Sailing Club News – Thursday 25-Feb-21

We are pencilling in Wednesday 31st March as the ‘big’ day! As I write the print is barely dry on the details of how the lockdown will be eased, and we have yet to receive guidance from the RYA. But the hope is that we will be able to pick up where we left off seemingly ages ago. The sailing programme is mapped out for 2021/2, but the decision to print it to send out in renewal packs has been delayed. The programme details can be found on our website but are subject to change as the pandemic dictates. Regular emails will try to keep you all informed.

Our anticipation is that there will still be a need to ‘book in’ to sail, certainly as we restart activity. We will adapt our plans as further announcements are made, but suffice to say, the sooner restrictions are lifted, the happier we will all be.

Until 29-Mar-21 I am sure I do not need to emphasise that we are still in Lockdown and the Sailing Club is closed. Trips to visit your precious galleon, pre-season boat bimbling etc must wait until then.

Membership Renewals

Your membership renewal is due by 01-Apr-21.
We wish to welcome you back to a new sailing year at Chew, and pick up where we left off when the current lockdown restrictions are eased and Government rules/RYA guidelines permit.
Our membership secretary Rosie will send out your Membership Renewal email next week. There will be a link in your renewal email to your WebCollect account – when renewing please check that your details (personal & boat information, membership type, and duty preferences) are all up to date. You’ll find guidance on making changes in the email.

If you would like help, or more advice please contact Rosie on

Like most sailing clubs we are run by volunteers, so do please help by renewing before 01-Apr-21.

Behind the scene updates

I wanted to keep members posted on what has been happening ‘behind the scenes’ whilst the virus has taken over our lives:-

Replacement of the Lift.

Those with long memories may recall that, over a year ago our lift circuit board received the unwanted attention of a passing slug and, despite reparative efforts, has not worked since. Following discussions of ‘Ramp vs Lift’ the decision was taken to replace the lift within a purpose-built housing structure, in the same position as the written off lift. Planning permission was obtained, and I can tell you that work should hopefully have commenced by the time we re-open. This project will be especially welcomed by CLADS, though they are far from the only beneficiaries. Their activity was decimated in 2020. We hope that it may kick start their recovery from last year.


Very shortly after we re-opened following the first lockdown, it became apparent that groups trying to train did not have a suitable, protected outdoor focal point. Also, with no eating of food permitted indoors, having a covered outdoor structure would facilitate this happening, much in the same way as pubs and hotels. These needs have not diminished since, and the committee decided to consider purchasing a bespoke Gazebo with a louvred roof and draw-down side blinds to be sited at the lake entrance to the training room. Again, planning permission, and the necessary approvals from Bristol Water and Natural England have been obtained and, as soon as the paving slab base is laid, the gazebo will be in place.

Recreational Trail around the North side of the lake.

Members living locally will have noticed the news that the much discussed recreational trail may now indeed happen. Check out the internet for more details, but plans show that this will involve the trail crossing our entrance lane at the sharp bend halfway along. There will need to be another closed gate at this point to prevent ‘trailers’ walking up to the Club or gaining access to the lakeside. We have been working towards the goal of automating our entry process; this would involve getting power to the current outer gate. Now with a second gate planned for the trail, the costings to automate entry have effectively doubled. Reassuringly Tom Skailes has volunteered to pick up the baton of the automated entry project. My hope is that he will be able to update us all soon on progress.

Mark Rushall’s Final Racing Tips

Following Mark’s Zoom talk to us all, he was asked how a club sailor could go about improving. He wanted to give a broader answer:-

Profiling, however simply its done, should give some pointers as to where training effort might be most efficiently directed.
Start with the goal: what do you want to achieve.
Break down your sailing skills into as many specifics as you can be bothered with: the more specific, the more targeted your practice can be.
At its most simple the skills might be boat handling, starting, speed, and decision making. But you can see that it would be easy to chunk those up again and again.
Give yourself a current score for each, a score you think you need, to hit your goal, and a “how easy is it to sort this” score. (easy = high number).
Multiply the difference between where you are and where you want to be by the easiness score for each chunk and you might get some insight into where you should start.
If you can’t be bothered with the analytical approach, think about things this way.
You need boat handling to get around the course efficiently. So there is no point worrying about anything else until you can do that.
If you have good speed, you can get away with starting conservatively and staying near the competition, so I’d suggest that is the next priority.
There is no point getting better at starting until you know where you want to start and where you want to go next, so tactics comes next.
Once that lot is nailed, good starting will give you the opportunity to prove how it all comes together.
However, the job is still not done because you will have now inevitably set the goalpost higher. So, the spiral cycle continues!

Winter/Spring Survey 2021

Very many thanks to the 50 of you that took time to complete our recent survey . The survey focused in the following main areas to help us shape our planning over the coming year; Recreational & Wednesday sailing, our Core Race Team and priorities for the future.
A summary of the main results is shown below (but please do contact me direct if you would like to see the more detailed (anonymised) output):

Q: In terms of Wednesday sailing, Pre-Covid, rostered safety cover on Wednesday daytimes covered the period 10 am – 2 pm. During the summer last year we moved the start time to 12 noon and extended the session by 2 hours to enable sailing throughout the afternoon, and then shifted to 10am-4pm when the clocks changed back. We would like to maximise the hours available for members to sail on Wednesday daytimes, and to understand what sailing times our members would prefer.

The majority opted for the 12-6pm option or expressed no preference.

We also asked for people that would like to join our core race team (CRT) and help support our Open meetings over the coming year – thank-you to those that stepped forward, we now have more than sufficient numbers to support the range of events we hope to be able to host, Covid19 restrictions etc permitting.

Finally, we also asked you for thoughts and ideas for the clubs priorities over the coming year – the response broad as you would expect, but tended to focus around a few key themes:-

  • the need to simply get sailing and racing again
  • the need to maximise possible sailing time
  • restarting training, youth/junior and group activities
  • the need to get the bar and galley up and running as soon as we are allowed.

As a result of the recent Government roadmap we already have a little more clarity about what the future may hold. I have no doubt that the pandemic will mean we will need to be flexible in our approach to sailing and your feedback through the survey is helpful in this respect.
I shall look forward to seeing lots of you on the water soon, it doesn’t look as if it will be too long now until we are able to write with details of upcoming sailing activity!
Andy Jones

Doug Pattison and his Speed Sailing Exploits circa 1980

Friday 05-Feb-21 – By Helen Martin

A family affair; the boat called Force 8 (after Gail of course); brother Den involved in the building and design; the garden, garage and, I suspect, part of the house taken over; all the brothers on the beach, chest deep in water to launch and recover and everyone staying together in a big house near Castle Cove on the edge of Portland Harbour for the actual event.

We were really looking forward to Doug’s talk. It was one evening booked in the somewhat empty calendar(!) but more importantly I thought it might prompt my memory. Having grown up on the edge of Portland Harbour we watched the early speed sailing weeks in the autumn of each year with great interest and it always provided great entertainment.

Doug did not disappoint. The story of the development of Force 8, the foils, rig and sails, was told with plenty of technical stuff. There were engaging photos of his brother and himself, in the garden and garage, the family launching at Castle Cove, actually on the water, and ready to tow to Weymouth behind an orange Triumph GT6 mark 3. Gripping viewing, there was something for everyone who zoomed in, we think at least 30-40 members.

Thank you, Doug and Gail.

Errol’s Quiz answers (with the questions lest you have forgotten!)

  1. Which famous boat designer who has designed about 30 or so boats currently sailed at Chew, appeared on the TV show This is your Life after being surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Bristols then Colston Hall ? Bonus point: What year ?
  2. Why are Mirror Dinghy sails red ?
  3. What first did Ellie Cumpsty achieve on 24th July 2018 ?
  4. Who are the only 2 members that have ever been the commodore of CVLSC twice ?
  5. When full, what is the average depth Chew Valley Lake ? Bonus point: What is the maximum depth ?
  6. What was the name of the Government Minister who granted £10,000 to the club which was used to build the current clubhouse and who officially opened it once completed ?
  7. How many Chew boats sailed the first Bart’s Bash Race held in 2014 ?
  8. What was found on the shore of Chew Valley Lake in August 2017 ?
  9. How many boats raced on the evening of Wednesday 23rd June 2010 ? Bonus points: who were the winners of the A’fleet, B’fleet and Laser fleet ?
  10. What first occurred at CVLSC on 13th November 2019 ?


  1. Uffa Fox. 1963
  2. To match the masthead of the Daily Mirror newspaper
  3. First lady to win a race at the Solo National Champs.
  4. David Macklin and John Smalley
  5. 14’ or 4.3m. 37’ or 11.3m
  6. Denis Howells
  7. 119
  8. Caiman
  9. 101. Ralph Singleton RS800, Tim Johnson RS Feva, Steve Smith Laser.
  10. John Smalley launched the first Dragonflite95 RC yacht at Chew.

Virtual Racing on Sunday mornings

The virtual racing group have been enjoying their get-togethers on Sundays, racing in a most diverse variety of boats in some amazing locations around the world. Using the Virtual Regatta Inshore app, alongside a phone or tablet on a Zoom call, we have the ability to try and distract Toby Peacock with banter from his usual winning ways!
It rapidly became clear that we all needed help if we going to catch el Peacock, so I cheekily asked him if he would condense his considerable experience at this down to a simple article. I would commend you all to follow this link to fully appreciate the resulting guidance:-

He produced this summary at the end-

  • Start well
  • Stay out of trouble up first beat, take lifts if in slow boat or gusts if fast.
  • Avoid hitting lay lines early, especially the starboard one.
  • Get inside at windward mark en route to spreader, even if that means taking a penalty, especially in slow boat, otherwise you will be forced right downwind with very few rights or means of protecting air.
  • Try to keep clear air on first downwind – stretch legs and avoid luffing battles. Flight not fight at this stage.
  • Plan which leeward mark to take – the most upwind one!
  • On second beat, minimise leverage if defending, maximise if attacking.
  • Defend or attack aggressively on last run – keep left to get right of way, or very hard right if cleanest air.
  • Enjoy, learn and try and do better every race!

It seems that we have 5/6 more weeks before we can ‘have at’ each other on the water, so please do consider joining us on Sunday mornings, if only for the sailing chat. Contact Toby for the joining details –

Zoom social events

Those of you that tuned in to the Zoom social and heard about Doug Pattison’s experiences, designing and sailing an early foiling boat were fortunate indeed. The story was fascinating and the pictures of Doug, ably assisted by a very young looking Gail, were much appreciated.

Next on the social Zoom menu is a quiz evening hosted by another stalwart of the Flying Fifteen fleet, John Kelly. The date planned is Friday 19-Mar-21; there will be more details nearer the time, but get the dates in your very full diaries!

Reading all of that should fairly well take you all up to the end of March!

John Smalley –

British Moth Nationals at Chew – 1980

Memories of Junior July’s 

Brian Brooks was made an honorary Astronaut

The Chew ‘Blow Boat’ challenge

The honorary Aastronaut ‘assisting’ with the BBQ

The answer to one or Errol’s Quiz questions.

The Virtual Regatta Inshore app. you need on Sunday mornings!

The fish hatchery net after Tuesday night’s storm.