RYA Logo RTC Logo

News and Stories from 2006


Allan Henson & Mik Moore gain Senior Instructor Qualification

Mik Moore and Allan Henson

Congratulations to Mik and Allan in gaining their SI status. It is a tough qualification to get, and Northampton Sailability is grateful for their time and efforts in putting themselves through the mill. Our safety policy requires us to have an SI present whenever sailing takes place, and these two additions will improve our ability to cover all events.

Northampton Sailability now boasts no fewer than 7 volunteers qualified to SI status - quite an achievement!


Access TT 2006 series 303 Champions.

Roy & Eileen and a table full of Trophies

It’s official! Winners of this years Access 303 TT are Roy Child (helm) and Eileen Hundley (crew) with a little help from Carol Shearer (one win as crew at Northampton).

Yes we’ve done it and it's been great fun doing it. We managed to get to five out of the nine meetings with three firsts and two thirds. This gave us a grand total of nine points securing our first place ahead of the second place at fifteen points and the third at twenty nine points. It was a bit close coming to the last few meetings as I knew I’d have to miss the last two meetings (attending hospital) leaving it open for a couple of others to creep in ahead.

I was in hospital longer than anticipated and missed the last meeting and the prize giving so the trophy came to us eventually last week at the club presented by Jim Millroy. (cheers Jim)

Amoungst the trophies we gained were a plaque for winning the Northern Championship and a rather grand shield ‘for endeavor’ from the Bakewell (yes the tart one!) Rotary when we completed at Carsington SC in Derbyshire. Also we gained a number of cut glass whiskey glasses and several other plaques but sadly no whiskey to go with the glasses.

It’s been a great season for us and lots of the racing has been very close, too close sometimes with a few chunks taken out of our boat along the way (cheers to Simon!). Sometimes its been windy, sometimes weedy and sometimes just plain hard work but its all been well worth doing. If only we could have a few more people having a go – it’s a great atmosphere at the meetings and we all help out where we can. I’m looking forward to next season to see if we can get to be National Champions (missed this years).

Roy Child

Congratulations Roy & Eileen ( & Carol)

Why don't some of you follow Roy's suggestion and have a go yourselves next year?


Round The Isle of Sheppey Race, 9th September 2006

Estimate the Time to Complete the Course and win a Gallon of Whisky Competition

Aileen McDonald won a gallon bottle of whisky by making the closest estimate of the time taken by the fastest Northampton boat to complete the annual Round the Isle of Sheppey Race. Aileen’s estimate was just nine seconds out.

A three boat team from Northampton Sailability and Northampton Sailing Club competed in the race on 9 September 2006. It comprised Chris and Tracey Harris in their RS400, Gary Livingston and Allan Henson in Gary’s Lark and the Kenny family, Cath, Phil, Joanna and Anthony, accompanied by Chris Weston in the Northampton Sailability Drascombe Longboat.

The race is the longest dinghy race in the country and Chris and Tracy completed it in an excellent time of four hours, ten minutes and thirty eight seconds. This was particularly impressive as they capsized in heavy seas making recovery hard work and quite time consuming. Gary and Allan managed a respectable time of five hours, seventeen minutes and twenty four seconds which included two but less problematical capsizes and a bang on the head. Unfortunately the Longboat crew were forced to retire after beating into the wind and heavy head seas for several hours when it became clear they would not be able to get through the River Swale when the tide changed.

However, the real winner was Northampton Sailability who received a much needed boost to funds. At the time of writing the total stands at £429 with the proceeds from merchandising and some donations still in the pipeline.

Northampton Sailability would like to thank those who took part in the race, Diageo for donating the whisky, Barbara Hogg for help in administering the competition, numerous people who persuaded people to enter it and especially everyone who parted with their pound coins.

Harry Cockburn, Chairman of Northampton Sailability, said “ I’m really impressed that two of the boats finished at all as I crossed the Channel in a yacht that day with three reefs in to deal with Force 6 winds! The money raised by the competition will prove extremely useful in these days of ever rising costs and I am extremely grateful on behalf of our members”


Midsummer Madness, June 21st 2006

Or "Let's sail from Sunrise to Sunset on the longest day!"

Are we having fun yet???

It seemed such a good idea all those months ago!

I had been very appreciative of the sponsored journeys across the Channel, the Irish Sea, round the Isle of Wight etc made by Jenny, Phil, Isolda and John, but these were very experienced, able-bodied sailors doing extremely demanding voyages.

What about us mere mortals? What could we do to raise a few coppers?

Well, we could sail round Pitsford Reservoir. That's what we could do!

So it came to pass that I arrived at the sailing club at 4am on Wednesday 21st June 2006, closely followed by Jane and Grant who would man the safety boat for the first two hours for me.

We launched an Access 303 and I shoved off to catch the sun rising at 04:20, except I couldn't see it as it was hidden behind the last of the big black clouds that had been raining on the area overnight. The sun eventually appeared at 5am and stayed around for the rest of the day.

Trying to emulate Roy!!

The wind was about force 4 all day, with lots of gusts to keep me awake. I spent the first hour and a half battling with the wind then I remembered that I would be there for some 17 hours so I put a reef in!

That made things more comfortable except that the steering started playing up so I changed boats.

The hours passed and the rescue crews changed over every two hours. They usually started their shift with a quick visit to say hello.

As we got into normal hours, more people started to arrive, and several other boats were launched for our members to take advantage of the brisk wind. During the day, I was joined by Ron who did enjoy getting his arm wet, and by Rachel, who brightened my day considerably.

The Water Sports Centre was active as usual and I was invited to join a small flotilla to sail downwind to the Causeway. An impromptu race got under way with me being tail end Charlie in no time, despite a superb start.

Murphy's Law was in full operation and the wind picked up on the way down, creating waves for the return journey into the teeth of a (for an Access) gale.

Said waves broke over the bow, causing the boat to start filling up, and me to get wet (again). Roy had been sailing the Sunbird and he had cause to be removed from his boat (he'd filled it up, as usual!), and was dropped in the water en route. I asked for a tow from the Moulton School RIB and went ashore to get changed as I still had many hours to do.

It's Sunset...Job Done!!!

Tempus fugit, fortunately, and the day started drawing to a close. I was joined by Chris for my last hour but steered back to the pontoon to finish as the sun set at 21:43, some 17 hours and 23 minutes after I shoved off.

I was delighted to see that I had a reception committee and Barbara kindly presented me with a miniature whisky

While I didn't spend all 17 hours on the boat, coming ashore from time to time to change boats, to change clothes twice and for the odd natural break, I do feel that I earned every penny of the money that was raised through sponsorship and Gift Aid.

A big Thank You goes to all my helpers, Jane, Grant, Tony, Doug, David H, Geoff P, Dave, Eddie, Rachel, Pete and Geoff W, with an even bigger Thank You to all those kind people who put loads of money our way.

At the last count, I expect we shall have raised in excess of £1800, but regrettably, we discovered that the mast of the Drascombe Longboat was sprung on that day and it will cost us £420 unless the insurance will cough up. Easy come, easy go!

Shall we do it again next year? Who knows, perhaps we'll do it on the shortest day next time!

Harry Cockburn

Well done Harry! We are all very grateful for your efforts


Croatia Flotilla Holiday . May 2006.
Gone Sailing Again! - Report by Roy Child

Oh well you know what it's like - just can't resist the chance of a sail can I ! This time it's the Northampton Sailability flotilla holiday to Croatia for a week organized by Jenny. Eleven of us went; me, Jenny, Nancy & Brett (who are part of the group from Paris which has sailed with us at Le Havre), old friends John, Brenda & George, Allan & friends Lisa & Steve with Rob from N.S.C.

Flying from Heathrow London to Split Croatia on Saturday 6th May we landed quite late in the evening. We had been diverted to Zagreb to drop off some stranded passengers & the subsequent landing at Split felt a bit hairy. Maybe the pilot was late for a date for no sooner had the wheels touched ground than the brakes came on hard & we did a sharp left turn to park close to the terminal. About an hour later after a short bus ride we arrived at Kremik Marina we met our lead boat crew, dumped our luggage on our allotted boats & sat in the restaurant for a late meal.


We had three boats - Jenny, Nancy, Brett & I had a Bavaria 33 (Cassiopi) - John, Brenda & George a Gibsea 32 (Dianna) and so did Allan, Steve, Lisa & Rob (Sobra). The whole flotilla consisted of 14 boats being quite a tight fit in some of the marinas - quite a test of berthing skills (Brett !).

On the Sunday after settling in & instruction from the flotilla leader Alex & the engineer, we set off for Primosten - the next marina up the coast. I was nominated skipper of our boat so I knuckled down & planned the route - only to immediately scrap the lot (it was all line of sight anyway) after we all decided we needed to get used to handling the boats (prop kick etc) out in open water. Then we decided to go for a sail round the islands outside Premiston as the wind had got up a bit - that's when we saw our first school of dolphins - great! (sorry no pics they're too flipping quick!) The wind got up to force 4 - 6 & we had a great sail into Primosten after reefing the sails a bit as I was working hard with the steering & Nancy was feeling a bit seasick (oops - my fault!).


After successfully berthing in the marina Jenny & I decided to go to look at the church on top of the hill. It turned out to be quite a struggle as Jenny was pushing me in the wheelchair with me shoving on the wheels like a dervish. Half way up we had steps to negotiate & we were just thinking of turning back when two blokes appeared - one was Russian & the other German. After a mammoth effort (plus Jenny's French/German/pigeon English conversation) I was deposited next to the church entrance. Well I think it was well worth the effort with fantastic views inside & outside the church.

Well after all that working up of a good appetite all of us found a restaurant on the waterside for a good nosh. Very nice food & wine served in a wonderful setting - what a great day for the start to the holiday.


Next morning (Monday) we woke bright & early (?) at 9 o'clock for the briefing at half-past - so good to have breakfast in the bright sunshine on deck. The evenings destination was Zlarin a village on the island of Zlarin (well I never!) & we could go where we liked in between as long as we were there by about 6 o'clock. Jokingly Alex held up the chart & said "Sail on the white bits - park on the blue bits - walk on the yellow bits!". We chose a cove on the South of the island to anchor & have lunch where we arrived about 1.30 . After about an hour we were joined by John, Brenda & George in Dianna & a few other boats. We had inflated our dinghy by then so Brett & Jenny went for a row to visit Dianna while Nancy & I sunbathed. Time semed to fly by (probably snoozing) & about 4 o'clock we sailed to the marina at Zladin where a get together with drinks & nibbles had been arranged for the flotilla by our hostess Coleen. Later people drifted away to find restaurants to dine - most ended up at the same place.

Later I was in a bar with Allan, Rob, Steve & Lisa where Allan managed to upset the locals by a lengthy chat about his charity work in Montenegro. We beat a hurried retreat - seems as though the Montenegrans are not well liked in Croatia, oh well you cant win 'em all!

Tuesday was a fairly long trip inland to Skradin in the Krka National Park, following the river past the town of Sibenik. It is an interesting & picuresque area with dramatic gorges, impressive road bridges and long views to distant mountains. Along the way were lots of mussel farms to feed the tourist industry, a chance too good to miss by one of the flotilla who managed to buy a bucket full to eat later.


That evening a very nice restaurant served us a delicious meal with plenty of the local wine. Needless to say the trip back to the boat across a rather rickety bridge to a narrow pontoon in the wheelchair was quite unforgetable.

Wednesday arrived and a ferry trip to the falls in the Krka National Park was taken. It is a beautiful place with woodland, waterfalls & an old hydro-electric installation all intermingled - a wonderful experience for sure. Then we returned to Skradin for the trip back down the river and out to the island ofTijat. There we anchored for lunch and another chance of a paddle in the dinghy. Onwards we sailed to Vodice on the mainland for the night and yet another restaurant with a good selection of seafood highlight of which was the shark (very tasty) & again the local wine, . After the meal the waiter appeared with a tray of glasses & a glass barrel with a clear yellowy liquid in it (very suspicious). Apparantly it's called 'trebiniska' or something but I tell you what - it's very effective! Nobody argued about the bill & I even bought a bright blue ice cream on the way back to the boat ! Mind you next day I regretted it with Croatia version of Deli belly!


Thursday took us to the island of Murter where we anchored for lunch in a bay on the southern end. The dinghy once again came to good use with Jenny going ashore to explore. We were again joined by Diana & Sobra so Jenny did some more visiting (wine tasting) while Nancy & Brett took a chilly swim.

Time to pack up & move on to our evenings destination - Hvamina on the North of the island encountering a thunderstorm on the way. The evenings eating venue was to be in the village about 20 minutes walk away. Jenny & I set off to meet the others there only to be caught in a sudden downpour. Soaked to the skin we decided to plod on only to find ourselves in completely the wrong village trying vainly to locate the restaurant. Meeting up with another couple from our flotilla who had also taken the wrong turn, we made the best of things & had a very pleasant meal with them in a restaurant there.


Friday - the last day sailing for us gave us a 25 mile return trip to Kremik. Starting with a lovely blue sky but little wind we motored for about 10 miles before the wind got up & we set the sails. Deciding to make the most of our last sail we did a little detour around the islands having lunch on the move. At Kremik a dinner with a prizegiving was arranged for the whole flotilla in the marina restaurant. Told to be there for eight, everyone sat expectantly for an hour or so before the food started to emerge! Another hour later & after much complaining, we finaly got our food - only to be told by Allan that "It's the Balkan way!". Allan & his crew actually managed to win a prize for 'the best reversing manouver', something to do with Allan's arm signals I think.

Next morning saw us packing & cleaning up to leave the boats as we found them, then waiting at the restaurant for the bus to the airport.

Another wonderful holiday enjoyed by us all - many thanks to Jenny Jeffs for all her efforts.


HRH The Princess Royal visits Northampton Sailability, March 2006

Back in November 2005, the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Lady Juliet Townsend, wrote to me, asking if we would like to be considered for a visit by Princess Anne. Would we? Of course we would, we leapt at the opportunity.

And so, the well-oiled machine that is our committee broke into a walk and started organising an ‘ordinary’ Sailability day out of season.

Invitations went to all our members and the groups that use our services, plus to the local MP, Chairman of the Local Authority and Commodore of Northampton Sailing Club.

Tuesday 14th March dawned, presumably, but there was no sunshine and the rain that was forecast arrived at the same time as HRH. Her arrival was 50 years after her Grandmother, HM The Queen Mother had opened Pitsford Reservoir and Northampton Sailing Club.

Despite the bad weather, Princess Anne brought the sunshine with her. 96 people had accepted the invitation and were there to meet and talk to her.

Jenny Jeffs, Principal of our RTC, had organised a display of radio and navigation courses and HRH joined Mohammed Ameripour in playing with one of the new inter-active CDs.

After circulating the groups of members in the lounge and galley, it was time to go outside to look at boats and sailors in action. Knowing that The Princess Royal is President of the RYA and that she knows a lot about Sailability, it was at this stage that I handed over to Georgina Taylor to discuss the boats we use and the activities in which we are involved. It was also raining quite hard!


I was then privileged to ask HRH to name our second Martin 16 ‘Free Spirit’. This was bought with funds generously provided by a local charity, The Phillips Trust. Don’t be confused by the photograph. ‘Freespirit’ was a typo by the name putters-on!

The visit closed with our young member, Michelle Blunden, presenting Princess Anne with a posy of roses.

I have had nothing but positive comments form those who attended this very special day for us: very special, in fact, because we were one of only two establishments visited in Northampton that day and we received excellent press coverage as a result.

The day would not have worked without the hard work put in by the committee and helpers who all have my sincere thanks on behalf of the members.

Harry Cockburn, Chairman