Tamesis Club

Tamesis elects first lady Commodore



Tamesis Club elected the first lady Commodore in its 130 year history when Carolyne Vines, Vice Commodore for the past three years, was appointed to succeed Stewart Colley at the annual general meeting on Sunday 28 February 2016.

The 65 members at the meeting also voted for a new group of flag officers to replace those who held office in 2015. Former Rear Commodore Sailing Alan Green is the new Vice Commodore, John Adams, Rear Commodore House, is replaced by Nicky Johnson, and former Harbour Master Chris Pollard becomes Rear Commodore Sailing.

Stewart Colley becomes Sailing Secretary in place of Brian Timbrell. Peter Johnson and Howard Thatcher are the new Harbour Masters. Rupert Fletcher continues as Secretary, as does Graeme Lythe as Treasurer.

In his annual report the Treasurer said income was up and donations and receipts from the hire of the clubhouse were significantly higher. However, combined bar and catering income was well down due to a catering loss of some £3,000 against a break-even in 2014. Expenses in total were down, reflecting lower repair costs.

Stewart Colley said Tamesis had become a recognised RYA training centre with the amalgamation of Ariel SC, whose members were now making a major contribution to the running of the Club.

There was a lengthy debate on the Club’s status as a Community Aided Sports Club after Carolyne Vines warned that the tax authorities were now revising their views on CASC status, originally negotiated for Tamesis by former Commodore Peter Mason, and that it might now be appropriate to withdraw. It was decided to ask the Management Committee to review the matter and decide what would be in the Club’s best interests.

Stewart Colley reported that current membership was just under 300 and that major efforts were being made to increase this number through open sailing events and through the work of the Development Committee, whose chairman, Kaan Yargici, also gave a report.

Carolyne Vines thanked Stewart for all the work he had done for the Club. John Adams for taking on the demanding job of Rear Commodore House after serving as both Commodore and Rear Commodore Sailing, and all those officers and members who had given Stewart their support during the past three years.

Uffa’s Spoon – the mystery of the damaged distance mark


Uffa’s Spoon, the much esteemed trophy presented by the late Uffa Fox in 1932 for the silliest gaffe by a Tamesis member during the preceding year, was presented at the 2016 Vice Commodore’s Dinner on Saturday 20 February to Club Bosun, Paul Jamieson.  Speaking to an audience of 63 members and guests, Vice Commodore Carolyne Vines, the previous winner, had the audience in stitches of laughter as she told how Paul replaced a badly damaged outer distance buoy only to discover it had already been beautifully repaired by another member.
When the mark was damaged by a passing boat, Alan Green, Rear Commodore Sailing, asked the Bosun if he could repair a broken race mark. “Of course” was the reply as the Bosun took charge of a metre long metal stem, broken in half.  “Where is the buoy itself?” The conclusion was that it had probably slipped off and floated away downriver. The stem was securely repaired, a new buoy bought and fitted after a brief hiatus for the replacement of the first new, but faulty, float.  Just as the repaired buoy was due to be reattached to its chain and anchor, who should appear but ex-Commodore and Bosun Peter Simpson carrying the original buoy with a brand new stem and fittings.  “What have you got there?”…”Well, what have you got there?”  “It’s the Club mark!”  “So’s this!”

Two minds, two enthusiastic repairers, two racemarks, but only one place to put it!

Earlier in the evening the Seacock Trophy, awarded for the biggest cock-up by a member of the Tamesis Offshore Group, was presented by Marcus Chavasse, the 2015 winner, to Martin Adams for anchoring a chartered yacht so far offshore in rough weather in a harbour that none of the crew could get ashore. Marcus said Martin “may have been influenced by his skirmish with wasps in Malia Cove. He chose not to return there. He took us to Patatiri (against advice in the pilot book). In Patatiri, there was so much slop in the harbour that we were moving fore and aft 1-2 metres, snatching at the mooring lines. The gang plank at the stern was extremely hazardous. The ladies were unable to go ashore. We spent the most uncomfortable night on board that I remember enduring in any harbour.”
Earlier, Steve Osgood, the donor of the trophy, recounted how the trophy came to be given, after the interior of his yacht was flooded to berth level because Roy Doughty, a crew member, had inadvertently left the heads seacock open.
The black-tie event was organised by Carolyne Vines with the help of John Adams. Rear Commodore House, whose wife, Lesley, cooked a delicious meal, with help from Jo Carstens, and Rhi, Karina, Alicia and Jemima. Harbour Master Chris Pollard designed and printed the menus, and David Baker supervised the drinks. John Adams also thanked all those who had helped to lay the tables.

Death of Pam Simpson

Mum 2011

Members of Tamesis were very sad to learn that Pam Simpson, wife of Peter Simpson, Tamesis Commodore from 1992 to 1995 and a long time Bosun, passed away in Kingston Hospital on Thursday 18 February after a short illness.  She was 87.

Pam served on the Tamesis House Committee for many years and accompanied Peter to many Merlin Rocket and National 18 events.

The funeral was held at Kingston Crematorium on Monday 29 February followed by a reception at Tamesis Club. It was attended by about 70 people and the service was conducted by the Revd. Prof. Linda Martin, Assistant Minister at Holy Trinity, Claygate.

The rebirth of the National 18

The March issue of Yachts & Yachting has a fascinating article by Andy Rice on page 16 entitled “The rebirth of the National 18”.  It recounts the move of the original Uffa Fox designed fleet from Twickenham YC to Tamesis led by the late Murray Vines crewed by his son, Jeremy, who was then 11.  Now a leading figure in the class, Jeremy has been closely involved in the introduction of the new Phil Morrison Ultra designed 18 built by Rob White at Brightlingsea.  He races Hurricane (401), in competition with other new  boats of the same design.

Hurricane battles roaring winds at the Tiger Trophy Challenge

The Tiger Trophy Challenge, the last of the GJW Sailjuice winter series, took place on the 6th and 7th February at Rutland Water, superbly hosted by Rutland Sailing Club. Three National 18s were in attendance; Panther (406), the Irish (347), and Hurricane (401). There were 130 entries in total. I was fortunate enough to bag a ride on Hurricane, helmed by Ollie Houseman.

Early Saturday morning the wind looked promising but picked up pace quickly, eventually reaching 60 knots. Needless to say the N18ers, in the interest of not wanting to break their new Ultras, decided not to race. A good number of participants did get out on the water but their adventures were short lived culminating in broken masts, booms and countless capsizes, which kept the rescue crew on their toes! Eventually racing was cancelled for the day, in part because the committee boat anchor would not hold in that wind and those waves.

Come Sunday morning the wind was blowing up to 35 knots and a decision was taken to run the previous day’s handicap races instead of the scheduled pursuit race. Finally, the race was on!

The first race seemed to be over in a blind flash. I say blind because the spray breaking over the bow as we pushed through the waves was relentless. Julie, on the wire, and me as middle man were getting acquainted with Hurricane and the directions coming from the helm. Julie was also getting a good few dunks in the pond when the wind dropped. We soon got used to the boat providing the helm with a reasonable level of support. 58th was our finishing position. Panther and the Irish retired and also sat out the next two races.

After a quick comfort break we were straight into the second race. Full of adrenaline and a strong will to perform better than the last race we set off successfully. The wind had picked up and the gusts kept coming. Once again the spray was relentless but this race felt much more controlled and we picked up some serious speed on the fast leg; the wind and speed cause the boat to hum at an almost hypnotic tone adding to the exhilarating experience. We had clearly improved from the last run, finishing 43rd.

Tired, exhausted but raring to go we made a great start on the third race only to be held up by an RS400. Fortunately by this point a number of boats had retired so there was more water to sail as we all dispersed around the course. All was going well when we rounded the mark, wind coming over starboard shifting aft as we went around, weight back and out we though we had it nailed but then came a strong gust pushing us to the point of no return and over we went. Needless to say this race was discarded. Overall we came a respectable 57th but, more importantly, had an absolutely amazing time in the Ultra.

Experience the thrill of sailing an Ultra by taking out the club boat, Odyssey. A donation of £20 toward her maintenance is requested and she can be booked using the calendar on the N18 notice board or by contacting Michael Vasey on mndvasey@gmail.com or 07860 214489.

A shot of Hurricane from the earlier Bloody Mary event at Queen Mary Reservoir

Pancake Sunday

IMG_8147Tamesis members were treated to pancakes for lunch on Sunday 7 February being the nearest sailing day to Shrove Tuesday.  Thanks to Robin Lince ex Ariel, who tossed and cooked them, pancakes were served for pudding and proved very popular.   They were offered with a choice of fillings, including lemons, chocolate, toffee or strawberry sauce.  In the words of one observer “they went down a treat!”