Tamesis Club

Training from Home 12

Welcome to Training from Home

By this stage you would be able to sail away from the wind, across the wind and by tacking, into the wind.
Since there aren’t any other possibilities that means in theory you could sail to Australia.
To practice these skills we would set you a triangular course
I don’t think there is an audio on this video but it also revises points of sailing

We would actually use a course where the reach would be a steady broad reach and the downwind leg a training run.

Assuming an offshore wind this is what we’d get you to do.

We’d try to get you to use what you learned about the five essentials.

We provide paddles in some boats and encourage students to use them to get out of difficulty like being lee shored.

We might even give you a chance to do a bit of rowing

Last week we mentioned being towed , this comes in handy on our annual expedition to Hampton Court

Fun with boats



.Sailors sayings

Answers from last week:

Dead beat relates to the compass and means the needle quickly settles down to its Correct position .

New one for next week

Hunky Dory.

Big Boat Stuff

Incompetent Crew

From Hindeloopen we sailed South then East to Lemmer.

This time we stayed in a large marina a bit outside of town

It was a very long walk to get to the centre of town but there were lots of boats to look at on the way

Rogers boat is what’s called long keel which I assume looks a bit like this .

One advantage is that it’s less likely to broach in a storm .

It was worth the walk , there are lots of pubs and restaurants beside the canal which runs thru the middle of town.

There are lots of craft beers available and reasonably priced food.

I had lived in Amsterdam in 1970 and knew about rijstaffel , the Indonesian equivalent of Indian Thali  Selection of dishes

And loempias (like spring rolls ) Roger had tried Nash And Bami Goreng

Next week “party on ! “

Yachtmaster quiz

When entering a harbour with a red white and green safety sector light you are in green you need to turn to port.

You should not use a foam extinguisher on an electrical fire

New questions

What is the key safety feature of a DSC VHF?

In a weather  forecast what is meant by “later”?

Next week we’ll talk about racing but in the mean time you can view some of our members taking part in this virtual racing .

Anyone who hasn’t tried Virtual Regatta can download the App and have some practice before joining the racing.  To join in please follow these steps:

Register on the Virtual Regatta Inshore website.  The web address is: https://www.virtualregatta.com/en/ .  You can access this site from your Mac or PC and also download the App to your phone or tablet.  Registering is free and you do not need to buy anything during games

See you next week

Stay safe

Eric Finlayson


Training from Home 11

Welcome to lesson 11.
The club is taking tentative steps to Start Sailing again, at the moment this is only available to boat owners but I’ll keep you informed of any developments.
I’ve always thought Man Overboard recovery is a very good test of sailing ability as well as being a pretty useful skill in an emergency.
The following clip also covers being towed which can be very useful on the river.
An RYA version is also worth a look
On the river it’s sometimes difficult to get far enough away before tacking but at least you don’t have to worry about the current.
Also with the flukey winds we have to deal with it can be very tricky.
The main thing is to ‘play’ the sail letting it out and pulling it in to control speed.
From experience Dog Overboard recovery is even harder as the victim can be surprisingly fast.
We don’t use real victims on the river tho.
A important member of the team is Paul the bosun, As well as fixing boats he does a mean highland fling.
We keep a defects log by the phone in the clubhouse so if you notice something wrong on a boat you should make a note of it there.
Fun with Boats
Another little project
Sailors sayings
Mind your Ps and Qs relates to the slate used in pubs to keep a tally of each customers drinks ie number of Pints and Quarts.
Next Week – Dead Beat
Big Boat Stuff (Incompetent crew)
The IJsselmeer is a great place to cruise being about 30 km wide by 60km long with marinas at regular intervals so it’s almost always possible to plan a days sail to somewhere nice.
On Tuesday 21st we headed off NE to Hindeloopen taking about 5 hours.
As often happens there are two marinas, we chose the smaller old one rather than the much larger new one.

In many ways Dutch food reminds me of my childhood in Scotland , tasty and filling but not very adventurous, however there are some real treats to be found.
The first is Kibling, bite sized chunks of battered cod often sold from a little kiosk and accompanied by chips met mayonnaise.
Another great find was pea soup which if properly done should be thick enough to stand a spoon up in.
Hindeloopen is really picturesque (Or at least the bit we looked at is)


Yachtmaster Quiz

Answers to last week:

Sound signals in restricted visibility should be one long the two short at two minute intervals
Land contours on a coastal chart can be used to confirm locations

This weeks’s questions

When entering a harbour with a red white and green sector light if you are in green which way should you alter course to ?
Is it safe to use a foam based fire extinguisher on an electrical fire?

Stay safe, see you next week.

Eric Finlayson

Tammy Trains from Home 10

Welcome to lesson 10,
In previous sessions I have mentioned that every Sunday I do a risk assessment covering wind current traffic etc.
This week we’ve started to look at a risk assessment for when we eventually start training again.
Obviously we’ll watch what happens in schools and expect guidance from the RYA but I want to make sure students, instructors and others are fully involved and informed.
The object of these lessons is to minimise class room time but we can also lecture on the lawn under the veranda and maybe even in the clubhouse.
We need to think how to man and use the safety boat whilst distancing.   This probably means we need the ladder to allow people in the water to get onboard unaided.
We always encourage parents to help youngsters rig, launch and land and, we’ll probably encourage families to stick together and have adults buddying up.
Need to clean buoyancy aids and boats after use etc.
Please let me have any ideas queries etc.
Anyway this week we want to talk about what we call the five essentials
Five Essentials
Shared via the Google App
Balance is fairly obvious and in a two person boat communication is vital
Trim is hard to spot yourself but if you are too far astern you will see turbulence at the transom .
For centre board try swishing a knife through water you’ll see it’s easier backwards and forward than sideways .
Sail setting deserves more time.
Once you have the boom in about the right position, half way between too far out and too far in, you need to fine tune it by pulling the sail in gently till the Front of the sail just stops fluttering.
Course made good is about putting it all together to get where you want to go as quickly as possible  ie going upstream keep closer to the bank where the current is least, here’s a diagram
Going back to sail setting we use soft sails on the 2ks as the proper sail is too thick to “read” properly.
Stewart one of our Assistants is a keen racer but helps out when he can.
Ps note the trim is wrong, which way?
Sailors sayings:
The bitter end is the part of the anchor line that is fixed to the boat through “bits”
I read of a boat where the anchor was fouled on a rising tide and the shackle fixing it to the bits was rusted stuck so the anchor pulled the bow under water.
Next week ‘Mind your Ps and Qs’
Youngsters might enjoy making model boats like these
I used to use corks and even walnut shells, plastic might be easier these days.
While working on a building contract near the village of Dunmow I was mooching about one evening and made a boat out of a Benson & Hedges packet to sail on the duck pond.   Whilst rescuing it from the reeds on a lee shore I found a plaque commemorating the invention of the unsinkable lifeboat on the pond.
Big Boat Stuff
Den Oever is East of Den Helder which is probably why we had to wait a couple of days for a favourable wind.
The lock takes you from the tidal North Sea into the inland sea the Ijesselmere
There are lots of different types of bollards in locks which takes a bit of getting used to.
I believe some people have a special tool to help.
It looks like we were rafted up here.
Our first stop was Medemblik which seemed incredibly clean and tidy, but we found out travellers cheques weren’t accepted at banks!
As crew you probably have to jump off with a mooring line.  If you don’t want to get shouted at don’t pull the bows in till the captain has lassoed his bollard.
Yachtmaster quiz
Answers from questions last week
A white flare is for collision avoidance
Best to get into the dinghy from the boat to avoid cold water shock or hypothermia.
Whilst still afloat the boat is safer than the dinghy so only get out as a last resort
New questions
What sound signal is made in restricted visibility?
Why show land contours on a coastal chart?
Stay safe and see you next week
Eric Finlayson

Tammy Trains at Home 9

Welcome to lesson 9, hope you are well.

I believe that a sailing club needs three things to succeed, racing, training and social.
If it hadn’t been for Covid 19 we might well have been celebrating VE Day this week end.
Last time we did one at my old club we had spam sandwiches jelly and ice cream and tried to recreate a street party with lots of music and dancing.
What’s even better is if we can combine social with a bit of sailing as in our annual expedition to a Hampton Court.
A crowd of us sailed up to the pub (remember them ) and Carolyne brought up the non sailors in the launch.
Another important thing is to get youngster involved so here is something to get youngsters started.
Recent sailboattv videos have included diagrams showing a circle with a red triangle from 9 till 3 o clock called the no go zone.
To understand this we need to think about Points of Sailing.
Subject: Do you know your points of sail? | Inbrief | e-newsletters | News & Events | RYA – Royal Yachting Association
The key points are that close hauled is exciting , reaching is fast and safe and running needs caution to avoid a gybe.
Sailors sayings:
Give a wide berth is when anchoring next to another boat you need to consider how the boats will move around due to wind or tide and allow space for it.
In the present situation keeping 2 metres apart while exercising is the rule.
Next week … Bitter end .
Yachtmaster answers
Easing the main outhaul slackens the foot of the sail and is done when running.
A Danboy is a weighted buoy with a high viz flag and is deployed during MoB.
Next Yachtmaster questions
What is the purpose of a white flare?
Why should you enter the life raft direct from the boat (and preferably climbing up) ?
Big Boat Stuff
I expect my mate Roger is typical of many big boat sailors in preferring to sail long legs on a reach rather than frequently tacking.
He has done the trip to Holland so often that he has established a set of way points to avoid oil fields wind farms etc.
From memory it’s a bit like this
Whilst wind bound in Den Helder we explored the town and visited the Maritime museum (senior citizen discount available if you ask).
We started to develop a pattern of an early visit to toilet and showers then back to the boat for a breakfast whilst listening to the Dutch weather forecast.
Next week .. Locks and more getting shouted at.
Don’t forget we’re happy to answer any questions you have.
See you next week.
Stay safe.
Ps this was worth a visit!
Eric Finlayson

Tammy Trains at Home 8

Welcome to Lesson 8

This week we are looking at landing which is important as you can imagine, not the least to minimise damage to club boats.
Trouble is boats don’t have brakes so it’s hard to stop without hitting something or going head to wind. Have a look at this video


Hope that helps.
We have finger jetties which can make things easier but have to contend with the further problem of current.

This info from the advanced seamanship skills course is useful




Sailors Sayings
Chock a block is when the mainsheet is pulled in really tight (when sailing close hauled )  so that the pulley block on the boom nearly touches the one on the transom.
Next week:  Give a wide berth.


Big Boat Stuff



Big Boat Stuff

We arrived at 6am after doing 180 miles in 38 hours, the last bit at 9 knots with a following wind and tide was great.
It’s always a worry coming into a marina to find a good berth, here we are just beside the harbourmaster’s office and more importantly, the toilet.
It’s useful to sort this out on the radio before arrival.
It’s bad form to use the boat toilet in a marina.
Bad weather kept us here for a few days then we set off for …..to be continued.


Yachtmaster Quiz

Answers to previous questions:

When veering the wind direction moves clockwise
Inflatable life jackets should be inspected before every use and serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Next Week
What effect does easing the main sheet out-haul have and when should it be done?
What is a dan buoy?

See you next week
Stay safe

Eric Finlayson







Tamesis in Lockdown

The Thames on a peaceful Thursday evening.

This was taken an hour before the Thursday evening clap and e racing on 30th April – thanks to Liz, resident of Trowlock Island for this gorgeous photo.

Tammy Trains from Home 7

Welcome to lesson 7;
Have you got a weather forecast for today? What is the wind doing, is it on or offshore?
If it’s easterly landing can be tricky, we’ll talk about that next week.
Remember I told you about the website ‘Animated Knots’, have you tried it yet?  It’s quite fun, try figure of eight, bowline, round turn and two half hitches and clove hitch .
Here is us doing knots on the Lawn
The instructor is Simon Thompson who also does powerboa

Simon suggests setting up a Zoom call so we can do a “debrief” to discuss what we’ve learnt and what you might want to cover, details to follow.

This weeks u tube covers Gybeing , it’s quite long because it’s an important skill.

The technique varies from boat to boat.  On Oppies it’s actually easier to gybe than tack.
On a 2000 the trick is not to move till the boom is far enough over.

Sailors sayings:
Slush fund is from when cooks boiling up the meat would skim off the fat which they would sell to the crew to soften the ships biscuit.

Next week:
Chock a Block

Big Boat Stuff

On Thursday we sailed East in nice weather, crossing the shipping lane was quite exiting , it’s like running across a two lane motorway.
You are supposed to cross at right angles and have no right of way.
If your engine blows up halfway over its a bit hairy but that’s a story for another day.
By night the wind had blown up and come from dead astern , we rigged a gibe preventer but had a rough night corkscrewing in a way which in dinghies we call the”Death Roll”.
But at last we made port in Den Helder.

See you next week
Stay safe

Eric Finlayson

Tammy Trains from Home 6

One of my Sunday tasks is to check on the current using the Environment Agency web site:
It’s annoying that the current has now died down after weeks of red boards
Subject: Tacking
This is from Sailboaty, try to find others if you can.
Subject:  Launching
If you are launching off a beach it’s also important to watch the tide so best to sail about high tide .
We can launch from slipways using finger jetties to allow the boat to point head to wind whilst rigging
See the Sailboaty link below:
It may take more than one attempt to get either of these two clips.
We also use these for Oppie practice before we launch the rest of the fleet


The prevailing wind is Westerly so usually offshore.   In an easterly onshore wind if we didn’t have the jetties we might sail off under jib alone then turn head to wind to hoist the main.


Sailors Sayings:
Taken aback is from the days of square riggers where if the wind violently changed direction it might blow into the front of the sail which could bring the mast down
Next Week:
Slush fund
Big Boat stuff
One of the things Roger said about crashing was “Eat before you are hungry, sleep before you are tired “
Having finally got under way about 5pm heading East with a S.W wind about force 4, I was far too excited before my first watch at about midnight .
Having wrapped up warm in his wife’s Musto gear, and firmly clipped onto my life line, I struggled to stay awake by reciting part of an old sea shanty
“ Look afore look astern look a wether and a lee
All down the coast of high Barbaree”
See what you might hit, see what might hit you, see any change in the weather.
On my next stint we were passing near an oil field , the boat was on auto pilot and GPS.   As I wasn’t actually steering it was a bit worrying as we sometimes looked about to pass a rig to port then it moved to starboard as the auto pilot responded to wind shifts etc.
Have you guessed where we are going yet?
Yachtmaster Questions:
If a wind is said to be veering it is moving in what direction?
How frequently should inflatable life jackets be checked and serviced?


Tammy Trains from Home 5

Welcome to lesson 5
We ask students to bring an up to date weather forecast each Sunday .
These can be found from lots of sources , BBC (other media are available )  papers or on line .
I mostly use windguru which in addition to wind speed direction etc gives gusts which are the bit you need to watch out for
Richard Edgar (at the time a BBC weather forecaster ) told me that just going outside and looking West was as good a way of telling what’s coming .
He also said that the BBC weather forecasts tended to be out by a couple of hours because the computed programme they used didn’t take account of friction but no-one dared guess a more accurate time.

By now you might have had a “trip round the bay” with an instructor but before putting you on the water on a narrow busy river, we would do a session of dry land training on How to turn the boat or “tack”.
This video is pretty good

Let me know if this doesn’t work

I found it by googling how to tack a dinghy and it’s by the RYA
we teach it from”reach to reach”  ie sailing across the wind .
Here is how we would actually teach you
That’s Howard another of our instructors , he says sailing is solving problems on the water.
Sailors sayings:
Showing someone the ropes is essential on a boat where there are three basic types:
Standing rigging ie stays or shrouds hold the mast up
Running rigging ie halyards pull the sails up and down and sheets which pull the sails in and out.

Big boat stuff – this week ‘taken aback’

My mate Roger skipper of Lady in Blue has no formal RYA qualifications but has done lots of big boat sailing including a couple of Atlantic crossings .

We’ve known each other for years but this was our first trip together.
First task get thru the lock, as a crew you get shouted at a lot in locks till you get really good at lassoing bollards.
Once out into the Humber,  Rog put me on the helm to keep the boat head to wind while he hoisted the sails.
In hindsight I would have done this better by ignoring all the navigation aids and just looking at the sail.
There’s an app called SafeTrx which alerts the Coastguard agency to your intentions .
We didn’t do that but our wives knew we were going to a party, and Roger knew where it was .
To be continued
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

Virtual Thursday and Cyber Sunday racing starts at Tamesis Club

More than two dozen members have signed up to the four esailing series that the club is running during April.
Thursday evening saw competition in the first three races of the April evening series.  Raced in Day Boat Racers, the competition was tight with a mix of winners representing a number of generations within the club.
Two of the top three in the standings are under 18 and maybe benefitted from not being tempted to have a drink or two while racing, a clear head being a major advantage as the action hots up.  We also saw four cases of established adult racers being upstaged by their offspring.
However, with nine races still to go, the younger generation will need to ensure that they can maintain form consistently at a variety of locations to claim the podium positions.
The top three as things stand are Constantin Gerber, Henry Medcalf and Matt P-J.
Sunday dawned fair at a number of European racing venues as the Tamesis Club fleet tried its hand at racing in the Day Boat Racer series, the 49er series and the Pot Luck Pot (PLP) series which was raced this week in F50 foiling catamarans and then Stars.
Again, a mix of sailors but consistent names showing early promise.  Tom Low, Tom Harris and Jodok Gerber filling the first three slots in the Day Boat Racers, Alden Horwitz, Tom Low and Jodok Gerber in the 49ers, and Constantin Gerber, Tom Low and Jodok Gerber in the PLP.
At the other end of the table, it was clear that a few helms need to waste/invest a little more time in the Virtual Regatta sailing school as they had moments of magic but lacked the consistency to threaten the top half of the fleet.
The OOD would like to thank his assistants in the eSmithy for helping with the race administration.  Big thanks must also go to Zoe Adams for arranging the post-race drinks and chat in the Zoom bar.
Feedback for both Thursday and Sunday were positive and we look forward to seeing everyone again on Thursday at 8pm.
Tim Medcalf
Results races 1 and 2


Results races 3 and 4


Results races 5 and 6