Fleet Dinghy Cruising

Fleet Dinghy Cruising

Dinghy cruises are one of the Club’s most popular activities and the dinghy section has a long history of providing safe and enjoyable dinghy cruising, both on the Solent and further afield.

Most dinghy cruises take place in the sheltered waters of the Solent. The boats are usually prepared for the road the night before and are towed down to the coast, where they are launched from a suitable public slip way or sailing club.We are fortunate to have the use of a number of launching sites in both the East and West Solent, resulting in a large area of reasonably sheltered water to explore. The cruise itself often involves a trip over to the Isle of Wight or, if this is not suitable, to a destination somewhere else in the Solent, such as a beach or a destination further up Southampton Water. Dinghy Cruises are open to all Club members, no matter what their experience. The Club has a great deal of experience organising these days and a good deal of effort is put in behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. A programme of events, including regular dinghy cruises is published at the start of the season and each event is appointed an Advanced Organiser (AO) and an Officer of the Day (OOD).

The Advanced organiser is responsible for organising who is going on the event, which boats are available and the logistics of getting everyone to the coast. The Officer of the Day takes overall responsibility for the day and the Club is very fortunate to have some very capable and experienced OODs.

More details of the responsibilities of AOs and OODs are given in the dinghy cruise notes which are available to members in the membership area.

DINGHY CRUISES

The dinghy cruises organised by the Club are open to all Club members, no matter how experienced or well qualified. Nearly all the weekend day cruises are on the Solent, where the wind is less fluky than at Frensham Pond SC and waves and tides add an extra dimension.

Cody Club at Anchor in Wootton Creek in Autumn 2012

The cruises are usually on a weekend and often start early. The number of boats being taken is sometimes limited by the number of towbars, so if you have one on your car, you will be in demand. People who aren’t towing boats usually pile into the towing cars to share the cost of petrol and make the event more sociable. Really keen sailors spend the whole journey listening for weather forecasts and trying to tune into Radio Solent for the local outlook, while the rest of us just prepare for the coming day’s events!

RIMG0025

As long as the wind is not too strong, the cruise generally goes ahead as planned, but if the forecast is bad the previous evening then all participants are informed that the sail is off. This means that a set of waterproofs is required by everyone. Wetsuits, drysuits and special boots etc are worn by some, but they are not essential. The essentials are: packed lunch including plenty of water/squash/hot drink, soft-soled shoes (e.g. deck strollers, trainers etc), a set of spare clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, sun-cream, and a small amount of money for petrol sharing and drinks at the pub/ice creams on the beach.

RIMG0053

Once down at the coast, everybody wakes up again and the boats are rigged; this is a good exercise for learning the ropes as the boats are completely dismantled for the journey and the boat captains invariably refer to every bit of string by its proper name. There are usually four or more boats and enough sailors to warrant three to a boat on most occasions; this leads to a more sociable sail, especially if you change boats for the return trip.

RIMG0027

There are a variety of dinghies owned by Club members and the Club, providing opportunity to sail on GRP and wooden GP14s, the Club Comet Trios (an exciting sail with an asymmetric spinnaker) and possibly some others too. Once the crews are organised so that everyone is happy, the Officer of the Day gets the charts and tidal atlas out to explain to everyone exactly where we are going.

At this stage of the proceedings, the mood and capability of all the participants, the latest weather forecast, and the prevailing weather conditions help to tailor the goals of the day. The trip over to the Isle of Wight takes 2-3 hours, maybe less in a good wind or much longer in a poor one, and there is usually a pub with easy access by boat. We all bask in the sun for an hour, eat and drink (not too much), and laugh at anyone who capsized.

trio_side

Depending on the timing of lunch and factors previously outlined, the dinghies then head straight home or on an indirect cruise via some other point of interest (getting an ice cream from Ryde has been attempted and failed due to localised Doldrums).

Once back on land, the boats are packed up ready for the return journey, and everybody gets changed into clean, dry clothes. On the return journey, a stop at a public house cannot be avoided, especially in nice weather, and a pint of beer will be all it takes to knock you out at the end of the day. By 10pm everybody is home, in the bath (but not necessarily all together!).

Harbour Sails

Portsmouth, Langstone and Chichester are all easily accessable harbours and offer some good sheltered sailing. This becomes particularly attractive when the conditions on the Solent are too extreme for an enjoyable sail – often the shelter of a harbour can make all the difference. We usually plan at least one harbour sail in our sailing programme.

Lake Sails

Another alternative, when conditions at the coast are not favourable, is to head inland to a local lake or reservoir. There are plenty of options for day sailing at reasonable rates and it is often a pleasant change to sail without the worry of waves or tide.

Beach Days

beach_day_1Beach days are popular club events with a range of watersports (dinghy sailing, windsurfing, canoeing) taking place from a fixed location (often from Stokes Bay on the East Solent). These events are open to club members and their friends and families. They  offer an ideal opportunity for beginners to try different activities and improvers to practice new techniques (such as trapezing and spinnaker work). Stokes Bay has a good beach (although it is pebbly) with some facilities close by, ideal for relaxing between activities.These days tend to be less stressful than a full day’s cruise with more time for relaxing. There isn’t the need to wory so much what the tide is going to do or if the wind is going to die. There is usually the option of a lunch time beach BBQ if there is enough interest.

Recent Posts

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.

  1. Surprising Result Comments Off on Surprising Result
  2. Renewal time Comments Off on Renewal time
  3. Brooklands visit Comments Off on Brooklands visit
  4. Seventy Years and Thriving Comments Off on Seventy Years and Thriving
  5. Cold Shock Comments Off on Cold Shock
  6. Don’t always believe the forecast. Comments Off on Don’t always believe the forecast.
  7. Breakfast on the beach Comments Off on Breakfast on the beach
  8. Beautiful sailing weather Comments Off on Beautiful sailing weather
  9. Breezy and moist Comments Off on Breezy and moist