Lymington to Newton Creek – February 2019

The forecast had held steady for several days; a F3-4 from the East for Saturday. Thursday was foggy, Jenny & Roy warned us on Friday of fog, and the BBC on Friday suggested that the wind would blow it away.
I started from home in thick fog and a bit of a heavy heart, because Ged has a long way to travel and I hoped it would be worth it. Ged trailed most of the way in bright sun, only plunging into fog at Dorchester.
In Lymington at 08:30 the sun was clear with light mist and the breeze a F3 from the East.

08:30 and the fog had lifted over the Solent

With Ged, Jim and me in the Swallow Storm 17, and Keith and Tim in their new-to-them Topper Sport 14 we left at 10:30 in a good enough breeze which held for at least 10 minutes before becoming extremely light. At the exact time of becalming, Chimet was showing F4 and Bramblemet showing a F5 from the East. We had got as far as the river entrance in 90 minutes.

Just as we launched the wind dropped

We could see zephyrs and little bits of wind as it filled in, and soon we were heading for Newton Creek, the Storm 17 pulling solidly in the breeze, full sun on our faces.

Becalmed at the entrance, while the East and Central Solent were at this moment enjoying a F4-5 from the East….
The entrance to Newton Creek, and the ebb had set in.

I’ve not been in a dayboat style boat before, and it’s a very lovely place to be; comfy cushions, a self tacking jib, great stability and excellent company. I was overwhelmed by the number of sticks and string, and it would take a little while to work out which rope did what. Ged has had Peewit for 4 years and has it mastered. 
We arrived late at the entrance to Newton Creek, the ebb had begun both in the main channel and at the entrance to the harbour itself, making it a challenge to get in. 

With the wind from the SE and the tide ripping out of Newton Creek, we had to plan carefully to get into the entrance.

By sailing very close to the shore we got out of the tide, shot the entrance accepting that we were briefly pushed into the main tidal stream, over-stood it by what looked like far too far and powered over the ebb on a close reach. It was a puzzle to solve and Jim did a great job of piloting us in, to find ourselves alone in the little lagoon on the western side of the harbour entrance.

The beautiful lagoon on the Western side of the Newton Creek entrance.

Keith had been fettling the complex set of ropes at the front of his boat, and continued to play in the main channel while we had a very quick lunch and began our return journey.
Many will recall the dramatic speed of the ebb in the Western Solent from previous excursions to Newton Creek. With an Easterly F3 we needed to reach straight across the waters heading North. We passed the big Starboard deep water channel buoy to the East, but were carried to the West of the Port mid channel marker as the ebb was full speed. The addition of a fourth sail to the Storm 17, a mizzen staysail, made a considerable difference to our speed. We all made Lymington entrance safely, landed, packed up and retired to the pub for a natter before heading home. 
It was remarkable how warm and sunny the day was, how empty Newton Creek was, and what a joy it was to be out and sailing a ~14 mile daysail in the middle of February in great company and in a lovely vessel. My thanks to Ged for offering me a crewing place and allowing me to helm his lovely vessel on the way home.

Group Cycling – Three Reports

Havant to Ferry Boat Inn – December 27th

The day began cold and misty, one of those days that you hope the sun will burn through and that then it will be a bright day. We set off for the coast and as we travelled there were a few fog patches but the weather gradually improved and it became sunny. Rob had asked us to delay our start for a few minutes so that he could catch the train and meet us at Havant Station which he did. We set off along the lovely cycle path to Hayling thinking about what it must have been like when this was a steam railway line and what must fun it would have been to travel it. British Railways surely missed a great marketing opportunity here. If this line had been kept in steam hundreds of thousands of people a year would probably use it for the pleasure of travelling to the Hayling beaches on it. The restored steam line at Swanage shows what can be done and no doubt what could have been done at Hayling given some vision. The views over the harbour from the cycle path were lovely with the Spinnaker Tower clear in the distance and also Portsdown Hill. Lunch in the Ferry Inn was good pub food and Rob took the opportunity to plug his electric bike battery in for a charge. No payment required for this! As he explained he lives on the top of the South Downs so he likes a bit of help with the last few miles to get home. On the way back Stephen got a slow puncture so he had to stop and pump up his tyre every couple of miles or so, but he made it back without having to do a repair on the side of the track. This was a very pleasant ride in good company. Jacki and Stephen stopped on the way home for a mini picnic overlooking Frensham Great Pond which looked lovely in the setting sun. This was a fine day to add to the Cody Social programme memories.

Hampton Court – 31 December

We set off from a free car park on the bank of the Thames in Weybridge and cycled eastwards towards London. The towpath is in good condition and is a mixture of tarmac, gravel and some muddy bits. It is also flat which is welcome for cyclists!

There were lots of interesting sights as we cycled along. We were surprised by how many rowing and sailing clubs there are on the river and we did see a few rowers out practising. There are also some very nice houses on the river side and we were impressed by the undoubted cost of many of these. Lunch was at the Anglers pub at Teddington Lock which served very good food. A curiosity: all the men had the same lunch and all the women had a different but same lunch and all this was done without any consultation! What big psychological processes were at work here? This was pub food at a very high standard. On the way back just before we got to the cars, we took a ferry over the Thames to a café on the other side for tea and buns. We just had to do something nautical since this was a Cody SC social outing!

The Hampton Court cyclists

West Dean Cycle to Chichester Marina – January 4th

Saturday 5th January was cold and dry with only a light breeze and therefore good for a day’s cycling by Cody members. There were five of us including Joshua, aged six, who was riding as the “stoker” to his Dad who was in front of the tag along assembly pedalling away aided by Joshua. Joshua was man of the cycle ride since he kept going really well even though his toes got a bit cold!

It really was a lovely ride, we went down the old railway line from West Dean and eventually found the Chichester Ship Canal basin where we transferred to the towpath. Chichester was pretty as usual and we were treated to some, wonky, bell practice as we cycled slowly past the Cathedral. Nevertheless, the bells added to the City atmosphere. The Ship Canal towpath is a bit bumpy in places but we all managed to get safely to the café at Chichester Marina for some hot soup. We tried a slightly different route back, cutting out the Canal and travelling on the Salterns Way cycle route which we found very useful. Steam trains had to climb over the South Downs and although the incline upwards was only perhaps 5 degrees of so we did notice it as we cycled up the old track. Getting rid of mince pies eaten over Christmas was a big motivator at this point. We found an extra two miles of cycle railway line as we neared West Dean that took us almost directly to the quiet spot where we had parked the cars. Then, a glorious find, a tea shop just around the corner from where we had parked. Not only a tea shop, but a tea shop with a log fire! We sat in front of it for probably an hour or more putting the world to rights and warming up after our chilly ride. This was such a lovely day that we all agreed that we would like to do it again soon and that we could use our newly discovered better route to get to West Wittering beach café next time. (All Cody cycle rides revolve around cafes…)
Cody and friends are welcome to join these social rides. The rides are really great fun and not too physically taxing. No special bike is required, just one that works ok and has strong tyres. Buying some padded cycle shorts to go under trousers and some padded cycle gloves adds to the enjoyment.

Surprising Result

It’s the 20th January on board our yacht and we have awoken to a beautiful sunny winter morning in Portsmouth harbour. Breakfast was followed with getting the boat ship shape for a day sail to Cowes and back, accompanied by the owners of another yacht whom we had met during the previous evening for a chat and a few glasses (Ed: only a few?) on board ship.

Both boats left Gosport at 11.35 in glorious winter sunshine and with a light NE breeze blowing. Both yachts left under engine and then set sail via the Outer Swashway for Cowes. By now the wind was on the beam and blowing 6 to 10 knots and the boats were side by side and we were enjoying the sea breeze in our faces and the remarkably
warm sunshine for the time of year. We then witnessed a quite remarkable occurrence. The big yacht sailed passed the smaller yacht and took the lead on the way to Cowes. As this happened the helm on the smaller yacht was heard to say the words “we will start racing you now”.

And now the race is on…

And so it began, with the bigger yacht opening up a gap before rounding the Prince
Consort cardinal buoy at Cowes and heading back for Gosport. A few tweaks on the sail plan and they started to open the gap further with much chuckling coming from the lady on the helm and a big smile on the skipper’s face. They returned to Gosport 20 minutes in front of the smaller yacht having won the race – well done to the bigger (and usually slower) yacht.

I should explain to all those who have not sailed with us. There is always a healthy rivalry between these two boats as to who gets there first – and usually the big yacht is in the rear. As a result of the phenomenon experienced this day, much discussion and scratching of heads has been had on this subject matter. However, to date, both skipper and crew on the bigger yacht have yet to determine what magic potion created the phenomenon, but if we can ever figure it out, watch out you others!

Renewal time

Happy new year to all Cody Sailing Club members.

We have an exciting programme of events in the pipeline for 2019 but before all that, we do need to collect your subscriptions.

The good news is that we haven’t increased the rates this for year. The fees are;

Individual membership rate:  £22
Partner/family supplement:   £12

So the new total rate for couples / families is £22 £12 = £34

The dinghy section membership (to permit one member to sail the club boats) is now £80 per person.

So the combinations of club memberships and dinghy section membership are as follows;

Individual with dinghy section membership:   £102
Family membership with 1 dinghy section membership:   £114
Family membership with 2 dinghy section memberships:  £194

Fees are due now and must be received by no later than 31st January 2019. As last year we do have a late payment fee of £30 which is be payable if subs have not been received by that date, so please make a note now.

Our preferred payment method is bank transfer. The account details are available from our Treasurer.

If you are paying by transfer, why not set up a standing order to save time next year?

We are still willing to accept cheques; these should be posted to the Treasurer at an address we can supply.

The dinghy section membership (but not club membership) may be spread over 10 monthly payments by standing order if so desired. Please let me know if you wish to pay dinghy section fees this way.

Thank you in advance.

Regards

CSC Treasurer

Brooklands visit

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John in his natural habitat

Cody visited the Brooklands Museum in late November and had a wonderful time. This is a very interesting place where some of the earliest achievements in British aviation occurred. As well as aircraft to look over and inside there were also many other exhibits. Some are great big things or strange objects such as a stratospheric chamber which was a surprise. Another more familiar looking large exhibit is a Concorde aircraft. Others displays were smaller, such as tiny biplanes and sound recordings of workers who made planes on this site. A really fascinating exhibit is a Wellington bomber that crashed into Loch Ness and was under water for 45 years. It was discovered by an American team looking for Nessie! The aeroplane has been restored to show its basic structure. Cody member John acted as our guide and he added greatly to our enjoyment of the visit. John knows a lot about aviation and navigation and he led us very well – thank you John! One of the aircraft on display is a Varsity on which John did his RAF navigational training. When we got to the navigation desk on this plane John moved quickly and professionally into the seat and began to show us how all the instruments worked. It could have been back in the day!

There is much to see here and we could not do it all in a day even though we moved along purposefully. Del was an apprentice here back in the 1980s when aeroplanes were made on the site and he told us that he had not been back since he left. Memory lane for him. Our visit was very well timed because a major new exhibit hall showing off the Wellington and much other material had just been formally opened a couple of weeks ago. Some of us had been before, others of us said that they just need a bit of Cody encouragement to visit a place that they had always meant to visit but never had! We were amazed that so many aviation firsts had come from this site and that despite this the British aircraft industry had pretty well collapsed now. What went wrong?

This is such an interesting museum and we all agreed that we would like to come back another time to see what we had not had time to see on this visit. For Cody members who are not much enthused by the history of British aviation a future Cody social visit in the New Year will be to a National Trust house such as Petworth!

Stephen

Seventy Years and Thriving

Seventy years ago, in 1948, a group of scientists at the Royal Aircraft Establishment had the idea of using one of the ex – German ‘windfall’ yachts for cruising and sail training and decided to form a sailing club – the RAE Sailing Club. A few years later many members had bought or built their own yachts and in addition, a vigorous dinghy sailing section had been formed offering sail training to RYA standards and day cruises in the Solent and South Coast. Later still, dinghy cruising had been expanded to include sailing camps in the West Country and in other more distant sailing waters. Seventy years on, the club has changed its name and is no longer based at Farnborough but still has a very active membership and sailing programme. Well worth the celebratory dinner – described below!

Celebrating our yesterdays!

Our thanks and appreciation must go to the committee and helpers who planned, organised, and thoroughly researched to create a wonderful and entertaining evening to mark 70 years of sailing under the guise of CodySC / DERASC, DRASC, and RAESC.

And so it was, to the day, that Cody celebrated its 70th anniversary on 10th November 2018. A gathering of some 50 current and former members enjoyed a feast of a meal at the Devils Punchbowl Hotel at Hindhead. We mustered and mingled with friends of yesteryear – our reminisces prompted by a salvo of slides simultaneously displaying many of us with hair and figures now long gone. The first course was preceded by a welcome and introduction from our current commodore, immediately followed by Cody’s answer to the two Ronnie’s (or was is Ant and Dec?) – Gordon and Pete reminded us of the early years and the founding of the club – then known as the Royal Aircraft Establishment Sailing Club (RAESC) – I say reminded but much of our early history was completely unknown to many of us present – who knew that we had access to a 40ft windfall yacht? Our next speaker was former Cody (RAESC) commodore  – with so much history to cover Mike focussed on the “characters” of the club – Mike did a superb run though of some of more colourful members and their often bazaar exploits – it seems that being a bit mad has always been the essence of Cody membership. Twix main course and dessert Mike recounted a tale of an early cruise (an extract of the Bronzewing cruise) which was highly amusing and very much emphasized the fun that was, and still is, sailing with Cody. After pud it was time for a second offering from Little and Large (Gordon and Pete – in no particular order!) to bring us up to date with some more recent past exploits, and acknowledge those who drove the club as it gradually moved its core from cruiser (yachts) toward an emphasis of dinghy sailing and camping. The evening was rounded off with coffee and a presentation of flowers to Vanessa and Sarah to show appreciation for their sterling efforts to organise what was a splendid evening.

Postscript

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Walking on Hindhead Common

Many of the participants at the dinner stayed overnight at the hotel and on the following day a walk had been arranged. This was led by one of Steve’s friends, a local historian, who guided the party around the Devil’s Punchbowl and provided historical snippets on the way.

Cold Shock

You might think that the major risk when sailing dinghies in cold weather is hypothermia, and while it is a significant concern, it takes a while to get into trouble and there are lots of signs.

You can die in less than 60 seconds from cold shock.  The risk is from entering water at 15C or lower – 15C is average summer sea temperature in the UK

There are a few Cody Sailing Club sailors who, for the first time this year, are planning some daysails during the winter. They know about Cold Shock and know what to do to prevent it. If you are a Cody Club member and interested in joining us, you know what to do. If you’re not a member and fancy a bit of fleet dinghy cruising in the beautiful waters of the Solent and local harbours, follow the “Join Now” link.

This excellent article with more information is from the RYA.
https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/e-newsletters/inbrief/Pages/Cold-Water-Shock.aspx

Breezy and moist

Following weeks of hot weather, it’s a bit disappointing for the weather to deliver a wind of force 6 to 9 and 25mm of rain overnight. However, there’s every expectation of an outbreak of sailing this evening when the rain has stopped and the wind abates.

An overnight stop at Wootton

The sun had clearly got to four frazzled Cody sailors who decided it would be a great idea to sit in an open boat in near 30-degree heat for two days. There had been an ambitious plan for some time to attempt a ‘round the island’ but with the recent light winds the plan was scaled down to a sail from Lymington to Bembridge, with an overnight stop in Bembridge, making good use of the fair tides in both directions.

Steve and Zak (Comet trio), Ged and Simon H (Storm 17) arrived at Lymington car park early on the morning of Saturday 7th July – which was just as well because there was a regatta taking place at Lymington Town Sailing club and within half an hour of arrival, the car park was jam-packed with hundreds of trailers, boats, rigging, families, dogs and grannies etc. It felt like embarkation for D day (apart from the grannies). With light airs forecast but with the possibility of building to F3 once the sea breeze kicked in, we were on the water by about 10.15. Heading out of Lymington towards Jack-in-the Box, we were greeted by the magnificent sight of 1200 or so yachts in full sail, hugging the north shore of the Isle and gradually reaching their way West through Hurst point and on to the Needles.

Keeping out of their way, we chose to sail close to the north shore which also avoided the last of the west flowing tide. Once the tide turned an hour or so later we headed out into the main channel and benefitted from a gradually strengthening tide and stiffening breeze from the SW. We were looking good for the plan to make Bembridge by 6pm, so that we could land on the beach at high tide and settle the boats using fenders before readying them to sleep on. But the best laid plans and all that….

At about 3pm and after a delightful but uneventful sail East, the wind just died. We were about a mile East of Wootton Creek and clearly not going to make Bembridge. We had a conflab. Plan B was agreed. Let’s make for Wootton Creek and see what we can find. Steve was aware of a small shingle beach just up river from the Victoria Sailing club next to the Ferry terminal and we might be able to use the club facilities. Drifting to Wootton creek took some time and Ged and Simon resorted to the auxiliary power plant (oars). When we got to Wootton creek, sadly the beach had been ‘requisitioned’ and had become part of a swanky new house with equally swanky new signs, making it strikingly clear that we were unwelcome – not swanky enough?

Ged has rigged up an amazing sleeping arrangement on his lovely (dry) Storm 17, with boom tent and beautifully engineered sleeping boards, but the Comet Trio is not really set up for sleeping aboard, unless the boat can be beached and the water drained from the hull. Although there was space on the Victoria sailing club pontoons, we decided to beat up Wootton creek in search of a suitable landing site.

Sadly, or gladly depending on your point of view, we made it all the way to the Sloop Inn by the bridge at the top of the creek but without finding a suitable overnight location.

After 6 hours in the boats we, erhm, ‘re-hydrated’ and gulped down a delicious supper at the pub and enjoyed a quick run back down to the sailing club in a rather strange, late evening, fresh southerly – a katabatic wind off the Isle perhaps? The sailing club was quiet but very welcoming and there was space on the pontoon for both boats (£1.50 per meter for the night, facilities included). I’d say that we had a good nights’ sleep but Victoria Sailing club is cheek by jowl with the Ferry terminal to Portsmouth. I hadn’t realised that it runs every two hours throughout the night, and having been the Round the Island race, there were plenty of ‘well-oiled’ sailors enjoying a late-night excursion in both directions. The 5 am ferry however, was the perfect alarm clock so that we could make our intended launch time of 6 am, and again benefit from the west flowing tide to arrive in Lymington before the tide turned foul into the Harbour.

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Sunrise over Wootton Creek

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What a proper overnight camping boat looks like

Once out of Wootton creek and heading warily into the main channel, to avoid any possible wind shadow in Osborne bay, we were greeted by a very amiable F3 off the beam and were set for a very pleasant sail back. But this has been the summer of light airs to beat all others and after about an hour, and shortly past Cowes, the wind eased right off. In truth we got home through a combination of drifting (see left), rowing, paddling and with the occasional assistance from the slightest puff of wind. It was all very relaxing, convivial and chilled. Actually, not that chilled because as the morning wore on and the sun came up again, it soon heated up and by the time we made the slipway at Lymington, almost exactly 24 hours after setting out, it was getting decidedly warm. Once again, the carpark was crowded and we had an amusing hour or so observing various bouts of frayed tempers and carpark rage whilst de-rigging. The weekend was rounded off with a pint and a burger at the Mayflower, followed by another drink on the balcony of the Lymington Town Sailing club. All-in-all a fabulous couple of days.

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Mirrored surface of the Solent

What did we learn?
· The amount of fun you have in a boat is inversely proportional to its length (but we probably all know that anyway)
· Stopping overnight somewhere adds a significant amount to the sense of adventure
· Stopping overnight somewhere next to a ferry terminal subtracts a significant amount to the hours slept
· Take ear plugs, like Ged did
· Youthful optimism and middle-aged wisdom are equally valid strategies when bedding down somewhere strange for the night