News 2012


 Christmas Dinner 2012

This year’s club Christmas Dinner was held at the Falcon Hotel for the first time, with a good attendance. The Falcon proved to be an excellent venue,  with the entire restaurant devoted to the sailing club.  As usual, the dinner was followed by the award of prizes; the photographs below show most of the year’s prizewinners, though sadly a few club members weren’t able to be there to collect their prizes in person – congratulations to all the prizewinners.      Thanks to Nicky Buckett for the photographs.

October Dartmoor Walk

In a year of seemingly near-incessant rain, the club was amazingly fortunate that the traditional Autumn Dartmoor walk was favoured with surprisingly good weather.  However, the heavy rain of the previous days (and weeks) meant that the moor was extremely wet underfoot and this meant some alterations in the originally planned route.  A sizeable group met in the large car park at Postbridge and then headed off, initially along the the dry gravel tracks of Bellever Forest, before turning out across the open moor and trudging uphill to the first stopping point, at Bellever Tor.  After admiring the views, there was more walking across some fairly squishy moorland before finding a drier track that headed north east and eventually dropped back into the bottom end of Bellever Forest.  The next stop was at the Forestry Commission picnic benches (and loos) at a picturesque spot next to the East Dart River.  The boggy ground on the last leg of the walk led to an uphill detour back across the forest, albeit with some good views to the moorland tors in the distance, and eventually back to the starting point.  Bob Sampson had made arrangements for the club to go into the East Dart Hotel for lunch and drinks and this made for an excellent conclusion for the walk, with the hotel staff managing to get good food out to everybody in amazingly quick time.

Peter Pocock Trophy Presentation

The awards for the annual Peter Pocock Trophy were this year presented at lunchtime on October 14th; the race series is held on Sunday lunchtimes for novice junior sailors and a trophy is awarded for the winner, in memory of Peter Pocock, a former club member.  This year the winner of the trophy was Nathan Pollard, following in the footsteps of

his brother James, who won the trophy two years ago, with Elliot Pomeroy in second place and Alex Clifton in third.  In front of a large crowd, Simon Veal congratulated all the participants before the trophy was awarded to Nathan by Mark Pocock, Peter’s son, with certificates for all the entrants for their endeavours.

Thanks for Nicky Buckett for the photographs below.

Round Robin Trip

On Saturday 22nd September, a large group from the club embarked on the always-popular ‘Round Robin’ trip: boat trip from Totnes down to Dartmouth, steam train from Kingswear to Paignton and then bus back Totnes.  Despite careful planning, the trip nearly got off to a bad start when the date turned out to coincide with a large ‘wild swimming’ event also starting from the Totnes waterfront.  Although people had been forewarned and arrived early, all the nearby parking was already full to overflowing; most club members ended up parking far away on the west edge of the town and were faced with a long walk back to the boat, but thankfully everybody made it just in time.    The boat trip was also pretty full but the weather held and it was an enjoyably gentle scenic trip downriver.  For a few lucky people, the highlight was a brief glimpse of a seal.  Disembarking in Dartmouth, the party went their separate ways to find lunch: reports afterwards suggested that Taylors restaurant, specialising in seafood, was probably the gourmet’s choice.  A quick dash for the ferry (so full that some of the group had to wait for the next one) meant that everybody made it to the station in time to see the steam engine puff round the curve, pulling an impressively large number of coaches into the platform.  The locomotive was working hard on the steep climb out of Kingswear as far as Churston, before gliding down the rest of the way into Paignton, with some pretty sea views.  Some of the group were corralled for a quick photo in front of the engine, and most went off to grab a coffee before reassembling for the bus ride back to the start.  All-in-all, very successful day on one of the best tourist attractions in the South-West.

Thanks for Sheba Tobias, Nicky Buckett   and Bob Sampson for the photographs below.

Launch of club Bosun: the ‘Mike Ford’

A small ceremony was held at the lake on Sunday 16th September to mark the launch of the second club Bosun.  The boat had been named the ‘Mike Ford’ to commemorate a much-missed member and former Commodore of the club.  The boat, which had been immaculately restored following purchase as a near wreck after months of dedicated work by Roger Heasman, was resplendent in pristine eye-catching red, white and blue Jubilee colours paintwork.  After a few well-chosen words from Simon Veal, the boat was ceremonially christened with a glass of port by Mike’s widow, Mona Ford, watched by members of Mike’s family and Ragna Eason, together with a sizeable number of club members; Mike’s grandson, former club member Tim Kearse,  was unable to be present for the ceremony due to work commitments but was able to see the Bosun at the pontoon later in the afternoon.  Paul Whybrow then blessed the boat before its maiden launch.  The Bosun was quickly into service, being used on the very next day for teaching an RYA Level 1 course being given Nicky Buckett and Roger Heasman.

Many thanks to Nicky Buckett for the photographs.

August Bank Holiday Weekend

The August Bank Holiday camping weekend up at the lake has been a fixture in the club’s programme for many years.  Unsurprisingly, given this summer’s weather, this year’s weekend didn’t escape unscathed.  The forecast for the Saturday was for very high winds, but in fact in the morning it was surprisingly calm because the centre of the low pressure system was still over South West England, giving an ‘eye of the hurricane’ effect.  About a dozen boats ventured out for an on-the-water quiz which involved sailing round all the buoys; the pictures taped to the buoys formed the clues to the quiz.  This put the singlehanders at a bit of a disadvantage, as it was hard to try and write down all the answers whilst sailing the boat.  In the afternoon, Nicky set a fun sailing competition, including doing a man overboard drill with a plastic bottle and sailing backwards at the finish.  None of which would have been too onerous, had not the wind strength been steadily rising, generating conditions that were getting pretty severe.  Nevertheless a handful of boats braved the conditions and set off – and it certainly made for some pretty spectacular viewing for the spectators on the shore: the Bosun went out four-up, with Simon on the helm – and people said that they had never seen one move so fast before, with spray flying everywhere as it bludgeoned its way across the lake.  Helmsman of the day was undoubtedly James Pollard, who went out in a Topper with just a single reef and came back intact.  Once everyone was safely back ashore, Nicky finished with a on-land treasure hunt, with a variety of clues that sent people scurrying all over the Tamar site.  The day was rounded off with a mammoth order to the Pizza Ape at Kilkhampton – and then party games in the Watersports Centre – well done to Nathan Pollard who bravely volunteered to pick the sweet up for some of the losers in the flour game.

The weather relented for Sunday, when Vicki Duncalf and Jane Anderson had organised a series in which the prizes were bottles (both alcoholic and soft).  For a report on this day, click on this Race Reports link  The turnout for the day was particularly pleasing, with 17 boats turning out for one or more of the races – particularly good for a Bank Holiday when many members are away on holiday or have other commitments.  The other feature of the day was the Boat Jumble; this went really well and raised £140 towards club funds – special thanks to Brian and Mandy Pollard, who stepped in and ran the stall whilst the club sailors were out on the water.

The day was rounded off by the club christening the new barbecue, with a good turnout and Simon (plus special guest Paul Clews) playing as a duo on guitar and ukelele – all-in-all a very good day, which made the decision to abandon the planned programme for the Monday less hard – and in the event, this turned out to be a good call – with the Monday’s weather turning out to be every bit as bad as was forecast.  Many thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend – and thanks to all who helped organise it.Many thanks to Mandy Pollard for the photographs.

‘Push the Boat Out’ Day

The club participated in the RYA’s pre-Olympic ‘Push the Boat  day on Saturday 21st July, where the idea was to get as many boats as possible out of the boat park and onto the water, adorned if possible with bunting and other forms of decoration.  In a summer with a pretty dismal record so far weatherwise, the day dawned with glorious sunny weather and a gentle wind, ideal conditions for an event of this type.  As well as decorating their boats, many members had also donned fancy dress, turning up as pirates, explorers and what have you;  Jane Chadney came dressed as the dove of peace, though many onlookers interpreted her costume as a swan.  In the morning, John Duncalf kindly acted as Race Officer and organised a pursuit race for all boats on the water and this was won by Stuart Mealing in his Laser Radial, after a close tussle with Vicki Duncalf.  Jane Chadney won the prize for the best dressed boat, with Vicki second and John Dabbs’s Gull dinghy in third place.  In the afternoon, Simon Veal organised a ‘follow-my-leader’ sail around the lake, with his Bosun in pole position, a fun event which incidentally also made for an excellent training exercise.  The day was then rounded off with a ‘bring-and-share’ supper.  Thanks to Simon Veal for organising the day and also for providing certificates of attendance for all boats getting out on the water, plus official ‘Sail for Gold’ wristbands for all taking part.

Carrick Roads

Simon Veal’s eye-witness account of the early summer trip to Carrick Roads below:We were programmed to camp at Cosawes camp site on the Friday night for a start on the water on Saturday morning. Unfortunately the weather forecast gave strong winds and heavy rain for Saturday so a decision was taken to postpone the start to the Sunday. Some members still camped on the Friday evening and then spent the day in and around Falmouth, soaking up the atmosphere and making important purchases from the town’s chandlery. You can never have too many nautical items! The whole group met up at the camp site on Saturday evening and we had a lovely dinner in the local pub. The beer and wine went down quite well too!

An early start was planned and Stephanie Heasman banged on the tents of anyone who hadn’t already woken up by 0645 (that was a 45 minute lie-in for me!). Adam and Rosie Hilton had already planned not to sail on the Sunday so, after a big breakfast, the company left them to sleep as we made our way to Loe Beach. The tide was out which made for an interesting, but not problematic, launch.  “Whisper”, the Laser 16, threaded her way out through the moored boats under sail and out into the Roads. The wind was a good F4/5 but the Laser, under full sail with four intrepid souls aboard, was in her element. I took the helm with Christine Marshall on the jib sheets, Stephanie and a big-boat colleague of mine, Mike, gamely trimmed the boat.  Jane Chadney, Toby and Sheba Tobias followed the Laser 16 out in the Drascombe Lugger “T’is Viddy”. The Drascombe doesn’t love big winds and choppy seas so, following a skipper’s conference (shouting at each other as we reached passed each other) the decision was taken to turn for the river and make a passage to “Smuggler’s Inn”. Following a grounding incident (it looked much deeper, honest!) and a bit of drifting when the wind faded to nothing behind the headland, Toby took “Whisper” under tow and we made our way to the pub (is there a theme developing here?) We tied up on the new jetty following a discussion about how we thought the rest of the day would develop. T’is Viddy’s crew had already enjoyed a cup of tea and some flapjack on the go. Very civilized, these Drascombe sailors! They didn’t let that prevent them from more tea and coffee.

Following the break, Jane and Christine swapped places and, having pre-reefed Whisper, Toby towed us back down river to the Roads. The tide had risen by the time we arrived and a simple crossing was made of the previously shallow bar. Following a pre-arranged signal, Toby let Whisper’s painter go and we shot off through the waves, beating into wind, towards Black Rock at the mouth of the estuary. T’is Viddy stayed under engine and shadowed Whisper to provide safety cover if needed. The Whisper crew decided to turn back before we reached Black Rock to save fuel and discomfort for the Drascombe crew. We tacked back and, surfing down the waves, reached back toward Loe Beach. Toby also raised sail which was good to see.

Whisper dropped her main outside the boundary of moored boats and ran in under the jib, the jib sheets pulled through the fairleads so she could be let fly as the shore approached (furling line was jammed!). As we closed on the shore, the centreplate was raised and Mike was dispatched forward to jump ashore with the painter. All was well until the centreplate uphaul snapped, dropping the centreplate in shallow water 4 feet from the shore and catapulting Mike into the sea (he saw the funny side, honest!). Whisper’s highly professional crew quickly recovered the situation and stepped ashore, followed in a more sedate manner by the amused Drascombe crew.

Both boats were recovered easily onto their trailers and prepared for towing. More tea and flapjack later, we all departed for home.  Many thanks to Toby and Sheba Tobias and Chris Marshall for providing the photos.

Topper Weekend

For the second year, the club hosted a Topper Weekend as part of the South West Regional Topper Traveller circuit.  This year the event was held on the weekend of the 23rd/24th June, with Upper Tamar club members providing race officer,


protest committee, beachmaster, safety boat etc – as well as the catering, where the bacon rolls were once again a hot favourite.  Many thanks to everybody from the club who helped out – it was very much appreciated.  Jane Anderson again bravely took part and went well, finishing up in a creditable 6th place.   The pictures below show some of the racing on the Sunday, where the starts were hotly contested in all four races; many thanks to Mandy Pollard and Nicky Buckett for supplying the photos.

Jubilee Hi-Jinks!

After a dismal Jubilee Sunday’s racing when most competitors went home wetter than if they’d capsized, the Sailing Club’s Big Jubilee Luch occasion turned out to be a much brighter affair.  The Race Box was decorated in bunting, the Race Officer suitably attired, and the boats beautifully dressed for the day’s racing event.  The Lakes Trust had decorated the outside of the main building and the entranceway to the sailing area, which attracted many onlookers.  The sun managed to come out and the two pre-lunch races were completed back to back in light airs, which suited almost everyone present.  Then it was in the the Big Clubhouse for the Big Lunch, with the the room and tables dressed in red, white and blue.  It was a great gathering with many of the Social Members coming together with the Racing Members to make it a lovely lunchtime social event.  Then it was back on the water before more tea, cakes and prize giving.

The photos below show something of the day, both on the water and on land; thanks to Jane Anderson and Matthew Simpkins for taking them.

Tamar Valley Trails Walk at Gunnislake

This walk was something rather different: although we’re Upper Tamar Sailing Club, this Tamar Valley walk was much further downstream, starting near Gunnislake.  The route was along well-signposted gravelled tracks (recently opened thanks to National Lottery, EU and council funding), up-and-down through woodland along the side of the valley, past relics of the days long ago when the area was a hive of mining activity: copper, tin, tungsten and even arsenic.  Next to the car park where we assembled was a cafe, owned by the Tree Surfers company that runs high-wire tracks through the woodland tree-tops and this proved to be an excellent spot for coffee and a cake in the bright sunshine as we waited for everybody to arrive.  Setting off, we passed several of the Tree Surfers courses, with platforms and slides high up in the canopy, fascinating some of our party and terrifying others.  Thereafter, the pleasant woodland scenery was interrupted from time to time by stark reminders of the industrial past: chimneys, leats, lakes and mine buildings.  Particularly memorable were the arsenic workings at Wheal Anna Maria: from the path huge heaps of arsenic tailings could be seen, still bare of any vegetation after more than a century – a scary indication of how toxic they must be: the walks booklet explained how in the 1870s, the local mines produced more than half the world’s arsenic.

Eventually, we arrived at the end of the woodland trails at Scrub Tor and were then faced by a mile’s walk along a road to reach the lunch stop at The Royal Inn at Horsebridge; fortunately the road was extremely quiet and we arrived at the pub, where we found tables reserved for us.  The food was excellent and the welcome warm (based on our experience, it can be thoroughly recommended) and it provided a reviving interlude to prepare everybody for the long climbs and descents on the way back.  After retracing our steps on the road, we took a different route back to the start point, this time hugging the river slopes, with views through the trees of the noisy River Tamar far below.  We eventually made it back to base and collapsed into the cafe again  before going our separate ways: all-in-all a good day out blessed with stunning sunshine, though there were a few grumbles about stiff legs the next day…

Bude Canal Walk

Bob Sampson opted to go for home territory for the first walk of the 2012 social programme, which attracted a good-sized crowd, no doubt allured in part by the un-seasonly bright and hot sunshine – stunning for March…..  Starting from the Rugby Club, the group headed off along the Bude Canal and the first stop at ‘The Weir’ cafe at Marhamchurch, which was a surprisingly upmarket venue to be found out in the rural hinterland – and produced excellent coffee, cakes and drinks.  Bob then directed us across the fields on the second segment of the itinerary, ending up at the ‘The Bay View Inn’, where the staff managed to serve lunch for everyone in a remarkably speedy fashion, given how crowded it was.  The final third was a walk back towards Bude, the surf sparkling in the sunshine, before dropping down through Whalesborough Woods to rejoin the canal and a final resting spot at ‘The Olive Tree’, adjacent to the canal basin.  Many thanks to Bob Sampson for organising the route, so well provided with splendid spots to rest the legs.  The pictures below show a few of the happy crowd (many thanks to Sheba and Nicky for taking them).

First Sailing of 2012 Season

After the cancellation of sailing on the scrub-up weekend (see below), the weather went to the other extreme and was forecast to be almost flat calm.  In the event, there was slightly more than forecast, with the odd short spell when it blew quite respectably – but with the gusts coming and going and the wind varying in direction, it was a question of being in the right place at the right time. At least Tamar Lake avoided the fog, which blanketed several places in the vicinity. It was good to see ten boats out on the water for the morning race, though, including John Weller out for the first time in a new Laser and Adam Hilton taking his Solo out for a spin.  Many thanks to Mandy and Brian Pollard for the photos.


Start of 2012 Season – Scrub-Up and Run

Sadly, the sailing season started with a whimper rather than a bang…  A good crowd of people turned up for the traditional boat Scrub-Up in the morning, but it was so bitterly cold in  the strong north-westerly wind that most people preferred to play ‘Sardines’ in the Race Hut, though a crowd did turn out to clean off the club’s Laser 16, which after the last season spent out on a mooring, was badly in need of a clean.  By the afternoon, the weather was even less enticing, with a good Force 5/6 wind with gusts probably 30+ mph sending white horse all down the lake and spray sluicing across the pontoon – sufficient to deter even the boldest sailors, so that everybody decided to defer getting out on the water to another week – a huge shame, particularly in view of the fact that several days recently have had mild sunny weather with a gentle breeze….  Let’s hope that this isn’t a bad omen for the season ahead; we could do without a repeat of the gusty weather last year that led to the cancellation of racing on quite a few Sundays.  The photos below show some of the club putting on a brave face of it…..

Quiz Night

The 2012 start to the social programme was a Quiz Night, held at the Grenville Rooms in Kilkhampton.  Attracting a big turnout which filled the skittle alley, Nicky Buckett had put together a packed and varied programme – so packed, in fact, that she only got through about half of the events she’d put together.  The evening was certainly varied, ranging from traditional quiz segments, to identifying faces and bridges and even smells.  Following on from last year’s ‘build a tower with marshmallows and spaghetti’, this time the construction spot was ‘build the highest self-supporting structure you can from a pile of newspaper and a metre of masking tape…’; the teams came up with a wide variety of approaches, none of which would have passed Building Regulations, but in the end the clear winner was James Pollard’s group, with a tapering edifice that was so tall that it almost touched the ceiling.  In all, a very enjoyable evening – thanks to Nicky for dreaming it all up.