Sailing Club News – Thursday 15-Apr-21

Two weeks of sailing behind us now and what a pleasure it has been to see members enjoying the chance to sail, boat bimbling and much washing, so many displaced spiders (!) and our radio sailing group back stronger than ever. I hope you find lots to read about….

Also, a personal apology – I am responsible for sending out the booking emails giving you all a couple of days to book a sailing slot. Whilst I am ever hopeful that we will be able to discontinue this rather tedious process fairly soon, I have yet to get back into last year’s routine and many of you complained that you were given insufficient notice to book a sail last Saturday. I will pull my socks up and do better in the coming weeks!

Reminder – extended Membership Renewal date

Don’t forget 2020/21 memberships have been extended until the end of June to compensate members for the sailing time lost due to the recent lockdown. We are not asking members to renew in April (as usual at this time of year). Your renewal emails will be sent out at the beginning of June instead.

  • 2020/21 membership and boat fees are extended to 30 June
  • 2021/22 renewal is by 1st July, membership runs from 1July–31March, subscription & boat fees are reduced by 25%.
  • We’ll return to our normal membership year by 1st April next year.

If you have any questions or perhaps not intending to renew, please let the Membership secretary know

Health and Safety volunteer urgently required

Once again, I would like to appeal to any member who has experience in the field of Health and Safety to make themselves known and offer to help the General Committee in this essential field. We anticipate that this would involve advising a small group on the committee on matters pertaining to Health and Safety; there would be no requirement to attend committee meetings. Please get in touch –

Some words from Andy Jones and the Sailing Committee

Activity on the lake has seemed almost ‘normal’ over the last few weeks, with the return of various instructor, youth & junior training, Lake and cake making a welcome re-appearance last Saturday, the Wednesday evening racing getting going and the wind delivering a typical game of snakes and ladders for the racers last Sunday.

A Volunteer Request for a Cruising Representative on the Sailing Committee

The Sailing Committee would very much like a volunteer from among the cruising fraternity to co-ordinate the Sail and Ale series which runs alongside Rosie’s Lake and Cake group.
Please contact Andy Jones for advice on what this role would involve.

A report from Solo fleet captain, Toby Peacock

Non-linear narrative is a device used in story telling where events are described out of order. The idea is a simple one – for example, show the end at the beginning and spend the rest of the tale revealing how the situation arose. Breaking Bad, Pulp Fiction and The Ilyad all use the technique to great effect. 2021 has begun with CVLSC race officers attempting to bring the same imaginative methods to racing, by cunningly putting the gate midway through the lap rather than at the end. On Sunday this caused much hilarity as most of us sleepily followed Chris G round the wrong course, with only Simon and Nigel C alert to the plot twist. Suitably amused by this, the RO for the Weds evening practise race repeated the trick with not one but two marks to round after the gate. This time, however, the small but select Solo fleet were wise enough to read the course board! In fading light and gentle breeze Chris M retook the lead on the penultimate leg to foolishly win the Wednesday practice race and curse himself for the remainder of the series. Back ashore this was all topped off with beef curry overlooking the lake as the sun set. Just like old times, but with dryrobe now a la mode.

The Solo class demo boat is at Chew for the next two weeks. If you would like to find out for yourself why so many are attracted to this ever popular class please get in touch with Toby Peacock on to arrange a sail.

Radio Sailing Report by Simon Conway

Only 8 days after we were all released back into the wild the Chew Valley Radio Sailing posse witnessed the most boats on the water since its inception back in 2019. John Shimmel has now perfected the deployment and retrieval of course buoys and within minutes of the course being set, we (the regulars), were afloat and tweaking our “A” Rigs.
(“A” rigs are the largest possible suit of sails on the Dragonflite95 one-design class boat)

We were delighted to welcome a few guests today, Paul Smalley, Noah Curtis, John Steel and Duncan Gilchrist, that’s an extra four contenders, we were beside ourselves with excitement!

The spring-like conditions offered an opportunity for spectators too, who were obviously engrossed in all the excitement on the water as we could hear hails from the balcony like “It’s like watching paint dry!”, Why are we here?!” and “Can we go home yet?”. Honestly though, I think they were not paying full attention as the excitement and competitive spirit is as vibrant with these radio controlled boats as it is in the rest of the full-sized Chew fleets.

With a shifting Southerly breeze, moving slowly Westwards, each race required new tactics. It was Paul Smalley who dominated the podium with the most top 3 placements. After only a few races with starboard roundings (Simon Conway’s bright, yet unwelcomed idea) the course was reset to a more traditional Port flavour, which also helped with the ever shifting wind direction.

To add to the morning’s work load, we all deemed it necessary at one point to take the boats ashore, de-rig them and replace the “A”s with “B”s, a slightly smaller suit of sails to cope with the now rather blowy conditions. Although the “A” rigs cope with larger wind speeds, the result is a constant dragging of the main boom in the water when the boat is heeling, thus slowing it down. The smaller rigs prevent this from happening, resulting in quicker speeds on the water. It’s just too exciting, why wouldn’t you want to join in? Anyway, if that wasn’t enough, our guest John Steel brought with him an International One Metre class boat of 20 year vintage (that’s the odd looking boat in the pictures). An impressive sight, although we won’t be engaging in that class anytime soon, it was great to see it in action. The Dragonflite95 one-design class radio controlled yacht is affordable, easy to assemble and thoroughly enjoyable to race on Chew Valley Lake.

If I were to award a ‘Driver of the day’ accolade to anyone on this day, it would have to be John Spelman. Not only did he turn up with no transmitter, resulting in an hour’s round trip to get it, when he did get on the water and start racing with us there was more drama to follow. A slight oversight in rigging left the hull vulnerable to water ingress (he forgot to seal the large battery hatch which was swept away!) and now we all know what a sinking RC yacht looks like. John Shimmel was quick to attend in the rescue boat and the amazing resilience of both yacht and helm meant that both were soon back in the fray.

We usually meet, weather permitting, on Thursday mornings. If you’d like to be involved in any way, shape or form, or just come along and risk the addiction, please get in touch.
Contact John
Or Errol

Lake & Cake

We/the ladies had our first Lake and Cake of the year on Saturday 10-Apr-21. Most of the group went on a socially distanced walk along the tracks & lanes around Chew Stoke lead by Allen Marsh (one of our able boat park managers). The walk took us to a spectacular, and surprise view of the lake halfway round. All the meanwhile some hardy ladies (not deterred by the artic winds) went sailing instead and had a wonderful time.

As you expect from lake & cake, there was tea & plenty of cake afterwards – all spread out in the covid-free safety of the club car park.

The next lake & cake is on Saturday 15-May-21 when it WILL be warmer. I’ll send round a reminder nearer the time, and if you want to know more about lake & cake, or join our WhatsApp group (& email) please contact:

For sale: The Hilda May – offers in the region of £700 (see the picture on the right)

Many members will recall seeing the Hilda May, the club wayfarer, sailing on the lake over many years.
We have made the decision that the time is now right to retire her from our fleet of training boats and as a result she is now for sale, and are offering her first to members with offers hoped for in the region of £700.
The hull and spars are all sound, and she comes complete with a launching trolley, mainsail, genoa and storm jib. There is a cover, but it is old and will need replacing.

If you are interested please get in touch with me asap (, otherwise I will be offering it for sail more widely in a weeks time.


A cheering mail from an OOD on Saturday 10-Apr-21
Saturday sailing post lockdown: the OOD’s perspective…

A marvellous day. Between arriving early (08:30hr) and the Fever racing team deciding to have a lie in rather than come out on a cold breezy day, my OOD2 and I had plenty of time to be ready for the club sailors and other groups out today. A complete support team were supportive and responsive. I appreciated the input and advice from Steve Turner on my first watch as OOD. We flew the ensign at half mast to acknowledge Prince Philip’s passing yesterday.
Rob fed and watered us in his usual friendly way.

Helen (previous commodore) popped over to see how we were doing before taking the ‘Lake and Cake’ group for a walk instead of sailing (4 degrees in and above the water with an added chill factor). Skiff racing was very exciting to watch in strong gusts. Bath University students arrived for team race training. It was marvellous watching their boats, two with blue sails and two with yellow jostling as they honed their skills. They were clearly thrilled to be sailing again and enjoyed a picnic on the bank (I’m sure that they were all shivering in their shorts and tops after changing out of their sailing gear). Club boats enjoying a gentler time in the afternoon with a bit of sunshine and an easing of the wind. The RYA instructors’ course ran all day, on and off the water. Since it’s such a joy to be coming out of lockdown and the atmosphere was so cheerful, I decided to let those brave souls still out as the sun descended have an extra hour of sailing before calling in the last boats. Despite their extra time, an enthusiastic pair made the most of an extra run of the lake before a rescue boat made it clear that playtime was over.

Everyone was appreciative and exuberant after a super day.

Once I’d debriefed and thanked my rescue teams, everyone packed up and headed off home. OOD 2 and I locked everything away enjoying peace and quiet at the end of a fabulous and memorable day.

It is indeed really positive to see so many of you getting back on the water, but there is also the old recurring theme in this – the Club needs volunteers to help us run efficiently and safely.

‘If the cap fits’ please offer to help.

Also, if any of you missed Doug Pattison’s excellent talk about his speed sailing exploits, you can see the recorded version:-
The link to CVLSC website Zoom Talk by Doug Pattison 05-Feb-21
Or direct link to YouTube

John Smalley –

Racing last Sunday

Who said the wooden Solo is a thing of the past!

Good to see the Universities back in action

And Clifton College

Another of Ann Belcher’s beautiful pictures

Dragonflite racing

A ‘B’ rig breeze

Nip and Tuck at the windward mark

The first beat

The Lake and Cake walk

Hilda May for sale