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News and Stories from 2008

Harry Cockburn

Harry, our Chairman and dearest friend, passed away on April 10th 2008

We have lost someone who had become the lynchpin of our organisation. He will be sorely missed by a great many people who regarded him as a good friend always ready to help whenever he could.

Harry was keen for us to acquire a second Drascombe Longboat and we are grateful to his family for a most generous gift, in his memory, towards that aim. Further donations have been forthcoming and we are confident we will have the second Longboat for next season

Roy wins Summer Challenge

Roy is once again the winner of the Summer Challenge Race Series.

As he is still in hospital, he was presented with his trophy by one of his nurses. Well done Roy. It's nice to see you keeping cheerful and we all hope you are back in action soon.

Congratulations too to Barbara and Mick who came in equal second.

A big thanks to Allan and his helpers for organising this event once again.

Chris Weston cycles round the Hebrides to raise funds for Northampton Sailability

Please support Chris in his efforts to reduce his waistline and increase our bank balance as he embarks on a round trip of some 551 miles.

More details of the trip can be viewed here: www.kenmoreandmore.org.uk

Good Luck Chris!

Sun, wind and more great sailing on the Norfolk Broads - July 2008

Emma takes the helm of the ‘white boat’.

Some fresh winds greeted the select group of Sailability members who headed up to Norfolk to enjoy five days’ sailing on and around Barton Broad in July.

Having settled in to the Nancy Oldfield Trust’s comfortable bungalow on Sunday evening and enjoyed a meal of Pitsford-Water trout, which Ann had been given by a couple of fishermen who had come in for a cup of tea one scorching Monday, we headed out for our first day’s sailing the next morning. Conditions were blustery to say the least, and somewhat chilly, but we enjoyed a good thrash about in the 20’ Falmouth Bass Boat (similar to our Longboat, but deeper and beamier) under jib and mizzen.

Michelle sailing Willow Wren, with Colin on the mainsheet.

The next morning the weather had improved and we were treated to glorious sunshine for the rest of the week. The boat of choice on Tuesday was Mottled Willow, a Yare and Bure One Design or ‘white boat’ as they are known locally, in which we sailed down the River Ant to Ludham Bridge and back. We sailed her again, this time around Barton Broad, the next morning, once again in lively winds with a couple of reefs in, enjoying the company of volunteer Liz, an experienced white boat sailor.

Willow Wren sailing up Barton Broad.

From Wednesday afternoon onwards, to everyone’s great delight, we were let loose in the Nancy Oldfield Trust’s yacht, Willow Wren, with staff member Colin. After spending that afternoon getting feel for her on the broad, we headed upstream on the Ant towards Sutton on Thursday, where the hope was to moor for lunch. On arrival we found the staithe already full, but were able to drop the mud weight at the top end of Sutton Broad (which is actually little more than a widening of the river) and enjoy our lunch in the cockpit. This was enhanced by the fact that entertainment had been laid on for us, in the form of a brass band playing somewhere ashore.

Sailing past the Punt Club pontoon.

Our final day gave us some exciting sailing up and down the broad, with everyone taking a turn at the helm whilst Jane took photographs from the Punt Club pontoon. Lunch was eaten alongside at Barton Turf, before a last run down the broad to stow everything away and return to our shore base for a reluctant journey home. Fortunately the blow was softened by the fact that Dave, Emma’s driver, was there to greet us with chocolate cake!

Many thanks to Jane Elliot for once again organising this popular trip. Book early for next year! - Ed

2007 Access National Champion (Roy) starts the new season in the doldrums!

Access TT Carsington - Report by Roy Child

On the 4th June Eileen Hundley, Chris Weston & I attended my first Access TT this year. It was a beautiful day with a bright blue sky & variable winds forecast. I left bright & early first picking up Eileen, then the boat (trusty old 303 no. 330) from the club & then Chris. We then trundled our way to Carsington Water Derbyshire – the scenery almost worth the trip on its own.

Arriving in plenty of time (that makes a change for me) we even had time for a bacon roll before the start! Chris sailed with me the first two races which seemed to take ages as the wind kept dying away. In a fleet of evenly mixed single & double hand 303’s, the results were rubbish – we were pushing the rest of the fleet along! Don’t know why – brain not in gear or the boat having a spate of go-slow. After lunch two more races & the wind even more flukey, Eileen & I set out to improve the situation. Third race we got a good start but gradually slipped down the order – I felt like getting out & pushing! Fourth race things started to improve, wind picked up & we’d had a good start. We were overtaken by all the single handers but finished leading all the double handers – a small victory for the day.

A very enjoyable day was had by all of us it was nice to see the familiar faces as well as some new ones on the Access circuit.

Roy Child

Corfu Flotilla Holiday, May 2008 by Roy Child

This year saw twelve of our members and friends fly out to Corfu for a wonderful flotilla holiday with Sailing Holidays organised by Jenny, providing us the means to enjoy sailing in good company with great weather.

The eye- wateringly early five o’clock check-in at Gatwick failed to diminish our enthusiasm as we arrived in dribs and drabs like excited kids. Our outgoing flight with Jet-2 began with a half hour tour of Gatwick by bus, the plane being parked as far from the terminal as possible it seemed (we always get our moneys worth!). After a three hour flight we landed at Corfu’s airport coming in low between the hills of southern Corfu, landing seemingly on the sea as the runway is built out into a bay.

A short bus ride later and we arrived at Gouvia Marina to meet our flotilla lead team – Dave the lead boat skipper, George our hostess and Ryan our engineer. The usual organised chaos ensued with people seemingly wandering about aimlessly looking for luggage, friends and boats. Richard, Geoff and I were allotted Thalia II, a Dufour 32 – Jenny, Gill, Rod and Grant had Knight Star a Dufour 36 – John, Bren, George, Nancy and Brett had Knight Odyssey a Dufour 36.

Having stowed our gear and feeling decidedly hungry, Richard, Geoff and I went off in search of a taverna . On the way back to the boat we met Grant who was on his way to photograph some seaplanes which were based in the marina, hadn’t seen one in years so we tagged along.

That evening our hostess George organised a get together meal for the flotilla – all ten boats. Ours was the largest party in the flotilla – all the other boats were just couples, some of them novice sailors.

Next day began with a briefing session from our lead crew – usual do’s & don’ts , where to shop & where to end up that evening. Our destination that day was Sayiadha a small fishing village on the mainland near the Albanian border. We were given a dire warning not to stray into Albanian territory as we might get arrested & the boat confiscated (I think they were more worried about losing the boat than us!).

After a bit of shopping for provisions we left Gouvia about 12.30 with plenty of time to do the 16 miles to our destination. On our way out of the marina we had to make way for a yacht from one of the other flotillas motoring hard back in – the skipper shouted to us “Sorry about that but we’re sinking!” Didn’t sound too good a start to us – all three of us glancing down to check for water sloshing around!

We hoisted sails as soon as we cleared the marina & made for a bay further North to have lunch where Jenny was going too – then the wind died before we got there (a usual thing that time of day) so we had our lunch drifting gently in the sunshine. Starting the engine we motored across to the mainland hoping to pick up some wind near the coast (oops that bit was Albania – didn’t see a soul though!). The wind came & went all afternoon & we arrived at Sayiadha about 6.00pm after about 25 miles sailing. That evening a punch party was organised on the beach & when the sun set we headed for a taverna for a meal where we met Jenny, Gill, Grant & Rod. The king prawns were great!

Next day dawned wet & cool with low cloud blowing over the top of the hill separating us from Albania – knew they’d get us somehow. We had the briefing in the same taverna as the previous evening – no sign of the prawns though. Our destination for the day was Petriti on the Southern part of Corfu, a trip of 13 miles which somehow got extended to 32.5 miles.

We arrived in plenty of time for a good look around and leisurely showers (ask Gill!), that evening we all ate together at Leonidra’s taverna (drank as well).

The next morning's briefing was a bit hazy but I do remember something about going to Lakka, on the northern tip of Paxos and thunderstorms forecast. We left in company with Jenny, motoring the first hour or so till the wind filled in from the North East but still only F1 – 2 or less. Jenny went further out East to find more wind while we doggedly goose-winged down the coast. Eventually the wind backed and became blocked by the land so we motored the last quarter mile out of the lee of Corfu into the channel across to Paxos. There we found ourselves with a North Westerly F4 – 5 and had a cracking sail to Lakka (never did see a thunderstorm!).

A village in a sheltered bay Lakka is a very popular spot but with a shortage of quay space. Most of the flotilla anchored out in the bay while we were allocated a mooring near the fishing boat quay, right outside a taverna – not far to stagger then! While berthing stern to, our anchor winch finally gave up the ghost – it had been playing up for a while. With a stiff breeze on the beam this was the last thing I needed & we ended up drifting off towards the fishing boats. We were saved by Ryan expertly using a rib to push our boat away, then being manhandled onto the quay with ropes – at least I didn’t crash!

Next day after some shopping for provisions, we were off to Gaios on the East side of Paxos. We decided to do a tour down the West side of Paxos taking in the caves, then clockwise around Anti Paxos for an invigorating beat up the West side of the island on round to Gaios. This is quite a busy town with ferries & fishing boats as well as a commercial quay on the North entrance. Mooring stern to on the South quay Geoff did a sterling job with the anchor, putting just enough chain out as we stopped – said he didn’t want to have to pull it all back in! Another great meal was enjoyed that evening & the next morning we went sightseeing while Ryan had a look at the anchor winch. Returning to the boat later Ryan was removing the winch for repair while everyone else was leaving for Mourtos (Sivota) on the mainland (we never did get the winch back!)

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, but mostly I just sits!"

Eventually we were free to go, leaving by the shallow South entrance (3.6ft depth - our draft was 2m!) we inched out into a large bay. Half way across the bay we spotted a pod of dolphins – big rush for cameras – too late gone! It seemed an everlasting trip as the wind was light & flukey but not uneventful. Slowly plodding along at 2 – 3 knots chatting I noticed a white container floating about 200yrds to port – pot buoy I thought. Checking around I saw another about 300yrds off to starboard but no more – ok go between I thought. Getting to nearly the point between the two we noticed more buoys floating just below the surface all in a line between the two white ones. Thinking ‘Oh no – it’s a net!’ too late to start the engine I put the tiller hard over to starboard but too late – we were already over the line & went through a gap nearly side on! I thought ‘Oh well – it’s either on the keel or prop already!’ So I straightened up & drifted forward keeping an eye on the line of buoys. Luckily none of them started following us & we all breathed a sigh of relief – either it was a line of pots or we had scraped over the top of a net (just shows how you have to keep your eyes peeled).

That evening we had a meal on board as we were moored opposite the harbour entrance giving us a very rough & rocky sea. That rough, making it impossible for me to navigate the gangplank (yea I know I’m a coward – just thought of coming back after a few beers!). Anyway later that evening we were happy to have Grant & Rod aboard accompanied by a bottle of whiskey!

Our final day dawned hot & sunny, our destination that evening was Plateria just the next port north. Deciding to have a sail around the islands of Sivota we set off out of Mourtos more in hope than anything of finding some wind. After a couple of hours poodling around in very flukey wind we decided to motor to Fourth bay where we found Jenny’s boat anchored so we rafted up alongside for lunch & a swim. On our way to Plateria the wind picked up giving us a good last sail especially down the entrance to the port with the wind funnelling between the land.

That evening was the farewell get together & prize giving at the local taverna, we were presented with a wooden spoon as the ‘stirrers’ of the fleet – no idea why!

Last day was up early, pack & clean the boat then on the coach to the airport at Preveza. On the way, we were treated to a colourful version of the history of the area, by the boss of Sailing Holidays – a very enjoyable end to a very enjoyable holiday.

Roy Child

Methinks you all spent more time eating and drinking than sailing! But you all looked happy so I guess that's the main thing.
Many thanks to Jenny for once again organizing a successful trip : Ed

Chris Weston earns Senior Instructor Qualification

Congratulations to Chris Weston, who endured two wet, cold and windy weekends at Draycote Sailing Club to gain his SI status.

We now have 8 Senior Instructors in the group, so you have no excuse for not becoming the next Ellen Macarthur!

Chris's achievement will be of great benefit especially to the Saturday sailors. Well done Chris

Roy at NOSCA

Professor Roy delivers his lecture!

Roy Joins the Lecture Circuit

Is Roy trying to do a Tony Blair by exploiting his success on the race circuit in the same way as the former Prime Minister is using his experiences in office to make a load of money?

Whether he is or not, his recent foray into public speaking arena proved a hit when he gave a talk to Northampton Off Shore Cruising Association members on his adventures on board Carrig Hannah in the Eddystone Charity Pursuit 2007 (See 2007 Archive for report).

Using a PowerPoint presentation containing over 100 photographs he kept his audience enthralled for over an hour. After the talk he was the centre of attraction as members flocked around to grill him about his exploits, much to the chagrin of his humble helper and bag carrier, Allan Henson, who they completely ignored!

(For more information about NOSCA, visit NOSCA web site)