|Racing - near Kew railway bridge.|
see race results and read a brief
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We sail at Strand on the Green, up river to Isleworth and down to Hammersmith and beyond. Currently sailed at Strand, in order of popularity: Enterprises, Lasers, Solos, plus a Vibe, a Lightening a Leader a Heron and a Wayfarer.
|Every summer we have a weekend away, based on the Beaulieu River at The Royal Southampton Yacht Club's HQ at Gins. We usually sail across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Other recent excursions have been to the Norfolk Broads, Berlin and on a Thames Barge on the UK east coast. In 2015 we chartered yachys on the Baltic. A canal trip is planned this year.||
We race on the Thames near Kew Bridge every Sunday from March to November. The race time depends on the tide. Consult the Calendar for race times. Courses are close to our railway arch HQ, plus Hammersmith, Isleworth and long distance races.
On Saturday 5th March, the big event of the year ...
SGSC annual dinner and dance at the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club.
As usual it was a great success - well attended, great food and music and vigorous Scottish dancing. What we lack in terms of skill and finesse we easily make up for with enthusiasm.
Thanks as always are due to Marian Armitage for organisation; Joyce Willard for our introduction to the Golf Club; and to the organisations who kindly donated prizes for the raffle:
A weekend in St Ives
2016 AGM was held in the excellent upstairs room at the City Barge pub.
There will be a 70th anniversary race on 17th April, and an Island party on the 3rd September - the same day as the Great River race.
Dance 2015 - Saturday March 7th
the annual dinner dance at the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club was a huge success.
The meal was delicious, the prizes were given out speedily, the raffle
was well supported and after a surprise specially composed song from the
Commodore, it was down to the dancing.
Summer Garden Party and Gins weekend 2012
year's party, in James and Marian's garden was a most enjoyable evening.
Quite a few stalwarts were away so numbers were low but the rain kept
away, the food was delicious, and a good time was had by all. Huge thanks
to James and Marian for the hospitality and to Marian (and her helpers)
in particular for providing the food.
There was no Ladies' Plate race this year due to blustery weather and a shortage of willing sailors.
Gins weekend 26th August. Sailing the Solent, seeing the lovely Beaulieu River, dinner at the RSYC, ... contact Kurt Berger.
Strand on the Green
go Sailing in Berlin
On day three "culture"
was top of the bill. Rob Adams had been given a list of must-see's in
Berlin including both very new and classical buildings and monuments.
Everyone's curiosity was fed by the East/West divide and the reconstruction
projects that have been accomplished in the city which seems to have more
that its fair share of modern history. Top picks for some were the Neue
Museum, which is itself a work of art, and the rather eerie Holocaust
Monument. It is an impossible task to do justice to such a splendid capital
in a day and I'm sure that everyone will look for an opportunity to return
at some point.
SGSC Gins Weekend 2011
The annual visit to the RSYC base at Gins on the Beaulieu River during the August Bank Holiday was enjoyed by all, despite indifferent weather, difficult tides, and only five boats taking part.
Michael Kemlo, the RSYC member and originator of these visits, sailed his cruising boat Scorcher with a family crew from her home base at Gins. Hugh and Miranda Kemlo, together with Anne and Philip, brought an Enterprise. David and Sheila Berger chartered Lady of Shropshire from the Hamble, with Kurt and Margaret crewing and sleeping on board. Nick and Sally Floyer brought their 15ft Breton dayboat Alarc'h, and Bridget her 12ft Tideway dinghy. Enoch Rodriguez and Zena completed the party; they like the Floyers camped at the site. Most of us arrived on the Friday evening, and enjoyed fish and chips in the Turfcutters Arms in East Boldre.
The wind on Saturday was a brisk nor'-westerly, so the Tideway did not launch, and the other four boats sailed downriver to the mouth to assess conditions in the Solent. A close reach across to Newtown Bay on the Isle of Wight then seemed to be quite manageable, and all went well until well past the halfway mark, when the wind freshened considerably. With the wind against the strengthening ebb tide, it became very rough, with short steep seas and breaking crests. This caused the Enterprise to lower her main, and Alarc'h to lower everything and start the outboard; their crews were glad to reach the shelter of Newtown and tie up for lunch alongside the two keelboats; both small boats made the return voyage under jib alone.
We were eighteen for the Club Dinner on Saturday evening, including Tony Smith who nobly drove down for it, going back afterwards. Kurt Berger was celebrating fifty years of SGSC membership (and umpteen years of organising the Gins weekend) and very kindly bought all the wine for the meal.
Sunday's weather was only a little more promising, and the later time of low water made it difficult for keelboats to get back into the river if they ventured out, so with Scorcher returning early from her overnight stay at Lymington, the two big boats motored up past Bucklers Hard. The smaller boats, Tideway included, tacked up, the Enterprise easily, but the two gaff-rigged boats very slowly between the sheltering trees and against the fast-running ebb tide. Lunch was at the small 'No Fishing' jetty that we (and the fish) discovered some years ago. It is known by Dave Berger as the Swimmplatz, though sadly it was too chilly, and the tide was running too fast, to swim this year. The easy run back to Gins was over in no time.
In the evening, Michael and Maggie Kemlo once again kindly invited us all to a party at their house in Lymington, where the food was excellent and the drink plentiful.
On Monday, with more sun and less wind than before, Lady of Shropshire set off back to the Hamble, and the Tideway was taken out for an early return to London by road. Alarc'h and the Enterprise went downriver and along the Lepe shore, with the intention of exploring Ashletts Creek off Southampton Water. However, the tide in the Solent had turned against us by the time we got there, so the plan had to be abandoned in order to be sure of getting back to Gins and hauling the boats out before the tide level dropped too far. The return was rapid even against the wind, so perhaps we should have carried on further. As it was, we ate our picnic in sunshine at Gins, packed up the boats, and drove away.
Thanks once again to Kurt for organising another successful Gins weekend in excellent company.
New ramp donations
Thank you very much indeed to all our neighbours who contributed to the costs of building the new ramp. We received 6 generous cheques from neighbours along Strand on the Green, and many donations of items to sell on Ebay from members and friends, including a very profitable one from John Day of nearby River Homes. The total raised so far is £356 - a great help in putting the Club back into the black, and much appreciated. We hope our antics on the river will continue to entertain those watching from the bank as it does the participants. The new ramp is excellent, very confidence inspiring because it's completely non-slip.
Nigel has recently
set up an SGSC Facebook Group. It could be a great way of sharing photos
with other members. You'll have to sign up to Facebook and think of yet
another password , but it's free and easy and you don't need to reveal
all your secrets - just your name,date of birth, and email address.
Annual Dinner Dance - 2011
The 2011 dance was
a great success as ever - thanks to Marian's organisational skills. The
dancing was Scottish, sociable, exuberant, energising, and exhausting.
The roast beef and the rest of the dinner was delicious and the speeches
short. An excellent evening.
Jessie's Jaunt, Summer 2011
(Jessie is Henry and Mary Brown's "big boat" - actually 3 different ones - in which we've sailed from Poole harbour to Italy over the course of 6 summers)
Jessie's jaunt this year was a two-part affair. At the last-minute we decided to buy a new boat and so our travels were shaped by the fact that the old boat (Jessie 2) was in Corsica while the new one (Jessie 3) would be arriving in the south of France by lorry. The new boat is an Elan 333, a 33ft racer/cruiser with a very good pedigree. The one we bought was built in 2004, had been lightly used, and would, we rashly assumed, come with fully up-to-date and working gear.
In the middle of May we flew to Corsica and drove down to the little port of Taverna to be reunited with Jessie 2. Our first passage was 25 miles northwards to Bastia, Corsica's second city. We were very pleasantly surprised by the slightly scruffy charm of the old town around the port, with tall, brightly coloured buildings, and very narrow streets bustling with activity. From there we had a clear run north to the little town of Maccinagio, almost at the tip of Cap Corse and had a lovely day walking the cliff path. Cap Corse is the 20 mile-long rugged, bony finger that sticks up from the top of Corsica. It's a notorious trouble spot for sailors: the winds whistle around the tip several notches on the Beaufort scale more than elsewhere, so we were not at all disappointed to have an almost flat calm when we sailed around the cape and down the 'sauvage' western side. Two more hops took us to Calvi, completing the circumnavigation of Corsica and Sardinia that we'd started in 2009.
After a couple of days relaxing and provisioning we set off north-west for the 95 mile crossing to Cannes. The forecast gave the wind as F3-4, with thunderstorms. After an hour we were aware that the sky to the south-west seemed rather dark. Then the westerly wind picked up enough for us to put in a reef, at which point the appearance of white horses bearing down on us persuaded us to put in the other (fortunately, all the reefing was done from the cockpit) and a very nasty storm hit us - we heard reports later that it had got up to F8. With bolts of lightning striking the sea, and disinclined to change direction in such conditions, we bashed onward for an hour. When the storm abated, soaking wet and with the prospect of another 18 hours to reach Cannes, we turned back to Calvi.
The next day we set off again into a light northerly. This time it was fine. As when we crossed in 2009 we spent a very pleasant 20 hours, about 7 under sail alone, and reached the other side just after dawn. We anchored between the idyllic Iles Lerins, just off Cannes, and slept.
We had arranged for J3 to be delivered to Hyeres, just east of Toulon, on 16th June, and it was essential to be there when she arrived. So we pressed on westwards in 20 mile hops to St Maxime, Cavalaire and the island of Porquerolles, where we could afford to relax for a couple of days before berthing in Hyeres on 14th June. Everything so far had worked like clockwork, but that's when the spring broke.
The 'convoi exceptionelle' had a puncture 50km from the port and by the time it was fixed we had missed our slot with the crane. The catalogue of problems with the "new" boat that then emerged would be very tedious to relate, and much more so to read, so I won't. But with the appearance of a guardian angel - a 'professionel' called Andre, 13 times transat sailor and general boaty wizard - and the passage of time, and the infusion of euros, we were ready to go by the end of August. Actually it wasn't as bad as that sounds. We came home from mid July to mid August, before which we had a week of sailing J3 around the delicious Isles d'Hyeres, and after which we had several days doing the same with Josh, Mary's eldest. But on 31 August we finally left Hyeres with the works completed to resume our eastward journey in the new boat.
After a couple of passages getting to know Jessie 3 in gentle weather, another mini- drama unfolded. From an anchorage just west of Cavalaire we set off briskly on the run under genoa alone towards the Golfe de St Tropez, intending to overnight in St Maxime. The wind picked up, dropped, veered from SW to NW, and as we turned into the gulf came at us with serious intensity bringing steep, short, foam-flecked waves. We were about 5 miles from St Maxime at this point, which was directly to windward. We dropped all sail and relied on the motor, hoping that as we approached the windward shore the waves, at least, would diminish. The Elan went into the seas with a minimum of protest but enough spray to leave Mary at the wheel looking a bit like Mrs Lot by the time we reached the relative shelter of the land. Our instruments measured 37kn of wind - a full gale, although with a blue sky and sunshine. It was far too windy to risk entering the port so we anchored off the beach to have lunch and allow the wind to drop. It didn't, and after half an hour of tugging, the anchor started to drag. So Mary phoned the port and asked for refuge. Sorry, they said, we're full - because of the mistral. To our huge relief and after some pleading Port Grimaud, four miles away at the head of the gulf, agreed to squeeze us in. Whew!
Port Grimaud was built in the 1970s as a boaty resort for the rich. It's a strange cross between Venice and a Provencal village, a vast stage-set but very pretty. We spent a day there waiting for the mistral to blow out, then set off north east out of the gulf heading for the Rade d'Agay, a deep bay in the Massif de l'Esterel, where we had an important appointment. The Elan sails beautifully on all points and we were doing 5-6kn hard on the wind when a photographer's helicopter from St Tropez circled us and took photos, perhaps having tired of all the local fat-cat powerboats. We felt like celebrities.
We reached the Rade d'Agay ringed by the craggy, purple porphyry Esterel Mountains in the early afternoon, picked up a mooring buoy and motored ashore in the dinghy to collect Dave and Sheila Berger who were in France on a walking holiday. Next day we headed for the Iles Lerins, off Cannes and with Dave at the helm made short work of the 16 miles to the islands. We anchored just off St-Honorat, dinghied ashore and walked through the pine woods to the monastery of St-Honorat, which was founded in the 4th Century and has a formidable 11th Century tower on the southern coast. The next day we explored the northern island, Ste-Margherite, before motoring across to the mainland in a dead calm. Dave and Sheila caught a train back to Agay and their hire car, and we pressed on past Antibes, Nice and Monaco to Menton, the last town in France.
Menton looks like an Italian town and was only absorbed into France in the late 19th Century. The town climbs up a series of hills in multi-coloured, six to eight storey buildings, with elegantly proportioned windows, many with trompe l'oueil painted architectural details. We anchored off the beach and rowed into the port. The next morning we crossed the border into Italy, which at first seemed less beautiful than the French side of the border, largely because of the works of man. Particularly near San Remo, the hills are covered with plastic greenhouses serving the cut flower industry.
We stopped at Alassio and were helped to a mooring by a man who said the forecast was bad. He was right, and we were there for four days. Alassio is a fairly typical Italian resort town: a small remnant of 18th Century and older elegant buildings on narrow streets, with the remains of a Genoese tower; grand hotels and squares from the 19th and early 20th centuries; a rash of more recent stuff in villas and apartments; and almost the entire beach carved up into lots, covered with sun-beds, which are either attached to hotels or rent spaces at €20 a day. To make up for lost time we then moved on another 36 miles north-east to Arenzano, a small resort just before the industrial sprawl of Genoa, and anchored off the marina.
We had taken the precaution of telephoning ahead to our next stop, Genoa, because it was clear from the Pilot that it was a big and scary place. Next day was still and we motored the ten miles to Genoa past increasing urbanisation to the heart of the city - the Porto Vecchio. Genoa got our prize for the friendliest marina in the Med. They met us in a rib, guided us to a berth, took our lines as we reversed in and gave us a map of the city. And the showers were awesome.
Genoa was a delightful surprise to us. We had read its extraordinary history but that didn't prepare us for its physical charisma. From the waterside you walk underneath a modern elevated road to be confronted with six to eight storeys of solid ancient building penetrated by canyons and tunnels threading their medieval way through the mass. They open at intervals into eccentric spaces flanked by churches and palaces of amazing variety. The ground level seethes and hums with life, and not just of the tourist variety. We wandered in a daze for four days, every evening finding some tasty restaurant and every night returning to our floating home in the middle of the action.
On 26 September we moved on, thinking 'top that', and ended up topping it, by contrast if nothing else, in San Fruttuoso, 16 miles to the east. The character of the Italian Riviera is very different on either side of Genoa. The Riviera Ponente (west) is a relatively gentle coastline with almost continuous development. The Riviera Levante, to the east, is much more steep-to with high mountains crashing into the sea all the way to La Spezia. The first outbreak of this landscape is a large headland formed around Monte Portofino, and San Fruttouso is in a narrow cleft in the south facing cliff. San Fruttuoso is a stunningly beautiful Romanesque monastery founded in the 8th Century and rebuilt in the 10th on the waterfront at the head of the inlet. There's a fishing village next to it and a 16th Century tower on a promontory between them. There's no road access but the tripper boats come in droves from Portofino. We picked up a mooring in the crystal clear waters and, once the trippers had gone home, had this sublime place all to ourselves. Next day, after visiting the monastery, and snorkelling to see the underwater statue of Christ placed there to honour divers lost at sea, we sailed further into Golfo Marconi (it's where the great man did transmitting experiments) to anchor off the pretty little resort of St Margherita Ligure. Our next anchorage, in a bay called Riva Trigoso, after a stonking reach at up to 7kn with two reefs in the main, was another contrast: a rather grim resort sprawls along the beach and smack in the middle is a massive shipyard with a couple of large naval vessels on the stocks. Beyond that is an area called Cinque Terra, five lands, so named after five villages that cling to a precipitous 10 mile stretch of cliff which up to comparatively recently had no road access. Italian engineers, in the Roman tradition, have now sorted that out and so the Cinque villages have lost some of their charm, but from the sea the best of them look amazingly improbable: densely packed multi-coloured houses perched on cliff tops with perilous-looking landings at their base.
The Riviera Levante ends at the two islands that guard the western side of Golfo de la Spezia. We turned sharp left into a narrow passage between the mainland and the big island and into a small bay where we picked up an unused mooring, whose owner fortunately did not return that night. Spezia is a major naval base and opposite is the delightful village of Lerici, haunt of Byron and Shelley. To the south lies another wide coastal plain and almost wall-to-wall beach resorts. Behind them is the massive, barren and craggy Alpi Apuane, 6,000ft high, scarred white by dozens of marble quarries ancient and modern including those of Carrera. The end of the 16 mile-long beach is marked by Viareggio, a sort of Italian Atlantic City, still packed with holidaymakers even in late September.
Our last sail was a very relaxing reach to the mouth of the Arno, past a national park with empty beaches and sand dunes. Jessie's home for the winter is about a mile up the broad brown Arno in a small boatyard, where we were welcomed by the charming owner and his Romanian assistant. The next day Jessie was whisked out of the water and onto stilts and the following morning (5th October) we went by bus and train to Pisa airport and home.
Altogether we had
covered 730 miles in our two boats and spent 109 nights aboard, most of
which were at anchor. Jessie 2 had given great satisfaction to the end
and we are delighted to report that that she now has a new (French) owner.
Jessie 3 has proved herself to be comfortable, fast and reliable and we
look forward to many more seasons aboard her. Roll on next summer.
you're on the river ...
1. A reminder of the rules
Anyone sailing in our races must comply with three related sets of rules. The first is the current Racing Rules of Sailing, which are based on the international COLREGS, and which are modified by the PLA Byelaws for the Thames. A critical modification of the normal rules for the Thames (modification 15 (a)) is that "a vessel shall not cross or enter a fairway as to obstruct another vessel proceeding along the fairway". This means that if we are tacking across the fairway (defined as the central channel used for navigation up and down the river), or crossing it between buoys, we must keep out of the way of any power boats or rowing boats that are travelling up or down the river. This rule takes precedence over the normal rule of power giving way to sail. The rules for the Thames do not recognise racing dinghies as a special case.
We must also be aware that many power boats are much less manoeuvrable than a dinghy. In particular we have been told by the PLA that their new catamaran launches are particularly bad in a cross wind and are very restricted in their ability to stop or go astern - give them plenty of room.
In general we have
a duty under the COLREGS and common sense to avoid a collision at all
costs, and this means keeping out of everyone's way - even competing dinghies.
2. Watch your speed when driving the safety boat
There is a speed limit of 8 knots on the river above Wandsworth. Rowing club launches are now required to seek approval from the PLA to exceed this limit when escorting rowing boats. If they are likely to carry more than two crew, their wash is to be tested by the PLA. We are OK if we only speed in response to emergencies, but shepherding the fleet on a B or C course is another matter. We do not need to be tested - yet - but if there are any complaints about our wash, that may be required.
So, watch your speed,
especially near rowing boats, and don't carry more than two in the safety
boat if you are going to go faster than 8 knots.
3. Sound signals
Rob Adams noticed
this information on the web. Useful to know what the correct sound signals
are, by which powered boats may announce their intentions ... occasionally
Email addresses please!
Anyone who is interested
in reading the racing results each week should please give me their email
address. I can't always put the results on the site at once - but I can
easily email you to tell you when they are there - which would save you
looking for them in vain. So please email me - just click on this link
now - and I'll add you to the group to notify - firstname.lastname@example.org
Remembering Bob Folkerd
Bob Folkerd, for many years a regular Strand sailor, died in February. His daughter (who once won the Ladies' Plate herself, and who with her partner also sailed across to the Isle of Wight from Gins with us in an inflatable dinghy) asked if we could contribute to a scrap book of memories about Bob, which she is compiling. Henry has sent the following.
Bob Folkerd and Strand on the Green Sailing Club
I have just browsed
the Club's archives to find out when Bob joined. I think it was in 1968,
for he certainly sailed in that season in a Firefly called St Crispin.
It's possible he sailed some other craft before that date. It seems that
he changed from a Firefly to a Miracle in 1979 but stayed faithful to
St Crispin by continuing with his name. St Crispin, I learned from Bob,
was appropriately the patron saint of cobblers. He sailed the Miraculous
St Crispin for 20 years and finally changed to an Enterprise called Cream
Rose in 1999. His last season with the Club was 2000, after suffering
the fickle winds and wilful tides of Strand for 32 years, and moving on
to calmer waters.He
was in many ways the epitome of the Strand sailor. He was there not to
win, which he was sometimes surprised and delighted to do, but to simply
enjoy a Sunday on the river in congenial company. He was a crafty sailor
who didn't push his luck in strong winds: his concession to such things
was to wear a hard-hat and take it easy. I don't ever remember him capsizing,
unlike the rest of us, in the 20-odd years I sailed alongside him.
He was always easy-going, cheerful and generous with time, help and advice. He served on the Committee for many years and did his turn as Commodore in a characteristically relaxed and informal manner.
We have missed him
since he left us in 2000 but all those of us who knew him were very saddened
to hear of his death. He will certainly live in our memories in the best
LADIES' PLATE AND SUMMER PARTY 2011
Ladies' Plate, 30 July 2011
The Ladies Plate hasn't been contested since 2006 so it was very good to see the two Marys willing to put their skill and courage to the ultimate test. The weather was kind, up to a point, and Paul set a short A Course. Mary Short (Greenwood) got into the lead on the first lap, a lead which Mary Brown increased for her by touching and having to re-round the downstream buoy (crew's fault)(disputed: Ed). After an hour and seven minutes Mary S was the clear and deserving winner with Mary B an honourable second about 3 minutes behind. Andy was in attendance in the safety boat but his services were fortunately not called upon.
The Summer Party, which followed was held this year in James and Marian's lovely garden. It was a pleasant if not exactly balmy evening and the party was extremely enjoyable. The Commodore presented the traditional plate to Mary S and consolation mugs to Mary B and both crews. And a well-fed time was had by all. Many thanks to the hosts and to all the helpers.
Better late than never for this report ... Many thanks for producing it to Chris Greenwood and Nick Floyer
Gins weekend - 2010
A good fleet of dinghies and yachts, enthusiastic sailors and guests enjoyed a bracing weekend based around Gins over the August Bank Holiday. We were pleased to see some newcomers and also the veterans who have kept the traditions alive.
The start of the weekend
was dominated by quite a strong westerly wind, significant enough to keep
the yacht hired from the Hamble and skippered by Rachel on its mooring
on Friday evening. Saturday dawned calm, and to those accustomed to London,
idyllically quiet. After lengthy and detailed discussions, a trip to the
Island was agreed and the four smaller craft set off for Newtown. Increasing
wind meant that Chris and Mary turned back at the mouth of the Beaulieu.
Nick and Sally Floyer in Alarc'h, and their daughter Biddy and friend
Brek in their Tideway dinghy got to the island but came straight back,
leaving David and Sheila in their new Albacore, who alone made it to the
The supper on Saturday
evening was very well supported with around 30 guests, including Edmund
Rutherfoord and Tony Smith who had made the trip from Chiswick just for
the evening. Kurt's choice for the menu, the quality of food, the hunger
of the guests and the attentive service from the staff made for an excellent
The weather on Sunday was again fairly windy, so a sail up to Buckler's Hard and a picnic was the chosen option. One of the highlights of the picnic was some appropriately themed red and green stuffed peppers. Unusually a pontoon mooring was available making it easy to visit the village where three ships were built that saw action in the Battle of Trafalgar (Euryalus, Swiftsure and Agamemnon). The Master Builder provided a glass or three of beer.
Monday provided the best weather for sailing at Gins for many years, warm and sunny with a steady SW breeze. However, the Tideway and the Enterprise had both returned home, and Scorcher did not sail, so only half the fleet was left. The other difficulty was that because the tide was low in the middle of the afternoon, there was nowhere easy to stop for lunch, and it would be late before we could take boats out of the water afterwards. Nick and Sally took Alarc'h out early, and with Dave and Sheila joined the Bergerboat for three hours out into the Solent. After returning to Gins, Rachel and crew left for the Hamble, the smaller boats were packed up, and everyone left in good time.
So it was a good conclusion to a somewhat frustrating weekend, though a pity that we could not exploit it more fully. We must try again next year!
CG and NF
the midst of a damp grey summer, Gins this year was sparkling seas, blue
visit to LCSC, 14
/ 15 July 2007
The two days could not have been a greater contrast in sailing conditions. Only James was towed down on the Saturday (thanks, Andy) to face two other Ents and two Lasers. It was a steady F4 westerly, with stronger gusts and lumpy conditions with wind against tide. The race resolved itself into a struggle between Rees and Hugh Kemlo (Lasers, both LCSC) in the lead and James and Beverley + ? at a discrete distance in the Ents. After a two-hour struggle Rees was ahead of Hugh, the lasers taking first and second places, and James was seconds ahead of Beverley in third place. Everyone capsized at some point but it was an excellent race.
The Browns, the Birches (in the Gull) and John Bull (in the Otter) were towed down on the Sunday, which was humid, still and threatening rain. They joined a similar number of LCSC boats. What wind there was was ENE to E, and very light. Several boats paddled or were towed to get the right side of the start line and the start was a collective drift with tide and a little help from above. The two upstream buoys were rounded without too much difficulty before the slow and painful business of beating up the bank began. Two Lasers and three Ents were making good progress until they had to leave the back-eddies along the bank and head into the current to round the LCSC pontoons. James made it, as did a couple of Lasers, but they then struggled to make the downstream mark. The Browns and Beverley struggled for an hour and a half without avail; Hugh got round the lower mark and gave up on the way back from the upstream marks; Rees never made it past the lower mark. And James (with Edward Broadhurst) lapped everyone, creeping without apparent effort along the bank, to complete three laps. To add to the delights we had a thunderstorm with lightning strikes uncomfortably close and a biblical deluge of rain.
So SGSC acquitted itself well: James got the silverware both for Sunday and for the combined event, leaving Rees (LCSC) with the cup for Saturday. Many thanks as usual to LCSC for their hospitality, and many thanks to Tony for his long wet day in the safety boat.
LCSC visit 13 May 2007
We had been promised a contingent from the Southbank Sailing Club in Putney, as well as London Corinthian Sailing Club, but the weather forecast was so dire - wet and windless - that only three hardy boats came up from LCSC and none from Putney.
We had organised a C Course and trailed a line upstream of Kew Bridge for boats to hold on to before the start. In the event it was in a wind shadow and most boats made use of the Surrey-side moorings.
The race was uneventful. A gentle and fitful easterly meant that we had a running sort of reach up to Isleworth and a beat back along the Middlesex bank. James got a lead on the way up which he extended on the way back. David Jones and the Browns were next around the top mark, almost together, and the rest of the fleet followed at not much greater pace than the tide. The return journey, initially against the tide, was a good exercise in bank-creeping, tree-dodging, and roll-tacking. Robin and Beverley from LCSC caught and overtook the Browns at Brentford Dock and clung on to their lead to finish second. The Browns were third followed by John Bull and David Jones, who lost position to the second LCSC Ent on the handicap calculation. The third LCSC Ent capsized and retired, perhaps trying too hard to roll-tack.
It rained gently much of the time but not enough to dampen the spirits. Colin, Tony and Edmund did very effective service in helping boats through Kew Bridge and Jenny withstood the elements to supervise the race.
The après-race was as good as ever: a very welcome tasty keg from Steve Newell, and food contributed by several members and masterminded by Marian. Strand retained the Challenge Trophy (a team prize).
Gins weekend 2006
What a weekend it was! Well up to standard. There were three Strand Ents. (James Armitage, Dave and Sheila Berger, and Hugh and Miranda Kemlo); the Floyers in their beautiful new boat (a smaller version of Ratty the revenue cutter, built in France and called Swan in Breton); two Ents. from London Corinthians (Jeremy + friend and Beverley and Kirsten); and a Wanderer (Ben and Alan, we think). The fleet was shepherded by Michael Kemlo and crew in his yacht Scorcher and the Browns / Birches / Bergers (Snr.) in a 33ft Najad sloop called Tern IV, chartered for the weekend from the Hamble.
Saturday morning was passed in the traditional way: discussing where to go and when to set off. It was noon by the time everyone was launched and on the way to Newtown River (which is, of course, where we always go). The little blue sails were soon dispersed across the Solent: a beat down the mainland side in the slacker flood tide and a dashing reach across to the island. We on Tern IV saw them in the distance and followed into the mouth of the river where we rafted up with Scorcher and James for lunch. The other dinghies beached up towards Shalfleet to picnic or to visit the pub.
The sail back was exhilarating in a F3 - 4 westerly breeze and sunshine, and the dinghies left the big boats well behind. It gave everyone a healthy appetite for the evening meal in the RSYC: a large table-full of about 30 Strand and LCSC voyagers and friends.
The forecast next day was NW F3-4, increasing F5-7 later with rain then showers. Not the most inviting prospect. The consensus was to sail down the river, poke our noses into the Solent, and return up to Beaulieu or Bucklers Hard. Perhaps predictably, once the dinghies were out in the Solent, and it was bright, sunny and perfectly manageable, the fleet decided to head across to Cowes. From there we all went up the Medina to the Folly Inn for lunch. With the tide still at the stand we set off back down river, aware that the wind had indeed picked up. At the mouth we were confronted by a good F5, gusting more, with white horses all over the place, stirred into the notorious Solent chop by motor boats, and augmented by a power boat race that was taking place just to the west. All the dinghies bar one promptly dropped their mainsails and bounced their way back, white-knuckled, in clouds of spray. Exhilerating, to say the least.The forecast rain didn't materialise but the crews were just as wet as if it had. In the mouth of the Beaulieu mainsails were raised again for a slog against wind and tide, but in calm waters, back up to Gins.
Dave and Sheila, in an impressive display of boat handling, came back the whole way with the main up. Beverley and Kirsten had had enough when they reached the Beaulieu and accepted a tow from Tern IV back to Gins. That evening everyone found their way to the Kemlos' house in Lymington for a splendid and convivial meal in the garden.
More strong winds were forecast on Monday morning, so the remains of the fleet made its way upstream to Buckler's Hard. Tern IV picked up a spare mooring and was promptly joined by the Floyers, the Kemlos and the junior Bergers: fifteen people crammed cheerfully into the cockpit to consume the collective picnic leftovers.
Tern IV then had an urgent appointment in the Hamble, so we dropped Kurt and Margaret back at Gins and enjoyed a sizzling sail back, with two reefs, touching 7 knots on a beat.
So ended another unforgettable Gins weekend. Many thanks, as usual, to Kurt for the organising, and to both the RSYC and the Lymington Kemlos for their hospitality. And how nice to have some Corinthians along. Let's hope it's the start of another tradition.
(By the way, Gins reports from 2005 and 2004 and lower down on this page, in the archive.)
Ladies' Plate & Summer Party 2006
Three fairly apprehensive helms contested the Ladies'
Plate this year and were rewarded with a light wind which was fortunately
not a total drifter. So progress round the course could be made, give
or take some running aground.
In the evening it was the summer party, held in Kurt and Margaret Berger's lovely garden. As usual Marian did a wonderful job of organising a great meal (wow that pudding!), and the evening was enjoyed by all.
Farm is the Royal Southampton Yacht Club's outpost on the Beaulieu River.
It's a Strand club tradition to have a weekend trip there, and to sail
the dinghies aand usually some bigger boats across the Solent to the Isle
The Gins weekend is
when we take our dinghies down to the Solent, launching from the Royal
Southampton Yacht Club's clubhouse at Gins on the Beaulieu River.
News from the north (from Dave and Sheila Berger who no longer sail regularly at Strand - only because it's just a bit too far to commute from East Yorkshire every Sunday)
As I write this the day time temperature has not crept above freezing out of the sun for a full three days. I have been idly looking at the excellent SGSC website to remind myself what we're awaiting before the new season gets underway.
The news from Yorkshire is that - horror of horrors - the Bergers have bought a different boat! I would have said new, but it's actually almost 30 years old - a nice wooden Albacore: "By Jingo". Dave decided that as we were the lone Ent at Hornsea SC we might as well get a boat that at least one other sailor was sailing so we could have some boat-for-boat comparisons on the water. This Albacore has had little use in the past 8 years or so - it's previous owner having spent much time coaching and taxi-ing his son in a Topper to some very useful effect (like the National squad).
To date we have not yet launched the boat - so don't even know if it floats! - however to ease the transition Dave has been tinkering with fittings so that at least the usual Kicker, outhaul and cunningham will fall easily to hand.
Albacores have a few more bits of string - like a fly-away jib stick (one pull and it's set) which should cause fewer inadvertent dunkings on those windy runs when previously someone had to go forward to set/retrieve the stick. Also they have adjustable shrouds - so the trick is to let the rig right forward on the run. This sounds good till you think about what may be involved in a gybe - do you gybe with no rig tension? old windward shroud on/leeward shroud off (or vice versa) and what about those frenetic roundings back onto the beat when you completely forget to put the tension on again and find yourself sliding back down the fleet even though you have checked for weed round the rudder and have remembered to put the centreboard down!
The Albacore has no spinnaker, but at 15 foot, though relatively heavy (240 pounds or so in sailing trim) it is an excellent sea boat (can't wait for Gin's Farm 2008!) and quirkily recently became the fastest mono-hull!! - in Canada ( see: http://www.albacore.org.uk) it was in loads of wind and for a very short burst of speed - there was a weblink - seems to have disappeared).
Another former SGSC member - David Sibthorp did sail an Albacore with his wife Jenny - I think in the distant past they even joined us at Gin's as they were based in Portsmouth - I have guilty memory of pulling his Albacore into the car park at Royal Southampton and shorting out the main 3 phase power lines - bowing a hole in his mast and causing the lights (and galley, showers etc) to be out of action for a couple of hours!
Dave and Sheila look forward to joining some of the Strand sailing this year - we're holding on to the Ent just in case we don't get on with the "old man's boat" that the Albacore has a reputation for being!
Dave & Sheila
Jessie's jaunt 2010
(Jessie is Henry and Mary Brown's 1975 Trapper 500, a 28ft sloop. We've sailed her from Poole harbour to Corsica over the course of 5 summers)
Jessie's 2010 adventures
started in Ajaccio, Corsica, where we had left her the previous year.
Our first passage was a 24M hop south to Propriano where it blew F6 to F8, so we hired a car to see a bit more of the island. We then took three short hops down the coast, including our first beautiful anchorage of the season, before being blown briskly into the extraordinary and dramatic harbour of Bonifacio at the southern end of Corsica. There the next mistral kept us ashore for four nights enjoying the beauties of the town and the adjoining coast. Unlike the rest of Corsica, which is practically all granite, Bonifacio sits on a narrow peninsular of limestone thrust up out of the Mediterranean with sheer and undercut cliffs over 200ft high from which the old town emerges seamlessly and alarmingly (the last time a house fell into the sea was in 1966). On the landward side the cleft that almost separates it from Corsica forms a wonderful natural harbour. To the south there are clear views to Sardinia, only ten miles away.
On 17th June we crossed
the notoriously windy Bouche de Bonifacio on an exhilarating reach to
the shelter of S. Theresa di Gallura and a change of language and culture.
The next day was a long hop (for us) of 34M west and south to picturesque
Castelsardo. We had five days to get to know it as the next mistral blasted
in from the north west, but on the sixth we beat west 24M across the gulf
to Stintino on the peninsula that curls north around the bay. The next
day was another long one - 34M - out into the open sea and south down
the coast towards Alghero. We started early hoping for calm seas to squeeze
through a narrow passage called Fornello that separates the mainland from
the island of Asinara to the north. The passage involves some nifty navigation
with leading marks and back bearings and least depths of 3m, which if
there's a heavy swell coming in from the west is impassable. But we had
calm seas and sunshine and, apart from having to motor, a perfect passage.
Once out into the open sea we had the delightful experience of being adopted
by a dolphin that played with us for well over an hour. We rounded the
spectacular limestone mass of Capo Caccia at the end the day and sailed
into a beautiful large bay called Porto Conte. This had several lovely
anchorages on the western side. We spent two nights at anchor, and rowed
ashore to walk and climb in the scrubby heat to an extraordinary stalagmite
encrusted sea-cave called Neptune's Grotto - in Italian.
On 30th June we resumed our southward journey, first to Bosa then to an anchorage in the Golfo Oristano where we stayed two nights so that we could row ashore and explore the remains of an ancient port called Tharros, occupying the narrow peninsular that encloses the northern part of the gulf. It was another magical place: fascinating remains from over 2,000 years of occupation; the scent of the maquis; crystal clear water; and the attentions of a little owl and at least two hen harriers patrolling the scrub.
The interestingly named Buggerru was our next stop, an old mining town with a rather silted harbour (we touched the bottom going in), followed by a brisk dead run under genoa in a F4-5 to Carloforte on the island of San Pietro, just off the south west corner of Sardinia. In contrast to Alghero, Carloforte is pure Italian Riviera. It is a product of Genoese occupation in the 18th Century, and the locals are still said to speak with a Genoese accent. We spent a pleasant day cycling round the southern end of the island, over low hills and past saltpans, and ended the day with an excellent meal on the waterfront.
Pausing only for an impromptu harbour swim to disentangle a stray rope from the propeller, we then continued south around the bottom of Sardinia . There was another lovely an anchorage at Capo di Pula - the site of a Phoenician trading port called Nora, rebuilt many times and abandoned when the Roman Empire collapsed, leaving some wonderful remains to be discovered in the 19th Century. We spent a day enjoying the ruins and the snorkelling, and next day sailed north east to the vast harbour at Cagliari and the end of our first voyage. Cagliari was a complete culture shock after a month of anchorages and small towns: big city streets and traffic and big city distances. The far end of the harbour, where we parked Jessie, was over a mile from the town centre, and even the nearest supermarket was a not very pleasant urban bike ride away. On Bastille Day we caught buses to the airport and flew home to Stansted.
Easyjet brought us back to Caglari on 25th August. We sailed east the 21M to Vilasimius at the bottom right-hand corner of Sardinia and had a night at anchor before the next mistral appeared, keeping us in a marina for three days. These Mediterranean winds tend to come out of a clear sky and last for days and they are particularly strong at the extremities of both Sardinia and Corsica. Fortunately, with several different forecasts available on the internet, it is easy keep out of harm's way. We certainly wanted good conditions to round Capo Carbonara, which involves a passage between the cape and Isola dei Cavoli that gets nasty with strong winds or a swell. When we left on 31st August we had a good westerly that took us on a reach down to the cape, a run through the gap, and then increasingly unreliable winds as we headed north up the east coast of Sardinia in the wind-shadow of the land.
The east coast of
Sardinia, like that of Corsica, can be difficult. Typically the mountains
come steeply into the sea with few inlets or rivers providing shelter.
In the 140M stretch between Capo Carbonara in the south and Capo Coda
di Cavallo, beyond which the coast becomes more indented and cruiser-friendly,
there are four safe refuges at roughly 30M intervals. The prevailing north
westerlies come over the island and resolve themselves along the east
coast in an often confused way with, for us, an unhelpful northerly flavour.
We had to trust to luck to get reasonable conditions for travelling north.
So we didn't complain too much when our first leg, from Carbonara to Porto
light winds which required more engine than usual.
Three more hops beating northward took us to the famous Porto Cervo. At the north-eastern corner of Sardinia, this port is the centre-piece of the vast Costa Smeralda, developed in the '60s by the Aga Khan specifically for the super rich. Despite being pure stage-set architecture and ludicrously expensive, it's a pleasant place to visit. The port was heaving with huge yachts as one regatta followed another but we were given a place in the old port. Because another mistral blasted in, and because we were mindful of the reputation of the Bouche de Bonifacio, which is just around the corner, we stayed four nights and enjoyed watching the big boats with their big uniformed crews doing their stuff in the windy conditions. We could find no affordable restaurants and ate aboard every night.
On 15th September we left Sardinia and sailed into the Maddalena archipelago that lies between Sardinia and Corsica. We spent a night in the old harbour of Maddalena, a charming and characterful town on the largest of the islands. Then we pressed on to the Corsican side of the Bouche, and the fascinating uninhabited island of Lavezzi, where we anchored on the leeward side. We rowed ashore in the evening and had the island to ourselves. It looks like a heap of boulders from the water but from ashore it has a wonderful landscape of exotic scrub and fantastic eroded granite boulders with views over bays to the limestone cliffs of Bonifaccio. It was magical to be alone on the island in the dying light.
Mindful of more forecast gales we pressed on next day to Corsica proper and an exceedingly well sheltered and beautiful bay called the Golfe de Rondinara - almost a complete circle of white beaches around turquoise water within maquis-covered hills. The wind kicked in on schedule during the evening and we were one of eight yachts at anchor. It blew F7 all the next day, too fierce and cold to be tempted into the water, but what a lovely place to be storm-bound. The next day we beat northwards to Porto Vecchio and spent the following day enjoying the old town perched in a citadel high above the port. It felt good to be back among French-speakers, and the food both in restaurants and shops seemed better than in Sardinia.
The 22nd September was more motoring than sailing in light northerly winds to Sollenzara, 19M to the north, and the next day turned out to be our last sail of the season. It was, regrettably, more motor-sailing than sailing with light and contrary winds, but we needed to cover the 32M to Port de Taverna in one hop. Our plan had been to press on to Bastia, another 30M to the north, but neighbours in the marina warned us that places to over-winter both in Corsica and on the mainland were scarce and/or expensive. After some phoning we decided to stay where we were. We got a good price for a wet berth over winter and we were a short taxi-ride from Bastia airport and Easyjet.
On 26th September
we flew home having covered 632M, mostly under sail alone, and 70 nights
aboard, almost a third of which were at anchor or on a buoy. Another memorable
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