Porthpean Sailing Club  
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Return to the Beach.

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November 25th
yardl Another storm messed beach.
The count down clock for the start of the 2019 season is already underway and by the time Christmas comes and goes it will be showing to less than 100 days but who’s counting? We've got to get through winter first.

So far the late autumn series has been almost decimated by the weather as we have either had far too much wind or no wind at all and even the last race day of the season was looking unlikely due to the almost windless conditions despite a lively forecast and the weed covered slipway. The week before was cancelled due to too much wind and our beach almost disappeaed and there was quite a drop at the end of the slipway. The conditions over the last 7 days were enough to bring the sand back again and this time it came level with the top of the slip and that was better than we have had all year. However those conditions also brought in a massive amount of sea weed and it took Ken, Tony & Ashley quite a few minutes armed with rakes, forks and spades to clear enough weed to allow the boats to be able to access the beach.

yardl As it was the last race of the season then the valiant few who were prepared to sail decided that though the conditions were not very inviting they would still go for it. I decided that I didn’t like the look and height of the waves for launching through and declined not to race. 5 boats left the beach, consisting of Steve & Ashley- RS400, Andrew & Brian Reeves- Scorpion, Paddy & Steve- Tasar, Jan & Pete- Kestrel and Jeremy- Laser. Beacky and Kelvin took the RIB and laid a starboard handed course across the bay from right to left. The strong winds never materialised and whilst I was watching them I realised that the conditions were lighter than I expected, the tide was going out and the waves looked less intimidating. There was going to be a 2nd race, so Ken & I rigged and managed to launch without any mishap for our final race of the year at Porthpean and had just enough time to sail out to the start line. Once again we had a good battle with Paddy but he and Steve led at the first mark and we struggled to stay with them for the rest of the race, closed up at times but never able to take the lead. In fact our last beat was so poor that the pesky Kestrel overtook us as we were playing tactics with Paddy.

We all landed safely after racing but pulling the boats up the beach was a real struggle as the churned up sand was so soft that the wheels just sunk down and we all had to double up to haul up to the slip where we were very grateful to see Justin waiting for us with his Landrover to pull us up the hill. Beacky & Kelvin managed to lift the surviving beach mark up and land it back on the beach. Finally the RIB, dinghies and all the tackle were safely back in the yard and now we will have to wait and look towards 2019 to do it all again.

Now it’s about this time of the year that I try and prepare a final blog of the season just past. Well our season that started so brightly on schedule in late March has stuttered and faded away completely over the last few weeks to give us a very disappointing end to what has been the best summer weather ever. I know that we lost a few races in the summer when the weather was so settled that there wasn’t any wind, but for me it was still very pleasant to be able to bask in the warm sunshine and made me appreciate all the more my retirement years. Our late autumn series was badly affected and it was only on the last day of the season that we managed to have enough boats on the water to race.

yardl Before we come to the nitty gritty of our season, lets reflect on Finn’s season. He has had so many highlights in various Championships this year, but the best of all was him finishing in the Bronze medal position at the recent Youth Olympic Games held in Argentina. To honour his achievement we had a civic reception for him at Porthpean only a couple of weeks ago attended by the Mayor in all his regalia and a Clubhouse full of members.

I should think that we have all had some highs and lows of our own over the season, but for the rest of us I should think that our achievements are a little more modest than Finn's. I know from my perspective that there are some races that have really stood out. In particular 2 of the Wednesday races when we actually beat Jeremy & Suzanne. Victory for an old 70 plus sailor was very sweet. Our Tasar Open gave us another couple of good results, though J&S had the better of us over the weekend. We have also had some very close racing against Paddy & Steve, with the honours over the season fairly well balanced. I was also very pleased to take 2nd place again at the Roadford rocket. Ken couldn’t make that event but fortunately my son travelled down from Basingstoke to crew for me. That weekend will be remembered by me as very wet and very windy, but showed in the very last race when the course was Tasar friendly just how fast a Tasar can be. Unfortunately at Porthpean the Tasar fleet is slowly decreasing in popularity, though to me it is still one of the best boats for our coastline; light enough to pull up the hill and lively enough to give plenty of excitement on the water and also fairly low on maintenance.

yardl The average age of our active sailors is slowly creeping upwards, and this season we have lost Chris & Tony mainly due to their age. Dinghy sailing can be very physical at times and there comes a time in life when you have to accept that you can’t do everything as well as you used to do. I have been a lot more selective in the strength of wind that I sail in, which has probably contributed to the very first season in over 50 years of sailing that I haven’t capsized. I don’t count the fact that I fell out of the boat one afternoon as a capsize as I managed to drag myself back into the boat whilst it was still upright. It's amazing how strong the tiller and universal joint can be! Harry & when he can be persuaded to sail, Thomas do actually lower our age profile somewhat, but only a little. Unfortunately we are not getting enough youngsters joining us to replace the older ones who naturally have to drop out. This is a problem I hasten to add happening at lots of other sailing Clubs throughout the Country. Though I notice Looe, Restronguet are bucking that trend which may be down to the fact that they have dedicated fleets to sail in, rather than our sail what you want philosophy. As for new members; we welcomed Sophie and Paul to our Club this season. Sophie has been sailing with Kay on Wednesday evenings and Paul has teamed up with Beacky in his Enterprise also on Wednesday evenings. We also have a husband and wife team joining us for next season, Sue & Dave who have just moved into the area and they will be sailing an Enterprise. Another pair of recently rejoined members are Steve & Craig Robinson who have not only bought an old International 14 but also Steve Wingove’s Scorpion and it is the Scorpion that will be their weapon of choice when it comes down to racing next year.

This season we have also seen Stacey reborn in his Devotti D-zero, putting together some very impressive results. James is another member with a new boat, in his case an Aero5, but his other commitments have prevented him from putting together a Club campaign.

yardl Once again we have had 2 fleets competing; a fast fleet and a slow fleet. Now the pesky Kestrel has caused the biggest upset for the slow fleet as the Kestrel handicap has changed upwards enough to push her from the fast fleet down to the slow fleet, where Jan & Pete have won almost every race that they have sailed in. Even winning the Charlestown regatta where we were all lumped in together. Putting handicaps aside they have sailed brilliantly and have beaten many of the fast fleet on corrected time several times this season.

I suppose it may be necessary to look at how we divide the racing into sub groups. The turnouts this year have been so low that there is a good argument for just having one all in handicap fleet. That could be quite interesting as I am sure that we would have different winners as the handicaps favoured certain boats in certain wind conditions. There is also an argument that we could have single handed & double handed fleets, though what that could achieve I do not know, but might make things a little more interesting. Whatever is decided for next season I am sure will be well and truly covered by the Racing Secretary over the winter.

Our season kicked off at its traditional time of the year; the last Sunday in March and this year it fell on the 25th March, with only 9 months to go before Christmas!! Now as I write this blog, Christmas is less than 1 month away. We only had 10 boats out for our first race but we thought that things would improve as the season progressed, unfortunately 10 proved to be a reasonable number as there weren’t that many weeks that bettered that number. Wednesdays proved to be a little better with numbers increasing to the high teens. Strangely enough Wednesday night racing proves more popular year after year.

yardl We thought that we were lucky to be racing in late March as the weather for the weeks leading up to the start had been rather horrific as we battled through the “Beast from the East” The start day was also a milestone for Dennis as he launched his new boat the Hadron H2 for it’s first race. Unfortunately the race was never completed as he capsized and was unable to right the boat for a long , long time. The boat was deemed to be not suitable and was soon on the market and sold almost immediately. In fact from the Club's point of view the first month of sailing was very much a stop start affair and it was still very cold with quite a few south easterlies stopping us sailing. In fact the poor weather continued until mid May arrived and then we had the first hint of the superb summer to come when the sun appeared and the temperature slowly started to edge upwards. By the middle of June we suddenly had the first of the heatwave. The sun was out, people started to use the beach and things were looking up.

By the end of June, summer was starting to be very popular as the temperatures were up quite high, and we were getting day after day of hot sunny weather with hardly a hint of rain. The down side for us at times was the lack of wind and several races were cancelled due to that and some of those that we did sail were in very light to almost non existent wind. Us sailors are rarely happy but it was becoming rather frustrating. By the middle of the season it was apparent that turnouts were consistently low, often with less than 10 boats competing, which makes you think how long can we exist as a sailing Club if we don’t get many participants. For this season we were missing the ever present duo of the last few seasons of Chris & Tony. Both had decided that age was catching up with them and it was time to stop the hassle of pulling a boat up the slipway after each race. Then mid way through the season we lost Chris & Kathy as they decided to sell their RS400, though Chris has replaced the RS with a Laser 8.1 rig and a Musto skiff. Jeremy & Suzanne were also missing most weekends as they travelled the country supporting Fin in his quest for glory. Beacky lost his crew as Kelvin was suffering from seizing up joints and being cramped up inside the Scorpion didn't help, so that meant we also lost Beacky on Sundays though he acquired a crew for Wednesday evenings. Due to our low turnouts it was often left to Paddy and Steve to race against us much of the time in the Tasar section of the fast fleet and overall I think honours were fairly even.

For the first time for a few years we did not host any National Championships as the Club decided that we could do with a rest, though I think that we may now be booked up for the next 3 summers so that should give us some welcome revenue to help bolster the coffers. I note that we have the AGM this coming Sunday and the annual dinner the week after. So although our sailing season has come to an end there will be still Club activity going on. In fact we will be having the annual prize giving in January and probabaly the F&C supper in February, plus a Club walk and in no time at all the 2019 season will be looming ever closer. Time just like the countdown clock never stops. Oh one last thing from me; MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone.

November 4th
yardl Saturday's gale has gone and taken all the breeze with it.
It’s quite a few weeks now since I last sailed, mainly due to the inclement weather. I think that there were quite a few of us champing at the bit to get out and race again; after all we are getting perilously close now to the end of the season. Unfortunately Mother Nature doesn’t always conspire to give us what we want and instead we have to fit our lives around her. Those of us watching the forecast during the week saw that an opportunity to sail would be available today. Yesterday had horrendous strong winds blowing and if that was to be repeated today then that would have prevented us sailing. Fortunately the gale had blown itself out in the night but had left a messy sea with some nasty sets of waves rolling onto the beach. But the sun was shining and people were keen to go so the decision was made to go for it.

yardl One look at the conditions on a rising tide told me that this wasn’t going to be a day for me to go to sea, but 6 other brave crewed boats decided that they were up for it and rigged and changed. Ken joined Nigel in the RIB and a launching party pushed them on their way through the surf. Next to try his hand was Chris in the Club Laser. That took two other people to help launch Chris through the surf. In fact there was not enough wind to get any speed and a few stronger waves stopped any forward motion and Chris found himself back on the beach but managed to get off on the 2nd attempt. Andrew, crewed by Craig was the next boat to try their luck and again with the help of the launching party managed to get away on their first attempt. The struggles of those 2 were enough to convince the other would be racers to, very wisely, in my opinion to shake their heads, drop their sails and high tale it back to the yard.

yardl Out at sea there was a very faint breeze and once again I felt relieved that I hadn’t attempted to rig and launch, because even the trouble that launching would have taken would not have been compensated by a sailing in a lumpy sea with very little breeze flowing over the sails. There is no way in this world that you could describe the race that unfolded on the race track as exciting, but Andrew & Craig led Chris by a reasonable margin round the windward mark, but despite 2 spinnaker reaches, Chris had reduced their lead by a good margin as they crossed the beach marks for their 2nd and last lap. Again the Scorpion stretched out its lead and appeared to have pulled a good distance over the Laser, and I for one thought that they had done enough to take the win; but no the handicap system worked its magic and decided that Chris had finished close enough to take the win by 37 seconds on corrected time.

yardl The fun was then about to start as the massive fleet gingerly made its way back to the beach and to dance with the waves. I thought that my camera was set for video mode but please accept my apologies as it wasn’t set correctly and nothing was recorded!! Instead you will have to be content with my stills of the day. Anyway Chris landed first without any drama and the Laser was plucked out of the sea and carried o its waiting launching trolley. Andrew & Craig sailed in next and they too landed without any drama, until a fresh set of larger waves decided to pitch in and help. Well all they did was to fill the Scorpion with water making it very heavy to pick up so it was dragged very unceremoniously up the beach to drain and then lift back on to the trolley.

yardl The RIB was next and in many ways that is an easier proposition as the RIB cab outrun any waves and with Ken at full throttle they came pounding up the beach where a waiting party dragged it above the tide mark and then quickly managed to get the launching trolley underneath before the next set of waves pounded in.

yardl Once again the weather has gone out of its way to curtail some decent sailing but at this time of year crappy weather is rather the norm so not really too unexpected, but we can live in hope that next weekend may be bring more benign conditions with a nice little westerly blowing. Well I am not really convinced but let’s wait and see.
October 21st
yardl Plenty of sunshine but NO wind
It’s the end of the 3rd week of October and after the gales and rain of storm Callum we are back, albeit for a short time, into the welcome arms of sunshine and dare I say it some warmth. We have been blessed with a stunning weekend and the good news for many is that this fine run of good weather is set to continue for the week ahead. Unfortunately the price that we as sailors are paying is a complete lack of breeze as the high pressure system responsible for the good weather is sitting right on top of us. Once again the bay had that glassy look about it, though it did appear as though there were some light patches of breeze moving around the bay. The burning question was “Will it fill in?”

2 boats rigged to try out the conditions; Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion and Sarah and Martyn in the Club Vago. They had no problem launching and set about beating out into the light easterly breeze. Unfortunately the excitement was so low that no one else joined them and a quick decision was made to have an early lunch and then, conditions permitting, have 2 races back to back. Decision made led to some fettling of boats and minor preparation but by the time lunch was consumed it appeared obvious that the conditions were still well below what we wanted to go out and race in and so the abandonment was flown once again and slowly we dispersed for home and other exciting things to do like shopping or gardening.

yardl Well make the most of this week as the forecast is to become much colder for next weekend. Now whether that is right or not, time will tell but I can guarantee that the clocks will change next Saturday night. The clocks go back an hour and we enter hibernation mode when the early dark nights arrive to dampen our spirits. Don’t worry too much as if we are lucky, then we have 5 Sundays of racing still to come. The series will be sailed as 2 races per day sailed back to back, meaning we either have the 2 races before a slightly late lunch or an early lunch and then the 2 races. The conditions on the day will be the deciding factor. I for one will be very surprised if we mange to get all 10 races in but they are scheduled and if the weather is kind to us then we still have some good racing to come.

Erratum, I may be wrong about the 10 races as I hear that we may try and run a 2 hour pursuit race on one of the days in preparation for the Open meeting pursuit race that we will be holding on Saturday December 15th, which is part of the South West Winter series. The series kicked off a few weeks ago and Stacey finished 6th at the Instow event. Hopefully this will be a good earner for the Club but will require help from quite a few members to run it as we will be using at least 3 RIBs, plus needing a beach party to help launching and recovery. The full plans and arrangements will come to light in the next few weeks and Andrew has already sent out an email asking for volunteers.

The more astute of you may have noticed that the hit counter on the front page is missing. Unfortunately the 3rd party site that I have been using since the web page first started has disappeared. I am hoping that it may come back to life sometime this week, if not then I will have to look for an alternative site to use.

October 14th
yardl Storm Callum bows out leaving a weed clogged beach and an evil coloured sea
I have to say that yesterday was one of the hardest set of races that I have had for quite a while and thanks for some of that goes to Stacey & Lucy who set us 2 good long courses during the day. But before I try and recant some of the racing I think it is time to say a big “Well Done” to Finn, winning a bronze medal in Argentina competing in the youth Olympics. I had been watching his progress from the off and he started off in 6th place, and rose from 6th to 5th to 4th and then into 3rd. A position that he held in the medal race to confirm his bronze medal. I am sure that Jeremy & Suzanne are very proud parents. This is an excellent start for which I am sure will be an attempt at the main Olympics in 6 years time.

Storm Callum had made its presence felt over the last 3 days and finally blew itself out on Saturday night. However it left behind a churned up weed strewn beach and the sea showed signs of lots of sand discolouring it plus we still had quite a lot of rain falling and a very fickle north easterly breeze. Fortunately for us the rain, which was still falling when we arrived at the Club, cleared by 11.00 ish and those keen ones amongst us signed on for the next pair of early autumn races. The fast fleet initially only had 3 entries but it was good to see Steve & Ashley making an appearance , after missing a few weeks with their RS400. The slow fleet was much better represented with 2 Scorpions, 2 Lasers and Mike Voyzey in his Supersofa. I have heard lately from Simon and he is hoping to join us very soon with his brand new sofa, so that is something to look forward to.

yardl Stacey & Lucy gave us a triangular course for the morning and the wind direction, north easterly, gave us a beat across the bay from right to left. Now we don’t get many days of racing with the wind in that direction over a season, but it does give us a bit more of the bay to sail in. Well, after a mediocre start we made it to the windward mark first and things were looking quite good for us but by the time we reached the beach marks for the 2nd time, Paddy & Steve had caught and passed us and started to pull out a good lead over us. I think we did 5 laps in all and by the end they still had a nice little lead, though we had pulled some of the distance back, but alas I am not sure that we could have done much about it, even if we had sailed another round.

Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion had a good first beat and lead over Beacky & Nigel who were late starting due to a main halyard problem but they overcame their poor start and took the winning position by the end of the race. However, Chris in the Club Laser showed his expertise, finishing 2nd on the water but took the overall win on corrected time and in fact also beat Paddy & us on corrected time. Fortunately for us he is in the slow fleet. Mike who has been having good results for a while now finally succumbed to his first capsize in his Supersofa, the recovery saw him in irons and it took quite a bit of fiddling to start the boat sailing again and that dropped him back to 4th but still in front of Janet who probably made the wrong decision by using her 4.7 sail rather than her radial set up.

Whilst we were having lunch I was asked “How much longer will you keep racing?” Now what a question to ask. I am still a young man at the age of 72 so have plenty more years in front of me; if only!! Anyway I don’t have any plans to stop sailing just yet, though it is getting very hard to pull the boat out of the sea and up the hill and I feel rather stiff when manoeuvring around the boat, so who knows for sure. Anyway I did feel the affects of the heavy concentration of weed floating around at the water’s edge today courtesy of the recent gales as we tried to haul the boat out of the water. It just acted as an anchor holding the boat and trolley back, and it took 4 of us to get the boat out and up the beach at lunch time.

yardl Stacey took another mark out with him for the 2nd race and set a “W” configuration, which gave us some extra gybes and reaches. The fleet grew by 2 as we were joined by Roger in his Blaze and Pete & Jan in the Kestrel. I attempted a port hand flyer which went disastrously wrong as we were squeezed out by Paddy & Steve and Chris charging down the line on starboard. By the time we had crash tacked and set off we were really on the back foot and Paddy & Steve and also Roger had a good lead over us as we reached the windward mark for the first time. Our 2nd beat was even worse as I seemed to pick all the headers and quiet spots available and we reached the windward mark for the 2nd time we found we were just behind the 2 Scorpions and the Kestrel who were having a real ding dong. Fortunately the reach allowed us to plane past the 3 boats, but Paddy & Roger were long gone.

Some pride was restored as we made better progress on the 3rd beat and at one time overtook Roger and closed up on Paddy but that advantage was thrown away further up the beat and we resumed our position well behind them. However the fickle wind of the day slowly turned in our favour and by the end of the reaches we had reduced our deficit somewhat and half way up the last beat overtook Roger and to my utter disbelief passed Paddy by a couple of boat lengths just as we reached the windward mark for the 4th time. Paddy wasn’t going to let us go without a fight and a bit of a luffing match evolved until we were both high enough to have to deploy our whisker poles. That was just enough to allow us to pull out a short gap and allow my heart rate to subside a little. We sailed over the finish line giving us the greatest comeback we have had for a long long time; I could hardly believe it. I thought our little battle would have allowed Roger to take first place on corrected time but we managed to take the overall victory by just 1 second; what a result!!

Once again Chris dominated the slow fleet in the Club Laser and for once the pesky Kestrel was defeated by a Scorpion. Beacky & Nigel beat them over the finish line by 13 seconds; this was reduced to 6 seconds on corrected time, giving them another 2nd for the day. Andrew & Jenny who had started off so well fell away as the race progressed and although finishing 4th on the water lost a position to Mike’s Supersofa on corrected time, leaving Janet at the back of the fleet. I think an Arero 5 would be just the boat for her.

So despite all the moaning from the Scorpions about how unfair their handicap is to the Kestrel it shows that when sailed well the Scorpion can live up to its handicap and beat the Kestrel, though I will concede that the Scorpion needs a decent blow to show itself at its best at Porthpean. We have had quite a few light breeze races here this season and in the light stuff the Kestrel really excels, even beating us on the water at times. But there you are handicap racing is almost always a lottery and the best form of racing is ideally class racing. Unfortunately we have too much diversity in the boats we sail nowadays, so handicap racing will remain the staple fair as far as we are concerned for a long time to come.

October 7th
yardl Sunny but windless
How disappointing it was today to return from a very pleasant week in Crete to lose a Sunday’s sailing due to no wind. Despite the promising forecast of a moderate breeze we were presented with a bay with very little breeze. To make matters worse we even had a fair old swell which would have made launching and recovery of the Tasar a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, based on the forecast several crews readied their boats ready for light but interesting sail. The RIB complete with crew of Richard & James was prepared and taken down to the beach ready to launch and there it stayed whilst we dithered as to whether it was worth even launching as the light breeze slowly waned away, leaving a very flat sea, apart from the surf rolling onto the beach. Not to put too fine a point on it our boats stayed in the yard and the postponement flag was run up the flag post and there it too remained whilst we decided to have an early lunch. Unfortunately the promised westerly breeze never materialised and reluctantly our day’s racing was cancelled. The RIB was pulled back to the yard, people de-rigged their boats, changed back to normal clothing and then a breeze appeared. Well it was a very light breeze and there still appeared to be many holes in it. I suppose there was enough time available to have rigged and launched but our will to race was probably depleted by then and we all drifted away to pursue other things to do.

Looking at our sailing calendar I note that we only have 7 weeks of sailing left. The season that started so many months ago is rapidly passing by. Wednesday evening racing has finished and the summer and days of wearing sailing shorts and light clothing has also passed. Today I was looking at wearing warmer clothing to help keep off the autumn chill, though today the temperature was higher than the average for this time of year.

Now whilst we look forward to next Sunday’s sailing in our erratic climate Finn Hawkins is out in Buenos Aries in Argentina for the Youth Olympics. His racing started today and I have put a link to the relative web site on our front page, so you should find it easy to keep up with his progress. Good luck Finn; Go Go Go.

September 26th
yardl Sunny but windless
Once upon a time the sailing season would be drawing to a close by now. Fortunately with today’s more robust fibre glass boats and far better sailing clothing we can sail for much longer. However the darker evenings, which herald winter are making inroads into our sailing time and this Wednesday saw the last of our scheduled Wednesday sailing. Unfortunately the autumn Wednesday series finished on a bit of a low, when lack of wind kept us all on shore, so we only sailed 3 out of the 4 races. Not like last Sunday when the conditions of near gales also saw the abandoned flag run up the flag pole and we all headed to the sanctuary of our homes.

However today, our last Wednesday sailing day, gave us a lovely day of sunshine, which almost belies the fact that we are now well into autumn, alas the nice warm weather also left us bereft of wind. I had been watching the web cam and the Polruan weather station several times during the day and my optimism about sailing was fading as quickly as the breeze was fading. To make matter worse, what breeze we had was from the south east and as everybody knows, a light south easterly nearly always fades away to nothing as evening comes along and tonight was no exception.

yardl The bay had been looking almost windless all day, with only a few knots of wind being displayed at Polruan and by the time we arrived at the Club what breeze we had was disappearing quite fast out towards the horizon so I wasn’t too surprised when we had to cancel. Usually no sailing means no bacon butties but Pete Barnes had already been to Bookers and bought some bacon and bread rolls so we were more than pleased to see him switch on the grill and cook for the last time this season some bacon butties. Thank you Pete.

From now on we are just down to Sunday sailing, though the Club will be open on Wednesday evenings for drinks from 7.30 pm onwards for some weeks to come, so you can still come down and break up the monotony of waiting 7 days between sailing by having a drink and a few nibbles around the bar. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a short keep fit session on a Wednesday evening, say ½ hr of intense activities before putting back on all those calories by having a drink or two. Any takers for that?

yardl So that’s that, our much enjoyed summer has finally finished but we still have 2 autumn Sunday series left and I am sure that we will still get some good sailing in before the end of November when we officially hang up our sails for the year. In fact weather wise we are in quite a nice spell at the moment, just suffering today from lack of meaningful wind, but things are looking better for the weekend.
September 19th
yardl A weather window suddenly opened
What a surprise we had last night; we actually sailed. No one would have given us a chance of sailing earlier, but the wind that had been blowing well in excess of 25 knots all day suddenly subsided and that was enough for us and off we went. Not surprisingly the fleet was small but we did get 7 boats on the water, which under the circumstances was excellent.

I for one didn’t really want to go out, it was still quite wet and still a little blustery out at sea, but certainly not quite in the same league as last Sunday. Jeremy & Suzanne were down for RIB duty but couldn’t get to the Club in time due to heavy traffic so Nigel & Justin took the RIB instead. Leaving the shore and our cove was a very slow process as there was by now a a distinct area of absolutely no breeze, though a westerly was trying to cast its influence over the bay, which we eventually encountered as we reached the beach marks; though the breeze was only about 5knots in strength so nothing to get excited about.

Checking the start line and first beat it was obvious that there was loads of port bias and that the first beat would involve a long port tack in towards the beach marks and I think we were all setting our selves up for that when the breeze swung even more and if the race had started we would have been in the one tack scenario. Fortunately the starting sequence was stopped, the RIB repositioned itself to take into account the new south westerly breeze and we were off.

yardl Andrew & Jenny had a superb start coming in at speed and driving straight into the lead. Unfortunately for all us following is that the breeze had swung even more and once again we were on a 1 tack beat. We only had 2 Tasars in the fast fleet and that was Paddy & Steve and us, so the fact that Andrew was leading didn’t really matter too much to us. However Chris Isles, thinking that the initial conditions may have been a bit too much for his Musto Skiff took one of the Club Lasers, was high up on the first beat and rounded the windward mark 3rd, just behind Paddy & Steve, leaving us in 4th. Things were looking a bit bleak for us, especially as Paddy was stating to pull out a very nice lead over us and also passed the Scorpion. We managed to overtake the Laser on the first reach, but that was our only gain. Mike Voyzey was a little further back but making good progress over James’s Aero5 and Sarah Rendell in another Club Laser.

Whilst we were busy sailing the course Nigel & Justin moved the leeward mark to give us a much better beat, which from where we were sitting was our best bet at overhauling Paddy. Indeed the beat became a game of cat and mouse between team Paddy and ourselves and at one point I thought that we had sailed through them but they were still ahead but only by a couple of boat lengths when we reached the windward mark. Our messing around had allowed Andrew & Jenny to take the lead and pull well ahead and they sailed serenely on to take the gun at the beach marks on the shortened course.

The last reach was our only hope and I took us on a much higher course to try and prevent Paddy from luffing us and eventually we sailed into a little extra pressure to be able to foot off and overtake to finish just 9 seconds in front as we crossed the line. Meanwhile Chris was still moving well in the Laser and though he was 4th to cross the line, the corrected time gave him the win to slightly dampen Andrew & Jenny’s night. Mike Voyzey couldn’t bridge the gap to the Scorpion and took 3rd demoting the James and Aero to 4th. It was clearly a night for a 7 or even a 9 rig and I am sure a larger rig will arrive over the winter. All that left Sarah struggling at the back of the course but at least she enjoyed herself in the drizzle and fickle breeze just as we all had.

Listening to the 5 day forecast this morning of almost solid rain and strong winds it looks like Sunday may be another non sailing day, but let’s just wait and see. British weather has a habit of being unable to accurately predict 5 days in advance, though I have a sneaky suspicion that they may be right this time.

September 16th
yardl No Dolphins today, instead a brisk south westerly
I think that there were several pairs of tired legs on Sunday night as those of us who had sailed in the September Cup returned home and relaxed in the evening. The 4 races that we had were sailed in quite lively conditions, in a good F4 south westerly breeze, with even a few stronger gusts thrown in from time to time just to keep us on our toes. The Polruan weather station was showing well over 20 knots all day, so you can have some idea of what we had to sail in. For some reason a south westerly breeze at Porthpean usually tends to be rather lively and yesterday was no exception. That usually means a long hard beat across our part of the bay but all that work is rewarded by a fast and exhilarating ride on a close reach towards the beach marks accompanied by a very nice swell which when hooked up to the breeze allows the Tasar to enter turbo mode. To be fair ALL the boats out racing yesterday were treated to extra performance courtesy of the sea conditions.

The September Cup was the last “Cup” race of the year. I’m not sure that they have been that well supported this year, which is a shame as it gives the opportunity to win a very nice cup on the day if things go right. I suppose we usually have at least 3 races on a cup day but yesterday we actually had 4 which in the conditions described were very tiring for us of a tender age. The fast fleet initially only had 2 boats competing so higher management decreed that the 2 fleets would merge together and race as one.

Paddy was without super crew Steve so elected to man the RIB with Liz for the day and the pair of them dressed accordingly for what would be a wet and possibly cold day on the water. Although the weather wasn’t nice and sunny the air temp was still quite mild and for those unfortunate enough to have a capsize, and there were some, found that the sea temperature is probably at its highest after the long hot summer that we have had, what seemed a life time ago.

yardl Maybe it was the weather forecast but only 9 boats launched from our deserted beach. The holiday makers have gone and in today’s sort of weather we had the entire beach to ourselves. The order for the morning was to do 2 short races back to back, triangles chosen just to keep it simple. In fact the first race finished at sea just to save some time whereas the 2nd race was 2 complete triangles plus the beat and the reach back to shore. Chris Hazell and Colin were in the race box and I think it was a very pleasant place to be, especially with a cup of coffee in hand and a grandstand view of the proceedings.

Now with 4 races sailed and so many incidents during the races it is impossible for me to try and describe all that went on, but maybe the most memorable of all was the planing in towards the beach marks from the windward mark. I don’t think it matters at all as to what boat you were in they all felt very fast on the plane especially with the extra acceleration of the swell. The first race saw Stacey & us round the windward mark ahead of the 3 Scorpions and the Kestrel and we stretched away on the reach. Beacky was reunited with Kelvin for the day, Kay had booked Nigel to crew for her and the other Scorpion had Andrew & Jenny in it and there was the Kestrel with Jan & Pete. It was quite a sight to see all 3 Scorpions and the Kestrel arrive at the beach marks together. To give some extra spice to the proceedings the beach marks were also the gybe mark. Anyway they all appeared to round ok but Kay & Nigel were the first to launch their spinnaker and saw an instant reward by shooting away from the rest of the fleet to take a good lead which they never rescinded and showed that a Scorpion can beat a Kestrel when sailed properly.

Beacky and Kelvin retired from this race on the 2nd lap as they considered their spinnaker was too big to handle and went ashore to change it for a smaller version. That meant that we all had to hang around for a while waiting for them to re-enter the fray. Eventually they cast off from the shore and once past the beach marks with yellow spinnaker pulling them along. It was obvious that they would be with us in time so the race team went into count down mode and that would have given them ample time to reach the start. Unfortunately I think the smaller spinnaker was still too large as they suddenly capsized. They managed to right the boat but arrived at an empty start line hopelessly late as the fleet were well on their way. They did have a little consolation as they still managed to catch and beat Ciarran in his normal rigged Laser to take 7th place.

yardl 2 more races were sailed after lunch and initially it looked like the wind had dropped to a more manageable level, but the respite was only short lived and within 10 minutes was back to full strength again. A quick summary showed that Stacey won all 4 races and we finished 2nd in the 3 races that we completed. I was quite pleased as we beat Stacey over the water on 2 of the races and only lost those 2 races by a few seconds each time. But a loss is still a loss.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Sue Dazza take her new acquisition, her Supersofa out for a sail in the fresh conditions and very impressed that she sailed it around in the fresh breeze without any apparent problems without any capsizing. Hopefully we will see more of Sue later in the season as she prepares for a serious campaign next year.

Craig Robinson and family are in the process of joining the Club. Craig used to race with his father Steve, several years ago in a 505. Craig has just bought a very nice looking International 14 to sail with his father. I think this time Craig will be the one on the helm but both of them will be out on a trapeze, so expect to see some spectacular manoeuvres sometime soon, especially when the spinnaker comes out of the chute, as it will be a very steep learning curve.

The first of the autumnal gales is about to hit us and could well impact on our penultimate Wednesday race and even Sunday’s racing. We will have to wait and see how accurate the weather men actually are and how strong the wind actually is!

September 12th
yardl A big welcome to the Dolphins from us at Porthpean
There’s no doubt about it, we had the best seats in the house last night; when a pod of up to 12 Dolphins swam into our bay. Round about 5 o’clock in the afternoon those of us on shore could see the splashes of several Dolphins as they leaped out of the sea, just our side of the mussel farms. That was a good enough incentive as you will ever get to speed up the rigging and launching of our modest fleet as we hoped that they would still be there when we arrived into what would be our starting area for the 2nd race of the autumn Wednesday series.

To our amazement they were still out there and what’s more we had the privilege of being right alongside several of them as they seemed to take great delight in swimming alongside us and diving under the boats and the reappearing on the other side. I suppose because we were engine less and gliding through the water ourselves, they clearly realised that we were no danger to them. All in all it was a truly memorable experience. Thank you Dolphin family for entertaining us!

Well that’s 2 of the autumn Wednesday race series sailed, only 2 more to go and that will be almost the end of the sailing series. Tonight’s forecast appeared to be quite accurate. The rain had disappeared, the sun had come out and the wind had become lighter; things were looking better by the minute. The only concern that we had was whether the breeze would hold. Fortunately starting an hour earlier gave it a good chance of staying with us for longer. Another gain for us was the rising tide would still not have peaked by the time we arrived back on shore, thus making recovery a little easier.

In the old days the end of September was the end of the sailing season and the end of September is only 3 more Sundays away. Fortunately with better clothing and plastic boats we manage to stretch our season nowadays out a little longer. The early end to the season was also the case when I lived and sailed at Newquay, though there we managed to negotiate with SW water or whatever it was called in those days to sail until the end of January at Porth Reservoir, which certainly gave us sea sailors another aspect of sailing. It was an excellent experience to be able sometimes to just glide through the water with hardly a ripple being generated. We have had that some days this summer at Porthpean when the wind has been extra light and the sea has been extra flat, but conditions like that for us are few and far between. We only had Enterprises and Mirror dinghies in those days, but they were just the right size for the small reservoir that we had to sail in. Porth reservoir is a nature reserve nowadays and is open to the public. It is certainly worth a visit on a quiet day in the winter for a walk around. Sue & I had a walk there a couple of years ago and it brought back quite a few memories for me.

yardl Before I come to last night’s racing let me point to a few successes for our members. I expect that any of you who buy the local papers this week will have seen some very good coverage of Finn complete with photograph announcing his selection for the UK Youth Olympics which will be held in Brazil in October. Finn is the youngest member of the squad, and also one of the most talented and I expect him to do very well in his discipline the windsurfer. I am sure that we will be following his progress daily and I will put a link to his results on to our web site. Also in the local press this week is Charlie Austin who has just become the UK junior Flowrider Champion. This sport is an indoor sport where an artificial wave is created and the aim is to surf and perform manoeuvres on the static wave. Then we come to Paddy & Sarah, who have just returned from the Tasar Nationals where they finished a creditable 12th out of 41 boats. Their results included 3 races in the top 10 which must have looked amazing to them as they looked back at the number of boats behind them. Jeremy & Suzanne had to decline the chance of defending their title as they had an appointment at Loughborough University where Finn was being presented with his Olympic uniform and equipment. I would have loved to have sailed with all those Tasars but I don’t think that my competitive edge would have been good enough to sail in the sort of schedule that was being proposed, so I elected to stay at home and watch from afar.

The breeze was a north westerly which gave us a beat in from the Blackhead direction into our beach marks. More importantly for me the strength was much lighter than last Wednesday when I was struggling upwind and tonight our weight was sufficient to keep the boat far more upright. The start line was long but heavily port biased so that had the affect of most people vying for a pin end start, inevitably leading to a bit of carnage, but nevertheless we all managed to avoid one another as we set off on the race into a low, almost blinding sun as it slipped down towards the horizon. The fast fleet was down to 3 tonight and with Chris still on his learning curve with the Musto Skiff, really meant that it would be a battle between Paddy & Steve against us. I had said to Ken earlier that it was imperative to get to the beach marks first as if not then Paddy would attack to try and prevent us passing down wind.

To my dismay they managed a better start than us and we were sailing behind them in their disturbed wind. We had to wait until the Kestrel, yes once again pesky Kestrel who was sitting upwind of us to tack away before we had space to tack also. The clear wind we suddenly found ourselves in was enough to take us to a small lead as we arrived at the first beach mark. That was just enough to allow us to open up a bit of a reasonable gap as we were quicker on the first reach which was tight enough to just have us hovering on the point of planing. The 2nd reach was a bit broader and I think our lead dropped a little. Fortunately we started the 2nd beat in the lead and by light covering and use of the windshifts we opened up a large enough gap to reverse the roles against Paddy from last week and take a win. Meanwhile the Kestrel had been giving Paddy a bit of grief but Jan & Pete fell by the wayside so to speak when they gambled on a trip under the cliffs and didn’t find the lift they were hoping to find and subsequently dropped back from our battle. They then turned their interest in maintaining a good lead on the rest of the slow fleet. Once again the slow fleet had a good mixture of boats and they found themselves racing amongst an Enterprise, Scorpion, Laser stds and Laser radial plus James in his RS Aero. Non of the slow fleet were a match for Jan & Pete who finished a full minute on corrected time over James in his Aero; maybe a 7 rig would have been better for him last night. Andrew & Jenny proved that their Scorpion was quicker than Beacky’s Enterbarge by taking 3rd by a matter of 30 seconds. That left the 3 Lasers, fighting it out for the minor positions and Nick put in a good showing by beating both Brian and Clive.

yardl Anyone wondering where I was last Sunday can rest easy. I was at Bristol Zoo, looking for a very heavy weather crew!! I know that I had Jenny listed as the OOD and bacon butty chef for the evening but Jenny couldn’t make it and fortunately for all of us Kathy stepped up to the mark, timing us all over the beach marks but even more impressively then turned her hand to making the bacon butties, and delicious they were too. Thank you very much Kathy.

The Tasar Natioansl were taking place last weekend and also using the same course and OOD were the Contender fleet, holding their Nationals also. It transpired that the Contenders really enjoyed their Nationals here at Porthpean and have formally asked the PSC whether we would host their Nationals in 2020. WE have had a year off from hosting Nationals this year but are committed to hosting the RS300 and RS100 next year, so maybe we are gearing ourselves up for another 2 years of Nationals, which will help bring some much needed cash back into the Club.

September 5th
yardl Sunshine, blue skies and a fresh breeze
What a deceptively windy Wednesday night race that was. The bay looked really stunning, basking in glorious sunshine, with a sparkling blue sea shimmering for all to see. The darker patches may have looked very nice but also told us of the gusts out there waiting. Last night was the first of the early Wednesday race series with a scheduled start time of 18.00. What would the attendance be like as not everyone can make the early starting time? Well as it happened the attendance was very good indeed, with only Kay & Sophie of the regulars missing, so all in all a very good attendance.

One problem that we have with the Wednesday racing is that the breeze of the day starts to fade away quite quickly as evening draws on and many of the Wednesday races finish in a much lighter breeze than we started with. Not so last night; we had a very lively northerly breeze blowing. Lively enough to have the wind anemometer showing 25 knots at Polruan, though I am sure we had slightly less on our part of the bay. Nevertheless it was consistently windy with some stronger gusts thrown in for good measure. Chris was out again with his Musto and found that it was a real handful in some of the strong gusts and he had a few capsizes to contend with.

yardl Justin & Clive were our RIB drivers for the night and were launched in good time to set us a not too large port handed course with us beating across the bay from right to left. There was a slight delay waiting for one or two stragglers to reach the starting area, which gave us enough time to check the mean wind direction on the compass and also check the start line. There was a little bias for a port hand start but the line looked too short to really take advantage of it so we came down the line on starboard. In fact there was quite a large wind shift in the last minute before the start making a port hand tack very appealing and would have suited Paddy & Steve who were hovering ready to cross the line. Unfortunately for them there were quite a few of us right down at the pin end forcing them to bear off and duck quite a few boats before they could start. A quick tack onto port by Jeremy & Suzanne, Stacey and us gave us a good lead over the fleet on the first beat, but by the time we reached the windward mark Paddy & Steve, showing very good upwind speed were hard on our heals.

Unfortunately whilst I write this the results have not been posted, so I am not really able to comment too much on all the racing. But Jeremy & Suzanee gave us all a lesson in heavy weather sailing, slowly pulling away from Stacey in his D-0 to take the win. Paddy & Steve pulled well away from us to finish 3rd and yes I was struggling to stay anywhere near the front runners. Looking back I could see that Mike Voyzey was well in front of all the slow fleet and I should think that he took the win. Ciarran was finding his 8.1 rig too powerful on the beats and that caused him to drop back behind the ordinary Lasers. There were 6 Lasers out in total of various combinations and Andrew who had taken the Club Laser was having a real battle with Brian and on their last beat Andrew could be seen to windward of Brian, but somewhere on either the last half of the beat or the reach back to the finish line Brian managed to overtake and be first Laser home.

yardl This weekend sees the Tasar Nationals at Hayling Island SC and Paddy will be competing, with Sarah Desjonquers crewing, so I wish them the best of luck. The Nationals are a 3 day event starting this Friday, with I think 8 races scheduled. Jeremy & Suzanne the current Champions will not be going as they will be Finn who is with the rest of his squad at Loughborough University for some big announcement (watch this space). I, quite a while ago, decided that I didn’t want the hassle of an intense weekend of sailing plus all the travelling etc in what could be quite iffy weather. The Nationals do look to be quite well attended though and there are several hot shots sailing there as that will also be the venue of the Tasar Worlds, scheduled for next year; again I won’t be attending. I hate to say it but I think I am a bit too long in the tooth nowadays for that sort of competitive level.

One last thing, if you buy a copy of "the voice" this week then have a look at the photograph on page 20 of the 1989 PSC prizegiving. See who you can spot.

September 2nd
yardl Light & airy fairy easterlies and a sea weed infested beach
Now if there is one set of conditions I hate for sailing and that is anything from the east. That’s exactly what we had yesterday, an easterly. If the wind is light then it is just a matter of banging a corner and heading upwind through a lumpy sea. If there is a good breeze blowing then launching and recovery is unpleasant. Fortunately the Club were short of an OOD yesterday and I was more than happy to volunteer our services to ensure our racing went ahead.

In fact it was so light when I arrived at the Club that doubts were being raised as to whether we would actually sail or not. Nevertheless the RIB, crewed by Nigel & James was readied and taken down onto the beach and the postponement flag was flown from the flag post in the yard. Time passed by and then a hint of late morning breeze started to stir the burgees of dinghies still in the yard. A decision was taken to try and do 2 races back to back and have a late lunch. That was enough to launch the RIB and 10 boats tottered out to rendezvous by the beach marks.

yardl The beach marks which have been sitting in their laid positions all summer were suddenly looking much closer together. The left hand one when looking out to sea had obviously moved and we suspect by an unknown fisher man. Anyway Nigel & James were towing it back into its correct position when the buoy came loose from its ground tackle. Resulting in us loosing the chain and weight anchoring the buoy. The plastic eye and rope had frayed and parted company. Fortunately we still have the buoy but not the all important ground tackle. A temporary mark will have to be laid for Wednesdays racing.

yardl A lot of interest was shown in Chris’s new boat the Musto Skiff and Chris himself was keen to try it out, especially as the weather was light enough for him to come to terms with its power. It’s early days yet but when the spinnaker was flown the extra speed generated certainly showed, as he came from behind several dinghies after the beat to power right up to the leading boats after the reaches. The main down side of Chris switching from the RS400 to the Musto is that we have lost Kathy coming down to sail.

yardl The fast fleet was very lowly attended today with only Paddy & Steve in their Tasar and Chris in the Musto whereas the slow fleet mustered up Mike’s Supersofa, the all conquering Kestrel, once again taking first place and a mixture of different Lasers. Tim Haskins was home for the weekend and took one of the Club Lasers out for a spin and showed the rest of the Laser fleet how to do it, being 1 ½ minutes ahead on corrected time of Janet in her radial version. Harry Made it into 4th place beating Dad Ciarran into 5th place which must have given him some satisfaction, which left Nick to bring up the rear.

yardl Stacey came out to play for the 2nd race and as the fleet started there was a boat missing; the Kestrel was quite a long way from the start line and eventually started 1 minute behind the rest of the fleet. Nevertheless Jan & Pete made some very impressive gains to take another win and would have even been 2nd if racing in the fast fleet. Once again Time showed his prowess being the top Laser and Janet kept up her succession of 3rd places finishing on corrected time a few seconds in front of Ciarran’s Rooster 8.1

yardl Stacey showed his D-0 was still fast in very light winds and scooted to first place pushing Paddy down to 2nd. Once again the Musto showed some bursts of speed down wind, but always lost out upwind, but its very early days yet and I expect to see Chris soaring to the top of the fleet when his apprenticeship is complete.

The forecast for this week is for what I consider quite quiet weather and we have a northerly breeze forecast for Wednesday which should give us a rare beat across the bay from right to left. Don’t forget that the Wednesday race will be first of the 4 race series and will be starting at 18.00. Yes only 4 more weeks of bacon butties so make sure you get yours by racing on Wednesday evenings.

August 29th
yardl The end of the summer?
Well it was another weekend of poor weather for us sailors, especially on Sunday, so once again our Club racing was cancelled. Not for me though as I had other plans. The Bank Holiday weekend is the traditional slot of the Roadford Goodacre Cup and I have sailed there for the past 5 years. Last year was a beautiful sunny weekend but totally bereft of any wind. Brian Phillips was my crew last year and we turned up to be greeted by the sight of a completely flat reservoir, looking like glass with absolutely not a ripple in sight. The 2 huge wind turbines visible in the distance were stationary. Brian & I had our lunch sitting by the Race box with the boat left wrapped up on the trailer. We hung around for about 2 hours to see if there would be an improvement. One or two boats launched but they just remained routed to the spot where they finally ended after being pushed out from the shore. With no improvement to come and the forecast for more of the same for the next few days we finally accepted the inevitable and set off back for home, so that was the end of that campaign.

This year it looked like there would be ample breeze, but unfortunately I had no crew for all 3 days. Salvation for me arrived when my Son Neil, suddenly decided that he would come down for the weekend and crew; game on. Maybe the disappointment of last year and the forecast for this year put a few people off from coming though most of the sailors were visitors, but the numbers were way down from previous years. Also I think the Club itself is suffering from lack of keen sailors and that was really impacting on the local turnout. In previous years we have always had a Committee boat start and the first leg was a beat. Unfortunately this year we were told at the briefing that it would be a Club line start on a reach. Had I known this before hand I am not sure whether I would have bothered attending, as it really impacted on the racing. I suppose it did give us a different challenge and rounding the first mark was rather interesting as we were in the pack of quite a few spinnaker clad boats.

The water level at Roadford is quite low at the moment with a level gauge showing 62% full and with our dry summer I suppose was to be expected but the level was so low that we were trying to launch and recover through thick squelchy mud. By Monday afternoon the boat was absolutely filthy and it took a good spraying with a hose pipe when I arrived home to clean it. No wonder all the Roadford boats look so tatty.

yardl Now I could go on and talk about the racing but I won’t bore you with too many details; sufficient to say that we had a 6 race series with 1 discard, 2 races a day with a pursuit race planned as an extra on the Sunday. The weather on Saturday wasn’t too bad. It was dry with a moderate breeze. Sunday was an evil day, being very wet and windy. I expected the racing to be cancelled but it was decided to try and race. We sailed and survived without capsizing. We had a mishap with the jib tack on the first Sunday morning race which forced a retirement whilst it was repaired. The courses were not ideal for the Tasar, but we showed some very good speed at times. Good enough to make me think that we wouldn’t disgrace ourselves at the Nationals. Monday was dryer and the wind had eased a little, though still strong enough to require flat out hiking for the beats and we had no more dramas though some boats were caught out in some of the gusts and still managed to capsize.

Saturday saw the largest number of boats racing and there were quite a few spinnaker clad boats and they had a huge advantage on the first leg and than that was compounded when the 2nd leg was another run. Anyway we just had to make the best of a bad job, but there were a couple of Buzzes racing and they knew what they were doing plus they were sailing off PN1026. This is a boat that has a crew on the trapeze and an asymmetric spinnaker. How it has ended up at 1026 I do not know. The crews were equally perplexed as they used to sail off 1005, but the handicap number is given by the data that gets transmitted to the RYA handicap committee and they in their wisdom have come up with the figure.

The better of the 2 Buzzes beat us on the water so there was absolutely no chance of beating him. We always finished in front of the 2nd Buzz but his handicap difference in races just over 30 minutes, usually, but not always, gave him a better position than us. Saturday wasn’t too bad for weather, just a bit gusty and breezy but perfectly manageable, but alas no close reaches. Sunday was a different kettle of fish. With a terrible forecast I was well expecting racing to be called off for the day and we arrived in heavy rain and very strong gusts sweeping across the reservoir. The locals decreed it to be ok to race and so we rigged in the rain and launched into wind conditions stronger than I have sailed in for many a year. Some of the gusts coming across were far too strong for my liking but we kept the mast above us, whilst quite a few of our fellow brave sailors succumbed to capsizes. I may have been mad enough to sail but there were quite a few of Saturday’s fleet who decided to stay ashore and just watch proceedings. Luckily we survived Sunday’s perils which left us ready for Monday when the forecast was for lighter winds and dryer weather. An Aero7 joined us for the 2nd race on Sunday and I was very impressed with it’s off wind speed. On the broad reaches it was keeping up with us and when on a close reach, half the boat was out of the water. I have said it before and I am quite willing to repeat it. In my opinion the Aero is the best single handed boat to have come on the market since the Laser first appeared in the early 70s. What contributes to the Aeros platitudes are the fact that it can be sailed with 3 different rigs, thereby most sailors could choose a rig to suit their size and ability.

Monday came and as forecasted was lighter but there still had some meaty gusts blowing and there was quite a bit of drizzle in the air. However that was still far better than the pouring rain and near gale force winds of Sunday. The Club start line was still in force and by using a different first buoy we managed to have a bit of a beat for the first leg, which helped us no end until the Buzzes hoisted their kites and were off down wind in a cloud of spray. This race as it progressed had more of a beat and we made very good progress, and were first across the finish line but again we had to give too much time to the better Buzz and also the Aero7.

The course was changed for the last race, a new mark was laid to give us a good beat right across the widest part of the reservoir but the icing on the cake was the reach to get to the new buoy. A good start on a broad reach followed by another broad reach allowed us to arrive at the start of the close reach just in front of a Laser4000 and the top Buzz and the Aero. The close reach was a golden opportunity for us and we powered away from the following boats. We sailed the beat quite well. The Laser4000 capsized at the windward mark but ominously the Aero was still flying along. Anyway we managed to eke out a bit more of a lead in the 3 lap race to finish first but when the sums were done we were still behind the Aero but way in front of the Buzzes.

All in all not a bad weekend as we finished 2nd overall. It was great to sail with my son again. He worked hard and he didn’t tell me off too much for not hiking hard enough! Although he thinks sailing in a Tasar is boring I think deep down he enjoyed the experience as the weekend sailing was very lively and demanded the utmost of concentration. Although the racing was a bit Mickey Mousey it still required lots of tactical decisions, on mark rounding and boat positioning. Yes a hairy, windy wet weekend but a nice change from our normal fayre. Mind you there is no way would I swap sailing on the sea for reservoir sailing.

yardl It was our turn on the RIB tonight for the last race of the summer Wednesday series. We had a fairly lively north westerly breeze blowing during the day which if stayed would give very interesting racing conditions. At this time of year it is important to start as near on time as possible so we made sure that the RIB was already and launched in good time. It didn’t take long to lay a course and by 18.45 we were anchored up with the start line laid just waiting for the fleet. 11 boats sailed out to join us and with hardly any delay the race started with the fleet beating in towards the beach marks on a starboard handed course. The fleets were evenly balanced with 6 in the fast fleet and 5 in the slow fleet. Chris Isles was out in his Musto Skiff and though he was in the start line vicinity elected to just play around getting used to the boat. More importantly for him he kept it upright in the quite fresh conditions.

We obviously didn’t put any port hand bias on the start line as everyone started on starboard with a bit of shouting going on at the pin end of the line. Anyway it was a clear start and from our vantage point Paddy & Steve appeared to have the best start, but Jeremy & Suzanne managed to claw up to windward and eke out a lead to be clear ahead round the beach marks and then went on to extend their lead throughout the race to take the victory over Paddy by about a minute. We had 3 Tasars out with Justin & Nigel making up the 3rd team and initially they had quite a close contest with Paddy & Steve, but a detour into the cliffs on one of their tacks lost them too much ground and they had to settle for 3rd. Richard in his Contender arrived with the news that there was plenty of white water out on the north coast and was hoping to be able to extend his legs in our fresh breeze and he started off quite brightly, but as the evening progressed the breeze slowed down dramatically and so he retired. Roger in his Blaze kept up a good pace and finished 3rd between Paddy & Justin.

The slow fleet was missing 2 of the regulars. Andrew & Jenny away on holiday and Jan & Pete somewhere else on family manoeuvres. This gave Kay & Sophie in their Scorpion the opportunity to put their stamp on the fleet and this they duly did by pushing Mike Voyzey in his Supersofa down to 2nd place and Beacky & Paul in the Enterprise down to 3rd. This left the 2 Lasers of Nick & Clive to bring up the rear and I think that they both suffered a capsize at sometime or other whilst out and about.

That race brought an end to the summer Wednesday series, but for those who enjoy their Wednesday racing and bacon butties still have another 4 weeks to enjoy themselves as next Wednesday sees the start of the 4 race Wednesday autumn series, with a start time of 18.00. Yes we are starting an hour earlier and it is important that we start on time as the evenings are visibly rapidly drawing in. Last night we used the sun approaching the tree line as our guide to finishing the race and we managed to get all the boats back on the beach and up into the yard before darkness overcame us. Even so it was pitch dark when I left to go up to the car park just after 21.00

yardl Fin was out on his windsurfer having just arrived back from another youth Championship in Poland where he finished top British Youth and 5th overall, showing another very good result.

From my point of view, last night was the last night of summer sailing as on Sunday we will be into autumn. The schools will be opening again, the holiday makers will be disappearing and we will start to have our beach back to ourselves again, although this August the beach has been a lot quieter for us as the gorgeous summer weather from earlier months disappeared rather earlier than we would have wanted, leaving the beach rather deserted at times. Cornwall seems to attract better weather in September and I am hoping that the trend continues this year and if it does will give us one last month of good sailing before the lottery of a British autumn really takes hold for October and November.

August 22nd
yardl A brisk and lively breeze to keep everyone on their toes
As I sit down this morning to write my blog I can see a very strange thing outside; the sun. Yes those brilliant days of wall to wall sunshine have left us in a world of grey, so it was quite refreshing to see a little bit of sunshine again. Admittedly it has been mild but I think Cornwall in particular has been shrouded in lots of clouds. Unfortunately I don’t think the sun outside is set to last long as rain is in the forecast.

It just happens to be Fowey week this week and James is over there, crewing in a J yacht rather than his Aero. It seems such a shame that he has gone over to the dark side so soon when he could have been sailing his dinghy, especially as there were 2 other Aeros there. At least in the light conditions he has the opportunity on a yacht to stretch his legs out whereas we have to crouch down and try to keep still. When I say we I mean Ken and me who ventured over to Fowey for one day only. In my opinion the Tuesday can be the best day as the races are usually out on the sea. The pm race normally starts and finishes in the harbour but at least you can get a tour of the bay for a couple of rounds. This year was better as the presence of a cruise liner in the harbour meant that all the racing was held at sea. Unfortunately the sailing conditions were very woeful as the breeze was very light and any thoughts of hiking went right out of the window. However it is a remarkable sight when out at sea being surrounded by the myriads of different coloured sails and different types of boats. I guess the dinghy area where we sailed was blessed with boats as small as an RS Terra right up to the mighty working boats; all jostling pre race in a relative small starting area.

The working boats were first away and then there was at least a 20 minute pause before we started. I thought at first that was supposed to give us some clear wind after the turmoil left behind when the working boats lumbered up the beat. We had a good port hand start and rounded the windward mark with a comfortable lead. We bore away on the reach sailing towards our wing mark, which was a good half mile away and then realised to our horror that the working boats were rounding the same buoy. What made it a horror was that we were rounding the buoy to port and the working boats were rounding mark to starboard. Clearly not in the RO’s plans and I think that was the reason for the long delay before we started, to allow them to clear the mark. Looking at the closing speed of us and 3 working boats near to us I reckoned that we were going to very close to the 2nd of the 3 but I figured that there was no way that they were going to be able to sail too close to the mark. Fortunately I was right and as the troublesome boat started to head up on his course we gybed inside between him and the mark and then we were off again in the clear; phew, close but challenging.

yardl I only entered the Tuesday race which proved a good decision as the light winds that we had to endure were the order of the day again on Wednesday, though there appears to be more of a breeze today. In fact looking at the results I don’t think that the pm race was sailed on Wednesday, nor the Thursday. We did manage a 1st and a 2nd in our two races in our 6 boat fleet, which in less than ideal Tasar conditions wasn’t too bad.

We duly turned up at Porthpean on Wednesday for our evening race and there in the yard was a new addition to the fast fleet, a Musto Skiff. Chris Isles has bought one for a bit of single handed sailing and tonight was to be its baptism at Porthpean. Fortunately for Chris, the weather was very light so it did give him some valuable time to learn some of its characteristics. It didn’t take us too long to unpack the Tasar, but the conditions in the bay looked rather dire appearing to be devoid of any breeze.

Paul & Paul & Kelvin took charge of the RIB and launched out into the bay in search of some breeze. They reported that there were a few knots at the beach marks and that was enough to persuade the fleet to launch. Once again the slow fleet was the better supported with 7 boats lining up, 2 Scorpions, 3 Lasers and a Supersofa and how can I possibly forget the pesky Kestrel. Whereas all we could boast in the fast fleet was 2 Tasars and 1 Musto Skiff. Due to the very low wind speed it took us quite a while to reach the starting area where the RIB with postponement flag flying was anchored. Anyway courtesy of a very understanding Race Officer the entire fleet came under starter’s orders. The line was quite heavily port biased and no one ventured to try the port hand flyer which was just as well as a group of us sailed down the line on starboard to prevent what could have been a perfect start.

We managed to start just in front of Paddy and in the very light and I mean very light, breeze we made our way up the first beat. Fortunately we drew away from Paddy and reached the beach marks as first boat to round. Andrew & Jenny in the leading Scorpion were next around and there ominously in 3rd was the Kestrel. Paddy & Steve tacked a little too early for the 2nd beach mark and came to grief when they collided with it. Our bay has a very light tide running through it and with a decent breeze is hardly noticeable but with the almost next to nothing breeze what little tide we had made itself known, sucking Paddy in to the inevitable 360. That resulted in Mike Voyzey in his Supersofa overtaking him and with very little chance of making up so much lost ground helped us enormously. All went well until at the end of the 2nd beat, with the Kestrel powering up on us I made a similar mistake to Paddy and tacked probably a boat length too soon with the result that we were also sucked into the 2nd beach mark and after our ponderous 360 found that we were now lying 3rd behind the Kestrel and the Scorpion.

Now why we were sent round for another round I do not know. The breeze was still exceptionally light and was now swinging round which gave us a closer 1st reach (lovely) but a very broad almost a run 2nd reach (not so lovely) and a fetch back to the finish. We managed to overtake the Scorpion on the run but the Kestrel sailed on unmolested to take a magnificent win in front of Andrew & Jenny’s Scorpion. Kay & Sophie’s Scorpion was the next to finish but fell back to 4th behind Mike’s Supersofa on corrected time. Bringing up the rear were the 3 Lasers of Brian, Nick & Clive. Chris managed to fly his ginormous spinnaker once or twice on the reaches without a capsize but I think mastering the skiff will be an interesting experience, though Chris has sailed trapeze single handers before, so maybe it may not take as long as it appears.

August 19th
yardl A brisk and lively breeze to keep everyone on their toes
Apologies but no new pictures for the blog. Please make do with a couple of golden oldies instead. I suppose the slipway railings are fairly relevant when you see the state of them in the picture and see the nice new shiny version of today.

The glorious weather of early summer is now just a distant memory as we enter the 3rd week of average weather. It is certainly mild but the sunny days have been replaced by cloudy days and some drizzle with just a few sunny periods to remind us of what we have had. The wind too has been a lot fresher and has given us some much needed exhilarating racing than we had during the fine spell of weather. The last 2 weeks have been predominantly sailed in a south westerly airstream, and the forecast for Sunday was similar. Maybe I read it wrong but I was fairly pleased to see that today’s breeze was more of a westerly than a south westerly which gave us a beat into the beach marks for a port handed rounding.

Chris Isles & Tony Dunn took the RIB today and I noticed an extra mark being loaded onto the RIB. A quick check of the whiteboard showed a “q” shaped course being planned. Well if laid correctly will certainly suit a Tasar and Laser and depending on wind direction at the time possibly the spinnaker boats. In fact there was something for everyone. The direction of the breeze was a problem especially as we neared the beach marks. The gusts were stronger and came from irregular directions and just passing the beach marks was a problem as the first one had to be over stood if you hoped to round the 2nd beach mark without tacking. That was a problem that we all had to try and solve, tack too soon and it was impossible to round, stand on too far and it was distance lost. In all honesty it did become a bit of a lottery.

Once again we were suffering from the small fleet syndrome and only 9 boats came to the start line. Our fast fleet was the smaller of the 2 fleets with just the 2 Tasars of Paddy & Steve and us, and the Contender of Richard plus Stacey in his D-zero. Today saw the “for one day only” reuniting of Beacky & Kelvin; well the one day only may turn out to be a few more outings but certainly not on the same sort of frequency as in the past. Time will tell; but they were up against the mighty Kestrel, determined to put them back in their box. Mike Voyzey was out in his Supersofa, determined to hang onto his winning ways established last Wednesday also beefing up the slow fleet was Brian Reeves in his Laser and a solo appearance from Andrew in the Club Laser as Jenny is still feeling off colour.

yardl Stacey showed his winning credentials by leading at the first mark and then pulling away from us all to take a convincing victory. Our real battle was between us and Paddy and for the morning race we managed to stay in front of them all the way round. Our job was made easier due to the Kestrel, Contender and Scorpion giving them a rather hard time. The breeze was a lot less in the morning race and there was not quite enough power in the wind to give the Tasar an edge over the spinnaker clad boats. Becky’s early hopes of beating the Kestrel sunk somewhere on the first round when the Kestrel rounded the windward mark in front and then pulled away. Team Beacon instead had to settle for 2nd place but still in front of his other normal adversary, Andrew who finished 3rd in the Club Laser, rather surprisingly in front of Brian Reeves, leaving Mike to trail in 5th.

The wind decided to ramp up a little for the afternoon race with some exceptionally strong gusts sweeping across the course and I for one was at the limit of my powers on the upwind legs. With the wind up at that level we were no match for Paddy & Steve upwind, though we had the legs on them on some of the reaches, but there again a lot depended on where you were when a gust struck.

Paddy & Steve rounded first followed by us. Quite surprisingly Stacey was further back than I anticipated, but he soon made up for it downwind. He even managed a capsize on the run before he resumed normal service and passed us both to take another convincing win. We played cat and mouse with Paddy and managed to overtake them on one of the beats, only to fall behind on the next beat and then lost out quite a lot on the penultimate beat and had to settle for 3rd.

Even more surprising was seeing the Kestrel so far back at the end of the first beat. Obviously they had suffered a problem but I never did find out what, but there ahead of the entire titchy small fleet, in fact there were only 3 in each fleet, such is the paucity of our sailing club at the moment, was Andrew’s Scorpion. Andrew gratefully accepted the offer of Nigel to crew for him and it looked like the lead they had would be insurmountable but they had a bit of a disaster when a bad drop at the end of the run saw the spinnaker disappear under the boat and they were stopped for quite a considerable time as they rescued it. That stop let the Kestrel off the hook as Jan steered it back into the lead.

However more drama was to come when we saw the Kestrel with spinnaker flapping, almost capsize when the boat broached out of control. How they saved it I just do not know, but a capsize was diverted and they played their “get out of jail free card”, leaving them clear to take another win, but only just. Brian Reeves certainly capitalised on Andrew’s down fall by taking 2nd place and was only 13 seconds off 1st place behind the Kestrel.

August 15th
yardl The first hint of Autumn
I know that in my last blog I was praising some of the achievements of our sailors at their various Nationals / World Championships. At the time I knew that Fin was away in Latvia competing in the Youth World Windsurfer Championships, but didn’t know his final result. Well I am pleased to announce that Fin did extremely well, finishing 3rd and top Brit; a remarkable achievement considering his age. You could quite honestly say that he can only get better. In fact that’s my philosophy for myself with my sailing, though I think I probably peeked quite a few years ago!!

And now on to last night. Well it is an undisputed fact that for a few weeks we had an extraordinary summer. Hot sunny days and nights with no rain and light breezes, but lately we have slipped back into our more normal summer conditions, meaning that it is wet and windy and not so hot. Last night’s racing was conducted in those sorts of conditions and in truth harboured the first hint of Autumn. Fortunately it was dry when we arrived at the Club and fortunate that it stayed dry for the majority of the race but the sky was heavily overcast and the breeze was fruity fresh from the south west. Pete & Jan were our RIB drivers for the night and knowing that our daylight hours are rapidly diminishing, especially with an overcast sky they managed to prepare, launch and have the course set by 18.45. Not only that but praise to our fleet as they were all out in the area waiting for the count down procedure to commence. Jenny was watching over us sitting in the race box with finger poised to press the button to start the count down process.

It was quite noticeable as we sailed around checking the beat and start line that the breeze blowing over us was on the top side of a F4 with some stronger gusts thrown in just for good measure. I fully expected quite a few boats to be overwhelmed but to my surprise, not one boat capsized all evening. With a south westerly the breeze takes us on a beat across the bay towards Blackhead, before rounding and heading in on a good reach to the beach marks. At least the gybe there is usually sheltered, before we blast off on the 2nf reach taking us back out to sea and to the leeward mark. That all sounds quite straight forward but the swirling south westerly was fresh enough to keep everyone on their toes.

yardl The fleets were very evenly balanced with 6 boats in each. Our fleet had 3 Tasars, RS400, Contender and D-zero, quite a variable range. Whilst the slow fleet had Scorpion, Enterprise, Supernova and 3 Lasers. I don’t know how but Ken and myself thought that the countdown was running in the wrong sequence but at the last minute realised that everything was OK and so we blasted off onto the beat, not quite where I wanted to be and I did struggle a little on the beat when both Paddy & then Justin in their Tasars passed us and also Richard in Contender and Stacey in his D-zero. In fact Justin. Crewed by Nigel were 1st boat round the windward mark, but were soon overhauled by Stacey & Richard and then on the 2nd reach fell back behind Paddy & Steve and ourselves.

The breeze started to fall away in the latter part of the race and fortune seemed to favour us on the penultimate beat when we passed Paddy & Richard and appeared to close up on Stacey, but we had a little problem with the jib. We suddenly noticed that our speed had fallen off a cliff and in no time at all Paddy was back up in front of us again. The eureka moment suddenly occurred, when Ken spotted that the top of the jib was trapped in the diamonds and was acting as an enormous brake when compared to the other boats. By the time the jib problem was rectified the damage was already done and Paddy & Steve had shot off with over 100M lead on us. It was a lead that we could just not pull back on the last round, so we had to settle for 2nd Tasar. Meanwhile Stacey sailed on serenely to take another win. I fully expected to see Richard trapezing over the horizon and that at first is what he did but as the wind strength waned then so too did his speed, dropping him down to 5th.

Steve & Ashley sailed a lonely race as they were dropped behind our fleet but were still way in front of the slow fleet, they managed to carry their spinnaker on all the reaches and had some pretty good fun in the waves.

The slow fleet was headed by Kay & Sophie in their Scorpion and they duly sailed along taking the winning gun and hoping for the overall win. Alas that wasn’t to be as Mike Voyzey in his Supersofa finished close enough to take the win on corrected time by some 12 seconds. Paul & Paul in the Enterbarge found that they couldn’t depower their main sufficiently; the kicker wasn’t functioning properly and they eventually retired. Brian Reeves won the battle of the Lasers finishing 3rd, pushing Nick down to 4th. I don’t know what happened to Clive. We saw him out on the water with his 4.7 rig on but he appears to be missing from the results.

It was a rather soggy fleet who emerged from the gloom to arrive back on the beach. The low scudding clouds had given us a dose of drizzle and by the time that we were all changed and having our bacon butties and drinks in the bar the drizzle had turned into quite a heavy rain shower.

I think that we are set for a few more days of south westerly’s but a glimmer of hope for better weather is being touted by the weathermen especially for the Bank Holiday weekend which is now on the horizon

August 12th
yardl Where has the summer gone?
Today I am aching and I am ever so slightly battered and bruised, courtesy of a hard day’s sailing and falling out of the boat; more of that later.

Let’s start off with a couple of congratulations to our sailing members. Firstly James who has just returned from a hard week’s racing his Aero 5 at the RS Games, where he finished 19th out of 61 to achieve his aim of being in the top 20; His best result being an 8th in one race. The other set of congratulations go to Steve & Polly who have just returned from the Scorpion Nationals, where they finished 18th in a 41 boat fleet. Their week started off really well with a 4th in the first race but they slipped down the rankings as quite fresh conditions came in as the week went on, and now they are making their way to Weymouth where they have entered the RS200 section of the RS Games. Now the RS200 is a boat I often think I should have campaigned as it would have been more suitable for my size, but I do love my Tasar sailing and have enjoyed my years with the boat and for me at my age I consider it too late to change class.

Well yesterday turned out to be a rather strange day. The Club was hosting a “come back to sailing” day, but the weather conspired against us and I don’t think any ex members bothered to show up. Yes the weather, which has given us one of the best summers in living memory finally gave us plenty of grief over the weekend, with rain and wind becoming the order of the days. Heavy rain and gales on Saturday night didn’t inspire us to go sailing but by Sunday morning the wind had suddenly abated somewhat, leaving us with a wavy beach and a south westerly in the teens blowing across the bay. However we did have a total of 5 boats willing to sail/race and so the previously planned August Cup went ahead with Nigel & Tony in the RIB & Jeremy & Liz in the race box we launched through the manageable waves to rendezvous out at sea to sail a trapezium course, designed to give us a reasonable set of beats, reaches and runs and in the conditions out at sea they proved quite challenging at times.

Roger showed how fast a Blaze can be off wind. We had rounded the windward mark with a nice lead over him but he pulled us back on the planing reaches and by the time we started the 2nd beat he was into the lead. We managed to overtake him on the 2nd beat and set off on the reaches watching him slowly reducing our lead but fortunately we still had our much reduced lead as we started the next beat. I think we started to make better use of our downwind speed and opened up a better gap and our anxiety about his downwind speed disappeared as he capsized at the gybe mark. Further back from us was the Kestrel and Andrew’s Scorpion, but the Kestrel for once couldn’t hold us for speed and Andrew & Jenny decided that the conditions were testing enough for them and retired.

Richard, who has had a frustrating period of sailing in the predominately light breezes was delighted to join us out on the race track where he could eventually trapeze his way up and down wind. We managed to hold both him and Roger off for the first round but Richard took the lead on the 2nd beat and though he took the winning gun dropped back behind us to finish 2nd, just 5 seconds in front of Roger in the Blaze. The Kestrel was a little bit slower than us all and dropped back to 4th and once again Andrew decided that the conditions were a little too much and retired.

yardl The weather certainly wasn’t very summer like and whilst racing we do generate a certain amount of body heat. Not so for the RIB crew and they were starting to feel the chill and so we decided to make the 3rd race shorter. Jan & Pete decided to drop out leaving just 3 of us to contest the last race. Once again a good start saw us heading up our small fleet as we beat out seawards. Disaster struck for me as we made our first tack. We hit a bit of turbulent sea whilst in the middle of the tack. I lost my balance and as I sat down on the side deck, failed to get my feet under the toe straps and over the side I went backwards. Fortunately I still had the tiller extension in my hand and hung on to it as the boat slowed to a stop. Ken released the main and the boat stayed upright as I attempted to climb back into the boat. I have to say how impressed I am with the strength of carbon fibre. My tiller and extension are made of carbon and they and the rubber universal joint all held together with 11stone of lard hanging from it. Anyway I managed to clamber back into the boat, reclaimed my hat which was hanging from its retaining clip and we set off in pursuit of Richard & Roger, with Richard in the lead. Roger made great gains down wind and even managed to pass Richard on the last beat. Such are the vagaries of the wind sometimes. Richard was slightly below Roger as a wind shift came in, Richard was headed but hung on to the tack whereas Roger managed to avoid the header. By the time Richard decided to cut his losses he had lost his lead to Roger. We weren’t too far behind by this time and could see what was happening and also managed the avoid Richard’s header.

All this resulted in Roger leading around the windward mark and the 2 of them set off for the final reach and by this time no more than a minute or so behind we rounded. We flew down the last reach ably assisted by some very helpful waves and finished right on the heels of our 2 adversaries. Roger took the win and we managed 2nd place, so we felt quite elated at our comeback. Today I am suffering from my antics. My shoulder and right hand side of my body are feeling rather tender and it will take a day or so to feel normal again.

Just to compound my misery we also came to grief in the dumping surf when we returned to shore. A rogue wave broke over the boat filling the cockpit with quite bit of water and we struggled to get her out of the water. In fact the only way was to roll the boat over in the surf to let the water out. Fortunately there were a few other members who came to our rescue and together we managed to right the boat and get her back onto the trolley. There was still quite a few pebbles and sand in the boat but this was cleaned out by Ken and his trusty Henry as seen in the picture!!

yardl The day was followed up by a BBQ. Now these aren’t too successful in the rain, but Andrew & Jenny who had organised it pulled off an amazing feat by transferring the food to the Clubhouse and we sat down to a superb banquet of burgers, sausages, chicken, and pork plus all the other essential bits and pieces. I was feeling tired and we left the Club with my destination with a hot bath and an early night to bed.

Jan & Pete were in a better than normal mood with the news that another pesky Kestrel is join the fleet. We have another owner moving into our area and he wants to sail with us, which is good news for the Club as we have lost a good number of regular sailors over the last few years. I also hear that Nigel’s RS400 which has been upside down for a few months has now been repaired and just might make its long awaited debut maybe by next weekend if a crew is available. Could we see 3 RS400s back on the start line sometime soon?

August 8th
yardl A delightful westerly breeze for tonight's race
Strange sights were to be seen at Porthpean last night; 4 Tasars on the start line and 1 Enterprise. The Tasar seems to be in a bit of a decline at the moment which is a shame as it has been the backbone of Club sailing for over 30 years, but Dennis, Stacey and Chris Hazell have all sold up and their boats have disappeared up-country. Both Brian and Pascual seem to have lost interest, and Justin hasn’t the time at the moment, which leaves on a good day, Jeremy & Suzanne, Paddy & Steve and Ken & me as the only regular sailors and even Jeremy & Suzanne have heavy commitments supporting Fin in his quest for an Olympic shot on his windsurfer. As it happened Sarah Desjonquers was down for a few days and she crewed for Paddy last night and Nigel teamed up with Steve to sail Brian’s Tasar, so it looked like there would be some very competitive racing amongst us four teams.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a red Enterprise in the field when I arrived at the Club with a Mr Beacon fussing over it. After several years sitting at home the boat has been given a reprise and re acquainted with Porthpean bay again. His Scorpion is having a rest and with no regular crew available Beacky thinks that the Enterprise is easier for an inexperienced crew to mange than the more demanding Scorpion.

I was pleased to see that the breeze was back in the west for the evening race, but was a lot lighter than I had hoped, not that I like it too strong at my age but I would prefer it to be strong enough to make a Tasar plane. One Scorpion was taken off the water as Kay & Sophie were to be our RIB drivers for the evening; also 1 Laser was missing as Janet took charge of the race box. That reduced the fleet to 12, but it certainly looked like more boats when we started on the very crowded start line.

Kay & Sophie set a very tasty looking course with a port handed rounding to the beach marks. Due to the lighter than expected breeze it took us a while to reach the starting area, but eventually we were all assembled and ready to go. Beating angles were checked, starting line checked for bias. Oh dear too much port bias. I think Kay realised that and tried to pull up anchor to reposition the RIB, but the anchor would not come up. Despite the brawn of Jeremy & Andrew who both climbed into the RIB, the anchor refused to yield. They suspect that it has caught in some wreckage on the sea bed and unless we get a diver down then we will just have to leave it there.

There was no other option than to start the race with the biased line that we had. Well that produced a very cosy, congested start line with some boats trying to cross on port and some sailing down the line on starboard. Well we were one of the port hand starters and had to bear off quite a bit and do some wriggling to find a gap to sail through. Anyway some got off to a very good start, Nigel & Steve being one and some had a very poor start, Paddy & Sarah being one of those. Our start wasn’t too bad and we soon hit some clear wind and tracked our way upwind towards the beach marks. On our final approach to the marks I thought that we had done enough to round first just in front of Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion and Jeremy & Suzanne. Unfortunately for us a header in the last 20M or so turned things on their head and we ended up with a sudden gybe and then a tack which ended up seeing us rounding behind the pair in front. Up went the Scorpion’s spinnaker and up went their speed but Jeremy & Suzanne just managed to sail over them on the very broad reach which necessitated whisker poles for us. Tonight for us it was a pesky Scorpion rather than a pesky Kestrel.

Just behind us at the beach marks were Nigel & Steve and not too far behind them was the pesky Kestrel. Up went their spinnaker and off they went into hyper drive and they came up to windward of us. A strong luff from us was enough to kill their speed but alas it allowed Nigel & Steve to sail past us. However in the very light conditions, we sneaked past again and gybed in 3rd place. There was just enough breeze to give us the speed to slip past the Scorpion and we set off up the beat chasing J&S. Paddy & Sarah after their very poor start to the race started to make inroads and gradually caught up with Nigel & Steve.

The race turned out to be very tactical and distances between boats changed on each beat dependant on the route taken. In fact at the end of the 3rd beat we only just rounded in front of both Paddy & Nigel, but we had enough downwind speed to pull away from them, especially as they came under attack from the Kestrel, revelling in its downwind speed, giving both Tasars some agro. Andrew & Jenny were still ahead of the Kestrel and trying hard to stay there.

We started the last beat not too far behind Jeremy & Suzanne and they tacked off across the bay to what had been the better side the previous beat. We held on, sailing towards Charlestown in what seemed like a nice bit of pressure. Eventually we found the header that we were hoping was coming, allowing us to tack onto the lift and in we went towards the beach marks, watching apprehensively as Jeremy & Suzanne came steaming in towards us but to our delight we could see that we were crossing well in front and we were now within 100M of the beach marks. A covering tack was all it took to keep us ahead and we took a very surprising but pleasing victory.

We watched with interest as the 2 Tasars of Paddy & Sarah coming in on starboard to the beach marks and Nigel & Steve, coming in but ahead on port. N&S fluffed their tack and Paddy & Sarah managed to sail over the top of them to take 3rd Tasar spot. The other battle behind was between the Scorpion & Kestrel and there wasn’t much between them as they crossed the finish line with the Scorpion fractionally in front. However when the times were computed, it gave the Scorpion the win, in the slow fleet, by 1 second. Now that was close.

Beacky and crew Paul in the Enterbarge, took 3rd spot and Nick won the battle of the Lasers, finishing 4th. Mike who was wanting more breeze took the next spot in his Supersofa just 2 seconds on corrected time in front of Clive; again another very close finish, leaving Brian Reeves to finish in 7th. No doubt there were just as many interactions between the various boats on the water, but so demanding was the concentration needed that I just didn’t have time to observe where every body else was during the race.

With Jenny away this week Janet stepped up to the grill to produce the bacon butties and they were absolutely delicious. Janet was ably helped by Stacey who just happened to arrive as Janet was firing up the grill, so I guess it was a joint effort from the pair of them. Paddy & Stacey were sailing last weekend up at Paignton in the B14 Nationals. They too were plagued by very light winds and I think the event became more of a social do than a hard on Championship. Paddy & Stacey managed a very creditable 17th place, which I think is an excellent result when you consider that they only teamed up about 4 weeks earlier and Paddy’s boat is one of the older B14s racing. James is currently at the RS Games at Weymouth where he is sailing his RS Aero5 and he is currently in 21st place out of a 60 boat fleet. I also note looking at the Aero results that George Cousins, who used to sail a Laser here at PSC, won the D-zero Nationals last year is lying 2nd in the Aero9 division and is in fact the top Brit as the winner is going to be an American.

yardl> Some other good news is that the Council who have been aware for some time now that the railings on the side of the road down to the beach have been rusting away and were badly damaged in the winter’s storms have at last got round to replacing them with some very stout looking stainless steel ones. Hence the picture, further up the page.

This weekend was supposed to be the August Cup but our Committee has decided to have a “Come back to Sailing day” and hoping to attract some ex members to have a day with us and maybe, just maybe be tempted into rejoining. After weeks of superb weather that would have been ideal for that sort of thing it looks like the early forecast may not be so nice to us with some rain and fresh winds coming in. Still we will have to wait and see what we actually get. Don’t forget there will be a BBQ in the evening and if wet this will, as if by magic, be transformed into a mixed grill meal instead. See how versatile we are.

I am not sure when this blog will “go live” as there appears to be a problem with the server that the web site is supplied from. Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

August 5th
yardl You don’t have to sail to love Porthpean.
You don’t have to sail to love Porthpean. Just look at the picture further down the page to see the hordes of beach goers to show how true that is. In fact I think that they all had much more fun on the beach than us sailors did out at sea, especially in my case. A colossal amount of sun was beating down on us and that was made hotter by the almost windless conditions that we had. The bay was looking very, very quiet and we once again waited for the breeze to fill in. Well fill in it did, but oh so gentle and by 11.30 ish we set off on a windward leeward course set for us today by the lucky incumbents of the RIB Jeremy & Suzanne. We had a windward leeward course as the lack of breeze made a triangular course somewhat rather difficult to set. However once again it was Tee shirt and shorts weather which is so nice to be able to sail in, but the side decks feel so much harder without that little bit of neoprene to soften things up a little. Our normal fleet was somewhat depleted with both Paddy & Stacey away at the B14 Nationals and James away at the RS games and neither of the RS400s made an appearance which may have been a mistake for them as their spinnakers would certainly have given them a much needed boost.

yardl Anyway some 9 boats gathered in the starting area. Once again the fast fleet was the minor fleet in terms of numbers with just Roger in his Blaze and us in the Tasar to duel it out whereas the slow fleet had the Kestrel, Scorpion, Supernova, Laser 8.1, Laser standard and Laser radials. I think that we had quite a good start and appeared to be leading half way up the first beat, but Roger and the slow starting Kestrel found much more speed than I could muster and rounded the windward mark before us and set off on the run back to the beach marks. Somehow we managed to overtake the pair of them on the run by gybing our way down the run and things were looking a little bit brighter but we managed to lose what there was og the breeze by taking a different lane up the next beat and we were passed and left for dead by the Blaze and Kestrel. Andrew & Jenny couldn’t catch the Kestrel and had to settle for 2nd. Ciarran made the most of his 9.1 rig leaving the more conventional Lasers far behind to take 3rd. Mike Voyzey was another who was held back by the light wind and had to settle for 4th. Janet won the battle of the other Lasers beating off Nick & Brian.

yardl The beach was packed and I don’t think that most of the beachgoers were too impressed when we returned to the beach after the race to have our lunch. Things didn’t really improve for the 2nd race and the fleet was reduced to 6 when the Blaze, Supernovas and 8.1 decided that they couldn’t take any more and I think made the right decision to enjoy a leisurely lunch and head for home. The valiant 6 set off for a triangular race in just a little more pressure. Once again my poor upwind speed saw us rounding the windward mark 3rd. First to the windward mark was Andrew & Jenny and with spinnaker set moved off down the first reach hotly pursued by Jan & Pete in the pesky Kestrel and just before we reached the gybe mark sailed over the top of the Scorpion. There was jusyt enough breeze for us to make some better speed and we closed down the Scorpion nicely on the first reach but alas for us the 2nd reach was broader and we were no match for the spinnakers. We managed to catch and pass the Scorpion on the beat and pull away but there was no way that we could catch the Kestrel, though I noticed that we held our own on the subsequent laps, losing out on the beats and closing on the reaches. I think the breeze increased slightly towards the end of the race as Ken managed to join me on the side deck once or twice.

The 3 Lasers were left a long way back but once again Janet triumphed and her radial managed to finish in front of both Brain & Nick, much to her delight.

August 1st
yardl A fresher south westerly for a change.
It was noticeably darker last night when I left the Club to go home. No I hadn’t left later than usual but it was quite cloudy and hence darker and now heralds the shorter days that start to become more notable in August. Our longest day was some 6 weeks ago, so the darker evenings are not entirely unexpected, but I’m not looking forward to the oncoming dark nights. Still it is set to warm up again for the weekend and stay for a little while longer.

My Tee shirt and shorts were finally discarded last night and my long john and spray top came back into use. As it happened Ken & I have done a duties swap with Jeremy & Suzanne so we took the RIB for a spin round the bay to set quite a large course. Now not trying to blow our trumpets here, but we launched early, laid the course, set the start line and then discovered that I had forgotten the flags!!- Naughty Boy. We still had enough time to radio back to base and have someone (Tony- thank you) bring them down to the beach, race in, pick them up and be back on station before the 5 minute gun was due. Phew, it was a bit of a rush but, wait for the bugle to sound; we did start on time and the entire fleet was there ready. Well done one and all.

The breeze was a SSW, which gave the fleet a beat across the bay towards the mussel farm, before heading off for a good reach in the swell back to the beach marks where a sheltered gybe allowed another good reach back to the leeward mark. The course was a triangle; we like to keep it simple on Wednesday evenings. Last Wednesday was sailed in stunning weather and that was reflected with the large turn out. Last night was not quite so good with only 10 boats. Unfortunately the fast fleet only had one entry whereas the slow fleet boasted 9. Steve Wingrove was missing but he generously loaned his boat to Nigel who sat in the driver’s seat with Ashley alongside, and it wasn’t long after the start that they surged into the lead and sailed away from the rest of the fleet.

yardl The slow fleet had a good mixture of boats, including Lasers, radials, Aero5, Supersofa, Scorpions and not to be left out the pesky Kestrel, who I noted was rather far back after the first beat. I subsequently found out that the Kestrel had been made to do turns after a bit of an argument with the RS400 and that cost them yet another win as they had to play catch up and although they caught and passed all the boats in front they had to settle for 2nd behind on corrected time to the Aero5 of James, who this weekend is off to the RS games in Weymouth. We wish him all the best in his quest for glory. Another pair of members heading off to sail away this weekend, this time to the B14 Nationals in Paignton is Paddy & Stacey. Again we wish them all the best. They are starting with a bit of a disadvantage as the B14 hasn’t been out much this year and the twosome have not sailed together much either. However I think that they will still have a successful Nationals.

Back to last night’s race. Kay & Sophie in their Scorpion had a good start and were 2nd boat around the windward mark. The only other Scorpion out tonight was Beacky & Paul and they had quite a poor start but by the end of the first beat they had pulled up well and were within striking distance of Kay and were 3rd boat around. In fact the Beacky boat was the first to haul up the spinnaker, but for some reason they couldn’t get it to set properly and it soon came down again. I know the pairing haven’t sailed together much yet so maybe there was some confusion. Anyway their problems dropped them back quite a bit as they slowed down somewhat and they had it all to do on the second beat but disaster came when they capsized just before the end of the beat. They then had quite a difficult time righting the boat before the mast eventually pointed and stayed skywards, that was enough for them and they scuttled back to the beach.

Kay & Sophie had to settle for 3rd but only 15 seconds on corrected time ahead of Mike Voyzey who is rapidly getting to grips with his Supersofa. The 4 Lasers had to settle for the minor places but once again it was a good night for Nick who had a very nice lead over the other 3 Lasers. Janet in her radial was the last boat to finish but her corrected time slotted her in as 2nd Laser, ahead of Clive and Ciarran.

After the race we went round the bay tidying up, well retrieving our race marks. We had quite a surprise as we reached the beach marks as we spotted the floating buoy and anchor tackle from our other RIB. Ken had noticed that the tackle was missing when the boats were swopped round the other week. The 2nd RIB, now reunited with its anchor, is suffering from stiff steering which needs some attention. Finding the tackle was very lucky as there was a few bobs worth there, if we had to replace it.

I did most of my early sailing in Newquay & Restronguet in Enterprises and still have quite an affection for them, but today’s Enterprise is quite a bit different from the Enterprise of yesterday as they have managed to update many of the weaker aspects of the boat, but it is still a very uncomfortable boat to hike. At the moment Jeremy & Rebecca Stephens from Penzance are the current National Champions but it looks like they are about to be replaced by another Cornish duo as the Jackman brothers from Looe are streaks ahead of the rest of the fleet at the mid way point in their Nationals which are being sailed this week at Exe. The Looe fleet is well represented with some 8 boats racing in the 35 boat fleet. There was a time when an Enterprise was a staple part of almost every sailing Club, but now are in quite a minority, only Looe and Penzance seems to have any numbers of them racing in Cornwall.

July 25th
yardl Fantastic westerly breeze brings out the sailors
Judging by the weather forecast that I heard this morning, my sailing shorts which have been my constant sailing companion for the last few weeks are to be confined to the bottom of my sailing bag! Our fantastic spell of hot sunny weather is due to come crashing down with rain and very strong winds by the weekend, but gales in July, what is going on? Well the gardens and reservoirs need a top up. I think that we will all be happy with that for a day or two as long as the good weather returns very, very soon.

Last night recorded our best turn out of the year with 18 boats out on the water, though sailing was almost a non event as there was very little breeze to be seen at Porthpean but the weather conditions produced a very nice north westerly that wafted out over us and produced an amazing azure blue coloured flat sea. In fact those conditions are my favourite conditions and I couldn’t wait to get out and sail. There were one or two sceptics who thought that the breeze wouldn’t hold but I assured them that we would have no trouble until the sun started to dip away over the hill.

Paddy & Steve took the RIB and laid us a starboard rounding course with a beat that took us from out at sea in to the beach marks, and in fact we were all set up for a prompt 19.00 start. Alas that wasn’t to be because as we hardened up pre race to start the beat it became obvious that the breeze had swung somewhat to produce an almost 1 tack beat. Now there are one or two people that if were on RIB duty would just go with that and say that the conditions were the same for every one. Well that’s as may be, but not for Paddy & Steve. The RIB’s anchor was swiftly pulled up and we all shot across the bay to find and excellent beat, now with a port handed rounding.

yardl As per normal we checked the tacking headings and the line bias. We concluded that the bias was almost non existent so elected for a normal starboard approach. All went well and fortunately the very narrow gap that I could see suddenly opened a little as Stacey who was fractionally in front of us had in the last few seconds to bear off a little to avoid being over the line. In fact I had to do a little similar manoeuvring to stay the right side of the start line also. Anyway as the gun went and we hardened up I suddenly saw out of the corner of my eye the RS400 of Chris & Kathy crossing the entire fleet with a perfectly executed port hand flyer. In less than a nana second I realised that the port tack was the one to be on and we quickly tacked into clear wind and a lift; what joy to suddenly be lifted away from the entire fleet and be on our way. Our little contest with Chris and Kathy saw us round the beach marks just in front and the pair of us was way out in front of the rest of the fleet.

Our lead was soon cancelled out as the by now spinnaker powered RS sailed over us and they were away. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough breeze for us to plane but we were trucking along quite nicely, but we just didn’t have that extra zip that a spinnaker produces. Strangely enough spinnakers gave problems to every boat sailing last Sunday but tonight with a 1/3 of the fleet sporting them they appeared to be very advantageous and I certainly coveted their extra power. Fortunately the breeze was fresh enough on the beats that we could both sit out and that produced enough power to finish close enough behind the Isles to take the victory on corrected time.

Our fast fleet tonight had only 5 boats racing, but with Stacey in his D-zero and Roger in his Blaze there is never a moment when you can relax as both boats can produce spurts of sailing that can out power a Tasar, so we were lucky that they both had a subdued first beat and for a while were stuck with the rest of our 17 boat fleet. In fact the D-zero and Blaze are very close together on handicap, but it was Roger who was closest to us for much of the race, though Stacey in the fractionally slower boat pulled him back to finish only 6 seconds behind. Steve & Ashley were out in their RS400, but were caught up in the crowded mele on the first beat and struggled to break free for quite a while.

Looking back at the slow fleet it appeared that Andrew & Jenny were the leaders of the pack and also heading up the bunch of the 3 Scorpions that were out tonight. Not far behind could be seen the blue spinnaker of the Kestrel. I think Jan & Pete were buried somewhat on the beat but were working their way forward, until eventually they popped out of the pack to lead their fleet and took their victory by over a minute over Kay & Sophie who managed to overtake the Kendalls on the last beat. Beacky & new crew Paul are now starting to find their rhythm and came from a long way back to finish only about 20 seconds behind the Kendalls. In fact the Scorpions took 2, 3 & 4th in the results.

yardl The Laser sailors were very well represented with a total of 7 of them out in their various configurations ranging from Ciarran in his Rooster 8.1, Nick & Brian in standard format and Sarah, Janet, Harry & Clive in the radials. Of the 7, Ciarran was by far the fastest but and there is always a but, his handicap saw him plummet down to 4th Laser on corrected time. The Laser with the best result of the evening was the Club Laser driven by Sarah Rendell who finished 5th overall, just in front of Nick & Brian Reeves. Nigel, once again took James’s RS Aero5 out for the night but in the light conditions could only manage 9th. I think a 7 rig would have been a better bet for this evening’s condition. Adding a 9 rig would have brought him up to Stacey’s & Roger’s sort of speed.

As if on cue the breeze started to fade away a little as we finished though there was still enough left to allow us to sail back to the beach, though the last 100 M were very quiet. Fortunately the clear skies gave us plenty of daylight but the next cloudy night that we race will really bring it home to us that the long light days are starting to fade away and that my friends is the last Wednesday race in July. As I mentioned earlier, the forecast for the weekend is not looking good. Not only are we promised rain but also strong to gale force westerly winds as some weather systems that have been sitting out in the Atlantic are starting to come through, showing the first signs of our glorious weather coming to an end. Now whether the end is temporary or not is not known just yet so let’s not get too despondent, August is still a warm month and September often gives us some glorious days albeit rather short of daylight, and there are still a lot of races yet to come.

July 22nd
yardl Flying Doctor becomes a swimming doctor
My sailing shorts have had numerous outings this season and this weekend was no different. Tee short and shorts are helping preserve my wet suit and spray tops as this delightful summer stretches on. BUT how strange I have woken up today, Monday, to a very grey looking sky, which is in total contrast to the weekend just gone by. In fact for the dinghy sailor, and there are some of us at Porthpean, it has been quite a busy weekend of sailing. On Saturday 9 dinghies sailed across to Charlestown to take part in their annual regatta. We were also joined by a handful of Cats who had sailed across from Pentewan. They were accompanied by Roger & Jacqui in their RIB for safety cover. Last year very strong winds forced the event to be cancelled but this year we are having one of those summers we usually only dream about and with a very light south easterly filling our sails we cruised across, basking in the sunshine.

Pete took charge of the pesky Kestrel and was crewed by son Rob and the pairing looked ominously fast during pre start manoeuvres and we were not too surprised to see them take a good lead by the end of the first beat. However they were also up against Jeremy & Suzanne who hounded them down and eventually passed them to build up enough distance to take the win. The 2nd race proved to be a bit of a disaster for the Hawkins as they were adjudged to be over the start line at the start, necessitating a return and restarting and although they recovered somewhat it wasn’t enough to give them a high enough position to take the overall win. In this race the star of the fleet appeared to be Tim Harrison who shot up the first beat in Stacey’s D-zero, but once again the pesky Kestrel was on the war path, catching him in a port and starboard incident at the end of the 2nd beat which dropped him down and allowed the Kestrel to take the lead and with that the event. Janet was looking on beaming with pride from the harbour wall at Charlestown.

A very enjoyable social was hosted in the Clubhouse on Saturday evening, courtesy of Tony. Food was self provided and a new game was foisted on us, providing plenty of amusement for the assembled hoards, write up to follow sometime.

yardl Now you often hear people bemoaning the fact that they can never see a doctor, well that was no problem for us yesterday when we were graced with the presence of 4 doctors on the water and in one case it was one doctor rescuing another doctor.

Yesterday was another beautiful day and we turned up at the Club to see a bay with signs of wind and calm patches laid out in front of us. However by 11.00 it had signs of settling down to a southerly, which was rather ominous as the forecast was to have a westerly air flow over us. Anyway we can only sail with what we have been dealt and Beacky & Ciarran set us a rather small port handed triangular course, with a beat out towards Blackhead. With no port bias whatsoever on the line we all lined up for a starboard start, with a bit of a gaggle vying to board the RIB. That never works as the RIB is far stronger than the average dinghy. The breeze was starting to freshen slightly and Ken was delighted to join me on the side decks and the toe straps had a very good work out.

For us it was one of those golden days as we somehow managed to eke out a lead of about 200M when we rounded the windward mark for the first time. The beat was followed by a broad reach and we were anxious to reach the gybe mark before the pursuing RS400s and B14 with spinnakers flying who were hunting us down. The 2nd reach was a tight one and with 2 of us on the side we flew down it in true Tasar style, and that for us was enough, especially as both the RS400s eventually had spinnaker trouble which kept the spinnakers in the boats for the rest of the race. In the case of Steve & Ashley their troubles also cost them a capsize in their endeavours to pull the spinnaker down. Paddy is sailing in the B14 Nationals in only 2 weeks time, Stacey will crew for him and today they were using the races for practicing.

The Kestrel, back in the tender hands of Janet, made mincemeat of the slow fleet to take another win. Mike Voyzey in only his 2nd or 3rd outing in his Supersofa, showed that he is quickly getting to grips with the boat to take 2nd place. Talking of Supersofas, reminds me that we are still missing Simon Robins who has abandoned this season due to personal problems. Simon should have his brand new boat when he eventually rejoins us and that will be worth looking at. Brian was back to form in his Laser and finished 5 seconds behind Mike on corrected time, so quite close there. Even slightly closer was the battle between Nick & Janet with Nick having a 4 second advantage. Another close battle was between John Hill & Dave Mackrell, with John’s steed, a Supersofa, claiming a 7 second victory over Dave, so all in all quite tight for the majority in the slow fleet.

yardl Just before we left shore for the afternoon race it became apparent that the wind direction was about to change as gusts of westerly breeze were felt but at the time it wasn’t strong enough to defeat the southerly morning breeze and so we set off for an Olympic style course, though Beacky had stretched the beat out to about twice its previous length which also extended the first reach, but not unfortunately for us second reach. After a slight delay we set off on another solid starboard biased line and for us it was like sailing with a bucket behind us. The breeze just switched off and we sat in a hole for many minutes as most of the fleet sailed around and away from us. It was almost that bad that due to some frustrations and chit chat, Ken explains it slightly differently on the PSC F/B page!! We were tempted to break the paddle out and head for home, but giving up is not an option.

Well we didn’t give up and the new westerly breeze eventually reached us but only in fits and starts and we staggered onwards, reaching towards the “windward” mark. Chris and Kathy in their RS400 looked to have an unassailable lead and Paddy & Stacey were well on their way ahead of us all. In fact we were at that time, as we rounded the first mark, behind the Kestrel and also Janet in her Laser radial. However the breeze was building and moving around a little and the first reach which was originally very broad became a tight reach and we certainly made some good speed as we enjoyed the flat out planing that we had at times, so we just dug in and enjoyed the conditions as best we could. That reach probably helped us to make inroads into our competitors ahead, which for a time included the Kestrel who we overtook on the beat and then held off on the broad reach. The “run” was a bit one sided so we managed to sail it without many gybes. After several laps the shortened course flag was flown and some time later when the numbers were crunched we discovered that we had made up enough time to claim our 2nd victory of the day. Well that was a surprise after our becalming on the first leg and goes to show that sometimes you can still get lucky if you hang in there.

The fresher conditions proved very tricky for quite a few of the slow fleet but that couldn’t stop the Kestrel, taking another victory. Janet in her Laser radial turned her high placing on the first “beat” into a very good 2nd place overall, claiming her position by over 90 seconds on Brian in his standard Laser. One of our Laser sailing doctors had a spot of trouble when his main sheet came undone and pulled out of all the pulleys to leave the sail and boom flapping around out of control, and then he capsized whilst trying to re rig it. The RIB flew over to give some assistance and Ciarran went from flying doctor to swimming doctor when he dived in to try and help out, between them the boat was righted and the mainsheet restored to its rightful pulleys, allowing a very soggy Dave to sail home, with a DNF against his name.

July 19th
yardl A light breeze summer evening race
The school summer holidays are starting later this week and Cornwall will be a magnet for many visitors and our roads and beaches for 6 weeks will become chaotic, so last night was probably the last time that we had a reasonably easy drive down to the Club and also the last time that we will have plenty of space on our beach, unless it is raining. I eas greeted by a very lightlooking breeze on the bay and the question on everybody's lips was "Would it last?" Well in a word "Yes" so we rigged and set off out to sea, in a rather light north westerly. The sun seems almost to have deserted us over the last few days, but it still has been very pleasantly warm, and there is still no forecast of any significant rain in the immediate future so our delightful summer stretches onwards.

12 boats graced the bay last night, one of which was Sue Dazza, trying out a Supersofa with regards to buying it. I think the test sail went well and it looks like the owner will be a very rich man soon; I think another holiday may be in the offing. We did see an inadvertent capsize from Sue but she quickly restored the boat to an upright position, clambered back on board and had a very nice sail round the bay and I expect to be adding her name to the boat owners’ page very shortly.

Jan & Pete were our RIB drivers tonight, leaving their beloved Kestrel sitting looking rather forlorn in the dinghy park. The breeze that they had to contend with was a very light, slightly fickle, north westerly, which gave us a very interesting beat in to the beach marks and a starboard hand rounding before a reach off across past Duporth to a gybe mark sitting well within the Charlestown gap area.

Once again the faster fleet was sailing with reduced numbers and I thought at first there were only going to be 2 of us. That was ourselves and the RS400 of Steve & Ashley who have returned from their very long travel to Ullswater where they competed in the Lord Birket weekend. The Lord Birket is a 2 day race. Basically the races take in the full length of Ullswater and is usually contested by about 200 boats. Unfortunately this year the wind was almost non existent resulting in many retirements, so although it was a great experience to sail amongst so many boats the conditions were such that the enjoyment factor overall was rather muted. The trophy was won by an RS400, though unfortunately not Steve’s RS400. Paddy who would normally be out with Steve, who is now recovering from his mystery illness, was therefore crewless, but salvation suddenly appeared when Nigel came down for the evening and agreed to jump into the crew’s seat. Jeremy & Suzanne, back from their holidays were late leaving work and couldn’t get down on time to rig and race.

The slower fleet, once again looked the more interesting with 3 Scorpions and 5 Lasers competing, 3 of which were radials, but who would come out on top? The breeze was quite light, and not quite enough to keep 2 of us on the side and certainly not enough to get us up on to the plane, but the water was very flat, with no visible swell. The start line was a good length and quite heavily port biased. I must admit I was tempted but realised that there would be a lot of traffic sailing down the left hand side of the line so decided that a starboard run in would be our preferred option. I think that we had the best start as we just cleared the RIB and were on our way as the gun unleashed us up the track. The first beat was the most exciting part of the race and at one time we crossed tacks a few times with the Scorpions and Paddy & Nigel. However we managed to slide round the beach marks first just ahead of a noisy bunch of followers. In fact looking back I felt glad to be out of it as 2 of the Scorpions plus Janet in her Laser radial and Paddy and the RS400 all tried to squeeze round together. Fortunately whilst they were trying to sort themselves out we managed to slip away into a very nice lead.

Typically on a summer’s evening the breeze starts to wane and tonight was no exception and we were very relieved when we approached the end of the 4th beat to find the “S” being flown from the RIB and we sailed across the line to take a very nice win.

Andrew & Jenny managed to take the lead in the slow fleet in their Scorpion over Kay & Sophie and Beacky and his new crew Paul. In fact the 2 leading Scorpions did us a bit of a favour as they held Paddy & Nigel back on the reaches as their spinnakers produced as much speed as the Tasar which meant they started the beats on the back foot. Janet must have felt tickled pink as she was right up with the main bunch on the first beat but the real Laser star of the night was Nick Haskin who finished 3rd just behind 2 of the Scorpions and even managed to beat Brian Reeves by over a minute. Janet fell back a little during the race and she finished just behind Brian. Andrew & Jenny took a fine win in the slow fleet followed rather closely only 20 seconds behind by Kay & Sophie.

Whilst we were racing the clouds had slowly drifted away and we were bathed in some late evening sunshine, which nicely complimented the light sail that we had just had. We returned to an empty beach, the tide had risen somewhat whilst we were out sailing and was just starting to lick the trolleys, so we didn’t have too far to walk up the beach. For the après sail the Clubhouse was very lively, the bar was doing well and Jenny’s bacon butties were going down a treat. Summer goes on and this Saturday sees our annual participation in Charlestown Regatta. I believe that we all have had an email detailing the event and I hope that we get a reasonable turn out from Porthpean. The regatta was cancelled last year due to very strong winds which prevented the Pentewan Cats from coming round the headland. This year looks like a more subdued affair and I hear that there may be 4 Cats coming over from Pentewan this year. In fact Pentewan are having a very hard time trying to drum up enough members to race at weekends, so our low numbers may be disappointing to me but at least we are getting out sailing. Maybe some of them should do a conversion course and come and join us. I am sure that they would have more fun.

July 15th
yardl Porthpean in the Mediterranean
What an amazing spell of weather we are hanging on to. For the 2nd week in a row I have been able to sail in only Tee shirt and shorts, plus BA of course and hat pulled well down over my thinning thatch. It’s just a shame that more members don’t take full advantage of this weather and join us out on the race track or just come and have a sail round the bay.

I want to try and keep this short as today racing was for the July Cup and we had 3 races to get through. Tony Dunn & Mike Voyzey did a magnificent job in giving us a large P course to sail round. With Dave Mackrell and Colin up in the time keeping box we were all set for an interesting day of sailing. In fact the morning race became something of a marathon as the fast fleet sailed a full 4 rounds taking us some 66 minutes to complete. The afternoon races were slightly shorter but they both took over 50 minutes, so I am sitting here tonight feeling slightly worn out but happy as Ken & I managed to win all 3 races, which seems almost a waste as we only needed 2 races to count. Still it was a good exercise in starting procedure and the 1st beats in particular were always challenging and interesting. Our fleet was small with only Paddy & Stacey in the B14 and Chris & Kathy in their RS400, but I think the P course suited us best as it gave 1 tight reach where it was impossible for the B14 & RS to fly their Kites, so although we were always the last of our bunch the friendly computer decided that we had the best times, though I think we would all have benefited and preferred it if the breeze had been a tad stronger allowing full hiking and some planing

Paddy’s B14 was on the water for the first time this year. The B14 Nationals are being held in Paignton at the very beginning of August and Stacey has agreed to crew for him, so today was their first opportunity to get some much needed practice in. In fact the benign conditions were excellent for a shake down trial and the spinnaker was seen to be going up and down without any problems. It was also very pleasant to see Justin turn out for the last race of the day with his 6 year old daughter Lara crewing for him. Lara has wanted to sail for quite a while now and today was the day. The conditions were light enough that they could control the Tasar quite easily and they managed to take 2nd place in the 3rd race.

yardl The slow fleet had the most interesting number of boats racing and once again it was the pesky Kestrel who forged herself to the front, taking full use of the power of the boat in the lighter airs. 3 Scorpions joined in the racing, though Beacky having his almost 1st outing of the season had to go single handed. Anyone know of a spare crew who would like to sail in a Scorpion? Anyway his very light all up sailing weight was less than half of the other 2 Scorpions and for 2 rounds he managed to stay well in front of the entire slow fleet. He even overtook us on the first beat due to pure boat speed. However the breeze freshened slightly on the 3rd round and inevitably he succumbed to the dreaded capsize. Thus ending his race and he beat a hasty journey back to the beach.

Looking at the results I see that at one stage we had a total of 6 Lasers racing and the most successful of those was Brian Reeves, though he had a bit of a scare when Janet Preston beat him in the first race. In fact Janet had a very good result in that race when she tied for 2nd place on corrected time with Kay & Nigel in the Scorpion who in turn managed to be comfortably in front of the other Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny.

James D turned up at lunch time, still suffering from a hangover from the night before but he was soon into his stride when he managed to rig and launch his RS Aero5 and promptly took 2 2nds to take 2nd overall. The mighty Kestrel taking all 3 races in the slow fleet. I hear muttering and moaning about the Kestrel’s handicap, but the handicap has been set by the RYA and is adjudged to be a slower boat than a Scorpion. The RYA yardsticks are produced by data from sailing results from all over the country. They have decreed that a Kestrel is fractionally a slower boat than a Scorpion so either Jan & Pete are sailing out of their skins or our Scorpion sailors are not sailing fast enough. I would be quite happy if they went back to their previous handicap and rejoined the fast fleet, but maybe that isn’t the fairest way forward. Anyway as our fleets all start together we all have various tussles, especially on the first beat.

Returning to the beach today proved quite an interesting conundrum trying to avoid the many canoes, kayaks SUPs and children swimming. The hot weather is bringing them out in droves, but we all landed without any disasters, boats were recovered and hauled up the slope, mainly courtesy of Paddy’s car

Steve Coello was missing from the fleet today. I hear that he isn’t feeling very well so I would like to wish him from all of us at Porthpean a speedy recovery and hope that he will be with us next Wednesday. Well that’s enough from me, it’s Monday morning now and we have a walk planned for 10.00 and then Ukulele Club for me this pm; no time for a rest when you are a pensioner.

July 11th
yardl No Wind
No sailing
No Blog
England very disappointing, should have been 3 up at half time

At least we can have a fairly normal day of racing on Sunday.
July 8th
Porthpean on tour viists the Mediterranean
yardl What another scorching day we have just had. This incredible weather just seems to go on and on; and I for one like it. However I’m pleased to say that what seems to be a non stop easterly air flow has, for the moment, petered out and today we had more of a northerly air flow over Porthpean. It looked at first as though we were going to have another windless day but there was just enough signs of a breeze out in the bay to tempt us out. Needless to say my sailing shorts have been used far more this year than in previous years.

Janet & Duncan drew the short straws today, having to take the RIB, though I am not sure if that really was a punishment as the conditions we had to sail in were rather dire, well more light than really dire, but sitting on the RIB wasn’t too bad when they watched us grinding our way round the course. Jeremy Turner and Colin sat in the race box and prepared to do an imitation of watching paint dry and had to keep their wits about them as quite often there was quite a gathering of boats attempting to round the beach marks together.

Porthpean was looking at its absolute best, with a cloudless sky, a very blue sea and more importantly a very flat sea. There were times when we first launched and glided out towards the starting area that it was impossible to hear the boat moving through the water; conditions were that flat. However we rendezvoused out at sea to find that the lurking breeze would give us a beat across the bay towards Polkerris before turning for the beach marks and then back out to sea. Strangely enough it is only a course that we have about once a year but this year, weather-wise has been very different to previous years and we have sailed this course a few times, so I suppose we are getting used to it.

Fortunately we had a very good start in the ultra light breeze and it was soon apparent that the wandering breeze had suddenly turned the course into the hateful one tack beat, run and a fetch. Luckily for us, we managed to keep still enough to arrive at the first mark in the lead. We almost made the beat in one hit and only had to do a short hitch to round. That beat was followed by a run and Paddy & Steve who had been 2nd round the windward mark started to close us down, so much so that there was only a couple of boat lengths between us. However we still had our lead at the beach marks and a nice fetch out to the leeward mark helped us to draw out enough of distance to remain in the lead and by the end we had a nice little distance between us and Paddy & Steve, who had been sailing in our “dirty” wind. Richard in his Contender suffered in the light winds and couldn’t make any headway on any of us.

Stacey for once had a poor start and a poor 1st beat and just could not use the full potential of the D-zero downwind and had to settle for 3rd in our small fleet. Once again the slow fleet had the larger numbers, and for once the pesky Kestrel was sitting on the beach and not pounding round the course. Andrew & Jenny took full advantage of being the only 3 sailed boat on the course but although they finished first on the water in their fleet they had to settle for 2nd as once again Brian Reeves in his Laser took the win on corrected time. We had 2 Supersofas out today and Mike Voyzey managed to hold off the far more experienced Jeremy Rowett to take 5th just behind Ciarran who managed to use the power of his Rooster 8.1 rig and finished 4th. Jeremy finished 7th sandwiched between the 2 Lasers of Dave Mackrell and Nick Haskins. It was a race but certainly could never be described as a classic.

yardl We’re on neap tides this weekend so there wasn’t a lot of beach to be shared by the hoards of sun worshippers and we had to be very careful when we arrived back at shore after our morning race. The water’s edge was packed with swimmers and they too provided obstacles to be avoided. Not very many of us sat out in the hot sun as it really was very, very hot, but an umbrella on the decking provided a nice bit of shade for the lucky 8 who bagged a seat first. A nice little bit of light relief came along when somebody reported a flock of sheep in our field / car park. Indeed a group of a bout 20 sheep had escaped from a nearby farmer’s field, walked along the cliff path and then wandered into our field and promptly started eating the grass. Well done sheep. The farmer was contacted and by the time we came back from the afternoon race the sheep had been rounded up and taken home.

The building morning breeze decided that the land temperature was far too hot for the day and started to wane away; leaving us with a very light southerly sea breeze. The course was tweaked to suit and this time our start was from the beach marks. The 2 Supersofas dropped out of the afternoon race but we were joined by the pesky Kestrel who saw another opportunity to gobble up some race points. Well as it happened the new wind direction gave us a much better course configuration than for the morning and this time we had to beat out towards Blackhead. There was no bias on the start line and we all started on starboard and we were lead round the first mark by Stacey, followed by Andrew & Jenny, Paddy & Steve, us and the pesky Kestrel who was determined to prove itself under the helming of Janet to be the fastest boat on the water in the light breeze.

Stacey was well away on the light breeze but Andrew & Jenny proved to be equally as fast for the first reach, with spinnaker flying they proved a match for both of the Tasars. We managed, not only to hold the Kestrel off on the reach but managed to catch and pass Paddy & Steve. The 2nd reach was a bit too tight for the spinnakers and our Tasar although unable to plane managed to surge above the Scorpion to be 2nd at the beach marks. Poor Paddy was stuck with the mess of trying to extricate himself from the problem of being surrounded by the Scorpion and the Kestrel as he started the beat, a plight I have found in ourselves before now and so very frustrating.

To cut a long story short the conditions remained very light. We stuck with Stacey for 3 full rounds but lost out a bit on the last beat. Stacey not only took line honours but also the race win. Jan & Pete slowly moved up through the fleet and had a good lead over the Scopion and looked to have the race in the bag. We had only just finished when the breeze started to have a real wobble and as Paddy, Richard and Janet approached the 1st beach mark they found themselves suddenly becalmed and then were presented with a beat to sail between the 2 beach marks. Andrew & Jenny who had been several boat lengths behind and well out of contention managed to avoid all the confusion and lack of wind, and in their own private breeze, sailed through them all to finish ahead of the Kestrel and with enough time in hand to take the win in their fleet. Very broad smiles were seen to be emanating from the Scorpion and I could almost hear the gnashing of teeth from the Kestrel. Nick had a much better race than in the morning and steered his Laser to 3rd, well in front of Brian, who in turn finished in front of the 2 Lasers of father and Son, Ciarran & Harry.

Congratulations to Stacey who took his D-Zero up to Clevedon on Saturday for an open meeting and was well rewarded by taking first place, but what a hot day to have to travel. Still first prize is always justified despite the hot sticky journey.

July 4th
And the Easterly air flow continues.
yardl Once more we assembled at the Club for our mid week race to be greeted by yet another evening of an easterly breeze and an overcast sky. The burning question on everyone’s lips was “Would it hold?” Normally with a light easterly breeze it tends to fade away as the evening draws on but tonight’s breeze had a bit more flesh on the bones so to speak and just to tempt us out there was a minimal wave affect on the beach. Well I don’t know what exactly attracted so many down to race but we had 16 boats racing and another 2 out for a jolly, which was by far the best attendance of the season so far. Maybe the reputation of Jennie’s Bacon butties is having the right affect and bringing them down. Now I may have to repeat myself here, we had 8 Lasers rigging up. Yes 8 Lasers rigging up. The last time I remember 8 of any class rigging up was in the 80s when we had lots of Tasars sailing. I think back in the golden age of sailing the Club saw more than 8 Scorpions and more than 8 Lasers, quite regularly but that sort of figure is very difficult for us to achieve nowadays. I am talking about Club sailing here as we have had the odd regatta and Open meeting with more boats. However it is good to see a bit more enthusiasm in the dinghy park.

The slow fleet surpassed itself tonight with 13 boats on the water. The 8 Lasers were joined by a couple of Scorpions, the pesky Kestrel and Nigel in James’s RS Aero, which he found in the redundant area of the dinghy park. Mike Voyzey was another sailor scratching his head as he studied what goes where on his new Supersofa; in fact quite a mixed bunch indeed. Our fast fleet was down to a miserly 3, with 2 Tasars and a Contender. However 2 of the fast fleet were manning the RIB tonight so that went somewhat to remedying our small numbers.

We were one of the earlier boats to launch and though I do dislike an easterly air flow as it gives very little opportunity to play with wind shifts and the lumpy sea that it brings makes sailing upwind a bit of an unpleasant ride however it wasn’t too bad initially and as I said earlier the breeze was slightly on the fresh side. Unfortunately it did fade away somewhat after the first round.

yardl Stacey & Justin set a nice port handed triangular course and our first look at the conditions allowed us to plane a bit down wind, so all in all not too bad. The start line had some port bias but with a larger than normal fleet out the odds on getting away with it were not too good so we elected to go for the starboard tack start and managed to lead the fleet away at the start. Our start was good enough to get us to the windward mark 1st and we started to eke out a little more on the 2 reaches, but ominously Paddy and Steve were not too far behind. All was well for the first 2 rounds but I became rather greedy on the 3rd beat as we hardened up I realised that we were on a header and tacked off. I thought we were playing a blinder and when we tacked back onto port it first appeared that we had increased our lead but as we sailed towards the mark we found that we were headed and Paddy managed to sneak past us. By this time the breeze was starting to fade and I just couldn’t eke out the necessary speed to recover our lead. Needless to say our cat and mouse chase went on throughout the rest of the race and Paddy & Steve took a well deserved win.

Fortunately for us the pesky Kestrel is now in the so called slow fleet. Initially we pulled away from them on the reaches but as the wind subsided, their spinnaker which they could fly on every reach gave them enough speed to close us down somewhat and if they were in the same class as us would have taken the victory. No need to say they were easy winners in the slow fleet.

I think that there were battles going on throughout the fleet, with everybody jockeying for that extra bit of speed wherever they could. The 2 Scorpions had an excellent battle as well and Andrew & Jenny were kept on their toes right to the end finishing only a few seconds in front of Kay & our latest member Sophie. However the Scorpions in turn were well beaten by Nigel in the Aero 5 who took 2nd which was a great result as it was only his second outing in the boat that surely must be underpowered for him. Brian Reeves took bragging rights in the 8 boat Laser fleet; finishing 3rd and Janet took a magnificent 4th in front of the 2 Scorpions, pushing them down to 5th & 6th.

It appears that our good spell of weather is set to continue for a little while extra, which is good for the visitors and sun worshippers but not quite so good for us racing types. However I am prepared to pay the price if necessary for the good weather to continue.

July 1st
What's this, rain trying to interrupt our summer!
yardl I don’t know about you but I have really been enjoying this spell of beautiful weather. Unfortunately our sailing has been badly affected but such good weather is so rare that I am prepared to miss out on some sailing and enjoy the sun. The weather of late has been so good that Sue & I took the opportunity to go on a day trip to the Scillies last week, taking advantage of the local’s offer of £25 per person for a day return trip. We have never been there before so were looking forward to the trip. We sailed under completely cloudless skies, very little breeze, hot sunshine and very calm seas on the journey from Penzance to St Marys and return on the Scillonian. The crossing takes about 3 hours each way and gives you about 4 full hours of leisure time to do some exploring. We had a fantastic day out and I would fully recommend it to anyone else who fancies a trip.

Now for today. For the first time for weeks we awoke to the sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof and windows and it was still raining lightly as I arrived at the Club. An easterly breeze was wafting over us but as the morning wore on the rain stopped and the sun came out and the temperature started to soar. Easterly winds are the bane of Porthpean SC and yes it was another day of very light easterlies again today. I suppose it was ok in a way because it was relatively easy to launch and recover, though the sailing excitement was far too low to really enjoy racing.

Once again our turnout was low and we had only 2 of us in the fast fleet, namely Chris & Kathy in their RS400 and Ken & me in our Tasar. The slow fleet boasted 4 with Andrew & Jenny’s Scorpion taking on 2 Lasers and James’s Aero 5, under the guiding hand of Nigel who it must be said was having his first sail in the Aero.

The fast fleet was depleted somewhat because Paddy & Steve took charge of the RIB and Roger & Wendy Williams took charge of the OOD box and the galley. The enthusiasm to go sailing was very low but we were all cajoled by Andrew & Jenny who saw the chance to claw back some points on the Kestrel whose parents Pete & Jan were away having a family day today. Maybe even they were fed up of the continuous easterly airflow and easy victories they have been having.

yardl Anyway the RIB was launched and in the almost windless conditions Paddy & Steve ventured out into the bay where they found a very light breeze and this was enough for them to set us a course that I don’t think I have sailed before and that was a starboard handed course, beating from the beach marks across towards Charlestown and then turning out to sea before a gybe took us back to the beach marks.

The start line showed quite a bit of port bias but we still elected to cross on starboard and head in towards the cliffs in the hope of picking up a little more breeze. In fact the breeze for the first 2 rounds was almost reasonable and we both managed to perch on the side decks from time to time for most of the beat and we had a good reward by rounding first some 5 or 6 boat lengths in front of the RS400. The subsequent reaches were close enough for us to maintain some reasonable boat speed and enabled us to still retain our lead at the end of the 1st round. Looking back it was clear that Nick in his Laser was well ahead of the rest of his fleet and maybe looking forward to taking a victory, in fact Andrew & Jenny were looking as if they were really down the pan, but then the breeze that we had slowly diminished, allowing the RS to overtake us on one of the reaches and also allowed Andrew & Jenny to make full use of their spinnaker and superior upwind performance to crawl back to the front of their fleet.

Our first 2 rounds, before we were overtaken by the RS, stood us in good stead and we managed to finish close enough behind Chris & Kathy to take a win on corrected time. Janet once again had her radial rig on and took 2nd place but only 4 seconds on corrected time over Nigel in the Aero. I don’t know where Nick lost his time but he went from a clear 1st position in the early part of the race down to 4th at the end.

After a leisurely lunch / picnic on the decking in the sunshine we looked long and hard to see whether it was worth going out for another gruelling race in no wind. Once again Andrew was whipping up some enthusiasm and 3 Lasers and the Scorpion launched and drifted extremely slowly out to sea. Chris and I discussed the conditions and agreed not to bother trying to race in such awful conditions, dropped our sails and dragged our boats back up to the yard. By the time we had completed 2 journeys we could see the rest of the fleet making their way back to the shore and it was clear that the fleet was voting with their paddles and decided that either some sun bathing or drinks on the decking was more enjoyable than drifting around under the beating sun.

Almost inevitably as we packed the boats away a more sustained breeze appeared on the scene but I think in all fairness that it was a bit late in the day for us as the direction was totally different and we would have had to wait for the breeze to settle and the course to be re laid, before we could have started and whether we would have had enough people still wanting to sail was questionable.

I note, looking ahead at the forecast that the westerly wind flow may be back by Wednesday and sailing might start to look more appealing again. Time will tell but in the meantime this beautiful weather appears to be still with us. Enjoy it while you can.

June 27th
No racing today, Jose
yardl yardl A moderate to fresh easterly blowing all day; a high tide due at racing times conspired to make this nigh on perfect weather a no no for sailing. Still Colin’s amazing skills came in to for once again as this time he has turned his hand to beer making. Cheers Colin.
June 24th
It's hot, it's sunny, it's dry with very little wind. It's SUMMER!!
yardl Thanks for all the kind words about missing my blog. I hadn’t realised that so many people actually read it. Although it would be of little interest to people not associated with Porthpean but at least for the regular Club Members it is a way of knowing what actually happens over a season.

Now before I get down to today’s sailing then we must first Congratulate Stacey who has just attended the D-zero Nationals held in Plymouth. The Nationals comprised an 8 race series with 3 races on Friday. The wind came out to play on Friday and it was no surprise to me to see Stacey lying 3rd. However the wind became lighter on Saturday and Sunday and he eventually slipped back into 5th. Nevertheless it was still a very good result and Stacey has the kudos of being the top Cornish D-zero sailor as he beat all 3 of the Restronguet sailors who have a fleet of 10 or so to tune up against. Maybe they should come to Porthpean and tune up against Stacey.

yardl Now, what a beautiful summer’s day we have had today. Tee shirt and shorts were all that were needed for sailing as we had a day of wall to wall sunshine, light breezes and very warm temperatures. We have had all of that for a couple of days now and by all accounts this spell of superb weather is set to continue right though this week and in to next weekend. Looking back at the winter and early spring weather that we had to endure then I suppose we are due this lovely spell, so let’s appreciate it whilst we can. However the down side for us is that the light breeze wasn’t very exciting for racing. When the winds are primarily from the east we can have some very unpleasant times launching and recovering. Mind you it looked like sailing would be a non event today as we gathered at the Club this morning and gazed out at an almost windless bay and no one was surprised to see the postponement flag being flown.

I suppose you could say that we were lucky as a very light southerly breeze suddenly appeared in the bay and we all rushed to rig and prepared to race. Nigel & Brian Reeves were our RIB drivers today and set a very reasonable port handed course giving us a beat from the beach marks out towards Blackhead. Mike Voyzey and Pascual were positioned in the race box and between them we came under starter’s orders for an Olympic style course race. Unfortunately once again our racing numbers were low with only 3 boats racing in each fleet. However the start was as closely contested as possible and we had a go at a port handed start. Fortunately we just got away with it passing ahead of the fast RS400 of Chris & Kathy by a matter of inches, but that was all we needed to help us on our way up the first beat to round the windward mark in the lead. The wind strength was about 3-4 knots so any excitement or thrills for downwind sailing were soon out of the window and we settled down for a slow journey round the course. It wasn’t very long before the spinnaker powered RS overtook us and pulled away to take the win in both time and distance. Paddy & Steve had a poor start and it took them ages just to pass the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny. Janet Preston took her Laser out with it’s radial rig on and though considerably faster than the 4.7 rig could only manage 3rd in her fleet.

yardl Lunch was more like a picnic today as we ate outside under the cloudless blue skies in the brilliant sunshine. The beach was filling up with visitors and they were slowly compressed into a short strip of sand as the tide was coming in and slowly covering the beach. This year there seems to be far more surf canoes and SUPs floating around than last year, plus the sea had lots of swimmers dashing in and out. The buoy line is supposed to segregate swimmers and boaters but unfortunately no one is available to enforce this Council set rule and lots of swimmers seem set on using the entire shoreline and it is quite possible that trouble will loom eventually if and when an accident tales place.

yardl With no change in the breeze direction or strength it looked like we were going to have a repeat of this morning’s race and in fact things were very similar. There was a little port bias on the line and this time I thought that we would try and start on starboard at the pin. Unfortunately for us I arrived just a little early and was adjudged to be over the line. A quick bear away, gybe and harden up and we were soon on our way but unfortunately became stuck behind a portable anchor, sailed by Andrew & Jenny. Their Scorpion points exceptionally high and in trying to escape from their wind shadow a quick tack out to sea was deemed necessary. Unfortunately that dropped us back even further and we arrived at the windward mark, still behind the Scorpion and also the pesky Kestrel. That boat is set to haunt me for the rest of my sailing days. With both the Scorpion and Kestrel flying their spinnakers they had the speed advantage over us. Meanwhile Chris & Kathy and Paddy & Steve were pulling away from us.

We did manage to overtake the Kestrel just before the gybe mark, and were right on the tail of the Scorpion, but just couldn’t generate enough speed to overtake, though we did manage to pass on the 3rd beat. The Kestrel soon gobbled up the Scorpion and the final result was good news for Janet as her Laser radial took he into 2nd position on corrected time. So after the first 2 races in the early summer series both the Isles and Barnes have 2 wins out of 2.

I have suddenly realised as I put this blog together that it is only 6 months to Christmas. If all goes well we should have 3 months of good sailing weather to take us through until the end of September. Last Wednesday was the longest day and technically the nights are now starting to pull in again, though I don't think we will notice much until the end of July; so make sure you get out and enjoy the weather whilst it lasts.

June 21st
The longest day and a return of the westerlies
yardl Quite a few people have asked me why there hasn’t been a blog for a while; well good news for some as here is the blog. The reasons that it has been missing have mainly boiled down to 2 factors. No1 I have been invigilating the 2018 GCSE exams at Penrice, over the last 5 weeks. The majority of the exams have been in the morning and that has meant being there for 08.00. I know that the exams haven’t been “all day” exams but I do have other things to do. It does take me up to 2 hours to prepare a blog, make sure it sort of makes sense and then upload it with appropriate pictures so all in all that is very time consuming. No 2 is that I have become rather disillusioned by the poor turn outs lately and poor sailing conditions and some appalling courses. It is very difficult trying to write enthusiastically when there are only 5 or 7 boats racing and that has been compounded by some rather processional courses with one tack beats followed by a fetch and then a run. We have also have some very nice weather but that has come at the expense of some very light easterly winds, and who wants to race in an easterly from Porthpean beach; no thanks.

Anyway my invigilating comes to an end this Friday and summer is here, so my time may be more my own but listening to the weather forecasts I suspect that we may be in for some more easterly winds, so sailing enjoyment for me may be put on hold for a while yet again.

Still last night was probably the best race attendance meeting that we have had this year. At first appearances it looked like we may have had 14 boats out but unfortunately some were not racing but were taking comfort in the fact that there was rescue cover available, which was good for some of our younger cadets to take advantage of. Even then we could have had a few more boats out, but nowadays many people have not enough time to pursue all the things they want or need to do and their hobbies sometime have to suffer and some are on holiday.

Unfortunately for Jan and Pete and the pesky Kestrel, their good form of late was rudely interrupted last Sunday when the boom snapped in half and they are currently waiting for a new one to be shipped down to Cornwall. The fact that it is travelling via China or Korea is a bit of a bonus for the rest of their fleet, but it could be here for the weekend. Instead of racing last night they helped out by taking control of the RIB, thus allowing Stacey & Richard to sail. Jeremy & Suzanne were scheduled for a pleasant evening in the OOD box but they were greatly relieved when Colin stepped into the breach, thus allowing them to join us on the race track as well.

yardl The fast fleet had a very good complement of entries last night with Chris and Kathy – RS400, coming over from Looe, Richard - Contender, from Newquay, Paddy reunited with Steve -Tasar and Stacey, preparing for the D-zero Nationals to be held this weekend in Plymouth, all joining Jeremy & Suzanne and Ken and me in our Tasars. The slow fleet had a lonely Scorpion crewed by Andrew and Jenny and I think 4 Lasers helmed by Nick, David, Clive and Brian.

I should say that for my liking, the sailing conditions were nigh on perfect. The long sustained easterlies had disappeared to be replaced by a lovely north westerly breeze, which varied a little in both direction and strength. The direction allowed a few wind shifts to affect course strategy and the strength allowed some planing off wind, perfect for racing dinghies and very satisfying for spinnaker clad boats. The real bonus as far as I was concerned was the flat sea which allowed perfect launching and recovery.

Pete and Jan laid a very nice sized course which allowed us all to stretch our legs somewhat. Their start line was a little port biased, so much so that several were tempted into attempting the perfect start. To try and prevent the port hand flyers several of the fleet crept along the start line to block their passage and in the last few seconds one or two arrived a little too early. Richard, trying a port hand flyer was caught by the fleet and ended up pinned to the RIB, collided and stuck to the RIB, Stacey and Jeremy were called back for being over the line and Paddy who was also trying a port hand flyer had to take evasive action and went behind several boats before clearing the start line.

For once we had a bit of luck and cleared the melee in clear winds and set off up the beat, with only Stacey and Chris and Kathy in our vicinity. Our luck was cemented if only briefly by arriving at the beach marks as first boat. The really good news as I looked around was that Jeremy & Suzanne had picked the wrong side of the beat and had dropped back considerably, leaving them with a mountain to climb. No doubt they would soon hit top gear, but would our lead last long enough. I think my enthusiasm must have rubbed off on our Tasar as she seemed to revel in the conditions and zoomed along down wind, being quite happy to plane when she could. The following rounds went well for us and our compass was in charge of our direction upwind. We were eventually caught and passed by Chris & Kathy on a down wind reach, but that was to be expected, though by the time they made it a permanent pass we had built up plenty of time in hand which gave us our first proper victory this year. Jeremy and Suzanne started to make inroads into the fleet ahead and caught and passed Paddy, finishing some 12 seconds in front of him. Jeremy also caught and passed Stacey but Stacey had a little time in hand and claimed 2nd on corrected time.

Brian Reeves and Dr Nick were the fastest of the 4 Lasers out tonight and they sandwiched the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny between them and the 2 radials of Dave Mackrell and Clive. It is an unfortunate fact that slower boats lose out more as the evening progresses and the winds fade away, but at least there was enough entrants and varied conditions to allow competition in both fleets.

We are about to enter another dose of high pressure weather. Our sailing winds will switch around to the east again, much to my dismay but the weather overall will become warmer and sunnier. The beaches will be full of locals and some early holiday makers and Cornwall will look like the playground it is often likened to. Still England are doing quite well (at the moment) in the World Cup. Steve our bar manager has promised free drinks and pasties for all during the Welsh games so make sure that even if you don’t sail you come down for the free offers.

Thanks to all who responded to Andrew’s request for help with the field cut on Tuesday night. I feel very guilty as I forgot all about it!! Sue & I had been out for the day and that particular event had gone completely out of my mind. I don’t think anyone who has been down to the Club lately will have failed to miss the repairs/modifications to the entrance porch to the Clubhouse. The old flooring was rotting away, well the beams underneath were mainly to blame. Colin and Tony have been very busy stripping all the rot away and replacing where necassary and a new stronger floor has appeared, soon to be covered with some very nice looking slates.

May 27th
After the rain - the gloom
yardl Before I start the description of our racing day I would like to draw your attention to the photograph at the top of this blog. We were up at Saltash with some friends yesterday and we had a walk from Cotehele house to Calstock along the river bank. We came across a boat yard with several boats in it and I went in for a look around. I was looking at a boat floating in the river tied up along the dockside and I noticed the name “Spirit of Mystery” written on the stern. Somehow the name seemed familiar to me and I asked the man on board whether the boat used to belong to Pete Goss. “Yes” was the answer and I realised then why I recognised the name. This was the Cornish Lugger that Pete had commissioned and then sailed to Australia with a small crew, including his son. The voyage was successful and the boat was then shipped back to the UK on a cargo boat. The man I was talking too had bought her and was in the process of some maintenance work before sailing within the local area and Calstock was now its new home. I mentioned to the man, Chris, that I sailed at Porthpean. He told me he knew the area quite well and that his wife had worked at the Outdoor Camp one summer, so there you are, another incidence of it being a small world.

I wish that I could say that sailing today was enjoyable but in all honesty it wasn’t anything to write home about. We had a light easterly wafting onto the beach over quite a lumpy sea, the cloud base was quite heavy and low and the beach was deserted. In fact it looked like it could rain at anytime and then just to add to our sorrows we had a very low turnout of keen sailors. Things were looking rather bleak for us but at least we did manage to sail morning and afternoon, which was quite an accomplishment after all, and we were all doing something that we all love.

After the thunderstorms during the night and the dawning of a very grey day there was some doubt in my mind whether we would actually sail or not. Gone was the very hot and humid weather of the last couple of days and a cool day greeted us down at Porthpean. Bank Holiday Sunday and there was not a single holiday maker on the beach. The tide was out quite a way in the morning and there were some small waves on the beach. Fortunately for us and me in particular their size was such that launching and recovery would prove not to be too hazardous. The down side of that scenario was that the wind was very light and the sea very lumpy; neither condition very conducive to an exciting sail. In fact I hate sailing in an Easterly at Porthpean as there aren’t any wind shifts to play with and racing usually just becomes a drag race. The wind is usually too light for much excitement and if the wind is stronger then we have a job get off the beach. However a good swell can produce some exciting down wind sailing if the angles all stack up.

Anyway back to the racing; now how can I make this sound exciting? Well with quite difficulty. Martyn & Sarah were down for the weekend and Sarah sailed with Dad, giving Jenny a day off and Martyn helped by crewing the RIB with Beacky. Up in the OOD box we had Tony and Lynn, (Yes she is looking rather relaxed) so we had all the elements needed for running a race. Launching the RIB wasn’t too difficult and off they went to set a relatively small, port handed triangle with the start at the beach marks. Now I said that launching wouldn’t be too difficult and all the fleet launched in turn without any dramas until it was our turn to launch. It took us 3 attempts to be able to get through the waves and out into the open sea and we had quite a lot of water sloshing about in the bottom of the boat from some of the waves that broke over us. Fortunately the bailer removed most of it before we arrived in the starting area.

A quick look at the line convinced me that there was quite a bit port bias and as the gun went we crossed in front of our mighty fleet and blasted, correction, crawled up the beat trying to evade the worst of the head on wavelets and we just arrived at the windward mark before Chris & Kathy in their RS400. The first reach was a relatively close one and we could catch one or two of the wavelets to surf at a decent lick down to the gybe mark and we managed to hold off the RS. The 2nd reach was much broader and it was up with the whisker pole to try and maintain some decent speed and our Tasar just had enough speed on that leg to be able to hold off the spinnaker clad RS and amazingly we still just had the lead as we both rounded up for the 2nd beat, where the RS passed us and then pulled away to build up a lead and take the winning gun unfortunately for them but couldn’t save their time on us. The slow fleet was dominated once again by the Kestrel of Jan & Pete who soon pulled away from Andrew & Sarah and these 2 diced away being able to fly their spinnakers on both sets of reaches. Things were looking good for Jan & Pete until we noticed that they came to a sudden stop. Their main halyard had snapped and their race came to an abrupt end bringing an end to their racing for the day. The advantage then swung back to Andrew & Sarah and they did enough to take the win from Brian in his Laser.

The sun tried valiantly to break through the cloud whilst we were dining and the air temperature started to climb and suddenly there were people on the beach and it looked like normality had arrived. Unfortunately the breeze had dropped off a notch or two and we launched for the 2nd race in fairly quiet conditions and any excitement was looking distinctly off the menu. Once again the line was heavily port biased, so much so that most of our reduced fleet started on port, though for once we started on starboard right alongside the pin and just managed to reach the windward mark about a boat length behind the RS. We managed to stay with them down the first reach as it was close enough to produce some marginal speed in the swell, but the 2nd reach was a whisker pole up job and then we had to watch as the RS eased away to take the win. It was a very close win as when the corrected times were spewed out from Sailwave their advantage over us was just 2 seconds. Andrew & Sarah had a mix up with some mark rounding during their race and that was enough to have to concede their expected win to Brian in his Laser.

So there we have it, summer is here, I have worn my sailing shorts twice so far which is far earlier than I managed last year so maybe we may have a better summer than the last few years. Certainly the general weather so far is very encouraging. In fact I am writing this on Monday morning and looking outside, all looks set fair for another nice day and with Cornwall being rather full with holiday makers no doubt the roads will be very busy. Fortunately we don’t have to go out too far today so I could have another peaceful day in the old folks rest home.

May 23rd
Little breeze tonight
yardl Inevitably we have all sorts of conditions over a season. Sometimes it is extremely windy, wet and cold and sometimes like last night it is warm, dry and almost windless. In the midst of this spell of beautiful weather we gathered at the Club last night with the hope of going racing. Indeed during the day there had been a light but steady southerly breeze blowing but alas as the evening drew on what breeze we had was only blowing in fitful stops and starts. Will we sail? Or will we not sail? Those were the questions on everyone’s lips. I think the majority were willing to give racing a miss but encouraged by the extra keen ones we decided to give it a go and Tony & Justin in the RIB were cast afloat to go out and lay us a course.

The airflow was still from the south, so far so good, but the wind force was no more than 3 knots at best. We could make headway, but only just. Anyway we had a course, we had a RIB and we had an OOD with Liz and Colin sitting in the race box, the best seats in the house, and we soon came under starter’s orders; and then it all went wrong, for us anyway. With the nice weather I was expecting the best turn out of the season so far, but sadly that wasn’t to be with 3 Scorpions out, 4 Lasers, and the mighty Kestrel in the slow fleet and 2 Tasars, and an RS400 in the fast fleet.

As we ambled in for the start, I managed to manoeuvre ourselves into an impossible position to windward of Kay & Sophie and crossed the line a few seconds early, resulting in a round the ends adventure for us. Meanwhile the fleet sailed on and still revelling in her glory of pushing us over the line Kay & Sophie reached the windward mark as leading boat. It wasn’t very long before the RS400 with spinnaker flying overtook the Scorpion. Andrew & Jenny in their Scorpion were also round the windward mark pretty quickly and slowly overhauled Kay & Sophie to take the lead in the Slow handicap. Paddy & Steve, our main competitors were also round well in front of us as we languished in close company of Beacky & Stacey in the 3rd Scorpion and Jan & Pete in the Kestrel. Now earlier I referred to the Kestrel as mighty and so it came to pass. On the 2nd and last beat she powered away from Beacky and us and slowly ground down all the boats in front and on the last reach in to the beach marks she even overtook the RS400!! Now how on earth did that happen? But happen it did.

Kay & Sophie slowly tumbled down from their position in the lead, and were overtaken by Andrew & Jenny and then by Beacky and Stacey. The lasers, well they didn’t do so well at all but Clive Stephens managed to take 3rd place in the slow fleet in his radial, which I am sure he was well pleased with. And then it was a paddle back to the shore in a very windless, flat sea. The tide had come in a little since launching so we didn’t have too much of a beach to haul up from and the sand is becoming a little more firmer, but the hill, well that is still a long hill and to me appears to become steeper each year; and to think I used to pull up my Enterprise without too much trouble. I think those sort of days are long gone now.

Now Jenny is away on another holiday but fortunately for us Liz stepped into the breach and soon had countless bacon butties on the grill, so that was very gratefully received, especially by me who usually doesn’t have anything to eat prior to sailing. Today being Thursday, it appears that we may be seeing the start of a breakdown of the fabulous weather that we have been experiencing. It is cloudy and a lot cooler than of late. Apparently the high pressure is still close to us and the forecasters promise us that we still have some nice weather to come so fingers crossed that we may have another fine Bank Holiday Monday next week.
May 16th
Two Heads are Better than One, but not in this case!!
yardl I think there was always a little doubt as to whether we would sail tonight. Once again a fresh easterly had been blowing and our fine spell of weather was looking rather fraught with rain during the day. However as the day wore on improvements started to happen. The wind died down and swung to a more northerly direction, the rain vanished and a week sun started to shine. Suddenly sailing looked to be back on the cards and a reasonable fleet assembled for what is race 5 on the Wednesday night calendar.

Now I forgot to mention in my last blog that my sailing shorts came out to play for the first time this year for last Sunday’s racing, such was the nice sunny, warm day. Tonight though was rather a different story, and my long john was back on my body. One of the main reasons I wear the long john is because I can get rather wet when launching and recovering and at this time of year that can be translated into becoming rather cold.

The tide was right in as we launched and this meant having your boat fully rigged on the slipway before the final push onto the beach. Boats were launched, trollies were stacked and we pushed off and paddled out of the cove. The breeze was a northerly and as such we were completely shielded from it for several metres from the shore. Once the breeze found us it was a case of stowing the paddle , trimming the sails and sailing off on a long reach to rendezvous with Stacey & Lucy, our RIB drivers tonight.

yardl Ken, my trusty crew had deserted me tonight by going on holiday to the Lake District where there were several different Breweries awaiting his attention, plus a few hills to walk up. Walking instead of sailing; whatever next? Anyway Brian Phillips gallantly stepped into the breach, though whether that was good thing or not you will have to ask him, especially when you look closely at the first picture on the Blog. Brian clattered his head on the boom. The other sorry looking scalp on the picture belongs to Steve Coello, who head butted the rotation lever on Paddy’s boat. Fortunately both of them were not too badly injured, but the scars will take a while to heal. That’s one reason I wear a sailing hat, my thatch has almost disappeared over the years and maybe the next step for me will be one of those dashing helmets that quite a few sailors wear nowadays.

A northerly air stream usually means a beat across the bay from right to left and that is precisely what we had. The line didn’t have enough bias on it for a successful port tack and I did make a bit of a hash of our start by being too far down the line, with the result that we were almost last in our fleet as we closed on the windward mark. The fast fleet tonight was quite healthy and it was a welcome to Chris & Kathy who live in Looe so travelling across can be quite a tedious journey for them, especially in the next few weeks when the holiday makers really start to clog up the roads and in particular St. Austell by pass. Anyway they joined Steve & Ashley giving us 2 RS 400s, 3 Tasars, Paddy & Steve, Jeremy & Suzanne and us plus another rare Wednesday outing for Richard in his Contender, though it wasn’t Contender weather tonight.

yardl Jan seems to be fully recovered now and she and Pete were present in their pesky Kestrel heading the slow fleet, not only that but they were also in front of us at the end of the first beat and then pulled away with the use of their spinnaker. I managed to ensure that we had a rubbish start and when we arrived at the windward mark, we were at the back of our fleet with the pesky Kestrel in front also. Somewhere further back loitered the solitary Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny, with only the Lasers of Brian and Clive to keep it company.

Needless to say Jeremy & Suzanne were first to the windward mark, but the speedy down wind RS 400 of Chris & Kathy took the lead by the end of the reaches and though they pulled away enough to take the winning gun they couldn’t make their time up against the Tasar. We managed to overtake most of the boats in front but for a while just couldn’t make any inroads into Paddy & Steve and then a few little adjustments to the dagger board and sail trim gave us a bit more speed and we slowly ground them down before crossing them on the last beat to move up to 3rd.

Jan& Pete, in ideal conditions for them, finished a long way in front of the Scorpion who in turn was quite a way in front of the Lasers. Then it was a long sail in a dying breeze for us all back to the beach or what was left of it as the tide swirled around the bottom of the slipway. I was ready for my supper and was very grateful to be able to buy a couple of butties from our bacon butty champion, Jenny. All washed down with a nice glass of cider.

There will not be a blog from me next Sunday as I am otherwise engaged. Ken & I are down for RIB duty but Tony has very kindly offered to stand in for me, the weather looks fine and I will certainly miss my trip out to sea.

May 12 & 13th
Summer sun and beautiful sailing conditions
yardl Well to start this blog off I am going to give my thanks to Stacey & Lucy for RO duties on Saturday ably assisted by Andrew & Tony on Saturday. Between them they set a fantastic course for the Tasar Open. Then on Sunday Andrew & Jenny took on the RO duties and they were assisted by Chris & Kathy in the other RIB. Andrew & Jenny had a very difficult job as the fitfull breeze took ages to settle causing quite a few mark changes before they were happy enough to start the races. In the Clubhouse we had a mixture of Colin, Chris Hazel and Jenny March helping out on admin and the essential galley. My apologies if in my haste I have forgotten to mention others and I am sure that someone will remind me of whom that is and if that is the case then I will ensure that they will get a mention in my next blog.

After the superb but windless previous weekend our weather during this week deteriorated into our usual wet and windy weather pattern and on Friday it was looking horrendous with heavy rain and a fresh to strong south easterly wind chewing up the beach. However all changed for Saturday when the sun became the dominant factor, accompanied by a much reduced wind strength which abated sufficiently to allow the waves to die down enough to make launching and recovery relatively easy.

Our Tasar fleet of 5 home boats was joined by 2 sets of visitors, both travelling considerable distances to be with us. One family with father and son crewing came from Hastings a 5 hour drive away and the other crew travelling down from Alton SC, which is close to the famous towers. No matter how far our visitors come we are always pleased to see them and the magnificent vista looking out at our bay was suitably impressive to them.

Yes, we were blessed with a good weekend of sailing weather. Saturday gave us a lumpy sea with enough breeze on a superb set course by Stacey & Lucy to give us 2 action packed races with some nice waves to work with down wind. Competition was hot throughout the fleet and several duels broke out as the races progressed. The conditions changed round completely for Sunday, as the wind moved through 180 degrees to give us a very flat bay with a reasonable north westerly wafting over the bay. However this proved rather frustrating for some as the early lively breeze faded away as the morning progressed and the hope of getting 2 races in was soon dashed to allow only 1 race. We sat out in the sun at lunch time and one or two teams decided that enough was enough and decided to call it a day and packed up but hope springs eternal and eventually a very nice westerly breeze arrived to give us 2 cracking races on Sunday afternoon.

Now for once I am not going to write a blow by blow description of what happened because much to my delight, Sarah Desjonquers has produced a superb write up on the Y&Y web page and can be found by Following this link.

This Sunday was also the first of the Cup races and obviously today’s race was the May Cup. Well as it happened only the slow fleet competed which made the results a lot easier to compile. For the last few years I have often complained about the pesky Kestrel, but now it is the slow fleets turn to moan as Jan & Pete dominated 2 of the 3 races held taking 2 firsts to lift the May Cup. Brian Reeves in his full rig Laser, sailed well to take 2 2nds and a first to give him 2nd overall. Kay & Nigel have teamed up for the Cup races and though they tried hard could only beat the pesky Kestrel in the 3rd race by a matter of 6 seconds on corrected time to take 3rd place. 7 boats in all started the first race but just as the Tasars lost a few of their number as the day wore on the slow fleet also lost a few but for those left racing also had 2 superb races in the afternoon.

Now after all my moaning about the poor weather recently it looks like we are about to see the stat of summer proper with some settled weather to come this week. Now how long that may last is anyone’s guess but the days are drawing out with some superb dawns and sunsets and we are officially into late Spring / early Sumer. BBQs are being dusted off and tried out. The car park has dried out and the grass is on the verge of needing a cut. Sun beds are also coming out, the beach is filling up at weekends and after enduring what seems to be the longest winter on record there finally comes some settled weather and importantly some warmth.

May 9th
Back to wind and rain
yardl This crazy weather of ours never ceases to amaze me. After the Mediterranean conditions over the weekend we are back to our almost sub normal weather conditions all within 2 days. The high temperatures of the low 20s have been reduced to only just into double figures. The windless conditions of Sunday have now been replaced today by the wind climbing into the 20knots plus territory. What is normal nowadays, when describing the weather? Polruan had been indicating winds in excess of 20 knots for most of the day and when we arrived at the Club this evening it was obvious to all that the breeze had died down somewhat. However rain was on its way and we had quite a dousing whilst the race was underway.

It was a fairly reluctant fleet that eventually launched to sail out into the westerly / south westerly breeze that was swirling around the bay. Steve & Ashley took charge of the RIB this evening and set what at the time must have been a nice shaped course. By the time we reached the start area it was obvious that the breeze had moved more westerly somewhat and the first beat turned out to be almost a one tacker, followed by a run and then a fetch, not at all ideal, but time was pressing and it was decided to race with what we had, including a biased start line that was impossible to cross on starboard. The fast fleet consisted of Stacey’s D-0 and 2 Tasars of Paddy/ Steve and us. Stacey made the best of the start and managed to squeeze round the first mark and then set off for the reaches. Paddy & us were trying desperately to squeeze round the windward mark but both of us ended up touching it and having to exonerate ourselves.

Once again the 2 Tasars had quite a battle with the positions changing a few times before this time Paddy had the better of us on one of our tacking duels on the last beat to round ahead of us and then held his position to the end of the race.

The slow fleet consisted of Kay with her new crew Sophie and a few Lasers. I think 5 Lasers launched but not all raced and being so engrossed in our battle with Paddy I did not see what was happening down in their fleet but Kay had a very useful lead and I am sure that the Scorpion took the win, though as I write the results have not been published.

Tony, Lynn & Colin looked after us shore side and we were grateful to Tony & Lynn who provided the bacon butties tonight as Jenny was absent. A big thank you Tony & Lynn as bacon butties are almost an expected ritual nowadays.

It seems far too early to me though fairly well established in our sailing calendar that this coming weekend is the Tasar Open meeting. Whether we will have many entries is a little dubious but I do hear rumours of at least one boat coming down from Hastings direction and maybe one from Queen Mary. Hopefully a few will arrive and maybe give a boost to our dwindling fleet. Stacey is also hoping to attract some of the Restronguet D-0s by including a D-0 open meeting at the same time. They have around 12 zeros on their books but not many of them actually race, which seems strange as it is a new class and you would think that having spent all that money on a new boat then you would want to sail it. They do have the current Class champion and runner up sailing there so if they come then they will provide a stern challenge to Stacey who seems to be getting to grips with his judging by his consistent wins.

May 6th
Summer if only for day or two BUT no wind
yardl Rather a late blog I’m afraid, courtesy of this beautiful weather and visiting daughter & family from Bristol. Well it is a Bank Holiday weelkeend so everyone was expecting very poor weather. Not so and what a contrast there has been in a week; last Sunday we all felt the chill of a very cold north easterly wind. Sailing last Sunday for most of us was not on the menu as we shivered in the yard looking out to sea. Last week I had taken all my winter sailing kit down to the Club to wear, which included thermals. This Sunday the thermals had been packed away and instead my sailing shorts went into the bag ready for their first appearance this year. The cold temperatures of last week had disappeared and replaced with, certainly at Club level, something up into the 20s. BUT, yes there’s always a but, there was absolutely no wind at all. The bay was completely still, not a ripple to be seen and the sea just tamely lapped against the sand. It was a perfect day for those looking for a day on the beach, but a disappointing day for those of us who wanted to go sailing.

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Inevitably the postponement flag came out of the locker and run up the Club mast. We hoped that the breeze would come along by lunch time so a decision was made to arrange an early lunch, ie 12.00 and hopefully start racing at 13.30 with 2 races back to back. The plan seemed good, and lunch came and went, but by 13.00 there was still no sign of a breeze so we gave in to the inevitable and changed the AP to an “N”. Suddenly it was time to either hit the beach, the bar or go home. With family down for the weekend I opted to head for home and spend some time with them, and we headed up to Lanhydrock for a walk through the blue bell strewn woods down to the river, where the dog had a whale of a time chasing sticks in and out of the water.

By the way, that handsome young man on the front page and heading this Blog is Pascual who was celebrating his Birthday today, though I am not at liberty to say his age, but I think it is somewhere near the 30s Ha Ha!!

Attached are a few pictures that I took before I left for home. Wednesday looks a little breezy but we need the practice as we are about to have the Tasar Open meeting this coming weekend.

May 2nd
Suddenly a hint of summer.
yardl I noticed that there was a bit of “conversation” on the F/B page as to why we didn’t race last Sunday. Well let me add my two pennyworth to the debate as I was there. Actually not that many people turned up to sail, maybe the conditions at home were not very appealing or some people had other things to do. Who knows? We all have our own lives to live. The wind down at the Club was quite fresh and blowing onshore and the air temperature was below 10c and blowing at about 25 knots at Polruan. In truth outside the Clubhouse it felt perishing. The water temperature is also very cold at this time of year as those who have capsized so far this season will vouch for. We also need a minimum of 5 boats to race and ideally at least 2 of those should be 2 person boats to give us enough people to launch and retrieve the RIB if the 5 are all single handers then logistically not really enough people present with wet gear on to be able to move RIB on and off the trailer safely. We do have a lot of money invested in the engine and fuel tank alone and why risk them if there are not that many people prepared to race. The age demographic of our actual racing fraternity is getting older and the need to actually race in Sunday’s conditions doesn’t always appeal quite so much. The number of people who bothered to turn up at the Club on the day was relatively low, so I wasn’t too surprised that we didn’t race. In actual fact the conditions out in the bay were not too bad and I think we could have raced quite comfortably, but there you have it. People were asked if they wanted to race and the majority said no. What we do is a sport and in the main is for enjoyment and pleasure and if the conditions on the day do not appeal then people tend not to sail. As a matter of course I looked at the race results of Sunday’s racing at Restronguet, a far larger Club than ours. Yes they did race but when you look at the numbers racing they were way down on their normal attendances.

Now on to tonight; it looked earlier on in the day that tonight would be another missed opportunity to race as the strength of the wind blowing on Sunday has continued for the last 3 days almost unabated and the air temperature was still cold. The big difference today was that the wind had swung round to the north east, hence the cold but at least the bay was flat and almost looked benign. The sight of the many gusts sweeping out from the shore was rather intimidating as was the wind strength showing at Polruan. Fortunately the forecast was for the breeze to reduce somewhat as the evening came along and just for once the forecast was very accurate. We did launch in quite a fresh breeze that had its gusts but as the evening progressed the gusts started to wane.

Beacky & Brian Reeves took the RIB tonight and for Beacky it was his first time out on the water this season. A good starboard course from out at sea to the beach marks was laid and I think something like a dozen boats set off for the start line. The start line was long enough but became heavily encroached when Andrew & Jenny managed to capsize right on the line whilst Andrew was trying to adjust his outhaul. Unfortunately for them we had all started before they managed to right the boat and sail it dry enough to carry on with the race.

Unfortunately as I write this the results haven’t been published so I haven’t a clue as to who finished where in the slow fleet, but the win in the fast fleet was heavily contested by Stacey in his D-0 and Jeremy & Suzanne in their Tasar. The fast fleet, tonight, had 3 Tasars racing as Paddy & Steve decided to take theirs rather than the B14. I think the early conditions persuaded them that a Tasar was a safer option than a B14. Jeremy & Stacey had their own private battle with the faster Tasar taking the win on the water, but whether Jeremy had enough time in hand is another question. A little further back were the other 3 Tasars and we had a race long duel with Paddy & Steve. We overtook them on the first beat, they overtook us on the 2nd beat, and we overtook them again on the 3rd beat and just managed to hold them off at the finish line. The reaches turned out to be quite thrilling as well with plenty of planing. Overall it turned out to be very good race for us. Steve & Ashley also had a very good night, using their spinnaker on most down wind legs and more importantly did not capsize, which in turn allowed them to finish on the water in 3rd position.

I believe the only other boat to capsize tonight was the Laser of Nick, who found his destiny with the sea at one of the gybe marks. It was good to see Kay bring her Scorpion down tonight and rig it ready for some race in the future but even better for her was the introduction of a possible new Club Member who is willing to crew on Wednesday evenings. Her name is Sophie and she has done quite a lot of crewing at Lyme Regis SC, so hopefully if all goes well she will add some much needed new blood into our sailing fleet. Lyme Regis being on the south coast has a similar coastal scenario to us so she may feel quite at home on some of the nice days that we will experience over the course of the year.

Needless to say the Après sail was completed by the almost unlimited supply of bacon butties supplied by Jenny. I think our Club house must be pure torture to vegetarians when they enter on a Wednesday evening after sailing, but I bet even die hard veggies must enjoy the aroma of grilled bacon.

I know that I am taking a chance here but it appears that the persistent run of bad weather might have come to an end and we might be seeing the start of our late spring. The 5 day forecast, even though this weekend is a Bank Holiday, is quite good with far lighter winds than of late plus some sunshine will surely help raise the air temperature. I am sure that will encourage a few more hesitant sailors to dip their sailing boots in the sea.

April 29th
Cancellation!! The most used flag in our collection.
yardl Anyone logging on to this page to read about our latest adventures on the high seas is in for a bit of a disappointment as our racing was, once again cancelled. A quite fresh and more pertinently, COLD, onshore breeze was enough to dampen the will of the majority to go sailing. All praise to Tony Dunn & Janet Preston who had readied the RIB and changed into their warmest, wet weather gear ready for a soaking. Yes they were all prepared to go out there but I think quietly relieved when the cancellation decision was made. At least they had tried and their wet weather clothing was packed away ready for another day, still dry.

Stacey had already taken his D-0 onto the beach and decided to sail, regardless of the rest of us. He showed that the conditions out at sea were completely manageable as he tacked his way out into the bay and reached off onto some exhilarating reaches. I honestly think that the rather fresh and cold winds that have bedevilled us over the last few weeks have taken their toll. I am sure that if today’s wind direction had been a westerly then we would have all launched and sailed without any difficulty at all. Yes there may have been a few capsizes but that’s par for the course at any time of the year. Mind you, looking at the wind trace at Polruan, that showed the NNE wind blowing at 20 plus knots for most of the day so it would have been a fast and furious sail and maybe not for the faint hearted.

Rumours tell me that Denis’s brief flirtation with the Hadron H2 is almost at an end as a suitable buyer is soon to pay him a visit which could well result in the boat on its way to a new owner. Stacey took it out for the race last Wednesday and had no problem keeping the boat upright and indeed it looked the real deal as it blasted away across the bay. However I know that Jan & Pete are quite keen to persuade Dennis to buy a Kestrel and their reasons to buy are quite compelling. The Kestrel has a kite for extra excitement down wind and has a reasonable turn of speed. It’s not that much slower than a Tasar, has plenty of room on board, it is easy to sail and has no vices. Maybe it’s only down side is the boat is quite heavy for manoeuvring about on the beach but Jan & Pete have coped well, with very little problems over the years and if we had 2 of them racing then I am sure that some good competitive racing would be had.

Today was our 5th weekend of racing this season and in truth the 5 weeks have been very frustrating for most of us with quite a few races lost with the very unseasonable weather being the main culprit. The current weather forecast shows that things will be improving over the coming days. The air temperature is soon to return to normal and the winds should start to become more settled in both direction and ability. History tells us that we generally lose quite a few racing days at this time of year. In fact it is still possible that we may have some more south easterlies this month; but generally the weather will improve and with it our racing ratios will improve also.
April 25th
The life and trials of a sailor boy
yardl Well I like to call myself a sailor boy but truth be told I am a bit long in the tooth to be called that. Maybe old sea dog may be more appropriate. We may have a had a remarkably good spell of weather last week but now, only 8 months to Christmas, we appear to be back into the grip of cold, wet and windy weather; urghh. With the emphasis today, very much on cold and windy weather albeit without the rain. Anyone looking at the Polruan weather station during the day will have witnessed the high wind strength on the trace and would have questioned whether we would be brave / foolish enough to venture out for tonight’s mid week race. As I drove down to the Club it was quite clear that there was a strong sighting of white horses out in the bay. Down at the Club, those white horses were well hidden but the strong gusts sweeping out from the shore were all too visible and we knew without doubt that it would be a very challenging time out in the bay for those who took their chance on racing through it. In fact if you look at some of the pictures that I have included tonight it is quite easy to see the gusts blowing just off the shore. The only caveat for those willing to risk a ducking was that the wind was forecast to die down somewhat as the evening progressed.

Quite surprisingly enough helms signed on to race and 10 boats launched and even then there were still a few helms in the Clubhouse who could have raced but decided not to go. Most of us chancing our luck had been egged on by Dennis who had been extolling the wind strength all day on the Club F/B page and how he was looking forward to the challenge. Well it was all right for him he had plenty of weight onboard to tackle the strong winds. Some of us just had pure terror to help keep us upright. Who wants to capsize whilst the water temperature is hovering about the 10C mark? Certainly not me.

Chris & Kathy had travelled from Looe for the dubious pleasure of taking the RIB and acting as our ROs for the night. Having run the RIB last Sunday I knew how cold they were about to get, but I couldn’t tell them that!! Soon we were all rigged and launched. Leaving the beach was quite easy and so was the first 200M or so out from the beach; and then we found or rather the wind found us. Powerful gusts swept over us and our various boats shot out of the cove and into the bay proper. The starting area was out towards the day nark and though the sea was flat, there were a few white horses around. After all his bravado Dennis decided that the conditions were too strong and headed home. One or two capsized and managed to recover themselves without assistance. Unfortunately Paddy’s B14 succumbed to a capsize and took a while to recover. He lost so much ground that he decided to sail home as well.

The start line was rather long but that didn’t stop 2 boats, namely Jeremy & James from being adjudged to being over and they had to sail back round the ends. Stacey, sailing Dennis’s H2 powered away with us close behind. In fact with the Tasar set up for heavy winds, ie board quite way up and jib cars out a few holes the boat felt quite happy. Unfortunately the odd savage gusts made me feel not so happy, so much so that as we rounded the beach marks I decided that the conditions were not to my liking and we headed home as well. We were also joined by Ciarran in his Laser.

Despite Jeremy & Suzanne returning to start again they still made up enough ground to lead round the beach marks with Stacey looking to be in hot pursuit. The 2 of them pulled well away from the remaining fleets. In fact Jeremy & Suzanne were the only finishers in the fast fleet whilst Stacey finished way ahead of the 5 finishers in the slow fleet.

I feel I should commend all those who stuck it out and finished. Yes the wind did abate as we expected and maybe if we had carried on we would have survived, but for me enough was enough and the boat was still in one piece. Stacey took a good win in the slow fleet and James in his Aero5 showed the rest of the fleet a clean pair of heels to take 2nd place, which pushed Andrew & Pete in the Scorpion down to 3rd, leaving the 2 Lasers of Sarah Rendal and Brian Reeves to take 4th and 5the places.

And then there was the après sail. Jenny was in the galley when I entered the Club house to the aroma of grilled bacon and it was a pleasure to be able to eat the first of the 2018 bacon butties. I think everyone in the Clubhouse was in very good spirits and tales of daring do and the pleasure of being back in the warmth was in plenty of evidence. April so far has been quite a disappointing month for sailing / racing but being positive the conditions will soon improve which in turn may bring some more sailors to the start line. Oh yes it’s only 8 months to Christmas!!

April 22nd
The return of the westerlies but goodbye sunshine (for the moment)
yardl Well here we are, 4 weeks into the season and still having to endure a typical mixed sailing season. Already we have had to cancel some races due to strong winds, no winds and unseasonably high tides. Our year so far has been blighted with far more rain and wind than normal, but at long last we appear to be coming to an end from that. This past week has seen an abnormally fine spell of weather, that unfortunately came to an end yesterday and today we woke to the normal grey skies that we often get at this time of year. The car park has now dried out and is no longer a no go area and that itself is a relief. For the past few weeks and for the next few weeks we have had our beach to ourselves, which makes launching and recovery far more easy but alas the sand on the beach is still very soft and quite a few of us have struggled to get our boats into and out of the water. In fact the structure of the beach changes almost by the day, but the changes will slowly come to an end when we get into a decent rhythm of westerly winds.

Yesterday, Saturday, was hot and sunny, though I am told that there was some very heavy rain at Looe which isn’t that far from us, but today I think the whole of Cornwall awoke to grey skies and quite low temperatures. Welcome to the real World again. It was equally bleak when I arrived at the Club today, but the easterlies that we have had for so long had disappeared and instead replaced by a fairly light westerly breeze. The sea had flattened down and sailing looked quite inviting. Unfortunately Ken & I were down for RIB duty, so donned our cold weather clothes, which included for me my dry suit and without much ado we were launched and set off out to sea to set a course, which for the first time this season gave the fleet a beat from out at sea to the beach marks for a port hand rounding. Tony & Brian had the best and warmest seats sitting in the OOD box; no cold winds for them to

I think 11 boats made the pilgrimage out to our waiting RIB and 20 minutes or so late we started what was to be the first of 3 races. The fast fleet was the best represented with 2 RS400, B14, D0, Blaze and Contender, whilst the slow fleet had the newly demoted Kestrel, Scorpion and 3 Lasers, though 2 of those faded and retired during the race. Usually when I am racing I am able to take note of various incidents. Now you would think that being on the RIB would make it more noticeable but alas no. If I was doing it all the time then a voice recorder would be invaluable and almost a necessity, so I am unable to recall very little. However Stacey managed to pull of a port hand flyer which showed our start line was reasonably fair, but it was the Blaze of Roger Williams who found the quickest way up the beat to round the beach marks in the lead, quickly pursued by the RS400 of Chris & Kathy Isles who under spinnaker, quickly passed Roger and pulled out an unassailable lead. The first reach was very tricky as the strength of the breeze waxed and waned causing all sorts of upsets, but it certainly helped the spinnaker boats and Jam & Pete found the conditions perfect for their Kestrel and were up ahead of some faster boats. Stacey, after a poor first beat, found the down wind speed of his D zero a real bonus and gradually pulled himself back into contention and another win. Roger also converted his early advantage to finish 2nd, pushing the Isles back to 3rd. Steve & Ashley also found the down wind legs to their liking and managed to pull themselves into a good position, whereas Richard in his Contender had a miserable race as the breeze was too light for the Contender to show her best speed. The Kestrel may have been demoted, purely as a result of the new handicap figures, dominated the slow fleet to take an emphatic win over the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny and the only remaining Laser of Nick Haskins.

The intention of the day was to try and get 3 races in to try and catch up on previous lost races and we scheduled the day’s programme to have 2 races in the morning, so the race length times were kept deliberately short. If only the fleet had got its act together earlier we would have had time for an extra lap in each race, which may have been reflected in the results, especially for the B14 as it needs time to be able to allow its onerous handicap figure to be best utilised. But there you are; the course was set up, time keepers and RIB crews were ready for an almost 11.00 start but we had to wait for most of the fleet to join us. I think many people don’t realise how long it takes to sail out to the starting area when we are starting out at sea; sorry rant over.

The 2nd race started as soon as the fleets reassembled in the starting area and we were soon off into the 2nd race of the day. The whole fleet crossed almost in line abreast and this time it was the B14 who flew up the beat rounding first and with spinnaker flying romped away to tale a good win on the water, but once again it was Stacey’s D0 that took the corrected time, pushing Paddy & Steve into 2nd place, only just ahead of Roger in his Blaze.

The afternoon race was the rescheduled race 3 which had previously been lost and Jeremy & Suzanne made their first appearance of the season in their Tasar as did Finn in his Windsurfer. The breeze had freshened up quite a bit from the morning, unfortunately we were somewhat depleted from the morning races but the afternoon race certainly provided better racing conditions. The wind had swung more northerly and though we were still beating in to the beach marks this time we reconfigured the course to give a starboard hand rounding. The triangles of the morning were converted into an Olympic type course to gibe an extra bit of spice. Once again the B14 made the best of the first beat rounding in the lead but not that far in front of Jeremy & Suzanne. It was quite amazing to see how fast down wind Finn was on his wind surfer. He rounded the beach marks quite a long way behind the main fleet but flew down first reach easily overtaking all before him including the B14 which was flying along under spinnaker.

Stacey’s all conquering run in his D0 finally came to an end as Jeremy & Suzanne easily beat him, leaving Paddy & Steve in 3rd and Chris & Kathy in 4th. The slow fleet was once again dominated by the Jan & Pete and their early performances are looking rather ominous for the rest of the fleet, though we wait for James to show some more appearances with his Aero to see how good that one is. It looks like Dennis’s flirtation with a Hadron H2 is coming to an end as it has been advertised on Apollo Duck and a potential new owner will be coming down next weekend to buy it. That’s such a shame as the boat is a very pretty boat and the videos of them racing look very appealing. I am sure that if Dennis waited until the weather improved, similarly as today, then he would be very impressed with the boat.

April 18th
Too high a tide and still a south easterly
yardl Congratulations to Finn Hawkins for his latest success, finishing 2nd overall and 1st under 17 at the RS X Youth National Championships; Held last week at Weymouth. An extremely good result which stands him in good stead for even greater success later in the year at the other Championships that he will be competing in. Well done Finn, I am sure that the whole Club is proud of you.

What a beautiful day for our first Wednesday evening race, but oh so cold when the sun set. Most of the country seems to have the luxury of very warm southerly winds coming up from Africa to raise the temperature, but alas not for us, yet! Unfortunately we are still under the influence of a south easterly breeze that is very cold and also responsible for a dumping swell onto the beach. To make matters worse we are on spring tides giving very little beach to launch and recover from but also makes the dumping waves that much more stronger. We shouldn’t be too surprised as easterly winds are fairly common at this time of year and we will need another few weeks to pass before we welcome the consistent return of southerly and westerly breezes, which have the affect of making our bay so attractive and easy to launch from. Still it was very pleasant standing around in the late evening sunshine even though we knew that we wouldn’t be sailing.

That easterly wind, the bane of Porthpean, had been blowing quite briskly all day and though it was dropping when we arrived at the Club, there was still quite a dumping sets of waves pounding down onto the beach. We are in the time zone of spring tides and at 18.00 the tide was lapping the edge of the slipway and still had another 2 hours to rise, which meant in all probability that there would be no beach left at all as the fleet returned from racing. Inevitably another cancellation was sounded and the very healthy throng of would be racers retired to the bar. But alas, no sailing, no bacon butties!! However a certain amount of early season boat maintenance was accomplished.

The cancellation was the best decision as not only was there a lumpy sea out there the breeze was noticeably fading, which would have given a very floppy, frustrating ride to any one out there wanting to sail. Maybe Sunday?

April 15th
South easterly winds and rain strike again
yardl Once again we have fallen foul of the weather and yes it was a case of the dreaded south easterly winds that did for us this time making a change from the lack of wind last weekend. The actual wind strength today wasn’t too bad, though Polruan was indicating wind strengths of 30 knot gusts and that would have been very challenging. The forecast was for the wind to swing to the south west which would have given us a bit of shelter in the lee of Blackhead, though we would have had to wait for the afternoon before that happened. The surf on a falling tide was altogether another factor as launching and recovering through the waves would have been a very wet and at this time of year, a very cold experience. Certainly not for the faint hearted; nor me.

Today a small but delicately formed gang of potential sailors gathered to take part in today’s racing, but any enthusiasm was soon dampened by the lively conditions visible in the bay and all talk of sailing waned whilst we drank coffee and talked amongst ourselves and then along came the rain. As it turned out that was just a shower but the forecast was for heavier showers to come along in the afternoon. Not too surprisingly racing was cancelled for the day.

Our field / car park has been off limits during the long wet spell that we have endured over the last 6 months. Any cars trying to use it were soon bogged down on the very slippery grass surface. To try and alleviate the soft conditions a load of hard core was ordered and delivered on Tuesday. A good band of volunteers toiled in the rain to spread the hard core onto the car park and entry road. This should make the entry to the car park more manageable and indeed today several cars managed to get in and out without any problems; so a success for all concerned. All we need now is for a prolonged period of dry weather and all should come good.

Well the weather man had some good news for us this weekend as we are promised that the end to the very unseasonal weather conditions is in sight. The cold and wet weather should come to an end by the middle of the week. The temperature should start to rise and the rain should become less. Hallelujah, I can’t wait, neither can nature as the leaves are starting to appear on the trees and flowers are starting to bloom, though everything is a bit later blooming this year. I suspect that there will be a huge surge in the trees blossoming into leaf in the next few weeks.

My boat is back and is sitting on the road trailer waiting for the mast to be stepped. Kim has made a fantastic repair to it and it is looking great. The only trouble in the immediate future is that we are scheduled for RIB duties for the coming Wednesday and next weekend. Yes this Wednesday marks the start of the evening racing though I should point out that the Wednesday forecast is still for fresh winds so racing might have to be postponed again, but I think that by next weekend we will see a definite improvement and hopefully a good turnout of keen and enthusiastic sailors.

I suspect that everyone is aware that the web camera isn’t working at the moment. Paddy was having a good look at it today and quite a bit of muttering and head scratching was going on but to no avail and the scanning camera is still not working, though the static camera, which had spent most of the week inoperable, has suddenly come back to life. So at least anyone looking can see the state of the sea and a limited amount of action in the dinghy park.

April 8th
Sunshine, blue skies, NO WIND
yardl Well it didn’t take long before we lost the first race session of the season. Today, only our 3rd outing fizzled to a halt when the sun shone down from an azure blue sky but the breeze was not prepared to play with us today. However a very still day allowed the temperature to climb into the low teens to produce the hottest day of the year so far. In fact it was very pleasant to be able to feel so warm as we had to sit and wait to see whether the breeze would finally come to us. Disappointingly we could see a breeze way out on the horizon but I suppose the land isn’t warm enough yet to create the thermal necessary to draw the breeze in. Inevitably a postponement flag was flown. A few sailors drifted away as it became obvious that sailing was not going to happen and by 11.30 the abandonment was made and that was it.

James was down to sail his new Aero but Paddy had discovered earlier in the week that the Aero, although covered had taken on board a lot of water from the rain over the last 2 weeks. The bad news for James that the water was actually inside the hull and there was no obvious place where it could have entered from. The hull had to be drained and due to its construction had to be turned onto its rear end to allow the excess water out. Is this a design error? I hope not as I think the Aero is a beautiful little boat. The only obvious point of ingress had to be via the deck fittings in the bow area. These were removed and refitted with copious amounts of sealer. Time will tell whether this was a one off and whether the leak is cured once and for all. Otherwise the boat will be going back to RS to let them either replace or cure.

The RIB had been taken out of the garage, run up and loaded with all the necessary paraphernalia ready to be launched. Fortunately we hadn’t changed so it wasn’t too bad to put the RIB back to bed, ready for next weekend. Meanwhile the evenings are drawing out and the first Wednesday race of the season isn’t too far away.

April 1st!!
A south easterly wind, a lumpy swell. What more can we want?
yardl Spring? What Spring, well I suppose it was April 1st- April Fool’s day, so I wasn’t too surprised that the weather decided to play one big April Fool on us for our 2nd Sunday of sailing. The earlier forecast for today was quite dire but as the day dawned it seemed that there would be a window of opportunity where we could get at least one race under our belts. Today being Easter Sunday also meant that it was the first of the Cup races, which would also go towards a cumulative Cup as well as an individual Cup for today’s race. Ken had decided that the race would be a pursuit race and he and Paddy sat down to discuss what sort of time length the race would be. The weather conditions were the main consideration and after some debate it was decided that the race duration would be an hour and so starting times were decided using the Laser radial that Sarah would helm being the first boat away. The RIB, today commandeered by Ken and me was duly launched, complete with racing marks and tackle and we headed out into a south easterly sea, which already was starting to produce quite a lumpy swell. Colin & Tony had the best seats in the house today as they could sit in the relative comfort of the race box, stay dry and sit on comfortable chairs to officiate whilst we were buffeted around in a very rough manner as we smashed our way upwind. We had to keep the speed down on the way out as I think we would have smashed up the boat not to say our bodies as the boat fell down the crests of the waves into the unforgiving troughs.

Eventually the triangular course was set, all 5 of the mega fleet were launched and Sarah in her Laser radial began her first beat out into the increasing swell and breeze.

Starting together, 3 minutes after Sarah was the Scorpion of Andrew & Jenny and the D-zero of Stacey, 9 minutes after the Laser started, Richard in his Contender was set on his way and finally a mighty 13 minutes later the B14 of Paddy & Steve started their first beat. It wasn’t very long before Stacey pulled well away from the Scorpion and in no time at all overhauled Sarah’s Laser to take a lead he would never relinquish. Richard too was making good progress and he in turn caught and passed Sarah until he succumbed to a capsize on his 2nd time at the gybe mark. The Contender proved to be a real handful today and Richard saw the boat roll over and over each time he righted it. It took him all of 10 minutes or more to finally get the boat floating upright for long enough to clamber back on board and he dropped to the rear of the field as Paddy swept past him. However next time round Paddy & Steve took to the water as they reached the gybe mark, finally getting on their way again after 2 attempts to right the B14. Meanwhile Stacey sailed serenely on well ahead of the entire fleet.

Richard was starting to make up some ground but another series of capsizes on the next set of reaches finally eroded any chance he had of overhauling Stacey. Andrew & Jenny kept their spinnaker well and truly stowed away and managed to keep their boat upright. Their mantra for the day was slow and steady, though they managed their gybes quite successfully. Sarah was sailing well, having no problems with the gybes but eventually was blown over during a tack as the breeze was slowly increasing. Unfortunately she couldn’t right the boat on her own and we had to help her by lifting the mast high enough for the boat to come upright. Once aboard she knew that it was time for the beach and off she went on her back to the safety of the shore.

Ken & I were becoming cold, tired and feeling quite uncomfortable as we were tossed around in the choppy seas and we were immensely glad when the hour was up and we could head out to sea to retrieve the buoys and tackle. Fortunately all the boats managed to make it back to the shore safely including us. It took a Herculean effort to get the RIB onto it’s trolley and up the steep part of the beach, where the sand is still soft from all the movements from the strong winds of late. Once onto the slipway it was relatively easy and fortunate for us that Paddy’s car managed to haul us up to the sanctuary of the Club.

It was a great relief to change from our, by this time wet and cold sailing gear into our dry clothes. Lunch last week was eaten outside on the decking which was basking in the early spring sunshine. Today, with the distinctly wintry conditions it was conducted in the Clubhouse with the heaters on. Even now, a few hours after coming ashore, I still feel rather chilled. No doubt proper spring weather will arrive but today was certainly not a good day to go sailing.

A quick update on my boat; It is repairable and is presently up at Kim’s workshop waiting patiently in a queue for his attention. Meanwhile until it is ready we will probably do a few extra duties, but I do hope that it warms up soon. We were down for duty anyway for next weekend and the following Wednesday which will be the first of the Wednesday evening races. Hopefully Jenny will once again become the Queen of the galley on Wednesday evenings making us those delicious bacon butties, which are just the thing to eat after romping round the bay.
March 19th
And we're off
yardl The countdown clock has finally ticked away the last few days, hours, minutes and seconds between the end of the 2017 season and the start 2018 season; and today we officially started our next sailing year at PSC. The start of the season was heralded by a well attended fitting out supper the previous night and today, a merry bunch of sailors gathered to take to the water and blow away the cobwebs and frustrations of being shore bound for so long.

What a day we had for the start of another sailing season; and I think for me maybe my 42nd season, it’s hard to believe that I have been sailing that long and still enjoying it. Today was the first day of “British summer time” with the clocks going forward last night and strangely enough the weather proved to be nigh on perfect for us with blue skies, sunshine and an offshore breeze. Even the temperature was looking good at 12.5 C, and the forecast was for a light northerly breeze. In actual fact it was northerly as per forecast but a lot stronger; rather fresh in fact, at a good 15 plus knots, this had the affect of making it feel colder, despite the beautiful sunshine. The fresh breeze only became apparent as we left the shelter of the cove for the wider reaches of the bay.

Before we went sailing we decided to deal with a heavy floating object that had been drifting around the bay for several weeks and was parked on the beach quite close to where we launched and recovered. Any boat striking it when sailing would incur quite a lot of damage. A group of our intrepid members managed to move it well up the beach and only a very high tide will float it off again. I believe someone from the Council was aware of the wreckage, visited the beach during the week and disappeared again. Maybe a full crew with a tractor may come down and remove it. Anyway it is out of the way at the moment but will surely pose a hazard to small boats if it ever floats away again.

Paddy & Steve were our RIB drivers today and the RIB was loaded up with the beach marks plus ground tackles for the 2 course marks. Their first job was to lay the beach marks using data from the GPS positions of last year. Once successfully positioned they were off out to sea to lay the leeward mark. I think at the time they were assuming that the beat would be out at sea to the beach marks but when they discovered how much “north” was in the wind then the course had to be tweaked to give a beat across the bay towards the Charlestown headland, before a left hand turn would take us to the beach marks. A northerly breeze is quite rare for us, so always brings in a few different elements to make our sailing up the beat a little more interesting. The course turned out to be a planing boat’s dream with plenty of hard hiking to do upwind but 2 tight reaches proved pure gold for the Tasar and all downwind planing boats. The 2 RS400s, Kestrel and Scorpion were unable to fly their spinnakers so lost out to us in that respect.

Stewart & Colin were in control of the race box and were soon pressed into service monitoring capsizes as they happened. For the first day of the season we had quite a lot of drama. Denis had sailed his new boat, the Hadron H2, during the week and so was feeling a little more confident as he left the beach for the long journey out to the starting area. I don’t think he realised when launching how challenging the fresh breeze was going to be. So much so that as he arrived in the starting area he succumbed to one of the gustier puffs that swept across the course and very gracefully capsized. Well the Hadron advertisement spiel claims that the boat is very well mannered when capsized and will lie on its side making it easy for the helm to clamber on the dagger board to right the boat. NOT so in this case!! Within a few seconds of capsizing, the boat turtled and Denis then struggled to pull the boat over on to its side and struggled even more to right it and then found it impossible to get back in before the boat rolled over again. He did manage to right it once or twice but the boat capsized again immediately. Obviously there must be a knack in recovering from a capsize and maybe a lot of practice needs to be done when the wind is a lot lighter. Steve had to jump into the sea alongside Dennis and between them they managed to right the boat long enough for Denis to board and drop the sail, ready for a long tow home. The water temperature at this time of year is quite cold and Denis spent far too long in it which I am sure took its toll on his strength and he was more than willing to return to shore and warm up.

Anyway after the long delay with the capsize we eventually came under starter’s orders for the very first race of the season. Our fleet for the first day of sailing was a promising 10 strong, exactly the same number as last year. Stacey & James were out in their new boats and I think both Stacey & James were well pleased with their results with them both recording a brace of wins. The fast fleet was the larger fleet with 6 boats. In fact we would have had 7 boats but the pesky Kestrel has been demoted to the slow fleet who were pleased to see her lining up alongside them with Janet making her debut after a long time out of action. Jenny Kendall was also back on the water after a long absence from her foot injury, which she tells me is still giving her pain. Anyway it was good to see our ladies back on the water. Jeremy Turner was also down and rigged his Bahia, intending to take it out for a quick spin, but decided that discretion was the better course to take when he saw Denis struggling and realised how fresh the conditions actually were.

After all the excitement we were suddenly off into the first race with hopefully many more to come. We hit the line for a port hand flyer, but had to duck Stacey and then we cleared the rest of the fleet, so the judgement was more or less still working! We drove the boat hard up the first beat and as we reached the windward mark we found ourselves just behind Stacey and the 2 of us were well ahead of the rest of the fleet. James had a fantastic first beat and managed to round the windward mark 3rd in his Aero5. Chris & Kathy in their RS400 would normally be in front of us in lighter conditions but really came unstuck when they found the reaches a bit too tight for the extra speed and power they would have derived from their spinnaker. I think we held on to Stacey for almost 3 laps but on the 3rd time down to the beach marks he managed to sail into a puff coming out from Charlestown before us and suddenly made a lot of distance on us to take a well deserved win. The D zero is going to taker a lot of stopping this year especially in Stacey’s hands. James was miles in front of the rest of his fleet and finished with plenty of time in hand to take his first win of the day.

The race finished in just over 30 minutes and we then waited around for the rest of the fleets to finish, before making our way back down to the start line. This proved a real disaster for us. We were sitting hove to between the beach marks and the shore, taking advantage of the lighter conditions. Ken stood up to stretch his back, suddenly slipped and toppled backwards falling onto and snapping off the mainsheet bracket. Fortunately he wasn’t injured but the damage was such that we had to make our way back to the beach and so ended our racing for the day. The boat is now out of commission for a while until it can be repaired. The damage is repairable but like all things will take a little time to complete. It looks like we will be doing some extra duties for the next few weeks.

We weren’t the only boat to retire. Andrew & Jenny, Jan & Pete and Roger Williams all sailed back to shore after the first race. Both Jan & Jenny had had enough of the fresh conditions so the Scorpion was left on the beach and Pete and Andrew set off for the 2nd race in the Kestrel. Steve & Ashley had their own problems out there today, managing to capsize in both races and finally retired from the 2nd race when they found that the spinnaker had become detached from one of the sheets. The 2nd race even though depleted of competitors went very much like the 1st race with Stacey & James winning in their respective fleets.

Well we all, to various degrees, survived the first day back on the water, and in truth it was good to be back and it hardly seemed like we had been taking a sabbatical for the last 4 months. Mind you the water was cold, but that aside the sailing conditions were from the top drawer. The enthusiasm of 10 boats out for the first race was good to behold, especially knowing that there is still a potential for several more boats joining us soon. Come on you laggards otherwise you will be labelled as fair weather sailors.

March 19th
Putin's Revenge
yardl Well a couple of weeks ago we had the “Beast from the East” weather system passing over us. Even in Cornwall we suffered from some snow fall, though overall certainly not as much as the rest of the country. Then for a while the weather warmed up a little but it still has been exceptionally wet as the water pouring off the green has proven. In the meantime we have had a Russian murdered in Salisbury. The blame has been attributed to the Kremlin and certain measures have been taken by our Government against Russia and so in revenge it seems that Putin has ordered another “Beast from the East” to descend on Britain, resulting in another bitterly cold weekend. Alarmingly the countdown to the start of the sailing season clock shows 5 days to go to the start of our season, but will we want to start?

Most jobs on the lsit have been completed; certainly enough of them to allow us to start sailing and the keen ones are ready and willing to go. I suppose I should count myself in that number but I must admit to feeling a little bit of trepidation as I look out of the window and see the lawn covered in a light covering of snow. The snow on its own isn’t too bad, but the fact that the temperature is hovering around zero plus a wind chill that takes it even lower is more than enough to keep me land bound for a little longer yet.

It was milder during the week gone by; mild enough for Denis to launch his new craft. Well actually it was Stacey who took her out for her first sail and managed to capsize before he even left the beach. Apparently there is a knack to getting in the boat when afloat that Staecy discovered. Anyway the capsized boat was righted and eventually the boat and Stacey sailed off into the bay. Ken put some video of the launch on the Club F/B page, which is worth looking at. I am told the boat performed admirably and both Stacey and Denis were pleased with the overall experience. Let’s hope that Denis doesn’t have too many holidays booked for this year, otherwise we won’t see very much of the boat on the water.

Oh yes I even found out today that my query about which fleet the pesky Kestrel will sail in this season has been resolved. The Kestrel will now sail in the slow fleet. I don’t know whether to feel pleased or not as we have had some good battles with the pesky Kestrel over the last few seasons and I will surely miss those anxious times when we try and calculate whilst racing whether we had accrued enough time to be able to beat her on handicap. Talking about the Kestrel reminds me that Janet is hopefully fully recuperated and is itching to get back on the water and it will be fantastic to see Janet & Pete sailing together again. I’m not sure if the wooden Scorpions will be ready in time. The poor weather of late has slowed Andrew’s TLC to his boat down somewhat. Paint and varnish do not harden very well in cold or damp weather, though I think all the plastic boats will manage to make the start of the season if the helms are willing and able.

The wild weather over the last few weeks has played havoc with the beach. The far side has been completely denuded of sand below the high water mark and there are loads and loads of boulders / stones exposed. Even our launching area below the slipway has lost plenty of sand and so we will have to be very careful where we finally launch and recover from. No doubt the sand will move around some more as the next month or two passes by but if it doesn’t then the holiday makers will find it not much to their taste.

The code on the gates and changing rooms has been changed and those not knowing it will have an email sometime in the very near future telling them what the new code is. That could be handy for anyone wanting to bring their baot down during the week. I see from the sailing programme that there are 2 races scheduled for the 1st day of the season but somehow with the clocks going forward, giving us an hour less in bed on Sunday plus rusty helms and crews rigging their boats, may well see the schedule fall at the first hurdle. Just one shake down race would probably suit me, and I know that my soft body will ache quite a bit for the first few days after our first sail as it discovers all the hard bits and pieces on the decks. Still onwards and upwards as they say and things will surely get better as we try and focus on some hot steamy days sitting outside on the decking.

March 4th
After the snow
yardl Well the more observant of you will have noticed that the dinghy handicaps for 2018 have just been released and inevitably there have been some changes that will affect most of us. Having said that the changes in the main are quite small so will not really make too much difference to our race results, though there are times when a position in a race is decided on as little as 1 or 2 seconds.

Let’s have a look at how the changes affect our fleets. We will start off with the fast fleet and the fastest boat on our books is currently Paddy’s B14. The bad news for Paddy is that the handicap has taken quite a hit, being cut by 8 points. The 2nd fastest boats saling with us is the RS400. Well after years of cuts the RS is untouched this year so that should make Chris & Kathy and Steve & Ashley smile a little. The next fastest is the Contender and Richard sees his handicap cut by 1, which in the great schemes of things is not worth worrying about, nevertheless a cut is a cut, no matter how small. Looking down the list I see that the Tasar is the next rated class in the fast fleet. After taking quite a knock last year we have retained our handicap figure for another year. Roger Williams intends racing with us in his Blaze for the early part of the season and the changes are good news for him as the Blaze gains 4 points to 1027 and puts him almost alongside Stacey who bought a new Devoti D-zero last year and this was allocated a handicap figure of 1029, which it has retained, so no change for him but both boats may prove difficult to beat.

Now we move into a spot of controversy. The Kestrel has been for the last few years a member of the fast fleet but last year the handicap was raised and it has been raised again, and is now up to 1037, and is now rated slower than a Scorpion that has had it handicap cut to 1036. So the question is; should the Kestrel be moved to the slow fleet or should the Scorpions be moved to the fast fleet? Either way the Sailing Committee will have to put its thinking cap on to make a decision. Just to complicate things a little more, Dennis has bought a Hadron H2 and that has been allocated the figure of 1037, the same as the Kestrel. So we now have 3 classes of boats, all with near enough the same handicap figure. One of our fleets is going to be rather larger than the other, unless we decide to have a medium fleet, but then all our fleets would be rather small, which I think takes away some of the competition.

Now looking at our slow fleet, or the ones I haven’t mentioned. The Sueprnovas have kept their previous handicap figure which to me is strange as the newer ones are far lighter than the older ones and as a boat that will remain very competitive, especially as Simon has just bought one of the super light weight models to try and match Steve. James took delivery of a new Aero with a 5 rig late last year and may be rewarded with a nice little boost as the handicap has been raised by 9, whereas should he switch to the 7 rig then he will see a cut of 3. The Laser has been a staple diet of probably every Sailing Club in the country over the years and we have a few of them here and the Laser has benefited over the last few years by seeing it’s handicap raised and this year is another year of a rise, though this time by only 1 point. Having said that the Laser has been very successful in some of the Sail Juice series this year, showing how competitive they have become. The Laser radial and 4.7 have also had their handicap figures increased which is good news for them as has the Rooster rig 8.1 that Ciarran has fitted to his Laser as that has been raised by 6 points. I’m sure that he will welcome that!

I think that I have analysed most of our racing machines and no doubt the pros and cons of the changes will be the subject of many a debate. Probably the biggest debate at Porthpean is where the division of the fleets will be. Let debate commence.

St. Austell and Porthpean have both been troubled by the snows and gales of this week. Well by today, Sunday, the snow had completely disappeared, but the affects of the gales have not, though the Club has escaped the ravishes of Storm Emma, the slipway and beach have not quite survived unscathed. The slipway has plenty of sand for launching but the top concrete surface, repaired last year has been damaged and a section has been lifted and can be seen on the beach about 50M from where it started. Much of the sand that covers the rocks in front of the slipway has disappeared and moved along the beach. If you remember a few weeks ago the steps side of the beach was missing much of its sand. Well it now has sand in spades. No doubt strong easterlies that will occur from time to time over the forthcoming months will move it all around again. The café and toilets have had tons and tons of sand thrown up onto the walkway. In fact I think it will be quite a job for the café owner to dig his way into the doorway before he can open up for the season. Apart from the disruption of the snow last week the weather so far this year has been predominately wet and this can be seen by the amount of water that is still pouring off the green. This has also had the affect of lifting quite a lot of the tarmac road surface leading down to the beach. The railings on the sea side of the slipway are in a terrible condition and to my mind needs completely replacing.

The weather last week was so bad that Tony decided to postpone the Club walk due to have taken place today. The forecast was not at all favourable. At least with only 3 weeks to go before the start of the season it allowed the Sunday work parties to continue. The only major job that needs completing is the decking refurbishment. I think that there is still some discussion and planning to get the job done and it will require some mid week work parties to see the work complete and that will also be dependant on the weather conditions.

January 28th
The Roadford Rocket
yardl yard
Maintenance work at the Club continues with the RIBs and trailers having a thorough service. Engine and gear box oil changes for the outboards and wheel bearing changes for the trailers ensure that they should give us plenty of trouble free hours for the coming season. I think both RIBs need some TLC on the peripherals but in the main are all set to go. Workers at the Club were a little short on the ground this weekend as 6 boats hit the road and headed up to Roadford reservoir for the “Roadford Rocket” pursuit race. Now Roadford is a place that Ken & I have sailed at a few times over the last few years as we have entered the annual “Goodacre Cup” which is usually a 3 day event held over the August BH. In fact this year it was all but cancelled as we sat under sweltering conditions without any breeze whatsoever. The reservoir was like glass and we sat there for an hour or two without even unpacking the boat, before we acknowledged the inevitable and set off back for home. Yesterday the conditions were slightly different, with a south westerly breeze ranging from 5 – 15 knots blowing across the surface. The weather was surprisingly mild for January but that brought its own problems as we had pulses of drizzle coming through from time to time to make it look quite miserable. Though looking out at the lake from the shore it appeared to be ideal sailing conditions with a light south westerly breeze blowing acroos the water.

I said 6 boats, well our merry band of 6 comprised Stacey in his D-zero, James in his Aero 5, Richard in his Contender, Kay & Nigel in her Scorpion and I think that was Kay’s first outing for well over a year, so she must have felt rather rusty, Steve & Ashley in their RS400 and Ken & me in the Tasar. Now at this point in time I don’t know how many boats raced, but if I was to hazard a guess I would say at least 60, but I will have to wait for the results to be published before I will know, but when ready they will be published on the Roadford Lake SC web site. However I do know that there were one or two “rock stars” sailing. Steve Cockerill sailing his Aero 7, Peter Greig – Osprey, John Turner – Merlin, Steve Bolland – D zero, Pete Barton – Aero 9. All 5 of those have won National Championships in the past.

The range of boats sailing was a good comprehensive mixture of boats well known to us all. I was going to list them all but that would take too long, but they ranged from Laser radial & Firefly right up to International Canoes and foiling moth. I think that the largest class by far was the Aero in its various forms. This is a boat that will really invigorate the single handed sailing market. They look very pretty, perform well and there is a rig to suit all sizes and weights. Steve Cockerill won the event in an Aero 7 and Aero 9 was also 3rd. Stacey was the best placed of our Club boats, finishing in the top 10, just behind another D-zero. That’s 5 new design boats in the top 10, which shows how competitive these new designs are. I think that we may have been around the low 20s and the rest of our merry band will have to wait for the final results to be posted to find out their positions. I think that we all carried trackers and we should be able to analyse our meanderings around the course when that information is available.

Now I mentioned the race course and from a Tasar’s point of view it was very disappointing, as there wasn’t a close reach on any leg of the rounds. We started off from a Club line on a one tack beat up towards the Dam, and bore away onto a long run, gybed around that mark straight onto another one tack beat to round a mark and then bore off onto another very broad reach, before starting a long beat across the reservoir to take us onto another one tack beat through the start line to repeat the process. I suppose because there were so many boats racing the course had to be set to try and prevent the numerous collisions that may have occurred if a more traditional course had been set. Spinnaker boats certainly benefitted on that course; a different wind direction may well have given some reaches and that would certainly have been beneficial to us but unfortunately not for us today. As mentioned earlier the wind strength wasn’t too bad but what we had was quite gusty at times and very shifty and several boats capsized during the race. The numerous times I was up and down on the side deck have given me a very achy body today. My leg muscles and backside are very sore and it will take a few days of rest to recover. The race time was calculated to last some 2 ½ hours. As it was a pursuit race, we started some 18 minutes after the Firefly and he was still in front of us at the end. I suppose we were on the water for some 3 hours which after our long winter break constitutes a bit of a marathon, hence the aching body.

Roadford too has had a lot of rain lately and the reservoir was pretty full, it certainly had a lot more water in it than I have seen before. The grass surrounding the launching area was as bad as our field, being very wet, soggy and squelchy and soon became very muddy. I think it will take a good long dry period for it to dry out properly. I took the precaution of taking wellington boots to walk around in and they proved to be the ideal footwear for the day. Summing up I would say the event was very well organised, well run and importantly well attended. It is probably growing in stature and looks like becoming one of the premier events in the West Country.

January 7th
Beautiful day + strong easterly = No sailing!! BUT Club Maintenance starts.
cancel beach
Well after an all too short break here is the first instalment of the 2018 Blog and what a cold start to the first day of Club maintenance it proved to be. I arrived down just after 10 and there were already quite a few people at the Club starting on the long list of jobs that Tony has compiled which will need to be completed before we can consider our selves ready to face the start of the 2018 racing season which according to the count down clock tells me that will be in 76 days (11 weeks). Lets face it that seems to be an age away, but believe me that clock will come whittling down over the next few weeks.

I said a cold start and yes it was very cold today but at least it was sunny. There were sheets of ice on all the boats that had water lying on their boat covers, and there was a very chilly north easterly wind blowing in over the wall and the sea was looking rather majestic with many waves, heavily daubed with white foamy water, crashing down on the beach. The sand on the slipway is way down from its normal position. Hopefully that will come back over the coming weeks but it is still far enough on the slope to allow us to launch if we were so foolhardy at the moment. Conditions were such that sailing was a long way from our minds today!

The accompanying pictures show just a little of what was going on today. Tony had the yard drain cover up and that was emptied of the sand that slowly silts it up over the year. Brian had the hose reel to pieces to fit new parts. Jeremy and Chris and Ken were very busy cutting back on vegetation, both in the yard and on the steps that has accumulated over the last season. Pete, Jan & Kathy were stripping the kitchen area down for a deep clean. Stewart was giving the decking some TLC and I think there is a long way to go with the decking yet as some parts have rotted away and will require replacing. I had a good look at the beach marks and tackle which in the main are in good order but some week looking chain links have been removed and Paddy is going to do some splicing of new eyelets to complete the job. Both beach marks require some fluorescent paint but in the main are good enough to go again.

The race board fitted to the wall outside the gents changing rooms is looking very tired at the moment and is heavily streaked with rust and will most likely be replaced for the coming season. Paddy was up a ladder to remove the wiper blade on the web cam. The rubber component is badly worn and requires replacing. Oh yes the other big task for me is raking up the accumulation of stones that are embedded into the dinghy park. In isolation they are not too bad when wearing normal footwear but can make themselves painfully felt when wearing sailing boots. I don’t think that they will ever be all removed but at least I get some satisfaction of getting rid of as many as possible.

I didn’t dare walk into the field to check on its status but knowing how much rain we have had over the winter so far then I can probably safely say that it is still a no go area for cars. Only good quality 4 wheel drives could probably negotiate the field, the rest of us will have to stay away at our peril for a little longer yet.

I said earlier that there is a long list of jobs that need doing. Some are quite modest and only require a little elbow grease, but non of the jobs will be done on their own so if you can spare a couple of hours on a Sunday morning then please come down and lend a hand. Coffee is free and we also had a few chocolate biscuits today courtesy of Stewart to munch on as well.

Quite a few boats have disappeared from the yard for some essential maintenance. Fortunately for most of us either FRP / GRP are the main form of hull construction nowadays which certainly simplifies the amount of work required.