Several “boats” things cropped up in the news this week. For example I read that the Neanderthals had boats probably dug out canoes. As many humans have Neanderthal genes, this may explain which branch of water sports we choose.
It’s a while since I talked about knots and mentioned a really good web site called Animated Knots – it’s worth a look.
Anyway at the end of the TV series Harlots (adults only), the main character’s hanging is cut short when the rope is rapidly released using a Highwayman’s Hitch! Look it up although it’s not on the RYA syllabus.
This week also sadly saw the death of 60’s rocker Spencer Davis .
By coincidence a dodgy film called ‘Here we go round the Mulberry Bush’ for which they provided the music was on telly.
Towards the end (if you stick it out that far) the anti hero goes sailing with his girlfriend. After a few quite nice shots of boats, he separates from her and the boat displaying the worst fitted buoyancy aid I’ve ever seen.
Rudderless Sailing is part of the seamanship skills course and also the instructor training pathway.
Essentially the trick is to move the centre of effort of wind on the sail in front of or behind the centre of resistance of the hull and centre board .
We might talk about it in detail next week but for now just enjoy this video
Take a look at this video on You Tube
Our youngsters aren’t quite at that level but love the Oppies
Make heavy weather of something
1.1 If on port tack at night you see a steady bearing green light off the port beam you
Should tack .
1.2 when taking a 3 fix with a hand held compass why should you take the beam reading first?
My friend Roger keeps his boat at Grimsby which is twinned with Bremerhaven .
When the Tall ships ships visit there the Grimsby club get honorary Tall Ship status if they sail over so we decided to give it a bash .
I’ll save that for another day
Talking about lee shores last week I was reminded of an exhibit in the Salcome Maritime museum
The old time square riggers could only just sail a little closer to the wind than a beam reach .
With few charts and only basic navigation aids they tended to sail close to the shore whenever possible .
In a storm they might discover that they were unable to weather headlands ahead or astern so became “embayed” having to tack back and forth fighting the wind and tide until overcome by exhaustion they were driven on shore! Nasty
Sailing for fun
I looked up info on foil sailing and found a wealth of info .
Basically as water is more dense than air even a foil small shaped like an aeroplane wing can at speed generate enough wind to lift the boat up out of the water .
Here is one of the more lighthearted versions
Take a look at this video on YouTube:
Maybe Paul or Peter could upgrade one of our Oppies over the winter!
Run a tight ship
Big Boat Stuff
The RNLI published a list of the five most common reasons for call out which in reverse order are
Sinking -skin fittings prop shafts exhausts
Human error -navigation trio planning
Stranding or grounding -check tides and depth sounder
Equipment failure – power, halyards, shrouds, masts
Machine failure blocked impellers etc ( this happened to Rog)
Windy, gusty, soggy conditions as well as a strong stream following recent and current rain greeted this year’s Barometer sailors.
13 took to the water with Minima understandably pulling out and Lensbury abandoning passage up stream against the current after 40 minutes effort.
The OOD revised the format to account for conditions, running two races before a short lunch to keep all as warm as possible before the third race. A sausage course set to run up past Stevens Eyot was shortened when practising Lasers demonstrated the difficulty in an up stream beat.
Marcus Chavasse, Matt Peregrine-Jones and Jon Redding set the tone for the day coming in first, second and third with Matt and Marcus swapping places several times during the first race, with Matt getting the upper hand on Jon in the second and Richard Harris coming in third.
After a short lunch a lightly depleted fleet of 10 started the third race. Jon and Matt contesting the lead with Matt ultimately coming out on top with Kaan Yargici third.
Final standings meant Matt retaining the Barometer trophy, Jon Redding coming in second and Marcus third with Kaan and Neville fourth and fifth completing the trophy round up.
Despite the conditions, sailors, helpers and spectators remained upbeat and smiling to the end. Perhaps hoping for better weather next year though.
Thanks go to OOD Tim Medcalf assisted by Valerie Hamill in the box and in the patrol boat Ken Thatcher and Andrew Horwitz.
I had heard that the first scene in Shakespeare’s Tempest has an accurate description of the orders a ships captain would use trying to avoid being driven onto a lee shore in a storm so I decided to look it up.
The Only orders given are “take in the topsail” and “down with the topmost, bring her to try with the main course “ which was less than I had hoped for.
He also used the word Yare which took a bit of tracking down but means lively or swiftly. In fact the storm was called up by Prospero’s spirit Ariel who subsequently brought the ship safely to anchor without the benefit of RYA training.
As sailors were often employed in theatres to handle the scenery pulley systems he would have had ready access to advice on dialogue.
Note it’s considered bad luck to whistle in a theatre in case it caused confusion with the bosun’s whistle.
Anyway since we can’t control the winds we need to learn how to deal with lee shores.
Subject:Watch “How to sail – Beach landing a 2 person sailboat” on YouTube
Here is how we do it in Toppers
Sailing for fun
Foil sailing looks pretty hairy , might talk more about it another time
High and Dry
Earlier I had said that although I had known Roger for years we had never sailed together but now I think about it we had sailed a few times in the very early seventies .
On one occasion we helped a mate of his take a boat from Docklands round to the East coast .
I remember struggling through the evening rush hour traffic and really enjoying the comparative peace motoring down the river , stopping for some fish and chips and only being mildly reprimanded by the river police for not displaying navigation lights .
My chain smoking in the stern wasn’t really an adequate alternative .
The boat Trio had two berths and a centre board , I had to sleep on the floor .
I don’t remember any buoyancy aids or safety lines and the toilet was probably bucket and chuck it but there was some kind of a stove on which I cooked sausage and eggs for breakfast frying the remaining sausages , wrapping them in toilet paper and stowing them in a locker to have for lunch en route .
Unfortunately heeling over under way must have got bilge water into the dish .
You can imagine what it looked like and why we settled for bread and jam .
Answer to last week. 1.1 At night on port if you see a steady bearing green light on the port bow you should tack away .
Question for this week 1.2 When taking a 3 point fix with a hand held compass why should you take the beam reading first .
The weather will probably start t o get a bit wild soon making capsize a real threat .
Early on in training we would show you a DVD of capsize recovery just to show you that it isn’t the end of the world .
There are lots of sailing videos on www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPkH81M6-NE or thru google .
Basically after a capsize you will wind up in the water between the sail and the boat
You need to swim round the back of the boat and climb onto the ‘centreboard’
Once you get on the board, you can pull the boat upright, climb in, and sail on.
The good news is that we won’t ask you to do it until the weather is warm and we’ll practice it on shore first .
Batten down the hatches
Big boat stuff – Incompetent Crew
Once we got Lady in Blue through the lock and bedded down snugly in her mooring Roger and I had a much needed beer, making sure to offer a drop to Neptune in thanks for a safe return .
Looking back on an eventful trip what did I learn
Take a big towel
Don’t try to break in new shoes there is more walking than you think
In an unfamiliar supermarket just go up and down all of the aisles you may come across unexpected treats
To stave off seasickness stand down in the cabin with your head in the cockpit.
Eat before you’re hungry, sleep before you’re tired.
Answer from last week: If the satnav isn’t working you can fix your position by three point compass bearing, following depth contours or radar range.
Sailing close hauled on Port at night you see a steady bearing green light off the port beam. What action do you take?
The ‘Inland Champs’ racing for the Eighteen Cup this year included the Adelaide Cup and Tamesis Anchor which had been postponed from the spring due to Covid 19 restrictions.
There was a lot of speculation during the week before whether it would be possible to sail in the forecast storm. In the end it became well nigh impossible to sail in the light flukey south southwesterly and strong current caused by the landwater. Race Officer David Baker set an upstream start course well in sight of the club. The plan was to run two races back to back before lunch, then two afterwards.
We had rain all Friday and overnight until it stopped promptly at 10am on the day. Four eighteens crossed the line slowly in the first race. Henry Defries and Carolyne Vines in Zephyr got the best start, tacking up the Surrey bank, but were overhauled quickly by Matt Jones and Kaan Yargici in Ultra Optimus Prime. The other three crews battled it out, passing and then being overtaken in turn. Unfortunately for the Zephyr crew they were left behind by Charles Fox and Robert Blakebrough in Genevieve and Chris Pollard and Caroline Stillwell in Antedote.
The second race started immediately after the finish of the first race. Zephyr made the best start again and crawled up the Middlesex bank, the other three opting for the Surrey bank. Unfortunately for Zephyr they didn’t go far enough above the buoy in the middle of the river. Tempted by the wind in the middle of the river which was swiftly bringing the rest of the fleet level, they crossed but got swept back and were unable to round the starboard hand mark. Optimus Prime was able to round. At that point it became obvious that the others were too far back and the race was abandoned.
Lunch was taken outside as with the new norm, everyone bringing their own food and drink. Entertainment was provided by the Juniors (see photos in separate report) who were making some headway especially when they started to paddle.
Three more races were planned after lunch to make up for the loss of the second race. The top mark was moved downstream.
The wind had fortunately come up a bit for the third start, though still very fitful. Zephyr timed it perfectly to cross the line on the gun and pull away. Optimus were first round the top mark and disappeared over the horizon. There was a lot of place changing amongst the other three. The bottom mark had to be timed perfectly to prevent a drift downstream, and good tacking was essential along the Surrey bank, though an occasional lift up the middle of the river could leave a rival cursing as they were overtaken. Antedote was second, Genevieve third and a frustrated Zephyr in fourth after two rounds.
The last race was similar to the third race. Optimus this time helmed by Kaan had an even bigger lead. Antedote ran aground near the top mark in the second round and retired, leaving Genevieve (Charles now crewed by Alden Horwitz) and Zephyr to fight for second place. Eventually Genevieve had a 45 second lead over Zephyr at the end of the second round. The course was shortened so that Optimus was finished on the third round, just after Zephyr crossed the line on her second round. This prompted Zephyr to retire. Genevieve hung on and eventually finished, after an elapsed time of 95 minutes!
The prizes were presented by Commodore Chris Pollard.
Many thanks go to Race Officer David Baker, assisted by Jim Green in the box and Onursal Soyer, Howard Thatcher and Marcus Chavasse in the Patrol Boat, Chris Pollard for admin of race sheets and handicaps.
Adelaide Cup (personal handicap) Tamesis Anchor (on the water)
Eighteen Cup (personal handicap)
1st: 421 Optimus Prime Matt Jones and Kaan Yargici
2nd: 266 Genevieve Charles Fox, Robert Blakebrough, Alden Horwitz
The juniors got the best of the wind this week, squeezing their session in the long lunch break for the National 18′ open. Both of the Laser 2000s were out showing off their new livery on the sails. See cover picture.
Thanks to Andy and Nim Harris for organising with lots of essential help from parents
Last week I mentioned that sailing in bad weather can still be fun if you have the right clothing .
Here is some stuff from an earlier version when I though Covid would have been sorted by now
This week we’ll look at what to wear .
Obviously a club T shirt is essential but in general I don’t advise people to spend too much in the early days . Chandlers will presumably be shut and now isn’t the time to be going on line .
At first you can get by with a lightweight anorak & over-trousers from a cycling or outdoor shop .
The above show a dinghy suit which I use most then a wet suit useful if you expect to capsize get back in the boat then sail on in reasonable weather .
Lastly a dry suit so you can sail on thru the worst of weather . Great but pricey !
That’s my very old buoyancy aid , I also wear a sailing knife with a marlin spike and shackle “spanner” I also have various “leathermen “ the best being the Wave .
Next wet suit boots which really are worth getting as cold feet really spoil things .
Lightweight wellies ok unless you are launching from a beach .
Any old pair of trainers or plimsolls are ok but never sandals or bare feet .
Sailing glove of man made fabric not leather again a worthwhile first buy .
Different versions of full or part fingers are available .
Woolly hats good but no bobbles and a balaclava is great because it doesn’t fall off and you can just use it as a scarf when things hot up .
However even with the best of gear the cold can be a real risk
We’ve seen John and Paul sailing so I looked up the Stones
Best I can find is Keith and Ronnie on a super yacht
Sailors meals were served on square plates hence the saying square meal .
Also the tables had raised edges called fiddles to stop the plates sliding off .
If the portion was so large it overlapped the plate cheating was suspected , you were on the fiddle .
Although it’s only about 7 miles up the Humber from Spurn point with the wind dead astern against tide and current it’s not a lot of fun and you are really glad to see the Grimsby tower but depending on the star of the tide you might need to wind your way round the channel
Saturday 19th September was a busy day for the Merlin fleet with the Sondown Cup, Southcott Cup, Elizabeth Bowl and Porteous Cup up for grabs. The fleet was keen to return to racing after such a disrupted summer and we were at capacity with twenty boats, with representatives from Hampton, St Edmundsbury, Upper Thames, and Medley. The home team also put in a strong showing with ten boats. Fortunately the weather was kind and it was a beautiful late summer day, giving consistent sunshine and a not so consistent, but always sufficient, breeze.
Launching into an onshore breeze kept the fleet on its toes and social distancing meant that all of the river access was in use. With two races in the morning, a break for lunch, and then two in the afternoon the fleet were kept busy with a windward, leeward course which took them off Trowlock Island and up to Kingston bridge. With twenty boats the start line was action packed and the windward mark was certainly busy with the fleet spreading out during each race.
John and Livvie Bell in Grand Teton took line honours in the first race, with Stuart Jenkins and Nicola Scaddan finishing thirty seconds behind in Flinkydink. Sadly a parting shroud put Stuart and Nicola out of the racing for the rest of the day. A sudden gust in the second race presented more challenges for the fleet, with two capsizes and more near misses. Line honours went to Andrew Harris and Matty Key in Crescendo, with John and Livvie Bell in Grand Teton second and Richard Harris and Ian Ramage third.
With the “rule of six” in force picnics on the lawn were the order of the day and the fleet were back on the water for the third and fourth races at 2pm. The breeze was a little more settled in the afternoon but the racing was no less intense. John and Livvie Bell in Grand Teton took line honours, with Andrew Harris and Matty Key in Crescendo and David Baker and Jim Green in Chimp coming in second and third. This set the stage for a thrilling final race in which Andrew and Matty needed to come in first to clinch the Sondown cup, which is awarded to the overall winner.
A tight race saw Ollie Houseman and Matty Valentine take an early lead but this was eroded mid race when a following breeze condensed the top of the fleet. A nail biting finish followed with Andrew and Matty in Crescendo edging ahead of John and Livvie in Grand Teton as the line approached. John and Livvie fought back, catching a favourable gust at the critical moment that put them just ahead. With the shore team running to the line to catch a close finish Andrew Harris and Matty Key caught the puff moments later and accelerated, but John and Livvie crossed the line two seconds before, clinching the race and the Sondown cup. An exciting finish to a fantastic day of racing! Special thanks to Peter and Pauline Fryer for running the race box, to Chris Simon for acting as our on the water judge and to the whole Tammy team for an enjoyable day of racing.