Cody Daysailing Guidelines

Sailing guidelines

These guidelines are provided to assist you in ensuring that your boat and experience match the kind of daysail that we are planning.

These guidelines are drawn from best practice and practical experience of our members and other similar organisations undertaking activities as our own. They have been drawn together in this document to assist members in ensuring that boats, equipment and crew experience, match the kind of day sail that the club is planning. Due to other mitigating circumstances, it is most likely that some of the recommendations and suggestions below will not be practical to implement and the document is intended for use as a set of guidelines only.

If you are new to sailing please do not be put off by this document as there is always a requirement to balance the strengths of our boat crews. This ensures new sailors or those new to sailing on tidal waters have the opportunity to sail with and learn from our more experienced members.

The essentials

We don’t plan to sail if there is a force 6 in the Met Office Inland Waters Forecast for the area where we plan to sail.

An Important note, the skipper of a sailing dinghy has a legal responsibilityfor the safety of their boat, their crew and other mariners and nothing here changes that legal responsibility. It is therefore an essential requirement, that boat skippers are competent to make impromptu decisions regarding the safety of their boat and crew, outside of the planned Cody event, should the need arise due to any extenuating circumstances. 

It should also be noted, the areas that are designated in the three categories below are segregated for guidance and relevant to sailing those areas in benign summer conditions. Weather and tidal state, will play a big part in the conditions that a crew will be faced with on any given day and can and will change in an instant and which could make a fairly benign sail into a more demanding experience, even when sailing on inland waters and shall always be significant factors in what you will experience on tidal waters.

Remember the Solent is busy with commercial shipping from Portsmouth and Southampton through defined shipping lanes. A keen lookout while crossing shipping lanes and avoidance of all commercial shipping vessels is essential. If you are not sure you are able to cross a shipping lane in time to be well clear of an approaching vessel, then alter course to go behind the vessel and skippers should be aware at all times where these shipping lanes and associated restrictions impact their passage plans.

Local sailing (in high winds) at Plymouth

CATEGORY 1 – Eg, Inland, beach days, local sailing at camp.

If skippering a club boat, a minimum expected competency of RYA Level 2 or a qualification of equivalent standard, plus regular skippering to maintain skills and with a tidal endorsement if sailing on tidal waters.


  • Should have suitable buoyancy so that it will float in the event of a capsize
  • £3,000,000 liability insurance

Helm and crew

  • Should be able to maneuver a boat in forecast conditions without risk of collision. – Be aware of collision avoidance rules – ‘rights of way’.
  • Skipper be familiar with sailing area proposed, understand the potential hazards within that area and be competent to mitigate those hazards.
  • Be able to right boat after capsizing.
  • Be able to reef a boat ashore to balance the sail plan to the strengths of the helm and crew.
  • Your personal fitness, the fitness of your crew, the quality of your equipment and vessel need to be proportionate to the risks likely to be experienced in the activity you are about to undertake. 


  • Basic First Aid Kit including survival bag
  • Buoyancy aids, bailer, and suitable clothing, (note the sea temperature on our southern shores is very cold, even in the summer, so a minimum of a wetsuit, wet boots and wind resistant waterproofs to put over the suit is recommended, given that launching, recovering and sailing dinghies is almost guaranteed to be a wet experience.
  • Compass and chartlet to navigate in low visibility conditions (recommended for tidal waters)
  • Tow rope and at least two good paddles – so you can propel the boat to safety or towed to safety in the event of no wind or halyard etc failure.
  • Whistle – So that you can raise an alarm
  • Knife (Preferably a safety knife) – So you can cut ropes in an emergency, also cake and cheese.
  • Water / hot drinks – maintain morale, energy levels and hydration.
  • Sun cream.

Sailing while reefed on the Solent – Stokes Bay

CATEGORY 2 – Day Sailing

E.g. Day sailing (anything that involves going somewhere for lunch and then sailing back), inside the bar at Chichester, Salcombe, Helford and the Solent 

However, it should be noted weather and tidal state, will play a big part in the conditions that a crew will be faced with on any given day and can and will change in an instance and which could make a fairly benign sail into a more hair raising experience and shall always be significant factors in what you will experience on tidal waters.

If skippering a club boat on Category 2 and more adventurous day-sailing, you will need a minimum required competency of a recently taken RYA Seamanship Certificate or qualification of equivalent standard, plus regular sailing to keep the experience fresh.


  • An ability to be reefed easily whilst afloat, so that should conditions underway change for the worse, you can alter the sail area easily to match those conditions. If this is not possible, your passage plan should include escape points, so that you can easily make changes and get yourself to shore and to suitable recovery.

Skipper with the help of the crew should be able to

  • Safely handle the boat in F5 winds and moderate sea conditions
  • Have the knowledge and confidence to reef the boat quickly whilst afloat.
  • Have the ability to navigate using charts, tidal data and compass, so you can independently figure out the way home if there is an emergency or you get separated from the fleet
  • Know where on the water to sail to take the most advantage of and to avoid difficulties caused by tides.
  • Can keep the vessel safe and away from the shore by the proper use of an anchor.
  • Passage plan– In order to know where you are going independently of the OOD briefing, in case an emergency occurs, or you find yourself separated from the rest of the fleet
  • Ensue your personal fitness, the fitness of your crew, the quality of your equipment and vessel is proportionate to the risks identified in your passage plan. 

Recommended Equipment

  • Mobile smart phone in waterproof bag – in order to contact emergency services if required – navigation app
  • Basic First aid kit including survival bag
  • Proper anchor, (preferably not grapnel), of a suitable size with 2m chain and 30m of rode, (leaded rode is a very viable alternative to chain for easier stowage on a dinghy) – So you can deploy and hold the vessel away from the shore should the need arise.
  • Whistle – So that you can raise an alarm.
  • Throw-over-the-side Orange Smoke to guide the approach of emergency services if needed.
  • Safety Knife – So you can cut ropes in an emergency, also cake and cheese.
  • Compass and chartlet to navigate in low visibility conditions.
  • Wet suit or dry suit with waterproofs and spare clothing in dry bag – to stay safe and comfortable in variety of changing weather conditions.
  • Food, Water / hot drinks– maintain morale, energy levels and hydration.
  • Sun cream.
  • Oars and rowlocks and / or outboard and / or at least two good paddles and a tow rope – so you can propel the boat to safety or be towed to safety, in the event of no wind or gear failure.
  • Sturdy bucket or bailer attached to boat on lanyard – So you can empty the boat of water in the event of capsize (applies to all vessels).

Consider additional equipment

  • Navigation App
  • Basic spares for boat – So the boat can remain seaworthy if something breaks or goes wrong
  • Map/chart – So you know where you are, and can avoid hazards
  • Basic outboard spares and tools, so you can repair the outboard if it stops working.

An adventurous sail to Whitecliffe Bay from Stokes Bay

CATEGORY 3 – Open Waters

e.g. Open water sailing, e.g. beyond Hurst point and Bembridge, outside the bar at Chichester, Salcombe, Helford and the Solent in general in anything beyond benign summer weather conditions and multiple day cruising.

If skippering a club boat on Category 3 and more adventurous day-sailing, a minimum expected competency of a recently taken RYA Seamanship Certificate or qualification of equivalent standard, plus regular sailing to keep the experience fresh.

Everything for Category 1 and 2 plus:


  • Be able to sail at the same speed or faster than a well helmed Wanderer (PY1190) – So that you can keep up with the fleet OR the cruise shall have a passage plan that considers all the craft planned to take part in an event.


  • Ability to navigate using charts and compass – So you can independently figure out the way home if there is an emergency or you get separated from the fleet

Recommend Additional Equipment to categories 1 & 2

  • Basic spares for boat – So the boat can remain seaworthy if something breaks or goes wrong
  • Map/chart– So you know where you are, and can avoid hazards

Consider Additional equipment

  • Waterproof VHF – So you can contact maritime emergency services
  • Proper Fenders and Mooring warps, two long and two short – So you can moor against a pontoon
  • Second anchor, chain and rode – So you can hold the vessel securely in position
  • Comprehensive spares/repair kit – So you can mend common issues with equipment
  • Waterproof torch – So you can show a light if the cruise runs over the expected time
  • Emergency Services Guides – Flares / LED Flare – So you can guide emergency services to the scene of an emergency
  • Emergency rations – So you can survive an emergency for 12 hours
  • Sufficient funds to be able to leave your vessel elsewhere, and take public transport back to your towing vehicle to be able to recover your vessel in the event of an incident that renders your vessel unusable.

Your personal fitness, the fitness of your crew, the quality of your equipment and vessel need to be proportionate to the risk on your passage plan, and you would be following best practices for multi-day dinghy cruises that are beyond the scope of this document.

Recent Posts

Weir Quay Sailing Camp 2022

Weir Quay was a small camp for those particularly interested in dinghy sailing on an adventurous river. Weir Quay is on the Tamar River, and to the North the river is rural and narrow, with the gusty and flukey winds that rivers have; to the south the river opens wider, and there’s a lovely sail to be had to Plymouth Harbour and beyond. We were hosted by Weir Quay Sailing Club, and we were made to feel very welcome. WQSC Committee Members facilitated arrangements with local landowners to allow us to hold this camp, and we are very grateful to them for allowing us the opportunity to share this beautiful and interesting part of Devon with us.

This report with photos was created by pretty much all the members of the club who attended the camp – thanks to them for their photos and words.

Day 1 Friday

Many of us arrived, pitched our tents and joined Weir Quay Sailing Club for their Friday evening sail.

There were loads of both adults and youth waiting to sail and we stood back to let them have a fair crack at the slipway before we launched. There was a lovely moment when they introduced us and apparently the way of introducing new members is they find the name and then everybody shouts “hello Mel, hello Steve” and so on. It was really nicely done. The sail was quite brisk and a sort of north-westerly force three-slightly-four and an ebbing tide which made for chaos and gentle, brilliantly enjoyable fun on the water with people ending up on the shore as either side with some people needing to be pulled into deeper water by the safety boat. When we noticed that we couldn’t sail fully across the channel against the tide anymore because the tide was ebbing so strongly, we struck for up-river and tack tack tacked up the side, out of the main force of the tide, up to the corner where the wind died and we gently sailed back to the slipway. We walked up and said hello to the people at the club, they were all very busy putting engines away and sorting the kids out and drinking hot chocolate, so we just saw what a beautifully organised sailing club it was and came back to our field to socialise for the evening.

Rob arrived overnight and bivvied up under a clear dark stary sky for the rest of the night, seeing some fantastic shooting stars to round off the trip down.  He was the first to meet “Kevin”, who wondered what this mound of moving Goretex on the field was. More on Kevin later.

Day 2 Saturday

The weather on Saturday was an extraordinarily clear blue sky from horizon to horizon, full sun, warm and with a gentle breeze initially from the north. Ged arrived with his Storm in tow in time for the afternoon sail. We waited until 1 o’clock, when the flood tide started, for a 5 mile sail to Cotehele and we beat into the wind all the way there.

Boats tied to the shore

Unfortunately earlier on in the sail Andy and Vanessa capsized on one of the second or third tacks of the day. They were able to get their boat up but Vanessa’s dry suit was leaky and so Vanessa was quite damp for the journey to a destination. There were moments of river sailing where there was no wind at all so we drifted a little bit and there were eddies and we enjoyed the variable winds that came at us.

Drying in the sun

Mel and Steve saw a squirrel swimming across the river. Mike, Rob and Adri saw an otter. When we arrived at the National Trust property the tide was a couple of hours before high. We beached the boats on the mud and tied them to the shore and enjoyed ice cream, millionaire shortbread, more ice cream, some beers and lounged around in the Sun while Vanessa dried herself in the sun.

Day 3 Sunday

The weather was windless and wet, apart from a f5 for 20 mins while we were enjoying breakfast at the boatyard. While Rob went into Plymouth to do his shopping and run some errands for Steve and Mike, we went for a walk with Rosie around Cotts Loop and had an invite from a senior gardener to his beautiful garden. That set the tone for Rosie getting us invited to many other people’s houses, and we went into a huge barn, and the industrial landscape of a smelting works for silver, lead and tin, now landscaped beautifully into an impressive garden.

Later that afternoon we drove to Morwhellham quay and enjoyed cheese scones and tea and coffee. Bistromathics was in full effect, and the number of scones we asked for, the number that arrived, the number on the bill and what we actually paid were all different. The scones were hot from being baked just for us and were delicious.

Day 4 Monday

The overnight dense fog lifted to a cloudy day with no wind being reported on XCWeather below Milton Keynes, no wind anywhere in the south. The clouds built while stationary and then the gentle movement of wind from the west drove the rain over us. Lisbeth arrived. The forecast every hour looked like it would stop raining shortly, so much sleeping and resting occurred until about 5pm when the rain finally stopped leaving barely a whisper of wind. Adri, Lisbeth, Mike, Andy and Vanessa took to the river and drifted about, Ged then rowed up river solo and when a gentle breeze of wind arrived Mel and Steve launched and headed up-river against the spring ebb. Rob then solo-sailed his Trio, and we all gave up when the tide was stronger than the wind. Martin and Ben arrived. We had a late night campfire which everyone attended, we enjoyed a conversation about favourite foods (in the style of Off Menu Podcast)  and repaired to bed at 2330.

Day 5 Tuesday 

The day started cold. Kevin Duck was fed. The forecast was for wind at 09:00 with showers, then bubbly clouds and sunny. We left in very light airs, Storm17 Ged Ben Lisbeth, Trio Rob Adri, Trio Mel Steve, GP Mike Debbie, Vision Vanessa Andy. 

Launching at the public slipway

Just at launching and soon after leaving we were hit by cold rain which killed the wind and we drifted south. People had got cold so we stopped on a horrible muddy, rocky lee shore at the Ferry House Inn and the Tamar River Sailing Club (TRSC) just south of the bridges. However, we were greeted by a very hospitable chap by the name of Graham who saw us landing from his house and came out to welcome us. He turned out to be a member of the TRSC, living in the house next door to the club and with his yacht moored within sight of his sitting room off the beach (some life!). He gave Andy and Vanessa (fellow yacht owners now) his details, and we chatted about Cody and mentioned our Helford Camp, which he may drop in on us from his yacht which he will be sailing to Helford over the summer from the Tamar.The pub served us well with hot drinks and lunch. When the tide turned we carried beached boats to the water and beat back in a gusty F4, with the fast moving tidal current under us, to our slipway, in sunshine interrupted by bubbly clouds. Some landed on the slipway in a controlled manner with their mainsails down… some approached on a broad reach, both sails pulling!  It took us about 1 3/4 hours from the bridges to the slipway but it seemed much faster.

Day 6 Wednesday

The forecast showed no wind all day which turned out to be Not True, however we found other things to do, so we walked the Tamar Trail to Bere Ferrers and enjoyed a late lunch at The Old Plough. Some shuttled in cars home. Some sailing was snatched at the very end of the day, along with a visit to the Stannery Arms pub in Tavistock to listen to and join in with some local Shanty Singers having their rehearsals which was much enjoyed by Mike and the rest of us. Rob left with his boat that evening for Jubilee celebrations at home, to be replaced by Morgan and Simon arriving that evening and the following morning respectively.

Kevin joined us for porridge.

This is Kevin. He is Very Bold. If you don’t feed him he’ll nip your legs.

Kevin was an unexpected treat; a very tame and yet wild duck who visited us each day for food. He’s been being fed by the locals for a long time, and he knows what the sound of a crisp packet means. If you don’t feed him he’ll nip at your shins. Adri led the way with providing Kevin with porridge oats and water, and he was a very happy duck.

Day 7 Thursday 

Glorious sail to Bovisand in full sun and a F3 from the East.

We decided to go sailing whatever the forecast because the forecasts had been inaccurate all week. 

Launching at the public slipway
  • Trio Mel Steve 
  • Storm Ged Debbie
  • Versa Martin Ben 
  • Trio Simon Morgan 
  • GP14 Mike Adri
  • Vision Andy Vanessa

Having got to Cremyll in a very good time, the Easterly caused us a challenge; every landing place nearby was a lee shore. We decided to sail across Plymouth Sound to Bovisand, which was full of swimmers and a beach just to the south was ok for beaching dinghies.

On the beach south of Bovisand

We beached, had our lunch, got cake and drinks from the shop and waited for the tide to come back. The return journey was downwind and with the tide with us we made it back in a couple of hours. Nearly 24 miles of daysailing and a lovely lunch stop made this a special day. 

Day 8 Friday

We were invited to join Weir Quay for a sail to Drakes Island, for which Steve from Weir Quay SC had gained permission from the QHM. It was a fairly windless sunny day. We had to hide from the incoming navy vessel and spent a while in a wind hole. The destination was excellent and felt remote and exclusive apart from all the other people also on the island.

On the beach at Drakes Island

The return was punctuated with wind holes and rowing or outboards were used to get over the drifting bits. 

  • Trio Steve Mel Ben 
  • Trio Simon Steph Morgan 
  • Vision Andy Adri 
  • Storm Ged Vanessa Martin 
  • GP14 Mike Lisbeth 
  • Bosun Alan Debbie

The day was superbly organised and we were made very welcome. Thank you.

We attended the WQ boatyard BBQ in the evening, as guests of WQSC, and enjoyed music and burgers and sausage and ice cream, and chatting to the locals. WQ Boatyard featured prominently in breakfasting and in hiding from the rain, and we were made very welcome. Thank you.

At the Jubilee Celebrations at WQ Boatyard.

Day 9 Saturday 

Rain from 2am and thunder in the distance welcomed Saturday and the rain cleared mid morning. The forecast was still solidly F6 although there was less wind across the camp. We mobbed Weir Quay Boatyard for breakfast and watched the wind increase.

This is why we did not go sailing on Saturday…

Day 10 Sunday

We sailed from 10am up river until the tide stopped us making progress in light airs. At 14:00 we sailed for two hours downriver as far as just before the Torcross ferries and then sailed home. Steph and Alan’s boat lost a jib fairlead and sailed half the upwind leg on main alone. 

Sailing under the bridges

All but Adri, Mike, Mel and Steve left, and we shared a curry and cakes. 

Day 11 Monday

After a heavy dew wetted everything the sun came out and mostly dried the tents off. We simply packed up, said our goodbyes and left for either home, or as Adri did, an additional extension to the holiday for another night.