News 2011

Boxing Day Racing Photos

Many thanks to Mandy Pollard for the photos below of the Boxing Day ‘Christmas Pudding’ Race.  The report that follows immediately below is also available via the ‘Racing Reports’ link.

The annual Christmas pudding race took place again this year after having to cancel it last year when even the Canada geese were skating on a frozen Tamar Lake!

A mild morning with a moderate south westerly saw four helms take to the water, all keen to win a pudding ready for next year! At the start all were well back from the line but then
Bob Sampson in his Laser, started first and took the lead from James Pollard (Topper) and forged ahead. However the two Enterprises were sailing extremely well and helms Emily
Veal and visitor Mark soon overtook Bob. With light-moderate winds there were no heroics today and all helms looked extremely comfortable as they completed the three laps with
Bob and the Enterprises competing for the lead.

Bob Sampson crossed the line first closely followed by Emily and Simon Veal, then Mark and last but by no means least James in the slower Topper.

On handicap the results were as follows:

1st Emily and Simon Veal (Enterprise)
2nd Mark (Enterprise)
3rd Bob Sampson (Laser)
4th James Pollard (Topper)

All then retreated to the clubhouse and toasted “To a Good Sailing season in 2012” with port and very welcome mince pies.
The new season starts again on March 4th.

Thanks to John and Vicki Duncalf for doing race officer duties.

Christmas Dinner 2011

This year’s club Christmas Dinner was held at the Bradworthy Inn for the first time, following a successful trial run at this venue for the Summer Dinner.  Despite early concerns about low numbers signing up, in the end nearly 40 people attended; the dining room was just the right size for this number, with the added bonus that we had the room completely to ourselves.  As usual, the dinner was followed by the award of prizes; the photograph below shows most of the year’s prizewinners, though sadly a few club members weren’t able to be there to collect their prizes in person.   This year’s winners probaby deserve special commendation for turning out to brave the elements, as it was a windier season than most (and indeed there were four Sundays in all when racing had to be completely abandoned).   Thanks to Nicky Buckett for the photograph.

Autumn Dartmoor Walk

Despite organiser Nicky Buckett being unavoidably absent after just coming out of hospital, a select half-dozen club members made it to the start of the walk by successfully negotiating the maze of lanes before arriving at the beauty spot of Fingle Bridge on the River Teign.  Setting off on a circuitous route through the National Trust woodlands, the trail steadily gained height through the trees, with Stephanie Heasman leading the way and demonstrating the payback from all her pre-Everest climb training.  After a taxing three-quarters of an hour, the group emerged out above the Teign Gorge into bright sunshine and were rewarded with some impressive views of ‘real’ Dartmoor in the distance.  Undaunted by the vertigo-inducing drops at the edge of the path, Bob Sampson marshalled everybody for photographs, before continuing along the Hunters Path to the National trust property of Castle Drogo (the last ‘castle’ built in Britain, designed by Lutyens for the owner of the Home and Colonial shop chain).  However, the doughty half-dozen only got as far as the cafe by the entrance and made excellent coffee and cakes the excuse for a welcome sit-down.  The way back was literally (but hopefully not metaphorically) all downhill from then on, going further along the Hunters Path and then dropping down to the river itself and crossing the Teign via the suspension bridge below Castle Drogo.  Thereafter the track followed the far bank of the river, heading downstream to the starting point at Fingle Bridge.  The advertised final destination was the Fingle Bridge Inn, but on arrival it soon became clear that the stunning autumn weather had brought half of Devon out to the same spot and the queues for food looked like the first day of the Harrods sale – so the group made do with liquid  refreshment and crisps; nevertheless, it was a excellent day out that everyone seemed to enjoy.  Many thanks to Bob Sampson for taking the photographs.

August Bank Holiday Fun Sailing

The usual ‘fun’ August Bank Holiday weekend didn’t exactly get off to a fun start for those that arrived to set up camp on the Friday afternoon, when it absolutely poured with rain.  After waiting for much of the afternoon for it to ease off, Paul Whybrow eventually gave up and bravely erected his tent in the downpour, only for it to stop raining a half hour later….  However, fish and chips in John and Nicky’s caravan in the evening cheered everybody up.  The Saturday dawned with less rain but rather too much wind  for fun sailing, so Nicky Buckett sent teams off on a land-based treasure hunt, with rhyming clues clues such as ‘The answer to this is pinned to a seat, it’s below water level but you won’t get wet feet’ – taxing but fun.  By late afternoon, the wind had eased a bit, so Simon Veal got people afloat, some in a heavily-reefed Laser 16 and others in the club Bosun.   By the evening, everybody was more than ready for the barbecue, (with Roger organising impromptu games of boules in the car park) followed by an excellent quiz constructed by Dawn and the evening rounded off by Simon on guitar and singing.  As customary, Sunday continued with a normal racing programme, though there were still additional boats on the lake: the Falmouth Bass Boat was on the water, with Jenny Whybrow and new junior members Finn and Jowen all having a go at helming, whilst Simon was taking out new member Lee Bartrop in the latter’s Lark.  Pleasingly, this year there was a good turnout on the Bank Holiday Monday, when better weather and gentler winds encouraged a large group of boats out onto the water for Nicky’s on-water treasure, where the clues were sellotaped to various of the buoys around the lake.  The difficulties of coming to a stop by the buoy and then working out the clue, writing down the answer and getting underway again were compounded for the single-handers taking part, such as John Weller and John and Vicki Duncalf – but everybody persisted manfully.  The weekend then came to an end with more sailing in the afternoon, notably by the trio of Roger Heasman, Jane Chadney and Adeney Pooler playing ‘follow-my-leader’ and sailing in what seemed to be ever-diminishing circles.  Thanks to everybody who came along and made it all fun – the couple of photos below show some of group on the Saturday lunchtime.

Carrick Roads Weekend – July

This year, other members having to drop out meant that just two boats made it to the July Carrick Roads: Toby and Sheba in their Drascombe Lugger and Simon, Jane and Stuart in the club’s Laser 16.  Nevertheless, a good time was had by the group, which despite a robust wind and a swell, made it all the way down to the Helford on the Saturday – a destination often discussed but reached very seldom (probably only once in the last 20 years) on previous club trips.  Cosawes Park proved to be an excellent campsite, with Toby and Sheba using the tent on the Drascombe ashore for once, rather than on the water.  The Norway Inn lived up to its excellent reputation for the Saturday night meal.  After the exertions of the first day, the duo stayed in Carrick Roads for the Sunday, but the Laser 16 crew once more braved uncharted territory by deciding to try flying the spinnaker for the first time, coming back on a broad reach from off St Mawes back to St Just-in-Roseland.  The photographs below give a flavour of the weekend…..

Over 50s Course Report

This year’s Over 50s course has just reached its conclusion, with feedback from the participants again pleasingly positive.  As last year, we were fortunate in that all the participants got on together and made for a really friendly group, who made the sessions extremely enjoyable – a subset of the course came from the the Bude branch of the University of the Third Age and so knew each other already.  Pleasingly for the club, at the end of the course most people said that they would be interested in taking out club membership – and may well come up for Wednesday afternoon and/or evening sailing in the coming weeks.  The photographs below were taken during the final session of the course, on a day that was sometimes rather blustery  (as indeed were several of the sessions); many thanks to John Dabbs for taking them.

Topper Challenge

Stephen Muller took part in the Plymouth to Fowey Topper Challenge: his report (and some photos) follow below. Congratulations to Stephen on taking part in what turned out to be a long and arduous voyage.

Thank you for all who supported me in the Plymouth to Fowey Topper Challenge which I completed yesterday. Our group of 18 sailors raised over £5000 for 4 maritime charities. The event was a great success taking roughly 9 hours from launching. I had to be up at 4.30 am to get to Mountbatten in Plymouth with my boat rigged and ready for checking by 7am. We had full safety and medical briefings but it looked as though the conditions couldn’t have been better for our sail. We had a good breeze to start so sailed quickly across Plymouth Sound and around Rame Head in around 2 hours with a following wind. We were past the half way point offshore from Looe by about 2pm with little incident apart from the odd capsize (although one of the sailors managed to go over 6 times).

At this point the slowly dwindling wind completely died and we spent the next 3 hours making very little progress. We managed to entertain ourselves with water fights and games of I spy but it wasn’t long before we ran out of things beginning with “S”. Some dolphins felt sorry for us and came over to amuse us with their acrobatics but once they had left boredom started to set in. I lay on my boat and drifted off to sleep which alarmed my safety boat captain when they noticed I hadn’t moved for a while so they came over and prodded me awake (well I had been up since 4.30am). With another hour passing and being 7 miles from Fowey with not much prospect of wind building again, the safety crew eventually decided to tow us for part of the journey as they were worried we wouldn’t make in to Fowey in enough daylight to be safe. Having finally reached the entrance to Fowey harbour we had to wait for a super tanker to enter. We then sailed for the last hour into Fowey (actually mostly we had to lie on our boats and paddle them like surf boards; quite tiring after so many hours at sea). It was great to see our parents cheering us on from the sailing club so we all became competitive and tried to paddle across the finish line first.

Club Canoeing Expedition

After a couple of years when the club has canoed on the Exeter Canal, this year we ventured out onto the broader waters of the River Tamar at Cotehele Quay. Everyone met up for a packed lunch on the quayside before the off (some went even further and had coffee and cakes in the National Trust cafe first) and then were eventually packed into Canadian canoes under the watchful eye of guides. Despite a few wobbles from some of us, we all eventually set off upriver in company with a cheerful group of ladies who were on a hen night (actually a hen afternoon). The river valley here is deeply incised, with the tree-clad slopes making for some very attractive scenery – hard to believe that in the 19th century, it was a hive of industrial activity, particularly arsenic mining that turned the slopes into a ecologists nightmare. The valley sides mostly kept us sheltered from the strong and gusty wind, but as the river bent and twisted, on a few stretches gusts would suddenly streak across the water and make paddling very much harder work. Although we were heading towards Morwhellam, we never actually quite made it before the organisers decided we should turn and head back. A nice touch was that on the way back we were directed to pull into a little pontoon and the edge of a field, where a large summer-house provided shelter (and burgers for the hen night group) and a very welcome chance for everyone to stretch their legs. The only problem was after sitting still in the canoe for a long period meant that you were very stiff and immobile when you tried to get up – but everybody got ashore without mishap. Then the trip ended with a gentle paddle back to the starting point at Cotehele – all-in-all an excellent afternoon out – the photos below (courtesy of Mary Carter) give a flavour of the event.

Bring on the Bosuns: Success with RYA Grant Application

The club had some excellent news recently, when it heard that it had been successful in its application to the RYA Small Grant (Equipment) Programme award, which is supported by Sport England using Lottery funding. Roger Heasman had led on the £1000 bid for the RYA grant, which with matched funding from the club has made possible the purchase and refurbishment of two secondhand Bosun dinghies. The club’s matched funding for the bid has been possible largely due to the funds resulting from the proceeds of the sale of Rob Eason’s sailing equipment and books, after his untimely death. Simon Veal has been instrumental in organising the donation of additional equipment for the Bosuns which will substantially supplement the grant. As well as putting together the successful application, Roger has also put a large amount of sustained effort into carrying out a substantial amount of refurbishment work on the Bosuns; one of the Bosuns was formerly used for teaching Sea Scouts, whilst another was purchased as a bare hull. Many thanks to both Roger and Simon for all their work associated with this grant – and thanks also to RYA SW Regional Development Officer Tony Wood, who provided much-appreciated help and support in guiding the bid through to its positive outcome..

One of the Bosuns is already in use and in fact was out on the lake at the recent ‘Class of 2010’ Reunion Day, when some of the people on last year’s successful Over 50’s course came back to Tamar for an afternoon. The pictures below show Simon helming on the afternoon, with club members Kathy Wyke and Eddie Bryant crewing. A number of club members who have recently joined the club have already indicated that they would be interested in getting a taste of Sunday racing by crewing in the Bosuns, in conjunction with an experienced club member at the helm and it is hoped that this may be a catalyst for getting more people into the racing side of the club. The Bosuns are of course also highly suitable for participating in the club’s cruising programme, such as the forthcoming trips to Carrick Roads.

Topper Open Coaching and Traveller at Upper Tamar – 16th/17th April

Upper Tamar Lake was the venue for a Topper Open Coaching event on Saturday 16th April, followed by a Topper Traveller run by the club on Sunday 17th. The weekend was favoured with conditions that were just right on the Saturday, when around a dozen helms had a full days coaching on the water; the wind started gently in the morning and then gradually built during the day. On the Sunday, over twenty boats entered the four race event, with two back-to-back events held before lunch and another two in the afternoon. The wind swung between east and south east during the day, not the best direction for setting a course for a competitive class, with a unavoidably biased start line and a relatively short beat to the first mark at Dam Green. Nevertheless, Simon Veal, acting as lead OOD for the day, got the competitors away well, until a general recall on the last race led to the appearance of the black flag and a much more cautious approach on the re-run. Although the wind flickered and dropped on occasions, with a few dead patches, it just about held out during day and from time to time there were enough gusts to get the fleet moving at speed.

For a small club, running the event was a major achievement, which went very well. Many thanks to all club members who helped, on the water, in the galley, in the Race Hut and behind the scenes. A few photographs below give a flavour of the weekend:

Dartmoor Walk  – March

A perennial favourite in the club’s social programme is the Dartmoor walk. This year’s started from Okehampton station and headed off along the ‘Tramlines’ track towards Fatherford Viaduct – after this, though, the walk gradually got a bit tougher as the path followed the East Okement River up past the cascades (just like ‘cool as a mountain stream’, if you’re old enough to remember the old menthol cigarette advert) and then zigzagged up the slope to reach some real open moorland scenery for a breath of fresh air, before heading for the lunchtime stop-off at ‘The Tors’ at Belstone. As the pictures below show, the weather for the day was absolutely superb, just amazing for March. And when we got back, the buffet at Okehampton Station made an excellent full stop for the trip. Many thanks to Stephanie and Nicky for the organisation – and to Nicky and Bob for the photos.

Solid 60s Evening at Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple

A group of club members who claimed to be able to remember the 60s (which means, according to the adage, presumably they weren’t there at all) went along to Barnstaple Theatre on 11th March for a dose of nostalgia, listening to chart-topping groups and artists from the era still strutting their stuff, including luminaries such as Wayne Fontana, Chris Farlowe, the Merseybeats and Vanity Fayre. Great fun was to be had trying to work out how old everyone must be now; nearly everybody still seemed to be in amazingly good voice, though in some cases their looks hadn’t lasted quite so well (but then the 60s is a very long time ago now). Bringing down the average age of the Tamar party were club members Caroline Sinclair and son Kieran, who even though they clearly weren’t there first time round, still seemed to have a good time. After the show, most of the Tamar group went for a meal at Giovanni’s, right across the road from the theatre, to round off an excellent evening. The two blurry photos below of some of the party are the best we could manage as a record of a good night out…

Over-50s Course in ‘Yachts and Yachting’ Magazine

Last year’s over-50s courses run at the lake are now mentioned in the February edition of ‘Yachts and Yachting’. magazine The article cover four different initiatives from various areas of the country, but just under a quarter of the text is devoted to the courses at Upper Tamar and Roadford. In addition, the main photo for the article features Judith and Everett Sharp, Adam Hilton, Mike Lewis and Carol Brown, sailing in the Trust’s Drascombe Lugger. The article includes a quote from Everett: ‘We wanted a new challenge that was exciting and skilful, with lots of interest and a chance to meet new people.’ and mentions that they have subsequently joined the Upper Tamar Lake SC and bought a Skipper 14 dinghy – a good advert for the club…..