Tamesis Club

Racing on Sunday 11th April

Sailors had a cracking start to the summer season with a keen northerly.  Thanks to Jonathan Key for the photos.

Cover photo shows Neville Upton who led the Laser Race


Lasers racing upstream passing red ensign flying at half mast in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh.  Photo: Vines


Jim Hamilton and Stewart Colley neck and neck



Andrew Harris and Mattie Key leading the Merlins


Richard Harris and Emma Macdonald


The classic spinnaker run


Off we go!!


Fuller report in Tammy Matters.

Training (Working from Home) 21/11

Welcome to lesson 11, hope you are well

The club is taking tentative steps to Start Sailing again. At the moment this doesn’t include training 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

Take a look at this video on YouTube
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 though.

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. .

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

Fun with Boats
Another little project

Big Boat Stuff (Incompetent crew)
There is an extensive calendar of events planned around the Tall Ships event but it’s also fun just to wander around looking at the people.
And lots and lots of boats.
Yachtmaster Quiz
Answer 3.2 A Gnomic Projection shows the great circle route as a straight line.
Question 3.3   A motor cruiser has a heading of 90 degrees T and a logged speed of 12 knots.  There is a north to south tidal stream of 3 knots.  Is the ground speed faster than the log speed?
Stay safe – see you next week.

Junior Sailing is back on the water!

Saturday 10 April saw almost 20 keen Juniors, including some new members, rig up and go sailing under the watchful eye of Andy Harris and his volunteer team of parents.

Undaunted by the autumnal feeling conditions it was good to see that the skills gained last year hadn’t diminished due to the enforced lockdown layoffs.  A number of Juniors are really developing in terms of their sailing and it was apparent that the ability level across the group is on the up.

Matty and Maisie Key even took the opportunity to show off their capsize recovery skills in one of the club’s very smart looking, newly refurbished Laser 2000s.  Real commitment, especially as the hot showers and changing rooms remain closed for the time being!

We’re looking forward to a glorious summer of Junior Sailing sessions and hope that this will feed through in to more Juniors coming back to race on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings too.

Thanks as ever to Andy for running the afternoon supported by Ken, Griff, Byron, Davesh, Sean, Nicola, Matthew, Matt P-J, and the rest of the ‘shoreside parents’, Nim and Helen for leading the provision of the all-important teas and cake, and to Chris Wade for taking the accompanying shots of the action.



Easter Sunday was beautiful, the northerly light to start with but increased nicely by the end of the merlin race.

Lasers in a raft crawling up the bank.


(c) Jonathan Key. Ros in the lead

Sunday was a glorious day and a very good turn out, particularly by the Merlins, produced some excellent racing.  The Laser race was won convincingly by Ros Warwick-Haller with Stewart Colley second and Chris Taggart third.

Merlins under spinnaker – (c) Jonathan Key

The Merlins had a very tight battle at the front of the fleet of 14 boats with the lead being swapped about frequently.  Richard Harris , crewed by Emma McDonald, ultimately won with Peter and Richard Mason second and Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts third.  Sadly the N18s were unable to participate.


(c) Jonathan Key

Monday was much colder, the wind stronger blowing straight up the reach.

Class Captain John Edmondson first time out. Photo   Jonathan Key

Monday, by contrast, was very chilly and windy with the occasional desultory micro-flurry of snow!  Four Lasers turned out and Kaan, seemingly relishing the strong conditions, was a convincing winner with Jim Hamilton second and John Edmondson third.

(c) Jonathan Key. Andy and Matty (left) and Joe and Sean (right) were nip and tuck throughout the race.


(c) Jonathan Key. Richard and Maddy Harris

Five Merlins took on the blustery conditions and again there was a tight battle for the lead.  Andrew Harris, crewed by Matty Key, won with Joe McLaughlin with Sean Roberts second and Richard and Maddy Harris in third place.

Subject: Training (working from home )21/10

Hi, hope you are well.

Welcome to lesson 10
In previous sessions I have mentioned that every Sunday I do a risk assessment covering wind current traffic etc.
I’ve started to look again at a risk assessment for when we eventually start training but think this may still be a bit away
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 youngster rig launch and land and we’ll probably encourage families to stick together and 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
Subject: Five Essentials
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 & 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.
Yachtmaster quiz
A 3.1 Going aground on the top of a high tide is getting neaped
Q 3.2 on what type of ocean chart is a straight line the great circle route.
Incompetent Crew
Because Lady in Blue ‘s home port is Grimsby which is “twinned” with Bremerhaven we get to count as an honorary tall ship so we’re given badges tee shirts and other goodies including free bus travel and entry to many venues.
It was great just to wander around the sea front area looking at boats.
This seems to be an early foiling prototype
Many of the real tall ships were open for tours to raise funds, you could even climb some masts
Stay safe and see you next week
Eric Finlayson

Training (Working from home ) 21/9

Hy 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 we would have had lots of functions throughout the year .

Here’s one we did at my old club to celebrate VE Day. 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 our annual expedition to Hampton Court.  A crowd of us sailed up to the pub (remember them) and Carolyne brought up the non sailors in the launch.

Last we talked about coming ashore.

Here’s one of our youngsters doing a lee shore landing in a Topper, having freed off the sail from the boom.

Recent sailboatty 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 point are that close hauled is exciting, reaching is fast and safe and running needs caution to avoide 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 two metres apart while exercising is the rule.
Next week – Bitter end.
Yachtmaster questions:
Answer 2.1  406 Mhz is registered to Falmouth Coast Guard
Question 3.1  What term is used for a craft which has gone aground at the top of a spring tide and has to wait two weeks to float off?
Incompetent Crew
Wednesday (Mittelwoch)
Continental breakfast of boiled egg, ham and cheese and fruit, then down to the sea front to watch the Tall Ships Parade.
It was a bit late so we got a couple of Berliners (jam doughnuts) from a vendor.  This reminded of the time JFK visiting Berlin during the cold war wrongly declared ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’
Don’t forget we’re happy to answer any questions you have.
See you next week.
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

Training (Working from Home) 21/8

Hi hope you are well.  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.
For now just don’t Ever try to land between the finger jetties.
When landing it’s vital to have a “Plan B” just in case the wind changes at the last minute.
Thinking about taking care of the boats here is Peter one of our assistant instructors, he is a keen racer but helps keep the fleet on the water.
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
Incompetent Crew

Tuesday (Dienstag ) 11th Day trip to Cruxhaven ( €13 , time 50 ) Nice little town with a harbour and a marina .

We had lunch in the yacht club.  Sole and potato salad (souled mit kartofelsalat )  and saw one of the tall ships on their way to Bremerhaven
Yachtmasters Quiz
A 2.9  Range is halfway between Spring and Neaps so Rate is 2kns
Q 2.10 Who registers 406MHz EPIRBS (Emergency Position Radio Beacons)?
I’m awaiting more info from the RYA about how/when training can restart.
Note there is an update to CPR re Covid .  Defibrillate machine is in the club foyer.

Check out “Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Guidance during COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic” from RCUK on Vimeo.

The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/399707203

If you like this video, make sure you share it, too!

See you next week
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

Training (working from home ) 21/7

Hi, hope you are well.
Welcome to lesson 7;
Have you got a weather forecast for today ?  What is the wind doing , is it on or off shore ?
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 powerboat training.
We try to keep theory sessions short so we can get back on the water.
Youth sessions usually finish with a session of dodgeball or the whistle game.
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 2k the trick is not to move till the boom is far enough over.

Sailors sayings
By and Large
Still with Master and Commander during Aubrey’s court martial his Lieutenant is being questioned about the pursuing boats speed
“Did they (the French) seems to sail much faster than you?”
Answer “ yes both ‘by and large’ ( on and off the wind) “
Incompetent crew
Walking around Bremerhaven we found lots of boats to look at but no supermarkets
I hadn’t yet got hold of a map so back at the yacht club asked one of the members for directions.
He offered to drive me but the first one we found was shut, the next one seemed in the middle of nowhere but he dropped me off indicating the direction back to town!
After an extensive shop I did however manage to find my way back to the boat and even scored a phrase book in a little bookshop.

Yachtmasters Quiz

Answer  2.8 A chart showing wind roses etc is a Routing or Pilot chart
Question 2.9 The range of tides is 4.6 m Estimate the rate of tidal stream at high water
HW tidal stream from table -0632T 2.6kn springs 1.4 kn heaps
Mean spring range 6.1mMean neap range 3.1 m

See you next week
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

Training (working from home ) 21/6

Hi , hope you are all well

One of my Sunday tasks is to check on the current using the Environment Agency web site
This is a recent sample showing a range of stream rates

We usually manage to do some training even if red boards are showing provided we have enough safety cover .

Subject: Tacking.  This is from Sailaboatty.  Please try to find others if you can
If you are launching of 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.
We can 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, we didn’t have the jetties, we might sail off under jib alone then turn head to wind to hoist the main sail.
Sailors’ Sayings
Re last weeks comments on O’Brian the chart I found compared double reefed topsail wind with Beaufort force 7 near gale whilst he spoke of palm fronds being rattled which sounds more like force 3
Not nautical but staying with weather I was reading Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything and learned that before the development of the current classification of cumulus nimbus etc clouds were divided into ten types of which the plumpest were number nine hence the expression to be on cloud nine .
Incompetent Crew
Our mooring was outside the yacht club proper probably for visitors as the main club moorings are pretty crowded and behind a swing bridge.
After a look around the club and its facilities we went to explore the town .
It seemed surprisingly quiet but we did manage to score a couple of bratwurst mit brod the found our way down to the harbour .
We thought the tall ships had started to arrive but this is actually a floating restaurant
Yachtmaster questions
A 2.7  The sidewaysdrift of a yacht is called leeway
Q 2.8  What type of Ocean Chart gives the following wind roses currents ice limits and magnetic variation?
I believe Kite Foiling will be included in the next Olympics

This development has already totally affected the America’s Cup and may well change competitive sailing forever.

Take a look at this video no You Tube
See you next Sunday
Stay safe
Eric Finlayson

eSailing series week 4 – final results

The fourth and final round of races was run in AC75s at a variety of international locations including Auckland – good to have some Brits racing on those waters on what should have been the first weekend of the Americas Cup!

Brian Corking held a reasonable but not insurmountable lead going in to the last set of four races.  As it turned out, he was not to be denied.  Showing excellent form in the foiling class he secured three more bullets which left him with the perfect score of eight for the series and the prize of some GH Mumm champagne.

Behind Brian, the Harris brothers Richard and Andrew finished their own epic tussle for the remaining podium spots.  On this occasion, Andrew prevailed by one point.  He will no doubt be hoping to carry forward that form when on-water action restarts in a few weeks.

Honourable mentions to Chris Balmbro who competed in all races and, along with Peter Impey, Jodok Gerber, Graham King, and Mike Blackledge, animated the mid-fleet and included a win in his tally.  Stewart Colley also graced all of the starts, persevered, and enjoyed some notable success in the third week.

In total, 18 club members took part and managed to at least partially fill some of the sporting gaps left in Sunday mornings by the lack of real-world racing.

Thanks to all for joining in and to Ed Medcalf for helping out in the eSmithy.

Here are the final standings: