|Porthpean Sailing Club|
Return to the Beach.
Sunday 8 May 2022
A bright and sunny morning changed within thirty minutes to a cold, overcast and foggy morning, with south-easterly twelve to twenty miles an hour wind lifting a short chop. The surf, soft beach and high tide made for awkward launching and so it was not surprising that there appeared to be no enthusiasm for boating. Stuart P, with the spirit of the 1980s in his veins, a time when timidity was frowned upon at PSC, cracked the cat-o-nine tails and six boats were driven into the surf. The single-handed boats were shoved into the surf first and made it safely, followed by Paul and Kelvin who made it look easy. I am afraid Sweet Janny B misbehaved, taking off into the surf, dragging me behind her like a lump of kelp, hanging on the transom. I did manage to get aboard, and despite me floundering in the bottom of the boat, we somehow cleared the surf.
As we jockeyed for the start line, I looked over at Andrew, who had Clare crewing for him. They were riding down a wave and the smiles spread from bow to transom. To my mind, that’s what dinghy sailing is about. The first race saw Paul and Kelvin’s start timed perfectly, giving them a lead which they kept the whole way round, despite a spinnakery moment that saw Kelvin’s head down the spinny chute. Chris, Tosh and James were all in close contention at the first mark, leaving the Kestrel and Andrew and Clare with it all to do. Two spinnaker legs helped, allowing us to catch James, who was giving a demonstration of how to ride his little Aero down the waves. Tosh took a splosh between the beach marks and Chris in his Phantom missed a lucky wind shift, allowing Kessy to squeeze through and try to draw in Paul and Kelvin. It was not to be, and they romped home first on the water by quite a margin.
The second race saw a, almost unprecedented at PSC, general recall. I am pleased to say the restart saw a more mannerly approach, that is, except for James D, whose Aero has the ability to moor itself pin end on the start line. Sometimes a bad start is not a bad thing, especially when your Tack-tick suggests that the fleet has missed a lovely lift on port tack. That bit of luck saw Kessy take the lead, aided by Paul doing the lifejacket in the spinny pole whilst tacking trick. Having twin poles is great, but sometimes, more is less. Chris’ Phantom seemed to be revelling in the waves, chasing the Kestrel. We managed to hold him off, but we were both glad it wasn’t a longer race. The second race saw Andrew and Clare really making the boat work, spinny up, spinny down, gybing round a tight turn, all the stuff that is usually a muddly mess with a scratch crew; I take my hat off to you Clare. Small boats and lumpy seas make for awkward sailing, as I guess both Tosh and James will vouchsafe. Despite this, both boats kept very much in touch, and I suspect James will have won on handicap.
The coming home was wisely done, one at a time by most of us, realising that surf and soft sand require as many hands as can be mustered. Thanks must be given to Stacey, Barney and Barney minor for tractor duty, and to everyone who worked as a team to get the boats clear. Also, a big thanks to Ron and William for doing OOD and for their culinary skills. Ron, if you ever feel wasted at sea in the Nationals, the galley has a place in its heart for you! And of course, I can’t sign off without a big thanks to Emma, Ciaran and Ken for a great course and for shivering through two forty five-minute races.
Sitting at the bar with friends, looking out to The Gribbin in what was now a sunny afternoon, Janny and I considered that Sundays don’t get much better than this and feel so pleased to see PSC coming back to life.
Sunday 3rd October 2021
This season, which I think was eagerly anticipated by everyone, seems to be sliding by all too quickly. Wednesday evenings are reduced to ale and snooker now, and Sundays are favouring back to back racing. The season has been a mixed bag,, with both light variable winds, affording Pimms and canapes on the centre thwart of the Kestrel and some really strong blows, causing crew and helm to hang like rag dolls with ankles trapped, whilst Kessey threatens to shake herself apart. Last Sunday was one of the latter. Jeremy H cowed us, making us examine our timid hearts; keeping this politically correct, he accused us of being padded foot rests. Sadly, only five boats crossed an unusually biased start line in what was a fairly brisk WNW breeze. Unfortunately the sunshine, which had tempted us out, clouded over and the towering cumulus clouds brought some mast-shaking squalls. Paddy and Ken teamed up to give Jeremy and Suzanne competition in their Tasars, leaving Ron and William in the Pico, Paul and Kelvin in their Scorpion and us to bring up the rear. It was pretty clear, after we saw most of the underside of the boat, that it was survival tactics for us. Ron and William seemed to be coping well, although it did look like a pretty wet ride for them. William appeared quite unphased to be sailing in twenty-five knot winds. It’s lovely to be able to see such faith and bravery; I reckon he is the next Francis Chichester in the making. Jan and I were lucky to sail into a lull at the gybe mark and careered off downwind, half expecting the kite to split in two. Not so lucky, the Scorpion, which approached the gybe mark in a hell of squall, causing Jan and I to look back with deep concern and sympathy as they headed off towards Black Head. Sadly, it was not Paul and Kelvin’s day, having later to capsize in order to do a rig repair. The two Tasars were somewhere in the distance, and despite the conditions, seemed to be having a real tussle, resulting in a victory for Paddy and Ken, and second place for Jeremy, Suzanne and Bacchus. I shall round off with thanks to Marcus and Alex, for manning the rescue boat, although we would have enjoyed the entertainment of their 49er in full flight.
Also, a big thanks to Nigel in the box and Steve W in the galley.
Wed 5th May 2021
Happy days, we are up & flying.
I managed to get a couple of hours off this afternoon to get the old 400 up & running. Paddy & Andrew were in the yard waiting for the delivery of the new PSC lawn mower that actually turned out to be a mini tractor, so were on hand to help get the mast up on the old girl.
Jeremy & Suzanne took to the rib & set a cracking triangular course which had delightful & welcome spinnaker legs from the beach marks to Black Head & Black Head towards Carlyon Bay. That left, in true Porthpean style, as you can imagine, a shifty beat back to the Beach Marks.
Ken & I were late to the start & only managed to catch the one minute gun as we arrived in the start area. Apparently the start was on the dot of 19:00. Unfortunately none of the sailors had anticipated this & no one was even close to the line. Suzanne has the embarrassing evidence in several great clips of this evenings action which we will endeavour to upload for all to see. Fortuitously we decided to tack to keep out of way of the 49er on our arrival to the start area & that left us facing the correct way & heading towards the line for the gun & we eventually got across about 5 seconds late. Looking around wondering where everyone was we set off in clear air & the whole playground empty Infront of us.
It was very quickly evident that the Barn’s duo would be the threat, sporting their kite on both off wind legs & banging out a consistent pace around the race track in with the main gaggle of Chris Isles, Mike Voyzey & Keith in the Blaze.
Great weather & a lengthening day meant the OOD ( Paddy ) could give us a longer race than last week & we all thoroughly enjoyed a bit longer on the water. Nowadays it seems to be a given in most sports, it’s all about the start & tonight was no different. The healthy advantage we had on the start line was almost identical to the lead we finished with. Perhaps one day our boats will be fitted with launch control systems & we will manage an orderly symmetrical take off. With a greatly reduced fleet size for the start of the season due to the extended winter flu season there was plenty of water for us to play in & keep clear of our fellow protagonists so little serious action was noteworthy. We are all desperately awaiting the return of our friends to the water so we can let off a little steam with a little start line Argy Bargy, Bar tittle tattle & hopefully the return of famous PSC Bacon Butties.
Clive’s Grand Daughter has decided to have bash at sailing & the duo spend the evening in one of the Club Pico’s keeping an eye on the fleet whilst practicing the vagaries of our passion. I am sure that her youthful exuberance will soon lead to a hot seat in the competitive tasar fleet & lots of shouting about lead in the boat.
Those blasted & unwelcome restrictions lead to social distanced outdoor drink to wind down the evening on the cold of the decking.
So looking forward the warmth of indoors & the companionship of our friends.
See you on the water sooooooon!