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News Reports and Stories - 2014

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"Winter Warmer" Solent Sailing 28th - 30th November. Safety Boat Course - 22nd & 23rd November, by Geoff Warren.
Plas Menai Weekend, 24th - 26th October Autumn Sail Training Weekend, 13th & 14th September
Mary Cockburn: Obituary. Sail for Gold Regatta and BBQ, 30th August.
Norfolk Broads Holiday 2014 Roy wins the Summer Challenge
Frank Carvell gains his RYA Awards Launch of New Access 303 - Saturday July 5th
East Anglia Sailing Trust exchange Trip 21st June 2014 Sarah Wrench qualifies as Assistant Instructor
UKSA Sailing Trip 18th - 24th May Northampton Sailability Open Day, Saturday May 17th
Flotilla Sailing in Croatia, 4th to 11th May 2014 New Volunteers gain RYA Qualifications
New Year Social Raises £122 for the RNLI

"Winter Warmer" Solent Sailing 28th - 30th November.

The “Winter Warmer” Solent sail turned out to be a terrific weekend, the “team” being blessed with some unseasonably warm and kind weather.

John Norman, Phil Kenny, Dave Horder, Roy Child, Karen Cragg and Mike Hulands set sail from Gosport on the Friday afternoon.

John Norman set some “challenges” for Karen and Mike in preparation for their Day Skipper (Karen) and Yachtmaster (Mike) course and exams scheduled for January next year.

Karen prepared the first route plan from Gosport to Yarmouth IoW where we picked up a mooring buoy and had dinner – an excellent Con-Carne of Roy’s creation. (Over half of this passage was at night).

Mike was then tasked to take the boat into Newton Creek, (in the dark), just after low water. This was a challenging “exercise” which to everyone’s (particularly Mike’s) relief was accomplished without scraping the keel on the shingle.

On the Saturday Karen’s second route took us to East Cowes Marina for the night with a side trip to Southampton Water where we stopped for lunch.

Sunday saw all the crew have a go at "Pontoon Bashing" – made particularly interesting by John arranging a 13m (ish) gap for us to “park” the 12m boat in.

Report by Mike Hulands.

Fighting for the Helm.

John showing his new found love of mast reefing.

The fantastic shiny new team teapot.

Safety Boat Course - 22nd & 23rd November, by Geoff Warren.

The above course was run over a wet Autumn weekend with 6 keen candidates from Sailability & NSC.

The Instructors were Phil Kenny and myself, assisted by Dave Allen and Matt Alden who braved the cold waters by capsizing the Pico and Laser 2000 or driving them onto the lee shore.

All the candidates worked hard and successfully completed the course.

The successful candidates were :-

Well done and congratulations to all involved for an enjoyable weekend.

Geoff Warren, Chief Powerboat Instructor

Congratulations to all, and many thanks to Geoff Warren for running this course, which is vital for the safety of our activities. - Ed

Plas Menai Weekend, 24th - 26th October


Many thanks to Geoff Warren for organising this popular event

See the Plas Menai Weekend Gallery for action pictures of this event.

Autumn Sail Training Weekend, 13th & 14th September.

Some pictures from the great weekend

Capsize Ho!

Clamber over

Are you OK?

Coming Up

Nearly there

Now the hard bit!

Karen Redding: Seamanship Skills

Sue Wilson: Seamanship Skills

Shavaun Richardson: Seamanship Skills

Mary Cockburn

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Mary Cockburn, our long-serving Secretary, passed away on September 2nd following a long illness.

Mary served Sailability for many years and made a massive contribution to what is now a successful and important charity. She will be greatly missed.

Mary was the widow of Harry, a previous chairman of ours, and the gift by the family of the second Longboat, the "Harry Cockburn", is a fitting and lasting memorial to them both.

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family at this sad time.

The funeral, a celebration of Mary's life, was held on Wednesday 17th September at The County Crematorium, Northampton, and was very well attended by family and friends from the many aspects of Mary's life.

Sail for Gold Regatta and BBQ, 30th August.

Racing Awards

Allan Henson gets the Winner's Award
from Gordon Halfacre, Commodore of NSC

Second place goes to Chris Dabbs.

Dave Mabbut was third.

See the Sail For Gold 2014 Gallery for action pictures of this event.

Click here to see Full Results Tables

Many thanks to Allan Henson and his helpers for organising the great event.

Norfolk Broads Holiday 2014

Report by Roy Child

The Norfolk Broads again had the pleasure of our company for a sailing holiday. We again booked a fortnight at the Nancy Oldfield Trust in Neatishead, staying in their comfortable refurbished ten bed bungalow from the 13th to the 27th July. In all eighteen of our members attended at various times organised by myself and Priscilla (aka Doris) who also organised the catering (my car again filled to the roof with food and luggage).

This year we were lucky with the weather which was glorious with wall to wall sunshine. The wind, though a bit iffy at times, provided us with nice sailing conditions especially when the afternoon sea breeze kicked in.

We had access to Nancy Oldfield’s range of sailing boats, Yeomans, Randmeer, the traditional broads gentleman's racing yacht the White Boat, Bass boat and also a new addition a Pandora four berth cruising yacht. It was a pleasure sailing all these different boats made easy by the Trust's team of volunteer instructors. Also we were able to use one of the Trust's motor cruisers for a day trip to Coltishall, quite a long way by river but only a few miles as the crow flies. It was very nice to see all the different waterside houses and different broads on the way.

As it happened to be my birthday (21 again!) while we were there I was treated to a birthday cake from our members and one from the Trust's volunteers (yum,yum!). Also Doris, Pete, Roger, Eileen, Rachel, Clive and I went to Blakeney Point to see the seals. Clive and Rachel had already seen them a few times so they had a wander around while we went out on the trip. Quite an experience seeing all the seals perched on the sandbank surrounded by hundreds of gulls squawking and squealing and fighting over a bit of space. A beautiful day too as the sun was out for my birthday! Needless to say we ended up at the pub in Neatishead just to get me inebriated! Doesn’t take much these days!

With the good weather, the trips out and the days sailing to different places I think the holiday was a success once again. A big thank you must go to the Nancy Oldfield's staff and volunteers who always came up to expectations with providing a great experience.

Roy wins the Summer Challenge

Roy receives the Harry Cockburn Trophy
from Gordon Halfacre, Commodore of NSC.

Congratulations to Roy who has resumed his winning streak after finishing third behind Barbara & Wilf and Clive & Rachel for the last two years.

This year's series faced some challenging wind conditions varying from none at all to force 6!

Congratulations also Clive and Rachel for finishing a close second, and finishing just ahead of their arch-rivals Barbara and Wilf.

Gordon presents Rachel with runner-up award.

Once again many, many thanks to Dave Mabbut and his team of helpers for all their hard work in running this popular event.

Frank Carvell gains his RYA Bronze Award

First the Bronze Award...

With five sessions on the water this season in Access dinghies, Frank has worked hard, learnt fast and met all the requirements for the RYA Bronze Award.

His award was presented by Allan Henson, Senior Instructor, at the Northampton Sailing Club on 25th July.

Frank has already started working towards his RYA Silver Award

Congratulations Frank, let's see you with the Silver award soon! - Ed

...and then his Silver!

...and then the Silver...

Continuing to work hard and with just two more sessions on the water, Frank has met all the additional requirements for the RYA Silver Award in record time. He received his certificate and badge from Allan on August 8th. Frank is now working towards his RYA Gold Award.

Well done Frank - great work.. Mike Hulands

...and now the Gold!!

..and now his Gold Award.

With continuing hard work and having successfully sailed a triangular course single handed, Frank gained his RYA Gold Award.

He was presented with his award by Allan Henson, Senior Instructor, at the Northampton Sailing Club.

Frank started working on his awards at the beginning of the season this year and rapidly progressed through all requirements for the Awards.

Many congratulations Frank - it has been a pleasure working with you - Mike Hulands.

Launch of New Access 303 - Saturday July 5th

On Saturday July 5th at 12 noon our latest acquisition, a new Access 303 with sail number 22966. was launched.

Over the last few years the Access 303 has proved to be our most popular boat and in high demand on regular sailing days. It is great to be able to increase our fleet to seven.

Fund raising efforts towards the end of last year have enabled us to purchase this boat, and we have a substantial amount towards another.

Left-Right: Bill Reason, Georgina, Roy, Pat Clark, Dot Reason,
Daphne Clark, Paddy Coles, Rachel.

  • Clive and Rachel passed on a donation of £500 from the Sudborough Trust.
    The Trust then made contact with Georgina for more information about Sailability which resulted in an additional donation of £5000.
  • Mrs Paddy Coles (Rachel's mother) donated £600.
  • Following contact with the Eric Stanton Trust and with Georgina's input a donation of £2500 was received.
  • Roy has been busy too. On January 9th he gave a presentation to Towcester Rotary Club and was presented with a cheque for £1000.
  • NOSCA (Northampton Off-Shore Cruising Association) have generously donated £100.

We are continuing to fund raise for the second one and Georgina is doing sterling work with applications to various other trusts.

Many thanks to these generous donors, and to Rachel, Clive, Georgina and Roy for their efforts.

East Anglia Sailing Trust exchange Trip 21st June 2014. Report by Geoff Warren

On Midsummer's day, 10 members and volunteers from Northampton Sailability enjoyed excellent hospitality and sailing with members of East. East provided and crewed 2 Sonar, 2 Squib and 1 Yeoman keelboats plus 2 safety RIBs.

In bright sunshine with a moderate sea breeze we left the Levington yacht harbour and sailed down the Orwell assisted by the ebb tide, passing the giant container ships in Felixstowe Port, into the Stour and moored to bouys in Bathside Bay Harwich to enjoy a packed lunch.

Low water was about noon, so when the tide started to flood, we followed this upriver to the scenic village of Pinmill and back to Levington.

We are hosting a return trip to Pitsford by East on the 2nd August, I’m keen to make this an enjoyable experience for East and would welcome help from volunteers on this date, hopefully we can make this an annual event, to the benefit of both groups.

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

Sarah Wrench qualifies as Assistant Instructor

Congratulations are due to Sarah for become our latest AI.

Sarah also gained her certificate in Seamanship Skills, an important step on the way to becoming a Longboat Skipper.

Jenny presented Sarah with her certificate at the recent Open Day.

With the acquisition of a new Access we need new AIs to ensure that we can fully utilise them all for our members' benefit.

Well done Sarah, and welcome to our Instructor team.

UKSA Sailing Trip 18th - 24th May - Report by Roger Bastow

Roger, Mike and skipper Phil set out in Yacht VISION, a Jeanneau Odyssey 40 from UKSA on Isle of Wight.

Starting from Cowes mid afternoon on Sunday we decided to go west and with a favourable tide and wind headed through the Needles via the north channel, across Poole Bay to Poole. We berthed late in he evening having followed a lovely sunset, with both main sail and genoa in full flight.

After a meal we checked the weather forecast and planned for an early start to catch the tide going east with SE wind, so our plan was to sail back round the south of IOW. Again the weather was good for sailing so we made good progress round the island and back into the Solent Area, where we berthed at Gosport, Portsmouth. This had been a lovely day's sail but definitely ready for a meal and bed.

Keen to continue sailing we planned to go further east, this time to Brighton. So Tuesday morning we set sail again with favourable tide and fair winds, passing Selsey Bill to Brighton. After a hearty meal cooked by the skipper we took a walk to the pier. As an added bonus the boat Vision had stern access, so stern berthing was the obvious choice in marinas, making it possible to just walk off onto the jetty.

Wednesday was a return sail west to the Solent Area, some of it against tide but with increasing SE winds we had some good sailing.

On Thursday went to River Hamble to pick up 3 additional crew, Meg, Priscilla and Jenny who were joining us for 2 days sailing. It was Meg's first time on a yacht. We sailed to Southampton, berthed and had a meal at Southampton Royal Yacht Club. Unfortunately the weather turned bad on Friday with high winds F6+ and rain, which restricted sailing until it cleared. We then sailed again with sunshine and good wind in the Solent Area before returning back to the Hamble.

Saturday, the yacht had to be returned back to UKSA on IOW, a fantastic weeks sailing, we had covered 218 Nautical miles. Thanks to Phil our skipper for his patience and valuable instruction.

"My Yachting Holiday in Southampton" by Meg Elliott.

I‘ve had a lovely holiday on a 40 foot UKSA yacht down in Southampton. Priscilla Davies and Jenny Jeffs gave me a lift down to the boat and I was careful not to pack too much, but remembering my oil skins! The yacht was waiting for us at harbour and we ate lunch with Mike Huland, Roger Bastow and skipper Phil Kenny.

Roger took over the helm and motored up the river estuary and out into the shipping channel. Then, I enjoyed my first steer on a yacht and found it surprisingly easy. The wind was behind us and we sailed on a straight run down into Ocean Village at Southampton. The shipping channel was very busy so I had to keep an eye out for boats, but Phil was beside me to take over if needed.

The main difference between sailing a yacht and a dingy is that you don’t need to adjust your sails as much, the wind is steadier and the gusts are easier to spot. Instead of a tiller, there is a large steering wheel and it works the same way as the joystick on the Access boat. The only difficulty I experienced was to hold my posture straight whilst steering and later sitting as crew. I found that if I sat on the floor between the two crew benches then I could relieve the discomfort in my back.

On the first night we ate a very nice meal in the Royal yacht Club. However, the next day the weather was so windy and wet that I got seasick and we couldn’t leave dock until 4pm. Although Phil was very good at reverse mooring, I still struggled with the gap between pontoon and boat. The wind was calmer and we sailed on a close haul, but this tack made the boat tip much more steeply. I still managed to helm and I liked racing against big racing yacht. That night, Jenny cooked and Priscilla gave us G and T out on deck and we sat under a beautiful rainbow. Then Phil and Mike flaked the sail ready for its return to Cowes, Isle of White and we drove back home.

Northampton Sailability Open Day, Saturday May 17th

A few pictures from the day.

It was a special day for the family of the late Harry Cockburn, who was Chairman of Northampton Sailability a few years ago.

As a memorial to Harry, Mary and his family donated a second Drascombe Longboat, named Harry Cockburn, and at the open day Harry's son Matt and Grandson Charlie sailed in it, a new experience for Charlie.

Flotilla Sailing in Croatia, 4th to 11th May 2014. Report by Geoff Warren

A week's sailing flotilla in the beautiful Adriatic sea was enjoyed by 17 members of Sailability.

This event was organised by RTC Principal Jenny Jeffs through Sunsail.

We sailed 3 yachts, 2 Jeaneau 39s and a 36 footer, from Dubrovnik to Korcula via the beautiful Island of Mljet.

Highlights of the trip were seeing dolphins, snorkelling at Okukje and a rustic meal at a Winery in Lumbardo, plus good friendly companionship with fellow sailors and the lead crews.

This was one of the best flotillas we have done, congratulations to Jenny & Sunsail.

New Volunteers gain RYA Qualifications

Roy presents Henry with RYA Level 2 Certificate

Mike (left) and Graham (right) receive their awards.

Congratulations to three new volunteers in gaining their RYA qualifications

New Year Social Raises £122 for the RNLI

The New Year Social was held on January 11th at The George in Brixworth

After two years of heavy snowfalls the weather this year was bright and sunny.

Lack of snow and presence of sun encouraged 45 members to attend. It was a bit of a squeeze but we all enjoyed good company and good food.

The "Bring and Buy" sale raised £121 for the RNLI. Well done all!

Many thanks to John Norman for organising this, the first event of 2014.