Porthpean Sailing Club  
Webmaster's Sailing Blog 2017
2006 blog 2007 blog 2008 blog 2009 blog 2010 blog 2011 blog 2012 blog 2013 blog 2014 blog 2015 blog 2016 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 19th

Beautiful day + strong easterly = No sailing!! (Headlines of the Blog from March 26th, 1st day of the 2017 season)
cancel beach
Here it is at last, my final blog of 2017. I have been intending writing this for a few weeks now but have been too easily distracted, what with holidays, Christmas and concerts and parties. Anyway Ken & I had our last sail of the year last Sunday, so now the Tasar can be safely put back to bed and now it seems appropriate to put fingers to keyboard and finally write the last blog of 2017.

The count down clock is ticking away at the moment and is now below 100 days and by the time we look at it in the New Year it will be down into the low 80ís.

March 26th was the date for our official start of the season this year and the day dawned to beautiful weather but alas a strong easerly wind took it's toll on us. We had been watching it count down for this yearís start but the weather intervened and we were a week late. The lines in italics were taken from the first blog of the start of the season.

Disappointment was etched on the faces of all those who came down this morning to sail in the first race of the 2017 sailing season. The countdown clock had performed admirably, counting down the days, hours minutes and seconds, but we were let down, once again, by the weather. Yes the weather, how many times do we blame that for our inability to launch into our magnificent bay? There was no denying that the beach and the rollers pounding in looked magnificent but alas far too intimidating and dangerous and need I mention cold for us mere dinghy sailors. The pictures above tell their own story.

I think that over the last 4 weeks we have experienced some very poor weather with day after day of either drizzle and mist or full on rain. What was more frustrating was that most of the rest of the country has had some very nice early spring weather, so the change from a series of low pressure systems to a high pressure one was a pleasant surprise for us, but I think we all expected a delay to the season when we heard the weather forecast which was issued a few days ago. The sudden appearance of a high building over the British Isles usually presents us with a problem as the winds generated are easterlies and as we all know beastly easterlies are anathema to those of us on the south coast. The general consensus at the fitting out supper last night was that we wouldnít be sailing. They were right. My memory tells me that we missed quite a few weeks last year before the season really started and I just hope that the start this year will not be delayed quite so long.

Back to the present.
Well we eventually started our season a week late and were blessed with sunshine and quite light winds; ideal for the start of a season, and so we were off. I wish I could say that it had been a vintage season, blessed with fantastic weather and excellent turnouts. But unfortunately we sufferd as per normal from poor weather at times and one or two events were badly affected. We did start with pretty good numbers and a slight change in personnel and boats, but our attendances dropped off quite noticably as the season progressed. Steve & Ashley switched their attentions from a Scorpion to the more testing RS400. Stronger winds certainly didnít phase them and they were often seen examining the under side of their boat. However when they got it right they were flying along. Richard paired up with Brian to sail Brianís Tasar and were a welcome addition to our fleet as were Paddy & Steve. Paddy had bought and renovated an old Tasar for him and Sarah Desjonquers to sail at the September Nationals and it made its first appearance at the Tasar Open at the end of May. It certainly turned a few heads with the unusual colour combination, which did look quite stunning. Another new boat appeared, courtesy of Steve Mitchell. Steveís new boat was a Supernova and it brought our Supernova numbers up to 4 but to the best of my memory we never had all 4 racing at the same time. Steve was dividing his sailing time between the Supernova and his Scorpion. Jeremy had a brand new Tasar sitting at home just waiting to be completed before launching into St. Austell Bay. I suppose I too was venturing out in a new boat, well new to me, and still in a Tasar, Steveís old boat. Part way through the season, Harry left the Topper behind to take the helm of a Laser radial and father, Ciaran sold the Magno and bought himself a full sized Laser and as an additional challenge bought the big rig and converted it into an 8.1. Mike Voyzey, who we havenít seen much of for the last few years, sold the Phantom that had been sitting in the field and has bought a more manageable Supernova. Hopefully this year he will come out of the starting blocks in the spring and get to grips with the boat. He should be able to get some good tips from both Steve and Simon as to how to get the best from the boat. Mike Ward is another who bought a new dinghy to sail with us but circumstances conspired to prevent him sailing his RS100 only a couple of times, but maybe that can be rectified in 2018. One member that we may have lost is Roger Williams. Roger travels over from Rock to sail his Blaze but he is also the owner of a Shrimper that he sails with his wife at Rock, plus he is also the Commodore there. I think that was sufficient to prevent him sailing with us, so that was our loss but Rockís gain. So over the course of the season we saw quite a change in our choice of boats and racing personnel.

The blog is a very useful tool to look back at the season (s) if you want to go back further, especially with the photographs that accompany it. The big down side with the blog and indeed our website is seeing the ageing process that we go through. What a change the photographs show as the years come and go. Though as long as we keep our health then ageing is partly acceptable. Iím not going to rehash everything that happened over the season but the highlight must have been the Tasar Nationals. I think that we had a record number of Porthpean boats entered and once again Jeremy & Suzanne came out on top to reclaim their title, hotly pursued by Stacey & Steve, making it a 1, 2 for Porthpean. Other notable entries were James and Nigel, sailing Staceyís spare boat and Finn using Chris Hazell's boat sailing with one of his friends. They did particularly well in the quite fresh conditions that we had managing to hang in on the beats and making their light weight pay down wind. Jeremy won the event in his old boat, selling his new boat to another entrant, who was delighted with the boat but had to get used to a different set up and controls.

Our season officially finished at the end of November on a cool and mizzly day. A day that saw the official launch and first sail of Jamesís new Aero. Hopefully that boat will rejuvenate our single handed classes and maybe attract one or two others to the Aero class. Stacey has also found a fresh love of sailing, buying himself a new D-zero, which is a very futuristic looking boat that is very fast down wind. There is a fleet of a dozen of them at Restronguet, amongst the fleet is the current Class Champion and runner up. I hear that not many of them race regularly and it might be possible to prize one or two away to try their skills in our bay. Time will tell.

Dennis too has also been rejuvenated, he wanted to sail in his Tasar but has had problems recruiting a suitable crew so has thrown caution to the winds, put the boat on the market and ordered a new single handed boat, a Hadron H2. It will be interesting when we see all these new boats out and about in St. Austell Bay. What changes have been seen since the Club was founded in 1951. Our foundling members sailed wooden boats with wooden spars and terylene sails. Over the years we have seen the transition to GRP, FRP, metal and carbon spars and mylar sails. I think the only wooden boats that sail are Scorpions and they are all quite old now, though are wearing very well. There is something of dignity with a wooden boat, and when new look superb but the maintenance necessary as the boats age becomes quite a drain on time and resources. I just wonder how long it will be before the first foiling Moth and other futuristic designs make their appearance, in our Bay.

I think the end of this season has also seen the end of Chris & Tony sailing together. Chris is in the process of selling his boat and Tony has decided to hang up his wet suit, well not fully true as Tony still intends helping out with the RIB from time to time, a most important task. Chris hasn't actually sold his Tasar yet and who knows ne may decide to recruit a new crew and sail again next season.

Well I mentioned at the start of this blog that Ken & I went to Restronguet last Sunday for the Christmas pudding race. Usually the race is a mass start handicap race, but this year was designated to be a pursuit race. Boat starting times are decided on their handicap number and we started 1 minute behind the 4 D-zeros that had entered. Behind us starting later were a varied mixture comprising, Contenders, B14s, RS800, International 14 and various Darts. The course set was a very good Tasar course, with several reaches but the breeze was quite light with only a few stronger gusts to get us seriously planing. We managed to catch and pass a Europe, mirror dinhies, one of the D-zeros, an RS200, Laser2000, one of the 2 Vareos, all the Fireflies and all the Lasers. On the last beat we were hunting down the 3rd D-Zero and Vareo, but we were passed by a B14 and 3 Darts and in fact there was a group of 4 of us who finished within about 10 seconds of each other. We were classed as 9th, which would have been 6th if we discarded the Cats. Overall it wasnít too bad and I feel we could have been a little higher if we hadnít been so rusty, though there was no way that we would have caught the leading 2 D-zeros. We are slightly faster upwind but no match for them down wind, in Sundayís conditions.

The Tasar is now home, washed and dried and sitting there waiting to go at a minutes notice. My sailing kit is also washed and dried and that too is just waiting for conditions to improve and hopefully we will be able to get a shake down sail or two in before our next season comes along. We have also been approached as to whether we would be willing to host the RS100 Nationals next year. Confirmation and date is yet to be revealed but if it goes ahead then it will be another opportunity to keep our finances healthy.

Keep your eyes on the count down clock. There will be socials coming up over the winter months, starting with the Prize giving night in the Clubhouse in only a few weeks time in January. Paddy is still the Commodore and Ken has reclaimed the post of Sailing Secretary, passing the reins of main secretary to Liz. Well all it remains for me is to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

November 26th
A light airy fairy breeze with rain, sunshine and a rainbow to end the season

The sun finally set on the 2017 season, though only 9 boats took to the water to say goodbye. We could have mustered a few more boats but maybe the cold weather and promise of rain kept the less keen away. In fact it was raining as we uncovered our boats ready for our final pair of races - not nice!. Sue & I had only returned from a week in Cyprus the night before so I was feeling quite shell shocked at the cold and the wet. Apart from the rain the bay was looking quite inviting with only a light offshore breeze rippling the very flat sea. I have missed a few of the last Sundays due to holidays and family commitments and I was feeling well and truly rusty and it took a bit of head scratching as we tried to rig the boat. Actually I have just looked back at our sailing records and noted that Ken & I last raced on 17th of September. Some of those missing Sundays were due to bad weather and RIB duties but nevertheless that is still over 2 months without any regular sailing.

Today was also the inaugural launching of Jamesís Aero5 and as can be seen from some of the accompanying photos the boat was being wetted in the normal manner. Stacey was also out, now reinvigorated, in his new D-zero. The beach marks were lifted out of the water last Sunday but Nigel & Janet Preston, our RIB drivers for the day, positioned the yellow pillar buoys more or less where the beach marks had been positioned. Their next task was to determine where the course would be as the breeze was almost non existent and we all tried different tacks and gybes in our attempt to clear the shore desperately seeking the north westerly that had been forecast.

Eventually a beat was set giving us a beat into the beach marks for a port hand rounding. The line had quite a bit of port bias on it and for once I neglected to go for it, instead electing to try to approach the pin on starboard but as the last few seconds counted down I could see that we wouldnít even cross the line on starboard so a quick tack onto port ensued to try and get some of our losses back. Stacey shot across everyoneís bows to take an early lead. We wriggled our way up the beat and 3 of us closed together at the first beach mark and advantage just went to Chris and Kathy in their RS400, Stacey in his D-zero and us in the Tasar. The breeze must have moved around as the first reach developed into a run and the 3 of us cruised along very quietly with the Isles moving serenely ahead taking full advantage of their spinnaker. Richard in his Contender was several lengths behind us and was moving along quite quickly in a fresh bit of pressure coming out from the shore. Just behind Richard was the Scorpion of Andrew & Pete, who had a very good first beat putting them well ahead of the rest of their fleet of Simon in his Supernova and James in his Aero5. Clearly in todayís conditions an Aero 7 would have been more appropriate.

Both Richard and Andrew passed us on the run, though we overtook Andrew on the next, much closer, reach. Chris & Kathy maintained their lead over us as did Stacey but we had some luck on the 2nd run when we overhauled Richard and managed to get well away from him. The 2nd reach turned into a beat as the wind had moved round a little more and that made the last beat a one tack affair. Steve and Ashley were out in their RS400, went very high on the first spinnaker reach and then lost their way on the subsequent legs and actually finished behind James, which must have pleased him no end.

We had a quick turn around for the last race and set off for a starboard rounding of the each marks. The breeze was again failing to give us much grunt and we all meandered up the first beat and Richard rounded just in front of us and we were followed in turn by Stacey and Richard & Kathy. Once again the first reach was a run and once again the spinnaker powered RS and Staceyís D-zero said thank you and scampered off overtaking us and also Richard. Once again the beat turned into a very lacklustre event with the pressure coming and going and somehow I managed to make a complete hash of it and dropped to the back of our fleet, so much so that both the Supernova and Scorpion that had been a long way behind us gained sufficiently to overtake us in the closing stages. However we did cling on and managed to finish but what an anti climax that was after a season of some, at times quite exceptional racing.

Our season actually started in April in very light winds and a very sunny day, giving us all high hopes of a good season to come. No doubt everyone who has sailed with us this last year will have some of their own happy memories of exciting sails and I hope over the year my blog if read will remind us all of some of our better glories and at times not so memorable glories. The high light of the year must have been the Tasar Nationals, which not only brought some much needed revenues to the Club but also restored Jeremy & Suzanne as National Champions and Stacey & Steve as runners up. I will try and write a summary of the past season in the near future, sometime before Christmas. Our sailing season may have finished but we still have a couple of socials left. This Wednesday will see the last gathering before Christmas, then there is the annual dinner and that will be followed by the AGM, where some of the Committee will change. It will be good to see as many of you as possible at these events.

For now, farewell. Oh by the way the 2018 season should start on the 25th March.

October 29th
A very pleasnt day for the end of October with a spicy north westerly blowing

The clocks have gone back, there is a chill in the breeze and many of our trees are almost bereft of their leaves plus quite a few shops have their Christmas decorations up. Hello autumn and hello to our last race series of 2017. At least it was dry and the breeze was just the correct force for a couple of good races. Unfortunately Ken & I were scheduled for RIB duty today so it was a day for wearing extra clothing for a couple of hours or so conducting the racing.

Yes Ken & I took the RIB whilst Jenny & Jan manned the race box. Jenny wasnít feeling too good and swapped her crewing berth with Pete allowing him the luxury of sitting next to Andrew, hoping to learn some of the dark secrets of Scorpion sailing, like spinnaker handling. Pete didnít realise that crewing a Scorpion also means proficiency in swimming, but there you are, needs must when competing at the top level.

I donít think that our attendances have been that good this year but we regularly get into double figures, but our autumn series certainly seem to be low in numbers and only 7 boats launched for what turned out to be fantastic sailing conditions. The breeze was a cool north westerly and typically was blowing out from the shore in gusts and the gusts at times were quite meaty as a few found out at certain times on the race track. We also had the complication of about 10 fishing boats randomly sailing about in our course area trying to catch a shoal of mackerel that they had discovered. Fortunately for us the mackerel took fright at the presence of our dinghies and swam off to another part of the bay with the fishing boats in hot pursuit.

We decided to change the format a little today as 4 of the 7 boats were spinnaker clothed and the course set was a triangle, followed by a run, another triangle and a final beat to the beach marks. Well youíd think with everyone having the luxury of an extra hour in bed that the fleet would be on the start line chomping on the bit ready for an 11.99 start; not quite so but we managed the start only just after 11.00 for the 2 back to back races. The day had started off quite dry but by the time we started a fine but heavy drizzle had set in. Fortunately it cleared just after the start of the first race and the sun started to poke through the clouds, giving us a bit of sunshine to cruise around the bay in.

The start line set wasnít biased enough to tempt anyone for a port hand flyer and all the fleet set off for the first beat to the beach marks on the same tack. Not surprisingly the Dart of Richard & Brian arrived there first and sailed a very lonely race with no body to bother them. The real competition was seen in the 2 handicap fleets with Chris and Kathy in their RS400, Steve & Ashley in their RS400 and Paddy & Steve in the only Tasar out racing. The slow fleet was represented by the 2 Scorpions of Andrew & Pete and Beacky and Kelvin, up against the Laser of Brian.

The first beat was a quite close affair for Chris & Kathy against the Tasar and the faster RS started the reach just in front of Paddy & Steve, but the first reach turned out to be too tight for the RS spinnaker and they were soon caught and passed by the Tasar, until the broader 2nd reach allowed the RS, now able to use the spinnaker to move back in front. Steve & Ashley had a poor start and were the last of the fast fleet but disaster struck them when the spinnaker proved to have its control lines knotted and a return to shore was necessary for sorting out.

The fresh conditions suited the Dart and finished first on the water and also had enough time in the bank to claim the win on handicap. 2nd to finish was Chris & Kathy, but were squeezed out to 3rd as Paddy & Steve beat them by 2 seconds on corrected time. Andrew & Pete produced an excellent first round to lead Beacky and Kelvin by an impressive amount but were slowly pulled back by Beacky on the down wind legs. Things were still looking good for Andrew until it came time to drop the spinnaker. I think that Pete took this literally as the spinnaker disappeared under the front of the boat which necessitated Pete crawling along the foredeck to rectify things. That manoeuvre also went wrong when Pete slipped off the foredeck and went swimming. The pair went from Hero to zero, allowing Beacky through for another win and also promoting Brian Reeves to 2nd.

The wind had swung a little more northerly during the race and we decided that we would move the leeward mark to give a better beat for the 2nd race. Our first task was to pick up our RIB anchor buoy which we had left on the stat line after the race had started. We returned but the buoy had gone missing and we thought that one of the fishing boats had lifted it out and ďclaimedĒ it for themselves. Anyway we hauled the leeward mark out off its position and moved it further back and across the bay a little to give a better beat. Lo and behold there was our anchor buoy. It hadnít been taken but instead had drifted off downwind quite a way. It was gratefully retrieved and I realised that the drifting buoy was due to my error. I hadnít fixed the grappling tangs out properly, thus allowing it to move with the wind and tide. That was quickly sorted and it anchored the RIB properly, making the start line a little more biased than for the previous race.

Without waiting too long the fleet were soon off on another wild ride round the bay, well the fleet was, Ken & I were quite happy to stay warm and follow round. Once again the Dart was off and running, but the 2 RSís and Tasar were much closer and once again Chris & Kathy were duelling with Paddy & Steve and keeping each other in very close proximity. Steve & Ashleyís good run came to an end when a vicious gust on the first down wind reach proved their undoing and they were blown in. Chris & Kathy had wisely kept their spinnaker under the foredeck on the tighter reaches and that more than likely kept them dry and still moving. They started the last beat in front of the Tasar but Paddy sailed a very good beat to finish in front of the RS. Unfortunately he had to settle for 2nd once again as Richard & Brian had made good headway and took the win on corrected time.

Beacky led the small handicap fleet from start to finish and once again Andrew & Pete had another problem with the spinnaker but finished far enough ahead of Brian to claim 2nd place. It seems to me that these spinnakers are all very well when the conditions are benign, but become a real handful when the breeze enters the teens and above and then they become a problem. Time after time I see spinnaker boats coming to grief when itís windy and I often feel grateful to be sitting in a nice comfy less complicated Tasar.

So we finished a quite frantic day of sailing and returned to an almost empty beach and then sat on the decking to eat our lunch in the late afternoon sunshine, well sheltered from the north westerly. I wasnít expecting that but I took it as a nice bonus.

October 22nd
Storm Brian has passed but it's still windy

A very short blog today as courtesy of storm Brian we were confined to barracks. However if the majority of those who turned up this morning were 20-30 years younger we may well have chanced our luck. The wisdom and the experience of age may also have had something to do with us not going sailing today but the general weakness of our ageing bodies probably had more to do with our decision to stay ashore. I hasten to add that although the bay looked flat, as the breeze was a north westerly, we knew full well that the gusts were quite strong and that north westerly wind had quite a cold edge to it. Well that was our excuse and we were quite happy to eventually disperse with our kit dry and no breakages to attend to; we live to sail another day. Storm Brian roared in on Friday night and left us without any major damage though I did notice a branch from a tree laying on the green so it must have been quite windy during the night.

Our attention today though was focussed on James, appearing with his new Aero. We have known for a couple of weeks now that his boat was down in Cornwall and was taking some refuge in his Grandparents' garage, whilst James was busy fitting the boat out. Rather bizarrely the boat comes as a kit with all the bits and pieces and leaves it for the new owner to assemble it using the comprehensive workshop manual that comes with the boat. James has taken his time and set the boat up using tips and hints from Rooster sailing who have raced the boat and played around with the fittings. The RS Aero comes in 3 sizes. Well they all have the same hull but the sail sizes are different, much like the Laser. In fact James has an Aero 5 which is equivalent to a Laser radial for performance. The Aero 7 is equivalent to a standard Laser whereas the Aero 9 has the largest rig and is very similar if not slightly faster than Staceyís D-zero. In fact those 2 boats are very similar to Tasar speed, so are quite nippy machines. Incresaing to a larger model only entails buying the appopriate bottom section and sail. I notice that the different size sails have a different colour flash on the sails as well as the number "5", "7", or "9" on the sails, thus making it fairly easy as to which model is being used. We were all interested in watching the how the various bits of ropes were used. In fact fundamentally there is nothing that a normal dinghy doesnít have. The adjustable controls being downhaul, outhaul, kicker and mainsheet. I think the thing that impressed us most was how light the package was and how all the controls were laid out. The boat should be very easy for James or any of our older members to pull up our slope unaided. I am pretty sure that we may well see some more Aeros gracing our dinghy park in the next 12 months.

Today was the last of the early autumn series of races. Next week we start the final series for 2017, not only that but the clocks go back on Saturday night and the dark evenings that I personally dread will be here with us once again as we start the run up to Christmas and winter, urggh!

October 15th
The apparent calm before the forecasted storm

Today was the first time that I have raced for 4 weeks and it seems like a life time ago and it was also in the summer, though autumn was knocking on the door. Now here we are mid way through October and at the moment it is still mild enough to be wearing shorts, though I haste to add not for sailing. The weather today may be quite mild at the moment but the heavy overcast conditions convinced me to wear my wet suit.

I have missed the last 3 Sundays due to family committments and being away on holiday though I was still on the water, swopping the mylor sails for a steel hull in the form of a narrow canal boat. This was the first time that I have had the experience of narrow boating and something I had always looked forward to and fortunately Peter & Jenny Pope offered me that experience by inviting Sue & me to join them and another couple for a voyage of discovery. We had a great time cruising the Llangollen canal and ventured up to Llangollen itself via tunnels and the highest aquaduct in the country. There was a certain amount of drinking and much laughter and learning how to control 60 foot of canal boat.

Although I missed sailing on the last 3 Sundays I donít think I missed anything too exciting though I note our numbers are really dwindling as quite a few people have other engagements from time to time. Anyway we had 9 boats sailing today and it was the first time that Stacey could show what his new boat goes like. Incidentally he finished 4th out of 12 at his first Open meeting at Restronguet a few weeks ago which was an excellent result.

Steve Coello & Liz took the RIB and set an excellent course in the moderate to fresh southerly wind. Today is also Lizís Birthday and what a good way to celebrate it. With only 9 boats out you can tell that our fleets were quite small, and the so called fast fleet comprised just 3 boats. Richard took his dart out for a blast with Pete Barnes hanging onto the trapeze for a very fast ride round the course. The only 2 dinghies racing were Stacey in his d-zero and us in our Tasar. The slow fleet had a few more to compete with; the 2 Scorpions of Beacky / Kelvin and Andrew / Jenny plus for the first time in over 2 years Mike Voyzey in his, new to him, Supersofa up against Simon also in his Supersofa plus Nick & Brian in their Lasers.

As said earlier the wind was a southerly which gave us a beat from the beach marks to a windward mark, which was laid out at sea towards Blackhead before reaching across the bay, gybing and then reaching back to the beach marks. Quite a simple triangle really but in the 10+ knot wind strength there were enough waves in the unsettled sea to make reaching rather interesting. The start line was heavily starboard biased for the first race and we all queued up close to the RIB vying for the best position. I was reasonably pleased as we started just upwind of Stacey. Now the d-zero isnít as fast as a Tasar upwind but it becomes a different story down wind. The zero is quite a bit faster and so it was essential to try and open up a reasonable gap upwind to prepare our selves for the down wind onslaught. It was no surprise to see the Dart rounding the windward mark first and then off it went downwind at considerable speed, never to be seen again. We managed to round a few lengths in front of Stacey but he managed to close us down on the reaches though couldnít break through and by the time we finished the race we had eked out a bit of a lead but I see on corrected time that Stacey won out, taking us by some 7 seconds. I think we are really feeling the affect of the Tasarís drop in handicap figures this year. Last year we would have had time in hand but we just have to live with what we have. The d-zero being a new boat is still being monitored and that handicap may well come down next year.

The slow fleet once again is being dominated by Beacky & Kelvin and they soon pulled out quite a large lead on the rest of their fleet, but Simon was never too far away though couldnít quite bridge the gap, having to settle for 2nd whilst Brian in his Laser took 3rd pushing Andrew & Jenny back to 4th but only 24 seconds in front of Nick in his Laser, leaving Mike in his first ever race in a Supernova to bring up the rear. Iím afraid it may well be long learning curve but if we get all 5 Supersofas out racing next year then I am sure there will be some impressive changes in performance. In fact I did notice that Dennis was having a good look round at the sofas whilst in the yard. Maybe his interest may be stirred up enough to tempt him to have another crack at racing. The sofa is certainly a popular boat nationally with well over 100 boats at their Nationals.

As we are in the autumn series our races are now raced back to back, which with the choppy sea running saved us an unnecessary trip through the surf. I expect we will really feel the benefit of that when the clocks change in only 2 weeks time!! So it was a quick turn around for the 2nd race. Steve & Liz had noticed the heavy starboard bias for the first race and adjusted the line accordingly. This time there was enough bias to tempt us into the port hand start and we managed to cross the fleet right from the off. Beacky & Kelvin started just below us and managed to cross most of the fleet also. Iím afraid to say that the early advantage of our good start was almost wiped out when we flipped onto starboard to try and get to the favoured left hand side of the course. We lost all our pace for a while as we sailed into a very light patch and we only just managed to clear Stacey. Once again the Dart was off and flying and once again we managed to round the windward mark 2nd and importantly in front of Stacey and just managed to hold him off each time down wind but in the end he finished closer to us than in the previous race and although the results werenít published as I wrote this I knew that he had beaten us. Whether we had beaten Richard and Steve again is not known but we did have a fairly good race and had some very nice planing in the waves. The boat was certainly going as well as I could make it go so no complaints from me there.

The slow fleet was missing its Supesofas for this race as they both retired for the comforts of the shore so we only had the 2 Scorpions and 2 Lasers racing. Beacky fell into the same light patch as we did and that allowed Andrew and Jenny to overtake but a port and starboard incident at the windwark mark is subject to a protest and that could change the final result of the slow fleet race but as it stands, once again Beacky & Kelvin had a clean sweep and look like taking the series with ease. I think Nick was starting to feel the cold in this race and peeled off early at the beach marks to head for an early shower. So with only 3 finishers it was Brian who managed to take 2nd place.

It was noticeable by the end of racing that the wind was starting to pick up and on Monday we are set to have an early winter storm blowing over us as it speeds across the western part of the UK. At this stage we are not sure how strong the wind will be but the figure of 80 MPH is being banded around. So hoping to avoid any damage I took the decision to drop the mast to try and hide from any damaging gusts. I watched the week's weather forecast on Country File this evening and although it appears that we will miss the severity of the gales today it looks like we will have another set from Friday onwards and if accurate then we will certainly lose any chance of sailing on Sunday. In fact my mast will be staying down for a little longer yet.

As a little aside; I bought new pair of Gul boots at the start of the season, maybe they were too cheap? I donít know but they appeared to be good value for money, well made AND they donít smell as evil as some other boots that I have owned over the years. However I was a little dismayed to discover a few weeks ago that the rubber protective support on one of the boots had split and my toe straps were starting to wear the neoprene away. Well I sent a very nice email and some pictures to ďsailboatsĒ who I bought them from, together with my invoice details asking them if they could do something for me. I had a very nice reply telling me that Gul would replace them and in fact only a few days later a new pair turned up in the post. I will continue wearing the old ones for the rest of the season if they last, saving the new ones for next year. But over all that was a very good result for me and a nice gesture from Gul.
September 29th
Another wet and windy night

What a dismal spell of weather for sailing we have had lately. The last 2 Wednesdays have been wiped out, plus last Sunday and if the forecast is to be believed this Sunday also will be blown away. I suppose I havenít come out of that too badly as I was away last Sunday and will be away again this Sunday too. However as far as the Club is concerned then the lack of activity may have allowed the field to dry out a little which will be a bit of a blessing as it was fast deteriorating into a muddy morass, suitable only for genuine 4 wheel drives.

I went down for the last of the Wednesday autumn races last Wednesday though I knew before I even arrived that there would be no sailing. Incessant rain and a very lively breeze that we had endured all day ruined any chances of sailing and it didnít take long for the few who arrived to all agree to go home again and watch TV instead of a lively sail around the bay.

Normally we are usually blessed with quite a nice September, with a long settled spell, but unfortunately that hasnít been the case this year and we are now about to enter October without any reasonable optimism of better weather, especially with the remnants of the Caribbean hurricanes heading our way. Looking on the bright side we managed to host the Tasar Nationals just at the right time. The weather for the weekend either side would have been caused us mega problems and there may well have been no Championship, so Lady Luck was on our side that weekend, though the weather did have some impact by preventing any sailing on the Sunday.

We are now officially into autumn and the first of the autumn series is set to start this weekend and just to dampen your spirits a little more I note that the clocks are due to go back in only 4 weeks time which will be the first signs for me of winter approaching. But before we get too morose there are still quite a few more weeks of scheduled sailing to look forward to. Especially for Stacey who has bought a D-zero and is just itching to get to grips with this very modern single hander. Mike Voyzey is having another foray into dinghy sailing and has bought a Supernova which is sitting in the yard just waiting to test our waters. Both Ciarran & Harry Spencer also have good reasons for getting out. Ciarran has a Rooster rig to use on his Laser which will give him oodles more power to exploit, whilst Harry has bought Finnís Laser, which will be a lot more powerful and rewarding to sail than the Topper that he has been using for the last 2 years. Dennis Bray also seems to want to get back into dinghy sailing and he is looking for a light weight crew, which will get another Tasar back on the water.

I believe that another new boat will be gracing our dinghy park and waters within the next few days when James will be collecting his new Aero. Itís a shame that the zero and aero came out at almost the same time as each competes somewhat against the other though the zero is designed to carry a bit more weight whereas the aero comes with a choice of rigs which allows a greater variety of weights to sail the boats more completive. James, being light is going for the smallest rig and will be about Laser radial speed. Staceyís zero is more powerful and will be about Tasar speed, in fact it will be considerably faster than a Tasar downwind. No doubt both of these boats will be keenly observed by a few of our Laser fleet who would all benefit from the performance and comfort of the newer designed boats. Watch this space.

Chris Hazel is in the process of selling his Tasar and if successful will be really missed as he and Tony have been stalwarts of the fleet for the last few years. Chris who now lives in Flushing believes that his future sailing may best be prolonged by buying a cruiser, which he can moor up locally. Tony intends retiring from sailing thinking that when he reaches the magic milestone of 70 will be the right age to stop. Well I can tell him he is very wrong in that respect. There are quite a few over 70 yr old people still sailing quite happily at Porthpean and there are a few others of our ageing fleet heading towards that distinguished age also. I have to admit though that pulling a dinghy up our slope is becoming more painful each time I have to do it and I for one am really grateful for a tow up when there is one available and I only have a lightweight Tasar.

September 17th
We could see the sun, but where was the breeze?

After what seemed like 2 full weeks of torrential rain the sun finally came out today; and what a difference it made, with happy faces all around and a few holiday makers grabbing their spaces on the beach. Unfortunately our car park is still almost impassable, any thoughts that it may have drained off since last weekend were sadly wrong. The rain, heavy at times, since last Sunday has ensured that in places it is still a quagmire, suitable only for tractors or proper 4x4s.

The first thing I saw as I drove into Porthpean today was the sight of Staceyís van with a brand new boat sitting on the roof rack. Stacey has had his sailing buds rekindled, especially after the Tasar Nationals. His lack of a regular crew has driven him back down the single hander route and his choice of weapon is a D0 (zero). This is one of the new classes that have come to the market place over the last 2 years. There is a strong fleet of 12 down at Restronguet, so it is making its presence felt in the south west. In fact the current D0 National Champion sails at Restronguet. Anyone remember George Cousins? Well he used to sail a Laser here for a while before going on to join Restronguet and eventually buying a D0.

Today wasnít the best day to try any new boat as the conditions were very light, almost too light in fact. The forecast was for about 9 knots north easterly but in fact we only had enough breeze to give us a bit of steerage way with us both sitting on opposite sides of the boat, which after the very strong set of conditions over the last few weeks was rather an anticlimax. Our so called fast fleet only had 4 boats racing, 2 Tasars, Chris and Kathy in their RS400 and Staceyís new dinghy. The slow fleet was better supported but they too were quite low in numbers, having only Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion, Simon in his Supernova and a smattering of Lasers racing. Ciarran, himself almost has a new boat when he revealed a Rooster 8.1 rig for his Laser. This larger sail and mast will give him more power and bring him almost up to Scorpion speed, being only 5 points slower, which in the great scheme of things is negligible. Today was a good day to try it out but not a good day to find that extra speed.

Beacky & Kelvin had the honour and privilege of being our RIB drivers today and I think that they were feeling happier sitting in the RIB rather than we were in the very light conditions. The forecast was for a light north easterly, but our Cornish peninsular has a habit of giving us slightly different conditions from time to time, and today was one of those days. The breeze at Porthpean was actually a south easterly and felt quite nice up in the dinghy park but as we all know the wind up there is usually far different than that at sea level and when we dropped the boats onto the beach to rig, the lightness and paucity of the breeze was frustratingly evident.

We may have had a small fleet but the start was intensely competitive. At first it looked like a port hander start was the order of the day and we lined up to take advantage of the bias, but several of the fleet headed down the line on starboard to cut us off and we had no choice but to reach off behind one or two of the starboard tack boats and tack in and only just cleared the start line and by sheer fluke we sped off hard left into clear air and opened up a gap on the rest of the fleet. Chris & Kathy made good speed on the beat going the opposite way and as we closed in on the windward mark we were no more than a boat length in front. Once round, their spinnaker was raised and off they went, eventually opening up a very respectable lead. That lead was good enough to ensure a win for them and a 2nd for us. Staceyís new boat was starting to make ground but fortunately was too far behind to catch us. Richard & Brian had a terrible race and decided to call it a day after 2 rounds.

Things were equally slow for the slow fleet but Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion were having a very close race with Simonís Supernova and although they beat him on the water the handicap system dropped them to 2nd giving Simon the win. Brian Reeves who had been heading the series duly took 3rd. Ciarran in his Rooster rig left the racing to others whilst he got to grips with his Rooster.

Lunch break couldnít come soon enough and I was considering changing into my sailing shorts for what could be the last time this year as the temperature was rising all the time. However clouds came along during the lunch break, the temperature dropped and I decided to leave my long john on after all, though as it happened the clouds eventually rolled away and shorts would have been ok.

Chris & Tony spent the morning and in fact most of the day, cleaning up Chrisís Tasar ready for a potential buyer, who is coming along on Wednesday to view the boat. Their efforts were looking good when I had an inspection after the racing. It will be sad when he sells the boat but Chris has decided that his dinghy racing days have come to an end plus he has quite a journey to make nowadays driving between Flushing and Porthpean, which can be rather painful with the extra traffic in summer. Tony too is threatening to retire from sailing as age is catching him up as well, but I think a lot of that is in the mind. Maybe some positive thoughts may make him change his decision.

The breeze had swung around to a more southerly direction for the afternoon race and the course was tweaked to compensate. The breeze was still persistently patchy and light. Beacky obviously decided that there would be no port starting in this race as it was impossible to cross the line on port, so I knew that the RIB end of the line would be heavily congested. Chris & Kathy manoeuvred their RS400 into the prime position to hit the line at speed. We were almost squeezed out but just managed to get through the closing space between them and the RIB and start right behind them, a quick tack from us was needed to clear our wind and we sailed along the shore rather than head out to sea.

Once again the first beat was very tight and this time Chris arrived at the windward mark just before us but an ambitious mark rounding saw them hit the buoy, resulting in a 360. The breeze, light as it was, decided to switch off and we drifted, occasionally rallied, down the reach, desperately trying to find little patches of breeze. In fact the only reason that we moved so well on the reach was the tide that was carrying us across the bay. Normally the tidal affect is non existent in our bay but in the windless conditions it showed up and this time it was our turn to hit a mark and have to do a 360, and what a laborious task that was trying to persuade the boat to turn in the almost windless conditions. Stacey was further back than us and was swept past the mark and had to try and beat back to round properly.

Very, very slowly we started to make a little progress towards the beach marks, resulting in a few tacks to keep us near them when the shortened course flag went up and we knew that we didnít have too far to go before ending our spell in purgatory. Typically no sooner had the ďSĒ been flown when a proper south westerly breeze appeared and maybe, just maybe we could have sailed another round or two. Although Chris and Kathy were fist across the finish line their handicap figure dropped them down to 3rd, which promoted Staecy into 2nd.

Ciarran started his first race with his Rooster rig and finished in a dead heat with Andrew & Jenny on the finish line but his handicap gave him an 11 second advantage to take his first win at Porthpean; Congratulations Ciarran. Brian Reeves in his conventional full rigged Laser could only finish 3rd, and Simon just couldnít find any breeze at all and settled for a tow back to shore rather than sit out in what looked like hopeless conditions. Fortunately we donít get that many days with these conditions.

Next week sees the start of the last of the series completions and I think that the races may be sailed back to back so be aware. The results page is filling up quite rapidly and the season is starting to fade away. Autumn is definitely here, but there may be still some pleasant sailing days yet to come. Just make sure that you take advantage of them when they are here.

September 13th
A gusty and chilly Wednesday night in the bay.

Once again our very unseasonal weather deterred several from entering the 2nd of the autumn Wednesday series. That wasnít too surprising when you saw how windy it had been for the last 24 hrs. In fact Sue & I were in Fowey earlier today and the seas outside the harbour were very wild and further out there were plenty of white horses. Even in Fowey itself the wind was quite gusty. The wind had been so strong on Tuesday with the promise of gale force winds overnight that I went down on Tuesday afternoon and took my mast down. In the event I donít think that there was too much wind at Porthpean as we are quite sheltered in many ways from a south westerly.

The car park was our first obstacle course tonight and though I managed to get my car in it was trying to slip around on the extremely wet and muddy surface. A few others managed to get their cars in but our only route out was the lower gate. I donít think that unless you had a good 4 wheel drive then that you could exit via the top gate. It will be interesting to see whether conditions in the field are any better by Sunday, though I think the weather is strating to dry up but will it be enough?

Tonight was my first time out since the Nationals and by now all my aches had disappeared and I thought we were raring to go. Once launched we found that the gusts showing out in the bay were the real deal and not the sort of experience I wanted for the first sail after our short break. Whilst rigging the boat I noticed that the rudder head had lost a rivet and one of the gudgeons needed some imminent attention, though it passed good enough for tonight. Once out in the bay we were off on a roller coaster ride towards the starting area where Tony & Colin had positioned themselves ready for the start. Chris should have been with Tony but his cataract operation has stopped him sailing for a few weeks.

The bulk of the fleet were rather slow leaving the shore and so we hoved to, to wait for the starting sequence. Eventually the AP came down, followed in a minute by the 5 minute signal. We started sailing again to go back to the start when the spanner suddenly twisted in its mounting and made it impossible to set properly. There was no point in racing so we set off back to the beach. That in itself was quite difficult as without the spanner engaging the mast properly we had no real drive in the sails and I was constantly trimming the main rather than the traveller to keep the boat heading where we wanted to go. Eventually we made it back to the beach, then back to the yard, derigged the boat and then dropped the mast again, this time to await collection for home and repairs. All being well we should be back on the start line for next Sunday.

Well we didnít see too much of the racing, but it was clear to see that Jeremy & Suzanne were streaking away from the rest of the fleet to take another win. Richard was without Brian so instead took his Contender out but the conditions certainly didnít suit as he fell behind Paddy & Steve who had taken their Tasar out rather than the beast of the B14. Justin is still without Charlie, who still has his wrist in plaster so Dad, Richard replaced him and that would have made 4 Tasars in the fast fleet. However the 3 surviving Tasars took the first 3 places.

The slow fleet only had 2 boats in it. There would have been 6 but 2 of the Lasers remained under wraps and Ciarran & Harry decided that once launched they would be better off staying closer to the shore rather than risk the strong gusts further out. Only Stacey in the Club Laser and Simon in his Supernova headed out to the start line proper. I did notice that Simon had one or two ďmomentsĒ which dropped him back and his corrected time was about 2 minutes behind Stacey.

So once again my mast was taken down awaiting a visit back home for some remedial attention as will the rudder head. At least Jenny was in the galley cooking up the bacon butties so those together with a bottle of cider helped chase the disappointment of my non racing away. My car also made it safely out of the waterlogged car park, which was a huge relief. At the moment the weather forecast for Sunday looks quite promising and as it will be the first Sunday racing for 3 weeks, just may bring a few more boats to the start line.

September 10th
Reflections on the Nationals

Itís only a week ago that 30 Tasars gathered at Porthpean for their Nationals. It certainly didnít seem like 5 years ago that the Tasars last sailed here but time literally does fly the older you get as I can vouch; and werenít we lucky with the weather? Well only just. After a very wet Thursday we saw a very dry and sunny day on Friday which gave the visitors an impressive view of our Club and sailing waters. I suppose Friday may have been the best of the 3 days with Saturday very close behind; but Sunday? Unfortunately that was a write off, but at least we knew in good time that the bad weather was on its way and so we did have a contingency plan to use. Fortuitously we managed to get 7 of the 8 scheduled races in by the end of play on Saturday and I donít think anyone was too displeased not to have to rig and sail on the very wet and quite windy weather that arrived late on Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning.

The rain on Saturday night and Sunday morning was almost of biblical proportions and several nearby local coastal venues were flooded, namely Fowey, Par & Looe. Our own field had water running off it and some cars could only just navigate the slippery slopes. The green which had hosted quite a few Tasars was also dripping wet and getting quite marshy underfoot.

But back to Friday, we had wall to wall sunshine with a nice F4 ish breeze blowing out in the bay. It looked very nice with 29 Tasars streaming out on a long reach to arrive at the sailing area. An excellent ďqĒ shaped course was set under the watchful eye of Race Officer Ron Barrett by Mike Ward and Liz Saunders. 3 races each lasting about 45 minutes, were held and that produced 3 different winners. The Commodore's reception followed in the evening and we were amazed at the quality and quantity of food that Jenny Pope laid on Ė fantastic.

Saturday dawned to a very still bay, with not a breath of wind blowing, but at least we had the compensation of the sun shining. The postponement flag was flown which gave the assembled fleet plus 1 newcomer time to bimble, chat, eat and drink. The campers were well pleased with the breakfasts that Jenny March and her team produced. The Committee boat and RIBs were launched so that they could take immediate action when the breeze filled in. Yes, slightly later than we wanted the first puffs of a south westerly appeared from Blackhead. The postponement flag came down and 30 Tasars launched; game on and we had the pleasure of 4 races to look forward to. The first race of the day produced the first general recall of the weekend and from then on the black flag was flown for all subsequent races. That race when it eventually started at the 2nd attempt produced yet another winner. This time it was Stacey and Steve who produced a magnificent win, and now the Championship was taking on a better balanced look, with 4 different winners after 4 races. The breeze filled in a little more and every Tasar managed to plane down the reaches, with some gains for some, especially playing the waves when appropriate.

The famous Porthpean pasty boat appeared after the first race and for a short time peace fell on the fleet whilst those who had ordered ate their pasties, Mars bars and drank their energy drinks. It wasnít too long before we started the rest of the marathon day. Actually we were on the water for over 5 hours in all, which was more than enough for me. This was the time for Jeremy & Suzanne to show their class and they promptly reeled off 3 wins on the trot to place them into an unassailable position. Stacey & Steve with 3 more good results gave themselves a healthy lead on the 3rd boat of Malcolm & Fiona. It was a tired fleet that sailed back to shore and it wasnít too long before the BBQ was lit and once again a truly delicious feast appeared. Again the quality and quantity was more than enough. Apparently our BBQ was a far better value for money affair than that produced at Mountís Bay for the RS400s who had their Nationals the week before. Tony's tin can alley, proved a big hit with those willing to have a go and spectators alike.

The rain came in the night and it really poured down, the wind became quite strong and as we gathered at the Club on Sunday morning the desire and will to go sailing for the 1 race we needed to complete the series hit an all time low. The RO and team were prepared to go out and set a course for the race but a quick pole of the fleet decided that racing would not take place, which gave us plenty of time for boats to be packed away, lunch and cream teas to be prepared and eaten and an early prize giving. The rain petered out but the breeze was still quite fresh as our visitors slowly made their way back up the hill out of Porthpean on their trek home. At least the A30 duelling is complete so there werenít any hold ups to slow them down too much.

Jeremy & Suzanne regained their crown and Stacey & Steve finished a strong 2nd, which I guess makes the Porthpean Tasar fleet the best in the country. James and Nigel despite Nigelís sickness produced an outstanding series as did Paddy & Sarah racing their boat that they bought purely for the Nationals. Finn & Olli were another pairing who produced an excellent series as they had never sailed a Tasar together before, in this case it was Chris Hazellís Tasar that they borrowed.

Chris Bilkie took some very nice photographs which can be accessed from our web site and Sarah Desjonquers produced an excellent write up which appeared in the Y&Y the very next day. Following this link will get you there.

I was missing last Wednesday as we had tickets for the Cat Stephens show ďPeace TrainĒ at the HFC and that was an excellent show and well worth seeing. I note that only a small fleet took to the water for the first of the early autumn Wednesday series and that now gives us only 3 more Wednesday races before the weeks become so much longer between our sailing. Having said that the forecast for the week looks horrible and that may impact on our Wednesday racing.

Today was another race day lost to the weather, though I think it was more likely that it was the forecast that defeated us as not that many people came down to race. The wind strength was starting to rise and the promised rain looked like it was set to arrive at any time as it was preceded by low visibility and drizzle. Our car park is almost impassable with one or two coming to grief with the mud. Beacky was one of them and despite him having a 4 wheel car he still couldnít navigate the grass and had to be towed out by Paddyís mafia wagon. I filmed the recue and have posted it onto the Club facebook page, though as I write this I am waiting for it to appear.

September 3rd
The 2017 Tasar Nationals

After a 5 year hiatus the Tasar fleet assembled at Porthpean for yet another attempt to conquer our infamous slope. What a pleasant surprise they had on arrival and found that we had been loaned a 4 wheel drive tractor unit that towed all the boats up 3 at a time. Not that the slope is that bad, as normally after Club sailing we pull our own boats up, but after a long hard day sailing, and yes we had 2 very hard days of sailing, the help of the tractor is very welcome.

This was the 6th Tasar National Championships to be held at Porthpean since the first in 1991 and for some this was their first visit whilst for others, namely Constantine Udo & Jan Slotemaker it was also their 6th visit. Many things have changed in the Tasar fleet since the heady days of 1991. The biggest change is that all Tasars no matter their age, nowadays tend to sport mylar sails, rather than the white Dacron as originally supplied. The Tasar is renowned for its longevity and this was also reflected in the many ďoldĒ boats still sailing competively today. It certainly doesnít cost a fortune to buy and run a Tasar and the conditions this weekend, showed their performance off in an incredible manner; especially in the high speed reaches deployed on the ďqĒ shaped course. The calibre of the helms and crews also proved to be at a very high level, with no less than the current Champion and 4 other previous National Champions contesting the top spot.

After our very erratic summer we were desperately hoping for some fine weather and that for the main was what was served up to us, with wall to wall sunshine on Friday with a moderate northerly breeze blowing out in the bay. The northerly breeze did hold the temperatures down somewhat but letís face it we are now into metrological autumn (just). The racing area was well out into St. Austell bay and the flat seas immediately off the beach were replaced by just a little swell to remind us all that we were out at sea.

Our Mothership this year was the ďblack pearlĒ large RIB, loaned by Jeremy, which had proved so useful last year when the B14s visited us. Our racing was once again conducted by Ron Barrett, ably assisted this time by Peter Pope & Jeremy Rowett. Assistant RO Mike Ward was out on the water conducting the mark laying boats and between them laid a superb course with some excellent reaching angles. The first race on Saturday provoked a general recall and the appearance of the black flag. The black flag was used for all successive races. There was going to be no more bad behaviour at these Nationals!! Although the RO and assistants were exposed to the elements in the RIB they at least had a more comfortable experience when anchored than they have had in past years, when rolling around in an anchored yacht which tended to upset quite a few delicate stomachs. Mind you the lack of toilet facilities did cause a slight problem, but when needs mustÖ.

The popularity of Porthpean was also reflected in the number of Tasars that entered, with a fleet of 30. I know that compared to some fleets this is quite a low number but at least it is 2 more than the Enterprise fleet mustered this year. Talking of Enterprises reminds me that the 1992 Enterprise Nationals at Penzance was the first Nationals that I ever attended and we had 228 on the start line. What a decline the Enterprise fleet has seen since those heady years, but since then there has been a plethora of new designed dinghies which has eroded not only the Enterprise fleet but many of the fleets that were so popular in the early 70s. In fact I think we could easily have had at least 40 Tasars if some of the other regular sailed Tasars had entered but there you are no matter what date and venue is chosen there are always some people who canít make it. Anyway I am sure that quite a few of the absent sailors will rue missing the fantastic sailing conditions that we were served.

The Nationals, in line with so many Nationals nowadays, was scheduled to be a 3 day event with 3 racing sessions for the 8 race series. The advantage of having a racing session is that the RO can decide on the day from the conditions as to how many races he runs. The 3 day weather forecast promised good sailing conditions for the first 2 days but the heavy rain and strong winds forecast for Sunday made the likelihood of racing rather dubious. So on Friday we had 3 races, back to back. The forecast for Saturday was good and so it was that 4 more races were run, leaving only 1 required on the Sunday if racing was possible. For once the weather forecast was spot on. Very heavy rain and strong winds came sweeping in overnight and continued well into the morning. The RO was ready to put on a race if the fleet wished to launch through the building surf and limited visibility; BUT the fleet didnít wish, so with 7 races in the bag, the leader couldnít be caught, 2nd & 3rd positions were also decided so it was no surprise that racing was declared abandoned for the day, which then gave ample time for a Cornish cream tea (jam on first of course!!) & or extra pasties. Prize giving was brought forward and boats were packed away in good time, allowing our visitors to make an early start on the long soggy journey back home.

It was a shame to have to finish early but the intensity of 2 days racing was felt by many and I for one was quite happy for my weary body to have a day off. Everybody appeared to be more than happy with their Porthpean experience, which always gives a satisfying feeling to us locals. Indeed anyone who has attended a Nationals at Porthpean before finds that our secluded patch offers a very nice ďaway from it allĒ experience.

Well itís a big congratulation to Jeremy & Suzanne winning the title for the 4th time. They have taken a couple of years out, supporting Finnís windsurfing but this weekend were free so allowed them the chance to reclaim their title. Itís also time to congratulate Stacey Bray & Steve Coello who at the last minute, so to speak, decided to pair up and put a superb series together including a win to take 2nd overall. Paddy & Sarah bought a Tasar last winter and have prepped it ready for the weekend and were rewarded by being 3rd Porthpean boat. James & Nigel borrowed a spare Bray boat and despite Nigel suffering flu like symptoms still managed to finish in front of Ken & me. No excuses from me, I found the intense racing rather tiring and I didnít help our cause 1 iota by capsizing during a pole gybing manoeuvre, when I managed to slip. I grabbed the traveller sheet to try and save the situation but instead grabbed part of the grab line which was elastic, that snapped and overboard I went and the boat capsized in sympathy. Well that gave Ken a fright as we have never capsized during a gybe before and it was also our first capsize for the year so not a good time for that sort of thing. However we managed to recover without assistance and sailed on to finish.

Finn managed to borrow Chris Hazellís Tasar and sailed really well and walked away with the Junior trophy. Richard & Brian have been in training all season, but disappointingly for them, Richard hurt his back a week ago and couldnít sail, but Anna came to the rescue. She flew in from Oman to take the helm for her first time in a Tasar and from all accounts thoroughly enjoyed herself. Justin has sailed with Charlie Austin all year but Charlie is another casuality, though in his case itís a broken wrist, and that prevented him from sailing. However Simon Hindley from Fowey stepped into the crewís berth to give us 8 home boats sailing.

Once again the famous Porthpean pasty boat put in an appearance, roaring from boat to boat on Saturday after the first race delivering pre-ordered pasties and drinks to the fleet. The tides were perfect for us as they were in a neap phase, which always left enough beach exposed to safely store all our launching trollies. The sea was very flat in the cove so launching and recovery were easy and then there was the welcome sight of the tractor, driven by Beacky, to pull us all back up the hill, back to our berths. New members Jeremy, Christina and Jensen mucked in with all the weekend had to offer, acting as Beach master, and Galley helpers.

The socials went down well. Jenny Pope produced a superb buffet on Friday with enough food to feed the entire fleet and then some more beside. The BBQ on Saturday evening was run with top class efficiency by Andrew, Brian and Jacek. Again there was enough food for everyone with 2nds for the very hungry.

What can I say about the galley; once again Jennyís breakfasts were well received, especially by the campers and even Club members who came down early to have a nice tasty meal before going on the water. The galley itself did a roaring trade, despite being a little light on volunteers at times and nobody left without tasting at least one and in some cases several Niles Pasties. We had quite a few sponsors, for various bits and pieces; St. Austell brewery for 3 kegs of beer, Vincent tractors for the tractor, Rooster sailing for spot prizes & Hawkins Motors for the bow numbers.

It seemed a real anticlimax when the last visitors left, disappearing up the hill in a cloud of rain and we were left with an empty sailing club, but normal service will resume on Wednesday, when we start the early Wednesday series. Donít forget racing will start at 18.00 instead of the normal 19.00. This will give us enough daylight to take us through September, so be warned. Unfortunately I wonít be there. A night at HFC is on my agenda so there will be no blog, until next week. At least I get a week to recover.

August 30th
Last Wednesday race of the summer

Well here we are; the last Wednesday race in August, the end of the summer series. The next time we race will be in September. Like it or not summer has gone, autumn beckons, and we still have all the autumn series of races to take us up to the end of our season.

Our balmy weather over the last week has slipped away to be replaced with our normal unsettled weather. Today, Wednesday, hasnít been too bad but an intense shower round about 17.00 almost made me think that sailing would not be on many peopleís agenda. However the rain passed, the sun came out but the fresh westerly breeze started to fade away. It was almost a race against time to get the last of the summer Wednesday races in. Next week will see the start of the September series and we will be into the early starts of 18.00 for the month

ďDances with WavesĒ was still tucked up in the field after our aborted visit to Roadford Lake at the weekend. The 3 day event was reduced to only one race and that took place on the Saturday after we had abandoned hope of sailing and returned home. The Saturday race was sailed in extremely light conditions and Sunday & Monday was completely windless there. No doubt as disappointing for the organisers as for the various competitors. Anyway I digress. Ken & I were down for RIB duty and we launched and set a course and were on station for a prompt 19.00 start. Alas half the fleet were still trying to negotiate the windless conditions between the shore and the beach marks. After a short delay of about 10 minutes we commenced the starting sequence and in the end there were only 2 boats that failed to make the start line on the gun.

By the time we started the breeze had subsided even more and the fleet limped along towards the beach marks. Stacey & Steve, hoping for a lot more breeze for the Tasar Nationals crossed the line about 10 seconds early and then had to make the long detour to sail round one of the start line ends to start correctly and this dropped them way back down the fleet of 4 Tasars, to a position they could never recover from. Once again it was Team Dowrick, for the 2nd week running who rounded the beach marks first, hotly pursued by Jeremy and this time his favoured crew, Suzanne. James and Nigel appeared to open up a slight gap over the next 2 down wind legs to set up a close race over the next beat. There have been quite a few new pairings formed for the Nationals and tonight was Finnís first time helming one. He has borrowed Chris Hazellís Tasar and tonight he had Paddy acting as his crew. The Pesky Kestrel completed the fast handicap fleet and tonight Pete had ace crew Tony Dunn as his spinnaker man.

6 Lasers and a Scorpion made up the slow fleet. 6 Lasers was a good turnout but unfortunately none of the 6 was present for our Laser Open last weekend. As befitting their superior speed the slow fleet was headed from start to finish by the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny who made their spinnaker count on the down wind legs. Brian Reeves who has been the most consistent Laser sailor this season, proved yet again to be the fastest of the bunch and finished 2nd to the Scorpion. Kay, who was one of the late starters, slowly crept through the field to take 3rd ahead of Nick & Ciarran, all the first 4 Lasers were sporting full rigs. Clive who was very late for the start edged up ahead of Harry who was ruing the fact that he was sailing with a 4.7 rig, which was far too small for the very light conditions.

It was obvious to us in the RIB that this race was going to have to finish after only a round and a beat if we were to get everyone ashore before the onrushing darkness overtook us. What a tense race it was for the 2 leading Tasars. It looked like the very reasonable distance that James had built up over Jeremy would be enough to take him to his first victory but Jeremy twisted and turned, closed the gap and took the lead just before the beach marks. Even that little lead almost disappeared when a sudden gust propelled James almost into the back of Jeremy. The fact that he had to sail below him meant running out of steam and team Hawkins just limped over the line to take the win. Meanwhile not too far behind the Kestrel was closing fast and the elapsed time made me think that Pete & Tony would take first place on corrected time, but no they had to settle for 3rd, just 1 second behind James.

This coming weekend will be our long awaited Tasar Nationals. Hopefully everything is in place. We were hoping for about 25 boats but, & Iím not complaining here, it looks like our budgeted number of 25 may be exceeded, as once again Porthpean is proving to be a bit of a Mecca for Tasars. The only fly in the ointment appears to be the weather forecast. It seems that we are going to get some rain and at this stage it looks like Sunday may be quite blustery. The strength of the wind is bound to affect the outcome as one or two of the competitors will thrive in the fresher conditions whilst others will thrive in the lighter conditions. No matter how good or poor the weather is, it will be comforting if everyone enjoys their time at Porthpean. I suppose it is fortunate that the Nationals wasnít last weekend as although the weather was stunning from a beach goers point of view it would have been totally disastrous from a sailing point of view.

Well as they said in Golden times in the past ďLet the Games CommenceĒ

August 27th
Hot & Sunny but alas not much breeze

Without a doubt, yesterday, 27th August was probably the hottest Sunday we have had this year. Yes, this weekend, summer finally arrived and this was reflected on our beaches when thousands of holiday makers and locals alike descended onto the Cornish playgrounds to enjoy the wonderful weather. Ken & I were set to go to Roadford Lake for the Goodacre Cup, which we have attended on the last 3 years and on Saturday, accompanied for the day by Brian Phillips I set off to travel the A30 including the new dual section to Roadford Lake. The new bit of road is very welcome and just as with most new roads, you just flow into the new section without any discernible change in the road layout. Itís almost as if it has always been there.

Anyway we arrived without any mishaps but noticed on the way up that every windmill en route was not working, truly a bad sign from a sailorís point of view. We were greeted upon arrival to the sight of the reservoir resembling an apparent sheet of glass. The lake was completely becalmed. Things weren't looking too hopeful. Not to be deterred we sat around, had our lunch, and waited for things to improve. By 14.00 we were still becalmed. The boat was still wrapped up, the forecast on Radio Cornwall promised more of the hot and sunny and windless conditions for the next few days and so I made the decision to abandon any thoughts of racing and returned home. James was looking for volunteers for the RIB to be manned on Sunday and Ken & I offered our services.

Sunday at Porthpean was another windless day, though we were scheduled to host a Laser Open meeting and also the August Cup. Our Open Meetings attendance has been abysmal this year with only 2 turning up for the Tasar Open and one each respectively for the Scorpion and Kestrel Open meetings. The Laser SW circuit is supposed to be quite active but our only entrants were 3 youngsters who are on holiday in the area and they turned up with their 4.7 rigs to take on our only Club Laser, Janet in her radial. All in all a very poor effort from our Club Lasers and maybe we should reconsider open meetings in the future as all it does is dilute good Club sailing.

The complete lack of wind meant that there was no sailing at all in the morning and the keen ones stayed on just on the off chance that things might improve in the afternoon. Their patience was duly rewarded when by 14.00 or so the lightest of southerly breezes started to appear. Our RIB was duly kitted out with buoys, flags and optimism and we launched onto a flat sea to set what can only be described as a small course, but it proved to be an ideal size to get 2 fleets racing and to hold 3 races which then allowed a discard. As it was a special day we devised a slightly different course than normal and that was to have a sausage, triangle configuration. The 4 Lasers were released first, followed 5 minutes later by a larger fleet than expected of Club dinghies.

Both James & Nigel plus Paddy & Sarah had spent all morning tuning and tweaking their Tasars ready for next weekendís Nationals and were eager to see the results of their efforts. They would be up against the return of Chris & Kathy in their RS400 and the pesky Kestrel. The slow fleet was represented by Andrew & Jenny, up against Simonís Supersofa. Well you would be hard pushed to call the racing exciting, but it was tackled with 100% effort and as always there are winners and losers. The breeze was so light that we remained anchored up to watch the race progress. The breeze shifted around to a more easterly direction as the first race progressed and we had to tweak the windward marks to compensate but apart from that we managed to get all 3 races in which gave a satisfactory result. The fast fleet had 3 different winners in the 2 races, but the spoils went to Chris and Kathy, who were the most consistent with 2 2nds to combine with a win to take the August Cup. The slow fleet result was more clear cut with Andrew & Jenny taking all 3 races to give them the result that they wanted.

Maybe in hindsight it is best not to organise anything other than Club racing over a Bank Holiday. But whatever the result I think we all enjoyed the beautiful weather and it is set to continue for another day or two yet. I just wonder if we will eventually fall foul of the current American hurricane sweeping across Texas. If so I hope it is not for another 2 weeks or so as next weekend we have the Tasar Nationals. We have budgeted for 25 boats and it looks like our prediction will come true judging by the entries so far plus the one or two who will just turn up. Well we havenít too much longer to wait.

A number of people have been working very hard behind the scenes to ensure that this will be another Porthpean triumph and there are too many names that I could mention that I would be bound to miss some out and that can hurt. Needless to say holding a Nationals is a Club effort and if you are not directly involved and wish to be then please make contact with either me or Jenny Kendall as there are one or 2 posts that still need filling or beefing out and these are mainly around the galley area. Whatever, it should be a grand sight to see a good fleet of Tasars racing in our Bay. Jeremy & Suzanne, previous winners will be going all out to retake their title but they will be up against the current Champion plus a few other ex Champions, so it will be an epic struggle. As for me, I expect that this will be the last Nationals that I will sail in. These short but intense racing days are something that I find rather draining, though I still take some comfort in the fact that I can still do it and at times compete with the top boys.
August 23rd
A light and stable westerly to see us into the penultimate summer Wednesday race.

Itís a shame that we almost reach the end of the summer Wednesday racing before we get one of our best turnouts of the season. Tonight we reached the magical figure of 16 and there were still 2 ďboatsĒ in the dinghy park, with helms left bimbling as they were crewless. In fact our fleets were very evenly balanced with 8 fast and 8 slow making up the 2 fleets. Better than that from my point of view was that we had 7 Tasars out. The oncoming Tasar Nationals are certainly an incentive for some serious practice. The slow fleet was also bulked up with the appearance of 6 Lasers, though that fleet was a mixture off full rigs, radials and a 4.7.

After the fresh conditions last Sunday, tonight we were greeted by a light westerly that wafted over the cliffs and resulted in a very nice flat sea. The tide was right in; in fact high tide was around 19.00 so there was very little beach for us to line up on and eventually launch from. Due to the light breeze and where we were under the cliffs it did take several frustrating minutes to clear the cove to find the extra breeze that would take us out to sea to rendezvous with Andrew & Jenny who were our RIB drivers for the night. We have had quite a few westerlyís this year and they have usually been very lively but tonight the breeze was far lighter and sailing was more comfortable, but there were shifts around to watch out for.

A nice little triangle to suit the westerly was laid and a quite short starting line was also laid. There was just a little port bias on it but due to the shortish line and the number of boats that would be vying for the start, I declined to ďhave a goĒ. Our Tasar fleet was made up of some different combinations tonight. Jeremy was without Suzanne and her lithe body was replaced by the slightly portly figure of Paddy, searching for some tips from the maestro. Stacey has paired up with Steve Coello for the Nationals and they were looking for some much needed practice though they have tasted success in previous Nationals. Richard & Brian are tuning a new top section, so were anxious to see how well it would go. As it happened they had a disastrous start and never recovered. James and Nigel have teamed up to use Staceyís boat for the Nationals and they sailed a Tasar together for the first time. Chris & Tony are coming towards the end of their sailing partnership and were determined to give a good showing and I think they were really pleased to claim the scalp of Richard & Brian. We were also pleased to see Rob & Ben Smeaton, home for the holidays,join us on the start line and then there was Ken & me, old timers (well I am), but still hoping to have some influence on the nightís racing. The 8th boat in our fleet was, as you may have guessed, the ďpeskyĒ Kestrel, with Pete helming and daughter Jo crewing, in what were excellent conditions for their spinnaker equipped boat.

For, I think, one of the rare occasions we had both our top 2 Supersofas out racing together. Simon is back for a spot of leave and so is sailing whenever he can and Steve swapped his Scorpion for his Supernova to gain some vital practice for the Inlands which are scheduled for the same weekend as our Tasar Nationals; so there was a competition within a competition there. The medical section of the Club was well represented in the Lasers with no less than 3 Doctors giving battle. One of those was Ciarran out in his new Laser to try his luck against Nick & Dave. Harry was out in his new Laser also but he was using a 4.7 sail which I think he felt by the end of the evening that he was sailing underpowered.

We were using one of our ďspareĒ RIBs tonight and its lack of use was shown up when the horn which is normally quite loud turned into a very quiet splutter, and could only be heard when sailing in close proximity to it. Fortunately everyone realised that with a cloudy evening, daylight would be at a premium and in fact we were only just a few minutes late from the scheduled 19.00 start time. I donít know how long it took to sail the first beat, maybe 5-7 minutes, depending where you were on the course. Our start was OK, nothing special but we had clear air, vital in the light conditions and we worked up the left hand side of the course and as we started our long tack in towards the beach marks everything was looking quite rosy until we started to become headed. In hind sight we should have tacked off and tried to get back to windward of the whole fleet but I expected the wind to lift us back again and unfortunately it didnít and from what looked like a certain first position round the beach marks we fell victims to most of the fleet and rounded 5th Tasar and alongside the Kestrel. Things werenít looking too good for us. James and Nigel had the pleasure of rounding first followed by Jeremy & Paddy, Stacey & Steve, Chris & Tony. The 2 Supernovas of Steve & Simon werenít too far behind either and both of those are quite fast off wind, so never fell back too far.

A struggle for us was looming, but hey, it was still early in the race and there was still a good way to go. Well for a start I canít remember everything that happened in the race, sufficient to say that we had a battle royal with the Kestrel, and the Tasars in front but we eventually took the lead on the last round and set off out to sea with just a nice gap between us and Jeremy. The rest of the fleet had been left behind and it appeared to be a 2 boat race, but then it all turned on its head as our light breeze left us crawling along when behind sprung up a nice little extra zephyr and to our horror we saw the fleet we had left behind closing us down. The Kestrel with spinnaker flying was closing fast and appearing to tow James and Stacey along with it. We only just made it to the gybe mark in 1st place and then the pesky Kestrel came to our aid as they were involved in the 4 way battle that developed between them and our pursuers which allowed us to find a sudden spurt and pull clear and we started to open up a very useful distance between us and the 2 Tasars of James & Jeremy, who appeared to be very evenly matched on boat speed.

The last beat was a tense affair as I knew we were sitting in the driving seat and some sensible sailing was called for. Our cause was helped somewhat by Jeremy overtaking James and then sitting on him to ensure that no further damage would occur. Well we did cross the line in first place but the Kestrel was looking ominously close, but when the results were finally revealed it gave the overall first to us and the Kestrel had to settle for 2nd. Now for Ken & me that was a good evening on the water.

As was to be expected Steve found the conditions just right for his Supernova and sailed into a very good first position in his fleet. In fact his corrected time would have given him a 1st overall if both fleets were combined. Simon was beaten into 2nd place but still had a very nice lead over Nick Haskins, who was in the first of the Lasers and also first of the Doctors! Nick was followed by Brian and then Ciarran, with the radial rigs of Clive and Dave finishing in front of Harry, probably ruing not sailing his radial rig.

The Club house was fizzing with the aprŤs sail social; also sizzling were the bacon butties as produced by Jenny. Yes they went down a treat. By the time I left the Clubhouse it was pitch dark outside. The long summer evenings of 2017 are now but a distant memory. Anyone who parked in the field last night would have noticed the brilliant work carried out on Tuesday afternoon. The field was cut and also the green, which will be needed to park the Tasars in only a weekís time. In fact the dinghy park itself will have to be cleared next Wednesday to ready ourselves for the Tasar invasion. I believe that we are still short of volunteers on the catering side so if you havenít already volunteered and would like to help your Club then please contact Jenny or Andrew who will be pleased to hear from you.

August 20th
Fresh southwesterlies return

Well once again the weather had the better of us last Wednesday, as heavy rain and gusty winds deterred us from venturing out from the safe haven of the Clubhouse. It almost did for us again today so hats off to the gallant fleet who made the effort to launch and sail in what has been an awful summerís day. In fact to call it a summerís day is doing the word day an injustice. The heavy drizzle and fresh breeze made it more like a late autumn day. Take a look at the picture alongside. Porthpean beach in the middle of August should have been packed out but as you can see it was completely deserted. The drizzle and mist was forecast and unfortunately there is very little chance of it improving in the very near future. In fact next weekend is the late August Bank Holiday and the Monday after that will be the first day back at school for many.

Anyway enough of that; Ken & I and James Dowrick have been sailing at Fowey Week over the last week. James did extremely well with quite a few wins to his name. His results were good enough to make him the overall winner in his class for the week so congratulations to him. As for Ken me, this week was our first appearance for 5 years and in many ways nothing much had changed overt the years. We started off really well on Tuesday with 2 wins in which were lovely sailing conditions. So lovely in fact that I sailed in tee shirt and shorts in the nicest day of the week. However Wednesday dawned with a very gusty westerly wind blowing and the Race Officer decided that all dinghies would race in the harbour. We launched and sailed out of Caffa Mill until we were hit by the first of many gusts swirling over the town. Controlling the boat was possible but very difficult and the strength of the gusts as they came through persuaded me to call it a day. We sailed back to Caffa Mill, packed the boat away and went and watched the racing and many capsizes. I have to say though I was very impressed with the proficiency of skill showed by many of the youngsters sailing in the more than challenging conditions.

We duly turned up again for the Thursday racing in what was still quite a fresh westerly breeze, to find that we would be racing out at sea for the morning. Sailing out of the river mouth was quite an experience as it was very lumpy, but once outside it wasnít too bad at all. In fact the wind eased off quite a bit and also swung more westerly. Unfortunately the course wasnít set to cater for the change. The first beat became very one tacky, the first reach was very tight, whilst the 2nd reach was a run and without a doubt our performance suffered and although I thought we had done enough for another win we were timed as only making 2nd. The afternoon race in a rising, gusty breeze was sailed completely in the river and we managed to record another 2nd. The forecast for Friday was for even stronger winds so the decision was made to pack up and come home. Whether I will ever sail in Fowey Week again is a very dubious point. Entries appear to have dropped away even more and the weather forecast for the week will have to be outstanding, before I will even consider it.

Now onto today and what a wet and miserable day it has been. Only the dedicated few made the effort to come out and race. The racing amongst the Tasars was probably the best we have had this year. At one time it looked like we would have 5 Tasars on the start line for the first race. Unfortunately Justin, complete with crew for the Nationals found that his new boom required the spanner rotation arm fitting and the time it took for this little job was long enough to make him late for the start. Paddy was without his crew so persuaded Jeremy to jump in and helm the boat with him crewing. Completing the mini fleet was Richard & Brian, Chris & Tony and for the afternoon Stacey & guest Wiggy and what a close race we had. The breeze blowing across the bay was a fairly fresh south westerly with some quite meaty gusts coming through. 100% Hiking was necessary on every beat and the reaches were fast and furious, though the first reach did need the addition of our whisker poles.

Beacky & Kelvin were our RIB drivers for the day and set us a good course, but unfortunately with a very biased start line, making it almost impossible to cross on starboard. However we all managed to cross eventually though for us and several others it meant a sudden gybe to cross the line. Anyway once started we shot off across the bay and the first beat was heavily contested between Jeremy & Paddy, Richard & Brian and us, plus Steve & Polly in their Scorpion blasting out ahead of the slow fleet. The first reach became a very tactical affair for the 3 Tasars and our little conflict gave enough room for Steve & Polly to overtake us all, by sailing lower and freer, which suited their spinnaker a treat. Jeremy & Paddy took the lead, followed by Richard and Brian, trailed by us. I think it was on the 2nd beat that we overtook Richard and built up a small gap, only to lose it again on the next beat. However we retook 2nd place on the very last lap to claim a 2nd place. Justin had enough time to close and pass Chris and Tony and the only other boat in the fast fleet was the Kestrel sailed by Pete & daughter Jo, but they found the conditions a little too strong and retired from the race and the rest of the day.

The miserable day did not let up and after lunch a very wet set of sailors launched again for round 2. The RO decided that we would go round the opposite way this time. We still had a good beat but the first reach became another must for our whisker poles and it wasnít until the 2nd reach in towards the beach marks that the Tasars could really build up their speed. Richard & Brian led us and withstood the pressure of Jeremy & Paddy for 2 rounds until failing to cover on the 3rd beat allowed Team Paddy to slip through right at the end of the beat. They then sailed off to create enough distance to take another win. Ken & I had fallen back a little and started the last round maybe 30 seconds behind, but a better beat followed by slightly better down wind speed brought us right up with Richard & Brian and we finished alongside them to be credited with equal 2nd. At one time I thought we were going to slip past them as we both surfed down the swell in towards the beach marks. Stacey & Wiggy had a poor start and were playing catch up most of the race but a capsize on the 2nd beat completely destroyed any hope they had of catching us.

Meanwhile Steve & Polly were having another cracking race and were up amongst us 3 Tasars, always making good ground on us on the broad reach before falling away on the close reach, but finishing way ahead of the rest od the slow fleet to take another pair of wind for the day. With Beacky & Kelvin running the RIB the only other Scorpion out today was that of Andrew & Jenny, but Jenny asked to be excused for the afternoon race and was replaced by Nigel, though even his strength could not improve on the morningís position. The Laser fleet continues to fluctuate in numbers and today only had Brian Reeves sailing. I suppose his closest rival was the Supersofa of Simon Robins and they shared 2nd spot over both races. Talking about the sofas; I hear that Mike Voyzey has just bought one and I also noticed Dennis having a very close look at Simonís, so who knows, another one of those could be joining us soon.

August 13th
A southerly breeze and some very welcome sunshine.

Only 2 races today and not very windy at that but boy am I feeling tired? For a change the weather today was bright and sunny though we all noticed the absence of breeze when we arrived at the Club, but by 10.30 the forecast southerly breeze had appeared and racing was on. There was a mad scramble to get ready and assemble on the miniscule beach that we had left owing to the high tide time of around 10.00. Yes we are on neaps so not much movement was going to happen for quite a while. Anyway we all found somewhere on the crowded beach to ready our boats amongst the throng of holiday makers. In fact we probably caused quite a bit of interest as sails went up rigs were tweaked and launching finally happened and we disappeared out to sea.

Once again it wasnít a massive fleet but at least we were in to double figures. We are in holiday times and several of our regulars are either on holiday or tied up with other obligations. One of those is James who is busy celebrating his 21st Birthday today. Our RIB drivers for the day were Steve Coello, ably assisted by Harry Fryer. Harry was standing in for Paddy who had the chance to sail with Sarah in readiness for the Tasar Nationals, which is less than 3 weeks away. They managed to set a very decent sized course, with good down wind angles which suited the Tasars probably more than the 2 conventional spinnaker boats, but then there were 3 Tasars out to only 2 spinnaker boats. Well in essence there were actually 3 spinnaker boats but the 3rd was the asymmetrical RS400 of Steve and Ashley and that thrives on closer angles than the conventional spinnakers. Their Nationals, at Mounts Bay, are only a week away so they too wanted some more practice.

A southerly breeze gives us a beat from the beach marks out towards Blackhead, which is all very nice but the breeze tends to be very steady with little or no wind shifts to be had so boat speed becomes more important. Ken says that one advantage of the southerly air flow is that hiking is more consistent without any extreme movement in the boat to upset the rhythm. Richard and Brian made up the 3rd our mini fleet of 3 Tasars, the 4th normally sailed Tasar was in the dinghy park as it was Chris & Tony doing their duty in the OOD box today. It was also good to see the pesky Kestrel making another appearance, though still without Janet on the helm. Instead that important job today fell to Pete, ably assisted by Oliver, Sarahís youngest son, as forward hand. The slow fleet was well represented by 5 Lasers to give battle to the only other slow handicap boat, that of the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny. Jenny was raring to go after having to sit on the sidelines for the last few weeks with her sprained ankle.

Ken & I launched in good time and we sailed parts of the beat checking on the angles for the compass, then checked the line bias for the chance of a port hand flyer. Well as it happened there was no port bias to be worth considering a port tack start so we lined up with the rest of the fleet for a starboard start. Our timing was spot on and on the sound of the start gun we crossed the line in the best seats in the house and sauntered up the beat closely accompanied by Richard & Brian and Paddy & Sarah. Actually sauntered is the wrong word. It was all out hiking as the 3 of us were very close together and it was very important to start the down wind legs in the lead. Both Paddy & Richard were pointing well and driving their boats for all they were worth. Our good start paid off well and we maintained our lead over the other two to be first to round the windward mark and then off we went on the down wind legs. Our slightly better down wind speed helped us to open up a little gap. Richard & Brian held onto 2nd place leaving Paddy & Sarah to hold 3rd position and to have to fend off the attention of Steve & Ashley in the RS400. The first reaching leg wasnít that exciting but that all changed on the 2nd leg when the chance to marginal plane allowed the boat to pick up her skirts and start to make some distance on the rest of the fleet. With virtually no wind shifts to play with we just had to maintain a holding cover on the beats and use our downwind speed to extend our lead on the reaches. Pete & Oliver didnít fare too well in the Kestrel as they had a problem dousing the spinnaker before the start and were late getting back to the start line so started in last place overall, but slowly fought their way past all the slower boats and their corrected time was enough to claim the scalp of Steve & Ashley.

Of the 5 Lasers out today, Brian Reeves was by far the fastest and he consolidated a good lead over the husband and wife Martyn & Sarah to take 1st place. Meanwhile the battle for 2nd was close with only 6 seconds separating Martyn over Sarah. What would happen in the afternoon? Those 3 Lasers condemned Andrew & Jenny to 4th leaving Nick winning the battle of the Doctors as Dave Mackrell suffered a breakage and had to retire.

The southerly breeze had picked up slightly for the afternoon race, but was still very consistent in its direction. Once again our stat was almost perfection and we drove up the first beat with Richard & Brian a little distance behind us. Paddy & Sarah had a very poor start becoming stuck in traffic and struggled to get back onto terms with us. In fact their big battle at times was with the RS400 who started well but slowly fell back.

The fresher breeze was just enough to allow the Tasars to plane down the 2nd reaching leg and that was enough for all 3 of us to finish well ahead of the rest of our fleet. In fact all 5 of us in the fast fleet finished in the same positions as in the morning race.

The slow fleet almost mirrored the fast fleet in finishing positions, but this time Sarah got the better of Martyn to take 2nd place behind Brian Reeves, pushing Martyn down to 3rd, but he was only 7 seconds in front of his In-Laws, so that was closer there. Nick won the battle of the Doctors on the water but Daveís radial finishing time was enough to put him in front of Nick.

It was a fairly tired but happy bunch of sailors who finally arrived back on the beach in the afternoon sun to start the long trek back up the hill to the dinghy park. Putting the boat to bed took a little longer than normal as today we stripped and packed up for a trip to Fowey. Yes Fowey week, an event we used to do quite regularly but our last trip was 5 years ago. The absence of dinghy week at Falmouth this year and the yearn for a new challenge beckoned from Fowey. Enjoyment at Fowey largely depends on good weather and apart from Tuesday to come the rest of the week looks a little abysmal. In fact the appearance of the Red Arrows on Thursday is looking in the balance at the moment and Friday looks to be very wind swept; Oh dear, the Great British summer 2017 style isnít for the faint hearted.

August 9th
After the rain, we welcomed the sun.

Another typically summer 2017 style day saw St. Austell being swept with very heavy rain and a very blustery northerly wind. Sailing for the Wednesday summer series was looking highly unlikely. However once again a rabbit appeared out of the hat; the rain stopped, the wind eased off a little and it was amazing how the flat sea highlighted by a setting sun made the bay look so inviting. Not surprisingly the weather during the day put a lot of our usual clients off from even coming down, let alone uncovering their boats. Still we did have 4 Tasars out so as far as I was concerned that was a good cause to celebrate. The sunny skies were also a bonus for the Red Arrows who were giving a display over Falmouth Bay, in fact they were rehearsing for the real thing when they perform at Fowey next Thursday.

It looks like the lure of the forthcoming Tasar Nationals is about to lure either Stacey or Dennis to enter and it was good to see Stacey appear last night with Steve Coello sitting in the front seat to race. Paddy too will be sailing his Tasar and his No1 crew Sarah Desjonquers was down to cement their pairing and to an extent this worked very well for both teams. Once again Pete & Andrew were crewless and tonight they teamed up to sail the pesky Kestrel. In fact with the conditions that we launched in the Kestrel was a much better choice than the Scorpion as it is much more stable.

Steve & Ashley, with only a week or so to go before the RS400 Nationals at Mounts Bay, decided that they too needed some more capsize practice in the very lively conditions we had to endure. So the fast fleet had 6 boats to compete. The slow fleet was a very sad affair, with only Brian Reeves in his Laser making it onto the water to race. He will be joined very soon by Harry & Ciarran, who are both now proud owners of a Laser each. Steve Mitchell brought his Scorpion back from the Scorpion Nationals so I expect he & Polly will be back racing next Sunday as will Chris & Kathy Isles, who have missed the last couple of weeks. Chris is also involved with Looe SC and had been this week helping in the running of the GP14 Nationals at Looe.

The GP14 is not seen on the water very often in the West Country. I think that there is one sailing occasionally at Restronguet, but it is quite an old fashioned boat compared to many modern dinghies, and in my opinion is not a pretty boat and is in fact quite heavy. However it is very popular up country and something like 60 plus have turned up to race, which is remarkable when you consider that the Enterprise dinghy which has always been very popular only has 28 boats racing in their Nationals this week. Though I see that the current leader is Jeremy & Rebecca Stephens from Penzance, so that could turn out to be another National Champion for Cornwall.

Mike Ward & Liz were our RIB drivers tonight. Unfortunately we havenít seen much of Mike this year; a leg injury has kept him out of sailing. However they managed to set an excellent course. In fact I would go as far as to say that the course size was the largest we have had for ages, which with the wind strength as it was didnít take too long to get round. It may have been a different tale for the slower fleet but they would have been finished a round less than the fast fleet. The breeze was a very fresh northerly and we had some very strong gusts blasting over us, in conditions that I wasnít looking forward to racing in. The start line was heavily port biased and in fact for the 2nd race in succession it was impossible to cross the line on starboard. However we were only a couple of minutes starting after the official starting time, and with clear skies we knew that lack of daylight wouldnít be an issue tonight.

Drama happened before we actually started as Steve & Ashley were over powered when pre start were reaching at a very fast speed with spinnaker flying when they were completely over powered and went for the inevitable swim. I am not sure if Justin & Charlie actually started before their boom collapsed and snapped in half. Well that was a good indication of how breezy it was. Fortunately they managed a long slow sail back to shore under jib alone, whilst having to watch the rest of us disappearing up the beat.

Stacey & Steve were in their element, leading from start to finish, increasing their lead each round to take a well deserved win. Meanwhile Paddy & Sarah rounded the beach marks 2nd to our 3rd place. All 3 remaining Tasars flew down the reaches and our chance to overtake came on the 2nd reach and as Paddy & Sarah set their whisker pole, we headed up to windward and made our extra speed count to overtake and we started the 2nd lap with a nice handy distance between us. Unfortunately that wasnít to last as a bad error by me on the 2nd beat allowed Paddy to reclaim his 2nd place and they opened up a massive distance between us. Not only that but Pete & Andrew in the Kestrel had also closed us down and were looking quite a lot closer.

Now I am not quite sure whether it was another capsize or just the fact that the conditions were so strong but I noticed that the RS400 left us a little too early to be credited with a finish as they headed home sometime after a couple of rounds. After another 2 laps with our faster down wind speed we had closed the gap significantly to Paddy & Sarah and we started the last beat only about 20 seconds behind. A bit of a tacking duel developed and we closed down again but my last throw of the dice went down hill when I tacked for the cliffs only to find that I had over stood the beach marks and we had to trail home still in 3rd place. Still it turned out to be a good night for racing and those who thought that it may have been too strong were proved wrong.

August 6th
Sunshine, a variable moderate breeze; almost perfect sailing conditions!!

Despite a less than perfect weather forecast racing yesterday turned out to be almost perfect; well from my perspective that is. A nice sunny day with a light south-westerly breeze that fluctuated more often than not between south westerly and westerly, accompanied of course by numerous gusts and shifts, enough to keep everyone on their toes. In fact gusts and wind variations seem to be the norm this summer. Yesterdayís sailing was the culmination of a very enjoyable weekend of sailing. I was invited out for a very enjoyable dayís sailing on Peter Popeís yacht on Friday. Andy Nancarrow and I joined Peter for a great day of sailing. We left the moorings just as the Mirror dinghy Worlds were finishing so we sailed behind a host of red coloured sails as they made their way back to the beach after some very hard racing.

Fortunately Friday wasnít as windy as of late and it didnít take us too long with sails drawing and the boat heeling to sail past Black Rock and out into Falmouth Bay. The wind was much fresher in the bay, rising to some 22 knots. We hove to whilst we put a reef in main and jib and then resumed our progress across the bay before we were just short of the Manacles just off the Neene quarry. We eventually turned round and close reached back towards the Fal, whilst eating our lunch and drinking coffee. We sailed back into the Carrick Roads, and then right up the Fal, past the King Harry Ferry before we turned once again and headed back down stream to return to the moorings. No sooner had we landed ashore and I was off again to meet my racing team for Friday evening racing at Mylor. So Friday for me was a very busy sailing day indeed.

Sunday dawned and I was back to our Club racing and the weather wasnít looking too bad, with sunshine, clouds and a bit of a south westerly breeze to promise a good day of racing. For various reasons our attendance hasnít been very spectacular this year, so you are never very sure as to how many will turn up on a race day. I would like to say that we gained another member, but it was only a visiting laser sailor from Fowey, but nevertheless I am sure he enjoyed his racing; unfortunately he only raced in the morning, before packing up and leaving and I never got round to asking him if he would be coming back. He does sail in a yacht at Fowey, so we will have to see.

The variable wind direction made course setting just that bit more difficult than normal for Janet Preston and Dave Mackrell, who were our RIB drivers for the day. Their job was made more difficult by the fact that the wind was quite inconsistent in direction, veering between a south westerly and a westerly. Eventually a course was set to suit the predominately south westerly, though that wasnít to last. Once again the fleets were frustratingly small, but at least we had 4 Tasars out today, with Paddy & Nigel joining us, Paddy was hoping to get some much needed practice in before the Tasar Nationals come along in only 4 weeks time. Paddyís boat is looking very smart after having a thorough overhaul, which included a very nifty spray job for both hull and decks.

I even modified our Tasar today by replacing the extra long tiller extension that came with the boat for a shorter one. I had been having problems tacking sometimes with the longer one, especially when the breeze was up and at other times I had poked Ken more than once which was another annoyance; well it did keep him awake!.

It was a red letter day for Jenny today as her recuperation appears complete and she regained her place in the front seat of Andrewís Scorpion. They had Beacky & Kelvin, who are coming back to form to pace themselves against plus a smattering of Lasers.

We also had 2 wind surfers out and we had a bit of a confrontation with them as they wanted to round the windward mark on port whereas the course, due to the wind direction was actually a starboard rounding, so that little confusion bubbled up and I hope that they werenít too put off with the raised voices. I think racing sailboards within dinghy fleets is very difficult and they should always have their own starts as their tactics and ours are very difficult when it comes to the start line. They can literally stop and if necessary sail backwards on the start line which is almost impossible in a dinghy.

Jeremy & Suzanne, back from their holiday in France where Fin has been racing his wind surfer very successfully, were our Race Officers for the day and yes we were once again, a little late starting the morning race. Our first beat took us across the bay towards Blackhead and was quite shifty. At one time our playing the shifts was a real bonus and it looked like we would round the windward mark with a handsome lead, but the breeze, ever a problem, decided to play funny games with us in the last 100 metres or so and our lead was severely cut back and we just managed to round in front of our pursuing pack, headed by Paddy & Nigel, closely followed by, Chris & Tony and Richard & Brian who also had a good beat as did Steve & Ashley in their RS400. Beacky & Kelvin were also up amongst the fast fleet.

Well today was certainly not a day for the RS as the first reach turned out to be almost a 1 tack beat, so no chance of a spinnaker being flown. In fact this also upset the 2 Scorpions as they too had to contend with the very tight reach in order to round the beach marks. The Lasers enjoyed that leg and in fact we had 4 Lasers out this morning. We were joined by a Laser from Fowey, Harry Houlding. Well he certainly enjoyed his race by duly winning. Finishing on corrected time 1 Ĺ minutes in front of Beacky & Kelvin. They had apart from that upset a good race finishing just over a minute in front of their real competition of Andrew & Jenny. Between the 2 Scorpions were 2 Lasers. James in his radial took 3rd place and Pete Barnes in the Club Laser took 4th. Janís progress id progressing nicely and she too may be out with us in lighter conditions in a few weeks time. Brian Reeves who has had a good run of results just lately, really struggled in this race to finish 6th just infront of Nick.

The course designated was an Olympic type with a triangle followed by sausage etc , but with the wind not behaving our runs turned out to be reaches which I didnít mind as we are a lot faster reaching rather than running. We did have a few moments when a possible capsize almost cost us the race. Maybe I was being a bit too complacent but heading for the first beach mark on a very tight reach, we were hit by a stronger gust. I just couldnít depower the boat sufficiently with the traveller, I couldnít reach the main sheet and we suddenly screwed right up to windward with a few gallons of sea water pouring over the side. Fortunately a capsize was prevented and we managed to limp home with a fast closing Paddy & Nigel just behind us. Richard & Brian took 3rd and Chris & Tony still benefitting from a good first beat managed to take 4th, in front of Steve & Ashley.

The wind had piped up a little for the afternoon and the course was changed so that this time we were set to beat in to the beach marks for a port hand rounding. The start line was heavily port biased, so I decided to sail the line on starboard to cut off the port hand flyers. Well that went pear shaped when in the last minute we couldnít even cross the line on Starboard and we had to cross behind the majority of the fleet, before we tacked onto port and cleared the line, this gave us a bit of an uphill struggle to contend with, especially when we saw Paddy & Nigel powering away in front of us. Fortunately the ensuing shifts allowed some wriggle room and we managed to round the beach marks not far behind Paddy & Nigel who had a flyer of a start. Just behind us at the beach marks were Richard & Brian and together the 3 of us set off on the first reach, planing out to sea, with very little between us in boat speed. The 2nd reach was a broad affair and almost immediately we went for our whisker poles and after a few surfing waves later we popped ahead of Paddy to start the next beat in the lead in the freshening breeze.

Now this is where sailing upwind sometimes becomes a bit of a conundrum. Both Paddy & Richard appeared to be pointing closer than us but we had the boat speed. Now do you go for pointing or do you go for speed? I donít think we had much choice. Ken & I were the lightest crew of the 3 so speed was a better option for us and that helped us round the beach marks still in front. The ensuing run was actually a very nice reach and we flew along that one opening up enough of a lead to be able to breathe a little easier. Unfortunately the beats turned out to be very one sided which made the option of tacking tactics rather superfluous. The conditions remained like that for the next half hour or so until we started the last beat and this time the breeze flicked back to provide us with a proper beat, and we were all into tacking mode. Our lead allowed us to loose cover and we managed to round the beach marks for the last time to take a comfortable win. Maybe the shorter tiller extension is a better option after all. Richard & Brain had a battle royal behind us with Richard gaining his revenge from the morning race by clinching 2nd. I did see the RS limping home whilst the race was progressing. A capsize persuaded Steve to take it easy and not risk any more upsets as he & Ashley will be away soon at the RS400 Nationals which will be held in Mounts Bay

Once again in the slower fleet, Beacky & Kelvin had to settle for 2nd but they were only just 5 seconds behind James who sailed much better to earn his win. Brian Reeves also sailed a better race and in fact he was only 3 seconds behind Beacky, so those 3 were very close and just one small mistake by any of them would have changed the results around. Andrew & Jenny, may have found the conditions a little challenging with Jenny regaining her sea legs and had to settle for 4th. Nick decided that the fresher conditions were just a little too much for his liking and decided to sail for home early as did Steve & Ashley, who unseen by me had suffered a capsize in the decidedly fresh conditions.

Our slow fleet will be gaining a couple of Lasers this week. Ciarran has sold his Magno and he and Harry will be setting sail in Lasers for the foreseeable future. So we look forward to seeing how they get on. We almost have enough Lasers for a proper fleet now, though they will be made up of a variation of 4.7, radial and full sized rigs. Nevertheless, welcome to the fleet.

August 2nd
Mist, drizzle and a fresh south westerly; almost perfect sailing conditions!!

Not for 1 minute did I think that we would sail last night and I suppose for me that was true. After another very wet and windy Cornish summer day 2017 style and with the coast hidden in thick mist I decided to go down to the Club to commiserate with other like minded people about another Wednesday evening lost to the weather, but not quite so. Maybe itís my age but there were a number of keen wannabees wanting to go sailing and some boats were being rigged. So convinced was I that we wouldnít be sailing that I hadnít even bothered to take my kit with me. Well there was a lot of peering out of the Clubhouse windows and discussions of whether to go or not, but with 6 boats wanting to launch the decision was made to give it a go.

Nigel & Richard, prepared the RIB and once suitably dressed for the fray were duly launched out into the mist where the beach marks could just be seen. They motored off and declared that the breeze out in the bay was quite fresh and in their estimate about 20 knots. They would lay a small course to shelter from the worst of the south westerly breeze. There was quite a swell on the beach and one or two had some slight problems leaving the shore, though if you timed it right and had a helpful piece of breeze you could sail out through the swell. I suppose if I had been keener then I would have had time to go back home and come back with my kit, but the sight of the swell on the beach and the thought of having to return back through it put me off. Age or experience or concerns for the boat? I will leave you to decide.

Anyway as luck would have it, shortly after the fleet had gathered out in the starting area the mist started to lift and the wind started to ease and the rain ceased. Suddenly apart from the swell on the beach conditions were looking almost perfect. Well although 6 boats launched only 4 started the race; 2 in the fast fleet, B14 with Paddy & Steve and Justin and Charlie in a Tasar, whilst the slow fleet had James in his Laser radial taking on the Scorpion and team of Andrew & Pete Barnes. With only 4 boats on the start line, there was plenty of room for everybody and they all started without any issues.

Paddy & Steve were soon into their stride and away and for a the first beat the Tasar, Scorpion and Laser were all fairly close together, until the reaches started and then the Tasar pulled well clear, but James and Andrew had quite a battle and in fact James came from behind, overtook and held his lead right to the end, when within the space of the beach marks, where there wasnít much wind at all, Andrew, with spinnaker flying, achieved a little extra speed to beat James over the line by about 2 seconds. Though on corrected time that was still a massive win for James. Paddy & Steve finished well ahead of the Tasar but on corrected time the B14 still had the win but only by 7 seconds.

Coming back to the shore was a slightly fraught time, but all managed it safely, though Andrew & Pete had the ignominity of capsizing in the surf but with the help of the other sailors was righted and the Scorpion was reunited with its trolley and with water pouring out of the transom flaps, dragged ashore.

Thatís about 2 weeks of pretty horrible weather that we have had to endure now, with only the occasional bright day to remind us that we are actually in summer. I know itís early days but next Sunday looks more promising, but until the jet stream makes its way northwards then it seems we will continue to be troubled by this not so seasonable weather. Such is life.

July 30th
A very fresh south westerly and very challenging conditions.

Blustery, well letís ratchet that up a bit; Very Blustery. Yes thatís the best description of todayís Racing and not surprisingly our attendance suffered due to the forecast, plus Steve & Polly are away at the Scorpion Nationals, which I am reliably told started on Saturday. So far they have had some blustery races which I donít think will have suited them. Maybe the winds will ease during the week but the BBC forecast tonight doesnít look very encouraging and that may affect our racing this coming Wednesday.

Owing to todayís weather we hatched a cunning plan which everyone signed up to and that was to have 2 races this morning back to back, just in case the forecasted winds increased this afternoon. Well they certainly didnít moderate and everyone was quite happy to sail the 2 in the morning and have an afternoon off. Obviously lunch was delayed a little but the extended rest was well received.

Nigel and Colin took the RIB today and for a change we had a south westerly to contend with. In fact we havenít had a south westerly for weeks, but todayís version will ensure that it is remembered for a few weeks to come. The conditions werenít too bad in the starting area as the fresh breeze was fairly constant, but as we closed in on Blackhead, so the breeze started to make itself felt, both in strength and direction. The breeze swirled around the end of Blackhead and met the breeze that had come over the top and when the 2 met anything could and did happen. We had some massive gusts and massive shifts and headers to contend with and the actual rounding of the windward mark was often in the balance right up to the moment when we bore off to start the flying reach in to the beach marks.

Richard & Brianís Tasar apparently suffered some damage during the week, resulting in the tiller being bent and unusable putting the boat out of commission. That gave Richard the opportunity to take his Contender out for a blast and full marks to Richard, he made the Contender sing and he soon blasted away from us in both races to take 2 deserved wins. But I am getting carried away with myself; letís go back to the start. The slow fleet had the largest number represented by 5 Lasers and 1 Scorpion, whereas the fast fleet could only muster 1 B14, 1 Tasar, 1 RS400 and 1 Contender. The start line was just about the right length but with the breeze blowing upwards of 15 knots in the calmer patches it wasnít a day to risk a port hand flyer so we all tracked in on starboard for a nice sedate start.

In many ways it was better to try and do the beat in just 2 tacks. Trying to work the shifts was like trying to understand the workings of a computer. Sometimes you got lucky and other times you regretted tacking. I think Paddy & Steve may have been first round the windward mark, in front of Richard, but once the spinnaker went up trouble loomed as they had to bear off far too much resulting in the kite being dropped before close reaching into the marks, giving Richard the honour of rounding the beach marks ahead. Well that lead didnít last too long as the 2nd reach was a broader affair and the freshly hoisted spinnaker swept them back into the lead. A lead they kept until a rogue gust or header near the windward mark caused the inevitable capsize. Steve & Ashley were another pairing who tested the waters today and in fact during the racing every boat except Richardís Contender and our Tasar suffered a capsize or two.

Paddy & Steve righted the boat and sailed on, finally overtaking us at the beach marks but on their next approach to the beach marks, over they went again. This time their capsize was terminal as Paddy was thrown straight through the main sail. End of.

The slower fleet were well represented by the Lasers and it was James and Andrew who took the first 2 places finishing ahead of Beacky & Kelvinís Scorpion, who were just a few seconds in front of Brian Reeves who in turn was just a few seconds in front of Janet. Nick had made the journey out to sea but decided after one lap that the beach looked more welcoming than the prospect of battling to survive another round or two of the race.

The 2nd race started as soon as we had all finished and mustered up by the start line. Once again the race was dominated by Richard. The breeze appeared to be increasing in strength and the beats were becoming at times a bit of a struggle and I almost dropped the boat in at the end of one of the beats when I found that we had to put in an extra crash tack to round the mark. I scooped up quite a bit of water but we saved the situation and sailed on, the bailer soon disposed of that on the reach.

Once again James took the honours in the slow fleet and this time Brian made a better fist of it by taking 2nd place demoting Beacky & Kelvin to another 3rd place. Janet made a 1 place improvement and Andrew after his heady result in race 1 dropped down to 5th, maybe too many capsizes contributed to that.

The RIB was kept busy attending to capsize after capsize, but at least it kept their interest high. I was very grateful when our ordeal finally ended when the ďSĒ was dispalyed and we could peal off towards the beach. Our approach to the shore must have looked pretty spectacular as for a change we could sail straight for the beach rather than have to perform many tacks to get to the beach. Once every boat was safely recovered, we started the long trek back up to the yard. Boats were washed and stripped down and lunch was thankfully taken. Meanwhile the white horses out in the bay seemed to multiply and I think we all knew that we were in the right place. The sun was out, the decking was well used and the drinks flowed for some.

Well today was the last day of sailing in July and we are over the half way point of the 2017 season. Our next event on Wednesday will be in August but watching the weather forecast on BBC tonight I would say that the likelihood of sailing is looking very low indeed as there seems to be no end of this wet and windy weather system that we appear to be locked in and Wednesday appears to be probably the worst day of the week.

July 26th
Plenty of wind but no rain, what a change

We appear to be in the grip of another unsettled spell of weather, possibly due to the jet stream sinking down over us for a while. The result of that is a series of lows coming in from the Atlantic, giving us a good dousing of rain accompanied by some very energetic winds. Not the sort of weather you want for a Wednesday evening race. The fact that we raced at all last night was due to the dedication and enthusiasm of a few. The bay looked quite inhospitable when we arrived at the Club. At least it was dry and the fresh breeze was offshore; so far so good. The more experienced could see the very dark patches moving relentlessly across the bay. Those patches were gusts and the darker the patch the stronger the gust. All in all not my cup of tea, as experience told me exactly how it would be out there. Not surprisingly it was a reduced fleet for a Wednesday race that actually launched.

My sailing shorts, worn quite a lot lately, were discarded in favour of my long john and a warmer jumper. In fact Iím not quite sure when the sailing shorts will be out again but hopefully soon.

Nigel & Beacky were our RIB drivers tonight and they readied the RIB, launched, set the course and stationed themselves on the start line ready for the 19.00 start. Where were the fleet? Well the lack of early enthusiasm meant that we were all a little late in launching and our wait was more prolonged whilst we waited for Richard & Brian who had troubles with their main halyard. Anyway that gave us some time to check the beat out and come to a decision that with the random force and direction of the gusts there was no advantage in tracking up either left or right on the beat.

So after the obligatory delay we were eventually released to do battle for 3 laps and a beat on our latest assault course. Our modest fleet tonight consisted of 3 Tasars, B14 and a Kestrel in the fast fleet whereas the slow fleet was down to just 3 Lasers. I hear that the Laser fleet may be increasing by 1 more soon and another Supersofa may be joining us as well; watch this space. 2 of our regular super sailors are still signed off sick but both are making good progress and we look forward to welcoming them back soon. Another regular sailor also cried off tonight due to him slipping down his stairs, but promises to be back for the weekend.

A good sized start line had no appreciable port bias, so there was the inevitable cluster at the RIB end for the start. Prime position allowed us to set our stall out for the first beat and I think most of us tracked across the bay rather then head for shore. Almost inevitably Paddy, reunited with Steve, took the lead and was first round the beach marks. Now a quick word about the wind. It was evil and the closer to the beach marks we sailed the worst it became. The strength of the gusts was compounded by the movement. For no rhyme or reason the direction would veer or head without any prior warning. I think we could all see the gusts coming but before they hit there was very little indication of the true direction and many a time we either tacked too soon or held on too long. Sailing the beat became a true lottery. Fortunately Richard & Brian started the race just slightly below us with Chris & Tony a little further back, which allowed us to concentrate on a battle with Richard. There was very little difference between us on speed up the beat, each getting an advantage from time to time, but we were a little faster down wind. In fact on the 2nd round of reaches we had eased out a nice lead, but all that went west on the following beat when they closed us right down to within a couple of boat lengths.

Not surprisingly the last round was a real cat and mouse affair and some hard covering tactics came out of the bag, with us maintaining our slender lead right to the end. I nearly ruined it when within 150M of the finish line I didnít bother to put in a covering tack as I was convinced that we were still lifting. However that went completely pear shaped for a while as when we started our last tack into the beach marks we were suddenly confronted with an enormous header, which in turn gave Richard and Brian a huge lift, which looked like it would allow them to slip past us. Fortunately the wind flicked back, giving us the lift and them the header and a victory by about 30 seconds. That was a huge relief. Meanwhile Paddy & Steve had their own battle with the demon breeze on the beats, probably made worse for them by the wings digging in on some of the more vicious gusts. However they did have some very fast off wind legs with the spinnaker flying on all reaches. Nevertheless they still fell victims to our 2 Tasars on corredted time, but only just. Pete took the Kestrel out tonight with Andrew sitting in as crew and they were looking in a very strong position on the 2nd round of reaches as they flew downwind with the spinnaker pulling them along, and they were almost up with Richard and Brian but the next 2 beats proved to be their downfall and they very nearly had a capsize in the vicinity of the beach marks and all that had the result of dropping them down to 4th.

As for the Lasers, once again Brian Reeves proved to be the one to beat, taking another convincing win from Nick by a couple of minutes, both sailing standard rigs which in last nightís conditions must have proved a right handful in some of those gusts. Clive in his radial rig finished a few minutes behind Nick but came within a minute on corrected time.

July 23rd
Sunshine and a fruity breeze, sailing hapiness

There are some times when I am ready to write quite a lot and others like this evening when I am feeling rather tired, I don't want to write at all. Maybe the best compromise will be to write some now and then a little more in the morning. Todayís racing was very physical and I arrived home fairly well drained and ready for a long rest. Thanks to James, Harry & Ciarran for running the RIB today and Colin & Stewart for doing all the time keeping as all 5 of them were kept rather busy as our scheduled racing today was for the July Cup, meaning 4 races to get through, so quick turnarounds were the order of the day.

The weekend started off with Charlestown Regatta to be held on Saturday. Rather disappointingly it was cancelled. When we arrived at the Club we were greeted with quite a strong southerly wind blowing and our bay was looking very windswept with lots of white horses charging across the bay. The Pentewan contingent had decided earlier to call off the perilous crossing of Blackhead and remain ashore. This left only a handful of dinghies from Porthpean who could sail. I for one wasnít bothered and this was also the feeling of the majority who had turned up. Actually knowing how tiring todayís racing was I think it was a very good decision not to have sailed.

It was very encouraging to see Jan down today and her recovery is progressing very nicely, but not quite ready for sailing just yet. Neither was Jenny up to the rigours of crewing and they both had to sit on the shore and look on rather wistfully as we rigged and launched ready for our adventures, though Jenny was very helpful taking our launching trolleys from us to save some leg work as were launching.

We try and do something different for a cup race and today James decided that we would be sailing windward leeward legs, which I canít say is my favourite course; after all a Tasar likes a good reach and today the wind strength was sufficient that we could have had some exhilarating times; Still a Tasar can be competitive on most courses and today proved to be no exception. The westerly breeze gave us a beat in from the leeward marks set out at sea off Charlestown into our beach marks. The westerly breeze was quite fruity with lots of gusts and shifts to contend with and no one could rest on their laurels, especially upwind as the breeze alternated from a sedate 6 knots up to about 15 knots and maybe sometimes stronger than that and it was also quite happy to flit from side to side, making the beats a very challenging affair.

It was encouraging to have a 14 boat fleet out today and the fleets were quite evenly biased. The fast fleet comprised 2 Tasars, 2 RS 400s, B14, Dart and the pesky Kestrel. However Jan was missing from the boat. Instead Pete became the master today with daughter Jo his willing crew. It was rather strange having a Dart amongst us but Richard had his all rigged up ready for Charlestown and he and Brian took it out to do battle with us dinghies today. The slow fleet had 3 Scorpions and 4 Lasers so all in all quite evenly balanced fleets.

With 4 races on the agenda it is almost impossible to give a blow by blow account of each race, but the fast fleet came in for lunch with a win each for Paddy and new crew for the day, Nigel and us. We won the first race in style but Paddy got his mojo going for the next race. The slow fleet was dominated by Steve & Polly with 2 outright wins, with Brian Reeves making a very strong showing in both races. I donít think that the course really suited Richardís Dart as there were numerous windshifts to respond to on the beats and a Dart is not the most responsive of boats for that sort of racing. They generally blast off to one corner of the course then blast back, hoping to make the windward mark without any further tacking. They can come into their own more on the runs when gybes are easy to come by. Chris and Tony werenít doing too bad in the first race when they came to grief as their main halyard snapped and they had to limp home to affect a repair, which also ensured that they missed the 2nd race, which ruled out any chance of winning the cup.

We had a rather hurried lunch in the noon day sunshine. As predicted last week the beach was covered by holiday makers as this was the first weekend of the summer holidays. Fortunately we are on spring tides so there was plenty of beach for all during the mid day lunch break but coming in after racing was rather a tighter affair for space. After lunch we did a sail by of Charlestown harbour on our way out to the start line. Although there were plenty of holiday makers on the harbour walls I think most of them were watching activities going on in the harbour rather than our spectacle at sea.

The 3rd race was a bit of a benefit for the Scorpions as they all had a very strong first beat and I was quite surprised to see both Beacky and Andrew ahead of Steve as they rounded the beach marks and set off on the run back to the leeward mark. However it wasnít too long before the natural pecking order was restored and Steve and Polly overtook on the run and started the next beat with enough of a lead to keep the other 2 Scorpions behind them and sail on to take another win. However the 3 Scorpions took the first 3 places in the race to put the Lasers in their place. With 3 wins in the bag Steve & Polly then sailed home to start packing their Scorpion up ready for the Nationals at Castle Cove that start nest weekend.

Once again Paddy & Nigel took the winning gun with Richard and Brian not too far behind them. We finished 3rd on the water but at that time I had no idea whether we had saved our time on Paddy or not. So as far as we were concerned everything was riding on the last race. The wind had swung quite a bit over the day and our beat was rather one sided and with no port bias on the line it was imperative to start as close to the RIB as possible and hope to stay in clear air. I managed to manoeuvre ourselves into the prime spot and a good start plus a hard beat saw us arriving at the end of the beat in a very encouraging position, and as the race was progressing things were looking better for us, especially on our last full round when with whisker pole thrust out we were almost planing on the run and then as we started the last beat we tacked almost immediately and sailed to the beach marks in one long tack.

Our other strong competitors for today were Chris and Kathy in their RS 400 but I think the wind strength and the violent shifts were just a little too much for comfort in their boat. I did see them once having problems dousing their spinnaker at the end of one of the runs. Steve & Ashley sailed all 4 races in a reasonably competitive mode and were delighted to finish every race without any capsizing. Again I think that the conditions were a little too strong for them to take advantage of the numerous wind shifts.

With Steve and Polly missing from the lat race it was left to Brian Reeves to show his hand again and he sailed to a very impressive victory and dear old Nick had an excellent result too to take 2nd, which pushed Beacky & Kelvin down to 3rd. Janet Preston was also improving as the day wore on and she was only a few seconds behind the Scorpion and impressively a few seconds in front of Andrew & Ciarran in the other Scorpion. Brianís win was good enough to ensure 2nd overall for him, which considering the conditions was an excellent result.

Listening to the BBC weather forecast for the next 5 days is rather depressing. Monday & Tuesday look very summer like weather and I sure that the beaches will be packed out. But then things go downhill from Wednesday onwards for a few days, which is rather disappointing, so our Wednesday racing may once again be in jeopardy with wind and rain forecast.

July 19th
A very wet night for sailing

Boy did it rain last night whilst we were out sailing? I donít think any of us were expecting that, though in hind sight it was very cloudy and rather misty when we rocked up to the Club for our mid week dose of salt air. Well before we get down to business, let me tell you that Janet is making good progress, which is what we were hoping for and I donít think she will have minded missing last nightís drenching either. Nor did Jenny, whose ankle isnít quite up to the rigors of sailing just yet and she too was quite happy to peer out of the Clubhouse into the mist over the bay to see dinghies appearing as they made their crossing of the beach marks.

A very satisfactory fleet of 15 boats turned out for the midweek race. I honestly thought that we would have to cancel as by 18.00 the visibility had fallen so much that we couldnít see the beach marks. Fortunately within 20 minutes some semblance of normality was restored when the mussel farms could be seen. That was enough for a massive hustle and bustle as boats were readied and people changed ready for the off. There was a bit of excitement and amusement early on when someone drove their car onto the beach to offload a canoe and immediately became stuck. There would have been just enough space for us to get our boats past if necessary but a friend of the driver managed to hook up his vehicle to the stricken one and haul him out of his sand trap.

Jeremy & Suzanne were to be our RIB drivers tonight but a holiday in France took first priority and Nigel & James became first substitutes, and very well done. The rain came as we launched, well it was really drizzle so not too bad, though I had decided to wear sailing shorts once again, but then no matter what I wore I was still going to get wet, and it wasnít cold. The breeze was a light southerly, in fact exactly the same as the previous week, talk about dťjŗ vue. Our 15 boat fleet consisted of 7 Lasers, yes 7, the largest fleet of Lasers for many a year. I think that there was only James missing who would have made 8. The slow fleet was also made up of a Superduper sofa and Andrewís Scorpion with Pete Barnes sitting in the passenger seat. The fast fleet was up to 6 with 4 Tasars to compete with the B14 and RS400.

An early launch allowed us to check the compass readings for the beat and as to be expected there was very little deviation in wind direction. A quick look at the start line showed no port bias, meaning that there would be quite a lot of boats vying to be alongside the RIB for the premier position. Now I had decided that we werenít going to compete for the lottery and instead would start mid way down the line, hopefully in clean air and then rely on boat speed to take us up the beat. Now even that little plan went wrong as we had Steve & Ashley in their RS400 below us. I was hoping to slow down enough that they would sail past us but unfortunately that didnít happen and we sailed faster than I wanted to down towards the left hand side of the start line. With less than 5 seconds to go I knew that we were too early, so bore away, gybed and came in on port and wriggled our way behind some starboard boats and ahead of some others. We could also hear a lot of shouting going on down by the RIB, my fears about congestion there were realised and fortunately we werenít caught up in it. The main problem at that end of the line was ďbargingĒ and sure enough one who will remain nameless came barging in with no rights, banged into other boats in his attempt to get over the line, and then sailed on without doing any turns. He should have been protested, but there you are such is the politeness of our fleet, he was let off.

Our compromised start proved to be a Godsend as we sailed onwards in clear air on a port tack in the by now heavy drizzle. The tell tails on the jib were useless, they just hung there, rather wet and bedraggled, just like us.

Looking back we could see that both Paddy & Justin had become victims of the ďBargerĒ and their starts were heavily compromised. Anyway we managed to reach the windward mark in 1st place and set off on the first reach all on our own, which was very satisfactory. I had been dreading a repeat of last week when we spent so much time behind Richard and Brian. In fact they were not too far behind us at the end of the beat as was Steve & Ashley and behind them the rest of the fleet were closing in on the windward mark. The most prominent of the slow fleet was John Hill who was up with and in front of some of the fast fleet. Once Steve & Ashley had their spinnaker up they started to close us down and towards the end of the 2nd reach were hot on our heels. A little bit of defending our position worked well and we maintained our lead as we rounded the beach marks and set off for another lap. By now the drizzle had turned into steady rain and water was pouring off the sails into the boat, keeping Ken bailing with the sponge most of the time. There wasnít enough boat speed for the bailer to work.

As we closed in to the beach marks for the 2nd time the rain was getting heavier and the breeze was showing signs of disappearing. The appearance of the ďSĒ flag was cheered by all and so finished another exciting!!! Race.

Such was the poor visibility that I couldnít really see what was going on behind us, but Justin & Charlie were making steady progress and had Richard & Brian in their sights and I think another lap would have seen some very close tactical moves. Chris & Tony dropped quite a way back. The first 3 places went to the Tasars, with Steve & Ashley taking 4th just in front of the mighty B14, who had the consolation of finishing in front of Chris & Tony.

John Hill, with his new rudder, was way too fast for the rest of the slow fleet and took a very nice victory in front of 5 of the 7 Lasers. Kay was the fastest Laser taking 2nd overall, beating Brian Reeves, who has been going very nicely lately, into 3rd with Janet Preston in her radial 4th, Nick slotted into 5th and then the Scorpion of Andrew & Pete. I bet Pete was missing the pesky Kestrel as the light airs and spinnaker would have suited it down to the ground. Dave Mackrell slotted into 8th, leaving Harry to round off the fleet in 9th place. With Jenny away we had the ever resourceful Chris Millard to cook our bacon butties for us and they were gratefully consumed as attempted to dry out and warm up in the Clubhouse.

The main holiday season starts this weekend and our little beach will soon have 100ís of holiday makers sprawled over it and I guess that we will become quite closely watched by many of them as we launch and recover our boats. So far this summer is turning out to be better than over the last few years, which I am finding very nice but I also expect that we will have some fun and games with where our launching trolleys are stored whilst out at sea. Yes I think we will have a few interesting times to come over the next 6-8 weeks.

July 16th
A grey day but good sailing

Seeing Janet walk back into the yard, was a welcome sight to us yesterday. She was looking remarkably well and I am sure that she is itching to get back into her Kestrel ASAP. Lets hope that it isn't too long to wait.

Amazingly we had 13 boats grace the start line yesterday. Now that may not seem to be many, but by our attendance today was excellent when you factored in that 2 regular boats were taken out by ďdutiesĒ and 2 other boats had other things to do, plus several others are away on holiday and working. Well let me tell you now, anyone not sailing yesterday missed some excellent conditions. There was enough breeze to hike hard upwind, plane down wind and wind shifts galore. And if that wasnít enough it all took place on the flattest sea conditions that we have had in weeks. Maybe the only down side is that the weather was rather cloudy, with the hint of drizzle intermingling with the ďinterestingĒ westerly breeze that flowed out from the shore.

The weather was warm enough to see a few ďshortiesĒ sported and of course my sailing shorts were back on again. Chris & Tony were our RIB drivers today and left the shore in good time and had the course all set up and ready to go for the advertised 11.00 start. Unfortunately there was only a handful of us out there ready for the fray. In the interests of fairness the start was delayed a few minutes to let the stragglers join us, though some reached the start with only seconds to go. The fast fleet was much smaller than normal as the duty teams took 2 of us away, so there were just 3 of us to compete against. The slow fleet mustered 10 boats and 6 of those were Lasers, comprising 4.7, radial and fully rigged. 3 Scorpions were out for the first time this year to give each other some competition and then there was Ciarran and his brother in the Magno.

The start line was quite heavily port biased and I set us up to try our luck, but despite there being a long start line laid, we couldnít squeeze through the optimum gap, had to bear off and sail off on the right hand side of the beat, which as it happened turned out to be the least favoured side of the beat. James in his Laser radial had an excellent start as did Andrew & Jenny, still recovering from her poorly ankle. Half way up the beat I found that we were quite a way behind them but we managed to break through before the end of the beat to round 4th, behind Paddy & Steve in their B14, Chris and Kathy in their RS400 and Steve & Polly in their Scorpion. They too had an excellent start and first beat.

Beacky & Kelvin were out for their first proper race of the year and initially were behind the other 2 Scorpions, but Jenny was finding the hiking and twisting a bit too much for her sprained ankle and they eventually bore away and headed for shore, leaving Beacky to try and shorten the distance between him and Steve.

Our course today was the Olympic configuration comprising, triangle, sausage, triangle, sausage and beat, which was a change from our normal fayre of triangles. I think with the conditions we had I would have sooner sailed the triangular course as the 2nd reach was rather close and allowed the Tasar to exploit its USP and we flew down that reach whilst our 2 competitors with asymmetrical spinnakers struggled more so. Anyway the course configuration wasnít too bad for us as we discovered later that we had held our time and taken the win.

Not surprisingly Steve & Polly dominated the slow fleet. James although suffering a capsize managed to take 2nd in front of Brian Reeves in his fully rigged Laser who finished some 20 seconds in front of Beacky & Kelvin, dropping them down to 4th. Janet pushed Nick down to 6th. Ciarran had a bit of a disaster when he managed to capsize on the run with spinnaker fully deployed, but he still finished in front of Pete Barnes , wo had taken one of the Club Lasers out. Well he had the race from hell when he found that he had mega problems with the rudder and dagger board. The rudder blade pull down cord was of too small a diameter and jammed between the rudder head and rudder cheeks when trying to pull it down. The dagger board felt wrong and he subsequently found that he had picked up a Topper board by mistake. No wonder he had problems. The sooner he is back in the Kestrel the better.

Lunch was taken before we all set off back out to sea for another race. The wind hadnít changed, nor the course configuration so we all knew the conditions we would be sailing in. Not surprisingly after the scare in the morning everyone was on the start line in time, ready for the off. The start line was shorter and still had significant port bias on it. This time I decided that we would sail down the line and try and cut off the port handers who were lining up. In the last 30 seconds or so the breeze shifted a good bit and suddenly I realised that we would not be able to cross the line on starboard and if we had stayed on starboard we would have had to sail behind everyone. A quick tack onto port gave us a clear start but down to leeward of all the hot shots. There was enough pressure and steadiness in the breeze for us to hang on to a very long port tack and by the time the inevitable header came along allowed us to tack onto a favourable starboard tack to reach the beach marks first, just a few lengths in front of the B14 and much further in front of the RS400. Well my memory is a bit hazy as to how the race developed but yes the B14 passed us and went on to take the winning gun. The RS400 finally passed us but not until the 3rd beat, which I reckoned would give us another good result. Steve & Polly sailed the beats superbly well to be very close to us at the end. The slow fleet all sailed a shorter course than the fast fleet but without a doubt if we had all sailed the same course then Steve & Polly would have taken overall 1st.

Jamesís good start and subsequent beats allowed him to sail into 2nd place, demoting Beacky & Kelvin to 3rd. Brian & Nick were quite a way behind on corrected time as was Andrew, who took out a novice instead of Jenny. Janet had some problems with her rigging, capsized and took some time to get things sorted, battled on to take 7th.

Now hereís a quick reminder; Itís Charlestown regatta this coming Saturday. There will be 2 races in the afternoon on a course that will be set up off Charlestown. We will be racing in conjunction with Pentewan Sands Cats, who normally come over. I see that Richard has brought his Dart over ready to take them on and beat them again. James will be laying the course so there should be no complaints there, just to silence one of our most voracious critics who tells me that they never have a good course. (volume 2, chapter 11). Anyway, treat it a s a fun race. There is a small race fee, which goes to the Charlestown funds charity. I think due to low numbers that all the dinghies will race together and there will be a separate start for the Cats.

July 13th
One of our fleet is missing

We were all shocked to hear that Janet had paid a visit to Treliske today and would be unable to sail again for a few weeks. She has had a mild heart attack and has had some corrective surgery. In fact talking to Pete, she appears to have had the same symptoms and treatment that I had 7 years ago. Pete is hoping to have her home again in the next few days and I am sure that she will be sailing again by the end of August. On behalf of us all at Porthpean we wish her a very speedy recovery. Iím already missing those skirmishes with the pesky Kestrel. In fact tonightís race conditions would have been very Kestrel friendly, so I suppose I had a bit of a lucky let off in that respect.

Well after a thoroughly wet day on Tuesday we were back to weather more suitable to be called summer today. The temperatures had fallen a little, certainly enough for my sailing shorts to remain in my sailing bag and instead my long john came out to play again. We were a few boats down from our regulars tonight but we still had 12 on the start line, with 5 boats in the fast fleet and 7 in the slow fleet. The breeze, from a southerly direction had been light all day, which was as well as there was just the hint of waves forming on the beach. A stronger breeze may well have given us problems with launching and recovery, especially as the tide was almost up to the slipway.

Are we becoming more disciplined or what in our timekeeping? Steve Mitchell & Nigel were our RIB drivers tonight and launched in good time to enable them to lay a course and position themselves on the start line ready for the 19.00 start. Jenny & Colin too, were sitting in the race box with fingers hovering over the start sequence button. Anyway we all launched in enough time to rendezvous with the RIB at the beach marks. Now one fact of life that normally comes good when the wind is from the south is that there arenít too many wind shifts to be had and tonight was no exception and the breeze such that we had was very light, meaning most of the time that there was only enough strength for one on the side deck.

A quick look at the start line showed that there was no port bias at all. In fact it was very starboard biased so there was going to be a premium to hit the line in the right place and at speed. I thought that our start was going to be fine but in the last few seconds my attention was distracted by Kay, sailing the Club Laser, who had been below us bearing off down the line as she was a bit early and then luffing up hard to slow down. I was making sure that we were far enough to windward not to be affected by her when Richard and Brian shot through the gap I had created and had a blinder of a start. There was no way that we could match them for boat speed as we were sitting behind in dirty air and we could only look on in dismay as they opened up a very nice lead on us.

Paddy & Steve, once again reunited in their B14, tracked up the right hand side of the course to be first round the windward mark, followed by Richard & Brian. We were lucky to round third as we were almost caught port and starboard by Andrew & Jenny who had powered their Scorpion up the beat at a very fast pace. Fortunately they tacked just before we had already decided to dip them. Steve & Ashley were also reunited in their RS400 and slotted in behind the Scorpion. Once round the windward mark the B14 hoisted the kite and proceeded to open up a gap on us all. Their mission was to put enough distance between us all to save their time by the end of the race. Thatís always an interesting proposition, but the light breeze meant that their down wind progress wasnít anything as fast as they wanted.

Fortunately for us, our down wind speed is pretty good and we slowly closed the distance between us and Richard and Brian, although I was expecting to come under attack from the RS400 and the Scorpion, both flying spinnakers. Much to my surprise the Scorpionís spinnaker was dropped and never reappeared again. I found out later that it hadnít been rigged properly and so wasnít much good to them. The conditions were so light that the RS400 was unable to make as much speed as they wanted and never made the leap that would take them from behind to in front of us.

Rather frustratingly we closed Richard & Brian down but had to round the beach marks right on their transom which meant sailing in their dirty wind as we started the beat. Our only option was to tack off and hope that we could power our way up the beat fast enough to overtake. Unfortunately we lost out and this little game of cat and mouse went on for 4 rounds, with Richard & Brian leading round the windward mark and us making up our losses on the down wind legs. Lady luck came our way on the last beat when the wind which had been blowing constantly all race suddenly moved a little to the west, which enabled us to tack early and lay the mark, and importantly for us this time ahead of Richard & Brian. That was the breakthrough that we had been hoping for and the down wind legs gave us enough speed to pull away and beat them over the finish line. The wind had moved so far west that on the previous rounds we only had to harden up at the first beach mark to cross the 2nd mark, but this time on the final rounding we had to put in a tack to cross the line. Wow what a relief, after almost an hourís racing we were all feeling rather frazzled and the thought of a pint and bacon butty looked very desirable indeed.

How galling for Paddy & Steve, despite finishing about 5 minutes in front of us they were still behind when the corrected times were produced and had to settle for 3rd overall. Steve & Ashley, after their cracking result last Sunday, just couldnít eek enough speed out of their RS400 and ultimately finished just 7 seconds behind Chris & Tony in the 3rd Tasar on corrected time.

Andrew & Jennyís mishap with their spinnaker cost them dear as their down wind speed was heavily compromised and they had to settle for 2nd behind Brian Reeves, who had a very good race in his Laser. In fact the first 4 boats in the slow fleet finished within some 40 seconds of each other on corrected time and each and every one of them maybe apart from Brian could be ruing either a poor start or some other mishap that cost them a few precious seconds.

I think that Harry wanted to try his luck in the Club Laser again but instead had to crew for Dad, Ciarran, in the Magno. Still I donít think that it will be long before we see him sailing a Laser of his own; and when the conditions are right will be devastatingly fast, especially when he gets some coaching from James.

July 9th
Normal summer service at Porthpean

Thereís an old clichť thatís used a lot when talking about Football that ďItís a game of 2 halvesĒ. I donít really like that clichť but it was almost apt to use it when reviewing todayís racing; A day of 2 halves, though in this case it was a day of 2 races; one bad and the other good for us as we will soon see.

The original forecast was for a nice westerly blowing 6-10 MPH. Unfortunately we had almost the same weather as we did last Sunday, with virtually no wind in the morning and what little there was appeared to be a southerly, so the decision was made to postpone the morning race, have an early lunch and then if the forecasted breeze came along, have 2 races in the afternoon. It sounded like a good plan and as we sat around the dinghy park we watched with interest as the southerly breeze moved around the bay, never filling in enough to encourage us out.

Lunch was taken and we launched for the afternoon race in the still southerly but slightly fresher breeze. Beacky & Kelvin, first time out in a boat this year, were our RIB drivers for the day and set quite a small course, which as it happens appeared to be too small as the breeze was starting to increase and it was obvious that we wouldnít take too long to get around. The postponement flag eventually came down and we came under starterís orders. The line was very starboard biased and inevitably there was a bit of a queue starting to form alongside the RIB as people jostled for pole position. Well I manoeuvred ourselves to the top position, but unfortunately I pulled the pin just a little too early and we were adjudged to be over the start line and had to return and start again. I suppose in a way we were luckier than Jan & Pete in the pesky Kestrel. They were in the 2nd row so to speak and were clobbered by a barging Jeremy Rowett, who in trying to avoid them first hit the RIB engine cover and then bounced off that to bruise and dent Janís pride and joy (the boat I mean not Pete!!)

Chris & Kathy had the best of the beat and turned the windward mark with a very nice lead which they promptly capitalised on and with spinnaker flying disappeared down the reaches. Not too far behind was a new pairing for the day of Steve Wingrove and Steve Coello and today their RS400 was on top form, scooting them along very nicely into 2nd position. However the bruised and battered Kestrel still managed to take 2nd place on corrected time. I always hoped that we would pull off a bit of a recovery, but I made too many mistakes and we eventually finished 4th. Things would have been worse if we had a bigger fleet out, so thanks for small mercies. At one time we actually overtook the Kestrel but I made a right mess of a subsequent tack, took a lot of water over the gunwale and dropped back to a position that we could never recover from. Chris & Tony fresh from their holidays were still in holiday mode and fell a long way back. I should say at this stage that the southerly breeze, fitful as it was started to switch off and along came the much welcomed westerly breeze.

Another pairing who found the first race more to their liking was Steve & Polly in their Scorpion, finishing 3rd on the water and taking first place in their fleet. It was also good to see 2 Supersofas out today. John Hill has been waiting a few weeks for his new rudder to arrive and today was his first chance to use it and what a difference it made as he managed to sail himself into 2nd place. Naughty Jeremy, despite doing his turns, still managed to finish close enough behind Andrew & Jenny to take 3rd place on corrected time, demoting them to 4th. In fact it was Jennyís first time out after a few weeks recovering from her ankle injury. Iím pleased to say that she came through it unscathed.

It was time to regroup after our disaster in the first race and this time with a steadier westerly breeze blowing it was time to make amends. The westerly breeze gave us a beat from out at sea and a starboard rounding of the beach marks. The fleet was a little larger for this race as we were joined by James, Harry & Ciarran. Today was Harryís first outing in a Laser and I think he loved the experience, especially judging by the smile on his face afterwards. I think an early Christmas present may be on the way as the Topper will soon be replaced by a Laser radial. Not only was the breeze up but also the sun was out for the 2nd race and I was feeling rather warm so in preparation for the battle to come off came the spray top leaving me feeling cooler in just Tee shirt and shorts.

The start line was a tad on the small size for the number of boats and although it appeared that a port hand flyer might be the order of the day, the chances of pulling it off were not good enough odds, so we elected for a starboard tack approach. Well I think in all the mÍlťe and all shouting that I heard at the start someone tried a port flyer though I know not who, but it didnít work! Much to my surprise and delight our start and first beat was good enough for us to arrive at the beach marks in the lead. The first reach was very Tasar friendly and we arrived at the gybe mark with a very handsome lead. However that came to very little as once the 2 RS400s were round the gybe mark, their kites came into play and this time it was the 2 Steveís who took the lead with Chris & Kathy in hot pursuit. Fortunately for us the Kestrel was having a poor race and this time it was our turn to leave them behind.

The 2 RS 400 were having a very good race and eventually Chris & Kathy passed the Steves on one of the beats. However fortunes were reversed on the next beat. The Isles tacked off into a lift but to their horror the 2 Steveís managed to hook into a better lift and once again took the lead and this time they held it to the end. I think itís safe to say that was Steveís best result ever and should be the start of things to come. We were 3rd boat to finish but we were close enough to take the win on corrected time, which took away some of the frustration from our first race. The pesky Kestrel could only manage 4th, leaving Chris & Tony to follow us all home.

Steve & Polly had the best of the slow fleet again taking another win, but Brian Reeves had a much better 2nd race and managed to jump over Andrew & Jenny to take 2nd on corrected time, demoting them to 3rd. Once again John Hill sat on the dominant sofa but he had to settle for 4th overall. The 2 Lasers of Harry & James managed to come home on corrected time in front of Jeremy, demoting him to 7th whilst Ciarran sailing his Magno single handed shepherded the rest of the fleet home.

For the 3rd week running the breeze picked up during the afternoon and it would have been ideal to have sailed another race but today time was against us and reluctantly we came off the water. The tides are on springs at the moment and the beach was starting to contract. Fortunately the holiday season hasnít quite started so there was enough beach for all the sun worshipers and our boats, but things will become, letís say interesting, in the next few weeks.

July 5th
Sunshine and healthy temperatures. It's summer again.

After a beautiful summerís day, with a bit of a light easterly blowing I think it was almost inevitable that the evening race would be cancelled; and so it came to pass. By the time we arrived at the Club we were greeted once again by windless bay, sitting quietly under sun drenched blue skies. It may have been disappointing for us but at least it was just superb for anyone wanting to stroll on the beach or go swimming and a few of our sailors did just that. What was quite galling is that 12 members of our walking club took a boat trip from Truro to Falmouth and return. The weather was beautiful and there was an eye watering light breeze on the water and dozens of sailing boats were having the times of their lives as they cruised around in the Carrick Roads and I was getting quite excited about the prospects of evening racing at Porthpean.

With absolutely no breeze at Porthpean we sat around and waited as the clocked ticked onwards towards 19.00 and as the time approached it was obvious that the windless bay would not spring to life and we wouldnít be going sailing again this week. The flag was hoisted, 3 sound signals given and that was that. It was now official bar open oíclock.

Looking ahead to Sunday the forecast for our golden spell of sunny weather will fade away to give grey skies but more importantly for us sailors something like 10 knots of north westerly breeze. Now that is something to look forward to.

July 2nd
Sunshine and healthy temperatures. It's summer again.

What a difference a day makes. The last 4 days have been more like winter than summer with healthy doses of rain accompanied by wind and plenty of it, but just as all good things come to an end so do bad things and today Ė Sunday, we woke to the sight of blues skies and a light breeze; Admittedly not ideal sailing conditions but enough of a breeze to tempt us out.

Yes itís summer; people were on the beach, kids were swimming in the sea and the view out to sea was beautiful. In fact it was looking so good that as I left the Club this afternoon I had a lingering look back at what has to be one of the finest views in the UK and alongside is the picture I took. It really does take a lot to beat the view of St. Austell Bay on a light breeze and sunny day. In fact the weather was so good and the breeze so light that today was the first time this year that I sailed in just shorts and Tee shirt, well in the morning anyway.

The normal band of brothers turned up to go racing, only to be met by an almost glassy looking bay. There was the odd patch of slightly ruffled water to be seen but none of them joined up enough to tempt us out. Paddy & Steve were our RIB drivers for the day and I did comment that maybe they were in the best place rather than taking out the B14 in the ultra light conditions. Inevitably a postponement was signalled while we waited to see if the promised westerly breeze would arrive. Not surprisingly it didnít, but Paddy & Steve eventually launched and pronounced that there was enough breeze to race, which was good enough to let the impatient fleet off the leash.

Well the breeze did pipe up a little but instead of a south westerly to take us across the bay we suddenly came under the influence of a southerly, which would have meant rushing back to the beach marks for the start and a beat across towards Blackhead. Anyway the decision was taken to start at sea which gave us a nice reach into the beach marks. Chris and Kathy had the best start and helped by their RS400 spinnaker opened up a healthy lead. Mind you our Tasar was no slouch on the reaches and we easily kept ahead of Steve & Ashley in the other RS400 to round the beach marks just behind Chris & Kathy. Where was the pesky Kestrel? Back with the rest of the fleet and we started to put some distance between us. Well we managed to coax enough speed out of our Tasar to keep close enough to Chris and Kathy for us to take the win on corrected time. Fortunately we had also saved our time on the pesky Kestrel, though they still took 2nd place on corrected time, demoting the Isles to 3rd. Steve & Ashley had one of their best results whilst sailing their RS400 and too 4th ahead of Richard & Brian who had a disaster of their own when their mainsheet strop broke during the race forcing them to improvise, but they still finished.

The best fleet out today was the Laser fleet, with 2 full rigs and 2 radial rigs. The boys, Brian and Nick sailed the big rigs whilst the girls Sarah & Janet sailed the radials and the girls won the day with Janet making the most of the conditions taking 1st place and Sarah comfortably home in 2nd only 7 seconds behind. Nick did have quite a handicap to overcome as he was rather late to the start. The only other boat in the slow fleet today was Andrew, back from his holiday. Unfortunately Jenny is still injured and it may be a couple of weeks before she is ready to take up her role in the front of the Scorpion. However Andrew managed to coerce son in law Martyn to crew and although I thought that they finished it appears from the results that they didnít race in the morning.

By the time we came in for lunch the bay was looking a lot more inviting for sailing and that was enough for Jeremy & Suzanne to pack up their SUPs and instead rig their Tasar. Now unfortunately I have to report another disaster for Ken & me. We had a problem when pulling up the main. Un noticed by me the jib halyard became entangled with the main halyard and was hoisted up the mast as well. You would think that just lowering the main would have been enough to free it, but no, the jib halyard became entangled with the hounds fitting, too far up the mast to reach without rolling the boat over and that meant stripping the boat down and rolling her over in the sea to release it. Well that took only a short time and without any further complications we put all the gear back in the boat rigged and set off rather belatedly to the beach marks for the start. Half way out to the start I hove to to put on my spray top and then realised that I had left my buoyancy aid on the beach. Back we went but the starting procedure had already commenced.

By the time we reached the beach, located and put on my buoyancy aid I knew that we would be late for the start. In fact we were exactly 3 minutes late as we crossed the line, to chase the disappearing fleet. We were fully expecting to see Jeremy & Suzanne round the windward mark and werenít disappointed, but Chris and Kathy werenít too far behind nor was Jan& Peteís Kestrel. The course for the afternoon race was designated to be an Olympic one. Places changed quite dramatically on the run as the RS400 and the Tasar reached their way down the run. Not so the Kestrel who powered into the lead by taking a more direct route.

We started our charge and surprisingly managed to catch and pass all the Lasers and more pleasingly the Scorpion and the Tasar of Richard & Brian plus the other RS400 of Steve and Ashley. The breeze was very light but I think our overall lighter weight gave us an advantage over Richard & Brian. Once again Chris & Kathyís RS 400 sailed away, taking a good lead onto what should have been the last beat out to sea. Now I say a beat but the wind Gods decided to play a few games with us and the conditions became very, very slow as the wind died away. In fact for a while we looked like being in quite a good place as those of us further back benefited from a new breeze wafting out from the land allowing us to reach in to the mark.

Chris & Kathy had just started the run back to the beach marks but instead found a nice little hiking beat to take them home. Jeremy & Suzanne were the next around and very surprisingly we managed to be 3rd boat around. A few helpful wind shifts brought us up the beat very nicely and we were 3rd to cross the finish line. We were in front of the Kestrel but alas not by enough time to beat them but at least we had made the best of the conditions and we sailed in just as tired as if we had been fighting the boat. The mental concentration required is a lot more than people sitting on the beach imagine. Actually the 1st 4 of the fast fleet finished very close together on corrected time. Jeremy & Suzanne claimed their win by 28 seconds over the Kestrel. Chris & Kathy were just 5 seconds behind them and we finished 4th just 9 seconds further back. Not a bad result from us considering we were 3 minutes late to the start,

The slow fleet were put out of their misery when they reached the beach marks before the new breeze arrived and the 4 lasers finished within a few seconds of each other which gave another win to the radials. However it was Andrew & Martyn in the Scopion who claimed the win by a margin of 1 minute over Janet, with Sarah claiming 3rd, Brian 4th and Nick in 5th place.

Well it wasnít the most exciting sailing conditions that I have experienced but certainly it was quite interesting and at times very frustrating, but slowly closing on the leaders was a very satisfying feeling and at the end of the day not all was lost. Just having the freedom to sail in shorts and Tee shirt is a marvellous feeling and not a condition that happens very often. Todayís races were the first ones in July, summer is well and truly here and if things go right we should have a good 10 weeks or so of excellent sailing conditions. Hopefully we will get another good attendance on Wednesday.

PS. Iím finishing this off on Monday morning and the weather? Youíve guessed it; back to cloud and drizzle again- frustrating or what? At least we had a brilliant Sunday.

June 28th
Oh no. Not rain again!

I have probably said this before so bear with me, it is an age thing. I am sure that Wednesdays tend to be the driest day of the week, especially sailing Wednesdays. However this Wednesday proved to be the exception to the rule. It rained; all day it rained and it was still raining when quite a few of us arrived to decide whether to go sailing or not. Again, I think it is an age thing, as very few wanted to don their sailing gear and become very wet as we would have rigged and launched in the light but steady rain. I think what really put people off was the almost non existent breeze. If it had been a proper summer evening with sunshine then I am sure that we would have all loved to have ventured out and then moaned about the light wind afterwards. Anyway after a lot of feet shuffling and screwed up faces looking out at the bay the decision was taken. No sailing. The bar was opened and conversation reigned. I think looking back it was quite a popular though disappointing decision. Looking further ahead it appears that we will have at least 2 more days of rain and wind, before starting to dry up on Saturday. Dare I say it? But Sunday looks as though it might be a reasonable day for sailors.

June 25th
Grey skies and a very fresh breeze, yes a typical summer's day.

Sorry folks, there was a bit of a muddle with Wednesdayís blog. I seemed to have repeated myself with some of the content. I have had a go at editing it and hopefully all is ok now. Life has been rather hectic for me over the last few weeks, but by the end of this week my other work will have come to an end and hopefully I can take advantage of being retired again!

It would be great to say that we are having a real vintage summer for sailing, but for some reason or other, the breeze on sailing days has been very challenging over the last few weeks. The winds have been either almost non existent or the other extreme, very windy; and today it fell into the very windy camp. So much so that once again the entry was very low, but the fresh breeze that certainly wasnít forecast may have had a bigger influence than expected.

Richard & Brian were our RIB drivers today. The wind was a westerly south westerly direction which gave them a bit of a problem as to where to set the beat. We could have sailed from out at sea to the beach marks with either a port or starboard rounding. A starboard hand course was their preferred direction, resulting in the start line being set off Charlestown and a beat rather one sided under the cliffs, before a run out to sea, gybe and a nice reach back towards Charlestown. There were some massive wind shifts around and the first to find out how vicious they were was the Tasar of Chris & Tony on the first beat. Well they recovered but had lost too much time and decided to retire. The breeze was very fresh and checking the windspeed at Polruan weather station at lunchtime confirmed that we had been sailing in 20 knots plus of wind; far too much for me really. Paddy & Steve managed to control their B14 for most of the race, but they too eventually capsized leaving the Tasars of Jeremy Suzanne and Ken & me to take the first 2 positions. The Kestrel had been troubling us on the first round but although they could use their spinnaker on the reach out to sea, lost out to us on the fast and furious reach back to Charlestown. I decided there and then that I wouldnít bother with the afternoon race.

Nick Haskins was another who suffered at least one capsize and decided that 1 race in those conditions was more than enough for him. Likewise Sarah & new crew for the day found the conditions less than comfortable in their Scorpion and retired before the race finished and also decided that the wind strength was too much for them also to continue in the afternoon.

Lunch on the decking in the occasional sunny breaks was a pleasant affair and we were surprised to see Stacey & Lucy appear from the car park and rig Dennisís Tasar for the afternoon race. The sea looked quite calm from the shore and I decided that we would have another go. Chris & Tony shamed me into going again. The course was tweaked and this time we started further out at sea with a better beat into the beach marks and a supposedly better reach out to sea. A reduced fleet took to the seas and Paddy & Steve started off proceedings by capsizing on their sail out to the starting area. Yes it was just as breezy, in fact I would say even breezier than in the morning. I think Paddy & Steve managed one lap before the temptation to go off on a blast got the better of them and they took off with spinnaker straining, spray flying on a course that took them way over to Polkerris. The down side of this pleasure trip was the very long beat back to Porthpean in the rising breeze.

Not surprisingly Jeremy & Suzanne had the raced sewn up on the first beat and continued to pull away from the rest of us. I was more than surprised when we rounded the beach marks in front of Stacey & Lucy and managed to pull away down wind. Once again the first reach was very broad and whisker poles were the order of the day before a gybe and a very fast reach back to the leeward mark. For 3 beats we managed to hold Stacey off and even the Kestrel was falling further back. Chris & Tony decided early in the race that the conditions were too tough and I too capitulated on the penultimate lap when I realised that my stamina was falling below the required level and we too peeled off at the beach marks for the peace and quiet, not to say rest of the beach. Just getting back to the beach was a tricky affair as the swirling strong gusts flew over the headlands, trying to force a capsize on us. Fortunately we survived and I was more than pleased just to get my feet back onto terra firma.

Tomorrow, Monday is Kenís birthday and I for one would like to wish him a Happy Birthday. The forecast for the coming week isnít particularly good. Sailing certainly looks promising for Wednesday but the forecasterís accuracy nowadays is certainly well below standard and the unsettled weather conditions for the week make me question whether we will actually sail. I think anyone of us would probably come up with a more accurate prediction so we shall just have to wait and see what we have on the day. Grey skies and white horses on the sea are not what we want at this time of year. I did hear a weather prediction on the radio earlier this week that July was going to be very unsettled before a good August comes along. Well we will wait and see, but just to make you groan let me remind you that today is only 6 months before Christmas and the nights are starting to draw in!! Tony has already sent out details of the Club Christmas Dinner to be held at the Porth Avalon in December.

Now I just hope that I havenít repeated myself with this offering of the blog.

June 22nd
The heatwave is going and the breeze is returning

Mid summer and very hot, but unfortunately all good things come to an end and yesterday, Wednesday evening heralded the start of the weather change. We have been very short of breeze during the hot spell but a light south easterly, forecast to become south westerly was the prospect for the first race of the Wednesday summer series. However we almost didnít sail at all because we were greeted around 17.30 with a sea mist filling the bay, so much so that the beach marks could not be seen, which in turn would have prevented any racing. Luckily by 18.30 the mist was starting to lift and we could suddenly see the horizon; game on, but where were all the sailors.

Wednesdays prove to be the most popular day for racing but only 10 dinghies decided to try their hand at racing which is probably the lowest Wednesday turn out for quite a while. Maybe the lack of earlier breeze or just the hot weather was holding people back. However for those who launched the wind piped up to a nice strength, but unfortunately changed direction completely just after we started and the course became very Mickey Mousey to say the least. Mid summer and very hot, but unfortunately all good things come to an end and yesterday, Wednesday evening heralded the start of the weather change. We have been very short of breeze during the hot spell but a light south easterly, forecast to become south westerly was the prospect for the first race of the Wednesday summer series. However we almost didnít sail at all because we were greeted around 17.30 with a sea mist filling the bay, so much so that the beach marks could not be seen, which in turn would have prevented any racing. Luckily by 18.30 the mist was starting to lift and we could suddenly see the horizon; game on, but where were all the sailors.

Before we come to such mundane issues as the racing I am pleased to say that Jenny is making very good progress and is walking about unaided, but sporting a very nice bruise on her foot, but at least nothing broken and nothing over strained. Her & Andrewís holiday may have come at the right time to ensure some rest, which should help her foot heal. Andrew and Clive took the RIB and ventured out to test the visibility and more importantly whether there was enough breeze to go racing. The answer came back via the radio, Go, Go; and so we went. Well some of us went, others decided that there wasnít enough wind for them and replaced their boat covers, which I think may have been a regrettable decision when they saw the breeze that eventually came along.

In fact there was a nice little breeze to carry us out to the starting area and Andrew & Clive set us a fairly small triangular course to race around AND then the breeze faded away. Fortunately it statted to come back and the starting sequence commenced. It was obvious that the beat had disappeared and it would be a very light reach out to the ďwindwardĒ mark, but within a minute of the start, the forecast south westerly breeze swept in. I think the race should have been stopped there and then and the course possibly tweaked to send us round in the opposite direction with the start out at sea, but the decision was to let us race on, which gave us 2 close reaches and 1 broad reach. Having said that the wind direction was very unstable, calling for constant sail and boat tweaks to keep the momentum going.

Tonight for the first time this season saw Kay joining the fleet and she was going to take the Club Laser out but was very grateful of the loan of Andrewís Scorpion complete with crew, courtesy of Sarah and the Laser was left in the yard. Unfortunately the new female pairing didnít last very long as the main halyard failed and they had to head off home.

Not surprisingly the rested pairing of Paddy & Steve in the B14 out reached us all to arrive ahead at the first mark, closely followed by the 3 Tasars of Ken & me, Jeremy & Suzanne and Justin & Charlie. Very surprisingly we rounded as first Tasar and for about 4 or maybe 5 laps (I forget as we went round so often) we managed to stay in front before finally succumbing on the penultimate gybe. I have to say I was very pleased with our boat speed overall.

It was a good night for Janet Preston, taking a win in the slow fleet, taking a very comfortable win, minutes ahead of Jeremy Rowett in his Supersofa and Nick in his full rigged Laser.

A beautiful evening was capped off by Jennyís bacon butties and a pint of beer, cider, lager or wine as we celebrated mid summerís day. From now on the daylight hours will slowly decline though we wonít see any significant change for a few weeks yet. The hear wave has disappeared, I just hope that we donít have to wait too long before another one comes along.

June 18th
Glorious weather but windless

"Beautiful blue skies, sunshine but not much wind." I started my previous blog last Wednesday with that statement and here we are several days later, still with glorious sunshine and for Cornwall, exceptionally hot weather. Well that will teach me to moan about poor June weather. What a turnaround over the last few days with the heat wave we are experiencing at the moment. Porthpean has looked at its very best over the last few days as it has basked in wall to wall sunshine and the beach has teemed with people, determined to soak up every last ray and there also plenty of people in the sea. Surf skis and the like also seem very popular this year as there were lots of them to be seen. The only ingredient missing for us sailors was meaningful breeze and this weekend it has been almost windless to say the least. Unfortunately it also coincided with the date of our combined Kestrel and Scorpion Open meeting and I suppose we were lucky to get one race in on Saturday afternoon, though calling it a race is rather stretching the meaning of the word somewhat as the boats crawled around 3 buoys, before we took pity and halted their misery.

Our ambitious itinerary planned for 2 races on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Alas only one race was sailed on Saturday and by 11.00 on Sunday morning it was obvious that we were about to have another windless day and all plans for racing were finally abandoned, which at least gave the visitors ample time to pack their boats away before starting their long journey home.

Ken & I took the RIB on Saturday and managed to lay a course in the very light easterly breeze that was wafting in from the sea. No sooner had we done that and set the start line when we noticed that the breeze had shifted to a southerly direction, turning the first beat into a one tack fetch. We moved the windward and leeward marks as quickly as we could and set a new start line and managed to get the fleet off somewhat later than planned but at least there was some forward progress to be made. As there were only 5 boats in total, 3 Scorpions and 2 Kestrels we started all 5 boats together. All but our visiting Kestrel seemed to make some progress and it was the visiting Scorpion from Paignton who rounded the windward mark with a respectable lead, set their spinnaker and eased off into a very commanding lead, leaving Steve & Polly and Andrew & Jenny in their wake. Janet & Pete rounded the windward mark in 2nd place on the water and closed up on the leading Scorpion and for a while looked like they had taken the lead, but the Scorpion bit back, rounded the leeward mark in the lead and set off for the 2nd round. The breeze had by this time decided that it wasnít going to play ball at all and shifted round once again and decided to waft out of Charlestown, thus turning the course into another configuration. The Leading Scorpion managed to get the best of this new breeze and completed the course quite successfully. Steve & Polly managed to overtake Jan & Pete to take 2nd place, but Andrew & Jenny ended up retiring and paddling home. Likewise the visiting Kestrel accepted a tow from us to take them home.

It was obvious that there would be no more sailing for the day and the beach, the decking and cold drinks were the order for the rest of the day, leaving us all to ready our selves for the evening BBQ and Colin & Tonyís skittle alley. By the time Sue & I arrived we were greeted by the news that Andrew had been recalled home as Jenny had fallen down the stairs and was suffering a suspected broken ankle. A trip to Treliske was their BBQ replacement entertainment for the evening.

Sunday dawned sunny and hot and unfortunately windless and any thoughts of sailing were looking rather forlorn as we were greeted by the site of a windless bay and unfortunately there was no forecast for breeze at all. However there was some good news though and that was the sight of Jenny sitting on a chair on the decking without her leg in plaster. Fortunately she didnít have a broken ankle but instead had been diagnosed with torn ligaments in her foot. She can still get around with the aid of a walking stick although the time to take to heal is forecast to be anywhere between 10 days and 6 weeks. Well I know that they have a holiday planned soon so who knows with a bit of rest and some gentle exercise she hopefully will be back to sailing duties fairly soon.

Several members turned up for what was going to be club sailing alongside the Open meeting but the sight of the windless bay was very disappointing to all and a decision to abandon sailing for the day was taken just after 11.00, which was very sensible and several of us drifted off to pursue other interests. This turned out to be the correct decision as the wind stayed away all day and our beach was given over to the many sun bathers and swimmers who took full advantage of the extremely good weather.

Sue & I actually ended up having a walk close to Restronguet SC and they were more fortunate than us as there was a light breeze blowing in the Carrick Roads. Enough of a breeze to move the dinghies but no more than a force 1 so there wasnít too much action to watch. Even for a Club as large as Restronguet there were still the majority of dinghies in their dinghy enclosure sitting there with covers on. They too are suffering from a numbers problem. I know we get disappointed about our low turn out but that malaise seems to be reflected almost everywhere in the country. The only Club I know bucking the trend is Looe who regularly have a very strong entry for their Saturday afternoon race.

June 14th
Beautiful blue skies, sunshine but not much wind

Finally, and I say it almost reluctantly, summer may have arrived. How do I know? Well for the first time this year my sailing shorts came out of my sailing bag, for what was the last race of the spring Wednesday series. The one drawback with suddenly having a warm sunny evening is that the breeze is generally very light. The fact that the breeze was a southerly also gave thoughts to the fact that it would fade away as the evening drew on. Anyway, undaunted a 15 boat fleet left the shore to rendezvous with James and Steve Mitchell who were our RIB drivers tonight. Predictably the triangle was not too large, but just right for the conditions.

Starting was going to be premium tonight and with no port bias on the line I knew that there was going to be a fair old clutter of boats all vying to start at the RIB end of the line. Sometimes it pays not to get involved with all the luffing and squeezing that goes with the territory of trying to claim the pole position and instead aim for a safer position further down the line. However tonight I decided to have a go at the RIB end of the line and we managed to manoeuvre ourselves into the perfect position and crossed the line within a couple of seconds of the gun going. It was a perfect start with nobody up to windward, allowing us to make good perfect progress. All seemed well with the world, until I noticed that Justin & Charlie who had started further down the line had broken away from the fleet and were footing along quite quickly. Quicker than us and that was brought home when they tacked and sailed across our bow.

Things went from bad to worse during our run in to the windward mark when both Jan& Peteís pesky Kestrel and Simon in his Supersofa, sneaked in front of us to condemn us to 4th round the mark. Almost in a flash the spinnaker came out and I fully expected the Kestrel to pull well away from us but tonight nothing was as it should have been and what we lacked in upwind speed we made up for it in down wind speed and not only overtook the Kestrel and Supersofa, but managed by the end of the 2nd reach to close right up on the transom of Justin. All the while the conditions were so light that we had to sit on either side of the boat at all times, so it wasnít a very exciting sail for the crews. Interesting enough there was quite a fight going on behind us as Richard and Brian in their Tasar were clawing back much of the distance that they lost during the starting shenanigans as was the extra spinnaker speed of Steve & Ashley in their RS400. Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion were also making their presence felt.

The 2nd beat, once again saw Justin pull away from us. Our only solace at that time was that we dropped the rest of the fleet, leaving things to be an almost 2 boat race. The breeze was dropping all the time and although we were catching Justin down wind we couldnít make the overtake and as we approached the beach marks we were expecting the shorten course to be initiated. Not so. In fact Ken timed it and it took us a minute to sail from one beach mark to the other. Project that into time and distance to sail round the course again and it became pretty obvious that it just wasnít going to happen. Anyway we set off in pursuit of Justin, sailing toward silver mines with the breeze dropping to almost zero. We noticed that the fleet, which were several minutes behind us picked up a little zephyr that turned the beat into a one tack fetch. It was obvious that we were in a very untenable position and we were so hacked off that we turned round and paddled home. At least the bar would be open and the bacon butties would be cooking.

The pesky Kestrel who had been well and truly put to the sword tonight, took full advantage of their good fortune and sailed for the finish line that had been laid by what was the windward mark and took line honours. Some of the slow fleet had already crossed the beach marks and were condemned to the long haul out to sea whilst the slower ones were finished as they crossed the beach marks. Trying to make sense out of the finishing times and get the right figures into the computer will take a bit of creative head scratching but life would have been a lot easier for us all if we had all finished as we crossed the beach marks in the dying breeze the time before.

Itís quite strange how the conditions can be viewed so differently between a dinghy and a RIB. The dinghy is feeling all the nuances of wind strength and direction, though only in the area where it is sailing whereas the RIB can move around to different parts of the course and make another completely different assessment. I can only assume that they thought that there was sufficient breeze for the race to continue.

I think that tonightís sailing concluded the spring series and from Sunday onwards we are into the summer series, so in affect we are 1/3 of the way through our season, but we still have a lot to play for. This weekend sees our inaugural Kestrel open meeting, combined with our Scorpion open meeting. There is already another Kestrel sitting in the field so we will have at least 2 though I hear a rumour that yet another is expected, so letís hope Jam & Pete have a good result against any visiting opposition. The Scorpion fleet may also be on the small side as we only have 2 sailing with any regularity at the moment, so once again we are relying on visitors to makeup a half decent fleet.

Whilst we were out racing I also noticed that Thomas was out in his Oppie and Harry out in his Topper. The 2 of them were having a great time, with one or two deliberate collisions going on, BUT they were having fun and thatís what sailing at their age should be all about. Become confident with your boat and at the same time learn a few basic skills such as steering and the rest will follow.

June 11th
Wind, wind and more wind

Some may be wondering why there was no midweek blog and the reason is we didnít race. The evening was heavily overcast. Ken & I were down for RIB duty but there was a definite lack of interest in anyone rigging up and racing in the very overcast, wet and windy conditions. James was the only person keen enough to rig and we all stood in the Clubhouse or beach to watch him fly up and down. The consensus was that we could have raced but honestly there was no pleasure in making the effort. I guess that is one of the problems with an aging membership. Us older ones were young once and I suppose we were just as keen as James, but somehow as we get older, comfort tends to make us a bit more selective in our desire to go out and get wet and maybe miserable.

Now Iím not sure where some of these sayings come from but June is often referred to as ďFlaming JuneĒ, meaning that it is usually very hot. Well that certainly hasnít applied to us in Cornwall so far this month, as the weather last week has been rather dire to say the least. Yet we are told that things are about to improve starting today so letís hope for the best. I wrote that last bit this morning before I went sailing and once again the forecast was wrong. The sun did appear sporadically but was accompanied by some very dark grey clouds and an equally strong westerly wind, with a few light showers throw in from time to time. And that put quite a few regular fleet members off good and proper.

This morning, when we arrived was not looking too inviting for our small fleet as we left the shelter of our cove, to meet the very fresh, bordering on strong south westerly breeze that was blowing across the bay. Itís always difficult from our cove when a south westerly is blowing to gauge the windís strength to give an accurate guide but the Polruan weather station was showing 28 knots during the morning dropping off to 24 in the afternoon. So there was no surprise that our fleet was so small today. I managed to sail both races and was literally at the full extent of my capabilities and felt well out of my comfort zone at times, though the Tasar is a very comfortable boat to sail and can take strong conditions with ease compared to some other modern dinghies. We survived with no serious problems over the entire race, but sailing upwind was very strenuous indeed.

Brian Reeves and Janet set us a very nice triangular course to suit the south westerly breeze, but unfortunately just after we started the wind veered to a more westerly direction, which changed the dynamics of the race course and took a lot of the pleasure of fast down wind legs away from us. The beat went a bit one tacky, the first reach became a fetch and the 2nd reach turned into a run. Yes I know itís the same for everyone but anyone who has sailed a planing dinghy will know the thrill and satisfaction of racing down wind in waves and we missed that in the morning race. Even so a few of our brave fleet succumbed to the conditions. Andrew & Jenny decided half way up the first beat that the conditions were just too much for them and headed off for home. Steve & Ashley really struggled to hold the RS400 and they eventually went for the expected swim. During the capsize Ashley slid down the mast and trapped his leg between the shrouds, resulting in a very painful experience, once recovered they too headed for home. Richard & Brian had a disaster with their jib halyard on the 2nd beat resulting in it breaking and they too headed for home.

Jeremy & Suzanne found the conditions just to their liking and they led from start to finish. Ken & I hung in there and managed to pull well clear of the Kestrel, which struggled today and that gave us a very nice 2nd overall. Ciarran & Harry battled around in their mango but were no competition for Simon who showed full mastery of his Supernova and left James in his Laser radial far behind.

Lunch came and went and there was a bit of a discussion as to who was going out to race again in the more than lively conditions. Jan & Pete decided that the morning escapades were enough and took their Kestrel up early, hoping to keep it in one piece for the Kestrel & Scorpion open meeting next weekend. I had decided that the conditions were too much for me but decided to have another go when I saw both Jeremy and Richard rigging. The conditions on the beach were much quieter than out on the race course and I was lulled into a false sense of security but by the time we headed out past the beach marks I knew that we were going to be in similar conditions to the morning. The main difference was the wind was now more westerly and so the course was reversed from a starboard hand to a port handed course.

The fast fleet was down to just 3 Tasars and together we blasted off in our own race towards the beach marks. Needless to say Jeremy & Suzanne headed our small fleet from start to finish and Ken & I were no real match for Richard & Jeremy. The reaches were magnificent and all 3 Tasars absolutely flew down the tighter reaches, fully exploiting the character of a Tasar. Our day was almost made when we started the last beat and sailed into a massive lift that brought us right back to just behind the yellow Tasar of Richard & Brian. In fact as we closed towards the beach marks it almost looked like we might pull off a remarkable come back and snatch 2nd place. Unfortunately our luck ran out right at the end and Richard managed to complete his last tack just in front of us to ensure a 2nd for them and 3rd for us.

Jenny didnít fancy the conditions for the afternoon race and was more than happy for daughter Sarah to take her place in the front seat of the Scorpion and for a while they were looking well placed against Simon but one of the gybe marks proved their undoing and they took the inevitable bath and dropped them right out of contention.

Apparently better weather for Cornwall is just around the corner and tomorrow, Monday should show a distinct improvement, with lighter winds and more sunshine. Maybe, just maybe summer is coming. If so then we may have a much better turnout for our last race of the early spring Wednesdays. I hope that Jenny has enough bacon butties to go around.

June 4th
A brace of wins for the pesky Kestrel (who mentioned the word bandit?)

It was RIB duty for Ken & me today, which was rather unfortunate as I really liked the look of the conditions but seeing as how the pesky Kestrel won both races in the fast handicap fleet, then maybe I would at this moment, be crying in my cider. I thought that the morning race would go to Chris and Kathy but they actually finished a minute behind on corrected time. Things werenít so cut and dry in the slow fleet but I will come to that later.

The breeze today was an offshore westerly which was almost ideal for our cunning plan to offer our clients a little different course rather than our traditional triangular course. Instead we set a figure of eight configuration, though I am not sure if we managed to get the angles exactly right. The idea was to give a beat from out at sea to the beach marks and then a close reach towards silver mines before a gybe would set the fleet to sail across the bay on a broad reach before hardening up onto another close reach which would take every one back to the leeward mark for a repeat. Fortunately every one seemed to like the change of course, so much so that we kept it intact for the afternoon race.

One thing Ken & I noticed was that the breeze was oscillating quite a lot and once or twice we almost decided to move the leeward mark to make a better beat but each time the breeze oscillated back to its original direction. Just to make the conditions a little more tricky for our sailors was that the breeze also went from quite light to full on hiking mode and back sometimes in a mere matter of seconds at times, keeping every one on their toes.

Chris & Kathy led the fleet round the beach marks for the first time in race 1, with Paddy & Steve Ė reunited in their B14 having to follow them. Jan & Pete were well up also, alas not Richard and Brian. They had a disastrous first beat and arrived at the beach marks just behind Chris & Tony in the other Tasar and who for a while were all smiles. That was until the first gybe when team Hazell kept their whisker pole up, and pointed the boat straight into the wind. The poled out jib acted as a massive air brake and they came to an abrupt stop, allowing Richard & Brian to scoot past; Oh dear. Paddy & Steve with their extra down wind speed soon took their accustomed place at the head of the fleet and although they finished over 1 1/2 minutes in front of the Iles they fell back on corrected time to 3rd and Chris and Kathy, who finished about 4 minutes ahead of the Kestrel could only make 2nd.

There were 3 Lasers out today, but only Brian was carrying the full rig. Dave Mackrel and Janet elected to use their radial rigs. Brian finished well in front of the 2 radials who it must be said were having a good close tussle between themselves. However non of the Lasers were a match for Andrew & Jenny who made the most of their spinnaker to sew up a well deserved win.

It was a touch of ďPlease sir can I have some more?Ē for the afternoon race and Ken & I were convinced as we left the shore that we would have to reset the leeward mark but when we reached it we found that the beat was still there but once again the breeze was oscillating so wind shifts would again play a massive part in the results.

It was a much better first beat by Paddy & Steve this time and they were leading boat at the windward mark and off they went to a commanding lead. Richard & Brian nailed the first beat this time and reached the beach marks 2nd, just in front of the Iles in their RS400. They showed the speed of the RS downwind by quickly sailing past the Tasar. Jan & Pete seemed to lose out quite a lot to Richard & Brian and this race looked likely to be a Tasar benefit race but a massive wind shift on the very last beat allowed the Kestrel to make up a massive amount of ground and they finished with enough time in hand to take another win, this time by only 20 seconds. We noticed that at times the RS was struggling to carry the spinnaker downwind when the reaches tightened up and I suppose that proved the undoing of their otherwise good race. Despite Paddy & Steve winning again by a good margin, their handicap time dropped them down to 4th, though they finished in front of Chris & Tony, who struggled quite a lot in this race.

Once again the 2nd race looked like another routine outing with a win as a reward for Andrew & Jenny, but when all looked under control, they lost their outhaul and too much time was lost whilst they parked up before securing it back to the boom and they found that their lost time put them behind all the Lasers. How frustrating and now they are less than 2 points clear of Brian Reeves on the results table so there is still a lot to play for.

Ciarran & Harry were out for the morning race and Harry was seen to be helming the Magno at times and making a very good job of it and they finished 4th, only a few seconds behind 3rd placed Dave Mackrel, Janet taking the last position. It was rather a shame that Ciarran & Harry only managed the morning race as their handling of the Magno is improving most noticeably. Pascual & Sue came down at lunch time and rigged and sailed their Tasar for the first time this season and they looked very comfortable as they followed the fleet around the course. Hopefully they will try their hand at racing in the coming weeks.

Oh well there were no capsizes to worry about today and with a neap tide non of us had to walk too far from launching to trolleys as there was not too much beach left exposed. Now this was fine for us today but I am sure that we will incur the wrath of a few holiday makers in the weeks to come when we have similar tides. Life will get rather interesting. The weather this week looks rather unsettled though we may just get away with Wednesdayís race, when once again Ken & I will be looking after you all.

I took my little point and shoot camera out with me yesterday and the results can be found by following the "pictures" link on the main page. I am finishing this blog on Monday afternoon and the weather coming through at the moment is absolutely terrible, with heavy winds and torrential rain, which is a massive change from only 24 hrs ago.

May 31st
Another good Wednesday evening entry.

It was a poor day at the office for me yesterday. I suppose I could say bad but to be honest just being out in the bay in a sailing boat should never be classed as bad. Yesterday, Wednesday, was the last day of spring and today we leap into summer, though looking out at the grey sky that does take some believing. However the air temperature is starting to feel a lot milder. The evenings are very light and we still have another 3 weeks of evenings becoming lighter until we hit the longest day peak, so all in all we have quite a few weeks of good Wednesday evening sailing left before we start to see a decline as summer fades.

Once again we had a strong fleet out last night with the fleets being split very evenly at 8 boats each. Very encouraging we actually had 6 Tasars out again to give some very close racing between themselves, and ably interfered with by the pesky Kestrel and the improving RS400. The slow fleet had a good entry of 5 Lasers to mix it with the lone Scorpion, Magno and Topper.

Brian Reeves and Jeremy Rowett were our RIB drivers tonight and were launched in plenty of time for a 19.00 start. The light breeze was a light southerly, meaning a beach marks start, heading towards Blackhead. The course turned out perfectly sized for the light conditions and I think we managed 5 rounds. Hopefully enough people are getting the message that we intend starting on time and everyone was milling around in the starting area as the 5 minute countdown started.

The short line was rather starboard biased, so no hope of a cheeky port hand flyer and so the RIB end was rather congested. Our plan was to start mid way down the line to try and stay out of trouble and I suppose to that end all went well. I noticed in the last few seconds Richard and Brian reached the leeward end just too early and had to bear away, gybe and come back in behind the fleet, condemning them to a miserable race. Our start wasnít too bad but Jeremy & Suzanne sailed over the top of us so a quick tack, clear ahead of everyone else was the immediate solution.

Number 1 mistake for me tonight was that I overstood our approach to the windward mark, which allowed the Kestrel coming in on port to tack just in front of us and start the first reach with their spinnaker flying. Meanwhile no such worries for Jeremy & Suzanne, they rounded first and were never troubled again. Paddy & Sarah were in one of our 6 Tasars out tonight and were hard on our heels, in front of Justin & Charlie. Richard and Brian had caught a proper cold with their poor start and were only just in front of Chris & Tony. The RS400 in the hands of Steve & Ashley had a nice easy sail as there was zero chance of capsizing in the 5 knot breeze and they were just waiting for the reaches to use their spinnaker to its full potential.

I thought that our problems were over when we caught and passed the Kestrel on the tighter 2nd reach and sailed away from them on the next beat. All was going well until we started the 3rd beat when once again we held on after rounding the beach marks whereas both Jan & Paddy tacked out to sea and I suppose hit a better patch of pressure as they arrived at the windward mark in front of us. There was no way back from that and my boat speed seemed to suffer over the next round and things were looking very bleak. We had the chance to salvage something on the last round when we reeled Paddy in on the broad reach. Once again I let our side down when I was a bit slow in responding to Paddyís luff and our boom made contact with their whisker pole. That was pure carelessness as I hadnít been concentrating enough. I waited until the next reach to test our reaching speed which was very good and then elected to do my turns, which then allowed Justin & Charlie to take our position, relegating us back to 4th Tasar; so all in all very frustrating and annoying.

Itís always difficult to write with much accuracy as to what went on in the slow fleet, but I would like to congratulate Steve Coello who was without his ride in the B14 tonight as Paddy was in his Tasar with Sarah, his crew for the Tasar Nationals. Steve took the older Club Laser and sailed it into 1st place. He finished 2nd on the water just behind Andrew & Jenny but his handicap allowance gave him a 45 second win. Janet Preston, fresh from her holiday seized her opportunity to take 3rd place in her Laser radial. Clive Stephens, clearly enjoyed the conditions sailing home to 4th place. The closest finishers tonight with only a few seconds separating them were Nick, Ciarran and Jacques in that order. Ciarran, in his Magno finished better on handicap. Jacques, one of Sarahís sons took the Club Laser, radial rigged out and was only 1 second behind Ciarran but may have been disappointed when the handicap pushed him back by another 30 seconds. Unfortunately for Nick he was in a full rig Laser and that dropped him back to 7th, leaving Harry in his Topper to follow the fleet home.

It was good to see Thomas out for the first time this year in his Oppie, letís hope that we see a lot more of him on the water in the coming summer. Simon and Steve Mitchell, both went to a Supernova event at Exe a couple of Sundays ago for the Supernova sea championships. There was an entry of 45 and our 2 heroes, finished almost together with Simon taking 18th place just in front of Steve 19th. Steve did win the veteranís trophy and Simon was 4th in the Masterís category. Meanwhile Steve & Polly have also been over to Carnac, sailing their Scorpion, where they managed 11th in a very strong fleet.

The buoy line went out this week, a sure sign that our beach will shortly be taken over by a gaggle of Emmits, so that will be fun at times, trying to guide our boats back to shore, trying to avoid children swimming in our area. No doubt there will some irate parents shouting at us!

May 28th
Sun, wind, rain and a flat calm, all the ingredients for an interesting weekend's sailing

Some disappointment at the low turn out for the Tasar Open and the Club May Cup was mixed with some terrific moments of sailing in the taxing and challenging sailing conditions that we experienced over the weekend. Unfortunately the Tasar open saw the lowest entry for several years. Usually we attract a few entrants from Babbacombe, Wimbleball & even Queen Mary, but this weekend we only had 2 Ĺ visitors! Tim & his daughter Anna came down from Lymington to test out his latest refurbished Tasar, which he is taking to the Tasar Worlds in Japan later on this year. Little did I know that there is another Tasar lurking in Fowey, sailed by Hans Wehmeyer and Harry Houlding. They are hoping to sail in our Nationals in September. I would like to think that they would sail with us on Sundays throughout the season as they would be a very welcome addition to our dinghy fleet. Now that brings me on to the Ĺ visitor. Well really I am just playing around with words as that visitor is our very own Commodore Paddy and Sarah Desjonquers, formerly of this parish but now residing in Christchurch, where she is currently sitting on top of their leader board in her Laser radial!!! Sarah sailed here for many years and was my crew for a few of those before moving away to start her career, get married and settle down to have a family. Sarah is still as keen on sailing as ever and is also the press officer for Highcliffe S.C. Paddy turned up with his refurbished Tasar. The boat previously belonged to Alan Orton but Paddy has bought it and has had it restored and it is now looking resplendent in its Aubergine hull and pink decks. Fortunately the pink isnít as bright as you might think and the aubergine does look black in certain lights but the finish on the boat is excellent. The boat wasnít quite ready and Paddy & Sarah spent quite a time running around like the proverbial blue bottomed flies, fitting the boat out, with heaps of bits and pieces that had been taken off the boat for prior to the paint work refurbishment.

Our racing was arranged over 2 days with 2 races scheduled for Saturday and 4 for Sunday. Unfortunately nature or more pertinently the weather doesnít always play ball with us and this weekend was no exception. Saturday turned out to be a glorious sunny day, with a delightful offshore breeze blowing, just what I like. James was our race officer for the day and he was joined by Steve Coello who was there to study and learn from his normal helm, Paddy. They were ably assisted by Jan & Pete in a 2nd RIB who acted as mark laying crew. The course for the day was set to give us the reverse ďqĒ that gives us tight reaches and a bit of a run. The breeze proved quite consistent for the first race and we all had a very good race with Tim & Anna winning from Richard and Brian. The 2nd race started off with still reasonable wind strength but on the final round it dropped in strength and also moved round a little and Ken & I starting the last beat 2nd, sailed into a beautiful area of pressure to take a win.

Sunday brought a change in the weather with heavy rain forecast for later in the day. It also brought a change in wind direction and our beautiful offshore breeze had instead changed into a bit of an easterly. Fortunately it hadnít been blowing long enough to cause any waves on the beach problems that we all dread. Our Race Officer today was Andrew Kendall with Jenny in one RIB and they were again assisted by Jan & Pete in the mark laying RIB. Andrew decided that we would sail in an area of the bay that we never usually venture into and we moved way over towards the middle of Crinnis beach where a triangular course was set. The light breeze increased a little and in no time at all we were all into full hiking mode and whatís more we had some waves to contend with. Jan & Pete set a superb pair of reaches that had all 5 Tasars travelling along at very impressive speeds. I think that it is fair to say, we all revelled in the waves and our already good reaching speed was enhanced at times when we also caught a wave and surfed along as well. We had a very close tussle with Tim & Anna with the lead passing backwards and forwards before we managed to just squeeze inside them on the last beat for us to take our 2nd win.

The next race was sailed in a failing breeze and developed into what I thought was a 2 horse race between Tim and us but just as we had benefitted from a fortunate wind shift on Saturday, today we experienced the other side of the coin and our nice little reach that had given us so much pleasure, changed to become a beat and we were headed away from our wing mark. Still as that would also affect our following posse it didnít appear to be too much of a problem, until our little breeze disappeared altogether and we stopped dead whilst the previous breeze returned and settled on our pursuers allowing them to reach down to the mark. I tell you there were quite a few naughty words spoken in our boat, as we watched first Hans and Harry and then Paddy & Sarah sail past us. All our previous good work ruined. The new breeze eventually came to us and we set off in pursuit and very surprisingly we managed to pull back some distance, enough to overtake Paddy but unable to catch Hans. That gave another win to Tim. The rain, yes I had almost forgotten the rain. We knew that heavy rain was forecast and the precursor of it arrived as we started the long trek back to Porthpean for our lunch. The beach today was deserted; Strangely enough rain and beach activities do not go together. Yesterday, Porthpean was looking as though proper summer had arrived, but today it was back to normal summer and the heat wave of previous days was over.

The rain also killed the breeze and eventually we had to either paddle or take a tow to get back to shore, strangely enough there was no enthusiasm after lunch to go out for any more racing and that was it, the end of the Open Meeting. Tim & Anna took the overall win, our disaster on the last race dropped us down to 2nd overall, but I was very pleased with our boat speed and performance.

Thank you to our race teams for giving up their time and also for giving up the opportunity to grab some silver ware for the May Cup. Personally I donít see the point of running a Cup day on an Open Meeting day as with our small Club resources it reduces the number of active sailors who would otherwise bring a bit more competition to the Cup. Today we suffered very badly from that affect, with quite a few of our regular sailors not available or else away on holiday. After all there are other things that families want to do on Bank Holidays and I think we should take that into account when preparing the racing schedule for the year.

May 25th
No wind, lots of sunshine = no sailing

ďWhereís the blog? ď some may ask, but for those down at Porthpean last night knew that there wouldnít be too much to write about and to put it into the terms of the NHS; last nightís sailing was a ďnever eventĒ. I donít suppose we can complain too much about the lack of sailing last night as if the wind had blown as forecast then we would have had another tricky decision to make as to whether to launch in what would have been a wave swept south easterly blown beach. As it was the lack of breeze contributed to the heat of the day and we had a glorious warm, balmy evening to enjoy the splendid view from our eyrie up on the cliff tops, watching a water skier going through his paces. The sea was flat calm as can be seen from the photographs alongside and there werenít too many moans when the sailing side of PSC put up the shutters and instead relaxed.

There was a field party on Tuesday evening and tonight the field was looking superb. The long grass has been cut down to size, grass cutters and strimmers ruled and the stored dinghies have been repositioned into tidy ranks and a huge pile of rubbish has been collected and piled up ready for a trip or two to the dump. It is always surprising how much room we have when the field has its spring clean up. I believe a dozen or so workers were down and for the first time for a few years I had to miss the event as we had already been booked for an evening out with friends.

This weekend coming is our annual Tasar Open Meeting. Over the years we have usually had a reasonable attendance and more unusually fairly good weather. So far this week the forecast for the weekend seems to change every day and I donít think that it will be until Friday that we will know with any certainty what to expect. It is also advertised as the May Cup so we may get one or two other visitors as well. Hopefully we will have a good weekend, though bear in mind that it is a Bank Holiday.

May 21st
Fast & furious at times but expensive for some.

The forecast nearly beat us today but not quite and we managed to get both races in, though in respect of the high tide at 14.00 and the building south easterly we took the decision to race both races back to back rather than to have a lunch break between the scheduled races. I think under the circumstances that turned out to be a wise move if only for Nigel & Jeremy Rowett doing RIB duty today. It was a cold, bumpy and wet ride on the RIB. Our super cool spring limps on and the temperature showing on my car coming home was only 14C, still a bit below what we expect at this time of year. At least it was dry and the sun did come out in the late morning. It was only the breeze that was still cold and as it was blowing onshore had the effect of making the decking rather inhospitable at lunch time. In fact when we landed back on shore there was only 1 family sitting on the beach and they looked rather chilly.

A disappointing fleet of only 8 boats sailed today and 6 of those were in the fast fleet leaving the slow fleet with only Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion to race against John Hill in his Supernova. The Scorpion is the faster boat so they had to stay in front of John and build up enough of a lead to beat him on handicap. All our Laser helms were either doing duties or had disappeared on holiday. They obviously knew something we didnít.

Nigel & Jeremy set us a ďqĒ course today, so we had a beat out to sea, a left turn for a close reach, a gybe to give us another close reach followed by a run to take us back to the beach marks. The course itself wasnít very big so we completed something like 4 rounds in less than an hour. The start line had just enough bias on it to tempt me to have a go for a port hand flyer, which seemed the right way to start, but we were undone somewhat by John Hill sailing down the line on starboard and so we had to dip him which lost us some valuable height. We had only 3 Tasars out today the other 2 made up of Chris & Tony and Richard & Brian. Our fleet was completed by Paddy & Steve in their B14, Jan & Pete in their Kestrel and Steve Ashley in their RS400.

Polruan weather station was showing 16 knots of breeze, moving from south to south east so we had quite a choppy sea to beat through, and the waves on the beach were quite small and fairly easy to launch through. The wind when in the south east has very little shifts and headers and the beats turn out to be more about boat speed and getting the tacking angles right. The reaches were quite technical with the broad reach all about getting in snyc with the waves and for the tighter reach developing maximum speed, which in a Tasar gives the most thrills. All in all quite a challenging course.

Richard & Brian had the better of us on the first beat getting to the windward mark about 15 seconds or so before us and Paddy & Steve in the B14 were a few seconds behind us. The first reach, although to us was quite broad was not broad enough for the B14 to launch the spinnaker, neither was the 2nd reach and the run such as it was, was not long enough for a spinnaker to make up much ground, so that was left in the bag for most of the race which impacted on their final position. Our down wind speed was slightly better and we managed to catch and get an inside overlap on Richard as we approached the first beach mark. Unfortunately both Tasars by this time were running by the lee and as Ken was taking the whisker pole down an inadvertent gybe by Richard knocked the whisker pole out of Kenís hand and it went overboard when Richardís boom hit the pole. Utter chaos reigned for a minute or two. We hit the mark, tacked and gybed and then sailed back for our pole which very fortunately was floating. We picked it up and sailed on but had lost quite a bit of ground which we couldnít make up. Fortunately we still had enough time in hand to beat Paddy Ė 3rd and the Kestrel - 4th. Steve & Ashley with spinnaker flying showed some incredible speed on the first reach but just couldnít carry it on the 2nd reach and struggled quite a bit before succumbing to a capsize. In fact they lost so much time that they retired to ready themselves for the 2nd race. As expected Andrew & Jenny finished in front of John Hill but not by enough time and the win in the slow fleet went to John.

The course was tweaked a little for the 2nd race and after a short delay we lined up for another start. The line still had some port bias and this time Paddy & Steve, John Hill Richard & Brian and us all lined up to have a go. There were too many of us for us all to get away with it. In fact none of us did as the starboard tackers came flying down the line. We were upwind of Richard and tacked off early to avoid both the RS400 and also the Kestrel, whilst my ears were ringing with all sorts of shouting going on further down the line. I donít know how either Paddy or John got on but Richard came off the worst. He ducked the RS400 & the Kestrel but was caught fair and square by Chris & Tony, tried to avoid them and ended up T boning them. Resulting in a badly damaged bow on Richardís boat and a total capsize and inversion for Chris & Tony; total carnage. Fortunately Chris had no damage to show other than a bit of yellow gel coat on his gunwale; lucky boy.

Paddy & Steve arrived at the windward mark first and once again had to sail the reaches with their spinnaker firmly stored in the boat. We had to eventually dip the RS400 but had lifted through the Kestrel to make the windward mark in 2nd place. No sooner had we dipped the RS 400, when we heard a splash as they capsized when they tacked, only to retire when they eventually righted the boat; not a good day for Steve & Ashley, 2 capsizes and 2 retirements. Richard & Brian recovered somewhat and completed their turns but had lost too much ground to catch us and when the final positions were calculated found themselves 10 seconds behind the Kestrel. Chrisís capsize proved very costly as his finishing time was some 10 minutes behind Paddy. So Paddy did salvage something from the dayís action.

John was looking for another win over Andrew & Jenny but would have no such luck in this race as a capsize proved very expensive for him. When the boat was finally righted, John found that his rudder and tiller had fallen off the back and sunk without trace, and needed the RIB to tow him home.

Returning to the beach wasnít too bad and the surf wasnít quite as big as we dreaded but even so the waves were very powerful and most of us struggled to recover our boats and it required quite a team effort to get everyone back onto their launching trolleys.

We have some close results sometimes at Porthpean but I was helming on a cruiser at Mylor last Friday. We had a reasonable race with some quite close encounters. Their handicap system is quite laughable, in fact completely ridiculous, as the leading boat in our fleet and pulling away from everyone is actually classed as slower than us, so no chance there but nevertheless we were holding our own with the rest of the fleet and I had high hopes of finishing 2nd. The results were eventually calculated and then read out. Not a 2nd for us but a 3rd, I was quite disappointed. Incredibly we had been beaten by 0.1 of a second. Now how close can that be?

Looking ahead I see that once again next Wednesday is forecast to have another south easterly blowing. Not only that but high tide is scheduled around about the time that we will be launching, so should it produce a few waves then we will once again be prevented from racing. Looking ahead a bit further to next weekend I see that it is the annual Tasar Open meeting. For the last few years we have had excellent racing conditions, but at this moment in time it appears that we might have to endure yet more south easterlies, so we may end up suffering as the B14s did a few weeks ago, which will be a big disappointment to all.

May 17th
Probably the best Wednesday sail of the year so far.

After 2 Ĺ days of steady rain the weather finally relented as forecasted to give us a glimpse of sun and that together with the light north westerly breeze had the affect of giving us a bit of warmth - Halleluiah. In fact the pleasant conditions saw a nice fleet of 15 boats, reasonably split between the 2 divisions, come to the start line. Tonight our RIB drivers were Chris & Tony and I must compliment them for setting a very nice course, with something for everyone.

The start line was heavily port biased, so much so it was a waste of time trying a port hand flyer as the queue of starboard tack boats on the line would have made it almost impossible to find the required space to sail through. My first mistake tonight was arriving about 2 seconds too early for the prime position at the starting mark. Once I had recognised my error it was fairly easy to bear off, gybe round and sail back through the line, not too bad but the damage was already done and we were half way down the fast fleet with a lot of work to do. Our start wasnít quite as bad a start as Steve & Ashley in their RS400. Although they were on the water in plenty of time, spinnaker problems caused a trip back to the beach for adjustment, meaning that they were late to make the start and consequently struggled to make up any meaningful ground, though at one time I noticed that they were in very close company with Justin & Jan.

I thought that we had salvaged some lost ground as we initially had a good lie on starboard for the first beach mark and at that time we werenít too far behind Jeremy & Suzanne. Now rounding the beach marks can be very frustrating sometimes and tonight for us was one of those frustrating nights. Jeremy just about made it and rounded almost alongside Paddy & Steve in the repaired B14. We were headed the last 50M or so and had to watch as Justin & Charlie rounded, in the 2nd of the 4 Tasars out tonight, rounded 3rd, followed by the pesky Kestrel of Jan & Pete and we slotted in almost alongside them, with Richard & Brian and the RS400 completing our fleet.

Steve Mitchell headed the slow fleet in his not so slow, especially downwind, supernova. Now I am not so sure where the rest of the slow fleet were, but Ciaran, Magno, Harry, Topper and Janet, Laser 4.7 struggled to make much ground and lost out to the other Supernova, Scorpion and Lasers.

As per normal the B14 cleared off and left us to our more interesting racing. Jeremy & Suzanne, as expected, started to open up a gap but not before Justin & Charlie closed them down somewhat on the 1st, very broad reach. Fortunately we managed to keep upwind of the Kestrel and with our whisker pole set we lost very little ground, though Richard & Brian started to charge up. To cut a long story short, we caught and passed Justin on the 2nd time round. Richard & Brian also overtook Justin and came right up to us by getting a very favourable lift in towards the beach marks and went on to repeat the exercise next time round to overtake us as well at the end of the 4th beat. We did have our moments down wind and for a time things were looking hopeful but starting the last beat too far behind proved too much of an obstacle for us and we had to settle for 3rd Tasar, but when the times were computed we had at least beaten the Kestrel Ė Yippee. Bad news for Paddy though. Although they finished several minutes before us on the water it just wasnít good enough and they slipped back to 6th, meaning the Tasars took the first 4 places.

Steve finished some 3 minutes in front of James but such is the disparity in handicaps just managed to take the win by 16 seconds. Andrew & Jenny finished 2nd on the water but tumbled down to 3rd on corrected time. Brian Reeves sailing his full rigged Laser finished 4th, just ahead of John Hill in the only other supersofa out tonight. Janet struggled for speed down wind in her Laser 4.7 but still managed to finish ahead of Ciaranís Magno, though his cause wasnít helped by a couple of capsizes. However he managed to be well ahead of Harry in his, tonight, fully rigged Topper.

Once again the Clubhouse was a very pleasant place to be after racing and the sight of Jennyís bacon butties were a pleasure to behold and once again she managed to sell the lot. Yes they really do go down well with a glass of suitable tasting liquid. Thanks Jenny.

That takes us nicely towards our Sunday sailing & at the moment the weather forecast is showing a south easterly for the day, if so then that may turn out to be bad news, but with 4 days to go there is plenty of time for it to change. It really is about time that the weather became more settled and more importantly sunnier and warmer.
May 14th
A good old south westerly, but with a sting in the tail

Now what a peculiar turnaround for our beach we had today when we arrived to go sailing. Last week we had lost most of our sand; the beach was covered in weed and the entire place looked completely uninviting. However, today the sand has come back and there was hardly any drop from the slipway to the beach and there was only a semblance of the sea weed left. However we arenít quite back to normal just yet. The beach is very soft and we had to struggle to move boats in certain areas of the beach due to the softness. Some of you may have seen some of the pictures of a 4x4 stuck on the beach on Friday when the owner was trying to retrieve his jet ski. The wheels dug in and sunk into the sand, the tide came in and the inevitable happened; total submersion. That must have been a very expensive trip on the jet ski. It required a tractor coming down after the tide had receded to tow the stricken 4x4 away.

And on to Sunday and what a day's sailing that was. The forecast was for a moderate south westerly breeze. Now I call moderate about 10-12 knots but no one told the wind generator that and instead it was cranked up to well over 20 knots. I have been looking at the Polruan weather station, and it showed winds of about 25 knots over the period that we were sailing in. Now thatís not the sort of breeze to send out persons of my venerable years, but nevertheless, Chris & Tony, Nick and I, all gentlemen of a certain decade, went out to race. Now things were then complicated by our RIB drivers, who today were Pete & Jan, setting a very interesting trapezium course. The start line was just off Charlestown harbour giving us a beat across to our beach marks before a reach out to sea and then a run across the bay to a wing mark gybe and a very fast reach with the waves that would bring us back to the start line.

Unfortunately Jeremy & Suzanne had major problems when their mast fell overboard and that required RIB assistance and then the RIB was stuck on the beach for quite a few minutes with its own problems, leaving us all to sail around, draining our energy in the fresh conditions, awaiting the start. In fact the fleet in the challenging conditions was a quite reasonable size, better than I thought it would be with 11 boats leaving the beach for a very brisk sail.

Eventually the RIB was anchored for the start but once more we suffered some delays with the postponement flag going up and down a few times due to comms failure with the race box, before we entered a proper count down sequence. The line had a bit of port bias and Jeremy & Suzanne, with their mast now upright, took full advantage and cleared the fleet. Our start was fairly good being windward to the rest of the fleet and we tacked onto port to take advantage of the lifted tack. I make no bones about it, the beat was hard work, in fact very hard work, but the boat performed well and though it felt uncomfortable at times we felt quite secure, and we were pleasantly surprised to be 2nd to Jeremy & Suzanne at the windward mark.

We had looked at the first reach when we left the beach and knew that it was far too tight to be a reach and so we deliberately overstood the windward mark, before we tacked and yes even then we had to keep the sails in hard in order to clear the next mark signalling the start of the run. Very fortunately the run was no more and instead we had a long, fast broad reach across the bay, before a gybe to take us back down another very fast reach back to the leeward mark, all in all a very nice Tasar course. I think that it was on the tight reach/beat out to sea that Chris & Kathy decided that the conditions were not ideal for their RS400, likewise Janet & Nick in their Lasers and they all headed back to the comfort and shelter of the beach.

Last week I had problems keeping my rudder blade down and to my dismay my modifications hadnít quite rectified the problem and it kept lifting up on the long reach across the bay, which necessitated bringing the boat to a halt, leaning over the transom, pushing the blade back down then tightening up the friction nut and bolt on the rudder head. This problem happened every time we sailed the top reach. The speed through the water was sufficient to push the blade up and the only way to prevent a capsize was to re adjust it. As a footnote I had a good look at Jeremyís and Chrisís rudder arrangement when we finally made the shore and realised that I didn't have the down haul rope in the correct place. A quick re rope has, I think, cured the problem and I hope to confirm that next time we race. Jeremy and Suzanne zoomed on to claim 1st place and we made it into 2nd leaving Chris & Tony to take 3rd.

The slow fleet were better represented today with 4 Lasers plus Simon in his Super duper sofa and Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion. Simon finished first on the water but when the scores went on the doors the win went to Paddy sailing the Club Laser, demoting Simon to 2nd with James in his radial slotting into 3rd position, Brian Reeves in his full rigged Laser 4th and the Scorpion back in 5th.

After a leisurely lunch, tired bodies were requested to rig up for the afternoon race. The course was to be a more conventional triangular one with the start out at sea giving a beat across the bay before a frantic reach back to the beach marks. At least the gybe mark would be in a more sheltered spot than in the morning. Chris & Tony shamed me into rigging up but for some reason I had the most horrendous rigging problems that I have ever had. The jib was on the deck without its halyard, no problem there. The main was lying in the boat with the main halyard attached, when I decided to take a quick leak before we started, and thatís when my problems really began. Ken had gone down to give one of the Laser helms a hand launching. In his absence the wind suddenly gusted up and the main flew out of the boat, secured only by the main halyard and was flying at full stretch behind the boat. In fact to the casual observer it did look very comical. I managed to eventually grab it when the gust finally died and it came back down and then we set about hoisting it properly. Unfortunately the main then jammed and there was nothing we could do to move it when I noticed that the jib halyard had been caught up with the head of the main sail and was causing the jamming thus preventing the main going up. The only thing we could do was to pull the main down and then try and retrieve the halyard which was now stuck up the mast!! The whisker pole solved that problem and eventually order was restored and the main hoisted and cleated; success!! Next the jib, well thatís when I had yet another problem. I had disconnected the pull up string and was just about to hook the tensioner tail onto the jib when yet another gust blasted across the beach and tore the halyard out of my hand, resulting in the tail shooting up the mast and there was no way I could get to it unless we rolled the boat over on the beach. I realised at that moment that our sailing was done for the day and we wouldnít be going out into that awful breeze again. On one hand I was very frustrated yet on the other very relieved that we wouldnít be testing ourselves in the still very strong breeze.

Neither Kathy from the RS400 nor Jenny from the Scorpion wanted to go out in the prevailing conditions, so Andrew very gallantly offered to crew for Richard in the RS. Once again Jeremy & Suzanne took and early lead which they extended during the race and lapped everyone apart from Chris & Andrew to take another win. Once again Simon headed home the slow fleet but once again when the scores were computed he fell victim to Paddy, leaving James to take another 3rd and Brian 4th. With that a very relieved and tired set of sailors headed home to the beach, a rest and some refreshments.
May 10th
Easterlies. How we hate easterlies.

I had spent the day indoors, invigilating, feeling envious of anyone being out and about in the nice sunny weather, but as I left the shelter of the school in the afternoon I could feel the cool effect of the easterly wind and knew in my bones that tonightís adventure on the high seas was as likely as not to be cancelled. Views on the web cam showed small waves rolling in off the sea but I knew that as the tide advanced then the waves would be dumping on the steeper sections. My fears started to increase as I turned down the hill into Porthpean when I could see the white horses spread wide across the bay. The likelihood of sailing was reducing by the minute.

Beautiful but cold, describes our weather of late. We have experienced some quite stunning sunny days but they have been countered by bitterly cold easterly winds and it is those winds that have affected our sailing so much. The B14 open meeting the weekend before last was almost completely blown off. We were lucky last Sunday when the breeze just managed to turn into the south enough to get us sailing but it was back into the east today to kill off our mid week dose of racing. Not only that but the evening also coincided with a spring high tide which virtually brought the sea up to the slipway and cliff retaining wall. That together with the short vicious chop was enough to persuade even the most fanatical of our sailors to forget all about sailing and instead took to the joys of the bar. Fortunately the conditions were such that none of the local deer population wanted to go surfing either!! Oh did I mention the sea weed. The beach is littered with weed and as the tide comes in then it is being pushed further and further up the beach.

Anyway the weather is about to change and the high pressure that has dominated for so long is being replaced by the more traditional low pressure systems and that will bring a spell of south westerly air flow and unfortunately some rain. They say that the north of the country is in the middle of a drought period with many of the main rivers flowing at well below normal flow and there have been quite a few photographs taken showing the abnormally low river levels. However I donít think that we have had the same dry periods down here. Anyone remember the last Bank Holiday? Yes lots and lots of rain for Cornwall. With a south westerly air flow it should at least start to warm up. The light evenings are here and I am sure the BBQ season will be soon in full swing.
May 7th
A calm day after Friday's gale

Summer weather still hasnít favoured Porthpean yet. After the gales of Friday and Saturday it appeared that we would have a quiet Sunday. Well I suppose they were right in that respect; it was quiet, almost too quiet, but at least we could sail. The beach, after the south easterly gales is looking a real mess. The gales have taken lots of our sand away, leaving a pebble strewn, horrible looking beach, itís also covered with copious mounds of rotting sea weed, making it difficult to launch and recover the boats. Weed on the beach is quite common at this time of year and I have seen much more weed in the past but it will disappear in time, unfortunately it will start to decay and smell before then. I know our trolleys were covered in weed by the time we had dragged them through the surf and up to the yard. Anyway there are afew spring high tides to come over the next few days but we could do with a good offshore breeze to help take it back out to sea.

We were greeted this morning by blue skies and the promise of a very pleasant day but by 10.00 we had a deeply overcast sky that promised rain and this continued all day. Fortunately it never actually rained and as we packed our boats away after racing the sun finally started to break through and the temperature that had hovered around 13C all day suddenly started to move upwards; well better late than never, although I believe that the north coast of Cornwall had a very nice day.

After the heady heights of 6 Tasars sailing last Wednesday we were brought down to earth today with just 2 today. However 2 of our normal Tasar fleet were taken out of the equation when Richard & Brian elected to do RIB duty whilst Chris and Tony were delegated for OOD and galley duty. Paddyís B14 is still out of commission due to broken block on the mast so Brian loaned Paddy & Steve his Tasar to allow them to get some much needed practice in for the Tasar Open meeting which will be in 3 weeks time. It also allowed Ken & me to try and polish up our handling of the new Tasar. One thing that has caused a little problem last Wednesday was that the tiller and extension are slightly longer, about 150mm, than the Midnight Express one. As a result I keep poking Ken with the extension, so as an experiment I brought the old one down, which is shorter, to try and compare. Unfortunately the rudder heads appear to be slightly different and we found that the old rudder wasnít too easy to swop over and we had to use a little force to make it fit onto the new boatís gudgeons. This resulted in us having a very stiff tiller, giving complete lack of feel when sailing. I donít know if it really affected our performance but it preyed on my mind all race long, and it was quite difficult to hold a steady course, especially upwind.

I was surprised how little swell had been left behind form the previous days and all we had today was a slight swell with an excruciating light southerly breeze wafting over the bay for our triangular course. This had the affect of giving us a beat from the beach marks out to sea before a left turn took us across the bay before returning back to the beach marks. Anyway there was just enough breeze for us to race and some 14 boats launched for what was the first race of the ďLate spring seriesĒ. First time out for the year was Jeremy Rowett in his Supernova, making up the numbers in the 9 boat slow handicap fleet. The fast fleet was down to only 5, with 2 RS400s, 2 Tasars and of course, how can I forget, the pesky Kestrel.

The stars of the fast fleet today beyond any doubt were Chris & Kathy Isles who dominated both races from start to finish. They were always first to the windward mark and with no dirty wind or other boats to pass, just cruised off into the distance. The rest of us did have some battles and without doubt Jan & Pete sailed a blinder in the first race to lead us round the windward mark and then sail off with spinnaker flying, beating us by several minutes on the water let alone on corrected handicap time. We were also embarrassed by the 2 Scorpions. Steve & Polly were always in front of us and even Andrew & Jenny overtook us on one beat, before we managed to salvage some pride and regained our position on the last 2 reaches, which surprised me at the time as we had been far too slow down wind against the spinnaker boats.

Paddy & Steve were our real opponents today and we managed to stay in front of them in both races so that helped prevent total disaster. We always just managed to beat them up the first beat and although our down wind speed was nothing to write home about must have been a little better than theirs as we slowly pulled away from them so I did take a little comfort from that.

I went home during the lunch break and brought the original rudder and tiller back down for the afternoon race and immediately felt the benefit. Suddenly I had ďfeelĒ and that made a huge difference and after 3 rounds we had built up a large enough time difference to be 2nd to the Isles and more importantly a good distance in front of the Kestrel!! I suppose our cause was helped a little by Steve & Ashley in their RS400 giving Jan & Pete a lot of attention. The Kestrel having the better of them on the beat but the off wind speed of the RS brought them back together on each round. Our confidence of a good result was building until we started the last round when the breeze such as it was almost completely died and our favourable time differential was gobbled up enough for the Kestrel to beat us once more. Still I knew that it was the conditions that had beaten us rather than some stupid mistake on my part. In fact it was a good day for Steve & Ashley, as for once they werenít struggling with excess power in the RS and I note, NO problems with the spinnaker. Speed is starting to happen, especially down wind.

Beacky and Kelvin had their first sail of the year this morning, but as Paul will be banned from sailing for another 6 weeks (caught speeding on the slipway) they didnít bother joining in the racing and just enjoyed the occasion of being on the water. The slow fleet was dominated by Steve & Polly in their Scorpion in the morning but they retired in the afternoon to pack their boat away for their forthcoming trip to Carnac at the end of the month. Andrew & Jenny finished far enough ahead in their battle with the 4 Lasers to take 2nd in the morning and without Steve & Polly on the water, took a good win in the 2nd race. Yes the Laser turnout was the best today with Brian & Nick being joined by Martyn & Sarah Rendell. Jeremyís first race was good enough to give him 3rd place in his Supersofa behind Steve & Polly and Andrew & Jenny, but one race was enough for him and he too called it a day after race 1 leaving Andrew & Jenny to take a comfortable win in the 2nd race of the day. Brian Reeves was back to form today and he finished 1st Laser ahead of Martyn, Nick & Sarah.

Looking ahead the weather forecast is quite good for sunshine, courtesy of a nice high pressure zone, but once again a high pressure zone brings us a south easterly and this is what we will have on Wednesday. To compound our problems we will also have high tide just about when we want to sail so any waves will be smashing onto the shoreline, making launching and recovery a very fraught business, so I fear another cancellation.

May 3rd
Still cold but looking better

Itís a shame that I donít make as many smart decisions when I am sailing as I did last weekend. I saw the predicted weather forecast and knowing that my ribs were still feeling very sore, especially when I bent over towards the right or tried to lift anything with my right arm, so I decided to have the weekend off and we went to Basingstoke to see our son and family. We even scored with the weather as well. Instead of the driving winds and heavy rain endured by all in Cornwall we instead had lighter breezes and a modicum of sunshine, especially on Monday when we set off for home. In fact it wasnít until we neared the Devon Cornwall border on Monday evening that we could see that the roads were wet and we did run in to the last few showers of rain as we arrived home.

Unfortunately for those tied to the Club over the weekend, disappointment and frustration was the name of the game for the B14 Open Meeting, though I did see that the Club managed to put on 1 race on Saturday afternoon, so not all was lost. In fact there is a very good account of the weekend from one of the visitorís published on the Y&Y website. Following this link will get you there. Fortunately the B14 fleet do like to drink and socialise and what they missed out on sailing they made up for it in the bar. I also think that they were more than happy with the decision to cancel on Sunday when they witnessed first hand what a raging south easterly can do. Talking of which I donít think that we are out of the trees just yet as the forecast for the next 10 days at least show predominantly easterlies, which no doubt may heavily impact on our sailing.

One thing that caught my eye whilst we were away was the video that James uploaded to Face Book (now with over 60000 hits), showing a deer swimming in the sea off Porthpean. Now how the deer managed to get in the sea I donít know but wonder if he came from the Blackhead area. I do hear that he managed to escape eventually so lives to swim another day, though I shouldnít think that he really relished swimming at all.

So on to tonight and what another cold evening it was. We are in to May now but there is still no sign of the weather warming up at all. Sure we have had a few nice days from time to time but the overall temperature has been held back by the long spell of northerly and easterly winds. However that alone didnít stop 19 super keen teams from launching through the smallish waves to do battle out in St. Austell Bay, a place where only the brave saw fir to sail over the weekend. My ribs are feeling a lot better with only a little discomfort when bending down or trying to pull something with my right hand. Anyway tonight was another attempt to see whether I could handle the boat or not. Fortunately all seemed to be a lot better and time out of the boat has certainly helped my recovery.

Paddy damaged his mast on his excursion on Saturday so the B14 was laid up in the sick bay and his majestic crew, Steve, accompanied Clive Stephens in the RIB. They launched in good time to allow us a prompt 19.00 start but alas, the RIB broke down whilst at sea. The fuel line between tank and filter had split, forcing a quick retreat to the beach to undergo repairs. Now that was a shame as it meant that we were late starting because when we launched we had a very nice 10-12 knot breeze, allowing for some good planing in the waves. By the time we actually started the breeze was starting to fade and with it some of the excitement.

The 19 boat fleet was composed of 4 windsurfers on a visit, but more significantly 15 dinghies, the highest turnout this year so far. Not only that the largest number of boats was the Tasar where we had 6, yes I will repeat that in English, SIX Tasars and in fact we could have had more. I had reckoned on 5 but Stacey & Lucy turned up with Dennisís Tasar to raise the number. Steve Mitchell also brought his new Supernova down for a spin in the bay, which delighted Simon as he has had no other Supersofas to sail against so far this year.

The wind was from the north which usually gives us a good beat across the bay from right to left but I think that there was a bit of easterly in it so the beat was set from the beach marks out towards Polkerris. I donít think that I have ever sailed that beat before so it was all a bit new to me and I suspect to the majority of us. The course was the usual triangular with a mass start apart from the windsurfers who started a minute early. At least they were well clear before we started our charge. I wasnít too impressed with my start, getting bogged down with the majority of the fleet but we held our starboard line well after most others had tacked out to sea and it certainly helped our charge for the windward mark.

Almost inevitably Jeremy & Suzanne were first to the windward mark and it was very close between Stacey & Lucy and us for 2nd place. Fortunately we rounded 2nd and to our disappointment the first reach was very broad and the whisker poles were unleashed in an attempt to drive us onward. I think Steve was 4th round in his Supernova and promptly showed how fast a Supernova can be down wind as he overtook Stacey and was closing up on us. Fortunately the close reach came to our rescue and we increased our speed significantly on the tight reach with the waves back to the beach marks.

Looking back I could see that the pesky Kestrel was flourishing on the broad reach. The spinnaker giving them good drive as they ploughed through the choppy sea and they inched past the rest of the Tasars, slowly closing up on us. Chris & Tony brought up the rear of our Tasar fleet and not far in front of them were Justin & Charlie with Richard & Brian in front of them. Justin & Charlie were making their first appearance of the year, but soon moved up a gear, overtaking Richard and then Stacey to take a good 3rd within our mini fleet. Steve & Ashley, once again had spinnaker problems, and frustratingly for them dropped further back. Tonight we suffered from the 2017 change in handicap figures. Although we finished some 43 seconds in front of the Kestrel it wasnít enough and we had to settle for 3rd, whilst Jeremy & Suzanne being another 40 seconds in front of us, comfortably took 1st place. Still it was tight racing, exciting in some ways and frustrating in others.

Now the slow fleet had a good spread of boats, with the fastest being the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny but tonight they were no match for the 2 Supernovas, nor for that matter the Laser radial of James; All 3 finishing ahead on the water, with only 20 seconds separating Steve & Simon. I was surprised to see the full rigged Lasers of Brian & Nick behind the radial as they should have benefited more from the down wind legs and even the upwind legs in the falling breeze should have allowed their extra sail area to pull them through. Bringing up the rear was Harry & Ciarran in their Magno. Memo to Dad. I think you are experienced enough now to get your selves a Tasar for the lighter weather. I am sure it would be more exciting than the Magno yes I know the Tasar doesnít have a spinnaker, but a spinnaker is more often or not a hindrance.

Beacky has at last been reunited with his Scorpion, but alas as a consequence of the repairs all the rigging has been changed and he has been seen with tape measure and tuning guide in his hands, whilst puzzling out the necessary formula to allow the boat to out perform the rest of his fleet. A promised shake down sail on Sunday may show how successful he has been. Andrew, I am sure, is looking forward to the challenge.

April 26th
A bitterly cold evening sail

STRONG; that seems to be the buzz word these days and I guess we will here it more and more until the General Election and last nights racing was conducted in quite a STRONG and more pertinently bitterly cold northerly wind. Under clear skies and very nice sunshine some 11 boats launched for the 2nd race of the Wednesday series. With my damaged ribs I had thought long and hard as to whether to sail or not. My bruising is starting to subside and I was feeling a lot better but certainly not 100%. Anyway I thought that I would give it a go.

Our 2 heroes tonight were Chris & Tony as they had to sit in the RIB and endure the STRONG bitterly cold northerly wind that on the upside had the effect of giving us a flat, gleaming, blue sea. The tide was quite high and was breaking over the slipway so there was hardly any beach to rest our boats on so a nice little queue built up on the slip as one by one we readied for the launch. With the wind directly offshore and us being completely under the cliffs then that gave the effect of no wind at all and our first struggle on launching was finding enough breeze to take us clear out into the bay. Quite a lot of gybing later we eventually picked up the stronger gusts and then suddenly we were off, with the boats quickly lifting onto the plane.

It didnít take long to reach the starting area out at sea and join some of the fleet as they were waiting to come under starterís orders. Right from the launch I could feel a little tenderness and discomfort from my right hand side. It was when we tacked and I had to start using the traveller with my right hand that I knew that my return to sailing was a bit too premature and I quickly made the decision to head back to the shore. As we neared the shore I could already see 2 boats that had changed their minds about sailing. Clive had decided not to launch as he watched some of the antics of those who had previously left the shore. Pete and Jan had launched and discovered that they had damaged their rudder when their Kestrel slipped off the trolley when going down the last slope onto the beach, The rudder had made contact with the beach first and had twisted on its pintles, so they headed quickly home to try and repair the damage. Nick, too realised that the conditions out in the bay were far STRONGER than initially thought and he accompanied us back to base. So in no time at all we had lost 4 boats and one or two others slowly made their way home during the race, after experiencing capsizes and realising how cold the combination of wind and water in late April really is.

The main protagonists in the fast fleet were Jeremy & Suzanne, and Richard & Brian in their Tasars, Paddy & Steve in the B14 and Steve & Ashley in the RS400. The conditions proved stronger than Steve & Ashley thought and after a long time capsized they were one of the other crews who retired and made their way home. The first beat saw the 2 Tasars very evenly matched but Jeremy & Suzanne showed their extra experience as the race progressed and pulled out a long lead over Richard & Brian. The 2 reaches were such that the spinnakers could only be flown on one reach, the other being too close. Paddy & Jeremy swopped positions once or twice in the race before Paddy ground out a bit of a lead, but certainly not a good enough lead to take a win. They should take some comfort in staying upright as the B14 is a mighty beast to tame in STRONG conditions.

The slower fleet comprised all single handers tonight. Jenny had decreed the conditions too cold for her liking and Andrew forsook their Scorpion for the Club Laser and went out to join what would have been a 5 laser fleet along with Simon Robbins in his Supernova; Simon having his first sail of the season after returning from his injury of broken ribs. Well that made my problem of bruised ribs a mere trifle but there you are, no matter what, you still need rest after an injury. Andrew was another one who after yet another capsize decided that the shore was the best place to be and made Jenny very happy by returning to shore without any other major issues. The only 2 Lasers left in the fleet turned out to be James in his radial and Brian in his full rigged Laser. Brian too was the victim of a few capsizes and he trailed in 3rd. Simon showed the Lasers a clean pair of heels and finished far enough in front to take the win.

The STRONG wind finally decided to moderate as the race went on and those who finished had a very exhilarating time, but they all arrived back on the beach VERY cold and as they slowly began to appear in the Clubhouse most were wrapped in coats, not quite what you expect to see at this time of the year. At least the appearance of plenty of bacon butties was enough to tempt the cold and weary sailors and sales were brisk to say the least.

This coming Monday will see us into May and I suppose the weather should take a turn for the better at least as the temperatures should start to climb by then. Before that, this weekend, we have the B14 open meeting, plus Club racing. Unfortunately this poor spell of weather looks to continue for the next week, especially the STRONG winds which by the sound of it will swing round to the south east and that will certainly put the mockers on things. At least the rest will give me a little longer to mend!

April 23rd
Sunshine but where was the breeze?

Our nice little spell of warm spring weather continued over the weekend and it was shorts and polo shirt weather once more. However that was a bit of a mixed blessing as the downside today was very little wind. In fact the conditions were such that any hopes of an 11.00 start had to be put on the backburner, whilst we waited for some breeze. There was a dark band of breeze way out on the horizon and this is often the precursor of breeze to come. In fact we could see a fleet of J24s racing from Fowey and they were moving very nicely indeed, whilst we sat in a very warm sunny doldrums. However the progress in towards us was coming but was also frustratingly slow. Fortunately enough of a southerly breeze arrived by noon and we were in the position to start a race, though the lumpy sea swell wasn't to everybodys liking.

Now the powers to be requested 3 races in order to catch up with some races that had been missed earlier in the season, so the decision was made to have 1 short race before lunch and 2 short races after lunch and so at 12.00 something the first race started. Once again Ken & I had a duty pencilled in and I for one was very grateful as the conditions were not ideal for racing and were frustratingly slow. Steve & Ashley were also designated duties today and Steve & I elected to do the timekeeping whilst the younger Ken & Ashley braved the elements at sea!!

The fleet, once again was, frustratingly small, but the fast fleet had some good competition, with Paddy & Steve in their B14, the Illes in their super quick RS400, Jan & Pete in their ďmade for light airsĒ Kestrel and 2 Tasars, one of which was Richard and Brian and the other saw a welcome return of Jeremy & Suzanne. The slow fleet was also down in numbers but the ever present Andrew & Jenny were out in their Scorpion out to do battle against the 3 doctors of Nick, Dave and Ciarron, in their respective steeds.

Itís impossible to make a judgement about the start line whilst sitting in the race box but there must have been enough bias to tempt Richard and Brian to attempt a port hand start but they arrived too late and had to cross behind the entire fleet and that in effect was the end of their race. Unfortunately I didnít make any notes for this race but I think that Chris and Kathy turned the windward mark first followed by Paddy & Steve, Jeremy & Suzanne and Jan & Pete in their Kestrel. Andrew & Jenny were also in the mix after the first beat. As to be expected, Paddy eventually overhauled the RS400. Jan & Pete held station with Jeremy & Suzanne down the reaches, rounding the beach marks in an excellent position to take 1st on handicap but went the wrong way, so to speak, up the next beat to drop a considerable distance behind. They made up time on the reaches but when the times were entered into the computer found that thye were still some 20 seconds adrift, giving victory to Jeremy & Suzanne. 3rd went to Chris & Kathy. Richard & Brian salvaged something to beat Paddy & Steve but by only 11 seconds. However in mitigation to all who sailed today the race was quite a short one and short races never allow the handicap tables to give reliable returns, and with only 2 beats in the race, any mistakes rarely get the chance to be corrected.

The slow fleet, with Andrew & Jenny werenít quite so slow, gained a very useful win but their time when judged alongside the fast fleet would have only given them a 4th, but they were well ahead of the 3 Lasers that sailed.

Once lunch had been consumed the fleet left shore for another 2 gruelling races in the extreme light conditions. Brian & Richard, opted out of the afternoon races, the light conditions and damage to the mast were cited as the reasons for an early bath. Ken & Ashley tweaked the course and we were soon in the position to start the countdown sequence.

Paddy & Steve went for the port hand flyer but found the door firmly shut and had to sail down the line before making their break for freedom. Once again it was the RS400 of Chris & Kathy that found the best route to the windward mark and lead from the Kestrel, Tasar and B14. Although the B14 overtook the Tasar & Kestrel they could never catch Chris & Kathy who recorded their 1st win of the day. Once again Jan & Pete were in an excellent position but a glitch at the gybe mark saw them do a re round and their chance had gone having to settle for 3rd leaving Jeremy & Suzanne in 2nd. Once again the Kendalls swept through all the opposition in their fleet to take another victory.

The 3rd and final race of the day turned out to be the closest of all and once again Chris & Kathy rounded the windward mark 1st, but couldnít pull away from Jeremy & Suzanne quite enough to save their time. Jeremy & Suzanne taking their 2nd victory of the day but only by 1 second!! Very close racing indeed.

The weather men predict that Tuesday & Wednesday will be quite cold, so if true will mean quite a cold evening out on the water for the Wednesday race but I think that the slightly warmer weather will return by the weekend, when we should see one or two B14s come to race alongside us. Also Jenny will be back with us on Wednesday so the bacon butties should taste a little better than my attempts last week.

April 19th
Another very cold outing at Porthpean

It was a very strange Wednesday race for me last night as instead of out racing I was confined to the race box. Unfortunately for me, I slipped when lowering myself into a bath on Monday morning in a Travelodge. I fell heavily on my rib cage against one of the bath handles and I have either suffered, broken, cracked or severely bruised ribs. I donít see that there is any mileage in visiting a hospital as the standard treatment is rest, so rest is what I am trying to do. As it happens Ken & I are also down for duties next Sunday so that should help ne convalescence. All I know is that my rib cage is extremely painful and I will know when it gets better but so far no appreciable progress.

It was another sunny but bitterly cold evening down at the Club, but we did get an 11 boat fleet to launch ad try to race in the very light southerly breeze that wafted over the cliffs. The preceding dayís easterlies had left a few wavelets around but non of them were fierce enough to prevent anyone from launching. Tonight saw our biggest Laser fleet for a long time launch, with father & son Nick & Tim competing alongside Dave Mackrell, Brian Reeves and Clive Stephens. They were joined by the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny plus Harry Spencer in his Topper; his father, Ciarran, joined the fleet later though too late to race in his Magno.

The fast fleet was more diverse with Paddy & Steveís B14, Richard and Brianís Tasar, Steve & Ashley RS400 and the return of the Kestrel in the care of Jan & Pete. Despite the light conditions Nigel & Ken had a course set up and were anchored ready for a 19.00 start, but we held the start for a few minutes to allow the stragglers to enter the starting arena. So after a very short delay the fleet were released to charge up the beat, well charge is a good word but not an adjective that could be chosen tonight. Instead the fleet crawled up the beat with an even split of which was the best way to go. Richard & Brian rounded the windward mark first, they took the right hand side of the beat whereas Paddy & Steve elected to take the out to sea approach and rounded 2nd, set the spinnaker and crawled into the lead. Ominously the pesky Kestrel, after a weekends rest, rounded 3rd and with spinnaker set managed to catch but not quite pass the Tasar. The rst of the fleet was strung out in quite a long line and the fastest of these was Steve & Ashley in their 400. Their downwind speed was very good but they lost out heavily on the 2nd beat.

It was obvious that the breeze, such as it was, would shortly disappear and we had a decision to make as to whether to stop the race early or let them do 2 laps. 2 of the Lasers and the Topper were very slow and the decision was made to stop them after 1 lap, which allowed them to break out a paddle and hightail it back to the beach for a warm up. The rest of the fleet suffered in silence, well I couldnít hear them, and trundled round for another exciting 20 minute spell before peeling off after the finish gun to make their way back to the beach. Once again the B14 lead the fleet home but unfortunately not quite far enough ahead on time to take the win, settling for 3rd The Tasar just held the Kestrel off on finishing time but once again with the new handicaps heavily in favour of the Kestrel had to settle for 2nd.

The only Scorpion out tonight had to settle for a 2nd. What a change of conditions for Tim, blowing old boots last Sunday, when he finished 2nd to Steve & Polly to a relative calm evening last night but taking 1st place, even beating the Scorpion on the water, and the Lasers of Brian Reeves and Clive taking 3rd & 4th. The little Topper of Harry beat the more experienced sailors of Nick & Dave, taking 5th place.

Well the big perk of racing on Wednesdays is the bacon butties, usually cooked by Jenny, but unfortunately there was no Jenny down tonight, so I took it on myself to learn the intricacies of how all the appliances worked. With 2 grills running, there was a constant feed of grilled bacon being stockpiled in the warmer. With Colin ably assisting me with cutting and buttering the rolls we had just enough to feed everybody. Job done.

I suppose PSC came to the help of the community yesterday also. During the day Brian, Stewart & Colin repaired the concrete pathway where it joins the roadway. The joint has been in very poor repair for a long time and it was in our interest to repair the join as we do use the pathway quite a lot in going up and down to our field. Anyway the repair looks splendid and I am sure that it will last for quite a few more years now. Thanks guys.
April 16th
Sunny spring day but a very feisty cold breeze. WARNING: Do NOT capsize!!

Itís only fitting to start off with Big Congratulations to Finn, who has just finished 1st in the Techno windsurfing class at the RYA youth Championships which have been held this week at Hayling Island SC. After 12 races Finn managed to drop a 5th & 4th to take 1st place, an achievement that included 4 wins. I am sure you will agree that is a fantastic consistent week of sailing. Jeremy & Suzanne have willingly given up a lot of their sailing time to take Finn to the many training sessions and various competitions, and this has paid dividends in spades when you see the progress and success that has come through Finnís very hard work. Well done Finn. I think if you delve far enough back into the Clubís history you will find a former member who crewed and won an Olympic medal many years ago. I am sure that Finn is well on his way to gaining one of those for himself in the 2020 Games.

So on to the Easter Cup, and what a breezy series it turned out to be this year. We had been looking at the forecasted conditions for the last few days and the Weathermen certainly got it right, although I think it was sunnier than forecast which in itself was a good thing as Porthpean beach was looking very busy with quite a few people down taking advantage of the sun and the beach itself was well protected from the brisk north westerly wind that was flowing out to sea. Another 10 boat fleet launched into a very flat sea and gradually made their way out to the race course and as we emerged from the cove some of the stronger gusts started to roll over us and we knew that we were in for a very hard series of races. Checking the wind results at Polruan weather station I see that the morning races were sailed in plus 15 knot winds and our afternoon race was sailed in about 20 knots of wind, which for most of us is rather strong for this time of year and the sea is so cold for those who succumb to a capsize.

Paddy & Steve took the RIB today set a ďqĒ shaped course for the morning races, which gave us at least 2 gybes every time round. Now time is short, my memory is going, so I am unable to give blow for blow reports of every race, but we started off with the entire fleet starting on starboard, hell bent on a race to the beach marks. One thing we all learnt and some of us to our costs was the breeze was very feisty and changed direction quite often and it was imperative to take heed of the compass and keep an open eye up wind for the stronger gusts that were coming. Fortunately with a flat sea they were quite obvious with their dark uniforms on. We had a very good first beat, rounding the beach marks in the lead and very satisfying for us that our main contender for the race, Richard & Brian in Brianís Tasar were a good 100M behind us. Over the course of the race we increased our lead significantly to take a win. Steve & Polly in their Scorpion managed to sail well away from the rest of their fleet to take an easy win.

The 2nd race of the morning started as soon as we all assembled back in the starting area. Once again we all lined up for a starboard tack start but to our g horror there was a major shift right at the start and it was impossible to cross the line on starboard. A quick tack onto port and some ducking and diving took us well over the start line. Steve & Ashley were best placed to take advantage but we managed to sail up to windward and past them to lead at the beach marks, but only just in front of Richard & Brian and for the next 2 rounds we remained in very close company with the lead changing at different times. We started the 3rd and final beat just behind them. We tacked away first and after a minute or two I glanced back to check how we were doing, only to see the yellow Tasar completely upside down. With the RS400 of Steve & Ashley behind us plus Chris & Tony we just had to sail sensibly to take the win. Steve & Polly had a much better race this time and actually finished 1st on the water to take a massive win, finishing a long way in front of the other Scorpion sailed by Martin & Sarah, whilst Mum & Dad took charge of the galley. We had 2 Lasers out today and they were headed by Tim Haskin, sailing Nickís boat and Janet out in her Laser 4.7. There were at least 4 regulars missing today so our numbers which should be creeping upwards stagnated today.

We all had quite a battle just trying to stay upright as we made our way back to the beach for lunch, but eventually everyone made it in one piece. Due to Ken & I doing a couple of RIB duties, we are woefully short of racing practice this season on and today was a brutal reminder of how unfit I am and I donít think the conditions were at all ideal for getting used to the newer boat, but it does go well when I get things right.

After a very pleasant lunch time on the decking in the glorious sunshine it was all too soon for another visit back to the torture chamber of St. Austell Bay. This time we were going to make it simple and just sail triangles, which with the state of the breeze was a better option for me. Chris and Tony were the first casualties when Chris discovered that one of the rivets had pulled out from his rudder cheeks and had to abort launching to try and repair it. We had lost a few boats from the morning races but Andrew came out with Martin for an attempt at dethroning Steve & Polly and they almost achieved it.

Once again a well behaved fleet, well not so well behaved as I heard a 2nd gun to signify someone over at the start but I donít know who it was, but it wasnít us! We all left the start line in quite a hurry. Another good beat saw us turn the beach marks in the lead and over the next round we took a massive distance out of Richard & Brian. Steve and Polly took an early bath at the gybe mark which was positioned out in the Charlestown gap and that allowed Andrew & Martin to take the lead in the slow fleet but they wasted their opportunity when they themselves dropped it in on the next round. Steve and Ashley also came to grief at the gybe mark and spent quite some time upside down and the RIB was needed to take Steve ashore whilst Paddy helmed the errant RS back to the beach. We started the 3rd beat with a comfortable lead and then I made an almost fatal mistake. Rather than sail the wind shifts and drive the boat as hard as we could because I thought that the race would finish at the end of the beat I elected to just put a loose cover on Richard & Brian as I was quite confident of beating them over the line and as we approached the finish they had reduced the distance to only about 50M behind us. Alas there was no winning gun. Jenny had decided to set us off for another round, and we then had to get back into race mode and fight to keep them behind us. Fortunately with a few frights on the 1st reach and hard covering on the last beat we managed to achieve the win, but it was much harder than it should have been.

Andrewís capsize was enough for Steve & Polly to take their 3rd win of the day. I think everyone by this time had had enough and in the event no one wanted to have another race, and we all sailed for home, tired and aching. At this time of the season I think we are all rather soft and not race hardened and I must admit that I am aching tonight and welcome at least 3 days off before we start again on Wednesday evening, though I hear that the wind direction may be a fresh easterly and I for one do not fancy that, but we will wait and see.

April 12th
Wednesday racing starts ON TIME!!"

Once again we had perfect sailing conditions, this time for the first of the Wednesday racing, and once again Ken & I had to sit in the RIB watching the 10 boat fleet racing around the bay having a thoroughly good time. Yes 10 boats out tonight, a 2 boat improvement from the previous Sunday, but then Wednesday evening sailing is usually better supported than Sunday racing, and that appears to be the case throughout the country.

After quite a cloudy day we were eventually presented with a nice sunny but cold evening. I knew it was going to be cold out on the water and put on an extra layer but still the cold won the battle as the evening drew on. The Club Car Park is in greater demand now that the ďpay & displayĒ machine has appeared in the public car park and our ďfreeĒ Wednesday parking is over, but at this time of the year it is quite helpful to carry a torch, as it is very dark in the field by the time we leave the Club. Fortunately the lighter evenings will prevail in a few weeks time.

Although we had an offshore breeze it was oscillating quite a bit and initially we thought we would be laying a port handed course but in an attempt to keep the wing mark from under the cliffs we set it for starboard rounding which resulted in the wing mark being off Charlestown. However the shifts as the fleet approached the beach marks caused frustration and satisfaction in equal numbers. The first reach was quite tight, which suited the 2 Tasars racing but the spinnaker boats came into their preferred conditions on the 2nd reach so from the racing point of view fairly equal for all.

The race start time was set for 19.00 and I am pleased to see that the fleet took my heeding seriously and rendezvoused for a prompt start. We almost had to postpone when Ciarran had a capsize and had difficulty re boarding his Magno. We cast off our anchoring buoy to stand by Ciarran but just as we approached he managed to get back on board and we shot off back to the start line to anchor to our pick up buoy, just in time for the start sequence. Justin & John Hill were in the box for the recording part of the race and they counted us down on the race timer and at 19.00 the fleet crossed the start line. Chris & Tony almost came to grief before the racing started when we thought the Tasar was about to capsize, but Tony managed to save the situation, no thanks to Chris who had fallen out of the boat and completed the rest of the evening rather damper than he started.


Brian Phillips is pairing up with Richard Armstrong for a shot at the Tasar Nationals and last night was their first outing together and also first outing for Brianís Tasar. It was good to see the Canadian built yellow Tasar once again racing at Porthpean. They had an excellent first beat arriving at the beach marks almost level with Paddy & Steve in their B14. It didnít take the B14 long to plane away and leave the Tasar trailing. The 2nd reach allowed the spinnaker to leave the bag and off they went in turbo mode. Chris & Tony were in the only other Tasar out tonight and they too had a strong first beat being in the illustrious company of Steve & James in the only Scorpion racing and the other Steve & Ashley in their new RS400. Chris & Tony closed the Scorpion down on the first reach but once they had gybed the Scorpionís spinnaker came into play and the gap opened up as they set off to chase down Richard & Brian. Steve & Ashley managed to overexcite themselves by trying to destroy the gybe mark and a 360 penalty turn calmed them down somewhat. In fact they almost came to grief at the same spot later on in the race when gybing with their spinnaker up. The boat went over onto its ear but they just managed to save it from a capsize.

For the first time this season 3 Lasers started a race and the small fleet was headed by Brian Reeves who managed to put a respectable distance between himself and Nick & Clive. Harry was out in his Topper and very impressively kept it upright in the stronger gusts as they came along. His helming skills are looking more accomplished this year already. We gave the fleet 3 full rounds and a beat and as the sun was slowly dipping behind the land we called an end to proceedings and duly finished the fleet and then it was time to pick in the marks and head for home, and the bacon butties that Jenny had been cooking.

When the scores on the doors were crunched in the super computer it appeared that Richard and Brian had recorded their first win, beating Paddy & Steve by 1 second. Now how close was that? Yes even with the Tasarís new onerous handicap it is still possible to win. However the pesky Kestrel was having a night off and things may have been different if the Barnes had been out.

Meanwhile up at Hayling Island the RYA youth Nationals are being held and Porthpeanís Finn Hawkins is currently lying 2nd over all, taking 2 wins on Tuesday in the Techno Class windsurfer. I think the final races take place today and Finn still has a chance of taking the title; fingers crossed.

April 9th
Sunshine again with a perfect westerly breeze
I have to admit to feeling rather gutted today as the weather turned out just as forecasted and Ken & I were stuck in the RIB. The breeze, light at first, was a very nice westerly breeze. It should have been a south westerly but by the time we started, only about 20 minutes late the breeze had definitely settled in the west. That wind direction is my favourite as there are usually quite a few wind shifts and gusts to play with. Anyway no point moaning, the weather was what it was and we just had to make the most of it. At least it was sunny and warm.

Our fleet today was up by 1 from last week, being joined this week by Steve Mitchell, ably crewed by James and I believe that they will be sailing together in the spring Wednesday series and judging by todayís performance will be the team to beat. Chris & Kathy were also out on the race track after their turn in the RIB last week and were anxious to see if their boat would hold together. Their RS400 had been totally stripped down over the winter and today was the first opportunity to ensure that everything was working properly.

Steve Wingrove was without Ashley today but fortunately for Steve, Liz stepped in as a replacement crew. However as we sat on the stat line waiting for the stragglers of the fleet to join us we noticed that Liz was feeling rather distressed. In fact she was feeling rather too hot and thought that the dreaded mal de mer was about to befall her. Very gallantly Ken stepped into the RS400 and Liz boarded the RIB to accompany me.


I think the line bias was very fair but nobody attempted a port tack start and the 9 strong fleet set off up the beat on the first time of asking. Paddy & Steve Coello vied with Richard up the first beat and it was pleasing for Richard to be first boat around the windward mark but it didnít take long before the extra power that Paddy & Steve had at their disposal, ensured that they soon overtook and lead the fleet round the rest of the course.

Steve & Ken had a very good first beat, finishing it very close to Chris & Kathy. Steve & James were also up at the front after the first beat and even though they had their spinnaker flying were no match for the extra grunt of the RS400s. Andrew & Jenny also appeared to have a good beat at first but lost out towards the end. It can be very tricky on the last 100M or so to the beach marks and much frustration is generally caused, especially if the breeze is light enough. I was quite surprised to see the Kestrel further back than I expected but even so they still managed to sail into 2nd place. The breeze was probably too light for us to do any damage to them if we had been out sailing, but I would have fancied our chances when the breeze piped up for the 2nd race. The star of the fast fleet today was Richard in his Contender. Once he is able to trapeze then his handicap falls into his favour and although he finished some 4 minutes behind the B14 his corrected time took him into 1st place, leaving Paddy & Steve having to settle for 2nd.

The new pairing of Steve & Ken proved very competitive and they were giving the established Chris & Kathy a very good run for their money on the first round, leading them as they started the 2nd round but eventually problems with the rigging of the spinnaker spoiled their race and they had to settle for 5th overall to the Isles 4th, though I noticed that they too had some problems dousing their spinnaker, when it came to starting to sail the beat. Chris & Tony were the only Tasar to leave the shore today but today wasnít going to be their day and they eventually tailed in 6th place.

Steve & James, in Steveís super plastic Scorpion, dominated the 3 slow fleet handicap boats and finished well enough to have taken 1st place in both fleets. Jenny & Andrew in the other Scorpion dropped back but still managed to finish with enough time in hand to take 2nd and demote Brian Reeves in his Laser to 3rd.

A decision was taken at the last AGM that we would consider doing both races back to back for the spring series if the fleet wished to do so. A quick poll was conducted before we left shore and the decision was indeed to do 2 races back to back. The wind had remained steady throughout the race but had started to increase a little, so as a change for the spinnaker boats; we requested the 2nd race to consist of triangle, sausage x 2 plus the beat to the beach marks.

Once again a well behaved fleet took their place on the start line and without any further delay were sent on their way. Once more Paddy & Steve dominated the race and appeared to finish with an excellent lead, but again, Richard in his Contender proved to be the one to beat and to his delight his corrected time gave him another win and demoted Paddy & Steve to another 2nd , though the corrected times were much closer than in the first race. Chris & Kathy were by far the faster RS400 in this race building a lead of more than 3 minutes over Steve & Ken. Clearly their boat was holding together very well. Jan & Pete were at one time on track for another good result but on the last beat, Jan missed her toe straps caused a capsize into the very cold water; resulting in them tumbling down to 4th, just in front of Steve & Ken in 5th . Chris & Tony once again found the conditions rather challenging, even more so for Chris who took a bang on his head whilst gybing on the 2nd run. I thought for a while that we might have to evacuate him to the medical room on the RIB but manfully he fought through the pain and managed to sail on to the finish.


Steve Coello, clearly delighted with his performance today, after 3 pints in the afternoon sun.
Steve & James found the conditions even more to their liking in this race finishing not too far behind Richard on the water and their corrected time was enough to win not only their fleet race but also to claim the scalps of all the fast fleet boats. Brian Reeves and Andrew & Jenny swopped positions in this race with 2nd place going to Brian. It was good to see Ciaran & Harry out sailing in their Mango, hopefully they will make the start line for some racing soon.

The first of the Wednesday races starts this week and although we are now in BST it will still be dark by a little past 20.00, so it is essential that we start on time. Ken & I are in the RIB and we will be looking to start on time so please make sure that you are not late. The even better news is Jenny was down today looking at what she needs to order for the bacon butties. Now that is an incentive to get down on time.

April 2nd
Sunshine, yes sunshine BUT very little wind
Well here we go again, another sailing season beckons so itís time I put pen to paper so to speak and write a few lines about our sailing.

Ken & I went for a little shake down sail on Saturday on a nice sunny day but tempered by quite a gusty offshore breeze. Unfortunately things didnít go too well to say the least. The sea was flat and looked quite inviting but there were some darker patches showing where the wind was lurking and we still had a bit of a swell left from past weather systems. That gave us our first problem, just getting off the beach with some smallish waves to push out through. We had both climbed into the boat after launching when I was caught off balance whilst trying to sort my mainsheet out when a wave struck the side of the boat. I lost my balance and over the side I went into about 2 foot of water. Well it wasnít too deep but I did have a full submersion, which wasnít in the plans. Fortunately I was saving my better sailing clothing for the Sunday racing. Anyway I managed to hang onto the tiller and pull myself back to the boat and after sorting all the catís cradles out, we set off again. Once on our way we sailed on a nice reach with the boat cutting through the water very nicely out of the cove into the bay, when I noticed that the mainsail was slowly coming down the mast.

It was my fault; I hadnít locked the haliard properly in the cleat at the top of the mast. Only a piece of shock cord, fully stretched, was holding the main up. We had no alternative but to head back to the beach. Well every one knows how tricky it is sailing back to shore into the teeth of a gusty offshore breeze. Headers and gusts everywhere and tacking with a low boom was a bit of a nightmare but we managed to get back to shore without any further mishaps. We also discovered that the Lennon jib that we were using had 3 of the sails hanks broken so the jib wouldn't set properly, having too much sag in the luff, so that one will not be used until I get some new sail hanks fitted. We also discovered that the Cunningham wasnít attached properly either, so thatís another thing to get right before we start sailing in earnest. The boom outhaul shackle is rather small for Ken to use so a half turn one will be fitted ASAP. All in all, our inaugural sail was a bit disappointing but at least we found some things that need attention and that gives us hope for a smoother outing on Sunday. Oh yes one other important thing; the water is VERY cold at this time of year. Hopefully that is the end of falling in the sea for a while.

the beach
The start of our sailing season was postponed last week due to the strong winds but for today the weather was completely different. Most surprisingly we had wall to wall sunshine and it felt very nice to rig our boats in the spring sun and fairly still air and for a while it made me consider wearing my sailing shorts. Well thatís a bit drastic at this time of year. Fortunately good sense prevailed and my long john wet suit was worn instead. I suppose we were lucky with todayís weather as the week just gone by has been very wet and quite breezy, though I suppose it had to change sometime. The only down side we had today was the lack of wind. The forecast gave it as about 6-8 knots north easterly fading to nothing and thatís exactly what we had. The plan was to have 2 short races to make best use of the light breeze, but before we could start racing we had to lay the beach marks, which as always takes a little time. Anyway Paddy, Richard and Chris took the RIB loaded with beach marks and tackle and appeared to set them in very much the same position as last year. We need Nigel & his GPS to check for accuracy.

Our RIB drivers today were Chris & Kathy and they had a very difficult job trying to lay a course that was reasonably true. The light northerly breeze was oscillating quite a bit and what appeared to be a beat at one time often veered to a close reach at other times. All in all very trying, not only for them but also for us sailors hoping to sail the course. The turn out was quite low with only eight boats venturing out for the first race and we were missing quite a few of our regulars, but for various reasons they couldnít make the start line.

We mustered our little group out at sea and it appeared that we would be having a beat into Charlestown before bearing off back to the beach marks, so no problem there but the caveat was the lightness of the breeze and the knowledge that these were ideal conditions for Jan & Pete in the Kestrel. Steve & Ashley were itching to see how fast their new RS400 would be and the light conditions were ideal, though not really exciting for them, but at least it gave Steve the chance to feel the balance and trim of the rig.

The first decision that Ken & I had to make was where to start. We had a look at a port hand flyer and it did look like a reasonable gamble. We sailed back to the RIB end and watched as Andrew & Jenny tried a hard starboard tack by the RIB. That too looked very good, so there wasnít much in it. The starboard end was certainly good enough to tempt the rest of our 8 boat fleet to try their luck. However I still fancied our chances of the port hand flyer, so we sailed back down the long start line and hovered around where I thought we should be. As the gun went we shot across the line on port with as much speed as we could muster and to our delight crossed the fleet; job done and at least the judgement of time and distance seemed to be working well after a few months layoff.

The light and variable breeze played with us all as we navigated the beat, but our good start was paying dividends until yet another problem arose. The tiller which I thought was secure in the rudder head, came away in my hand and our forward progress came to a premature end as the boat turned into the wind. Fortunately we didnít lose too much time pushing it back into the rudder head and I was paying quite a bit of attention making sure it stayed there and all appeared fine again until it came time to tack. Thatís when I realised that I had only pushed the tiller in upside down, so the tiller extension jammed and prevented us tacking. Confusion reined for a few moments until the situation was sorted. Anyway we finally had the tiller in the right way round and this time fully secured and we set off again trying to regain some of our lost ground. The breeze such as it was falling away and as we struggled to gain momentum we watched Paddy & Steve round the windward mark, hoist their monstrous kite and pull away down the reach.

Much to our surprise, we still managed to wriggle round the windward mark in 2nd position but lurking not too far behind was our dreaded enemy, the Kestrel. The light conditions are bread and butter to the Jan & Pete and with spinnaker flying they ground us down and overtook, just before we reached the gybe mark. Steve & Ashley enjoyed this reach and they too closed us right down but couldnít claim an overlap before the gybe mark. The light conditions proved almost impossible for Richard in his Contender and also Chris & Tony out in the other Tasar and they fell quite a way behind.

The slow fleet comprised only Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion and Brian in his Laser, but Brian showed the way, making best use of the beat. I think Andrew & Jenny were missing their arch rivals Beacky & Kelvin who will not be sailing for quite a few weeks yet. Yes the slow fleet is certainly down in numbers this season, though I expect to see that change soon.

transom sticker
Well the rest of the race was too boring to try and report on and it was unceremoniously brought to a halt the 3rd time around as we drifted towards the beach marks when the abandonment signal was sounded. The plan was to have two races back to back but as the breeze had vanished completely all thoughts of a 2nd race were abolished and we all made our way back to the shore for lunch and it was finally agreed to call a halt to any other drifting for the day. Needless to say a very light breeze did appear during the lunch break but the willingness of the fleet had disappeared and the lure of the decking in the spring sunshine proved the greater incentive and that was the end of racing for the day. At least we had launched and managed to get a race under our belts. Now all we need is a bit more consistency and a few more entries. My sailing has come to a premature end for a couple of weeks as the duty roster has our names on it.

The new 2017 transom stickers have been issued and you are asked to display them on your transoms, take a look at one of the pictures in this blog as an example. I do hear that one person has actually displayed their sticker on the top of the mast. Now why up there I just donít know, but the transom is the preferred position.

March 26th
Beautiful day + strong easterly = No sailing!!
Disappointment was etched on the faces of all those who came down this morning to sail in the first race of the 2017 sailing season. The countdown clock had performed admirably, counting down the days, hours minutes and seconds, but we were let down, once again, by the weather. Yes the weather, how many times do we blame that for our inability to launch into our magnificent bay? There was no denying that the beach and the rollers pounding in looked magnificent but alas far too intimidating and dangerous and need I mention cold for us mere dinghy sailors. The pictures above tell their own story.

I think that over the last 4 weeks we have experienced some very poor weather with day after day of either drizzle and mist or full on rain. What was more frustrating was that most of the rest of the country has had some very nice early spring weather, so the change from a series of low pressure systems to a high pressure one was a pleasant surprise for us, but I think we all expected a delay to the season when we heard the weather forecast which was issued a few days ago. The sudden appearance of a high building over the British Isles usually presents us with a problem as the winds generated are easterlies and as we all know beastly easterlies are anathema to those of us on the south coast. The general consensus at the fitting out supper last night was that we wouldnít be sailing. They were right. My memory tells me that we missed quite a few weeks last year before the season really started and I just hope that the start this year will not be delayed quite so long.

At least the delay in racing gave us all a chance to gather round Steve & Ashleyís new RS400. Well, new to them and not very old in real terms either. The boat has spent its sailing life inland sailing, so the boat might be in for a rude shock when it enters the sea for the first time. The hull looks immaculate and is well fitted out with all the necessary goodies that are designed to make a boat perform well, so great things are expected from them after a few weeks getting used to the new boat. I believe their old boat is for sale at a very low price if anyone is interested.

Richard brought his modified Contender down, he had quite a few problems last year with his centre board not raising and lowering properly, nor at times with his rudder behaving. Hopefully all will work properly when he gets to use it. I do hear that Richard is going to team up with Brian Phillips in his Tasar from time to time with the aim at competing together in our Tasar Nationals at the beginning of September. Other duos proposing to enter the Nationals will be Nigel & James, and also Paddy & Sarah Desjonquers (Fryer), which at the moment will make at least 6 home boats competing. Chris and Tony, Jeremy & Suzanne plus Ken & me making up the 6. There is also scope for a few more Tasars from the Club yet Ė watch this space.

March 5th
Preparing for painting
New handicap figures for 2017, what it means.

Only 3 weeks to go now to the start of the season, but with the current weather conditions it isnít looking very enticing to launch and sail just yet. Today the bay was a mass of white horses way out at sea. Closer inshore it looked almost docile until a more careful gaze showed the normal bomb bursts that drop down from the cliffs and fan out. Yes those are the killer ones as they can strike at any time without any warning as I think we all have come to know & love (?) by now. Officially we started the meteoroligcal Spring last Wednesday but spring like weather is not the way that I would describe it, especially as the temperature is only just breaching 10C sometimes. Still we do have the worst of the winter weather behind us and as each day passes the sun is climbing slightly higher into the sky.

Maintenance at the Club is still going on and I think the final jobs this winter will see the sail locker refurbishment completed and the exterior of the Clubhouse painted and then a decent drop of sunshine and warmer temperatures will make us all feel like dipping our toes back into the water.

This weekend sees the traditional pre season curser for some Ė the dinghy exhibition and the production of the annual review and tweaking of the racing handicap figures. As usual the 2017 changes will affect most of our dinghies; good news for some and not so good news for others. There are also rumours flying around that the dinghy show may not be held next year as the current sponsor, Suzuki has pulled out. It would be a shame to lose the dinghy exhibition as it has always been popular with dinghy sailors throughout the country.

Right, lets have a look and see who is affected by the new hamdicap numbers and I will start off with our regular ďfastĒ fleet, which for us currently comprises, B14, Blaze, Contender, Kestrel, RS400 & Tasar. Lets face it all those classes of boats have won cups for various series races over the years, and we are in the state where every dog has his day so to speak. OK letís kick off with the B14. Unfortunately for Paddy & Steve a cut of 2 will mean that they will be penalised a little more than before, so I can see a bit of grumbling going on there. The Blaze also sees a cut of 2 points, dropping it down to 1023, Tasar speed!! and making it very competitive indeed. The Contender sees a cut of 6 points, ouch!! Not so good for Richard, especially as the Contender dropped a little last year as well. Mind you it is very difficult to get a Contender handicap right. If the breeze is up and the helm can trapeze then it sails well below its handicap, but on lighter days it can be very difficult to come anywhere near its handicap figure. I think Richard will be praying for a breezy season this year. The Kestrel; well the Kestrel will be getting a new name from me next season and it wonít be ďpeskyĒ! The Kestrel has moved upwards by 6 points, the only boat in the fast fleet to have gained and is probably back to its figure of a few years ago, so Jan & Pete will be having big grins on their faces this year and in the right conditions may sweep the board. The RS400 has only dropped by 1 point so nothing serious there, and that was looking prety good for us Tasar sailors but then I could hardly believe my eyes as they dropped down the list. The Tasar which has moved a little up and down over the last few years has for some reason been cut this year by 8 points. Now the gap between us and the Kestrel has suddenly widened considerably and also moves us down against the rest of our fleet. It will become far more difficult to beat the Kestrel and the rest of our fleet than before. I suppose I should look on it as a challenge, but with age against me it will be a very stern challenge indeed.

Now letís look at the ďslowĒ fleet where we have a larger variety, Laser 4.7, Laser radial, Laser standard, Scorpion, Supernova, and Topper Magno as the main boats in the fleet. In all honesty there has been very little change. The Laser 4.7 has seen the best change and has increased by 5 so on first appearances that will help Janet a bit, but the radial has also moved upwards by 3 and the standard Laser up by 2, so not a lot of difference overall, between those 3 classes. The Scorpions and Supernovas have not changed at all, which to some is rather strange as the Supernova has benefitted lately from losing an appreciable amount of weight in the hull and also has a new sail shape. The Scorpion fleet nationally, has seen quite a few new FRP boats racing and now virtually the entire fleet has the advantage of raking rigs and for some, fly away spinnaker poles to improve their overall performance. We do have a Toper racing sometimes and this boat has moved upwards by 6 points which may encourage Harry to come out more often. The Topper Magno doesn't have an official handicap figure so Ken may have to look at adjusting his handicap with a figure derived from 2016 performances

I suppose looking at our entire range of dinghies, the slower boats have seen a slight improvement and the faster boats have seen a modest cut. No doubt there will be some interesting chatter after races this year, especially between the Kestrel and Tasar sailors. However, every race can and will be affected by wind strength and course angles so we will just have to wait and see how things will pan out.

I am looking forward to another good lecture this Wednesday when we will have a safety boat talk presented by Pete Musket, which should be of interest to all of us who sail as we all have to take turns doing our duties on the RIBs at some time or other over a season. The talk starts at 19.30 so make sure you are there in plenty of time to allow you to purchase your drinks and find a suitable chair. Unlike the last talk there will not be an exam afterwards so no there is no excuse for not being there.

February 22nd
the green
I thought that it was about time that I added another chapter to this yearís blog. My intention was to have added more by now but I have been busier than I expected; decorating, work and family life have all impacted on my time and I do feel rather guilty by not being down at the Club on Sunday mornings as often as I intended this year. Fortunately quite a few have been down, busy working away carrying out the essential maintenance that is required every year, plus a few other improvements. The inside of the Clubhouse has been cleaned and given a lick of paint, the Ladies changing room has had a modesty screen installed, the trees overhanging the emergency escape route have been severely trimmed back and the sail locker is in the process of having a new roof fitted. Quite a few other jobs have also been going on alongside those major tasks.

The countdown clock is rapidly dropping and soon we will be within 4 weeks of the start of the season. In fact to prepare us a little more for the new season James and Liz have organised a few talks in the coming weeks, all appertaining to our sailing and should prove to be very useful. All the dates are listed on the front page of the web site and all are scheduled to take place on Wednesday evenings at 19.30. I think all but one of the talks is ďfreeĒ so there is every reason to see a good turnout. The talks will take us almost into the first of the Wednesday evening racing. I guess like me you probably expect to race every Sunday and Wednesday but we all know that isnít always going to be the case. Inevitably the weather, as always, will have a big say as to whether we sail or not but it would be nice to get one or two races under our belts early to help bed us in.

colin & tony
The duty roster is almost complete and I expect to have copy from James fairly soon and that will be dropped onto the web site. The annual dinghy exhibition at Ally Pally will be held over the weekend of March 4th & 5th and that is traditionally the time when the 2017 handicap numbers will be released. There are almost bound to be some changes to the handicaps of some of the boats that we sail and it will be interesting to see what the changes will be. I know that looking back at some of our results last year you can see that there were times when boats corrected times were extremely close within 1 or 2 seconds of each other sometimes, so changes of just a few points will have some affect and I am sure that as usual there will be lots of discussions about any changes made. I donít know if any of you read the ďforumĒ pages on Y&Y but the handicap figures have been a constant source of discussion over the years and no doubt the thread will take on some more intensity after the new figures are released. No matter whether your boatís handicap is changed or not you know deep down that there will be days when the conditions will suit you and your boat better than at other times. It is just part of the sailing scene, but the handicap figures do give you a fantastic opportunity to blame them for a bad result rather than a realisation that it just may be that you sailed badly. Now thereís a thought!!

So far we have had a very mild winter with very few days waking up to frosty conditions. Snow is just another 4 letter word, the mornings and evenings are noticeably drawing out and the hedgerows are now starting to show us the hidden clumps of daffodils blossoming into their plumage. Without a doubt spring is almost upon us. Sleepy Cornwall is starting to waken and soon the bay will once again welcome us to its waters.

January 8th
Gutter cleaning
Well here we go again with the 1st instalment of the 2017 blog though the count down clock is showing some 76 days to go, yes almost 11 weeks, so quite a lot of time to wait for the sailing season to start in all reality. Today saw the start of the Club maintenance programme and fortunately we had quite a few members down to make a start on the long list that has been prepared. Very fortuitously we had a very good day weatherise to help us along. In fact it felt almost like spring though we are very much still in winter time and only just out of the first week of the year. The temperature was showing a balmy 12C and it felt even warmer in the yard at times as the sun broke through. The forecast for later on this week will bring us back into reality when much colder weather sweeps in.

Once upon a time the yard would be completely bare at this time of year as all the dinghies would have been taken home for rubbing down, painting and varnishing. Itís not the same nowadays with the majority of boats built of fibre glass, meaning that they can stay wrapped up in the yard with very little maintenance being needed. Still, the boats in the yard have been shuffled around to provide a nice working area in front of the Clubhouse.

Entrance repairs
engine maitenance
Jobs started and completed today were the cleaning of the guttering at the front of the Club house. The latest camera installation has shown how dirty and blocked that one was. The yard drain has been cleaned out; the beach marks have been checked over and found to be in good order. The bosonís store has been stripped out ready for major roofing work. The RIB in the garage has been washed down and the engine has had some attention from Richard, he has found a broken jet in one of the carburettors which has stopped the engine from idling properly. This may need a new part before we start using it again. The kitchen has been cleaned. All in all a very good start by all those who came down to work.

I see that Jeremy has decided to put his fleet of boats, 2 x B14s and 2 x Tasars up for sale as his commitments to Finn means that his sailing will be completely decimated again this year plus he also wants to learn to foil surf as well; all that plus a busy work schedule means little time for dinghy sailing. Jeremyís newest Tasar has never been on the water yet and is a real bargain if someone is in the market for a new boat.

List of jobs
Some of you may be aware that Looe SC films most of their races and then puts the videos onto You Tube. In fact they have some very good postings of last yearís Scorpion Nationals, which show some superb boat handling from the leaders and maybe some not quite superb boat handling from the rest of the fleet. Anyway they have just uploaded a video of the 2016 Club racing high lights which are well worth a look. Most of the video concentrates on mistakes and capsizes. The link to the video is Looe SC video. It is about 30 mins long but well worth watching as you can see that many of the capsizes are the results of the various boats not being flat enough as the gybe is completed. Time after time you can see that the boom hits the water and that proves terminal most times. The only fleet not to suffer any capsizes are the Mirror dinghies but then they are probably a little easier to control and the booms are high enough to avoid hitting the water when gybing. There are some incidents caused by boats getting into embarrassing tactical positions. Lets face it we all get some things wrong each season. Anyway the filming gave the safety boat crews a lot of amusement and I am sure that you will chuckle at some of the incidents as well.