Seafair Milford Haven - 18 to 24 June

We had a great time at Seafair Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire - SEE HERE FOR RECORD OF THIS EVENT

Weekend sail to Barbeque at South Woodham Ferrers Yacht Club - 12 to 13 July

Report from Richard

Mark Smith, Herman, and myself set off in Merganser to head round to the Crouch on Saturday morning. Initially Frank and Mark T had hoped to join us, but were indisposed. As the forecast was for fresh westerlies, H. decided against sailing his small cruiser, Cateran, on his own and joined us in the Wayfarer instead.

We left Paglesham at 1035, with a single reef and the working jib, taking the ebb down the Roach. It took us little time with the wind on the quarter, and though we would have to stem the tide which would not turn till 1430, we decided to try sailing up the Crouch to Burnham. We arrived at RCYC pontoon about 1215, and headed to the waterfront cafe for a hot drink and a lunch snack. There was a brisk WNW F4 blowing, and it felt a bit cool.

At low water, we set off again for the long sail up the Crouch to the South Woodham Ferrers Yacht Club, where we had arranged to meet Dave Jennings of the DCA for the Club's invitation barbecue. Having laid out anchors we took our camping gear up to the clubhouse lawn where we could pitch tents. Dougal McEwen of the DCA, and a founder member of the SWFYC, welcomed us and invited us up for a complimentary drink, and some food that was being barbecued by members on the balcony. We had a convivial evening, and were pleased to recognise Muriel, one of the Tideway class association members, who we had met at Seafair Milford Haven a few weeks previously.

We felt rather tired after an energetic sail, and at 1030 settled down in our sleeping bags for a peaceful night. Unfortunately, the peace was disturbed by loud music in the distance that started at 2pm and lasted till 5pm. We were told next morning that a "rave" had been held in a field at North Fambridge.

We breakfasted at 0800, brewing up tea in the clubhouse, which Dougal had kindly allowed us to use. We later set off in company with Dave in his Highlander 14, and Dougal with his friend Mark, in the latter's Drascombe Dabber. Near Creeksea we stopped and anchored at 1200 for an early picnic lunch and brew up using Mark S's spirit stove.

We then thanked Dave and Dougal, and bid them goodbye, sailing and drifting in the now light wind, down to Burnham. We tied up at the town pontoon, which has been funded by EU development money, and went ashore for an afternoon cream tea at the Cabin.

We had a bit of a slow sail down to the mouth of the Roach, as the wind perversely went round to the south east, and remained light so that we actually had to row into the Roach, where we saw Steve who had gone for a row in his dinghy. He managed to stay ahead of us all the way back to Paglesham! Before we headed home, Steve offered us a cup of tea from his galley in Stortebecker which is still laid up on the saltings at Gordon's patch.

Mudcatcher's Cup - 19 July

Report from Gerald

Four Boats lined up for the start in gusty conditions - Heather's Minisail,The Bessey's 'Winks',Jon Walmsey with his'Sarah Edith' and me with my yacht tender 'Kitteran'.

'Kitteran' and 'Sarah Edith' elected to row. 'Winks' and 'Mini' were heavily reefed, but 'Sarah Edith' had a selection of undergarments flying from the masthead which I could only read as 'Come lie alongside of me!'

'Winks' unexpectedly broached then capsised on the way to the start line, thus losing the beers for the start of the Race. After a rescue, "Winks" bailed out and restarted on a shortened course from the hard, up Paglesham Pool to Lion Creek, halfway point was just under the Power lines and back to the hard.

The Minisail put in another reef before she rejoined the race, creaming past me vainly battling to windward often getting weathercocked against the wind. I caught up 'Sarah Edith' and passed her, leaving her astern in Lion Creek making the turn and still had problems getting turned around by the wind, but made more ground on 'Sarah Edith'.

With the wind on my port quarter, then 'Sarah Edith' raised her jib, and flew past me, but got pushed onto a lee shore, but I was at the back by now, the Minisail had to retire with a broken rudder, which made me third, I still gamely pressed on tho' the fleet were now back in the Roach, 'Winks' had finished leaving 'Kitteran' and 'Sarah Edith' for the other placings. Now against Wind and Tide the tactic relied on pure brute force, which gave me added incentive becuase I saw I was gaining on 'Sarah Edith' and I came a close third behind her, grounding my boat on the hard just as the other Crew got out. I Intend to protest Sarah Edith for illegal use of Sail!

Summer Cruise 23 to 30 August

The report of our Summer Cruise for 2008 is in the 'Cruise Logs' section of this website, SEE HERE

Laying up Supper - 1 November

Report from Richard

Merganser was brought ashore and successfully laid up for the winter on a rather cold and bleak day. We were glad to get to the Mission Hall in the late afternoon for a cup of tea. We had another take-away supper in the evening and looked at some photos of the year’s activities on a couple of laptop computers, as no projector was available on the day.

AGM Weekend - Clyffe Pypard - 29/30 November

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Clyffe Pypard Youth Hostel, AKA 'The Goddard Arms'

Back in the days when the YHA was a tee-total institution we might have been a bit shocked to see the green triangle displayed on the wall of a public house - YHA policies have changed a bit since the '60s'.  The villiage pub at Clyffe Pypard in Wiltshire is a combination pub and youth hostel, is this a first for the YHA? Athough it is listed as a bunkhouse in the YHA handbook, this hostel seems to have all the facilities you would expect to find in one of the smaller standard grade hostels, plus the pub bar with real ales on tap. One side of the bar opens onto the lounge of the public house, the other onto the hostel common room. Typical pub food is available evenings and lunch time. The photo below shows the covered patio area, the main hostel rooms are on the right and the washroom is on the left. The friendly wardens looked after us well and the whole premises is decorated with momentos of their extensive travels around the world.

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Covered patio area at the 'Goddard Arms'

Arriving in the hostel car park on a grey damp morning at about 11-00am, we took a short walk along footpaths to the east of the hostel, viewing the Broad Town white horse, reputedly cut into the chalk hillside in 1863, then returning to the hostel for a pub lunch.

We started our AGM meeting soon after lunch. Our balance sheet once again told us that our club has been running at a slight loss and unless we attract some new members it seems likely that we will have to continue to slowly run down our funds. If that is the way it is to be, then at some point in the future we may have to give up operating our club owned boats, but with the trend for more of our active sailing members to run their own boats that may not actually be too much of a problem for us. Although we have not managed to increase our membership in recent years, the existing membership remains enthusiastic and, considering the size of the membership, most of our planned events are remarkably well attended.

Another item on the agenda this year was affiliation to the YHA. Next year the YHA will start charging their affiliated local groups simply for the privalege of being so affiliated. Additionally, the YHA is now requiring their local groups to pay for an insurance scheme the main purpose of which appears to be to protect the YHA against the possible actions of members of the affiliated groups.  The cost is not actually a lot of money, something like the cost of a pint of ale (depends where you buy it I know) per person, but even so, the idea was not well recieved by a number of our members since our club will get no tangible benefit for this money, so it has to be viewed purely as an enforced charitable donation to the YHA. After some discussion we took a vote and decided to keep the HSC affiliated to the YHA, at least for another year, but it was a close run thing. I wonder how other affiliated local groups will react to these new arrangements.

By the time we had brought our meeting to a close, having discussed and agreed our winter social and rambling programme, it was getting dark outside and time for tea and cakes including a delicious home made cake provided by Herman.

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AGM in progress

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Barbary Castle - on the ramparts

Sunday morning was cold and grey. We planned a walk starting with a tour of  Barbary casle, an iron age fortress a few miles to the east of Clyffe Pypard. The intention was to walk a few miles eastwards along the Ridgeway long distance foot path, take lunch in a village pub then return along alternative footpaths. However, the bleak wet weather was discouraging. We took a good look at Barbary castle, walking around the ramparts and inspecting the various descriptive plaques, then when the chilly rain turned to sleet we diverted to the open air teashop at the nearby car park. After a brief discusson over rapidly cooling mugs of tea, we decided to call it a day and head for home.