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News Reports and Stories from 2013


Featured on this Page:

Plas Menai Sailing Trip, 25th to 27th October 2013 Sail Training Weekend, 28th & 29th September.
Access Traveller Trophy Series at Northampton Sailability, 11th September. Sail For Gold Regatta
Summer Challenge Results. New Disability Awareness Training Instructors
Norfolk Holiday 22nd July to 4th August 2013, by Roy Child Geoff Warren qualifies as Keelboat Instructor
Matt Alden gains Dinghy Instructor Qualification Flotilla Sailing around the Ionian Islands, May 5th-12th 2013
Spinnaker Race Training Sessions Skears Photographic Donates New Binoculars
We are ready for the 2013 season! Obituary - Helen Bachelor Bayes
New Year Social Raises £106 for the RNLI

Plas Menai Sailing Trip, 25th to 27th October 2013

Report by Geoff Warren

This year 18 members & volunteers set off for North Wales, for a weekend of sailing at the Sport for Wales Sailing Centre at Plas Menai. Severe weather warnings had been issued by the Met Office because of the approach of the St Jude storm, but this keen group of sailors decided to make the best of this sailing opportunity.

Saturday morning brought strong winds but was sailable in the sheltered waters of the Menai straits. Some opted for dinghy sailing & others for J80 Keelboats.

The wind increased after lunch ( gusting to force 10 ) therefore we all opted to sail J80s either with double reefed mainsails or just reefed foresails. Even with heavily reefed sails we were slightly overpowered in gusts but this gave some exciting sailing.

On the Sunday winds were even stronger & Ollie the Senior Instructor decided to cancel sailing, even so the climbing wall & swimming pool were made available & a refund of £28 offered as a credit for next year’s trip.

The photographs give a good indication of the exciting sailing available, so if you are tempted please come along on the trip next year which is scheduled for the 24th to 26th October 2014.



Sail Training Weekend, 28th & 29th September.

Many thanks to Jenny and her helpers for running another Sail Training weekend.

Without these sessions we would not be able to maintain our capability for providing safe sailing and instruction for our many and varied clients.

New Assistant Instructors. Congratulations to:

on qualifying as Assistant Instructors on this weekend.



Access Traveller Trophy Series at Northampton Sailability, 11th September.

Report by Meg Elliott

Sailors: Christine Allen and Meg Elliott, Chris Dabbs and Richard Elliott, Roy Child as a solo Access.

The briefing was at 10am and our start was being done with both Access classes together, except the ‘Access Liberty’ starting later. Also, Allen Hanson explained the flags that he would use for the race.

We don’t have a ‘Liberty’ Access boat at our club but they were slightly bigger and more suitable for more physically disabled people. Lots of the visiting sailors introduced themselves and they were very nice, some had travelled a very long way to compete in the Northampton Access open meeting.

I was helming Access sail number 1624 and Christine was my crew. This was the boat that Wilf had won the Friday series in, so I knew that it would be lucky. It was set up to sail well in light winds and it pointed up very close to the wind. I enjoyed the racing and our starts slowly improved. There were two races before lunch and two afterwards.

After lunch the course was changed slightly and we won a race, because we were near the front and the head boats went the wrong way, but we followed the Drascombe lead boat like you’re supposed to and then we held our lead. In the next race, we got a very good start, but we were hit by a competitor boat and it knocked us head to wind that put us off our sailing flow and lost us some places. Although we still managed to make third place as we had done in all the other races.

At the end of the final race, it started to rain and the wind died, so everyone was glad to be finishing and going in. Then, there was the prize giving and lots of people from Rutland Sailability got the top spots. I got third place as a double hander and Roy Child got second as a solo Access for Northampton Sailability.

Congratulations to the competitors, and many thanks to Allan, Dave and all their helpers for running this important event.



Sail For Gold Regatta

Northampton Sailability hosted their third ‘Sail for Gold’ Regatta on Saturday 7th September.

Twelve disabled and able bodied sailors competed, over four races, in good conditions.

Different types of boats were raced including Access Dinghies, Challengers, Martin 16, a Gull, a Wayfarer and three Solo Dinghies

After an enjoyable afternoon’s sailing, Gordon Halfpenny, Club Commodore of Northampton Sailing Club, presented the trophies. The overall winner was Brian Thake, who sailed single handed, in an Access Dinghy. Barbara Hogg and Wilf Moore finished second, sailing an Access 303 and third was Allan Henson in his Solo.



Presentations were also made for the Sailability Summer Challenge.

In contrast to last summer, the racing conditions were very enjoyable, over the twelve weeks of the Challenge. We had a week or two when we had ‘no wind’ and were forced to cancel.

The contest between Rachel and Clive and Barbara and Wilf, came down to the last leg of the last race.

Barbara and Wilf managed to hold onto the trophy for a second year, winning by two points.

Roy came in third place. Gordon Halfpenny, presented the Harry Cockburn trophy to Barbara.

The social evening followed, with family and friends enjoying a BBQ.


Many thanks once again to Dave Mabbut and his team for running this great series.


New Disability Awareness Training Instructors

Following a course at Rutland Water on Sat 31st Aug we now have four new Disability Awareness Training Instructors.

Congratulations to:

Well done Ladies! We welcome you to our strong team of instructors.


Norfolk Holiday 22nd July to 4th August 2013, by Roy Child

Roger Tacking away from the Trees

This year’s holiday at the Nancy Oldfield Trusts centre at Neatishead Norfolk was organised by myself and Priscilla Davies (known affectionately as Doris). After the success of last year we again booked for a fortnight. Again it was a great success, with twenty of our members attending at various times. Everyone had a great time due to the efforts again of the staff and volunteers at Nancy Oldfield. Once more Doris did a wonderful job of organising the food. I think most of us managed to gain weight while there. The weather did us proud this year with clear skies and light winds with only an odd dull day and little rain, so we had some really nice sailing.

During the first week we managed to get to all the places around Barton Broad and up the rivers that took us the whole fortnight last year, including terrifying most of the cruising motor boats with our tacking and gybing across them.

Doris in the Trees


On one trip to Ludham a motor cruiser did actually manage to crash into Doris and me sailing a Yeoman, sending us crashing into the trees and reeds on the bank. There we were stuck for about half an hour trying to extract the rigging from the branches and waiting for a clear space in the traffic. I didn’t mention all the spiders falling into the boat else I think Doris would have swum all the rest of the way!
Another day we took the ‘White Admiral’, one of the Trust's motor cruisers, to Ranworth Broad where there’s a Nature museum.

Service at St. Bennet's Abbey


The second week the weather was not so bright but still only the odd shower. One day a trip was organised sailing all the way to Great Yarmouth and back on the ‘Nancy B’ another of the Trust's motor cruisers. We enjoyed a lovely sunny day cruising from Ludham on the rivers Ant and Bure through to the Breydon Water to have a look at the wildlife. We then managed to temporarily moor on a restricted dockside while Clive climbed the dockside ladder to fetch fish and chips for us all. Then we moved to a pontoon in the middle of the river near the entrance to Breydon Water for a good old nosh.

The Radar Museum at Neatishead was another place we went, I have wanted to go there for years. It was very interesting showing all the RAF technology right from the invention of radar and was a good time spent away from the water on a rather dull and wet morning.

On the last day we went to the annual service at the ruins of St Bennet's Abbey, a big local event with the Bishop of Norfolk in attendence. The aim of the service is to keep the ruins as a Holy place and is held on the hill behind the ruins where a large wooden cross has been erected. Unfortunately it was quite breezy there and a lot of the service was spoilt because of the wind on the microphone. Mind you there was a fantastic view of the river from there.

Many thanks to Roy and Priscilla for their hard work in organising this popular trip: Ed


Geoff Warren qualifies as Keelboat Instructor

Congratulations to Geoff on the award of Keelboat Instructor qualification.

Geoff is a familiar and friendly face at Sailability particularly on Mondays.

His new qualification will further strengthen the team and is well deserved.

Well done, Geoff.

Geoff reports:

East Anglian Sailing Trust Keelboat Instructors Course.

At the end of June 2013 Jenny Jeffs and RYA Coach Mark Elson ran a RYA Keelboat Instructors Course from the Suffolk Yacht Marina at Levington.

This was attended by five East candidates and myself and was great fun, especially sailing Squib and Sonar keelboats on the river Orwell in winds of force 5 to 6.

They are a very friendly group at East and we all felt that our two groups could learn a lot from an exchange visit, so if you fancy some exciting keelboat sailing in a coastal environment, please come along next year.

All the boats are kept on floating pontoons & there is a hoist available for disabled sailors.


Matt Alden gains Dinghy Instructor Qualification

Congratulations to Matt on successfully passing the Dinghy Instructor course.

Matt has been a volunteer for a few seasons, mainly on Mondays, and has progressed to Assistant Instructor, Power Boat driver and Longboat Skipper.

The addition of the DI certification will enable Matt to make an increasingly useful and valued contribution to our Sailability operation.

Well done Matt, and keep up the good work!


Flotilla Sailing around the Ionian Islands, May 5th-12th 2013

This year a group of members and volunteers from Northampton Sailability travelled to Greece for a week of flotilla sailing in the Ionian Islands.

We arrived at Vounaki late on the 5th, giving us just enough time to settle into the yachts, and enjoy a couple of drinks before setting sail the next morning.


Our group comprised three boats, with Volunteers Geoff Warren and Dave Allen and their wives Christine and Margaret on one boat, Phil Kenny, Richard Strange, Roy Child, Sarah Wrench and myself on another and Jenny Jeffs with some personal friends on the third.

During the week, we visited various islands, mooring in small towns on most evenings which gave us the opportunity to sample local foods and experience the local culture.


The route my boat took was as follows:

Vounaki – Spartahori - Abelike Bay – Sivota – Fiskardo – Vathi – Kioni – Frikes – Sivota - Vounaki

Each day individual boats were able to set their own route to the evening’s destination. This enabled us to explore the local coastlines and islands.

One of the highlights of the holiday for me was anchoring up in scenic bays to stop for lunch and a swim before carrying on to our final destinations. The other two boats where lucky enough to be followed by dolphins on their chosen routes through the Meganissi Channel, with Christine even taking the opportunity to swim with them!

Overall the weather was good throughout the holiday, with warm sunshine every day and just the odd spot of rain. The wind was variable meaning that we sometimes used the boats motors when we were not able to sail from one place to the next, but this did not detract from the experience.

Everyone on the holiday had a great time, and the week gave us all a brilliant opportunity to get to know each other.

Many thanks go to Jenny for the hard work that she put into organising such a fantastic holiday.

Report by: Christine Allen. May 2013


Spinnaker Race Training Sessions

On Three Fridays, April 12th, 19th & 26th, David Harris ran a series of spinnaker race training sessions.

The sessions covered the basic techniques of hoist, fly, gybe and drop on capsizeable and non-capsizeable boats.

Those who participated in two or more sessions include Karen C, Emma, Gill, Karen R and Roger. Matt also helped out on the instructing side.

Boats used for the training were Laser Bahia, Laser 2000 and Martin 16 keelboat. Roger and Karen R colonised the Martin and made good progress and towards the end were doing things like bearing away in the gusts and working out drills for quite a slick hoist or drop.

Particular commendation must go to Karen R as the Martin does have many pieces of string and the crew/spinnaker flier has to pull most of them to help the spinnaker to work. She certainly helped Chris to have a rewarding sail on the last of the sessions.

On the dinghy side of things good progress was made by all with Emma being 'hands on' as ever. Much of what was seen was straight out of the coaching manual – and as for the rest – you’ve got to learn somehow! Some firm building blocks have been laid and significant development was observed over the sessions.

Despite the less than ideal weather the sessions were enjoyed and greatly appreciated by all who took part.

Many thanks to David Harris for organising these sessions.


Not like that....!

....like this!


Skears Photographic Donates New Binoculars

We are extremely grateful to Steve Skears of Skears Photographic for the generous donation of a new pair of waterproof, rugged binoculars.

These will be invaluable in helping us to maintain the safe operation of our sailing sessions, especially for those of you who regularly head off to the far end of the reservoir!

Skears Photographic is an independent local Photographic and Optical Equipment sales and service shop.

It was established in 1990 by Steve Skears to provide an expert repair service to the trade and the general public for all things photographic. With 27 years experience of repairing cameras, Steve has a wealth of knowledge on just about every camera available.

Since then the company has grown and is now located in a much larger shop and service centre located at 203 Wellingborough Road, Northampton NN1 4ED.

Service work is carried out on-site, a unique facility in this area, and includes such items as digital camera sensor cleaning.

In addition to camera equipment sales and service Skears Photographic offers printing services (digital and film), photo frames and albums, batteries and memory cards and a rapid Passport Picture service.

For new and used cameras and accessories and details of services offered visit Skears Photographic Website.


A foggy morning greets us

We are ready for the 2013 season!

On the 18th March a group of volunteers turned out on a cold and foggy morning to help John Knight get our well used equipment ready for the coming season.

Fitting new sails to 303 masts

Initial work was concentrated on indoor tasks, and we have been fortunate to be able to replace the sails on the four oldest Access 303s

A good selection of bright colours will make the boats quite conspicuous!


Threading mainsheets is always a puzzle!

Later the fog cleared and the sun came out and the outside work continued apace, including refitting the 303s and preparing the two Drascombe Longboats.

All we need now is some good summer weather so we can all enjoy the sailing! I seem to recall it was in rather short supply last year!

Many thanks to John and the team, which included Geoff Warren, Alan Samples, Richard Strange, Mike Garlick, Matt Alden, Frank Morgan, Geoff Portas and Mary Cockburn, for their hard work!


Helen in the Martin 16, Oct 2012

Helen Bachelor Bayes

It gives us great sadness to announce that Helen Bayes passed away on Thursday January 31st, aged 49, after her year-long battle against cancer.

Helen had been an enthusiastic volunteer with Sailability for several years. As an Assistant Instructor she helped many a novice to sail the Access 303 to the best of their abilities.

She was also often to be seen crewing the Martin 16 with her partner Chris Dabbs, and helping with admin and such tasks as sourcing sweatshirts and mending buoyancy aids etc.

Helen attended the Christmas dinner and was so glad she managed to see so many of her friends at Sailability.

She will be missed by us all, and our heartfelt sympathy goes to her son Dominic and to Chris.

A Service of Thanksgiving was held on Friday February 15th at Moulton Parish Church which was very well attended by Helen's family and friends.


New Year Social Raises £106 for the RNLI

The New Year social was held on January 19th at The George in Brixworth

For the second year running heavy snow unfortunately had its impact on the attendance.

Jenny writes: "Thanks to the 20 people who came to the social event at The George today.
We raised a fantastic £106 for the RNLI while having a good time too. So sorry for those who missed it because of the weather conditions. Better luck next year."

Many thanks to John Norman for organising this, the first event of 2013.