News 2013

Boxing Day Race 2013

Amongst all the gales and rain, Boxing Day this year turned out remarkably good for a midwinter sail, with a moderate westerly wind and patches of sunshine.  The weather brought an impressive seven boats out onto the water for the race; commiserations to Alex Clifton and Joe Talbot-Adams, who would have made an eighth boat in their newly-acquired Topper, but a broken horse meant that they never made it to the start line.  Despite a problematic start, Bob Sampson made it to the front in his Laser to finish first on the water and on handicap, but Steve Axford pushed him all the way to the line for second place, with  Toby Tobias bringing his Bosun into an impressive third; congratulations to all the sailors who made it onto the water, to Vicki and John Duncalf for volunteering to be Race Officers and not least to Brian Pollard for manning the RIB and keeping watch on a day when there were a couple of capsizes.  Afterwards, about 25 people congregated in the warmth of the Watersports Centre for cakes and a chat – a really pleasant way to finish off the 2013 season.  Many thanks to Mandy Pollard for the photographs below.

Christmas Dinner 2013

This year’s venue was once again the Falcon Hotel in Bude.  As before, the layout of the restaurant was excellent, with plenty of room for everybody in an immaculately presented room and efficient service from all the staff.  As usual, the dinner was followed by the award of prizes; many thanks to Jane Anderson and Vicki Duncalf for organising the presentation.  The photographs below show most of the year’s prizewinners, though inevitably a few club members weren’t able to be there to collect their prizes in person – congratulations to all the prizewinners.  Full details of the results of all the series will be available from the ‘Race Results’ page in due course.   Many thanks also to Mandy Pollard for the photographs.

24 Hour Race, anyone?

Thought that some club members might be interested in the sailing exploits of a recent alumna of UTLSC, Katie Leveridge, who is now at Lancaster University and who recently took part in the renowned 24 Hour Race on the Marine Lake at Southport; I asked Katie for a write-up and some photos of the event, which follow below.  Incidentally, Katie has recently been elected Commodore of the Lancaster University Sailing Club, so many congratulations to her.

Lancaster University Sailing Club at the Southport 24 Hour Race 2013

After a long and tiresome journey from Devon to Southport, with the weather getting progressively wetter and colder as I progressed up the country, I finally reached the West Lancashire Yacht Club.  The Lancaster University Sailing Club (LUSC) this year sailed in a rather fragile Enterprise covered in gold foil. Only 15 minutes before the race began we were filling cracks and praying that the boat would manage to stay afloat for the full 24 hours.  We managed to launch and start the race with relatively few glitches, although we were only just at the start line in time, but soon realised that the whole 24 hours would be spent bailing, much to the  amusement of the other competitors and spectators.

We split the race into 2 hour chunks so that each pair had 4 hours of sailing in total. There was another team who did the whole 24 hours for charity though, although I don’t envy them that at all! The race is a simple course around the Marine Lake, and teams compete for the fastest possible laps.  My first shift was 2-4pm on the first day. After a very rocky start, partly due to a brief squall, and also the ponchos, moustaches and sombreros that my helm and I were wearing (Our team theme being Mexicans) we managed to keep the boat relatively stable for about an hour and a half. It soon became clear, however, that there was something amiss with the boat getting lower in the water every lap. We were ushered in at the end of our 2 hour shift and soon realised the tanks at the front of the boat weren’t watertight – cue more quick drying fibreglass and crossed fingers. Luckily this was the only time that the boat came off the water in the whole 24 hour period, not bad for a £30 Enterprise!

After just about managing to warm up and dry off it was time for my second stint, 12-2am. Now this may sound like a dreadful 2 hours, but was actually the most enjoyable. There was music from the Club house on shore and the wind was perfect for racing. Also we try to be a little different each year, and so unlike the other boats who relied on small light sticks during the night, or head torches, we had red and green lights down either side of the boat.  So after a long weekend of rain, wind, camping and a little bit of sailing thrown in LUSC managed to come away with two prizes: Most Identifiable Boat, and First University Enterprise. It was an excellent, if not totally surreal weekend which I would recommend to anyone even if it is a bit of a trek from Tamar!

Katie Leveridge

August and September Carrick Roads

August Report

For the August Carrick Roads weekend, cruising captain Simon Veal had proposed an early 8:00am start, which meant that the Tamar boats should be clear of the Loe Beach slipway before it became too busy with holiday sailors.  After rigging and launching, the Drascombes of Toby Tobias and John Dabbs were first away, with the club Bosun and Wayfarer leaving a bit later.  All the boats headed down Carrick Roads in a good south-westerly breeze.  The Drascombes reached Black Rock, right at the mouth of Carrick Roads, but here the sea state had turned a bit lumpy and they then turned back and rendezvoused with faster Wayfarer, which was scything through the chop in fine style.  The quartet then headed back to Loe Beach for a late lunch.  By then, however, the wind was starting to rise and by common consent it was agreed that a convivial afternoon back at the campsite offered the better option; when Rachel Pomeroy returned from the supermarket with various comestibles and beverages, an enjoyable afternoon was had by all who were staying there, followed by an equally  good evening meal at the Norway Inn, a gentle stroll away from the Cosawes Campsite.  Unfortunately, overnight heavy rain and strong winds set in, meaning that any thought of sailing on the Sunday had to be abandoned and the weekend was necessarily curtailed, but some good sailing had  been enjoyed before the worsening weather set in.

Thanks to Lee Bartrop for taking the photos (with Chris Marshall’s camera)

September Report

After a 5-day weather report which suggested that the weekend might feature a combination of monsoons and storm-force weather conditions, the prospective participants for the autumn Carrick Roads weekend were grateful that they were booked into student accommodation at the Tremough Campus of the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth, just up the road from Penryn.  They were even more pleased when they saw the impressive quality of the nearly-new ensuite accommodation; the only drawbacks were the lengthy walks to the car parks and the vagaries of the newly-installed hi-tech car parking barriers, which allegedly worked on car numberplate recognition, but which resolutely refused to recognise Kathy Wyke’s car during the entire weekend and left her having to beg to be let out on several occasions.  In the evening, the group all ate in the flat’s kitchen/dining room and afterwards Nicky introduced everybody to the delights of playing Banagrams (a sort of instant Scrabble, without having to wait for other people to have their turn). On the Saturday morning, launching at Loe Beach was relatively easy, with an offshore westerly wind pushing the boats out through the moored yachts into open water.  After rendezvousing off Loe Beach, the trio of boats agreed to head for a first stop at St Just-in-Roseland; the Bosun of Nicky Buckett, Jane Chadney and Rachel Pomeroy circled round the slower-moving Drascombe Lugger and Falmouth Bass Boat, keeping in close company; although some of the forecast heavy showers had materialised, the weather had actually cleared by the time the boats were picking their way through the boats in the St Just entrance and all arrived without problem.  The only difficulty was that the rapidly-falling Spring tide meant continually having to push the boats further out to avoid them being left high-and-dry.  After a quick coffee and loo stop, it was decided to head for St Mawes for a late lunch and it was a really good sail on a flattish sea.  Despite rumours of its possible demise, the St Mawes fish-and-chip shop turned out to be very much open and was kept busy producing quantities of chips for the Upper Tamar sailors.  A huge bonus was that the Falmouth working boats were racing from St Mawes and a start line from the sailing club balcony meant that everybody was treated to a grandstand close-up view from the beach; sadly, as the fleet came through the line on the second lap, there was a major collision between two of the boats which apparently left a crew member with serious injuries.

Launching back off the St Mawes beach progress was initially a bit slow but the wind picked up as the boats rounded the point by St Mawes Castle into Carrick Roads and there was some exciting sailing as we headed north; in the Drascombe, John Dabbs introduced Elliot and Brendon Pomeroy to the art of sailing a compass course.  Arriving back off Loe Beach, in the shadow of the hillside the wind fell away again and became impossibly fluky in direction, so much so that sailing through the moored boats and onto the beach became impossible and in the end everybody had to resort to paddles or motor to get back in.  In the evening, the group headed for a meal at what is now becoming the usual Carrick Roads eating place of choice for UTLSC sailors, the Norway Inn, which kept up to its usual reliable standard.

By Sunday, we had gained Roger Heasman and lost the Pomeroys, so after some shuffling of personnel round the boats, we headed off again, this time deciding to head directly for St Mawes.  Despite forecasts of heavy rain showers, we made it down to St Mawes in the dry for lunch.  As we started back, however, the sky darkened and a severe squall produced lashing rain and violent gusts.  Whilst coping with this, the rudder on the Bass Boat kicked up and in attempting to reset the downhaul, John Buckett instead found that the rudder came off its pintles in the chop; an exciting five minutes ensued, with John and Ken Lambert hanging over the transom and the other two boats circling anxiously round, as the Bass Boat energetically bounced up and down in the chop, before they eventually managed to re-seat it.  A few minutes later, there was another slight alarm, when Roger found that the shackle had almost come off the Bosun’s mainsheet block, but fortunately he managed to retrieve the situation before the pin dropped out.  The squall passed as quickly as it had arrived and the strong winds disappeared with it.  Back in Carrick Roads, the usual assertion that wind direction is much more constant than on a lake such as Upper Tamar was shown to be (on this Sunday afternoon at least) to be a fallacy; the wind swung back and forwards, sometimes by as much as 180 degrees, which made progress back to Loe Beach a frustrating business at times.  However, as we arrived back, the wind had swung round the south, making it almost a dead run back onto the beach.  With the tide still well down, most of the group took advantage of great tea, coffee and cakes at the Loe Beach Cafe (whilst other brave souls held the boats); retrieving the boats off the beach then went smoothly, even though the tide was still way off the bottom of the concrete slip.  John and Jennie Dabbs then packed up and headed home, whilst the rest of the party took advantage of a third night back at Tremough before starting off fresh on the Monday morning.  All-in-all an excellent weekend, with lots of good sailing on both days, and much better weather than looked likely when we’d arrived.

Thanks to Chris Marshall, Nicky Buckett and Rachel Pomeroy for photos.

Bude Carnival 2013

A few pictures of the club’s entry in this year’s Bude Carnival, which was very popular and won second prize in its category, with a cash prize for the club.  Many thanks to  everyone who helped out with the club’s carnival float and who entered into character with a vengeance and collected money for the RNLI with a piratical zeal; a special thanks to John and Denise Weller for all the effort they put in.

Wonderful Wednesdays….

Thought it might be worth putting on record just how popular Wednesday afternoon sailing up at the Lake is becoming for club members, on days when the weather is encouraging.  On Weds 7th August, there were a wide range of members taking advantage of the sunshine and the pleasant north-westerly winds.  Those on the water included Paul Whybrow in his Solo, Adeney Pooler in his Graduate, Adam Hilton trying out his new Solo, John Dabbs and Rachel Pomeroy taking an outing in John’s Gull, James and Nathan Pollard practising and demonstrating capsizes, new members Robin and Linda Spiller in their Bosun, Wendy Watts and new club member Nick Sparkes out with Nicky Buckett in one of the club Bosuns, Tom Sparkes in a club Topper, Roger Heasman in his Streaker, Ken Lambert (just returned from Carrick Roads) and Kay Stuart out with John Buckett in  the other club Bosun, the list goes on and on…. in all giving a total of getting on for 20 club members on the water at one point or another during the afternoon.  And then in the evening, the initial session in the first  of Roger Heasman’s two ‘Starting Racing’ courses got underway, keeping the water busy for the watching tourists dotted about on the shore.

With future Wednesdays in mind, it is hoped that the club will shortly have the long-promised closed Facebook group for club members ready to go; John Buckett and John Weller will be working on this in the next week or two and will be in contact with all those who expressed interest when we carried out a club survey on Facebook, back in April/May – if it works well, looking to see who is intending to sail on a Wednesday afternoon (or at other times) might be just the sort of thing the group could be used for.

Another plus point noticed this Wednesday was that the Lake’s water level is back up a bit after the recent heavy rain, though perhaps not by as much as might have been hoped; best estimates are that the level has gone up about one foot vertically, so that it is just a bit over one metre below the dam spillway (apologies for the mixed dimensions).

A few photos of sailing on this Wednesday are shown below; many thanks to Mandy Pollard for taking them.

Carrick Roads June Cruising Weekend (report by Adam Hilton)

The Club is planning to have up to four weekend cruises at Carrick Roads this summer. The first of these took place on 1st/2nd June. Provisional dates for later trips are 6th/7th July, 3rd/4th August and 7th/8th September.

Five boats were towed down to Loe Beach on the Fal estuary – two of the club’s Bosuns, our new Wayfarer, John Buckett’s Bass boat and Toby Tobias’ Drascombe. Fourteen club members of varying degrees of experience crewed them, with Simon Veal our leader.

Saturday dawned beautifully sunny but dauntingly windy. No problem! John Buckett apparently has an inexhaustible supply of small Otter sails for use on over-powered Bosuns and Wayfarers and the Bass boat and Drascombe have three sails so they could easily leave one off. Thus readied for gusts as strong as they come we set off into Carrick Roads and spent an agreeable morning zipping up and down between the east and west coasts of the estuary and admiring the million pound villas that adorn the shore. Is there no Club member who could buy one for us to use as a cruising base?

The afternoon was given over to a trip up the Fal in the Bass and the Drascombe (except for Simon Veal and Rachel Pomeroy who spent the afternoon blasting around Carrick Roads in a Bosun.) The Fal river valley was tree-ed, lush and beautiful but the Smugglers’ Inn, our destination, was closed. No cream tea for us, but an agreeable sail back down the river with the wind behind us, Toby flying a pair of jibs, proper goose wings!

Saturday night saw a lot of happy sailors dining at the Norway Inn and Sunday produced the opposite problem to Saturday – too little wind! Still it was possible to take the boats out and enjoy the sunshine even if the originally planned itinerary could not be followed.

All-in-all a smashing start to the cruising season. Multi thanks to Simon for getting us there and to all the generous boat-towers and to J B for handkerchief sail supplies!

Many thanks to Sheba Tobias for the photos below, which give a great idea of what it was like to be on the water.

Report on ‘Push the Boat Out!’  Fun Day

The ‘Push the Boat Out’ day on Saturday 18th May turned out to be a real all-round success, not only for the club and the Lakes Trust but most importantly, for all the people and families that came along.  As last year, the RYA was sponsoring ‘Push the Boat Out’ day nationally and asking all sailing clubs and organisations across the country to encourage as many people as possible to try watersports and enjoy being on the water – to build on the increased interest generated by UK success in last year’s Olympics.  This time round, the club collaborated with South West Lakes Trust’s Chief Instructor Matt Lennox to make this into an open event to which all-comers were welcome – and this collaboration meant that it was possible to offer a wide range of attractions, including sailing taster sessions, rides on ‘pirate’ boats, time-trial pedalo races, on-water treasure hunts on Canadian canoes, stand-up paddle boarding and land treasure hunts.  Despite a stiffish northerly breeze, the sunny weather encouraged lots of people out and the car park was full to overflowing for much of the day.  With 30 volunteers from the sailing club helping out, club members clearly put an awful lot of work into making the day a great success – from all the advance publicity, the provision of really professional-looking banners and all the effort put in on the day itself, from slaving away in the kitchen to marshalling people in the car park to the front line jobs of taking the money, putting people into website and helping out at the water’s edge or on the lake itself.  The club greatly appreciated that Jackie and Andy Walters also added our efforts on the day, putting people into wetsuits and helping to catch returning boats on the pontoon.  Clearly the event has done much to raise the club’s profile locally: one comment repeated numerous times by families during the afternoon was that this was the first time they’d ever been to the lake, even though they lived perhaps only a few miles away – and it was a revelation for them to find such a wonderful place on their doorstep, with the pleasant lakeside scenery and attractions such as the cycle trail round the lake, the facilities for boat and bike hire and a cafe. The Lakes Trust also had a positive result, with the cafe reporting a roaring trade and some visitors going on to do more hires of canoes and pedalos.  Probably the best endorsement for the day, though, was the huge grins on the faces of the youngsters as they stepped ashore exhausted after a pedalo-time-trial or from mock-battles on the pirate ships, or their wide-eyed anticipation to see whether they’d got the right answers from the land or water-based treasure hunts.  All-in-all, a great day for all concerned.

Thanks to Mandy Pollard, John Weller and Everitt Sharp for their photographs, just a few of which are reproduced here.


What If It’s Too Miserable for Racing on Sunday?

Faced with yet another Sunday when dinghy racing was abandoned for the day because the weather was just too miserable, Vice-Commodore Jane Anderson organised an impromptu seminar on racing rules in the Watersports Centre, which worked really well.  Many thanks to Mandy Pollard for the pictures.

Tarka Trail Cycle Ride

Once again, the event had to be postponed, because of the miserable weather on the day originally scheduled for the cycle ride.  A week later, the weather was a vast improvement, but only about half the original number of people were able to come on that day.  Nevertheless, those who managed to get away had a good day out; starting from the old station at Bideford, the plucky group initially headed inland, with Elliot Pomeroy leading much of the way.  A few of us found the dimly-lit tunnel on the trail upset our sense of balance somewhat but we all got through and after various interim stops, took a break at the Puffing Billy, at the old Torrington station.  We had coffee and refreshments from the cycle hire business here and then headed back the way we’d come and had a welcome lunch back at our starting point, on the platform at  the old Bideford Station.  Then in the afternoon, we headed off in the Barnstaple direction, initially intending to stop at Instow, but in a sudden burst of energy, the group’s consensus was that this wasn’t really far enough and decided to head on to Fremington Quay, where we had tea in the very busy cafe overlooking the estuary.  The strain was starting to show a little on some of the more mature members of the party, which suddenly became much worse when John Weller totalled up the mileages we’d cycled from the figures on one of the big information boards and announced that by the time we’d have finished, we would have done 24 miles in the day!  Despite the diversion of watching the Picos of the  North Devon Yacht Club racing in the estuary, there were certainly some weary limbs and sore bottoms by the time we’d finished.  Nevertheless, a good day out, which everyone enjoyed.

A few photos are shown below, taken by Bob Sampson; many thanks, Bob.

Quiz Night 2013

Once again, the Quiz Night turned out to be an extremely popular event, with well over 30 people turning up at the Grenville Rooms at Kilkhampton for an evening of exercising the ‘little grey cells’.  With contestants varying in age from (literally) under 8 to over 80, Nicky Buckett had put together an extremely varied programme; in addition to usual quiz questions, other sections of the evening included identifying different flavours of crisps, decoding anagrams, deciphering logos, building a load-bearing table out of paper and Sellotape, an air-propelled mouse race and much more!  Congratulations to the winning team of Vicki and John Duncalf and Jane and Paul Anderson.

One round of the quiz which taxed contestants’ literary inventiveness was the construction of limericks about sailing at Upper Tamar, though some teams interpreted this restriction loosely.  A handful of these were collected up at the end of the evening and are reproduced below for the benefit of posterity; there weren’t any names on the sheets, so we can’t allocate praise (or blame) to the individuals responsible…..

There was a young lady from Bude, Who swam in the sea in the nude, A policeman said “My Dear”, “What’s going on here”, You can’t do that  ‘cos it’s rude!

There once was a sailor in our club, Who went out on the lake in a tub, The tub had a leak, Which he stopped with his feet, But capsized when he gave it a rub

A group of old men on a Sunday, Went down to the lake for a Funday, In Lycra and rubber, They showed off their blubber, Ending up knackered and stiff on the Monday

And finally, John Dabbs forwarded a limerick he came up with the following day, because he wasn’t happy with the efforts he’d managed on the evening itself:

We have a Rear Commodore called Nicky, Who set us a quiz: quite tricky, The questions were tough, I’d had enough….., So I composed this sad little ditty

A few photos are shown below, taken by Denise Weller on her iPad; many thanks, Denise.