Line Honours for HSC in Paglesham Yacht Race - 2 June

Despite the title, the Paglesham Yacht Race, organised by the Roach Sailing Association is a race for small open boats. Frank and Mark S. entered the HSC wayfarer dinghy Merganser and were first across the finish line. Seven open boats raced up river with the tide on a light reaching wind, rounding the buoy just as the tide turned. They were all in a bunch (apart from Winks trailing behind) but then the wind shifted and it was a beat back to Paglesham. Gradually they spread out and there was half an hour between Merganser crossing the line and the last to finish (Winks).

The race was actually won on handicap by Memory, with Makedo 2nd and Winks 3rd..  Mark S reckons he should have got Merganser cleaner below the water.

Restaurant evening in central London - June

Richard reports that we visited the Wong Kei Chinese Restaurant in Soho. The service is fast, prices low and the waiters reputed to be rude and abrasive. Perhaps it is a sign of our growing seniority, but we had no trouble with them whatsoever. They do say that in Chinese culture age is revered!


Semaine du Golfe

A party from HSC attended the Semaine du Golfe sailing event in southern Brittany - ACCOUNT HERE

HSC Summer Cruise - 12 to 17 August

This year our summer dinghy cruise took us from Paglesham to the Rivers Swale and Medway over on the other side of the Thames estuary. We made the best of the sometimes wet and windy weather. Details can be found in our cruise log section - SEE HERE.

Laying up - 27 October

Richard reports that our boats are now tidied away for the winter. Frank, Richard and Stuart took Merganser for a short sail, exploring Barling Creek before returning to Paglesham to haul out for the winter. Back on the farm, Eric, Esin and Richard were clearing undergrowth from the space where we store the boats over the winter. Once the boats were put away with the covers snugged down the party retreated to the village hall for our Laying up Supper, provided by a local takeaway. After supper there were plenty of (digital) slides for a slide show including Steve's pictures from a sailing trim from Florida via Havana, Bahamas and Azores to Falmouth and eventually right back to Paglesham. Also slides from Mark and Eric's holidays in the Baltic, Venice, Brittany and the Azores.

Visit to Wallasea Island - 18 November

Report from Richard

On 18th November, four HSC members joined a guided walk around part of Wallasea Island, Essex. The walk was lead by Mark Dixon, a member of RSPB staff, and was ostensibly organised as an invitation to Roach Sailing Association members, as part of an exercise to acquaint local people about a proposal for the future of the area.

The RSPB has a plan that would see a purchase of that area currently owned by Wallasea Farms, and its re-development for leisure and the promotion of wildlife. From the RSPB website:

"The RSPB is working to transform a large area of arable farmland at Wallasea Island … back into coastal marshland. This will create a wetland mosaic of mudflats and saltmarshes, shallow lagoons and pastures. These will be criss-crossed by low-lying bunds along which visitors will be able to access much of this new 'Wild Coast'."

It was a bitterly cold day, but Frank, Steve, Herman and I joined a group of about twenty hardy people at the small car park on the track beyond Grapnells Farm. We walked along the sea wall to the north of Wallasea "Island", which is really a peninsular these days, as far as the area just to the south of Brankfleet Spit.

This project is not a done deal, as the RSPB has not yet agreed a price for the land, and planning consents have to be obtained. It seems likely that the Farm owners want to sell the land, as the Environment Agency has made it clear that it is not prepared to continue to maintain the extensive sea defences that protect this low lying arable land. The Agency would prefer to build a shorter defence to the east, cutting across the peninsular.

The proposals, which are still being developed, would provide a more wildlife friendly environment, and also allow a degree of leisure access for people in the nearby Thames gateway area.

wallasea island 01 wallasea island 02

RSA Members gathering at start of walk and part of the Walasea sea wall footpath

Bath Weekend and AGM - 1/2 December

Pictures by Richard

bath yha

Bath Youth Hostel

A number of us arrived at Bath hostel on the Friday evening, having driven down the M4 in heavy rain. We got rather damp just carrying our luggage from our car to the hostel door, but a welcoming cup of tea awaited us inside.

As you see above, Bath Youth Hostel is a rather splendid house in an Italian style. Like almost every building in the city of Bath, it is built from Bath stone, a yellowish limestone quarried locally and suitable for precise cutting into blocks which fit together with minimal mortor joints. The hostel is set in gardens on a hillside looking down onto the city centre.


Part of water wheel drive train at Claverton

On Saturday morning there was a break in the rain as set off for a morning walk prior to our club AGM meeting. We arrived at Claverton Pumping Station on the Kennet and Avon canal and although this was not officially open to the public at this time of year, one of the volunteers helping with maintenance work gave us a detailed guided tour. This pumping station was built in 1810 by canal engineer John Rennie to pump water 47 feet up from the river Avon into the canal so as to replace water lost to the canal as boats pass through the locks. What is fairly unusual is that this is a water pump which is actually powered by water. River water falls a few feet through a large waterwheel which drives a two cylinder double acting piston pump to force a smaller flow of river water up the greater head to the canal. The waterwheel and pump fell out of use in 1952 but have now  been fully restored. For further information see CLAVERTON PUMPING STATION WEBSITE


Highly suspect structural beam

At the time of our visit the structure around the water wheel was being maintained. The photo above shows a structural timber beam above the sluice gates which regulate the flow of water onto the wheel. If you were to look only at the sides or top of this beam you might think that it was in reasonable condition, but if you look at the end in the photograph you can see that the middle of the beam is all rotten and you could easily scoop out the rotton wood with your bare hands.

canal boat

Canal boat on Kennet and Avon

Leaving the friendly volunteers at Claverton we walked into the city of Bath along the Kennet and Avon canal. There is a comunity of people living on canal boats along this stretch of canal, the picture above shows an interesting liveaboard home complete with carved figurhead. Throngs of Christmas shoppers filled the centre of Bath and we squeezed into the corner of a crowded cafe for a bite to eat before returning to the Youth Hostel for our AGM meeting.

Starting our meeting, we learnt from our Treasurer that the HSC made a financial loss during 2007. The loss was not as bad as the previous year since we saved mooring fees and insurance premiums by keeping only one of our two club boats in commission this summer, the other boat being laid up ashore. We basically agreed that it would be futile to try to stem our losses by raising our subscriptions. The necessary increase in subscription would be considerable and would probably be counter-productive in that it would make it harder to gain the new members that our club really needs. We did however agree to a small £2.00 increase in our Associate Members subscription.  We also agreed that we will have to continue with just one club boat in commission during 2008 and even then we will run at a loss unless we gain a few more members. We have some reserves and can continue on this basis for some years to come, but unless we gain more members we will at some stage have to give up both our club boats. If it comes to that, the club could still survive since most of our sailing members now have boats of their own and those that do not are thinking about doing so. However, we would if possible like to keep at least one club boat since that gives the possibility to offer sailing to those who for one reason or another are not in a position to have their own boats.  What about all those people living in flats and maisonettes in London, often without gardens or garages where they could keep a small boat. Surely some of these people would enjoy the adventurous dinghy cruising that we can offer with our Wayfarer dinghies which are based only an hour and a half from most parts of London.

Finance aside, 2007 has been a good year for the HSC. All our social and country walking events were well attended, we had a good summer cruise and a real highlight was taking our boats to France to participate in the Semaine du Golfe sailing festival.

bath baths

The great Roman swimming pool

We spent Sunday morning visiting the Roman baths. See the Roman Baths website for more information. I think we all found this an interesting visit, the entrance fee is quite high but there is a lot to see and this is possibly the most extensive and well preserved group of Roman remains in the UK. The picture above shows the great Roman swimming pool which was the the centrepiece of a Roman municipal sports centre. This was originally an indoor swimming pool fed from a natural hot spring, the brick arch at the far end of the pool was originally at a higher level being part of the roof. Pretty well everything above the shoulder level of the people on the right of the photo is relatively modern, but below that it is all Roman.

Some of us left for home after lunch, the others explored the city streets famous for their architecture which mostly dates from the 18th centuary. Bath became a fashionable place to live at that time, or perhaps a fasionable place to have a house, since I think the wealthy people of that time would lease houses in various places so that they could switch between them at will. We looked at the Assembly Rooms, built in about 1770 as a venue for public meetings and grand social occasions. We finished with a visit to one of the houses in the Royal Cresent which has been made into a museum showing how the house would have been furnished in the late 18th centuary.  Then we wished each other happy Christmas befor heading off into the darkness with rain now falling and a gale of wind on its way.

A Bun Recipe - From Gerald

To reward us for getting to the end of our Annual General Meeting Herman kindly fed us with an extremely nice cake, one which had best be kept away from any chokaholics. He later emailed me the recipe as follows:

Ingredients 200grm/8oz quality dark choc(at least60%solids) 200grm/8oz butter,cut to pieces 1 tblsp of instant coffee,disolved in cold water 125ml/4floz of strong coffee 85grm/3oz plain flour 85grm/3oz self raising flour qtr tsp bicarbanate soda 200grm/7oz light muscovada sugar 200grms/7oz caster sugar 25grm/1oz cocao powder 3medium eggs 75ml/5tblsp Buttermilk
For the topping and filling: 200grm/dark choc 284ml carton double cream/10fl oz 2tblsp caster sugar
Method 1) Into a pan break the choc,butter and the cold coffee, warm thru'untill melted using a gentle heat. 2) Whilst the choc mixture is melting,mix and blend the dry ingredients in a large bowl using your hands to break any lumps. 3) Beat the eggs and stir in the buttermilk 4) Now pour the egg mixture and the choclate mixture into the dry ingredients, untill blended, it will be smooth runny consistency. pour into a prepped 20cm by 7.5 cm loose or  springform round cake tin,lined with a double layer of grease proof paper. 5) Bake at gas mark 3,140c fan /160c conventional oven for 1hr 25-30 mins untill cake is firm to touch and a skewer comes out clean,not to worry if cake is cracked or sinks slighty, leave in tin to coolthen turn out on wire rack to cool completly. 5) When the cake is cold split in three, and sandwhich with the Ganache made from the filling mix 6) To make the ganache, put the cream in a pan,add the choc, broken, and 2tblsp of caster sugar, heat until about to boil then mix smooth, take half to whip in a bowl with a whisk untill light and firm the other half coat the top of the cake.
please stick to Imperial measures or Confounded metric ,the two will not mix.
then run around the block sevaral times, it is very rich!
Big H