RYA Director of Racing Ian Walker at Chew Valley on 01-Feb-18

Sailing Report

BUSA Team Trials – I am still recovering from spending the weekend on the committee boat watching the fun as many students from all over the South West and Wales battled to try and reach the finals of this annual event. We had 19 teams which meant a potential total of 177 races over the two days! The wind did not co-operate on Saturday – a late start meant we had not reached 50 by ‘off the water’ time. Sunday brought a cold but almost perfect team racing breeze and stumps were pulled at 4.30pm with 134 races completed – amazing! Anyone wanting a crash course in understanding the racing rules would do well to join the committee boat for team racing – it was an education.

We should all be grateful to Keith Harris and Claire Jefferis for running the racing like a well-oiled watch, and Nick Martindale who was our club judge on one of the umpire boats – well done all of you. That fails to mention the excellent students from Bristol University whose turn it was to take charge of the organisation; their dedication was impressive. The winners were Exeter with a tie for 2nd spot between Bristol, Bath, Plymouth and Exeter 2nds. As with the Bristol Brew at the end of last year, I think it is truly heartening to see the clubhouse buzzing on a cold winter weekend with young people sharing in a common love of our sport.

Frostbite Series – Sunday 28th saw a wet, gusty South Westerly wind across the lake. This freshened as the morning race progressed producing a number of retirements and a much depleted start in the afternoon. John Shimell actually fell out of his K1 in an enormous gust, but succeeded in hanging on to the tiller extension (and ‘extension’ is the right word – it was a fancy extending one and it extended to full length!), but he recovered and climbed back in. The visiting RS800 showed us all a clean pair of heels in the Handicap fleet.

Last Sunday the club racers were concentrated in the Northern part of the lake with students camped near the fish breeding nets. It was sunny but cold which again kept numbers down. Julian Cooke triumphed over Peter Sherwin in the morning Laser race, but Cathy Bartram is still consistently leading the series. Again the numbers were down after lunch.
Sadly the SoSlows have been largely absent from the frostbite excitement – fleet captain Alex tells me they may still be hibernating….

CLADS – Steve Nash and his hardy bunch of sailors held their New Year’s evening meal and Quiz on Saturday 27th. The theme was ‘Burns night’ and we all enjoyed the traditional verses (and a translation into proper English!) before consuming a feast of Haggis, a full roast and Cranachan pudding; Rob in the galley did us proud – it was delicious. The ‘Thornhill’ table thoroughly whipped us all in the quiz, though the quizmaster had been sitting there during the meal….! It was a great evening and hopefully has set them all up for the year ahead.

Astronomy – On Saturday 20th the Bristol Astrological Society took over the clubhouse armed with telescopes for the evening.  I wasn’t there but thanks to Sandie Andrews and Mike Pearce for hosting them and, I gather such a good viewing was had that they may return to Chew in March. Watch this space…(no pun intended!)

Ian Walker – what a privilege it was to hear the tales Ian had to tell on Thursday 1st. He has lived an extraordinarily adventurous life. He spoke about the sadness of John Merricks tragic death, his attempts to win the Volvo Round the World Race (before finally winning it), and his hopes for the development of sailing and young sailors to become future Olympians. He spoke for at least 90 minutes and I didn’t notice the discomfort of the clubhouse bucket seats at all… Thanks go to Alex Timms for soliciting Ian to come.

The Tractor – our trusty workhorse which makes life so much easier for the rescue helms has blown a gasket. It will be out of action for several weeks so I’m afraid it is back to ‘roping in’ sailors to help recover the RIBs.

The Committee Boat – our committee boat was returned to the water for the team racing this weekend and will be put back on its trailer this week to complete its winter servicing.  It is also due to have a new cover made to replace the very old original.

The Internet – IT users amongst you will be delighted to hear that after many frustrating weeks of huge effort by most of the General Committee, we are now back online!

House and Grounds

New Electric Substation – Western Power intend to replace the aging power box adjacent to the site of the wheelie bins. This will start on the 12th, (it is anticipated the power will be off for two hours), and may continue for two weeks. Power to the Club in the meantime will be supplied by a generator which will run 24/7. The generator will need to be located in front of the shed as you look from the club house, … so will encroach into the car park slightly. As such to allow cars top get past we will need to prevent cars parking opposite the generator and there will be cones placed to guide us.  The Club Toppers have been moved from their rack and are temporarily placed in the upper dinghy park.

Kitchen re-decoration and deep clean – this will also happen during the next fortnight so please be tolerant as Rob has to move his kit into the main room temporarily.

Forthcoming Events

Sunday 18th Feb. – Class Race Day 6. Although billed in the calendar as a 6 race day, this will again follow the usual format of 3 races, one in the morning and two in the afternoon. There are starts for all the usual club fleets and when they have sailed 3 races, one discard will be allowed. Prizes will be awarded in the bar afterwards.

Please make an effort to come along and enjoy the fun – I am keeping fingers crossed for a favourable forecast.

Saturday 17th March – Talk by Adam Bowers. This is part of a weekend of Fireball Training prior to their open meeting the following weekend. Adam has a wealth of sailing experience in many dinghy and yacht classes and is a hugely entertaining speaker. If you want to join the Fireball crews for this evening presentation there will be a small fee but, believe me it will be worth it  – Adam’s last talk at Chew was inspirational! More information about this will follow shortly.

John Smalley – Vice Commodore