Ollie Wilcox at Vilamoura

Sailing Club News – Friday 09-Oct-20

This weekend would have seen the Club hosting one of our biggest events of the year, the Fireball Inland Championships with the Flying Fifteen S.W. Traveller open. This, along with the RS200 Open meeting on Saturday 24-Oct-20, Visitors Day on the 25-Oct-20 and the Laser Masters Championship on the0 07/08-Nov-20 have all become casualties of the pandemic. Notwithstanding this, the Sailing Committee have been considering happier times in 2021 and receiving requests for open events from many different classes as they begin to plan out next year’s calendar. Fingers crossed that some normality is on the horizon somewhere.

On a much brighter note, the lake is filling amazingly quickly after all the rain. Simon Conway may be regretting taking on the job of looking after the pontoons – you could almost have sailed between it and the shore on Wednesday. It was pulled back into position yet, lo and behold, now needs pulling in further two days later!

AGM – Wednesday 14-Oct-20 @ 19.30 – final reminder

If you want to be a part of this our first ‘Virtual’ AGM, please register with Chris Sunderland by noon on 13-Oct-20:-

Chris has also been coordinating a sub-committee trying to find Covid-secure ways for us to be able to gain limited access inside the main building for eating and changing purposes:-

News on the catering front

We are pleased to report that we have found our way through the morass of regulations to offer some indoor catering as well as our existing takeout service. Starting from this weekend members can continue to access catering facilities from the lakeside double doors, don their masks, queue, order and receive food from Rob as usual. You will need to sign in at the galley or use the special catering QR code there.

After receiving your food you will have a choice, either to take it outside via the single lakeside door or to go through into the bar area to eat inside. The bar area tables have been set out so as to give people a choice as to how near they want to be to others. Members can sit on their own at single tables or join with others as they choose, but the tables must not be moved and there must be no groups of more than six people together. You will find mats at the tables with a green and red side. When you sit down your mat should be green, when you leave you turn it over to the red side, to ensure the place is cleaned. Please dispose of compostable materials in the bins provided. Any normal cutlery and crockery will be collected from the tables after you leave. We hope you enjoy the new system and are particularly grateful to Rob, who is weathering the storm of changes and continuing to provide us with good food!

What about the changing rooms?

Some of you will be getting chilly changing in the car parks! The government guidance remains to avoid the use of changing rooms if possible, but we recognise that, with the cold weather ahead, we should begin to make our changing rooms available to those who need them.

We are shortly hoping to be able to open the gents and ladies changing rooms but limit the numbers of people inside at any one time. Entry will be through the side doors in each case (not the main double doors). Just outside these doors you will find a white board with slots marked on it. Write your name in a slot, use the hand sanitiser, then go in, change rapidly and leave by the same door, erasing your name as you leave. If there is no slot available, you need to wait until there is.

Showers cannot be used except in emergencies, neither will cubicle toilets. Some urinals and a washbasin will be available in the gents for use only by those who are changing. The toilet outside the ladies changing room will revert to ladies only use. Face masks should be worn while moving about the changing rooms. Those in the gents should exit via the urinals then go out through the side door they came in.

Racing News

Back to Racing – Series 1 results

18 races were sailed with 9 to count. At some point 56 Lasers, 45 ‘A’ Handicappers and 21 ‘B’ Handicappers joined in the fray.
The ‘A’ Handicap fleet was dominated by our Vice-Commodore elect, Andy Jones in his RS100, counting 3 wins and 5 second places.
Even greater was the domination of Chris Goldhawk in the ‘B’ Handicap fleet – he was discarding first places!
Peter Sherwin lead the way in the Laser fleet – he didn’t quite have the luxury of discarding firsts but still won comfortably.

Sunday 11-Oct-20 will be the start of our Back to Racing Series 2.
The plan is still to have two races sailed back-to-back with a start time of 11.00.
There will be three starts – All Handicap Boats, Lasers and Solos. The difference will be that boats which usually sail in the handicap fleet will have the option of sailing a windward/leeward course or the more traditional course which the Lasers and Solos will sail. Handicap sailors will have to declare on the booking form, (effectively the signing on process), which flight they wish to be in. All the Handicap boats will still start together. Also, the Race Officer may decide to set only one course for all which is a windward/leeward.
This change reflects the large number of asymmetric boats sailing and their desire expressed in the racing survey to sail on W/L courses; all will be explained at the briefing at 10.30.

Junior and Youth Sailing Update

Club Activities

A determined group of parents with the support of Cathy, our Club Principal, were successful in re-launching the club junior and youth race coaching, and the Chew Crew Intermediates program after the lockdown restrictions were lifted. Starting with some trial race training sessions in June, a weekly session of Chew Crew Intermediates and the Topper Race Group were held from late August until the end of September, along with some monthly training sessions for the 29ers.

It was great to see our younger sailors back out on the water enjoying themselves. Many thanks to Angus Penrice and Philippa Power for organising the Intermediate group, to Toby Peacock for jumping into running the Topper race training group and to Cathy Bartram for organising the Senior Instructor cover required for the Intermediate group.

The August and September training also witnessed the debut of the club’s new Dinghy Instructors and Coaches. Youth sailors Alfie Sheahan, Giles Griffith and Quinn Edmonds led both the intermediate and Topper race coaching sessions and received very positive feedback from both the attendees and Cathy.

Moving into the Autumn, the plan is to hold a regular series, probably monthly, of race training in the 29er, Laser, Topper and Feva classes. All sessions are open to the club’s junior and youth sailors, and in particular the Topper and Feva sessions are very much an introduction to racing so suited to those with less experience. Contact Nick Edmonds at youth@chewvalleysailing.org.uk if you’re not on the current email lists and would like to be added.

Travelling Activities

With the further easing of restrictions, several the club’s junior and youth sailors have been travelling to various competitive events. For obvious reasons, the single-handers were able to start a little earlier than the double-handers.

Noah Curtis has been trying hard to get back into the South West Topper Regional training group over the last three weekends in September to gain a place in this winter’s training squad. This has included trips to Brixham, Bristol Corinthian and WPNSA in Portland for the regional championships. The last 2 events were very windy with Noah death rolling three times in 3 races and still coming back with a beaming smile on his face.

Some of the youth Laser sailors have been off to warmer climes while travel was open. Ollie Wilcox was 40th out of 107 boys in 4.7 Laser Europeans, Vilamoura, Portugal in August – his first European event in Lasers. Back in the UK Ollie was 1st overall at the 4.7 UKLA National championship held at WPNSA – the Laser 4.7 National Champion!

Dru Townsend also travelled over to Vilamoura to take part in the 4.7 European Championships, luckily quarantine restrictions were lifted while they were there so she was able to fly home and still go to the UKLA Laser Radial Nationals where she finished 13th in Silver and 1st U17 girl. She plans to do UKLA Autumn qualifiers and the RYA Youth Nationals in October half term.

Ed Baker also made it to the Laser Radial Nationals and after an enjoyable week finished 33rd in gold fleet, and learnt a huge amount sailing in such a strong fleet.

In the double handers, both the RS Feva and 29er national championships were cancelled, but Rosie & Susie have been keeping the Chew flag flying at the Feva Summer and Regional Championships. They were 3rd in a 50 boat fleet at the Feva Summer Champs narrowly missing out on 2nd on countback.

The 29ers have been busy with 3 boats attending the first event in September.

William DeJaeger and Sam Cox were delighted to qualify for gold fleet at their first 29er event which took place at WPSNA in high winds on 19/20th September. Best placing was 25th which they’re hoping to improve on in the next event, GP2 at Weymouth on 10/11th October. Megan Rhodes and Alfie Sheahan had a baptism of fire in their first 29er event together but put in a very creditable performance finishing half the races.

Ted Lane & Rupert Clapham have been practicing in their 29er at both Thornbury Sailing and Chew over the last few months, as well as attending the training at Chew led by Alice Masterman (British Sailing Team 49FX crew). Their dedication was rewarded with a 5th place as their best result in their half of the 74 boat fleet. The lighter conditions on the second day saw them slip a bit but ultimately come 19th in gold fleet. They were most happy with their consistent starts being front row and having a clear lane and options on the first beat. However, looking forward they claim they will be working very hard on their chartwork to determine the locations of the submerged hazards while training on the lake to avoid wrecking their foils again.

Meanwhile Finley Oliver has moved from the front of the 29er to the front of a 420 in a new pairing with Heather Quinn (despite his best efforts he still can’t escape his old helm Quinn!). Their first event was the Autumn Championships in Brixham where they scored towards the front of the new pairings in the class.

Next up for both the Laser and 29er sailors are various GPs, European qualifiers and then the Youth National at WPNSA at the end of the month.

Radio Sailing report from John Shimell

The club’s small Radio Sailing group began sailing at the start of the year, racing the ‘One Design’ DragonFlite 95s, and has already grown to seven, with Simon Conway and John Kelly having decided to join us.

Our initial trials were to establish three basic things .. compatibility with other lake users, acceptable sailing and racing conditions along our club’s waterfront, and, of course, sufficient ‘sailing’ content, as opposed to simply the radio control element, to make it a satisfying form of yacht racing.

We are now close to confirming all three ..
We can sail & control the yachts from the shoreline, for a range of well over 100m, well beyond the distance needed to organise close tactical racing.

Our initial concern, that the prevailing Westerly winds would prove too erratic for effective racing, having been disrupted by both the wooded headland and the clubhouse itself, has largely proved unfounded. In fact, if you compare the typical ‘Wind Rose’ for Somerset, with the one measured by the club’s own weather station, you can see that the ‘bend’ in the wind created by the land contours, actually converts the prevailing Westerlies to a more-or-less Southerly direction, perfect for close and effective racing along the club’s shoreline..

And, finally, yes, the racing has proved to be every bit as interesting and demanding as both real dinghy racing and the ‘Virtual Racing’ that was also tested earlier in the year. The yachts have the same range of controls, everything from luff, leach, outhaul, downhaul, kicker and rig tension as a full sized yacht, but with the big difference that having prepared your boat for the prevailing wind conditions you can only adjust the sheeting angles and the rudder during the race itself.

And for proof that the concept really does work .. look no further than the noisy ‘enthusiasm’ from the clubhouse balcony on Wednesday, as Dave Macklin, Brian Brooks and other stalwarts watched four of us battling upwind to the top mark, in one of the races that day.
They had a perfect view of the close racing and port/starboard manoeuvres played out in front of them, with the inevitable tight calls, and yes, the occasional port/starboard collision attracting plenty of vigorous comment.

So, watch this space. or ask any of us for a test sail if you are interested in trying it for yourself. It can be every bit as exciting and demanding as real racing .. but at a fraction of the cost, on dry land & wearing warm & comfortable clothing.

Not to be sneezed at.. sorry.!

John Shimell – jsolo2008@gmail.com

Laser trip to Rock Or Five went down to Rock

…over the bar, up the creek, and out to brunch…

The delayed ‘Easter’ Laser trip to Rock was finally made in September, staying in one of our favourite houses by the sailing club. The Cooke family found lodgings in Bodmin, as Rock, and indeed, Cornwall was full. The trip was a cross between an Enid Blyton adventure and ‘Swallows and Amazons’ including lashings of cake!

Between us we had three lasers, 2 windsurfers, 2 kayaks, 3 stand-up paddle boards and 3 body-boards. Instead of the usual regatta, we spent every day exploring the Camel Estuary in our assortment of craft. Lasers sailed over the bar with windsurfers and paddlers close by under blue skies.

We sailed and paddled all the way up to Wadebridge with the tide, a first ever for the group.

The glorious weather changed when a sea fog drifted in blanketing the estuary. With no wind we paddled across the estuary, under the iron bridge and all the way up Little Petherick Creek, another first for the fleet. We paddled quietly up to the fresh water source, exploring an old mullet fish trap amongst the saltings.

Our final day was one of Cornwall’s finest which we spent enjoying brunch from the balcony of the Rock Inn and swimming against the incoming tide.

It seems that it takes more than a pandemic to dampen life at the Sailing Club! (And many thanks to those who have contributed articles and pictures).

John Smalley – vice-commodore@chewvalleysailing.co.uk

A socially distanced prizegiving on a sunny day


Socially distanced radio controllers

Dragonflite 95s battling to the first mark

Errol’s fancy new sail…

Laser sailors who’ve lost their Lasers!

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