Sailing Club News – Saturday 04-Jul-20

The most significant happening since the last news is that the Southern pontoon has been re-built at last! It is in exactly the same format as before the storms, but I can vouch for the solidity of the anchoring process. Good news for the many members who rely on it to help launch their boats.

Some words from Helen

Before I attempt to summarise what the next steps for sailing at Chew might look like, I want to say thank you on your behalf to John Smalley, Simon Conway and Brian Brooks for their work in reinstating the southern pontoon. Brian did a lot of the preparation work with the Pontoon and Dock Company immediately after the storms and before lockdown. John Smalley picked up the baton in the last couple of months so the work could be done this week. Without John and Simon’s three long days with our RIBs supporting the contractors, I’m not sure it would yet be in place. Read about the operation further down this news.
We would like to get as many people as possible sailing safely, always aiming to follow government and RYA guidelines and advice. So, what is in the pipeline?

CVLSC Covid 19 ‘Return to Sailing’ Phase 2

Thank you everyone for your cooperation and support for each other. Remember please that everyone on site should sign in with the OOD, should there be an outbreak we have a responsibility to assist with ‘track and trace’.

Phase 2 in fact began quietly and rather windily (is that a word?) last weekend with two sessions on Saturday being available to book. We have been planning a number of further changes depending on government announcements, DCMS guidelines and RYA advice. Following the PM’s announcements on 21-Jun-20, some frustratingly inconsistent detail came from the DCMS on the 28-Jun-20, and the RYA advice on 29-Jun-20. John, Andrew Jones and I attended a virtual workshop yesterday (Thursday) and met immediately afterwards.

Have a read of the RYA guidance with a short video by Ian Walker which has just been released on to the RYA website.

The most positive aspects are:-

  • We have been able to go sailing – some sports/activities still cannot go ahead – e.g. swimming pools, gyms, football, rugby.
  • We can start to do some racing! Hooray!! The guidance received just as I was about to send this appears to confirm that, whilst gatherings onshore must be less than 6 from different ‘bubbles’, larger numbers can sail and race. Our intention is to start racing again on Sunday 19-Jul-20. The format is still being decided, so watch out for more news, and we will still have the current booking system in place. To try and ensure that this does not impinge on the capacity for recreational sailing members to sail, the Sunday sessions are going to be lengthened from 4pm to 6pm. A second duty team of volunteers will take over from the ‘early’ team at 2pm.
  • From Wednesday 08-Jul-20 club boats will be available. We are just finalising the process to ensure that boats and kit are used by only one person or household each day, and then not used again for 72 hours. We believe we have a simple system for Teras, Toppers and Optibats; slightly more complicated involving booking for the Quests and Fevas. Please have a look at the draft instructions here:- Coronavirus Use of Club Boats
  • Also starting on Wednesday 08-Jul-20, in the evening, Rob Hatherell is trialling a pre-booked take away meal service. You won’t have to order specific food, just say that you want a meal when you book to sail. Rob will be using disposable containers, compostable as far as possible; you’ll collect and pay for your food inside (distanced queuing please and Card payment only). You will have to eat outside, so you may wish to bring camping chairs, rugs and an extra warm layer!

Please take a look at this link explaining how the catering will work for us:- Coronavirus Catering Members Guidance

  • Nick Edmonds is trialling some small group youth training on Saturday, weather permitting, with a view to more training going forward.

Depending on your point of view the less positive points are:-

  • We still have to control the numbers of members on site, and know exactly who they are for ‘Track and Trace’ purposes, so the current booking system will remain in place.
  • Social distancing restrictions mean that there are still issues with double handers, if sailors are not in the same household or social ‘bubble’.
  • Similarly with rescue boats, although in an emergency most of us are willing to help. At last we have a reasonable supply of gloves, masks, aprons – there are 2 grab bags should you need to administer first aid.

A few questions came up in the recent members’ survey – here are a few short answers. I am very happy to explain in more detail – do ask me when you see me or email me.

The gate padlock is a multiple contact point. Bristol Water have insisted that the gate is locked.

Our sailing days are limited by our lease.

Buddy systems have been considered from time to time – we feel that Chew is a very different place from, for example, Cheddar reservoir, and at the moment we do not want to take this step.

Please, if you have any thoughts or comments to make on how our Return to Sailing is developing, feedback to John or myself.

Anna Mason sailing with no hands took this!

Fireball crewing can be fun ….!

Radio racing has already started – the rush to the windward mark..

Windward mark is the pole – a tight turn!

‘That’ Pontoon

On Monday morning last week three guys arrived with a large truck carrying a crane, many pontoon pieces and lots of pontoon building kit, including two 1500kg and two 1000kg concrete anchors. A second van had an ‘A’ frame hoist aboard.
They started by building a square pontoon with a ‘hole’ in the middle onto which they strapped the hoist such that it could lift and lower weights through the hole. A RIB was securely attached to move it into position. Take a look at the pictures.
The ‘straight’ pontoon section was reassembled on the large slipway and pushed/pulled into place by our RIBs.
Then there was the anchoring! In the hope of keeping costs down, I suggested they re-use some of our railway wheels – single ones of these were the anchors for the original pontoon. The problem was, they were at the bottom of the lake! I fear that the company had not forseen the difficulty of retrieving these using the hoist, chaining two lots of three together to produce weights to the required spec. – 1000kg. This took most of Monday.
Tuesday saw us collecting the railway wheels and relaying them as the first pair of anchors. This took a long time, but I have to say the lads were totally fastidious about ‘laying’ out the decreasing thicknesses of chain to produce a ‘damping’ effect on the pontoon.
In the end what was planned and priced as a two day job finally saw the team off site at 5pm Wednesday – exhausted! (Including Simon Conway, our intrepid RIB driver).
I must confess, it gave me a great deal of pleasure seeing it back in all its glory. I only hope that it stays that way….If it doesn’t it will not be for lack of effort and forethought.

In the meantime, stay safe and sail if you can!
John Smalley –
Helen Martin –

The crew arrive.

The anchor lifting and lowering rig

Tugging and pushing

After three days….!