Archive for September, 2012

Lymington to Cowes

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Kerry and Alexander in the Solent

The Team Photo on the Folly Pontoon

Ella definately has not been eating ice cream. Our youngest crew member.

Now I know where Terry got his hat idea from – the lovely Lotte!

Rendezvous with the Good Ship Brimble

The Waverley Paddle Steamer off Cowes

Log ?? 22nd September 2012
The forecast was for a delightful Saturday and a beastly Sunday so I decided it may be best to make the most of the good day and give Sunday a complete miss. My nephew, Alexander and his girlfriend, Kerry were to be my crew. Alexander had sailed with me to Scotland in 2010 but had little other yachting experience and it was all new to Kerry. We arrived in Lymington on the Friday evening and ate in the packed restuarant in Lymington Yacht Harbour. The food was great and the atmosphere was like a ski resort cafe, busy and noisy with everyone having fun. In the morning we prepared the boat and went through the safety procedures before heading out to Jack in the Basket where we hoisted the sails. It was a F4 Easterly but the tide was fair and we were in no hurry to cover the ten miles to Cowes. My friend John was sailing on Brimble with some of his work colleagues. We picked them up on our AIS and after a chat on the mobile decided to rendezvous near Portsmouth. This was a good plan because Cowes was getting near and it was only noon. It was good to see the Waverley Paddle Steamer off Cowes, a wonderful sight. We tacked gently across the Solent dodging the other yachts. I wasn’t used to so many boats after my three years up north so it was fun explaining the colision rules to Alexander and Kerry, who were probably suitably bored but there was nowhere for them to escape to. We made our rendezvous with Brimble near Ryde and took a few photos of each others yachts. Eventually we turned down-wind with the tide now ebbing towards Cowes where we would moor together at the Folly Inn. After a few minutes my mobile rang and it was Torsten! He was on the Red Funnel Ferry with Lotte and Ella heading for Cowes and just wondered if we were around. We certainly were! Torsten had been the the Southamton Boat Show with his children but they were getting bored so he took them on a boat ride. We picked them up at East Cowes Marina and all six of us trundled up the Medina to the Folly where we moored next to Brimble. Torsten was just going to stay for an hour but we eventually persauded him that there was ample room on John’s Twister for three more guests. We all went on the river taxi to the Folly Inn for a few beers and a nice meal. The usual dancing on the tables was taking place big time by about 9pm – not by us of course.
In the morning the rain started as per the forecast and there was a stiff breeze from the east. Brimble headed back to the Hamble and we pottered down to East Cowes Marina and caught the ferry home. Next week I think Grit and I will go down to the boat to do some running training on Tennyson Downs.

Weymouth to Swanage and Lymington

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Terry describes the Jurasic Coast to Nicky

Anchored in Swanage

You can see the narrow calm patch of water if you keep close to the St Aldhelms Head. On Terry’s advice – don’t try it West bound!

We weren’t going to waste our biscuits by tossing them on the beach.

Terry said he would sail much closer to St Aldhelms Head if it was his boat but it felt pretty close to me.

Log ??? 15th September 2012
I took the train to Weymouth with Nicky, a good friend of Grits. Nicky had completed her Competent Crew course in 2010 but hadn’t had much of an opportunity to use it after a planned voyage had fallen through. Terry Newman, who built Sumara and lives in Weymouth, would join us in the morning. I normally leave my almanac on the boat so I hadn’t had a chance to check the bridge opening times whilst in London. It wasn’t until 0900 in the morning when I realised that we needed to catch the 1000am opening or we would have to wait until 1200. It ended up a bit of a rush. Sumara attract a lot of attention and I had some visitors. Sadly I didn’t have much time to chat. Arthur Meech who had a nice wooden ketch called Noella in the harbour called over to say hello. A bit later Mike Patrick, who helped Terry with the building of Sumara, introduced himself.  Mike did the planking and made an excellent job of it. He thanked me for keeping the varnish up to standard! We couldn’t chat for long or we would miss the bridge. The forecast was for a sunny day with light westerlies. As usual the actual shipping forecast was for stronger winds.
The tide was not going to start to run around St Aldhelms Head until 1700 LT so we had plenty of time to slowly sail along the Jurasic Coast with Terry giving us a fascinating commentry. Nicky and Terry did all the helming and I made all the tea. We saw a couple of groups “Coasteering”. This was a new phrase to me until Alexander, my newphew, told me of his exploits. He has sent me a link to his very professional video. .

I think you get the idea- it looks great fun.
Interestingly we were a bit early to round the headland but the tide turned about one hour before prediction so our timing was fine. There is a nasty race off St Aldhelm’s but Terry assured me that GOING EASTWARDS it is fine to sail a biscuits toss from the beach and avoid the bad water. We were nearing springs so it could have been a bit nasty to get it wrong. Terry is 81 years old now and has sailed and canoed along the coast all his life so there is a very reassuring feeling as we are whisked past the cliffs at close range. I normally go the long way round!
We rounded Durlston Point and then left the buoy marking Peveril Point on the port and turned up into the wind to head for Swanage Bay. The yacht heeled right over at this point and Nicky was calmly reassured by Terry that this was a normal sailing angle! Sumara does heel rather easily but it is so normal to me that I foget to warn new crew. We rounded up, dropped the sails and pottered over to a nice space to drop the massive Rocna anchor in 4m of water. For some reason I have never anchored in Swanage before even though I used to come on holiday here every year of my childhood. After a nice supper Nicky and I pumped up the Avon dighy and rowed ashore. We wandered out to the fishermans cottages that I used to stay in as a child and then had a pint before rowing back to the boat in total darkness.
The tidal gateway for Sunday was, of course, the Needles Channel. On spring tides this gate is firmly shut if you get there late. We aimed to arrive at Hurst Castle at 0900 LT to give us one hour to spare. It meant an early start. The shipping forecast was giving a F5-7 westerly but it never happened and we needed the motor to assist us most of the way in order to arrive on time. The tide is truly fierce at Hurst Castle and we were swepted past at about 8 kn. Soon all settled down and we headed for Jack in the Basket beacon before mouching up the river to Lymingtom Marina. (about £27.00 per night).
It is really nice that when we arrived a kind man came over to help with the ropes, as it happened all went smoothly and we didn’t need the assistance but I liked the gesture. Futhermore a few minutes later a very kind lady called Fiona and offered to drive Terry to the station! In fact she ended up driving Nicky and me to the station which was a fantastic help. Meeting helpful and generous people like this make sailing so worthwhile.
I hope our little trip refreshed Nicky’s training. I’m sure she must of learned a lot from Terry – I always do!
We arrived back in London early in the evening after a lovely weekend.

Cholsey Classics

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Grit grills Gudrun about not following the course after “Mast Abeam” had been shouted. Gudrun denies being in the race.

I’m not completely sure why Sam is about to hit Alex with her oar. If the judges spot it they will be disqualified , or maybe awarded a prize. Its always hard to tell.

The crew in the water seem to have lost their boat – did it sink or were they rammed?

Mara awards her new prize “The Mara Anything Goes Prize” to its first winner – Nina

Matilda accepts her prize from Yunus and Grit

Anna was awarded a prize but the frantic activity of the day had worn her out

Ella proudly receives her prize!

Grit and Yunus present the coveted awards

Rhonda and Sean pull ahead with real style

Sean and Olivia prepare for the Races

Matilda rows with great skill to win a coveted award

Level Pegging but the Halsalls soon drew ahead

The Halsalls take the lead in the family race. I’m not sure why Jack is looking so miserable!

A typical Father Daughter dialogue – “Please” “No” “Pleease” “No” “Pleeeease” “NO” “Pleeeeeease” “No”


Of all the world’s Classic Yacht Races, The Cholsey Classics, is generally regarded as the “Classic of all Classics”.

It is the one event that every Classic Skipper dreams of being selected for, to helm their, or their master’s vessel around the tortuous courses set up by the Cholsey Race Committee. Many have to make do with the Antigua Classics or the Risor Wooden Boat Festival but they all strive to gain entry to the highly selective Cholsey Classics. Now in its tenth year, the organisation is a well oiled machine, a very well oiled machine. This year we were blessed with spectacular weather which was to promise some dramatic racing. With wind speeds in excess of 2 kn it was all the skippers could do to prevent broaching in downwind leg. Remarkably the first race passed off without major incident but the next sailing race saw some athletic tiller waggling from Peter Mercer (yes you recognised the name – Sumara’s Diversity Officer) which saw him race ahead only to realise that Yunus had spontaneously shortened the course leaving him no chance of achieving the lifetime dream of top prize. Grit Eckert had been appointed Commodore’s Assistant, a stroke of genius by John Halsall to maximize the skills available to the Cholsey Judging Panel. Grit, however, was unaware of Rule 174B: 2005 which allows the Commodore to make spontaneous decisions regarding the length of the course, or any other matter that he feels fit. Once Grit was made aware of this bye-law the adjudication proceeded smoothly.
This year the rowing races saw the introduction of the “Extra Paddle Rule” and in future I feel we may see more developments regarding oar lengths and numbers available. The Children are proving to be excellent rowers. Ella is a true rower of those long thin boats that we often like to ram but she took up the challenge like all the rest of the team to propel these beautiful craft at speeds never before witnessed. As usual the Cholsey Classics excelled with the catering and a fine lunch was provided for all the athletes.

The Prize Giving was held in the evening. The Gala dinner commenced with Rosie’s Bits sponsored by Glossip Garden Centre for which we are indebted. In previous years commercial sponsorship has been frowned upon but it has been agreed that it provides a useful revenue stream so long as subliminal advertising is not used in any way whatsoever. After the delicious tit bits we came to the highlight of the evening – The Race Results and Official Prize Giving. There being no official protests lodged, Yunus came succinctly to the point and after 30 minutes four pansies for £1.00 we came to the first award.
Grit and Yunus handed out the treasured cups and the athletes gave some truly emotional speeches.
The Official Race Results will will posted up on the usual websites as always.
Once the prizes were awarded, the Chefs presented us with a selection of food cooked on an amazing paella cooker available online at Glossip Garden Centre for just £678.00 ex vat, so delicious that I am unable to find the words capable of portraying it’s yummyness.

The evening was a huge sucess and after a good nights sleep the team were presented with breakfast under the shade of a gazebo. The althletes disbanded by lunchtime ready to partake in the victory parade – details of which are to be found on the Glossip Garden Centre’s website where you can also browse and excellent range of tomato fertilisers.

All the competitors and spectators are indebted to our hosts who, as always, provide a day to remember. Selma and John and all the Halsalls in particular need special thanks but Rosies nibbles always deserve a special mention. Yunus and Grit ensured an unfair playing field and entertaining prize giving and everyone did their bit to help including all the children who were just fun and no trouble!

The Commodore and the Commodore’s Assistant look on as an incident unfolds. Grit isn’t happy that Rule 15.5 part B is being followed but Yunus doesn’t seem to care.