with SKB at Salcombe, 20 May 2018

SGSC AND BERLIN SKB AT SALCOMBE 2018 [See photos attached]

Sunshine glinted and sparkled off the multi-layered coats of varnish of Rob Adam’s immaculately restored boat ANCIENT CITY – recovered as a sunken wreck in the mud of the river Thames at Hammersmith and now gracing the waters at Salcombe.

SGSC and SKB sailors gathered by it on the Normandy Ferry pontoon, site of the American Army embarkation for D-Day, ready for an inward-bound invasion of the upper reaches of the Salcombe Estuary to Frogmore Creek – at the head of which lay the prospect of a good dinner for everyone at The Globe Inn.

Seconded into the fleet was Rob’s friend [………] whose similar open motor boat could also easily carry 10 people. As a blue-sky sunset dipped into the West behind Salcombe town with its crowds of Bretton-shirted and salmon-pink-trousered sailors, our very own double-breasted fleet chugged happily off into the estuary heading North up this long seawater estuary, formed in the Ice Age and known as an sea inlet ‘ria’ for its lack of freshwater river inflow – brilliantly lit on our way by the low-slanted glittering light on the water of the setting sun.

Threading our way through the resident and visiting yacht moorings, and then between the narrows of Snapes Point and Scoble Reef, suddenly the vista opened up to reveal the glory of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

ANOB’s are Britain’s best landscapes. There are 46 of them, designated by government and protected by law. Each one has its own special character. South Devon AONB covers 60 miles of coastline, estuaries and countryside between Plymouth and Torbay consisting of extensive coastal plateaux (areas of elevated, relatively level land) with great panoramic views along the coastline with dramatic cliffs interrupted by inlet combes [small valleys with steep dense woods in them], extending up to two kilometres inland. 

Following the fairway buoys we passed by stands of these woodlands, packed with oak and willow trees growing right down to the seashore; remarkably also with the occasional tall English Elm – sole survivors of the ravaging of Dutch Elm Disease. There were no big plantations or commercial woods here; all were too small for use except perhaps for local farmers’ handsaw milling for fencing and firewood, and with no disruption allowed by any intrusive modern house-building in these very ancient woods. The steep sides mean they are virtually inaccessible; and so they remain as an important haven for wildlife. As if on cue to confirm this, and to note our presence passing by his territory, the hoot of an owl echoed across the still water.  

The view opened up into the broad inner estuary. Suddenly the landscape looked different. Because the soils of the area are so fertile and the plateau land is so easy to run machinery across, these broad fields have been stripped of the high hedges that otherwise line the steep and twisting lanes of South Devon.  

Hedges are one of the really special things about this area. There are still over 2,500 miles (4,000km) of them in the AONB. They give the land its patchwork pattern. Some of the hedges were landownership boundaries originating in the Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago. Many more were built in the Middle Ages, over 500 years ago. The most recent were built when open areas of cliff top were divided up into field parcels in the 19th Century; and then acquired and inherited by family estate landowners. But then the EU Common Agriculture Policy [CAP] came along.

Big land ownership means big money in big subsidies for big farming production. And that meant ripping out all these uneconomic hedges and planting mono-culture commodity crops.

This impact could be obviously seen in the dark green/black tracks left by the tractors with 36’-wide boom-sprayers of fertilisers and weedkillers and insecticides being spread over fields of viridian-green crops. And these tractor tracks were running only up and down the fields; not across and back along the contour lines, which would be less efficient and more expensive. It means that whenever it rains the run-off is chemical pollution that runs straight down into the estuary, taking the top soil with it; with only the ancient hedges and the bank of trees on the waters’ edge to stop it.      

80% of the wildlife of Britain has been lost in the last 30 years because of this. But it is now likely that post-Brexit, ex-CAP, a New Agriculture Bill based on the 25 Year Environment Plan will at last put a stop to this terrible loss and the government will pay farmers instead to protect and enhance the remaining biodiversity and thereby provide the sustainable ecosystem services on which the real economy of the area depends, such as tourists coming to see and enjoy the natural glories of nature in the AONB.

We turned up into Frogmore Creek. With the incoming tide we were accompanied by a golden brown froth on the waters’ surface, which could easily be mistaken for pollution; but it is, in fact, diatoms; phytoplankton which live in the water column and on the surface mud in estuaries. These tiny plants use sunlight and nutrients in the water and the mud to grow and to reproduce. On an incoming tide multitudes of these diatoms are lifted from the surface of the mud and form this golden brown frothy ‘scum’ on the surface of the water, providing a nutritious meal for grey mullet and crabs as they follow the water in and come out to feed – and for us to feed on them, if we wish!

We looked out for kingfishers, otters and little egrets along the shoreline while cormorants contoured up the creek beside us – and swifts overhead screamed and swirled and spun round and targeted aerial insects.

It was the Royal Wedding Day! And Frogmore House was the Grade 1 listed glamorous venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s post-wedding party!

Frogmore House has attracted Monarchs and Lords and Counts for the grandest of English-German royal parties since the reign of George III and his equally glamorous German wife, Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – who served as the first Queen of a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. But that Frogmore is set in the immaculate lawns of Windsor Great Park.

Our English-German post-wedding Frogmore party venue was at the tiny head of a watery cul-de-sac matted with wavy reeds and wading birds pecking away in the mudflats and amongst the seaweed on the encroaching tide.

And as if in our own Royal Party procession, after leaving our boats, and in a long and single crocodile line, we carefully crossed, one-by-one, with our wedding-trains lifted up, along a line of slippery stepping stones laid across the upper reaches of the salt marsh to find The Global Inn of Frogmore.  

It’s a small and snug 18th century traditional Devon pub; with local limestone kiln-dried and whitewash-painted outside walls and, inside, low-slung roof beams and bare stone floors with nooks and crannies with benches and wood-burning fireplaces – and a perfectly-sized small party dining room at the back with two big refectory tables for us all to cram around.  

Still stuffed with the enormous doorstep-sized crab sandwiches marvellously organised by Heather that we had all eaten at lunchtime on the sunny terrace of the Salcombe Yacht Club after the Royal Wedding, there was some thought about the great array of food on the menu: steaks and seafood, salmon and pigeon – and also the question of what to drink.

While pondering this and plumping – of course – for local Devon cider, Tim found there was a drawer under the table which opened up to reveal sheaths of hand-written poems!  It seems as though a tradition had developed by parties previously gathered in this room to write and leave poems about the occasion. Some were really personal and intimate and [very] explicit, while others ranged from the philosophical about the rain and the weather, while the best were hilariously nautical and bawdy. Obviously, something had to be written by us!

The SGSC version was composed by Andy Ross:

“The Germans from Berlin are here

And they’re not just drinking the beer.

The sailors from the Stand

Have made their stand;

And Devon cider is something to cheer!”


And, in response, an SKB version was composed by Klaus:

The good times have passed so quickly,

We hope will not have to worry about a Visa,

When in two year’s time,

We will once again travel,

To enjoy over here,

Cider and Beer,

After much kerfuffle at the end of the meal over the apportionment of how the bill was split between the tables all was resolved and we emerged into a vast and starlit night. If only Brexit negotiations were so easy!

In fact, though, there is a strange money background to the story; which affected us. It’s indeed about the real bill. There are actually two currencies in the AONB.

There is the Pound Sterling. This is the currency of the robber barons of the area.

They are the owners of the great landed estates living off the CAP subsidies at the expense of local smallholding farmers; most of whom are close to poverty. And it is the currency of the speculators who invest in the range of huge and empty properties high on the hillsides of Salcombe: tombstones of international property portfolios owned by oligarchs; be they Arabs or Russians – international trophy properties increasingly now being traded into by the Chinese. And it is also the currency of all the pubs and shops in Salcombe who charge London prices to fleece the tourists in a seasonal earning spasm that sees the town’s population rise from a residential 1,700 to a transient 23,000 during the summer. Historically, it is just the same as the traditional Salcombe and East Portlemouth seafarers who kept a sharp eye out in bad weather in order to set false harbour lights and lure sailors, especially French,  seeking refuge, to destruction on the rocks; to loot and pillage in the wreckage. Now global travellers and tourists are lured to spend by the lights in the Salcombe shops.

But local people cannot live on this unsustainably high cost of living. It’s far too expensive. And so there is an alternative currency in the AONB: the Totnes Pound.

It is a local currency. A local economy is normally like a leaky bucket. Wealth comes into the area and as soon as it is spent at a shop or in a business that has more financial connections outside the area than inside; that money disappears. However, the local Totnes Pound money doesn’t leak out of holes through to the multi-national banks. As a voucher system it bounces around and back inside the local economy, again and again. It keeps more money in local pockets at lower cost.

The local money is used for sustainable production and consumption closer to home. It pays attention to how products are locally made and traded and it reduces the waste streams that result from them. People and businesses using either the paper or the electronic or mobile Totnes Pound get a local discount on all transactions and earn loyalty points. They can all trade and communicate and advertise their products and their services to each other online. Its why there are no big supermarkets in the AONB. They are not allowed in. There is an hourly bus service to Kingsbridge and Totnes for that. And thereby local pubs can charge less to locals. But not to us.

So we set off back, sliding to seaward on the ebbing tide in a vastly dark night sky.

After such a baking hot day, and on a warm still night, the dank scent of seashore seaweed combined with the aroma of the flowering plants of the hillsides and hedgerows; primroses, violets, bluebells and pink campion, smells of blackthorn and wild rose wafted across the water. White phosphorescent sparkles arose in the bow waves and in the wake of Ancient City.

Totally dramatically as we turned the corner, Salcombe town suddenly appeared in a blaze of lights; as dazzling as a Royal firework display.  

What a triumphant finale display on a truly Royal day!



On the last day a farewell party for everyone was generously hosted by Enoch who opened up his suite in the South Sands Hotel, with its balcony view of The Bar and the estuary. Plates of hot and delicious local delicacies emerged continuously; speciality Devon Hog sausage rolls, and slices of warm and trembling quiches and pies – and, of course, plenty of Devon cider. It was a delightful and sumptuous end to a wonderful weekend.

Great thanks are due to Heather and Rob for so expertly arranging, managing and conducting and guiding such a superb expedition for SGSC and SKB in and around Salcombe and its magnificent surroundings. It was a privilege to get to see the area – and in such friendly company.  

© Andy Ross


Dance and Dinner Tickets on Sale !

Greeting Sailors and non-Sailors!

We are happy to invite you to reserve your tickets below for SGSC Dance and Dinner Party. We are looking forward seeing you all.

Delicious 3 course dinner and cash bar.
Highland dancing with the Craigievar Scottish Dance Band.
Raffle later in the evening.

Dress code:
Black Tie/ Scottish Dress. Footwear – come prepared for lively dancing!
Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club | Old Deer Park, Twickenham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 2SB | T: 020 8940 1894
Saturday, March 03, 2018, Start time is 7.30pm.
Please let Marian know immediately if there are any dietary requirements.

Dinner and Dance Ticket Request Form
Strand on the Green Sailing Club invites you, your family and your friends to Dinner and Dance party on Saturday, March 03, 2018 Please reserve your tickets here.
How many tickets would you like to purchase?
In case we need to reach you.
Please provide the phone number we can reach you to take payment.
Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements.

Race Results – 01 October 2017

SGSC Race Results on Sunday 1 October 2017

Race Report by Terry Atkins OOD
On a bright sunny morning a C course beckoned and 5 boats took to the water. With no wind the safety boat assisted a couple under the bridge including Lev who was stuck by cafe rouge.
The squeaky green trumpet was used to count the 6 and 3 and the start however possibly due to the wind only the start was loud enough so there was a slight confusion from James who was nowhere near the start line when the race started proper at 10:47.
Needless to say he quickly sprinted through the field and led all of the way. In the meantime Sam and friends were tacking and gybing nicely and efficiently carving nicely as the wind picked up.
Alex quietly plied his trade in the middle of the pack and the OOD and safety boat went on ahead to drop the buoy up by the london apprentice.
Surprisingly there wasn’t any nasty gusts from kew and syon house to startle anyone and the peleton of 4 boats behind james were swopping places regularly all the way up to the buoy.
James with Tom on board rounded first with Ian on the side wishing he had come out for a sail on what was quite a mild day. Tim was sailing neatly in his pretty pink boat.
As the tide turned all boats took roughly half the time on the return leg as they did getting to the buoy in the first place and James came home to cross the line by the tower in just a smidgin over the hour mark.
The rest of the fleet came in soon after with all boats safely back through the line. A little assistance was required getting under the bridge but well done to all who came out to sail and or support.
Note by the Deputy Master of the Sums
Using personal handicaps for the Handicap Cup, Lev beat James into last place by 6 seconds; both had won too many races previously. Using Portsmouth Numbers, which depend only on the type of boat, for the Polly Prize, James beat Lev by 3 seconds to take first place.
Race Results

Race Results – 24 September 2017

SGSC Race Results on Sunday 24 September 2017
Race Report by Nick Floyer OOD
It was a warm and pleasant evening for this race over a triangular A course. Initially there was enough of a breeze to make tacking down to the windward mark by the City Barge, against the strong spring flood tide and SE wind, quite possible. Rob A and John in Lasers completed a lap in thirteen minutes, and Ian in his Vibe in eighteen. Only Lev’s friend Victor, in a borrowed Solo and without much small-boat experience, failed to get to windward at all, and had to be rescued several times from Kew Bridge by Dave in the safety boat. However the wind then became increasingly light, and it was the rounding of the leeward mark, the red channel buoy, and making it back to the line, that proved difficult for everyone. Lev in his Gull and Alex in his 14ft lugger were swept away to Kew Bridge and later retired. Next came Tim, who with considerable skill managed to tack up to the line and complete a lap in twenty-three minutes. Close behind were Rob and John coming round for the second time, and I raised the yellow flag in order to finish the race early, but they and Ian behind them failed to make it across to the finish line. Their various attempts to creep up along the wall did not succeed, and I eventually sent word that I would just use the first lap times for the results. After the best part of an hour the tide slackened, the wind perked up a bit, and the three boats were able to sailed home to the club. I timed them as they completed a nominal second lap, but the results below are based on the first-lap times of the four boats that made it round.
The so-called Burton rules for fishing a race are very sensible. However, this race shows that an OOD may need the option of ending a race on the basis of whatever laps have been completed, in the event that even the leading boat fails to finish a further lap within reasonable time.
Race Results

Race Results – 17 September 2017

Race Report by Steve Newell OOD

On a cool autumn day with only a light NW breeze, seven dinghies optimistically came to the start line outside no 1 Strand-on-the-Green and set off towards Chiswick Bridge.  The rescue boat with David Jones in command placed a buoy half way down Hartington Road on the Middlesex bank in the hope that a three lap race would be possible.  Unbelievably, a PLA patrol boat requested that the buoy should be moved mid race as other “shipping” was being inconvenienced but David assured the PLA that such an action would be unfair at such a late stage.  One rowing eight trying to return to the London University boat house attempted to break up our fleet with a manoeuvre reminiscent of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of the Nile but our sailors kept defiantly focused on reaching buoy once more.  The final obstacle observed, after about half an hour, was a gaggle of kayakers accompanied by a Canadian canoe propelled with a single paddle which seemed to be in charge.  They almost drove John Bull (laser), who by this stage had opened up a useful lead onto the buoy placed opposite 4/5 Strand-on-the-Green but any embarrassment was skilfully avoided – or maybe the 270 degree turn executed was simply to avoid an involuntary jibe.  I realised that our leading boat was not flying a racing flag so a letter of complaint to the canoe club is probably not appropriate although I might have a word nevertheless.

As the minutes ticked by the sun appeared to shine a little stronger, the breeze freshened a little to provide a bit of exhilaration and our sailors were still racing keenly.  On the river (before the application of the handicapping factors) the laser’s lead was cut although never seriously threatened but the fortunes of the commodore in his ‘shanghai’ rigged craft improved dramatically.  He “gently touched” the second mark after being caught in a very congested melee and to set a good example performed a second rounding which left him in last place.  He then purposefully gave chase and as conditions improved over the next few minutes fought his way through the fleet to be second over the finish line at the end of the third and final lap.

It was remarkable that after an hour of racing the whole fleet crossed the finish line in a span of just seven minutes.  I was assisted with the time keeping by Horatio.  When racing is close it helps enormously to have another pair of eyes on the action.

Race Results

Race Results – 3 September 2017

SGSC Race Results on 3 September 2017

Race Report by John Bull OOD

A dry but overcast day with a scheduled “B” course with a start time of 12 noon programmed.

The Met forecast for the race period was SSE 7mph gusting 16mph. OOD discussed with the fleet the possibility of changing to an “A” course as the wind direction SSE and flood tide would be hard to beat against. However, after consideration it was decided that the wind was sufficiently strong enough to tackle the “B” course.

Two buoys were skilfully laid by Chris Jones in the safety boat, the buoy closest to the railway bridge being laid down stream to avoid dinghies being swept onto the bridge.

Surprisingly six dinghies were prepared to endure the gusts and the fickle conditions. All dinghies made good starts and all made it around the pier without any mishaps.

Tacking, as was expected, was difficult along the rowing club bank with most dinghies tacking out into the mid-stream tide to take advantage of the stronger wind conditions. The wind direction with gusts and with a flood tide was at times demanding but all managed to stay upright. Chris stayed close to the action in the safety boat.

Rob Adams in his Laser soon raced away from the fleet. Rob Collingwood with crew Lucy followed in his Enterprise closely followed by Nick, Ian, Lev and Alex.

It was a “Laser day” and Rob tacked over to the Surrey bank and with the help of a wind shift made even more ground over the fleet. He eventually tacked back to the Middlesex bank and shortly rounded the downstream buoy. On rounding the buoy he was away, on a run with the flood tide.

At this point the sky turned black and looked threatening but the wind strength dropped. The fleet struggled to reach and round the buoy. Eventually, Rob Collingwood and Nick rounded the buoy and were now on the run and breaking away from Ian, Lev and Alex.

Ian, lev and Alex persisted with their approach to the buoy and although the wind seemed to drop further they rounded the buoy.

Meanwhile, Rob in his Laser had completed the first lap in 24.39 with Rob Collingwood (Enterprise) and Nick (Lightning) 31.28 and 32.50 respectively.

Ian (Vibe) completed his first lap in 41.02 and Lev(Gull) 50.20 and Alex (GP14) 52.52.

The race continued in a similar pattern for the second lap with Rob Adams finishing at 50.37, Rob Collingwood 59.59 closely followed by Nick 63.50. Ian finished ahead of Lev 78.25 and 94.40 respectively. Alex sensibly decided one lap was enough at 52.52.

Race Results

Race Results – 27 August 2017 – Gins Week

SGSC Race Results on Sunday 27 August 2017

This race was a substitute for the cancelled annual visit to the RSYC base at Gins on the Beaulieu River, and not a points race. The results are contentious, but I have spent some time studying the various reports and timings, and I hope that I have correctly deduced what happened. If I have made errors, please reply to me in the first instance, and I will discuss them with the participants.
Race Report by Terry Atkins OOD:
“After much discussion about exactly where the zoffany line was or is the race albeit with very little wind got off to a slow start ebbing slowly up the eddies. Towards the end of the 1st lap there were 3 boats vying to turn 1st at the buoy all bunched together with Ian in mid channel. Much was the same for the 2nd lap as the GP14, Pacman and Comma passing together. With James clear of the rest he decided to pull over on the bank adjacent to Kew bridge, Lev retired after being swept away. The OOD finished the race as the rest of the fleet came through to finish their 4th laps. Well done to all who participated.”

I deduce that the OOD, in view of the conditions, decided to finish the race as Ian, then lying second, finished his fourth lap. The race sheet shows times after four laps for Ian with crew Sophie, Alex, and Andy with crew Steve; Lev had retired earlier. However, there is no finishing time for James and crew David after either their fourth or presumed fifth lap. Luckily Steve recorded the end of James’s fifth lap, which was when he next crossed the line after the finish, and the results below show that despite his long final lap he still wins on handicap.
Elapsed Average lap time
Class Sail no. PY Laps min sec Elapsed Corrected Posn
James A E 21408 1113 5 85 52 17.17 15.43 1
Andy R E 18172 1113 4 74 7 18.53 16.65 4
Ian N Vibe 1140 4 72 13 18.05 15.84 3
Alex P 14 1170 4 72 37 18.15 15.52 2
Lev K Gull 2192 1363 2 Retd
Andy Ross has published an alternative race report, which I can forward to anyone on request if they have not already seen it. It is clear from the relevant parts of this that he, Ian and Alex did not understand that they had finished, and sailed a further lap. There were significant changes of fortune, and the finishing order was Andy, Alex, the recovering James, and Ian. They had each done five laps (not four as in Andy’s report), and times were recorded by Steve. Unofficial results based on these are:
Elapsed Average lap time
Class Sail no. PY Laps min sec Elapsed Corrected Posn
James A E 21408 1113 5 85 52 17.17 15.43 4
Andy R E 18172 1113 5 79 0 15.80 14.20 1
Ian N Vibe 1140 5 87 22 17.47 15.33 3
Alex P 14 1170 5 85 20 17.07 14.59 2
Lev K Gull 2192 1363 2 Retd

Race Results – 16th July 2017

SGSC Race Results – Sunday 16th July 2017

Race Report by Tim Young OOD and Nick Floyer
Four boats started in this D-course race. The forecast was for a light westerly to take the fleet down to Hammersmith on the ebb, but in the shelter of Hartington reach the wind blew every which way, and progress was slow. The tide turned early and the downstream buoy was dropped near The Ship pub just below Chiswick Bridge. Dropping the buoy when the tide turns always gives the leading boat quite an advantage, while sometimes making reaching it impossible, as in this case, for boats behind. However, you have to be psychic to know to drop it earlier.
James A (Ent) was in the lead from the start and first round the buoy. John B (Laser) and Nick F (Lightning) battled to be next, John getting well ahead on the way back. Tim and Rob W (Ent) spent too long in the shallows – the neap-tide low water seemed unusually low – and failed to make it to the buoy against the now flooding tide.
Thanks to Lev K in the safety boat.
Race Results

Race Results – 9 July 2017

SGSC Race Results – Sunday 9 July 2017

Race Report by Ian Nethersell OOD

A warm and sunny day greeted 5 entrants for what initially promised to be a good B course with a South Westerly blowing on the nose at a good force 2-3.

As is often the way with our fickle race ground once the start whistle blew the wind decided to do some sun bathing and early promise turned to teasing as the wind became a breeze which sniggered at the frustrations of our crews.

Tim Young in Axolotl made an excellent start even challenging James to the protruding jetty which became for some the impassable object of frustration, but first past was James with Terry paying an impromptu but welcome visit from the West Country as his crew. Next was John Bull in his laser who managed to chase down Tim Y before all 3 made it beyond the Jetty.

Alex in Phoenix struggled to make way against the flood tide, not helped by a broken tiller extension just prior to the start whistle, whilst endeavouring to give valuable instruction and experience to his novice crew, Catherine, who is also hoping to challenge for the Ladies Plate in August, (could it be we have a race after so long? Let’s hope so and we wish her luck and fun in her sailing adventures at Strand)

Tim Wellburn & his crew Simon Young in his still un-named enterprise swapped places with Alex & Catherine as they made way on a close reach only to perform perfect dosey-does which saw them drift backwards on the tide as they tacked and moved out in the stream. Never the shrinking violet or wanting to miss a party, Tim Young managed to find himself too far out and drifted back to join the dancers and then continued under the railway bridge. Under slightly different conditions from last time Tim managed to land against the Middlesex bank just below the pub to retire himself from the race.

Alex and the remaining Tim continued their flirtation with the jetty only to have their advances rebuffed as James with goose winged sails rounded the upstream mark and took the eddy along bank before ferry gliding out to pass the jetty for a second time. 10 minutes later John pulled the same move, without the goosewinging to attack his second lap which proved to be a tour-de-force and a study in patience and stoicism. This stoicism and strength of character was shared by the lower placed crews who never gave up efforts although without the much deserved luck.

The race was finished as James crossed the start/finish line after 2 laps in 49:04 and John Bull finishing his second after 1:18:18.

Alex and Catherine eventually conceded as the tide turned and even though receiving some personal instruction from James, now solo in Porpoise, Tim gave in too after not managing to pass the jetty again.

All in all a beautiful but frustrating day which did see the wind filling in at times but in hindsight may have been better as a short A but one can only make a decision in the moment and ever in the moment was the watchful safety boat crew of Michael and Dave who cleared the course before collecting Axolotl and retiring to the arch for tea and jaffa cakes.

Race Results