Fitting out and launching club boat at Paglesham - 24 April

Mark S reports:

Sunday saw 5 members arrive at Clem's house to find Merganser ready for towing down to Paglesham (Thanks Clem!).We picked up Wo-Boat and set off in convoy to Paglesam. Boatyard much smarter now with the West side of the site fenced off and out of bounds. Fitting mast and sails didn't take long (lucky as it was fairly chilly with possible snow showers). Rowed out to mooring easily enough but getting back against wind and tide not quite so easy. Went looking for PH to have Launch Lunch - Plough and Sail full but we had a good meal at the Punchbowl at Church End. Returned trailer to chez Clem, had coffee and a chat and then went our various ways.

We didn;t go for a trial sail (bit chilly for me!) but Merganser is now on her usual mooring and available to sail.

PS Portaloo now available at rear of shed.



Shuttleworth Cup -  12 June

HSC member Gerald T. has both a dinghy and a 19 foot yacht, 'Cateran'. He took part in the Shuttleworth Cup race organsised by the Roach Sailing Association and sent me this short report:


I stayed aboard Cateran overnight to make an easy start for the race on Sunday. I had the novel experience of jostling a good start on the line. Ran down the Roach midpac doing well in a tustle with Verlocity (a Verl) and Waterwytch (a Sadler 25), meanwhile behind was Lotus and Ulabella, who touched and retired. The race continued out the Crouch to pass the Holliwell bouy to port and turn back home, this is where I lost a lot of ground thru poor tactics. Chasing Imothes I tried to go twixt Verlocity and Waterwytch, we three rounding the mark at the same time.
Tacking back up the Roach, Waterwytch ran aground and got stuck, leaving one boat Destdaye behind me, she now owned by a new skipper. I crossed the line 2nd from last, or last if Destdaye retired,she had made contact by radio with stranded Waterwitch.


Medway cruise - 25/26 June


Gerald T. reports that he has had a successfull short cruise with Mark S. on the Medway - Gerald writes:


Had a successful cruise from Upnor to Lower Halstow with 'Susie'. This was to have been an Estuary crossing with 'Cateran',but the destination, time & tides wer'nt right. As it was we got caught in a heavy thundery shower just as we were taking a short cut across Sharfleet creek, then found ourselves taking a rill through the Greenborough marsh, which wasn't our intention (a navigational/ helmsman error ). Running under Jib & mizzen it might have been prudent to anchor and reef the sail whilst riding out the squall. We popped out into Stangate creek and came up to Dave Jennings who was anchored sitting with his back to the weather. Coming alongside, the mizzen sheet decided to come undone, we were left with just the foresail, so had to run downwind, whilst I sorted the mainsail reef. One advantage of a traditional rig is that you don't need to be head to wind to hoist sail so we managed to get the main back up and under proper control.


We spent the night on the clubroom floor at Halstow rather than camping on the boat. The grass at the site was very wet. The following Morning we left at stupid o'clock (0530), for Queenborough hoping to find a cafe, we got there 07:30, eventually stopped for a brew up, after the 'admiral' ,that is Mark Smith, indulged in manoeuvres under Jib &mizzen. Then with the last of the ebb we set off back to Upnor for lunch and haul out, along with Dave Jennings and John Starkie. Whilst hauling out we found out why 'Susie' was more incontinent than usual - must have lost a keelband screw somewhere.


Home in time for tea.


To the Coln - 30/31 July

Mark S and Gerald took our club boat Merganser to the Coln and back - Mark S. reports:

Light winds on the way out meant that we stopped for tea half way between the two Raysand channel marker buoys and checked their mooring arrangements (they use an old railway wheel). We camped at Mersea Stone and in the morning sailed over to have breakfast in Brighlingsea where Gerald was pleased to see the local gigs out for a row. We had a good fast reach back over the Ray Sands followed by a lot of tacking up theCrouch & Roach against the tide.

Merganser is now back on her mooring (with a bit of a struggle and a few curses from Gerald as we got back at LW - we should have spent a bit more time in the Plough and Sail).


September 1st to 8th  2016 - Dinghy Cruise in the Charente Maritime

Several HSC members took part in a cruise in western France organised by DCA member Miles D. - for an account of this event See here.


18 September - Oyster Cup and the Paglesham Yacht Race

Quoting from the RSA race report:
On Sun 18th there were two dinghy cups to be won, the Oyster Cup as scheduled, plus the Paglesham Yacht Race which was blown out earlier in the year. The t
wo races were run back to back, starting with the Oyster Cup. The course was Wade to Port and they set out against a strong flood tide in a variable NW wind and warm weather. One hit the putty and retired, the other seven soon spread out, with Neville's new Bluebottle chasing Merganser in vain for the lead. On corrected time, Nani Dragon has 3rd place, Bluebottle second, and Makedo wins the Oyster Cup!

As soon as the last boat crossed the line, the countdown started for the Paglesham Yacht Race. This time the course was up-river to the Barton Hall buoy and back. They were close-hauled but running with the last of he flood, and all made it to the mark before the ebb, but the wind faded so the trailing boats were left to drift back to Paglesham. On handicap, Makedo has 3rd place, Bluebottle 2nd, and Patch wins the Paglesham Yacht Race!

This brings us to the end of the RSA 2016 Dinghy Series, in which 16 boats took part. Here are the final point scores, with Patch winning the series!

Patch 10 points

TT Waterwych 8 points

Makedo 7.5 points

Bluebottle 6 points

Stella Marie 4 points

Winks 4 points

Nani Dragon 3.5 points

Ianjo 3 points

Merganser 3 points

Sarah Edith 3 points

Tringa 2.5 points

Little Linda 2 points

ELG 1 Peter Y's mirror 1 point

TT Roamer 1 point

Pugwash II 0.5 points

Editor's comment: Handicap results are one thing, but surely line honors counts for something! - Mark S and Frank sailing HSC club boat Merganser were first over the line in both the Oyster Cup and the Paglesham Yacht Race and HSC chairman Clem also did well in his Mirror dinghy Nani-Dragon. But in the end this race series with a highly disparate fleet is just a bit of fun and an excuse for a visit to the Plough and Sail afterwards - I should make it clear that the HSC is primarily a dinghy cruising club - not a dinghy racing club.


3 December - Annual General Meeting

On the morning prior to our AGM we had a short stroll along the River Lee followed by a lunch in a riverside pub.

Our AGM was a straightforward meeting, there being no matters needing urgent consideration.

Clem updated us on the situation at Paglesham. The boat yard at Paglesham is now owned by Maclean Marine Engineering Ltd. The main business of this company is building luxury house boats but they are also managing moorings in the river.

The HSC made a loss this year, as last year, but given that we have some financial reserve it was not considered necessary to make any change to our subscriptions at this point. As always, the expenditure of the HSC is almost entirely related to our club boat and includes insurance, mooring and a facilities fee that we pay to the boatyard at Paglesham for car-parking, tender storage etc. Mark noted that we will soon need to buy a new foresail for our club boat.

The HSC still has the use of a small storage space in one of the boatyard sheds and Clem sugested that we should take a look at this and remove any items that are unlikely to be used again.

We agreed to end publication of our club newsletter 'Ahoy' which has been made obsolete by electronic communications. A bit sad in a way since we have been sending 'Ahoy' out to our members for something like 60 years. 

Our committee remains as for 2016 - Chair: Clem, Secretary: John, Treasurer: Julia