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News Reports and Stories from 2010

Pitsford Reservoir at -6 deg C, December 2010

Northampton Sailability at Plas Menai - October 2010

Nigel proudly shows his medal and certificate

Nigel Johnson is the first person to gain Sailability's gold medal at Northampton

Congratulations to Nigel for gaining a gold medal for sailing skills

Nigel is 47 and lives in Brackley, Northants.

He is a residential client of Livability in Brackley, a charity which supports adults with learning disabilities. This means that Nigel lives in one of the charity's houses and attends the charity's day centre in Brackley.

Nigel, who has always held an interest in sailing, is thrilled to have gained the gold medal, and said: "It's great. I want to continue sailing and my ambition is to sail alone, and perhaps enter competitions one day. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get this far. Sometimes I can't believe I have done it."

Roy receives the Harry Cockburn Memorial Trophy
from Ian Castle

Summer Challenge 2010

Another Summer Challenge Series is over and once again Roy was crowned champion and retains the Harry Cockburn Memorial Trophy for another year.

In the series of 24 races, of which the 10 best finishes count, Roy excelled himself and scored a perfect 10 wins! and hence 10 points.

Clive finished in second place with 17 points and Barbara finished third, having tied with Chris on 20 points but taking third place by virtue of finishing ahead of Chris when they last competed in the same race. Tough luck Chris, a good try!

Ian Castle, the sailing club Commodore, presented the trophies to the three winners at the BBQ on Sept 3rd.

Last but not least congratulations to Dave Mabbutt and his many and varied helpers for running another successful series and giving much pleasure to all participants.

But don't forget: You've got to be in it to win it! So join in next year and see if you can leave an empty space on Roy's mantlepiece!

Barbara, Dave, Ian, Roy and Clive


Following a tip-off from Geoff Portas that funds were available under the AIMING HIGH FOR DISABLED CHILDREN scheme, an application was put together by Chris Dabbs.

The funding requested was to pay for:-

We have just been told by Northamptonshire County Council that this application has been approved in principle subject to us carrying out the work within 6 months.

The total amount approved is £20,000 is by far the largest grant we have been awarded in recent years and shows how much the County Council appreciates what we do for people with disabilities of all ages.

Heartiest congratulations go to Geoff and Chris for their initiative in this scheme which will be of enormous benefit to both Sailability and the Club.

(..and thanks are due to Peter & Deborah Hodgkinson who alerted me to this scheme - Geoff)

Graeme Garden visits Northampton Sailability

On Friday 30th July Ryder Cheshire Homes visited Sailabilty to take photographs for a competition run by The Times. The photographs were to show one of the activities their clients use and had to be taken by a Celebrity.

We were delighted to find that they had chosen sailing as the activity and that Northampton Sailability was their choice of venue. The celebrity taking the photographs was Graeme Garden (The Goodies ).

They arrived at the Sailing Club with balloons to decorate the boat. With Geoff Portas at the helm the 'Harry Cockburn' set sail with Graeme taking lots of photographs. Chris Weston pulled alongside the Drascombe in a Powerboat and invited Graeme to climb aboard and take pictures from another angle, reluctantly and a little pale he swapped boats.

A good time was had by everyone and many photographs were taken, lets hope Ryder Cheshire Homes are successful and win a prize. We look forward to seeing the pictures in The Times, the provisional date is the 16th September, what a brilliant advert for Northampton Sailability.

Northampton Sailability Cross Channel Cruise, 11th to 14th June 2010

Report by Geoff Warren

Michelle, Gill & myself, joined that 'old sea dog' and ex Naval CPO John Norman aboard his Hunter Horizon 27 foot sailing cruiser KIR, based in Dover, to cross the channel.

Gill acted as 1st Mate & did the Nav planning. Spring tides were forecast for Monday, therefore strong currents were to be expected & in order to take advantage of these we couldn't leave Dover until late morning on the Saturday. However to be prepared we moved the boat through the sea lock on Friday evening & stocked up on supplies from Morrisons in Dover.

Saturday brought favourable weather & moderate seas, therefore we left Dover on schedule & made a fast crossing to Boulogne helped by the favourable spring tides.

That evening we had a good meal of moule marinières in the Brussels Restuarant in Boulogne helped down with a nice bottle of red Bordeau. The following day we sailed along the French coast up to Calais, passing old 2nd World War German Gun emplacements & excellent coastal scenery in nice sunny weather.

The yacht basin in Calais can only be entered via a sea lock close to high tide, therefore we tied up to a mooring bouy in the outer harbour. John & Gill did all of the cooking & have very contrasting styles. John specialises in meat pies & Gill does a nice line in healthy salads, by the end of trip John was really into lettuce! I must put this down to Gill's good influence.

On Monday I did the Nav planning for the return to Dover. We left our mooring in Calais at 7:00 a.m. in order to take advantage of the strong spring tides.

We crossed close hauled in a north-east force 2 wind which increased to force 6 later. We made a fast crossing helped by some excellent helming by Michelle & motorsailed into Dover after a fast 5 hour passage.

We all enjoyed an excellent trip, enjoying good company and having a good laugh. John speaks excellent French having spent 4 years in the British embassy in Paris. When he described me as 'un vieux chien de mer' the French seemed to find this very funny!, anyway I would stongly recommend the benefits of cruising with John on Kir and the quality of his meat pies!

Yacht Outreach Sail Training week May 2010

Crew :

Friday: Ships log - Cowes to Portsmouth Harbour, 3 hours at sea, 10 miles, Max wind F5-6.

Crew contribution - Crew safety brief, shake down sail. Drinks on the lightship at Haslar Marina. Roy says freezing cold, worn out, staying onboard! Andrew says meeting the crew he was to be with for 9 days was very exciting and all got on well.

Calamity corner - Smoke alarm in Andrew's cabin bleeped all night so blurry eyes not just the beer!

Saturday: Ships log - Portsmouth to Southampton, 6 hours at sea, 20 miles., max wind 2-4

Crew contribution - Basic crew training, ropes, fenders, sails, winches etc. picked up fuel from Hamble. Roy says no warmer! Supper at Royal Southampton YC with usual excellent service cheered him.

Calamity corner - Smoke alarm bleeped all night again in spite of new battery, gas sensor prevented us lighting gas, grill didn't work anyway so no toast and a crew who will be nameless blocked heads by accidentally flushing a baby wipe

Sunday: Ships log - Southampton to Cowes, 3 hours at sea, 12 miles, max wind F5-6

Crew contribution - Phil's valiant efforts failed to unblock heads. Jenny made quick trip to Argos to get a toaster. (Preps for going to sea now begin with 'take off sail cover, double up lines' etc and end with 'unplug toaster and shore power' just to prevent any exciting or electrifying unberthing moments!) Returned to base with maintenance problems to be fixed. Roy says cold wet and miserable again so escaped with most crew to The Duke of York for Sunday roast while Jenny and Phil faced the music at UKSA. Crew training alongside on ropes, knots, buoys, safety and distress. Andrew cooked supper of sausage, mash and beans. Very good.

Calamity corner - NONE (Jenny removed battery from smoke alarm!)

Monday: Ships log - Cowes to Lymington, 3 hours at sea, 9 miles, max wind F6-7

Crew contribution - Shopping in Cowes. Andy bought flash sunglasses. Cracking sail to Lymington when Roy topped 7 knots on the helm. Andy took the ropes ashore for the first of many times. Drinks at Royal Lymington YC after short walk along the river.

Calamity corner - Only in Jenny's dreams about how we were going to get out off difficult berth in F6-7! Actually worked fine.

Tuesday: Ships log - Lyminton to Poole via Yarmouth, 9 hours at sea, 25 miles, max wind F3

Crew contribution - Berthing practice in Lymington. All crew getting to grips with handling warps and fenders. Practiced picking up buoys off Yarmouth under sail balancing wind and tide. Found the yacht sails well on just the sprayhood! Michelle secured to the buoy for lunch. before setting sail through The Needles and across the bay to Poole. Priscilla practiced three point fix and lat/long plotting with superb accuracy. Roy finally concedes it's warm and sunny. Michelle cooked supper of pasta bolognese.

Calamity corner - None, fingers crossed.

Wednesday: Ships log - Poole to Cherbourg, 15 hours at sea, 73 miles, max wind F2

Crew contribution - Managed to sail over half the distance in spite of light wind. Flew the spinnaker but got a twist. Roy got dizzy circling trying to untangle round the forestay. Must have looked strange on anyone's radar! Fun light spotting on final part of the passage. Crew arrived tired but happy and too late for showers.

Calamity corner - Cooker gimble came off one side, nearly got kettle on lap! Spinnaker got a tear catching on the anchor coming down.

Thursday: Ships log - nil

Crew contribution - Morning off for shopping and sight seeing. Priscilla bought lots of Camembert. Maintenance and repair tasks done, by Jenny and Phil. Took on fuel. Crew brief on emergency situations. Crew practice on launching and rowing dinghy. Priscilla causing great hilarity and Michelle showing her how it's done. Supper at Cherbourg YC.

Calamity corner - Everyone wondering whose socks were smelling? Oh it's just the Camembert.

Friday: Ships log - Cherbourg to Yarmouth, 15 hours at sea, 80 miles, max wind F5 (F6 forecast)

Crew contribution - Very early start and long slog against NE winds. Some crew a bit tired and seasick. Priscilla made lunch mid channel in rough weather. Quite a feat with metallic and vocal sound effects. From brief glimpses down below it was difficult to see whether dividers on the chart table were going to join sausages in the oven or vice versa.

Calamity corner - Engine overheating problem at 12.30. At first Jenny thought it was Roy's hearing aid whistling then a great cloud of white smoke and steam shot out of the exhaust and up the companionway from the engine compartment. We found later when it cooled that we had lost the top of the heat exchanger and consequently all the fresh cooling water. Alternative options considered included sailing to Poole Bay and anchoring, tacking round to Portsmouth to avoid Needles in strong wind and without an engine! However, the wind dropped off and a temporary repair done by Phil got the engine re-started at 16.30 to get through The Needles into Yarmouth. Priscilla took charge tying up. UKSA said we were very resourceful! Thanks Phil.

Saturday: Ships log - Yarmouth to Beaulieu, 4 hours at sea, 11 miles, max wind F4

Crew contribution - Morning off in Yarmouth for shopping, sightseeing and a trip to the pier. Priscilla navigated to Bucklers Hard and kept the log. Also took charge tying up.
MOB practice en-route was great fun and kept everyone warmed up.

Calamity corner - engine held up well.

Sunday: Ships log - Beaulieu to Cowes, 3 hours at sea, 11 miles, max wind F2

Crew contribution - Sail trim training, tacking and gibing off Cowes before berthing back at UKSA. All hands to the cleaning and clearing.

Calamity corner - Only coming to the end of a good trip. Priscilla wrote 'a very big thank you to Jenny and Phil for their unending patience.' Andrew wrote 'We left the yacht clean for the next group of sailors and I was hoping they have as much fun and excitement as I did with my new friends and colleagues. Thank you for your patience and valuable time'


Early Season successes

The following students successfully completed Day Skipper Theory:

The following students gained their radio licence:

All look forward to put it into practice on the sea.

Well done all of you, and many thanks to Jenny for running these courses.