Finally a report of a sailing summer from Jeremy Iles
Watching a young couple out in 2 club Toppers the other day, it made me realise that Clare and I have been members at Chew for 25 years: we had some sailing experience before, but started just like them, by borrowing club Toppers.
How things have changed: my main sailing this year has been on big boats. I volunteer as a Watch Officer for the Rona Sailing Project based on the Hamble: they have three ocean going yachts, and this year I went to Cherbourg and back on Donald Searle, an Ocean 75, celebrating its 40th year. We had a very mixed crew of young people from Shooters Hill in London.
A couple of weeks later I joined friends and their 2 young children on their Maxi 40 in Falmouth (also 40 years old). We sailed out past Wolf Rock and on to, and around the beautiful Scillies for a few days. Fortunately, the weather was good, and the passage was smooth. They are starting on a round-the-world trip next year and were sailing to Spain to over-winter the boat. I hope to be invited on some of that voyage, where, no doubt I’ll be the honorary grandparent!
And then I skippered a 35ft Moody for 5 days in and around the Isle of Wight: our younger son Rowan was Mate: Clare and two friends came along. For some of you this might sound simple – or beyond comprehension – depending on your experience, but getting the time and tides right to sail around the south of the IoW is tricky – I’m pleased to say we managed perfectly even arriving in Bembridge just 5 minutes behind my ETA. Berthing in marinas is always nerve racking, and at the end of July often requires rafting up against other boats: sometimes the neighbours are delightful, sometimes surly. But eventually even the grumpiest of them offered helpful advice on a controlled departure from a confined space. Always something to learn.
Back to dinghy sailing: we did our annual River Dart camping trip, launching our now venerable Wanderer from its home at Dittisham, and sailing up stream to camp at Ashprington Point along with my brothers’ family in their canoes. Arriving under sail at The Maltsters Arms at Tuckenhay is always a highlight. We did however, loose our outboard engine due to the failure of the supporting bracket. Maintenance needed!
And at Chew: Clare has been energised by Lake and Cake and has bought a better Laser: she bought me one too and I’m now gingerly getting used to it, and to the alien concept of, what’s it called, racing! Despite all my certificates and experience I am simply not cut out to be competitive, so I’ll be at the rear of the fleet, that’s if I don’t capsize on the start line again….
Many thanks for this, Jeremy!
The opportunities to dip your un-wet-suited toes in the lake, which is currently like a warm bath (!), are getting fewer; make the very most of them,
John Smalley – firstname.lastname@example.org