The sailing year is now well and truly underway, we have already hosted a Winter Championship and a couple of team racing events and the largest storm of the winter has unfortunately made its presence known, flipping boats in the dinghy park (a reminder to all to ensure you have tied your boats down) and demolished the southern pontoon into several pieces.

Very many thanks to the group of volunteers on Wednesday that have now rebuilt the pontoon – Our leader Simon Conway, John Smalley, Martin Jeremy, Reuben Woodbridge, Jeff Stratford, Lacapo Bianchi and Dave Hopkins & John Balcombe from the duty team that also got roped in. It is now rebuilt and ready for use, although the mooring chains proved impossible to untangle so we will need to undertake some further work to be totally happy it’s anchored as needed.

2024 Sailing Plans

The Sailing Committee has been hard at work pulling together a variety of on and off the water events to hopefully appeal to everyone. Some of the highlights and some of the more significant changes from previous years are below:

– Starting with a trial in the Spring Series, afternoon racing will take a sprint format of 3 short, sharp races. With less focus on series results and more boat-on-boat tussles, winning the start / first cross and perfecting your mark roundings, the range of skills developed are completely different. It’s a format that is taking off at many other clubs for very good reason! An update next month about the start sequences and other updates to the Sailing Instructions.

– We welcome back a standalone Summer Solstice race on the closest Wednesday to Midsummer’s Day as a chance for the evening racers to compete in a trophy race. Can we get back to pre-pandemic turnouts of 70+ boats on a hot summer evening?

– The ever popular Lake & Cake, Lunch on the Lake and Start Racing initiatives continue, amongst many others.

– Jeff Stratford and his team will run both Powerboat Level 2 and Advance Rescue Helm courses right through to next winter, alongside regular First Aid courses.

– Angus, Ruth, Steph and the youth team have a busy Spring and Summer of courses and training planned in, with increasing plans for integration in to the rest of the club’s activities.

– Not to forget our open meeting schedule, with opportunities for Flying Fifteens, Merlin Rockets, Scorpions, ILCAs, Solos, Toppers, RS200s, RS400s, RS100s and RS700s to race against visitors on our own fantastic lake in dedicated opens.

– Visitor’s Day is being rebadged to help encourage back in turnouts of old. There’s a section later on around how the naming challenge went…!

– All this alongside the other regular club racing, trophy days and general sailing activities.

Something for everyone! If you want to see anything else in the calendar then reach out and we’ll have a think and see if we can get it organised!

Youth Courses and Chew Crew Plans

This year the CVLSC team are again working with All Aboard to deliver a combination of RYA youth courses and the Chew Crew programme, which allows those who can already sail to build skills, confidence and friendships, on the water.

The CVLSC youth programme will go live on WebCollect at 8pm on Wednesday 28-Feb-24. In the meantime, please email with any queries, or if you’d like to help out. Many thanks to all the parent instructors who’ve already signed up!

We know diaries fill up, so here are the provisional dates. We’re still in the process of confirming instructors, so there is a small chance that some dates will change. Due to inflation, prices will be higher than last year.

Stage 1, for absolute beginners aged 8+: 4 half-day sessions, on 20-Apr-24, 27-Apr-24, 11-May-24 and 18-May-24

Stage 2, for those with stage 1, aged 8+: 4 half-day sessions, on 15-Jun-24, 22-Jun-24, 29-Jun-24 and 06-Jul-24

Stage 3, for those with stage 2 and at least 1 season’s worth of sailing experience: 2 full Saturdays 13-Jul-24 and 20-Jul-24

Chew Crew, for those with stage 2+: 11 half-day sessions, which provide an opportunity to put skills into practice and build confidence. Running on the following Sundays: 21-Apr-24, 28-Apr-24, 05-May-24, 12-May-24, 09-Jun-24, 16-Jun-24, 23-Jun-24, 30-Jun-24, 07-Jul-24, 14-Jul-24, 21-Jul-24. We expect morning sessions to be tailored to those who’ve recently completed their stage 2, whereas afternoons will focus on those sailing at stage 3+ level.

RYA first aid course by Jeff Stratford

A RYA first aid course will run on Saturday 09-Mar-24 in the bar area at the Club. Time 0930 to 1630, cost still £30 for which you get the RYA first aid manual and RYA certificate valid for 3 years. Any questions please ask. Please book via your Webcollect account.

Advanced Rescue helm course by Jeff Stratford

The first Advanced Rescue Helm Safety Course of 2024 is on Saturday 6th April 0900 to 1630. It is NOT an RYA course but it is the aim of the Club that all rescue helms will either hold the RYA Safety Boat Certificate or have attended our one day in house course. You will be shown how to rescue people and boats. The only prerequisite is that you hold the RYA PB2 certificate. It is free to Club members and to book or if you have any questions please email me
To enable us to run these courses we need help with rigging and capsizing a variety of dinghies and being rescued. In return we offer our thanks and lunch.

Member Travels

After a quiet December, the hardiest of racers have been out at some of the biggest winter handicap events.
Ollie Houseman took his National 18 to both the King George Gallup (with 70 other entries to finish 12th overall) and the Tiger Trophy at Rutland last weekend. He was joined by Bill Chard and Josh Preater in a Fireball in a fleet of over 100 (photos of both Ollie and Bill & Josh below).
Elsewhere Ian Cadwallader sailed with Ellie Devereux at the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophyat Northampton. The same day we welcomed almost 30 visiting boats to Chew for the Solo Winter Championships. Class captain Chris Meredith was highest placed Chew boat. A big thanks must go to all the volunteers for running a great event with the event report starting with anyone absent having “missed a near perfect day’s sailing!”

Our university group members have been busy, with Bristol University hosting the annual BUSA Western Area Qualifiers last weekend at Chew. One of Bristol’s teams has made it straight through to the Finals event over Easter, while other Bristol and Bath teams will travel Edinburgh in a few weeks for Play-Offs to compete again for the last few Finals spots.

Outside of team racing, Bristol Uni’s Catherine Sears, Jennifer Russell and Ewan Craig have been selected for this years British Keelboat Academy, alongside the ILCA fleet’s Ed Baker.

Visitors Day rebranding!

Last month we opened up suggestions for the renaming of Visitor’s Day to the membership, and had a huge range of responses. The Sailing Committee have suggested they should all be publicised for their creative appreciation! So, in no particular order suggestions were received for the – Chew Crash, Chew Valley Rally, Chew Valley Chase / Chew Chase, Chew Comers, Chew On It, Chew Chancer, Chewdle Doodle Doo, Chew Ball Scramble, Timbuk Chew, Chew Mania, Chew to Do, Chew-able, Chewnami, Chew Choo, Chew Magnum, Chew Chomp, Chew Clash, Chew Contention, Chew Challenge / Chew Valley Challenge, Chew Chipotle, Chew Off, Chewed Up, The Mastication, Chew Valley Chiller, Chew Valley Carrot Crunch, Chew Wurzel, Chew Cider Maker, Chew Gold, Chew It, Chew Champs, Chew Cracker, Catchewup Challenge Cup, Trafalgar Trophy, Victory Regatta, Nelson Cup and Chew Lake Challenger.

The Sailing Committee resisted the urge to take any of the more nuanced suggestions (that may only make sense to the local of Chew dwellers) to recommend the Chew Valley Challenge.

The GreenBlue University sailing Sustainability Challenge

One again the club is supporting both Bath and Bristol Univeristy Sailing Clubs in their work towards The Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge. With the Universities we are running through an extensive checklist of areas sailing clubs can improve their sustainability, highlighting actions we can work towards in both the short and long term to reduce our impact. This sits alongside the excellent work Jon Elmes has already been doing at the club in the past couple of years in this area.

You may have seen some of the Green Blue posters in the main club room, and the challenge serves as a good reminder or our responsibilities as club members. We are lucky enough to sail in a SSSI / SPA and should treat it with the appropriate respect. In particular, we are required to
– adhere to the Check, Clean, Dry policy if returning to the club with a boat that has sailed elsewhere to minimise the risk on invasive species entering the lake.
– avoid landing on the banks of the lake away from the slipways or Denny Island unless in an emergency.
– keep speed in powerboats low, to reduce emissions, reduce underwater radiated noise and reduce the wake from the boats (while also reducing fuel use).

Andy Jones