing over the events of the racing. The bay itself was looking superb, the water very blue and flat. The forecast for the week looks very promising, well quite hot and settled though there could be some south easterly breeze for Wednesday. The Tuesday social sailing looks to make its first appearance on Tuesday 7th July. Our sailing committee has come up with a better structured programme for this year which has something in it for everyone. I suppose the main ingredient will be the weather. Fine weather means that it will be well supported, not so fine weather thenÖÖÖ. Details of the programme can be found via the link on the front page of the web site.

June 24th
racing during the June Cup
The things we do for a bacon butty

Sailing last night was a very loose description of our normal recreation. We went from, in the space of 3 days, from quite hairy, capsize conditions on Sunday to this the flattest of seas, accompanied by the lightest of zephyrs. As we eased out from the beach the noise of water flowing over the hull was non existent. There was just enough forward motion to prevent the paddle from having to be broken out, and as one of the later boats leaving the beach we could see some better progress for those out by and beyond the beach marks. In fact the spinnaker boats could be seen flying their turbo boosts, though the absence of spray showed there was very little breeze to be found out there also.

Jan & Pete took the RIB for the night and I for one envied them as sailing was going to be a frustrating pastime for the rest of us. A short course was laid and initially it looked like we would be sailing a port handed race starting at the beach marks but Pete decided that a starboard handed course would be better, starting out towards the beacon. Hmmm I wasnít convinced, as the beat turned out to be rather one sided and the first reach was a very broad affair followed by very tight, almost a beat rather than a reach. However we can only race with what we have and it was very difficult to accurately judge what would give us the best course and so after a short delay we were off on a very slow tour of the race track.

Not surprisingly the RS 400 of Paddy, tonight crewed by Nigel in the absence of Steve, reached the windward mark 1st, closely followed by Jeremy & Suzanne. I have to admit that we overstood the mark, more by design than accident, as tacking a Tasar in those light conditions is a boat stopping experience as we have to try and get the battens on the mainsail to pop over and promote some drive again. However overstanfing the mark proved costly as the slower boats inside us were lifted as the breeze shifted round. Anyway our tardiness gave the opportunity for Andrew & Jenny and Paul & Kelvin to round just in front of us and then promptly hoisted their spinnakers. The only way for us to keep any speed up was to sail much higher than we wanted to sail which then made our distance to the wing mark far greater than it should have been. Fortunately behind us were the 2 other Tasars of Chris & Tony and Justin and tonight for one night only, Richard instead of Charlie. This was a night when most boats drift at almost the same speed and also caught up in that little cluster was James, Brian and Clive all in laser radials.

By the times we reached the beach marks both Scorpions had drifted past us and Beacky had taken quite a few yards out of Andrew & Jenny to take a nice little advantage for the rest of the race. Luckily for us we did managed to generate a little extra speed up the next reach and overtook Andrew & Jenny and closed up on Beacky. Both Scorps tacked early and by the time we sleepwalked to the next mark we had actually overtaken them and to our concern the other 2 Tasars had closed us down. The reach to the beach marks had been a very broad reach the time before but now as the zephyrs were retiring for the night the reach was turning into a one tack beat. Justin & Richard made more inroads into our lead and by the time we crossed the finish line were only 13 seconds behind us. Beacky and Kelvin were even more alarmed as they started the last ďbeatĒ leading Andrew & Jenny but in true hero mode the Kendalls powered through to finish in front of the Beacky machine beating it by 10 seconds. However their victory was short lived as 2 of the radials finished close enough behind to take all the plaudits with James coming out on top closely followed by Brian to push the Scorpions to 3rd and 4th. Paddy & Nigel struggled to keep in front of the Hawkins,to this end they succeeded but couldnít finish enough in front to save their handicap.

Whilst we were struggling to get round the course, earlier in the day there had been a cracking breeze down in the Carrick Roads where the Cornish schools regatta had been sailed and coming out on top of the pile there, was our own Finn Hawkins. Not content with improving his wind surfing skills with the RYA youth squad Finn showed that he still has what it takes in the Laser to win his class in the reggata. Without a doubt the majority of our active sailors are all over 50 fortunately there is still a depth of talent coming through who hopefully will ensure that Porthpean will thrive well after we golden oldies have hung up our tillers.

Jelly fish; yes we are still inundated with the blessed things and last night was no exception and we saw some whoppers out there but fortunately only made contact with one, but in addition we now have thousands of small ones floating around as well. I believe that the small ones give a very nasty sting. Fortunately they are small enough not to impede the boatís progress, but I was amazed at the number of them.

The picture above was taken by Janet Preston last Sunday during the first race, when it wasn't quite as windy as later in the day. I have just realised as I write this blog that it is only 6 months to Christmas and probably only 3 months before all the Christmas decorations are littering the shops. Now how depressing can that thought be. In the meantime let's keep calm and carry on sailing.

June 22nd
Course for the day
The wind blew today

This is rather a late blog Iím afraid as I have been at school, working today. Yes even us pensioners have to get out occasionally to try an earn a little extra.

What a hard dayís racing that was. The wind direction was as forecast but the wind strength was certainly higher than forecast and this combination produced some nerve wracking moments for every one and although the fleet was small the number of capsizes was quite high with the majority of boats capsizing at least once during the racing. Ken & I were one of the 4 boats that didnít capsize and although we survived without capsizing we had one or two, shall we say "moments". The conditions were so hard that after the 3rd race I had had enough and we set off back for the beach. Even sailing back to the beach was full of problems as the wind swirled round even more as we approached the beach. Still it was a great relief to actually land and be able to stand up on terra firmer once more. My racing day started off badly when sailing out to the start area the burgee broke free from its mounting and disappeared overboard, never to be seen again.

Janet Preston, new to the Club, had her first taste of the RIB when she teamed up with Paddy for this the June Cup, which was to be a 4 race series with 3 races to count. Paddy decided to set a ďWĒ shaped course with the idea that the reaches would produce 2 runs for the spinnaker boats and 2 reaches for the Tasars. In the event all the reaches were close enough for the Tasars to plane and the wind strength was enough to put the spinnaker boats off from launching their turbo boosts on a regular basis.

Course for the day
The fleet for the morning race comprised 4 Tasars, Kestrel, Scorpion and a radial and the first race started fast and furious with the 2 leading Tasars of Steve & Polly and Ken & myself banging the left hand corner, but to our dismay, as we arrived at the beach marks we found that we were behind Jan & Pete in their Kestrel and also Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. By the end of the 2nd reach, both Tasars had overtaken the leading 2 and Steve & Polly started to eke out a lead over us, which they extended as the race wore on and they duly took the win. Sue & Pascual found that the underside of their hull was far more interesting than racing but managed to right the Tasar reasonably quickly and decided quite rightly that the conditions were far too strong for them and they headed home. Andrew & Jenny lead the 2 boat slow handicap fleet home but lost out to the better handicap of Brian Reeves in his Laser radial.

Andrew & Jenny had a capsize just before the start of the 2nd race but managed to right their boat in time for the start so were not too badly inconvenienced. Once again in the 2nd race, Andrew & Jenny finished ahead of Brian but once again lost out on handicap to Brian.

The 2 Tasars managed to get to the windward mark before the Kestrel in the 2nd race and once again Steve & Polly pulled away to take a 2nd race win.

Things changed somewhat for the afternoon racing when Nigel rigged Jamesís radial and Stacey arrived with Lucy to take Dennisís Tasar out to play. As we sailed out from the cove I had the impression that the wind had eased a tad; not so because as we neared the starting area we could tell that the gusts coming through were far more powerful than the morning gusts. Nevertheless the RIB was soon anchored, the starting procedure began and we were duly started on the frantic beat to take us towards the beach marks. Once again the Tasars powered up the beat with Steve & Polly just rounding in front of Ken & me with Stacey & Lucy not far behind. I thought that we hadnít seen any jelly fish for a day or so but lo and behold they are still out there as we found out when in full planing mode we struck one, which nearly put the dagger board through the casing and we also slowed down quite alarmingly. A quick glance back showed a giant jelly fish almost cut in two; poor old chap, but we didnít see him otherwise avoiding action would have been taken. By the time we started the 4th reach I realised that the rudder was becoming heavy to steer, the blade was starting to come up, maybe the collision with the jelly fish was to blame. Either way we had no option but to stop whilst I managed to push it down again and tighten up the pivot bolt. This let Stacey surge past us and pull closer to Steve. Stacey went on to overtake Steve on the next beat and create enough of a lead to keep him behind and take the win.

Nigel had the slow fleet almost to himself as Brian, after suffering a series of capsizes, decided to retire from the race to save his strength for the final race. Ken & I struggled round finishing 3rd. By the end of the race I decided that enough was enough, we had our 3 results, the conditions took me way out of my comfort zone and most importantly we still hadnít capsized. One heart attack is enough, so without further ado we headed for the beach. Chris & Tony had yet another capsize and they too headed for home as did Jan & Pete in their Kestrel. This left only 4 boats, 2 Tasars and 2 radials to contest the 4th and final race. Stacey & Lucy dominated the entire race, pulling out a huge lead to ensure another victory. Steve and Polly had done enough to ensure winning the June Cup but they too suffered the indignity of capsizing when they fell in on the last beat. It took them 2 attempts to right the boat and ruined the jib in the process. Nigel suffered from a few pasty tacks rather than gybing, well it kept him upright but slowed him down too much, leaving Brian to take a 3rd victory and the slow handicap June Cup.

The spring series was completed last week and this Wednesday sees the start of the summer series. Today was also the longest day of the year and although technically the nights will now start to draw in it will be a few weeks yet before we notice the difference. However it should be warming up more, the school holidays are almost upon us and our beach, used only by us will soon be teaming with holiday makers. I suppose we have to say ďsummer is hereĒ. Oh yes to confirm that I also wore my sailing shorts.

June 18th
Stewart's wall
Sailing with a dolphin

My flirtation with wearing my sailing shorts didnít last long as last night it was back to my trusty long john. After one or two stunning days of summer weather, Wednesday proved to be a rather dull affair and a coolish breeze ensured that temperatures did not climb as high as lately. For some unknown reason our fleet was down to probably our lowest Wednesday night turnout for several years. One or two are on holiday whilst I am sure that others have equally valid reasons not to be there for what turned out to be excellent conditions for racing, with winds peaking at about 14 knots shown at Polruan.

Launching was always going to be tricky with a high tide scheduled for about 19.00 and launching had to be carried out one at a time. Fortunately we were almost fully sheltered form the offshore westerly breeze, but the water level was up to just below the slipway. Once we had glided out of the cove we sailed into a steady offshore breeze. Earlier we had launched Jan & Pete who were our RIB drivers for the evening and they soon had a nice little port handed course set up for us and we were only just over 5 minutes late starting as we waited for the last dinghy to reach the starting area. One or two had a look at the start line and considered a port hand flyer but decided that there was not enough bias to take the chance. We had a good look at it and decided that we would have a go. Fortunately by hitting the line right in the gun we crossed the entire fleet (well 7 other boats!!) consisting of 3 Tasars, 2 Scorpions and 3 Lasers. Our good start proved a bonus as we just managed to reach the beach marks ahead of Justin & Charlie but our early lead was heavily eroded as their lighter weight on the first broad reach allowed them to glide up towards us. Fortunately the 2nd reach was more a Tasar friendly reach and we managed to eke out more of a lead, which we managed to hold on for the rest of the race but they were never more than a hundred yards or so behind us. Chris & Tony crewed the 3rd Tasar out tonight and were involved in some sort of kerfuffle on the start line as I heard a bit of shouting going on as we sailed on our merry way, but Iím not sure what actually caused the shouting; maybe it was an errant tack but I donít know.

I mentioned earlier that the breeze was steady but in true Porthpean conditions this was not quite so. The breeze was actually up to its normal tricks of huffing and puffing. One minute we were fully stretched before rapidly reacting to a lower wind strength plus there were some quite large wind shifts to contend with, resulting in keeping everyone on their toes.

The other big battle tonight was with the 2 Scorpions of Kay & Nigel and Beacky & Kelvin. Kay had a better first beat than Beacky and lead over the first round but Beacky & Kelvin were closing in; unfortunately for them and maybe lack of practise too but they went for a swim whilst tacking. They lost a lot of time which dropped them a long way back but once they got going again they ate into Kayís lead quite significantly and went home convinced that they would have won if not for the capsize. Experience tells me that catching up a boat in front is one thing but actually overtaking said boat is not always as cut and dried as it might seem.

We had 3 Lasers out including the 2 standards of Paddy & Nick against the radial of Brian. The standards had the greatest power and Paddy made the most of it and although he finished behind the 2 Scorpions he had plenty enough time in hand to take the victory. Brian Reeves finished 4 minutes behind the Scorpions but he too managed to leap frog them to take 2nd place on corrected time by the slim margin of 18 seconds.

Our invasion of the giant jelly fish may be temporary over as we didnít have one sighting of any nor did anybody else report a sighting either. However we did have the pleasure of watching a dolphin just off the wing mark frolicking in the water, doing endless back flips. He was only about 100-150M away so we did feel rather special being allowed to watch his spectacular acrobatics.

It wasnít too long before the race was finished and we glided back to the beach where the tide had peaked and was ebbing just a little, allowing easy recovery before the long haul back up the hill to be greeted by the wafting aroma of bacon butties. Jenny is back and tonight she had a new galley slave with her in the form of Steve Coello. Fortunately the butties tasted just as good as ever and with 2 of those in one hand and a pint in the other, my supper was duly enjoyed.

I took the picture for this blog tonight, showing Stewartís wall nearing completion & I think it only needs the capping to be put on now. Part of the original wall had to be removed when the gate was replaced earlier in the year. The new part has been built to outlive us all, so is something for Stewart to be proud of. Tonight was also heralded the end of the spring season and next Wednesday sees the start of the summer racing series, so in practical terms the entire sailing season is about 1/3 complete. I think though that it is true to say that summer is with us at long last and the next 3 months should see our sailing at its peak. So come on lets see more boats on the water making the most of this fantastic facility that we have on our doorsteps.

June 14th
cleaning up after racing
Sailing shorts worn for the 1st time

Is it good to be back? Well I guess on the whole it is, though everything seemed so strange for an hour or two when we returned home and then normal life kicks in and the old routines soon get going and suddenly the holiday is just a memory, but a very pleasant memory even so. We went to Turkey for a week to stay with friends in a villa in a place called Ovacik which is between Fethiye & Oluz Deniz and it was so good to see some sustained sun and dare I say it a warm breeze. Believe it or not it was still cool at times in the shade on the first 2 days but the moment we moved back into the sun the temperature soared instantly. In fact the weather in Turkey, like over here, has been very unsettled over the last few weeks and they have had one of the wettest and coldest winters in years. We flew in to Bristol just after midnight on Saturday morning into a downpour, how nice, some things just donít seem to change! What a welcome back and then we had to hang about for almost an hour before we managed to reclaim our luggage and head for the car park and eventually set off for home.

Today was a good day to reintroduce myself to our sailing season, although there was very little breeze about this morning, but at least it was warmer than of late and it turned out to be the first time this year that I could wear my sailing shorts. Unfortunately the beach is covered in sea weed, a legacy of a fresh easterly last Wednesday, although the waves had moderated enough to launch in the evening so Wednesday racing managed to survive though with a reduced turnout. Obviously with me not being there I cannot comment with any accuracy about the races but I did glean some things. Ken crewed for Paddy for 2 of the 3 races that I missed and Paddy managed to capsize in both races and he also crewed for Beacky in the 3rd race this time without a capsize, though he was more cramped up than in the Tasar. Pascual managed to sail onto and become stranded on the rocks underneath the Clubhouse area last Sunday and was eventually towed off by Richard Austin. Fortunately there was no damage to the Pico, nor Pascal. There is now a new drink being served in the bar, named after Pascual Ė Dox on the Rox. I havenít tried it yet but I am told it tastes rather salty. Justin and Charlie won the fast fleet race on Wednesday, which was the first race win ever for Charlie, so no doubt he was very pleased with that and I am sure will be the first of many over the years if he remains sailing.

So on to today; Beaky & Kelvin took their turn in the RIB and launched into an almost glassy calm sea. They found that out by the beach marks there was no wind at all so up went the postponement flag which gave relief to those who didnít fancy a drifting race. Nevertheless 2 Scorpions did launch and they managed to glide out of the cove. Within 20 minutes you could see that they were starting to heel so without further ado the rest of us completed our rigging and launched into a light southerly breeze, with the fleet comprising 14 dinghies and 2 wind surfers.

The start line was so biased that it was almost impossible to sail across the start line on port so as expected everyone wanted to start on starboard up by the RIB, which caused a few problems, especially for Jeremy & Suzanne and one of the wind surfers who were called back for being over the line at the start. I think that there was more than just those 2 over but they were not spotted and luckily for them they got away with it. The light breeze suited Jan & Pete, back from their holiday oop north and they shot up the beat in their Kestrel, outpacing the rest of the fleet. They rounded the windward mark, hoisted their spinnaker and off they went, sailing into an almost unassailable lead. I think if the breeze had remained a light southerly they would have won the race by a huge margin, BUT the wind direction suddenly changed round and freshened very slightly. Suddenly the 2 Tasars of Jeremy & Suzanne and Ken & me plus Roger in his Blaze started to eat into their lead and on the 3rd beat Jeremy pounced and sailed through them. We had overtaken Roger on the previous beat, but I made a mistake on the 3rd beat that let him back in front of us and unfortunately dropped us back into 4th. It wasnít the best result for us but the conditions were very tricky for all concerned so we just had to accept it.

In the slower fleet Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion had an excellent 1st beat rounding in front of us, but we managed to pass them on the reach. Colin in only his 2nd race of the year also drifted up the first beat well and closed with the Kendalls on the reaches as did James and Brian Reeves in their Laser radials. The wind strength was nigh on perfect for James and he made the most of it by hanging onto the coat tails of the Scorpion, finishing only 11 seconds behind it, which when converted into corrected time gave him a victory of over 3 minutes. Astonishingly the next 3 boats comprising the Kendalls in their Scorpion, Colin in his Supersofa and Brian Reeves in his Laser radial all tied on corrected time to give them equal 2nd.

By the time we started the afternoon race the wind had swung round yet again and this time we had a north easterly, as originally forecast. We had an excellent start being right on the pin as the gun went and managed to successfully squeeze Jeremy & Suzanne out and without further ado we powered up the first beat with the rest of the fleet behind us. Almost the entire fleet decided to sail the right hand side of the course and so we put a loose cover on them. Jeremy & Suzanne, starting late, sailed behind everyone towards the cliffs. We didnít ignore them but it appeared that they had made the wrong decision as when we put in our long tack to the beach marks they seemed dead and buried. However Jeremy had made the right decision because we were hit by a series of headers which slowed us down and they just squeezed in front of us at the windward mark. We stayed with them down the 2 reaches and managed to make a couple of useful wind shifts work for us and to our surprise we beat then to the windward mark. Now if life was fair the race should have finished there and then. After all these long races are not made for pensioners but 20 minutes was adjudged too short a race time so on we went for 3 more rounds. Needless to say Jeremy managed to overtake us on the 3rd beat and covered our every move for the rest of the race. Despite us finishing 2nd we had had a very enjoyable race and our endeavours had put us a long way ahead of the rest of our fleet. Unfortunately Jan & Pete could not repeat their sterling race speed of the morning and this time were well behind the 2 Tasars by the end of the race, though they did have the consolation of beating the Tasar of Chris & Tony on the water, which must have pleased them.

Once again the Kendalls had an excellent first beat though were challenged by Paddy in the Club Laser but their spinnaker was enough to pull them ahead and they finished a good way in front on the water but alas for them Paddy still took the win on handicap. James has been on a bit of a roll this season but for once had a disappointing race and could only finish 3rd on handicap but he was still well in front of the other Laser radials. The light conditions make it more difficult to sail a radial to its handicap as the faster boats can often remain powered up for longer.

On a positive note, it was good to see Steve Coello down at the Club today. Steve is recovering from an illness and we hope to see him back on the water soon or as he sails with Paddy he is more likely to be in it. Ken knows all about that. Chris & Tanya Bilkey were down today on galley duties. Tanya was in amazing form in the galley, lunch was duly served to the starving sailors and afterwards everything was cleared away, leaving the galley absolutely spotless; Thanks Tanya. Chris was also out and about, when not helping Tanya, with his camera. The pictures taken have been uploaded and can be found by following the photo galleries link on the front page of our web site.

June 3rd
we love spinnakers
Spinnakers R'us

The strong winds that we had last Sunday, increased and peaked on Monday. They slowly subsided a little on Tuesday and had virtually disappeared by Wednesday evening. So it was a very quiet looking bay that greeted us when we turned up for the midweek race. This was partly exacerbated by the light westerly breeze and a high incoming tide, meaning the water just off the beach was as flat as the proverbial. Nevertheless 4 enthusiastic Tasar crews, 4 Lasers and 3 Scorpions rigged and launched to meet up with the RIB, tonight manned by Steve Mitchell & James, who laid a very nice port handed course. Unfortunately it was another low turn out but with holidays and sickness and other unexplained absences still ongoing we just have to soldier on.

For the 2nd race in succession we actually started on time; can we make it a hat trick on Sunday? I doubt it, but I wonít be here to see it Ė a holiday in Turkey beckons!! The start line had enough starboard bias to keep us all bunched up at the RIB area and there was no surprise that there was quite a bit of close quarters sailing as boats jockeyed for their favoured positions. We elected to start just down from the melee, with the reasoning that losing a little height was a reasonable trade off for being squeezed by high pointing Scorpions. This almost worked for us and we were just behind Jeremy & Suzanne as we reached the beach marks. Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion had an excellent first beat being not too far behind us and importantly for us were just in front of Justin & Charlie.

The reaches especially the first reach were quite slow affairs and it was very difficult to coax any speed out of the Tasar, but at times we were closing up on Jeremy, with both of us watching Andrewís Scorpion gradually closing the gap to us, helped by their spinnaker. Kay & Nigel clearly had Andrewís scalp in their sights as they were in very close proximity to the leading Scorpion. Fortunately for us by the time we started the 2nd reach we had enough breeze to generate just a fraction more speed and pull away and the initial crisis was over.

The 2nd beat effectively settled the race for us as we caught a real shocker of a header and also lost the breeze as we closed up on the last 100M to the beach marks. Jeremy & Suzanne managed to squeeze round and pulled away on the reach. Andrew & Jenny who had been comfortably behind us actually overtook us and rounded the beach marks ahead of us. More disturbing for us was that, Justin & Charlie who we had dropped, also came charging up to the beach marks in a fresh bit of breeze. Once again the faster speed of a Tasar downwind allowed us to overtake the Scorpion on the 2nd reach, but alas we were too far behind Jeremy to have any chance of bridging the gap. By the time we started the last beat the breeze was really slipping away and becoming quite patchy and progress was extremely slow. We did however close the gap somewhat on Jeremy but by no means enough and had to concentrate on staying in front of Justin & Charlie. Chris & Tony were the 4th Tasar out tonight but found the ultra light conditions almost as challenging as last Sundayís strong conditions and just could not get their Tasar to perform to its normal level, and finished behind 2 of the Scorpions and the Club Laser on the water.

Making his debut tonight in the Club Laser was crewless Paddy, but the light conditions were not to his liking and although he finished in front of the other Lasers could not make any impression on the Scorpions. Yes, it was another good race for both Andrew & Jenny and Kay & Nigel with Andrew taking a crucial win. Kay & Nigel sailed well and finally finished only 30 seconds behind them. As the breeze faded then boats further back really suffered and gaps of say only 100-200M suddenly became huge time differences in time, causing much frustration to them. We did see quite a few jelly fish but joy of joy we didnít hit any at all tonight so it was a win win situation as far as I was concerned.

Whisker poles are a very important part of a Tasarís equipment and with the variable breeze were brought into use tonight. We had some trouble with ours as the bracket that I use to clip it onto the boom became loose and we had to be careful when stowing it, but Jeremy had even more trouble with his as somehow he managed to poke Suzanne in the face just above her eyes, resulting in a large painful looking bruise. That on its own would be bad enough but today she is on a stand at the Royal Cornwall Show. Now that will take some explaining, trying to tell the great public that a whisker pole had hit her in the face. ďWhatís a whisker pole?Ē she will be asked more than once I would imagine.

Jenny is away on holiday so there was a possibility of no bacon butties but once again a hero appeared behind the galley counter. Richard Austin, the caped crusader complete with apron, sprang into action providing enough bacon butties for everyone; thank you Richard.

May 31st
Rigging on a grey day
Rigging on a grey day

Now thatís what I call a good day to be on the safety boat. The weather is still cool for the time of year but today we also had a very lively north nortth westerly breeze to ensure that the temperature remained closer to 12C rather than anything warmer. The forecast was so dire that I didnít think that we would even sail today but in the event the fact that we are sheltered from the real wind tempted quite a few boats out to party. As it happened Ken & I were scheduled for a duty and with dry suits on we were quite well equipped for the task. The flat sea made things look reasonably benign but once out in the vicinity of the windward mark we knew that the true wind was in the 18 knots area with some spicy gusts thrown in from time to time.

Our intention to try and start on time was a little delayed, no one wanted to be the first to venture out to the starting area in order to hang around for long and we also had to play around with the course to try and get a good beat from the wind that was swinging around a bit, but then an offshore breeze always gives some oscillation. As it happened we were only about 10 minutes late but even so we had to also keep an eye on the Pascalliwags who had managed to upturn their Tasar further up the course. Very pleasingly they managed to right the boat fairly quickly and be on their way again.

There were only 2 boats in the fast fleet today, comprising Richard in his Contender and Chris & Tony in their Tasar and it wasnít long before Richard stretched away, fully trapezing up the beat, leaving the Tasar far behind. In fact Chris & Tony were one of numerous boats that capsized today, but they made a very fast recovery and if the jib hadnít become twisted round the forestay would have soon been on their way again very quickly.

There was much more competition in the slow fleet with 3 Lasers, 2 Scorpions and a Topper, but during the race every one of them capsized, some numerous times, but it was a jelly fish that nearly caused a major upset for Andrew & Jenny when their rudder struck one so hard it broke the down haul and they finished the rest of the race with the rudder at half mast. Yes the jelly fish are still out there and I hear that they are all the way up the south coast. They do look very pretty when seeing them drifting by as they slowly waft their tails but do cause problems when you hit them.

Steve & Ashley found the going very strong and suffered several capsizes and we even saw Ashley fall out of the boat once. The bravest of all out there today was Charlie in his Topper. Even though he had the small rig up the gusts were still strong enough to make life very difficult and he managed fantastically well to get as far round the race course as he did.

Due to the continuing bad weather Pentewan Sands SC has not managed any racing so far this year and in desperation one of their members joined us today in his Laser. I was talking to him afterwards and he told me that he has just bought the boat and was not used at all to a hiking boat, so struggled around with a few capsizes but I was impressed by his commitment. I hope he comes a few more times, especially Wednesday evenings when we do tend to get more sailors out.

There was no surprise to see Richard win the fast fleet class by a convincing margin nor no surprise to see that James romped away with the slower fleet win. In fact at one time he was just about to start the beat alongside Chris & Tony but the Tasar was wiped out by a savage gust that turtled the boat. Brian Reeves battled round very quietly with the occasional capsize to take a respectable 2nd pushing Andrew & Jenny into 3rd.

Dennis must have sniffed out a stronger breeze today as he and Brian rigged for the afternoon race, hungrily licking their lips at the prospect of some heavy wind sailing. Another helm that we havenít seen a lot of this year was Roger, over from Rock. His Blaze was readied as he too looked forward to stretching his legs. In fact everyone was so keen that we had time to get out onto the race course and swing the course round to suit the more westerly direction that had drifted in. We were actually sat on the start line, all ready to go with the fleet sailing around us some 5 minutes before the 2 pm start time; unbelievable!!

So right on time the start flag came down and the slightly larger fleet leapt out of the starting blocks to power their way up the first beat. Once again Richard in his Contender was first to the windward mark, closely followed by Roger in his Blaze but only because Dennis & Brian had what we might call a "moment" whilst trying to round the beach marks dropped back to 3rd. The downhill speed of the Blaze soon became apparent as he closed with Richard on the first reach. Unfortunately Roger elected to tack around rather than gybe and lost all the distance he had made though still had a reasonable lead over Dennis. Roger finally came to grief just before the end of the 2nd beat when several capsizes befell him and he decided that enough was enough and sailed for home. Although Richard went on to take line honours he couldnít save his time against Dennis & Brian who werenít that far behind him and had to settle for 2nd in this race, leaving Dennis & Brian with huge grins on their faces.

Both Scorpions suffered from crews falling out of boats, resulting in Steveís case a capsize, followed by retirement. Andrew managed to hold his Scorpion upright when Jenny fell out but the ducking was enough for Jenny and they too decided that the beach had more of an attraction than the cold, wet sea.

Of the 3 Lasers it was once again James who had the better of the rest, taking another win. Chris from Pentewan struggled once more but this time his endeavours paid off and he managed to take 2nd place. Leaving the only other survivor, Brian Reeves who had a few more capsizes in this race, to take 3rd.

On reflection it was a good day for us to be in the safety boat as I wouldnít have enjoyed the struggles too much, but I take my hat off to all those who did sail as they all handled the conditions extremely well. Today was the last day of May and we start a new month tomorrow and I hear from the met boys that our weather is about to change for the better. We still have a couple of wet & windy days to get through but warmer weather should be with us for next weekend, so get the BBQs out, sailing shorts too, summer is about to start.

May 27th
Revamped notice board
The giant jelly fish are increasing in numbers.

The magical sailing conditions we experienced at the weekend were still in existence last night, with a flat sea and a light westerly, gusty breeze, so to me that was a real bonus. The forecast was for the wind to increase as the evening wore on so I unwisely as it happened hoisted a very used and old suit of sails. In the event the wind didnít increase and the disparity in the 2 suits of sails became rather obvious. In fact the wind strength actually dropped as the evening went on so the better sails would have been the right decision after all. Unfortunately the air temperature is still quite low for the time of year. No matter how sunny the days are, the breeze is always cold, keeping the temperature far below what it should be. I heard on one weather report that the jet stream is starting to move northwards and in turn will allow warmer weather patterns to arrive. Well I guess it will warm up some time., but for last night it was back to my fleece lined sailing top.

Jelly fish; there must be something around that is attracting them, because there are hundreds of them out there in the bay at the moment and I donít think that we have ever struck so many in one race before. Due to reflection off the water there is no way that you can see those in the water directly in front of you. The first you know about them is when the boat suddenly grinds almost to a halt as the dagger board pivots and then makes a heavy contact with the front of the casing. Itís really disconcerting when it happens and at the time you think that it is only you who collides with them when in actual fact I believe we all made heavy contact at various times.

Chris & Tony took charge of the RIB for this the 7th race in the spring Wednesday series and were determined to be ready for a 7pm start. To their credit they had the course laid and RIB anchored on the start line ready to go. We were there in time as were a handful of others so the decision was taken by Jenny & Stewart in the race box to hold the start to wait for some of the stragglers to get to the start area in time. What is annoying is that we all know that the wind tends to fade away in the evenings so it is imperative to start on time. I noted that some of the stragglers are retired people so should have no excuse for being late. Maybe we should consider 6.45pm starts in future just to ensure that we do not start any later than 7pm. The total fleet by the time we started was up to 14, so not a bad turn out after all.

Now my decision to race with an old suit of sails was a mistake that became more than obvious on the first beat. I just couldnít get the boat to go. We became trapped in dirty wind from Jan & Peteís Kestrel who had found a sweet spot in the speed curve. Tacking away produced no extra speed and we even dropped behind Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. They too were revelling in the breeze. Both boats flew up the beat and we actually rounded in 7th place on the water. Right at the head of the fleet was Paddy & Steve Ė RS400 and they bore away onto the reaches never to be seen again and in fact took the win on corrected time by almost 2 minutes. Next round was Jeremy and new crew for the evening Richard Austin. Suzanne is away with Finn at the moment so Richard was having an introduction into Tasar crewing and doing a fine job too. There was family competition in the Tasar fleet as just behind them was Justin & Charlie, so a bit of father and son rivalry there. Next up was a pairing of Nigel & Sarah Desjonqueres. Nigel was celebrating his 49th Birthday and Sarah is down with the boys for half term week. In fact Sarahís No2 son, Ollie was out in a club Pico and was having a good race in the slow fleet. Nigel & Sarah in another RS400 were just in front of Jan & Pete and then Andrew & Jenny who also had the benefit of their spinnaker. We werenít too happy with our position and just had to follow on downwind as best we could on the broad reach. Not far behind us was James in his Laser radial, knowing he had a lot to do to catch up the Scorpion if he wanted to take another win.

The 2nd reach was closer than the first and eventually we managed to catch and overhaul the Scorpion just before the start the 2nd beat. Now a westerly breeze is one of my favourite wind directions at Porthpean as there is usually the opportunity to play the shifts and to this end we had a bit of luck as by the time we reached the beach marks for the 2nd time we had not only overtaken the Kestrel but also the other 2 Tasars, and we were only just behind Nigel & Sarah. Suddenly things were looking brighter, maybe the old sails werenít too bad after all. The 3rd beat saw us increase our lead over the other 2 Tasars although we couldnít close up on Nigel & Sarah and we started the last beat in a comfortable position and then had to move into covering mode. Jeremy & Richard were our main target and to this end we had to endure them catching us but we were still maintaining our cover and as we approached the beach marks things were starting to get rather tight, especially as Justin & Charlie who had made a long tack in towards Charlestown came charging through on a nice breeze but fortunately for us just failed to make the breakthrough. It still looked like they would be finishing close to us but hitting the finishing line buoy meant a re rounding and they actually lost a position on corrected time to Jan & Pete who werenít very far behind.

Andrew & Jennyís good first beat was eventually converted into a win for them, managing to hold off the Laser radial of James to win by almost Ĺ minute on corrected time. These 2 were way in front of the rest of their fleet. Brian Reeves in 3rd place was some 4 minutes on corrected time further back. John Hill, normally very good in tonightís conditions must have felt disappointed as he could only finish 4th just in front of Clive Stephens in his Laser radial and Piran Fisher in his Feva. Bringing up the rear was Olly, sailing a Club Pico which in all honesty isnít a racing boat when compared to a Laser, but he did have a good sail and he was still smiling in the Clubhouse afterwards.

Another new pairing tonight was Pascual and his neighbour Phil out in Pascualís Tasar. Phil sailed regularly many years ago and it is hoped that last nightís outing may persuade him to start sailing again and join us.

May 25th
Tasar Open Prizewinners
Roll Up, Roll Up, Free entry

I am feeling shattered after a very gruelling 4 race series of races yesterday. My body is aching but my mind is still active as I relive fleeting moments from yesterdayís races. As most of you will know we combined the annual Tasar Open with Club racing for the May Cup. Last yearís Tasar open meeting was very poorly attended by visitors and just in case that happened again we still wanted to get our own members from the handicap fleets out racing. To that end everything worked a treat. Fortunately we did have some Tasar visitors, 4 teams in all, and they seemed very happy with the programme and conditions and together with 5 of our own Tasars made up a nice little very competitive fleet. We advertised the weekend as a ďfree entryĒ regatta, hoping that we might attract some other dinghies from local Clubs to come and sail in the May Cup. Unfortunately that failed to attract any takers. Still it was worth trying. The Club still had some goodies tucked away from earlier competitions to use as prizes so our expenses were relatively low.

Saturday was devoted to Tasars only. Invariably the weather proved to have a major influence on plans when the 2 races scheduled for Saturday afternoon had to be abandoned by believe it or not no wind at all. After an abundance of wind week after week in Cornwall the wind Gods decided to take the Bank Holiday literally and go on holiday themselves and left us all basking under some gorgeous Cornish Sunshine. Without the breeze the temperatures climbed and with the blue seas of St. Austell bay in the background the beers and pasties were broken out and the fleet settled down for an afternoon of conversation and reminisces.

Saturday evening entertainment was provided by our own Tasar sailor Tony who together with his trusty aid Colin constructed a skittle alley in the Club house using our very own beach ramps as side screens and the snooker table top as an end stop, giving a very effective skittle alley. A hard fought battle broke out, with several teams of 4 joining in what was a very light hearted skittle match which eventually was won by Tonyís team (Have they been practising on the quiet?). I donít think anyone managed to knock all 9 skittles over but one or two managed 8. Food was a simple affair, again produced by Tony, of baked potatoes with a cheese topping.

The Sunday forecast was for a nice little north westerly plus some rain. Well we must have been a very righteous bunch as the nice little north westerly arrived but the rain didnít, and early morning drizzle soon melted away and things were looking good for a reduced 4 series set of races around a ďqĒ shaped course. Our Race Officer of the day James Dowrick and his team of Speedy Gonzales Paddy & Steve Coello soon had a nice sized course arranged which also provided first class viewing from the Clubhouse and without further ado we came under starterís orders for the 1st race. The plan was to start the Tasars and then 5 minutes later start the handicap fleet. A plan that worked very well indeed and separation of the fleets was maintained throughout the races.

Now the reservoir sailors in the Tasar fleet must have thought that they were back at home as the 8-10 knot westerly produced a very flat bay with virtually no swell, almost perfect reservoir conditions. The only danger to anyone was the giant jelly fish which we have in abundance at the moment, there are literally 1000s out there and our visitors from Babbacombe tell me that they are having similar problems up there. Many of them just glide along only just under the surface. They look very spectacular as you sail past them but I donít think any one survived the day without slicing through at least one with our dagger boards. I must admit that it is rather alarming when you hit one as the sudden deceleration comes as a bit of a shock and the sacrificial packing in the dagger board case becomes very welcome. Anyway enough of that the conditions were nigh on perfect for Tasar sailing, with enough wind to keep everyone hiking and the reaches tight enough for some exhilarating planing; just what a Tasar was designed for.

I donít know how it happened but Ken & I nailed the start of the first race and with the aid of some nice wind shifts sped up the beat to round first followed by Ian & Sue Butterworth. The pair of us pulled away from the rest of the fleet before Ian & Sueís better speed on the run took them into a lead that they held to the end. Steve & Polly had an uncharacteristic poor first beat and spent the entire race playing catch up to eventually take 3rd.

Steve & Polly made up for their earlier mistakes by wining the 2nd race in style, with us taking 2nd again and more importantly keeping the Butterworths behind in 3rd place, and then it was back to the beach in time for lunch. Nigel, Catherine & Sophie between them provided enough pasties, toasted sandwiches, coffees and teas etc to keep everyone happy before we launched again for two more races.

The breeze was still holding and with the rain showing no signs of arriving meant that we could launch again in comfort from our nice sheltered sandy beach to rendezvous with the race team in the starting area. Once again we had an extremely good start and terrific first beat and over the next 2 rounds built up a large lead over our pursuers. We were given a massive fright when on the last beat we almost lost our almost unassailable lead, by being on the wrong side of a massive shift that almost allowed Steve & Polly to spoil our party but fortunately there was enough separation to allow for some tight covering to ensure that we took the win.

We now had the situation that after 3 races we had the same top 3 and each team had won a race so the 4th race was going to be decider. Once again team Rigby nailed the start and first beat, but only just, and we eventually had to give way to Steve & Polly on the run. I think the fleet as a whole was getting better at spotting the windshifts by now as we had quite a gaggle of boats contesting the beats and the majority seemed to be arriving at the windward mark very close together. John Lawton & Lizzie Ball who had been battling with Liz & Roger Pescod and Tony & Sandy Pane for most of the races joined the top 3 for a while and approaching the end of the 2nd beat were right in the mix in the shifty conditions to be found near the windward mark. Our new pairing of Justin and Charlie suddenly found a higher gear and some better form and slipped into 3rd position for a while and appeared quite fast on the reaches but slipped back again on the 3rd and last beat. Once again Steve & Polly maintained good downwind speed to take the lead and the win and the Open meeting, leaving us to finish 2nd again and a good recovery from the Butterworths moved them back up to 3rd to finish 3rd overall.

Now I havenít a clue what was happening in the handicap fleet, but there was enough strength in the wind to allow Richard in his Contender to trapeze and once trapezing a Contender is almost impossible to beat and it was no surprise to me to see Richard win all 4 races, though not by massive margins. Jan & Pete sailed a very consistent set of races, and their main protagonists were Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion who managed to take 2nd in the 2nd race, but the Barnes came good in the afternoon to clinch 2nd overall by taking 2 more 2nd s to go with their mornings result. The spinnaker boats suffered a little on the ďqĒ course as the reaches were a little tight at times for the spinnakers but enjoyed the runs as they could fly them unimpeded. Only 2 Laser radials appeared today and Janet Preston, still learning her trade managed to beat the more experienced Brian Reeves in 3 of the 4 races to take 4th overall behind the Kendalls.

Capín Beacky & Kelvin took to the water for the first time in 5 or 6 weeks for sea trials of which they seemed happy with so maybe Paul & Kelvin may up the ante next week and join in the racing. Their Scorpion appeared to be just as fast, so maybe just a little extra confidence is all that is needed.

May 20th
Scorpion being prepared for the fray
Jelly Fish, I hate jelly fish

Jelly fish, thereís 100s of the big barrel ones out in the bay and Ken & I hit at least 5 as we raced last night and it is very disconcerting at the time. There is a dramatic slow down of the boat and quite a horrendous noise as the dagger board skews backwards. For every jelly fish we hit we saw dozens more as they slipped along beside the boat. I know that we werenít the only ones to hit jelly fish as most of the sailors I spoke to claimed similar experiences. I donít know what has brought them to our shores but they really must like it as there are so many of them out there.

Fortunately we didnít have any racing scheduled for Monday or Tuesday as if we had then it would have been cancelled due to the very strong winds blowing. For the last 48 hours we have had winds in excess of 30 knots blowing during the day time and the bay has looked far too windswept to sail. Sue & I went over to Newquay on Monday and over at Fistral we could hardly stand up, it was so windy. Mountainous seas and huge breakers were the order of the day. Not a soul was in surfing either, showing just how strong the surf was. Fortunately for us, on Wednesday, the winds were starting to abate as the day wore on but there was still quite a fresh breeze blowing as we turned up at the Club for the 6th race of the Wednesday series, well it would be if we had sailed them all. In fact it was actually the 3rd that we sailed due to adverse weather on 3 of the earlier dates.

Luckily the sky was blue; the sun was shining and the wind still lively but, genuinely fading although there were still some meaty gusts sweeping out from the shore, the sea however was extremely flat, which was a bonus for us all. The tide was only 2 hours off high tide so there wasnít much beach to play with but at least launching was very easy and it wasnít too far to pull up the trolleys. In fact it was the nearest youíll get to reservoir launching and recovery and still sail on the sea.

Jan & Pete were our RIB drivers tonight and they must have felt rather peeved when they saw the conditions and knew that they would have to view the proceedings from the RIB rather than in their Kestrel. Our racing was slightly delayed when they had to rescue a Fireball sailor who was out single handed with only the main up. His forestay had parted and the mast was only staying up due to the mast clamp at deck level. Meanwhile as they were otherwise occupied we took the opportunity to test the wind strength and shifts and play at some reaching, very nice too. Eventually our small fleet of 13 was rewarded when we came under starterís orders and set off on another race into a westerly breeze, meaning we were beating in from the day marker towards the beach marks for a port rounding. I thought for a while that we were going to round first as Jeremy & Suzanne past behind us earlier on the beat. But as per normal they sneaked in just in front of us, but at least we had the faster boats of Speedy Gonzales aka Paddy and Steve in their RS400 and Richard in his Contender behind us. Even Dennis & Brian, first time out tonight, had conditions to suit them but even they trailed behind us so things werenít looking too bad.

Justin and Charlie made up the 4th Tasar out tonight, but the initial conditions were just a bit too strong for them upwind. The slow fleet had 3 battles going on with 2 Supersofas of Simon & John battling and the 2 Scorpions of Kay & Nigel and Andrew & Jenny and the 3 Laser radials of James, Brian and Clive, all had their moments in the sun so to speak. The faster of those boats racing in gthe slow fleet were the Scorpions but it was the slightly slower Supersofa of Simon who lead the fleet home on the shortened course to take a good win, before the 2 Scorpions finished; Andrew and Jenny finishing their personal battle 14 seconds in front of Kay & Nigel. We had glimpsed them in the distance at times swapping positions so they probably had the most fun of all. James proved to be the fastest Laser of all but couldnít save his time against Simon who took another victory but this time by only 4 seconds over James.

We had one of our better races for a long time as we managed to cling to Jeremyís wake for most of the first 2 rounds. Unfortunately neither of us could match Paddy & Steveís downwind speed when their spinnaker was flying, but we had some sort of sweet revenge when we overtook them again on the 2nd beat, only to have to say goodbye to them as they used their superior speed down wind to disappear on the reaches. Richard suffered from a poor start and although he caught us up just couldnít generate enough speed to pass and eventually retired when the wind went very light. Dennis & Brian fell away a bit on the reaches but still maintained a good distance over Justin & Charlie so things weren't looking too bad for them.

The wind continued to fade as the race progressed and we fully expected the race to be shortened as we approached the beach marks for the 4th or 5th time, but no, we were sent on our way again, which for us was a round too far, as we slowly crept along the reach towards the gybe mark. This proved manna from heaven for Paddy & Steve as there was just enough breeze for their spinnaker to keep flying and they moved up from a probable 3rd to 1st position on corrected time, demoting Jeremy & us to 2nd and 3rd. Dennis & Brian lost out even more because the wind dropping proved a veritable bonus for Justin & Charlie as they overtook Dennis on the reaches and pulled further away on the last beat to take 3rd Tasar.

So far this month the weather has been far below normal for May, but there are signs of milder weather returning for this weekend coming which just happens to be the weekend of the Tasar Open meeting and on the Sunday the May Cup. I know of at least 3 Tasars coming for the weekend and the better forecast might entice one or two more to come also, though not many people like travelling much nowadays, mainly put off by the cost. But Porthpean does have a certain magic to it so hopefully we might entice other sailors to the May Cup as after all it is a FREE entry. Tony has a special skittles evening lined up for Saturday evening and the alley was assembled last night all ready for its first roll up. Once again free entry for all.

PS Itís not the best forecast for the weekend as the wind may be light but it should be warmer.

May 17th
See who does all the work
The return of the westerlies gives very flat water but frustrations around the beach marks

Wow, what a good Sunday this turned out to be, this will become obvious later. For a nice change we had much milder weather and more importantly, what seemed like a very light westerly breeze, which was rather deceptive when viewed from the shelter of the Clubhouse, where there didnít appear to be much wind at all. For a pleasant change the bay was as flat as a snooker table. Launching was much easier than of late with very flat water, but one or two unexpected wavelets appearing from time to time to catch out the unwary. One other problem that was completely hidden from the shore was the giant jelly fish. There are hundreds of them out there and we did manage to hit a few with disastrous consequences for them and a severe loss of boat speed for any of us if and when we struck one. Once again only a modest fleet of 13 boats launched to race today in what turned out to be very nice sailing conditions. Watching from the shore was a rapidly improving, health wise, Paul Beacon, who hopes to dip his toes in the water so to speak next week and go out for an exploratory sail to see how he gets on.

Steve & Polly were in charge of the safety boat today and set a very nice port course, beating in from the day marker direction to our beach marks before we bore away onto the first of 2 reaches. Once again the beach marks proved a very tricky path to negotiate. Paddy & Steve in their RS400 managed to make the best of the beat the first time round, by banging the left hand side of the beat, whereas those who chose the right side of the beat, which included Ken & me could only look on in dismay as we realised how much distance we had lost out. Another big loser in these predominantly light conditions was Richard in his Contender. The morning race was certainly not to his liking as there was no trapezing to be done. Unfortunately he just had to suffer and hope to get the subsequent beats better. Paddy & Steve also had the bonus of a spinnaker to take them down the reaches giving them enough distance to take a good win on corrected time. Jan & Pete were our closest rivals in the morning race with us both trading positions on the water. We started the last beat with a comfortable lead over them but I failed to get the beat right and also failed to cover them and they pulled through us towards the end of the beat. A last throw of the dice from us, in the last 100 metres or so took us back into a lead over them and there was just enough distance between us for us to take 2nd place by the lowly margin of 3 seconds.

The start of the race was fairly interesting as Chris & Tony chose to have a go at a port flyer. Unfortunately for them it went hopelessly wrong as they were not close enough to the line at the start to be able to sail through anyone and had to be content with bringing up the rear. In contrast James had an excellent first beat, so much so that he was alongside us at the end of the first beat with the 2 Scorpions in close proximity. We were staring at a rapidly disappearing RS400 and Jan & Peteís Kestrel, giving us with an almost impossible task of closing the gap, but never give up.

Despite capsizing, James went on to take 1st on corrected time, though had to give line honours to Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. Once again Steve & Ashley encountered problems, this time with their spinnaker which was enough to force them to retire, and give 3rd place to Janet Preston, still getting used to Laser sailing. The other 2 boats in the slow handicap in the morning race was Piran Fisher sailing solo in his Feva and Charlie sailing his Topper, with them finishing 5th and 6th.

The wind had swung a little to the south west for the 2nd race but after adjusting the beat we were still left with a port hand course racing towards the beach marks. Jeremy, very kindly, lent his Tasar to Nigel & Colin and Pascual & Sue came out to play giving us 4 Tasars on the water. The breeze had freshened a little for the afternoon race with enough strength in it to allow Richard to Trapeze upwind, which was bad news for us Tasar sailors. Once again the first beat turned into a bit of a lottery and once again was headed by Paddy & Steve and then we had a bit of a log jam with Nigel & Colin, Richard, us and James in his Laser, all trying to round the beach marks together. I managed to get us into a bit of a pickle, enough to drop us behind both Nigel & Colin and Richard. I think we clawed some of the distance back on the reaches but such is the speed of Jeremyís Tasar and the skill of Nigel that we started the 2nd beat still struggling in 4th place on the water. For once Jan & Pete had a poor first beat and they had an even bigger distance to make up. By the time we started the last round, we had managed to pass Nigel & Colin but not Richard. Paddy & Steve despite creating a good distance between us on the earlier rounds appeared to slow up, so much so that as we started the last beat, they started to look vulnerable. For once Lady Luck smiled on us. As we started the last beat we found that we were on a fantastic lift, which lifted us way up on Richard and as we made hay we could see much further up the track the RS struggling on the opposite tack. The lift was enough to take us up to within a few boat lengths of the RS and I knew then that we had made up all the handicap time we had lost earlier. Andrew & Jenny had their bad luck with their spinnaker in this race, causing them to capsize and they too were in the mÍlťe as 4 boats closed in on the finishing line. Stewart, time keeping in the race box, had his work cut out as 4 of us finished within 10 seconds. We were 3 seconds behind Paddy & level with Richard, which gave us a terrific win on corrected time. Nigel & Colin, still had their moment of glory as they took 2nd on corrected time in front of Richard. The last beat proved very costly to Paddy & Steve as Jan & Pete took 4th place, just 1 second in front of Paddy; now how close was that?

James made the most of his boat speed today to take a clear win by over 7 Ĺ minutes on 2nd placed Janet Preston in her Laser Radial. Janet in turn beat the Kendalls by over 3 minutes but they were severely handicapped by a capsize caused by a gust when trying to drop their spinnaker. Sometimes I wish that we had a spinnaker but when I see some of the troubles they cause I think on balance that we are better off without one.

Next weekend sees the annual Tasar open meeting on Saturday & Sunday and the May Cup for Club members on the Sunday. There will be a separate start time for the Tasars and Club boats to try and keep the fleets apart and we will be sailing on a ďPĒ shaped course. The programme is for 2 races back to back Saturday afternoon and 4 races on Sunday. It will be a busy weekend but hopefully a happy & friendly occasion. Just try and be part of it.

May 14th
See who does all the work
Very strange but welcome conditions

I must admit I didnít expect to sail last night when I arrived at the Club. The very light south easterly breeze blowing hardly spread a ripple over the water and that together with the lumpy sea promised a very frustrating time on the water. Much to my surprise and the delight of the 14 boat fleet the conditions improved rapidly. Whilst Andrew & Jenny, our safety boat drivers for the night were trying to lay a course, we slowly sailed up wind to check the direction and try to spot any movement in wind direction. I should also add that we launched under a very blue sky with a line of clouds to be seen on the horizon, further out to sea. Those clouds were to be our salvation as they slowly and yet inexorably made their way towards us. As they came overhead they showered us with their hidden treasure; wind!! The breeze suddenly perked up to a lively 10 knots or so. In fact there was suddenly plenty of breeze, enough to allow us to hike and plane, though by now the breeze had switched from a south easterly to a full blooded southerly so some time was needed to move the windward mark round to keep the beat sweet.

The fleets had a fairly even spread, 6 fast handicappers and 8 slow handicappers. 3 Tasars, RS400, Blaze and Kestrel made up the fast fleet and 1 Scopion, 3 Supernovas, and 4 Laser radials made up the slow fleet. For the first time this year we had 3 Supersofas racing, Simon had at last some competition, being joined by John Hill & Jeremy Rowett. Kay & Nigel sailed the only Scorpion out tonight and I expected to see them have a good battle with the Sofas as they are not too dissimilar in speed with the Scorpion having a slight edge.

Something went wrong with the starting sequence as the 1 minute gun wasnít sounded and no flag came down. In fact there was a bit of a mix up between race control and the safety boat, which unfortunately meant that the count down had to be aborted and the countdown had to be re started. Anyway, all went well with the 2nd starting sequence and we were soon on our way. There wasnít enough bias on the line to go for a port start but nevertheless the majority of the fleet started by the safety boat, but Ken & I started in fairly clear wind down near the pin end and went up the left side of the course and seemed to be driving well in front of the rest of the fleet, until we neared the starboard lay line and had to duck behind Jeremy & Suzanne. At least we were in a good 2nd position, in front of the faster RS400 sailed by Paddy & Steve.

The reaches were a bit fluffy, with planes possible at times and other times when we just ambled along, which didnít give us quite enough drive to prevent the spinnaker powered RS from shooting past us and they then went on to pass Jeremy & Suzanne just before the leeward mark. Some drama happened on the first gybe mark with quite a number of boats fighting to round. For some reason I looked back and saw the upturned hull of Kay & Nigel who had been in a very good position. Although they went on to take line honours, the time lost in their capsize demoted them to 5th place on corrected time. Another mishap occurred to Jeremy Rowett when the shackle on the clew of his sail opened leaving him to be towed back to the shore by the safety boat. In fact tonightís race was a triumph for the Lasers as the 3 that finished the race took the top 3 positions, demoting Simon who at least had the honour of beating the other Sofas into 4th position. Clive, sailing the 4th Laser decided to bale out early as the breeze rose to more lively conditions.

The wind moved round slowly back to the south east as the evening went on making the beat more one sided and the 2nd reach more of a run. The sea became very lumpy and we took one or two large waves over our bow as we beat into the swell. The swell did provide some very spectacular planing moments when we were running before the waves back to the beach marks; quite a rare condition at Porthpean.

Although Paddy & Steve sailed on and took line honours the 2 Tasars finished close enough behind them to demote the RS down to 3rd, but that was still good enough for them to finish in front of Roger, back racing with us and he must have enjoyed the more lively conditions tonight after the estuary sailing of Rock. Roger had the consolation of finishing in front of Justin & Charlie who are just waiting for lighter conditions to make their lighter weight work for them. Unfortunately for them the breeze tonight was just too strong. Jan & Pete also found the conditions not the best for their Kestrel and took the dubious honour of finishing behind us all. As we turned for home after the race we realised that we would have to run the gauntlet of the building waves before we could touch down on terra firmer. Fortunately with the tide out there was plenty of beach to play with and we all landed without any undue drama.

Wednesday evening racing isnít proving too good this year with only 2 out of the 5 so far scheduled races being sailed. The weather still hasnít moved into a settled phase and until then our racing will be a bit of hit & miss. Still it was nice to get back into the Clubhouse to be greeted by Jennyís hot bacon butties, which once again were a sell out.

May 10thA grey day but great racing conditions for all
Getting the boat ready
Ready to launch
This blog has been a political free zone over the 9 years that I have been writing it but please excuse my indulgence as now and again it is time to break my rules.

We have just witnessed one of the most amazing elections results for many years. For a long time we have been told by all the pundits that we would have another hung Parliament, and whosoever leanings you listened to told us it would be either another Conservative / Liberal coalition team or maybe a Labour / SNP coalition team ruling us for another 5 years. The actual outcome was almost impossible to forecast and indeed it would have taken a very wise and clever person to predict the eventual outcome. I do believe that some of the results were sealed early on in the campaign when in the case of Mr Clegg, he started his first address of the leaders television debate by going to great lengths to verbally assassinate the Conservatives and Mr Cameron in particular. I found this rather strange as he had been sitting beside them at Cabinet meetings for the last 5 years, cooperating with them on the majority of decisions. Mr Millibandís fate, for me, was settled when he cosied up to that nut case Russell Brand and then he unveiled his 8 promises set in stone. The UKIP party may have some very good ideas, but could you see them, in all honesty, forming a Government that could be trusted to serve us all on the World stage? Anyway thatís enough of all that lets see how we all get on over the next 5 years before we will have it all to go through again.

Back on subject of sailing and more importantly, PSC managed to get both races in today despite a poor forecast. Once again our fleet was rather depleted with only 10 boats out racing which after the high of the first weekend is rather disappointing. The conditions were, for once, better than forecast with a fresh southerly breeze blowing throughout. There was enough grunt in the wind to keep us hiking upwind and enough left over for the reaches enabling us Tasar sailors especially to carry some very good speed in the waves. It was rather gusty at times but today the gusts were easy to spot and easy to deal with. In fact I would go so far as to say that today produced the best conditions for sailing so far this year. The only down side was that it was rather cold with the air temperature no more than about 13 C and the sky heavily overcast. I know it is still quite early in the season but waiting for the sun and warm weather seems to be interminable. I suppose things can and will warm up some time soon. The tide was quite high as we launched so it was a good job that there were no holiday makers on the beach as there wasnít much room to play with. The day started off with a bang in a literal sense for Pete & Jan, when yet another launching trolley wheel exploded as they took the Janny B down to the beach.

Nigel & Richard were our safety boat drivers today and set us a very nice course in the southerly wind wafting over us. Our new thin cylindrical beach marks are so far proving to be a disappointment as with the current tackle they refuse to stand upright enough to allow them to be easily seen from a distance. Fortunately we are only using one at the moment as well as one of the Tribute marks so that one is easy to see and act as a reference mark. Starting at the beach marks gave us a beat towards Blackhead before a sharp left turn and on to a planing reach across the bay before another sharp turn left and the chance to plane down the waves which brought us back to the beach marks. Launching wasnít too bad, though we had to hold the boats in the breaking waves whilst waiting to push off and those waves were large enough to give us quite a soaking before we left the shore which certainly cooled us down quite a lot. Fortunately our work load was enough to create some warmth otherwise it would have been quite miserable out there. The sea state has been rather easterly for quite a while, mixed with some very strong south westerlyís, which has been enough to redistribute the sand on the beach and remove most of the weed but the bay itself was quite lumpy. One other hazard that we had today was the numerous giant jelly fish swimming around and Iím afraid to say that we caught one or two with our dagger board which did them more harm than us, though the dramatic slow down is quite alarming when it happens.

Paddy & Steve considered the conditions too much for their B14 and instead took their RS400 out to play. Maybe the numerous capsizes last year were still fresh in their minds and the ever cold weather and water didnít help their B14 campaign to get off the ground. Actually our reaches were tight enough to favour the RS400 rather than the B14 so I think they had a better and more rewarding sail in the RS.

Steve & Polly won both races today, leading the morning race from the word go but were eventually overtaken by Paddy & Steve who rounded the first mark in 3rd behind Ken & me but found extra speed on the reaches courtesy of their spinnaker to finish 1st on the water but not far enough ahead to save their handicap time. We struggled a bit in the first race but still had enough in hand to take a comfortable 2nd place on corrected time. The afternoon race was much closer. Paddy & Steve lead at the first mark and moved further ahead as the race progressed. Steve & Polly were still 1st Tasar but had to work hard as Ken & I managed to stay with them most of the way round, closing right up to their transom on the 3rd beat but over standing the windward mark dropped us too far behind and left us with too much ground to make up. Our consolation was that our down wind speed was good and we still managed to beat Paddy & Steve but only by the margin of 5 seconds; lucky us.

Pete & Janet found the lively conditions more of a handful for their Kestrel and eventually suffered the ignominy of capsizing in the morning race. They did have our sympathy as their capsize occurred when they had to take emergency action to avoid Pascual & Sueís Tasar as they were overwhelmed with a gust and had their own capsize to contend with.

There were 2 more firsts of the season today with Charlie Austin taking his Topper out and Piran Fisher taking his Feva out. The slow handicap also had a sort of follow my leader race as Simon Robins in his Supernova took the win in both races, pushing Andrew & Jennyís Scorpion into 2nd place. Nick only managed to complete the first race where he took 3rd, beating Steve & Ashley in their Scorpion into 4th place, who in turn had the better of Piran & Charlie. Steve & Ashley went one better in the afternoon race taking 3rd place and being proud of using their spinnaker for the first time. Steve told me that they had quite a few problems flying it but the old maxim, ďpractice makes perfectĒ will eventually work. I can remember the spinnaker problems that Neil & I had when we first sailed a Mirror dinghy. Mind you once you get the hang of it you can really feel the transformation in boat speed.

I see at the moment as I write this that the forecast for Wednesday is for another dose of fairly fresh south easterly winds accompanied with rain showers, which doesnít auger well for us. Now the weather forecasters do have a habit of being unable to forecast 5 days ahead with any accuracy so we will just have to wait and see whether they get it right for a change or whether we will be able to sail in only our 2nd Wednesday race so far this season. Either way the ongoing forecasts still predict unsettled weather; summer is a long time coming this year for Cornwall.

May 6th
Boats in love
Yet another Wednesday Evening race cancelled

Thatís 3 out of 4 Spring Wednesday races that we have lost. Once again we fell victim to Mother Nature's penchant for strong winds. Since Sunday we have been plagued with very strong winds, often blowing up to gale force, so I suppose tonight was no real surprise. Strangely enough the bay looked almost sailable as we congregated, but the trained eye could easily spot the bomb blasts that swooshed down and then spread outwards at a rapid rate of knots. Once again, reluctantly, sailing was cancelled. The better news is that things should make a large improvement for Sunday. The current low pressure causing our inclement weather is starting to move away and for a day or two at least we should get a bit of respite and maybe some sailing.

The bar and chat shop opened early, and our attention now moves on to next Sunday; will we or wonít we be sailing? I think yes and I also expect to see a lot more boats out racing.

May 3rdAnother windy day for the intrepid few
sandwich making
better beach
What a changeable beach we have. You only have to look at the pictures above & below to see the changes. Yes in less than 4 days the sand has mostly been replaced and the majority of the seaweed has disappeared. The broken off concrete slab has once again disappeared, for a time anyway, but can be so easily exposed again at the whim of the sea & wind.

That very same sea & wind almost claimed the loss of another sailing day today. The forecast wasnít good at all. With rain and strong winds forecast, but that didnít deter some of our more hardy sailors as we congregated for todayís sailing. We could see that the wind was nothing like as strong as predicted and the bay looked relatively flat. Unfortunately, probably due to the forecast not that many turned up for todayís racing and only 5 of us decided that we would chance the conditions and race. We launched in fairly innocuous conditions to rendezvous at sea with our safety boat, crewed today by James Dowrick & Brian Reeves. Unfortunately that took 2 of our normal racing dinghies from our number, but still, although we were low in numbers, we were high in enthusiasm.

The breeze was a south westerly and in typical south westerly conditions we launched form a very sheltered beach through some waves and reached out towards the day marker. The sea state was slightly sloppy, donít forget we have had some very lumpy seas lately, but in all honesty wasnít too bad. The start saw 4 of us sail across on starboard and the 2 Tasars of Chris & Tony and Ken & myself started off side by side closely accompanied by Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion and Nigel, helming Jamesís Laser. Richard decided that a port hander was for him but actually ended up crossing behind us all. Nevertheless at the first windward mark Richard rounded first with us close behind. Any thoughts of catching Richard down wind were soon blown away as he managed to trapeze down the reaches. The wind started to play funny games with us on the 2nd and subsequent beats and it was quite normal to see 60 degree shifts hitting us. Invariably we would decide to tack only to find the wind following us round to put us back onto another header. All enjoyment went out the window as we struggled to make headway upwind and the closer to Blackhead we sailed the more savage the change in wind direction and strength of the gusts became.

Richard made the most of it and pulled a good distance away from us but at least we had the consolation of being a good way in front of the rest of the fleet. The wind was by now starting to get much stronger and I think we were all glad when after some 45 minutes the course shorten flag was flown and we began the journey back to the beach and the lottery of surfing through the waves.

As we ate lunch some squally showers came through, white horses started to litter the bay and enthusiasm to launch for another race was running at rock bottom so we decided, quite rightly in my opinion, to call it a day and with great relief the safety boat was launched to recover the marks and we all made the long trek, complete with undamaged dinghies back to the safety of the dinghy park. Why was the weather so bad? I suppose that was fairly obvious, it is a Bank Holiday after all.

April 29th
launching launching launching
Still trouble with seaweed on the beach
I think I said last Sunday that sailing tonight would be dubious as the weather forecast was dire. In the event the forecast was way off target and at the 3rd attempt our Wednesday Evening series finally started. Since Sunday the tides have been slowly moving over from neaps to springs and last night was about half way between the transitions, meaning that the beach is slowly beginning to shed itself of the mounds of seaweed gathered previously. Unfortunately the heaps at the top of the beach are now starting to smell very unpleasant. It is also becoming very slimy and it wasnít a very nice task to have to move boats over it. Once again our trusty ramps were called out of retirement to help us get the boats onto the beach as can be seen above with the safety boat.

For the first time this year we sailed with a westerly breeze, which I think is one of my favourite wind directions as it does give us a very flat sea, BUT does give us some very challenging conditions as we approach the beach marks and last night was no exception, which I appeared to get wrong each time.

Steve Mitchell & Clive Stephens were our safety boat drivers for the race and the initial breeze which was forecast to be a south westerly must have caught them out as no sooner had they set a course then they had to tweak it around to suit the sudden appearance of the westerly breeze. So after a short delay the 10 boats out racing tonight were duly sent on their way. It was almost impossible to cross the line on port so that produced a large gaggle of all 10 boats vying to start right by the safety boat, which then caused quite a bit of chaos. From the resultant mÍlťe out shot Nick Haskin, making one of his best starts for years, hitting a gap to windward of everybody else at speed to shoot into an early lead.

After a little bit of wriggling we looked to be in good shape, but could see that Jeremy & Suzanne were once again heading the fleet, but we looked to be in an easy 2nd until Justin & Charlie came charging through the fleet to almost catch us as we rounded the beach marks for the first time. Not far behind them was Jan & Pete in their Kestrel, once again showing some fine speed, but although they could fly their spinnaker down wind just werenít fast enough to catch 3 of the Tasars when in reaching mode. There were 4 Tasars out tonight but Chris & Tony became bogged down fighting with other boats to be able to make much progress on the beat and had to battle back downwind against the 2 Scorpions of Kay & Nigel who incidentally had the upper hand all evening over the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny. James in his radial showed that his winter coaching was being well rewarded by heading all in his fleet to take a well deserved win. He didnít have it all his own way as Finn was out in his Laser radial also giving a good account of himself.

Unfortunately as I write this report there are no race results on the web so difficult to be accurate but my memory tells me that after a very close battle with Justin & Charlie, they started the last beat just in front of us, we managed to pass them and open up a reasonable gap only to lose out again as we approached the pesky beach marks and had to watch them sail across our bows, then I managed to play my ďget out of jail cardĒ. As Justin passed in front of us on his final tack to the beach marks I had no option but to hang on for an extra boat length before we tacked and how lucky did that decision turn out to be. We could see that Justin was suddenly being hit by an enormous header and for once it didnít come our way. Instead we just maintained our lane to the beach mark, tacked and there we were back in front again. In the space of probably 1 Ĺ minutes we had gone from a poor third to a very impressive second; unbelievable but there you are, we had some very frustrating headers ourselves at times so I suppose lady luck did balance out a little. Nevertheless we did have very close sailing and probably enjoyed our race more than Jeremy & Suzanne who sailed in a lonely 1st position all night.

By the time we arrived on shore the wind had died considerably and the evening chill was starting to make inroads to us all, even though we were dressed suitably for the conditions. The boats were put to bed the safety boat and tackle washed down and then it was retiring to the clubhouse for the first bacon butties of the season, courtesy of Jenny and a welcome drink from the bar. Yes, normal Wednesday service has been restored.

April 26th
weedy beach weedy beach
A 3 race day, - very tiring for some!!
I was complaining about the amount of weed on the beach last week, but today it was even worse when we were greeted with mountains of the stuff. There are great heaps of sea weed all along the beach and this made getting on and off the slipway very heavy going. There were even one or two holiday makers around, looking very unimpressed as they vainly tried to find a clear space to drop their belongings.

Fortunately our ramps that were constructed last year and have spent most of their time laying in the garage were brought out of retirement to help us get the safety boat and indeed many of our dinghies on & off the beach, so that our safety boat drivers for the day Chris & Nigel could organise our racing for us. This time of the season is all about firsts, and today was the first time that we tried out one of our new racing marks. We have invested in 2 tall, slim racing marks to utilise on the beach marks. For several years now we have uses the large Tribute marks to help guide us round the course but nice and visible that they are they are also very ungainly when trying to tow them or carry them up and down the beach. The new ones are far user friendly and the first one was used in anger today. First reports are very encouraging. The mark stood up loud and proud and was reasonably visible from sea and shore alike. It only needs a little refinement with the anchoring tackle and then can be duplicated for the 2nd mark and we will be all systems go.

Mike Voyzey did not sail much at all last year and sold his Tasar to Justin, but last week he bought himself a Phantom, single handed sailing dinghy and this morning was his first outing in it and for the first race was well in the hunt after the first beat. Nick Haskins also had his first sail of the season today when he launched his Laser and managed to complete all 3 races. I say all 3 races as a compliment as I felt absolutely shattered when I arrived home after todayís racing and I expect Nick must have felt similarly shattered as he is slightly older than me. It was also the first outing of the year for Justin and new crew Charlie Austin in Justinís Tasar, starting off in what could be a very fast combination as the year progresses. Pascal & Sue also made the start line for the first race, but starting well behind the entire fleet didnít help their result, but finish they did.

We left the beach in a very light breeze sailing out to be greeted with a northerly breeze blowing across the bay from left to right, giving us one of the more rare courses that we sail. Very pleasingly we had a fleet of 12 dinghies and 3 wind surfers, which joined in our racing at various times. Now with 3 races sailed over the day my memory is not good enough for all the details but I can remember more about the first race and at the end of the first beat we all witnessed the new fast Kestrel of Jan & Pete bearing off onto the reach in first place. Ken & I languished much further back and were greeted by the sight of 3 of the 5 Tasars out today, Richard in his Contender and Mike in his Phantom all rounding in front of us. I think this procession carried on in its status quo for the ensuing reaches until the 2nd beat, when lots of places changed. Jeremy & Suzanne took their place in the lead, followed by Steve & Polly and then Ken & me. Yes we had a much better 2nd beat to complete a Tasar 123. The slow fleet was almost completely Laser orientated with 3 radials and one full rigged Laser up against the Scorpion of Steve & Ashley. Now they say things some times go in threes and today was no exception, when for the 3rd race in a row Steve & Ashley were towed back to the shore to carry out yet another modification to the boat. This left the 4 Lasers to battle it out; a battle that was comprehensibly won by James, winning all 3 races today by very good margins. Actually all 3 radials beat the full rigged Laser of Nick in what was the lightest race of the 3 races today.

The 2nd race of the day was raced right after lunch but only 9 dinghies sailed out to race. The breeze had increased somewhat which gave us one very good planing reach, which was a joy to sail. Steve & Polly had the best start and first beat and increased their lead as the race progressed, leaving Jeremy & Suzanne behind. I believe that Janet was given her first introduction to St Austell Bay when she had her first capsize of the season and called it a day after finishing the race. Once again James sailed on to a very good victory in the slow fleet with Brian Reeves once again tucked into 2nd place.

By the time we started the 3rd race the wind had started to build and produce some stronger gusts, which were certainly not to my liking, though Jeremy & Suzanne thrived on the conditions, sweeping into an early lead which they extended for a while before Steve & Polly started to eat into their lead for a while. Jeremy turned on the turbo for the 3rd beat and pulled well clear to take their 2nd race of the day. James too raced well, winning his third race of the day.

We turn our attention now to next Wednesday. The forecast is dire and if it proves correct will mean that we will lose our 3rd Wednesday race on the trot (An event that has happened before). We could also do with a complete weather change to drag the seaweed from the beach, though this is the time of the year for it to get worse so we may have to battle with it for a few more weeks yet. Donít forget it is still only April, we may be in spring but it is still rather cold in the evenings and will remain so until the warmer south westerlyís breath over us once again.

April 22nd
rough old beach
2nd consecutive Wednesday night race cancelled
They say that things often go in threes so it was no real surprise when tonightís sailing was the 3rd racing session in a row to be cancelled. The root cause of the consecutive cancellations was the biting cold strong easterly winds that we have suffered for almost 2 weeks now. The up side of the breeze has resulted in almost day after day of wall to wall sunshine and if you could seek a sheltered spot out of the wind then although only in April you would be easily fooled into thinking we were in high summer. Unfortunately that was no consolation to us and those hardy members who made the pilgrimage to the Club tonight soon realised that the conditions were just not conducive for sailing. The picture alongside should show the story. I stress to say that it wasnít the strength of the wind that defeated us it was the size of the waves breaking on the beach that was the deal breaker.

The prospective good news is that better sailing weather is on the horizon for the forthcoming Sunday. The wind is set to swing round to the North West, not the warmest I should add but should have the benefit of flattening the sea somewhat and with a bit of luck will make launching and recovery much safer and less stressful. To add to our woes we have also lost a lot of sand from the beach and the slipway especially has lost an enormous amount, there are also some large mounds of weed that have been deposited on the beach which until removed will start to smell and attract myriads of flies. Experience tells us that normal service courtesy of Mother Nature should eventually return our beach to how it should be, but how long that will take is anybodyís guess.

Keep your fingers crossed for Sunday.

April 20th
wild beach wedd strewn beach
Another lost sailing day
Unfortunately over the weekend the weather men were 100% correct with their forecast. Saturday proved to be very windy with a cold easterly whipping up the bay with some very strong waves smashing onto the beach. It was almost impossible to walk along the pathway above the beach without getting soaked as the tide came to its zenith.

Although the wind had died down a lot by Sunday morning there were still strong sets of waves pounding onto the beach. A dedicated team of sailors might have braved the conditions to launch, though it would have been an uphill battle to get sufficient speed to breach the surf and Iím sure that some would have come to grief. The beach itself was covered with weed and stones and more of the beach has disappeared, temporarily I hope. The end of the steepest part of the slipway is almost uncovered, which all in all amounts to tons and tons of sand being moved. No doubt it will return in due course, it usually does. I even saw one of the mussel farm buoys being carried away by 2 people. The buoy had broken free from its mooring about a mile out to sea and was now about to start a new life as part of a raft.

Rather grimly we are still not out of the woods yet as the forecast is forthe fresh south easterlies to blow until at least Wednesday, before they finally give way to our more accustomed westerlies. The resultant weather will probably cause us to cancel Wednesdaysí sailing as well. So far our racing to not racing ratio is not looking very good at all. Even onshore although it was rather pleasant sitting in the sun that too was tempered by the cold and I mean cold wind that though less in strength than Saturday was still cold enough to chill the body.

Pascal's hat Pascal's hat Pascal's hat
Pascal's hat

Pascal turned up with a natty new hat that one of his fans had bought for him and decided to model it for us to see which style we preferred. The hat can be worn in several different ways as can be seen so please pass on to Pascal which style you prefer.

April 15th
windless bay
1st Wednesday night race cancelled
You canít knock the beautiful weather that we are having at the moment but inevitably when we have the wind from the east it results in either too windy and rough on the beach or no wind at all especially in the evenings; and that my friends was the case last night. The bay was completely flat and we didnít even have the false hope of apparent wind in the yard, lifting up over the cliffs. It was more than a shame as the turnout looked pretty promising, but there you are, sailing is a sport that is more dependant on the weather than many other sports.

The lack of sailing did not stop the bar from opening so at least many thirsts were quenched earlier than expected. As I write this I note that the forecast for the weekend goes to the other extreme with fresh easterlies promised. If true then we will have a very lively beach and possibly waves to contend with.

April 12th
champagne sailing
A very lively day's racing
After a fairly easy start into the sailing calendar last week we were straight into a more fruity windy day today. Fortunately for Ken and me, we were ensconced in the safety boat, so although exposed to the wind we were guaranteed not to capsize; a fate that was to befall several others. Knowing that we all have to do several duties over the season we elected to take an early hit and do 3 duties in succession, hoping that we can then have a good spell of sailing. Well thatís the plan, the down side is you donít know in advance what the sailing conditions will be like, and todayís conditions were quite tasty for Tasar sailors, which was a shame as only 2 ventured out today.

I think we were all surprised but pleased to see a familiar face poke his head round the gate this morning. Paul Beacon, fresh from his staring role in Treliske proved that despite a heart attack he was still in the land of the living. Kelvin brought him down to give us all the chance to speak to him. His little episode was caught in enough time to mean that very little damage was done and hopefully he will be able to go sailing again in a few weeks time. At least the weather may be a bit warmer by then and I donít think he would be too keen to sail in todayís conditions. We were also treated to another older appearance today. Allan Mitchell a former regular Scorpion sailor for many years at Porthpean, now at the grand old age of 92 had travelled down from Plymouth with Steve & Polly to over see proceedings. He was looking very well indeed and took a great interest in all he saw and spent quite a time reminiscing of days of old.

We started the season last week with an entry of 14 boats, but today, probably down to the conditions we were reduced to 11 boats. Making their first appearance of the season was Brian Reeves in his Laser, James in his Laser, Roger in his Blaze, Steve & Polly in their Tasar, Paddy & Steve in their RS400 and the much awaited Steve & Ashley in their Scorpion. Now if you add those to the 14 of the week before we immediately come to what would be a 20 boat fleet and with quite a few more helms missing from action then our possible fleets could be nearer the 30 plus mark.

Unfortunately Polruan weather station has not been displaying the wind strength for several weeks now, but Pete Barnes visited the NCI station at Carlyon bay just before he came to the Club and was told that the wind strength was a steady 22 knots, which for March sailing is quite meaty. Typically a south westerly is very deceptive at the Club as it appears to very benign on the beach, but out at sea, deprived of the protection of the cliffs life for the intrepid dinghy sailor becomes somewhat more difficult. Laying a course to suit has its difficulties as although it is fairly easy to lay a good beat the layout of our part of the bay inevitably gives a tightish reach to the beach marks, bread & honey for the reaching boats but not so good for the spinnaker flyers. The 2nd reach back out to sea was broader and that one suited the spinnaker boys a little better so I suppose there was something for everyone.

Our time in the safety boat certainly wasnít boring as we were almost constantly on the go attending capsized boats so my grasp on the racing was more hazy than when I am actually racing. Our start line looked fairly square and no one was tempted to go for a port hand flyer which under the weather circumstances was probably a good idea. We had to sit on the start line for quite a while waiting for Steve & Ashley to get over the start line. In the event they never made it. We noticed that the mainsail looked far too full and that was preventing them from beating. It turned out that the kicker had broken and one of the main sheet pulleys was jamming. All in all a recipe for going nowhere upwind at all. Eventually the main was dropped and they were towed ashore for repairs, which was a sad end for their first attempt at a race. Meanwhile the meaty conditions were just what Richard in his Contender wanted, allowing him to trapeze uphill and down hill and he took an early lead which eventually became a contest between him and Steve & Polly who were playing catch up after a fairly poor first beat. Also in the hunt for honours after good first beats were Roger in his Blaze and Jan & Pete in the super charged Kestrel. Their supercharging came to a sudden halt on one of the reaches when with spinnaker flying they suffered a painful broach and over they went. The new boat presenting its undercarriage to all and sundry for the first time. We were standing off them just waiting for salvage rights watching as they struggled to haul the boat back on to its feet. Once the jammed mainsail was released the boat came up fairly easy and they were soon back in the saddle galloping down the rest of the reach, this time with the spinnaker firmly in its bag. Richard was starting to open up a winning lead but a painful capsize gybing at the beach marks shattered all hopes of a win, which was taken quite easily then by Steve & Polly. Roger was another helm who came to grief at the beach marks. His attempt to wear round proved unsuccessful as despite the safer approach he still went over for the 2nd time in the race and I think the cold water had the final say as he retired and headed back to the shore. Paddy & Steve had a few issues with breakages and they too could be seen berating their upturned RS400 at times.

The slower handicap fleet consisted of 2 Scorpions, 2 Laser radials and a Supersofa helmed by Simon Robbins. Last week Simon had a supreme set of results winning all 3 races but todayís stronger breezes proved too much. The smooth undersides of the hull make the boat far more difficult to control down wind at times and Simon suffered a few capsizes throughout the race and eventually decided to retire. It was the 2 Laser radials that suited the conditions the better than Andrew & Jennyís Scorpion who also suffered a capsize which dropped them back down the fleet leaving James to take a good win over Brian.

Only 10 boats hit the water for the 2nd race, Roger deciding that his morningís exercise was enough for the day. This capsizing lark isnít very common at Rock when he sails his Shrimper. The wind had swung round a little form the morning race direction necessitating in a change of the beat which gave us a port rounding and a beat closer inshore which in itself posed problems. All 10 boats made it over the start line but once again we could see that Steve & Ashley were having problems going upwind. Once again there were problems with sheeting in the mainsail and after a frustrating time they eventually retired to re think the rigging of the boat. We soon realised after seeing the fleet racing that the first reach was far too tight and we desperately worked to drag the leeward mark over the bay quite a distance to allow the spinnaker boats to have a better chance, but didnít have enough time between the boats racing to get it into the ideal position, meaning that Paddy & Steve had to 2 sail that reach rather than being able to us their spinnaker.

Once again the race became a battle between Richard and Steve & Polly, this time Richard although losing his lead at times started to eke out enough distance to give him a chance of saving his time and started the last beat with a bit of hope. Steve & Polly tackled the beat in a different manner, sailing much closer to the cliffs. Their strategy paid off as they not only closed the gap but by the time they converged at the beach marks they were actually in the lead to win their 2nd race of the day. Jan & Pete sailed more steadily in this race and made the most of the spinnaker reaches when they could and that was enough for them to save their time over Paddy & Steve in the RS400 to give them 3rd overall. Chris & Tony battled hard all day but found the conditions far stronger than last week but still finished and more importantly did not capsize. Tony was also given the good news whilst he was on the water that he had just become a Granddad again as his daughter had just given birth, so he came in from the days racing beaming from cheek to cheek.

The conditions still favoured the Lasers this afternoon and once again James soon took an early lead but his hopes of another victory were dashed when he capsized and took quite a time in righting the boat. That left Brian, Robin and the Kendalls to battle for first place, the Kendalls once again had a few problems and that gave the chance for Brian to pounce and claim his first win of the season. Simon was having a better race than in the morning but still suffered from capsize syndrome to slow his overall time down somewhat. James battled back and though couldnít catch Brian his corrected time promoted him to 2nd place, just 2 seconds in front of Robin; now how frustrating is that!

April 5th
busy but no sailing
A quiet way to start the day
Where to start? What to say; so much happened today, but this is a sailing blog, so best keep it to that. Now after the disappointment of not being able to race last weekend due to the strength of the wind we were faced with possibly no sailing again today due to the wind being at the other extreme ie. No wind. The bay was windless when we arrived and the forecasted onshore breeze was nowhere to be seen. Despite that the yard was a hive of activity as quite a bit of fettling was going on with boats being hastily unwrapped. Now not for the first time we just had to sit around and wait for the breeze to fill in. An early lunch was prepared and fortunately by 13.00 a light southerly breeze had kicked in and we were able to launch. 14 boats made up the fleet for the first race of the season, which I think was an extremely good figure. Even the sun decided to make an appearance and the cold weather that had gone on and on for the last few weeks disappeared and suddenly Porthpean was back in business again.
the Kestrel
Before that we had the first launching of Jan & Peteís new Kestrel. The boat pictured here had her maiden sail today and as you will read later did exceptionally well, almost winning her first Race. Their last Kestrel was getting on and probably past her best so a brave decision was made earlier in the year to trade her in for a brand new one. In some ways that can be a very good idea as for not an awful outlay you end up with a brand new boat with brand new sails. We all know how much a suit of sails costs nowadays and to just go out and buy a new one is a big decision.

Before we all launched Pete & Jan had a few bottles of champagne to open and share with us sailors on the beach. Some champagne was also was poured over the boat to bless her for the races and adventures to come and then without much further todo the boat was launched and sped away from the beach.

the Kestrel
Then it was our turn, 14 boats graced the start line for the first race of the season. Fortunately the sun was shining; the temperature which has been low for so long was starting to rise and our enthusiasm for the task in hand was obvious. The southerly breeze was light enough to allow launching without any dramas and we soon made our way out to the newly laid beach marks. Today was also the maiden race for Janet Preston, who was full of nerves but in the event she had some very good races, certainly not disgracing herself and had a beaming smile on her face when she finally arrived on shore after the travails of getting her first 3 races under her belt.

Once again we are using ďDutymanĒ as our roster this season and Nigel lead by example by being the first on the list. Due to the light breeze and the fact that we wanted to get 3 races in as today was Easter Sunday and therefore also was the Easter Cup the course was set smaller than normal, which made the job of Stewart in the OOD box, possibly harder as there wasnít too much of a time interval between boats crossing the course rounding mark.

the Kestrel
The line was heavily port biased for the first race so we had to have a go at a port flyer. Unfortunately the majority of the fleet decided, quite rightly to start on starboard but at the pin end of the line giving us all sorts of problems to find a clear path through them. We had to duck 3 boats then hardened up just behind the starboard crossing Kestrel when I thought we had managed not too bad when Janet & Pete who we were dipping decided to tack just to windward of us. I thought that we would soon sail through them but no, it wasnít to be. The new boat carries much more speed than the old one and they soon pulled out enough to put us in some very dirty air. They were carrying so much speed that they arrived at the windward mark in first place just pipping Jeremy & Suzanne. That must have surprised Jeremy as he managed to collide with them and his subsequent turns dropped him back not far in front of us. That gave Jan & Pete a clear go at the downwind legs and with spinnaker flying proud soon galloped away into what looked like an unassailable lead. Chris & Tony in their Tasar and also Simon Robbins in his Supernova also had very good starts and first beats and arrived at the windward mark in front of us and managed to hold us off on the next 2 downwind legs, then gave us no alternative but to tack away from the favourable tack on the beat to try and escape their dirty wind. Luckily for us we managed to wriggle through them both and went on to move well away from them. Meanwhile Jan & Pete had a very poor 3rd beat and Jeremy & Suzanne managed to just pull through Jan & Pete to beat them by 4 seconds on corrected time. Richard in his Contender was also in our fleet but found the conditions far too light for his handicap but did manage by the end of the race to overtake and pull out enough on Chris & Tony to take 4th place.
the Kestrel
The slower fleet also had some very close finishers. Simon Robbins proving his Supernova had plenty of speed was actually well up in front of us on the first beat and 2 reaches so was looking very well place against the rest of his fleet though Paul & Kelvin were getting the most out of their spinnaker to close him down. Nevertheless at the end of the race Simon had done enough to claim victory by some 12 seconds over the Scorpion on corrected time. Phew!! the racing looks like being quite close this season.

I mentioned earlier how nervous Janet Preston was but she managed to turn that adrenalin into some good positions finishing 4th overall in her fleet of 9, her highlight being 3rd in the 2nd race. I cannot remember everything about the other 2 races, sufficient to say that Jeremy & Suzanne made it a clean sweep in all 3 races and we managed a 3rd and 2x 2nds, to give us 2nd overall with Jan & Pete taking 3rd overall with a 2nd and 2x 3rds. Simon was another who managed to win all 3 races and took the Easter cup for the slower fleet. His winning margin was helped by Beacky & Kelvin being unable to race the second and third races but that gave the opportunity to Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion to take 2nd place and the return of Finn in his Laser radial was enough for 3rd just pipping Janet Preston.

busy but no sailing
The sun had clouded over whilst we were racing but once again appeared as we made our way back to the shore. It will be just over another week before we are in full sailing mode when the Wednesday sailing also starts on April 15th. Meanwhile, judging by todayís entry a good fleet enjoyed some very close racing in fairly tranquil conditions. The water didnít seem too cold, nobody capsized, and nobody broke anything. The 2015 season has properly started. I know full well that we will lose a few races due to inclement weather and our entry numbers will vary from week to week, it always does.

Unfortunately Paulís sudden illness was bad enough to warrant an ambulance trip to Treliske where he was accompanied by Pascal, who happened to be on the beach as they landed and took charge of the situation. Paul has undergone an operation and I believe is on the road to recovery. Meanwhile I am sure he and Julie will be in all our thoughts. Hopefully Paul will be back racing with us again soon.

PS. Whoever placed the "d" & "f" side by side on the keyboard wants shooting. Those who read the previous version before 10.20 may know what I mean!!!

March 29th
an angry sea
Countdown Clock reaches 0 but no sailing, but what's Poldark doing out there?
Cold wet and windy, were the conditions today. Not the conditions we wanted for the start of the sailing season and not surprisingly we had our first cancellation. In fact the temperature wasnít as cold as it appeared that was all down to the vicious westerly wind that was gusting over us. The bay was flat within the cove but further out to sea was a mess of white horses, indicating wind strengths of over 40 knots. Just to really cool our ardour we also had some intense drizzle showers from time to time. At least with the rain and wind today it was a no brainer that sailing would not take place. After 4 months of watching the countdown clock ticking its way down to zero it was very disappointing to realise that we would have to wait another week at least before our season may start. In fact with the general unsettled weather over the next few days it is almost impossible to say with any certainty that we will actually start next weekend either. Well this isnít the first season to miss the opening day and I dare say will not be the last either, but even so it is rather disappointing. On the plus side the wind has now turned more into the west / south west which in turn has brought us slightly higher temperatures.
an angry sea
The 5 day forecast on Tuesday promised strong to gale force winds for the first day of the season, but the forecast for last Wednesday was looking very nice indeed, so I arranged with Ken for an early outing to test everything. Yes on the day everything looked bright and dandy. We had, as was forecast, a light north westerly wind, which I must admit did feel rather chilly. However the sun was shining brightly and in fact down in the sheltered part of the yard it proved to be very warm indeed. The boat was still wrapped up in its winter covers but it didnít take too long to get them off and the mast up. That took a frustrating 10 minutes or so longer as we had to sort the halyards out. They had been nicely packed away before the short journey down to the Club, but as per normal they had managed to intertwine themselves. Anyway it didnít take too long to finish off the rigging, get changed and take the boat down to the beach. The tide was very obligingly only about 5M away from the slipway so we didnít have too far to walk. 10 minutes later the sails were up and we were launched into a very flat sea. Initially as we launched our feet were nice and dry but within 30 seconds the sea was percolating into our boots and in a word it felt COLD, but fortunately not too cold, but I wouldnít want to capsize just yet.

Slowly we sailed out from the cove with a very light breeze blowing over the cliffs until we were far enough out and picked up a stronger puff and then we were finally off. Heading up towards Polkerris soon brought us up on the plane and in no time at all we pounding along; lovely jubbly. The boat gave every indication of rejoicing being back into her natural element and responded well to sail trim without any undue dramas. A few gybes and reaches soon saw us just below Hancockís mussel farm and then we hardened up for a long beat back towards the Clubhouse. Once again the boat trucked along very nicely with us hiking hard and the occasional gusts that came along proved no problems at all. A few tacks showed me how rusty I was plus some extra stiffness in my joints indicated once again that age is starting to tell. Hopefully a few more outings will improve my mobility.

A couple repeats of the gybes and beats described above took up the best part of an hour before we headed back to shore to call it a day. Typically we sailed into the beach quite well until we were about 50 M out when the breeze died to almost nothing, when the paddle was called into action to bring us right to the beach and then as per usual a strong gust swept down from the cliff tops to force us to hold onto the boat for a minute or so waiting for it to pass. The real hard work was pulling the boat up the slipway and yes it was difficult, very hard going. We had to stop twice before the halfway mark up the hill but our 3rd attempt took us right to the top and into the gateway. Without a doubt the hill is proving to be a killer once again and I canít say I am looking forward to that after every sail. Maybe after a few weeks, our strength will improve and we will make lighter work of it; but until then the struggles will continue,

After all that hard work it was really nice to be back on the water in ideal weather conditions for a shake down sail and I suppose apart from the odd hiccups the weather will only get warmer. It is just a shame that we couldnít have had that weather for our first race day of the season.

Janet Preston
Just before I finish I am sure you will be pleased to welcome Janet Preston, seen here preparing her Laser for the forthcoming season. This will be her first season in a dinghy for many years. She used to crew for her father, Peter in an Enterprise at Pentewan before they moved on to a Dart catamaran. Peter no longer sails and Janet has decided to come back to dinghy sailing and what better way to come back than to sail a Laser at Porthpean. I hear a rumour on the grapevine that another former Porthpean member may be buying a dinghy and also joining us. Watch this space.
March 22nd
new entrance gate
The Countdown Clock is approaching 0
I donít think it will have escaped most peopleís notice but the countdown clock is now into single digits, meaning that the sailing season is almost upon us. So I thought that I had better make sure that my keyboard is in full working order and write a few lines in readiness for the season to come.

I took my boat down to the Club 2 weeks ago hoping to get the chance to go out for an early sail and try and blow some of the cobwebs away, but although we have had 2 weeks of very nice weather, the wind has been decidedly offish. Days and days of easterlies and north easterlies have given us a choppy old bay, and has also been responsible for keeping the temperatures very low; too low for me Iím afraid, so the boat has sat there on its trolley just waiting, and waiting. However the conditions would not have prevented us racing, so if it is still like this next weekend then we will just have to launch, sail and grin and bare it.

Meanwhile the Sunday work parties have continued throughout the winter. We have at times had some very willing workers and helpers down on Sunday mornings and under the diligent eyes of Stewart, the necessary maintenance has been largely completed. Those who havenít been down for a few weeks will notice immediately a new gate to the yard. The old one has been with us for many years but was deteriorating more and more, so a decision was made to replace it. Hopefully this one will last just as long, though it does feel remarkably light compared to the old one. The coding for the locks for field, yard and changing rooms will be changed imminently, and paid up members will be receiving the latest code sometime this week via email but if you havenít had the new coding yet then I can reveal it as xxxx or something like that.

Eyes left. Tony is having to clean his PC Windows 8
I havenít checked ďdutymanĒ for a while but hopefully it is almost full. We are all expected to do something like 6 duties over the 9 months of sailing. Itís nice to be able to pick and choose your duties to suit but for those who havenít taken the opportunity to volunteer will find that their dates will be delegated for them.

Now many of you will know of Kenís enthusiasm for dressing up and over the last few weeks he has had the time to indulge his fantasy by dressing up and acting as an extra for a film company that has been down filming in the local area. I believe that wigs and dresses have been seen in his changing room, so will you be able to recognise him when he makes his screen debut? I also expect him to have a starring role in the next Poldark series when filming starts again in September. Meanwhile make sure you get his autograph before his fame takes him away from us to Hollywood, where I am sure he will also win all the quizzes.

I bought my first dinghy, an Enterprise, in December of 1969 and my first full season of sailing my own boat was in the spring of 1970. Therefore easy maths tells me that in the imminent future I will be launching for my 46th season of dinghy racing. Iím just hoping that my joints are still flexible enough for some of the manoeuvres when tacking and gybing, plus clambering in and out of the boat. As long a time as 46 years may seem, Iím sure that John Hill has a few extra years on me there. What is really frightening is when you look at the average age of our active Club members it is probably well in excess of 50, which is quite alarming in many ways. Where are all the youngsters who should be biting at our heels? Pushing us old codgers aside as they come along to try and dominate the racing.

No doubt those of us who sail regularly will experience a broad range of sailing conditions over the coming season, ranging from some cold, wet and miserable conditions to the odd days of warmth and pleasurable breezes, when tee shirts and shorts will be the clothes to sail in. Without a shadow of a doubt we will have some frustrating times this year, what with cancellations, possible breakages, poor choice of windshifts and bad decisions on our starts. There will also be times when the conditions become frustratingly light and other times so windy that we will be taken out of our comfort zones. There may be capsizes, near misses, bad tactical decisions, but equally so there will be good days and evenings, days of pleasant offshore breezes, races with the perfect courses, races when everything goes right and days and evenings sailing will be the best sport in the World. Just think of some of the good times to come when we glide back to the shore on a Wednesday evening in summer to the smell of bacon wafting out of the Clubhouse, or being able to sit on the decking on a summerís afternoon after sailing, enjoying the relaxing ambience that has been created from a pleasant dayís racing. Yes, over the next 9 months we will experience possibly all those moments, but at exactly what times remains a mystery for now, but keep sailing and all will be revealed.

Now before we get down to the serious business of racing, please be aware that some of the handicaps of boats that we sail have changed again this year. The handicaps are set by the RYA who has a panel of experts that study at all the race returns that are sent in each year. All Clubs are asked to send their returns in yet believe it or not Porthpean is the only club in Cornwall to send in returns. How do I know? Well if you click on the handicap button on the front page then scroll down to the bottom you will see a list of all the Clubs who have sent in returns. Ours are sent in electronically via sailwave. It is worth studying the handicap figures as some of our sailed boats have had their handicaps cut whilst some have gone the other way. No doubt this will cause lots of grumbles depending on which fleet you are in and what boat you sail. The Tasars have gained a little this year and the Lasers have gained by quite a margin again this year. This intrigues me as the Laser class is almost 40 years old, it now benefits from better sail controls, kicker, downhaul and outhaul, thus making it easier to sail yet appears to be slower than the original design. Anyway it is not up to me to decide the handicap figures but some of the set handicaps do make me wonder how they actually arrive at them.

Many eyes will be on Steve Wingrove this year as he starts the season in his new weapon of choice, a Scorpion. He has bought a very pretty boat which has been titivated somewhat over the winter and it will be interesting to watch his progress, where initially he will be dicing with Andrew & Jenny and Beacky & Kelvin, Craig & Jake and Kay & (?) Gary and if he gets on top of them he will then possibly have to face Steve & Polly, assuming they sail their Scorpion much at the Club. Another newcomer to us is Janet Preston who will be starting her dinghy life in a Laser radial, after many, many years sailing Darts. She will be hard pressed to beat James but may have more competitive races with the rest of our laser fleet, comprising in the main of Nick, Clive and Brian. Now this is also a good time to remind everybody that Pete & Jan have their new baby monster sitting in the yard all ready to go. Yes a new Kestrel will be their chosen steed this year, sailing in new colours. Pete was telling me that he was shown how to set the boat up when he went to collect her. Apparently the old Kestrel hadnít been set up properly so expect some very good performances in the next few weeks as they bed themselves in. Hopefully Roger will be sailing with us in his Blaze, which was starting to get faster last year as the weeks went by. Richard in his Contender, much to his dismay is another boat that has had it's handicap cut by a couple of points and I expect in the lighter stuff will once again be dicing with the Tasars, but give him a F3 and above and he will trapeze off into the distance. Paddy & Steve gave us all some amusing moments last year when they came to grief quite a few times but nevertheless when they get going then they really show some fantastic speed and look very impressive as they skim over the sea. If they can keep the boat upright more this year then I think they will do very well in the racing.

The Tasars still have a strong fleet which once again is likely to be dominated by Jeremy & Suzanne, donít forget Jeremy has a brand new Tasar sitting at home all ready & prepared to propel them to another Tasar Championship. We didn't see as much of them last season as they were kept busy taking Finn to the numerous Windsurfer training days last year and I wonder whether this year may be a repeat of the same. Finn is seen as a very talented windsurfer as are Luke Bilkey and the Whale brothers so coaching for them all is seen as a necessary part of parenthood. Steve & Polly may also decide to campaign their Tasar with us and then we have Kim & Sal who joined us late last year and are proving to be very fast and also Justin who I believe is teaming up with Charlie Austin to take the fight to us all. Then we have the evergreens of Dennis & Brian, just looking for windy times and Chris & Tony who have some exceedingly good races at times and hopefully not bringing up the rear, Ken & myself, not ready to retire yet. We also want to see more of Pascal & Sue on the water and also Stacey who only put in a few appearances last year, sailing with Lucy. Stewart still has an immaculate Tasar sitting at home and all he needs is a good crew to join him and he too will be in the mix again.

We have had almost 3 weeks of easterlies but looking at the forecast for the coming week gives me confidence that we may be turning back to winds from the south west, which in turn should make it warmer, though wetter. Well that's it, let the fun commence & hope to see you on the water.

February 8th
A nice sunny beach
Club Maintenance begins
Maybe it was the warmth of the sun down at the Club today that put a smile onto our faces that has persuaded me to dig my old keyboard out of the drawer, blow some cobwebs off it and start the 2015 blog probably earlier than I intended, so here goes.

Looking at the front page of the website tells us all that the clock is still ticking; the countdown clock that is. With less than 50 days to go and the daylight levels increasing we can see that spring is fast approaching, though with the temperatures being so low this week the thought of sailing is way down on my list of desires at the moment. But címon, it is February, it is expected to be cold, in fact it is expected to be freezing and dare I say it can also be quite snowy. In fact apart from the last 2 weeks of fairly cold weather we have had it remarkably mild and dry. Anyway back to today. The cold north easterly breeze of the last few days has finally dropped to almost nothing, the sun was shining from a blue sky and the temperature in front of the Clubhouse was warm enough to make jackets redundant and in some instances even pullovers were shed.

Richard at work
Yes spring with its delights of fresh growth and new leaves will herald in the 2015 season, and once again the bay will be blessed with our dinghies, as has been the case for over 60 yeras, but before those delights there is always the task of Club maintenance. This year Stewart is our Master of Works, directing the various necessary tasks. The weather on Sunday mornings has been quite varied and in fact we had a beautiful day on Sunday 25th January when we had one of the best maintenance gangs for years, working on different bits and pieces, which included, a thorough clean of the Clubhouse and complete makeover for the alleyway behind the Clubhouse, an area that is rarely looked at. Sunday 1st of February was much colder with a bitterly cold north westerly wind blowing but believe it or not it was actually quite mild working in the lee of the Clubhouse where a watery sun was trying its best to warm us up and today was even warmer and as I mentioned above, today was even better.
Paddy splicing
Our Clubís life blood, the safety boats and their trailers take a lot of punishment over the season and this year Richard Armstrong has taken on the task of RIB Bosun and is renewing various parts of the boats and their trailers where necessary and giving plenty of attention to grease up all trailers wheel bearings. Some of the trailer parts have been rusting away and rather than wait until they collapse they are being upgraded right now, which hopefully will prevent the embarrassment of a collapsed trailer when we are trying to haul the boat up the beach and slipway. Richard is also spending a lot of time freeing up the throttle and direction control cables on the engines. In fact both engines have had the benefit this year of having full service, so hopefully will run trouble free for the season. Once again today we had a good number of members down attending to all sorts of jobs that seem to spring up, so all being well we should be able to start the 2015 season with plenty of optimism.
Pete painting
One of the other most used bits of Club equipment is the picnic table on the decking. The table seats 8 people and is usually full up every Sunday at lunch time and then again for the aprŤs sail later in the afternoons. It has the benefit of being housed in a nice little sun trap and quite often non sailing members sit there to watch the racing also. In fact it has become an essential part of Club life. Iím not sure how long we have had the table but it has started to rot away with a vengeance, so much so that we are going to have to replace it or make some serious repairs. The table top has rotted away in places as also some of the seats. Iím not sure what the eventual decision on it will be but quite a few options are being considered and costed varying from new parts to a new table.
Ken strimming
The beach marks are another essential part of the sailing scene and unfortunately just before the end of the season one disappeared in a storm. We have had to buy some new chain and rope to produce a new one and the remaining mark has had its ground tackle replaced. Hopefully they will both be robust enough to remain in situ for the forthcoming season. The new beach mark is now just awaiting some splicing from Paddy to complete its refurbishment. I also hear that we might be buying some new light weight marks to attach to the beach marks on race days. Our lovely Tribute buoys have served us well, but they are quite heavy and rather cumbersome when moving them around so lighter marks will make a lot of sense and also easier for the RIB drivers to manage. We are also waiting for a new gate for the dinghy park to arrive. Our present one is well over 30 years old and that too is showing signs of heavy use and is deterioating so much so that it is now time for renewal.
Janet painting
The next Club social, the Fish & Chip supper and super quiz is just less than 2 weeks away and Tony is still taking orders, so if you havenít ordered yet then make sure you hurry up and speak to him. I said super quiz as I believe that there are something like 50 questions in it (50 grey ones?) The F&C supper is one of the socials that is usually well attended and it will be good to see the Clubhouse full again. In fact it will also be a good time to come down and admire Pete & Janís new Kestrel which should be arriving sometime in the week before the F&C supper. I also believe that Pete & Jan will take an early opportunity to sail the new boat when the weather is suitable, just to make sure everything works properly. I also know that James is currently taking part in Laser squad training mornings on Sundays down at Restronguet, so I guess they may be the most prepared Porthpean sailors when the season finally starts.
Brian pondering
I spent something like 8-10 seasons as a member of Restronguet and I know that it is also a superb place to sail. It can be so peaceful and tranquil and usually has excellent launching and recovery conditions, though the beach is very stony. Not the place to have to leave your boat unattended for long whilst retrieving your trolley. It wasnít so bad for me as I always had a double hander boat, so could keep the hull from scraping on the stones. However they do benefit from not having quite the steep slipway that we have to endure though if you are at the top of the dinghy park it is still quite a long haul. In fact the 2nd Tasar Nationals were held there in I think 1978 during the time that I was a member, though I donít remember anything about it, which is a shame as one of the competitors was Frank Bethwaite, the designer of the boat.

Return to the Beach.