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


Penultimate virtual races bring May’s Sunday series to the boil

So, the May virtual racing series has started to come to the pointy end of affairs.  A time when fortune favours the brave and split second decisions will decide outcomes for both good and ill.

The racing was suitably dramatic in all three fleets as skippers battled for podiums, the opportunity to best a long-standing rival, or just the satisfaction of finishing facing the right direction.

The Star class was up first.  This deceptively simple boat has produced some of the closest and most frantic virtual racing that Tamesis Club has seen.  They may not be fast but the Stars are quirky and this adds to their appeal.

Alden Horwitz had the measure of the Stars this week and picked up two bullets with Andrew Harris and Jodok Gerber picking up a second and third each.  Two races remain and Alden could close out the series with a single win.  There is also the prospect of Andrew and Richard Harris going mano-a-mano for second place; Andrew holds it at the moment but only by a slender three points.

Having started the morning with the frothy cappuccino that is Star class racing, next up was the double expresso-fueled adrenaline hit of the F50s.  Gerbers Jodok and Constantin took a wins apiece, with Richard Harris steadily scoring two seconds, and Alden and Jodok rounding out the podiums.

It looks like one of up to eight skippers could take the series next Sunday.  Anything could happen, and it usually does.

Finally, the fleet raced in the Pot Luck Pot.  J70s were chosen for the first race, in part to give Tamesis Club’s entrants for the Merlin Rocket class association racing a warm up before their qualifying events take place this week.  Good luck to all!

Tom Harris took the win and no doubt enjoyed the bragging rights over the family Sunday roast.  Henry Medcalf came second, and Peter Impey third.

The morning was rounded off with a blast in the Formula 18 catamarans.  Again, youth came to the fore with Henry winning, followed by the experienced Chris Balmbro, and Peter Impey in another third place.

No racer has managed to be the consistently dominant force in this month’s Pot Luck Pot and a winner could come from any of the nine skippers who are spanned by 10 points.  This will go down to the wire and should be fascinating for competitors and spectators alike.

Plenty of reasons to set the alarm for next week when we hope to see bumper fleets and champagne sailing once again as the series are decided.

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

Thursday evening series standings tighten after frenetic racing

There was little rhyme or reason to this Thursday’s three races, a situation not helped by some technical glitches within the game which forced some skippers to helm seemingly from 30,000ft.

Series leader Jodok Gerber wasn’t present to see the action and missed Matty Key snatch the win in the first race followed in by Andy Harris and Matt P-J.

Penalties were to be the story of race two as the fleet pushed the Offshore Racers and the VRI rules to the limit – the race control screen often awash with red penalty notifications.

Tom Low emerged from the carnage with the win, Peter Impey in second and Henry Medcalf in third.  An honourable mention must go to Jim Green who calmly piloted himself to a commendable fourth place – a fitting response to his trials in Tuesday’s Masters outing and maybe the promise of things to come.

A slightly battle-worn fleet took to the line for the final race of the evening.  Matt P-J won, while recent newcomer Brian Corking recorded his best result of the series with a second, and Daniel Gerber recovered from a couple of so-so races with a third place.

Next week will see the final three races of the May Thursday evening series and the top places are significantly more tightly bunched than was the case seven days ago.  A run of wins could see any of six skippers take the title.  Bragging rights are at stake further down the leaderboard.

The standings are below:


Tamesis Club’s guidance to members following partial lifting of lockdown restrictions

Please find below the text that was included in the latest edition of the Tammy Matters newsletter:


Club position on Freedom to partake in Watersports

Use of Tamesis Club by Members permitted by the partial lifting of Covid-19 lockdown.

If you or anybody in your household display any symptoms of Coronavirus infection, none of you may come to the Club and you should self-isolate for the Government recommended period.

If you handle anything that you have not brought with you it is suggested that you wear gloves when doing so or use hand sanitiser afterwards.

If you think you may use Club equipment (ie. chairs, tables etc.) please bring sanitiser and cloths to wipe them down before and after use.

As a result of the easing of lockdown conditions, announced on 10th May, limited water-sports are now permitted and some elements of the Tamesis Club facilities are available to Members to enjoy this new freedom.  Members must, however, observe the social distancing and all other Government imposed conditions at all times.

On Club premises, you and all members of your household must observe the two metre social distancing from members of all other households.  Please ensure that any young children do not break this restriction.

The Clubhouse and Changing Rooms are closed, so no toilet or washing facilities are available at the Club.  If you intend going on the water you should change into your sailing kit at home.

The Club Patrol boats are currently mothballed and not available for use.  The two metre rule makes giving assistance from a patrol boat impractical.

Club boats are not available for Members to use at the present time.

Sailing, paddleboarding and canoeing are allowed if done within the Government restrictions.

The Club will not be organising any racing during this period.  Any sailing or other activity on the water is entirely at your own responsibility and risk.

If you go on the water  you must wear a buoyancy aid.

Before going out on the water, consider your capabilities in the light of the prevailing weather conditions, bearing in mind that there is no assisted recovery available.  If in any doubt, do not go afloat.  Masthead floats are recommended whilst these restrictions are in force.

Be careful to keep to the social distancing rules whilst rigging, launching and recovering craft and whilst on the water.

Ensure that your boat is sound and the rigging is in good condition.  It is suggested that you read the article at  Clubsailor.co.uk .

Single-handed sailing by helms under 16 is not allowed.

Under 16s can sail in crewed boats with members of their own household.

The lawn and riverfront are there for your enjoyment – whilst keeping the correct distancing.

The current advice from EA and RYA is reproduced in brief below.

From the EA – issued 15th May

In line with the updated government guidance issued on 10 May, non-powered water sports like kayaking and rowing can resume. Boat owners may also now visit their moored boats to make sure they are well-maintained. Any activities undertaken, however, must be done alone or with your household and you must always follow social distancing guidelines when encountering others.

From the RYA – Issued 11th May

From Wednesday, 13 May unlimited outdoor activity will be permitted in England, and we understand that this will include all forms of boating.  The Prime Minister also indicated that people would be permitted to travel to other destinations in order to exercise.  Any activity will still need to be alone or with members of a single household, and social distancing must be followed at all times.

Full text at https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/coronavirus-advice-and-information-for-recreational-boaters.aspx

The RNLI is currently working through the updated guidance in England delivered by the UK Prime Minister on 11 May and will be engaging with a number of watersport governing bodies and other stakeholders to help inform its response.

Be sensible – and stay alert!

Tuesday evening virtual racing produces some gripping action (again)

Tuesday evenings see outings for the club’s Juniors and Masters virtual fleets.

Juniors were up first with a fleet of 10 contesting the first of two races.

Although it was uncertain whether William Balmbro would make the start line due to the slow consumption of his dinner, there was no pace lacking in his performance when he eventually made it on to the water!  It was suggested that he had must have been fueled by three Shredded Wheat as a he cantered to a first win of the series.

Matty Key took the top step of the podium in the second race, also his first of the series.  Edward Medcalf made it in to second, posting his best result of the series so far, and Tom Harris rounded off a productive evening with a third place to accompany his second in the first race.

Entering the final week, we have a tie for first place in the 16 and under fleet between Henry Medcalf and Matty Key, with Tom Harris in contention.  However, Constantin Gerber could still take the title if he replicates his form from the first two races.  In the 10 and under fleet, William Balmbro is the helm to beat with Arthur P-J and Edward Medcalf still in contention for the chocolates.

The Masters races saw a dozen skippers take to the water.

Repeating his form of last week, Jonathan Key powered to a win in the first race.  Brian Corking continued a steady run of form with second, and Mike Blackledge confirmed his series ambitions with a third.  Meanwhile your correspondent carried out an unplanned experiment with an upwind spinnaker hoist, and then tried the manoeuvre again just to confirm that it really was a bad move, dropping out of the three as a result.

Race two saw Jim Green making the running in the early stages before he faded and ended up with a seat at the back of the bus.  Blackledge took the honours with Key in second and an improving Stewart Colley in third, his best score so far.

The overall standings show Blackledge and Key in a tussle for top spot with Brian Corking in third heading a large and closely-bunched group who will contest the remaining spots.  Discards will undoubtedly play their part and Daniel Gerber could upset the front-runners if he returns to the fray next week.

Here are the standings:

Stars, fast cats, and pot luck, all in another Sunday morning’s virtual racing

The club’s regular Sunday morning skippers reached the halfway point of their three May series.  As last week’s comprehensive winner Tom Last was not racing, other helms sought to capitalise on his absence.

Andy Harris made a welcome return to the top step of the podium in the Star fleet’s first race, with long-time contender Joe Woods taking his first top three finish in the second.  In Tom’s absence, and after some consistent sailing, Richard Harris now heads the rankings in the Stars with Andy in second, and Chris Balmbro easing in to third, up from seventh last week.

Chris also surged up the leaderboard in the F50 class with an impressive first and third places, leaving his overall position improved by seven places from the week before.  The standings are headed by Peter Impey who clearly likes the fast cats, followed by Jodok Gerber, with birthday boy Henry Medcalf in third.

In the Pot Luck Pot, Jodok leapfrogged Alden Horwitz in to first place, with Dana Church moving in to third after recording what is believed to be his first virtual sailing bullet.

As only half the races have been completed, there is plenty of scope for everything to change.

While it was great to see some of our Tuesday evening Masters players starting to cut through in the Sunday series, the OOD also noted some fast a loose tactics being employed, especially on downwind legs.  No names and no pack drill at this stage.

The latest standings are below:


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

Jodok Gerber eighth in a strong fleet at final RYA London & SE qualifiers

Friday lunchtime and a (surprisingly) large number of club members found themselves able to provide some welcome moral support as Jodok Gerber battled through five races in the final qualifiers.

More than 500 sailors in the London and SE  region had entered the RYA’s Spring Club Championship and the final 19 who raced on Friday therefore represented an elite group.

Unfortunately, only one could go through to the national finals.

Jodok opened his account with an impressive second.  However, his best two results from the next four races were a pair of eighth places.  He ended with a net score of 17 and eighth place for the event.

The runaway winner was William MacDonald from Wembley SC with a net score of four points, and we wish him well in the national finals.

Despite the disappointment, there was extensive praise on the club’s Whatsapp groups for Jodok’s performance and a recognition that he had done Tamesis Club proud.

We anticipate that the RYA, and class associations will run similar events and this information will be shared with club members as it become available.  In the meantime, the club’s on-going virtual sailing program will enable everyone to hone their skills.

The full results from today’s qualifiers are below:

Thursday evening series continues to grow as a leader emerges

Three more races in Offshore Racers saw the ever-expanding Tamesis Club Thursday evening fleet reach the midway point in the series.

There was plenty of close quarters racing with a penalty count to match.  The fleet is starting to find its feet in the virtual world and the margin between feeling the golden glow of success or the cold misery of a dismal evening is getting finer.

The top places in the standings are still headed by Jodok Gerber, who is also campaigning on behalf of the club in J70s, hoping to win through to the next stage of the RYA’s Spring Club Championships.

Alden Horwitz leapfrogged several places in to second by virtue of an evening that saw him gain a pair of bullets, and Matt P-J moved in to third by gaining the third top spot of the night.

Chris Balmbro and Mike Blackledge both had some encouraging results.  Newcomer Brian Corking showed flashes of his potential.  Jim Green tested the waters of the Thursday series and finished with boats in his wake.

Only six races are required to qualify for the series.  While Jodok currently looks secure in first, will he come under more pressure as his challengers start to discard results?

The current standings are below: