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Sail Chat

Sail Chat 2024

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    Sail Chat - 19.05.2024

    Nice gentle north easterly which favoured the middle of the river to the Surrey bank, with still some stream. Derek and Richard Cass officiated and set a down-stream windward mark and an up-steam mark, lending to a nice boom out run. In the morning James Bay was in his Comet and David was in one too, Elise was in her Topper and Jane was helming the Enterprise with me as crew. Interesting start for the Ent as the other three shot away which involved a couple of 360's and a bit of mark dragging. Very enjoyable race for exactly an hour in sunshine and a constant breeze, except at times off Garricks Ait.

    In the afternoon we were joined by Rob and Jo in their traditional Merlin, Sarah and Hannah in Dame Blanche, Me and Jane in Enterprises, Philip with three young crew (Sammy, Charlie and friend), James and David, all in Comets and John with Sue and George with Chris in GP's. If anything the breeze had dropped but there was still enough to stem the stream and get round the marks. As in the morning the Garrick Cut was the arbiter and was really tricky to negotiate. There were a few dynamic gusts on the run, some kept going past the mark to avoid the gybe, but it caught out Sarah and after an interesting 360 she sailed on only to capsize near the Surrey bank. No harm done just wet!

    Timekeepers were Mary, Delicious Tea by Ellie (Rhubarb Cake ace). John Rolfe was our reliable barman.


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    Sail Chat - Sunbury Rally and 12.05.2024

    Saturday was the Sunbury Rally, which now means a trip up to Cooper Castle. Our wind was as perfect as it gets for this or any other sail on the Thames. From the east we had a frisky 12 to 14 mph breeze. Derek and Alan, our racing team, put in a short down river beat to off the Church Lawn and then it was a joy ride before the wind nearly all the way. First off were the two GP's, John with Sue and Alex with Jade (two prospective new members) in a club boat, in Comets were Philip Dalby with Sammy, Charlie and Elvin, David Gettings with Angela and James Peel in his, and one Enterprise me with Susan (remembering Keith's annual outings on this event). The two Merlin Rockets sailed by brothers John and Rob, crewed by Nicola and Jo, followed later and I did not see them until the finish but spinnakers were flown in both. The beat was demanding and I spilt lots of wind, the GP with Jade and Alex were caught out with a Hampton gust and capsized. The rest of us pretty much got round the mark together, after a bit of gybing the front runners were Sammy, Charlie, Elvin and Philip, Me and Susan, John and Sue and James. There was still some stream so the cut slowed us all down and the GP dropped back a bit. The rest of the race until the castle was in sight the Ent and Comet stayed together, pleasantries were exchanged and Elvin was seen helming much of the time.

    The finish was somewhat surprising as the turning mark in the safety boat had to be placed and there followed a chase first by the safety boat to catch the first boat and then by the first boat to chase the safety boat to catch the mark. All good humoured, all finished safely including the persistent Alex and Jade (well done). The three paddlers Amelia, Colin and Lucy survived but Amelia was dismounted by a large motor cruiser with a larger wake.

    A very generous tea on the lawn followed which included hot dogs and rebellion beer. A real treat of a sail and a wonderful day all round. Thanks Nigel and Ellen.

    Sunday was much more pedestrian with a lighter breeze which had shifted to more of a south easterly and had tendency to die. David as race officer set a down river mark for the beat/fetch and an up river near the outflow. There was a good show of GP's Derek/Mary, John/Paul the Dutchman, Keven/Maddy and George/Chris. They had a good race with the arbiter being the run after the first turning mark, the breeze was fickle at times and required much application. The Comets were James Peel, James Bay, Nigel in a Solo and Elise in her Topper. Just one Enterprise Jane with Ellen. Elise was also the winner of the first of the youth series!

    Super Tea from Fiona and Lucy.


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    Sail Chat 5th May

    No chat last week due to disagreeable conditions but nice tea! Also I knew you would be regaled by the master story teller of the round the island race. Much better this week with a 8 to 12 mph SSE breeze, which was sufficient to more than stem the stream. Considerable maintenance and painting in progress, spread liberally about the club by an almost fervent sailing secretary, welcomed us on arrival and Jane and I were the only morning sailors in the pleasant, almost warm conditions. George and Rob Bunner were officiating, Chris with Emily were in the box and Maureen was general factotum.

    The afternoon saw a moderate improvement, we were joined in the Enterprise fleet by Ian and Amelia and John with Sue in the GP. We had a mark up river, a mark off Bell Hill and a mark off the end of Garricks Ait, all to starboard. This gave the only real short beat, the long reaches were really sort of beat fetches. This made for a really important start as overtaking was going to be as difficult as the 303 at Stonehenge! The three of us started together and on cue the wind piped up and Ian/Amelia got the vital inside and stormed off. John and Sue cruised the course letting us fight it out. The leaders were eventually caught up, but due to crafty sailing and luffing could not be passed, winning by two boat lengths. It was a real treat of a sail.

    Ian & Susie provided a super tea and Maureen was barmaid.

    Next week the Sunbury Rally to Castle Cooper and normal Sunday too.

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    RTI Pursuit race 2024

    Round and Round the Island

    It was always threatening to pour with rain on Round the Island Saturday 27th April and yet by a miracle at the start, and for the first forty minutes we were dry, and the wind was boisterous. So, we all shot off at our designated intervals in good order, thanks to Debbie Harley and Susie Peerless. It's not at all easy starting a Pursuit race by the way. After the nonexistent Topper was flagged for first start (for computational reasons), the Comet 'Fleet set off consisting of James Bay in Kotari, David G in 'Swn y Don' which could mean Song of the Sea in Welsh or Swindon depending on how you feel and George Bell in Merlin, to round an E mark and then head off to the Three Trees. For the first time in living memory rounding the island was a breeze,

    in contrast to the traditional lagoon of idleness. John Holland's stately GP was next to start nobly crewed by Sue Morley. A minute later it was The Commodore in Espérer crewed by Amelia Goodwin. It was a good day for the Enterprise which shrugged off the puzzling wind and stream to come a meritorious third. And so, to Merlin Rockets; Flinkydink helmed by Stuart Jenkins and crewed by Nicola Scadden was a picture of vintage elegance and speed. They made short work of the sailing thus winning the event even though they could have had tea and a round of toast while waiting to be set off. John Heath and Colin Goodwin shared the 'Concours d'Elegance' in his vintage Merlin Ella and came second.

    George came fourth but not before juggling positions with James Bay and David who came 5th and 6th respectively. James Bay rode a river of air to lead the entire fleet by 300 yards for about 20 minutes, the whole fleet bunching up way behind. It was a pleasure to see Nigel Cooper on flags, assisted by Graham York on duck fence and look out. Fiona McHardy and Alison H went Greek with the RTI supper of Moussaka and an assortment of Mediterranean vegetables and salad, Bar and beer was by Phil McHardy and others.

    In the end the wind dropped, it did start to rain and got worse as we put our boats away for the night, but overall, it was a good day.


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    Sail Chat 21.4.2024

    A brisk and cold wind from the ENE entertained us sailors but it was a good direction to stem the still quite strong current. With this direction there were some strong and intermittent puffs, especially off Bell Hill and opposite the club. James Bay, Tim/Claude and James Peel in Comets were out as was David in his Solo. Officiating were John Hollands and Brian and in the Timekeepers box most of the family Page except Richard! Really keen these timekeepers Hilary showed as well! No incidents in my view.

    In the afternoon there were again the three Comets being James Bay, James Peel and Tim/Claude, David had a rest and stated he was taking his time to mature for racing, just like a good wine! The Commodore was with Susie and Jane with me in the Enterprises. James Peel had a cracking race and was difficult to shake off, though not in our fleet. Terrific contest in the Ents with many place changes, the windward mark off the Church land generally being the arbiter. Ian and Susie had it by a whisker.

    Great tea by the Vice and Deirdre and Bar by Brian.

    Elsewhere - cracking run by Lucy Penwarden in the London Marathon and another blow for the rather male dominated Merlin class as Caroline and Livvy won at Fishers Green (nice pic on Whatsapp). JB slightly mournful 'Might lose my crew now'.

    See you next week when there is the round the island race and supper on Saturday and normal Sunday racing.

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    Sail Chat 14.4.2024

    At last we are back sailing, albeit on a reduced scale but back! Along with the activities on Benn 1, which were considerable and very successful, the pics on Whats-app clearly show the efforts and effects. Great credit must go to all those that contributed to making our safety boat (how much more suitable is that title) like new! John Heath got the engine working after that really long lay off which is commendable and George put on some handsome lineage. Rob continued with fighting the door to the balcony, I think the old door made it one all!

    So to the sailing - wisely race officer Roger postponed until the afternoon when the breeze started to cooperate, bristling when the sun was in and abating when out. Out then went the HSS David in his Solo, James Peel and James Bay in their Comets and me with Jane in the Enterprise. A short course was set F mark up river and a close H down stream which suited the frisky, at times, SSW wind, which really helped to stem the still strong current. Eight delightful laps ensued in about an hour - a really delightful sail without incident and the tacking and gybing was a joy. Perfect mark placing for the conditions!

    James Warren assisted Roger, Angela timed us and Anna and Lucy Penwarden made us a delicious Tea. As usual a really good turn out for tea and a massive effort by many putting Ben 1 back in the water. We were not the only river club out, Tamesis held a very successful Enterprise open on Saturday and had club racing thereafter.

    See you next week hopefully Phill

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    Sail Chat - 01.04.2024

    As you will know the last two Sunday should have been sailing days but the conditions have conspired against us and, according to forecasts, this is to continue next week. No old timers can remember this happening before but memories fade.

    Nevertheless the club faithful have come to the aid of the extended working parties and there is pictorial evidence of this on our Whats Ap site. The downstream end of the club has been completely re-newed under the supervision and efforts of Rob and Jo, other operatives also helping. Ben 1 has been hauled out completely by human power, scrubbed, rubbed, filled and is now being painted and anti-fouled with John Hollands leading by example. The aft ladder and platform expertly re-made by George.

    The club has been thoroughly cleaned both outside, of the slimy sludge, and inside, of the dust and cobwebs, another Roland's presence being spotted but not yet seen! Even the clubs own Barbie ( not as attractive as Ms Robbie) has been cleaned to within an inch of its life. The windows - Wow! Mary gets a special mention, our club looks almost glass-less! Some woodwork has been done to the bar to improve the delivery of the amber ale which is essential.

    Hywell's nest has not been consumed by fire but chopped by the Ladies into tiny pieces to be re-cycled and if anything our legendary teas have just got better, having been served on both Sundays to welcome attendees. Why go to Fortnums when you can have a boat ride with Ben to a clean island and enjoy succulent fare at a tiny fraction of the cost?

    Even boats have started to arrive thanks to an initiative on the first day of (non) sailing - so if you have not been around you might be surprised - it might be there! One might think being in the race team it would be a doddle, not so, its even more demanding.

    Along with all this our Commodore Ian, Susie and Ben have worked tirelessly for the club and Sophie has even supplied the paint from afar.

    Finally we seem to have lost our friendly Seal. We trust it returns to join its many mates in the estuary.


Sail Chat 2023

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    Sail Chat- Boxing day RNLI Pennant race.

    Sandwiched between two storms Boxing Day 'enjoyed' a very light, west south west. rustle of a breeze but an interesting hazy sky and sun, see pic. Plenty of cheer though with five optimistic boats venturing out into the still moderate stream. George and James Bay in their Comets, the ever philosophical sailing secretary in his Solo, John with Hannah in his GP and me with Jane in the Enterprise. At the start there was just enough breeze for George to get away followed by the Enterprise, the GP was over so had difficulty in recovering. The Solo and other Comet tacked to and fro below the line. Both leaders got within nibbling distance of the straining mark but then went backwards, the Enterprise scattered with larch droppings having hit a tree. The race team anxiously and helpfully moved the mark ever closer to the boats but the increasing stream prevailed. It was not to be, an abandoned RNLI Pennant race seemed a fair result under the circumstances. We all returned to a very welcome hot punch. Just so good to be out on the water again.

    Excellent, nearly all family team, of Ian, Susie (catering) Sophie (timekeeping) and Ben (patrol boat) with Stuart deputising for sister Sarah (John unwell). Very tasty bring your own buffet supervised by Susie and Chris assisted by more punch and tasty IPA. Along with a good turn out of young, older and not so older members see pic.

    So to quote Paul - 'It's a wrap'! Sadly until March that is so but there are of course very vital working parties these keep the club afloat, save us large amounts of money, reduced subs and bring us together during this off season period.

    Happy New Year Phill

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    Sail Chat 10th December 2023- Children's Xmas Party day

    At first, around 10.30 am it looked like this was going to be a Frostbite in rain, wind and stream that would live in infamy. However by 11.30 the general opinion had swung to 'not so bad.' By 'general' I would like to identify Hywell Perkins and crew Hannah Bridger (who aced it), and James Peel, George Bell and David Gettings in their respective single handers. Normally it takes half an hour or more to get to the E mark in this sort of stream but today we all belted along on the Southerly breeze and it only took ten minutes to round it. Hywel and Hannah took 5 minutes. And we all took 1.5 minutes to the leeward mark at H (m) which was fun as we skated around H leaving it to starboard. James ate more Weetabix and so won the Handicap never having lost his advantage over the two old lags chasing him down. George came second and David contrived to lose another race by failing to negotiate the outer distance mark properly which in his opinion was probably under water in the angry current anyway.

    James Warren set the marks once he had identified at least one mark that doesn't drift towards Hampton Court . His ADO John Heath was half ADO and half mechanic as he repaired the water pump in the ferry. Chris Bell released George for one hour from his catering role so he could sail, while she held the fort. Ian hovered between the kitchen and the bar manned by Andrew, which was engulfed in the aroma of juice, fruit and cloves mulling on a hot plate. And by no means least, kudos to Dorothy Heath, holed up in the TK box with a very furry friendly Dogwood.
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    Sail Chat 3rd December 2023-AGM

    Grim old day again but this time a nice little southerly blowing, enough to stem the stream, which had reduced. Only three gallant takers George Comet, James Peel Comet and Hywell with Sophie Penwarden in the Merlin. Nice short course in the breeze F to H, layed by experienced yachters and race team, Chris Parker and Brian which produced a speedy short race for the Merlin and only slightly more for the Comets. The Merlin experienced a centre board obstruction off the Surrey bank and an object was seen.

    After the race a team of Hywell, John, Brian and Ben salvaged a motor scooter submerged near the ferry landing on the Surrey bank, truly a herculean task.

    Generous lunch was by Ellie and Angela, timekeeping by Ra and Livvy and bar by Mack, where the IPA was delicious. Refreshments were followed by our AGM where our warm hearted Commodore Michaela stood down and Ian Peerless was elevated along with his Equerry Susie. Sarah Jenkins was then appointed Vice Commodore. James Peel was welcomed to the committee.

    Now Children! Its your party next week but you can't cry if you want to because Santa and his Elf will be there.

    Can't see you next week so David witty blog from you please.PS The Sail Chat will now major on our new website hopefully with pictures.


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    Sail Chat Sunday 26th November

    Slate grey skies, a dribble of wind from off the Surrey bank and a rampant stream travelling east. What a day to welcome the heavy heads who gallantly made it from the night before (or early morning) of our super dinner and dance. With the excellent company and food and in the words of 'Strictly' ''Amazing''! dancers.

    Only three gallant takers on the water all who had been excessing the night before. George Comet, James Comet and Ian with Oli as a willing substitute in the Enterprise. Kevin and Stuart (duty team) used considerable initiative and cunning in mark placement to allow a finish, such is the finesse of our race officers.

    The received a warm welcome of sausages and like fare from Susan and Sonya and the bar was run by Alan and a bit by Ben. Time keeping were Nicola and Susie. Come to think of it all present had enjoyed the night before in various lengths of time. Nice example!

    Next time I am going to send the blog direct to Chris and George as it now goes direct onto the new website.


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    Sail Chat 19th November 2023

    Dark skies, strong winds and gushing stream on the river Thames at Hampton on Sunday. There was a short postponement by the duty team of Brian, Philip and the Commodore, to allow for the conditions to moderate or sailors to pluck up courage. Three dauntless sailors came out, just about stemming the stream with the strong SSW blowing hard. Hywell with Sophie Penwarden in the Merlin, David in his Solo and Ben back in 'Mango' the Laser. The course was a sensible short up and down in front of the club E to H, of three laps. The beat up was challenging due to the gusts and the stream, anything but short attempts of a starboard tack swept boats back down river. Once round the mark boats just flew away in seconds to the downstream mark. All finished although the Laser was seen in various unusual positions but Ben was back!

    Excellent turn out for HSC lunch club with affable service from Ellen and Michaela and bountiful barman Nigel. Time was by Angela and Susie. Much chat about knees and Egypt, reflecting the mature age and travel experience of many of our members.

    See you next week. Phill

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    Sail Chat 12th November 2023

    Slate grey skies, light rain, a strong stream and a 4 to 6 mph south easterly was the weather recipe. Tricky problem for race officer Roger and assistant Graham but with four determined sailors Roger set a HE HE course ( well just an H to E but that sums it up). With marks moving and replacements taking place postponements were needed. With great determination though the team set it up. Watchers were confused as all four contestants fought to stay up stream and it looked like they had started. With flags flying and hooters sounding the Merlin with Hywell and Lucy, Enterprise with Ian and hairy Ben, Comets of George and James Peel all swooped down stream at great pace to then idle around the windward mark H and struggle upstream. The Merlin got its spinnaker up and managed to get away but all eventually hugged to Surrey bank and went up at about 1 mph and then down at about 6 with some interesting broadside tacks to the mark. One of James was so enthusiastic he capsized but recovered in a trice. Ian caught the long rope on the large upstream mark and hovered about with the big yellow thing for a while. Great Hampton spirit by the sailors and team all got round and finished.

    Time for the class racing was by Claude and Alan, traditional refreshments by Selena and Suzie and bar by various. Well done all for an enjoyable scene for the watchers and some good pics on the whatsap.

    Phill as delegated by the Sailing Sec.

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    Sail Chat 29th October 2023

    The first Frostbite

    Hope springs eternal. About 24 hours before our start time the forecasters were betting the farm there was going to be 10mph wind and 30mph gusts. And sunny spells. And wouldn't it be nice to go sailing? With a 3 mph stream and the wind in the WSW. Instead like sailing in a cathedral of motionless grey clouds, you could have lit 40 candles, there was so little wind relative to what we needed, to overcome the relentless torrent.

    But since we were promised wind, those who like a challenge i.e. an Enterprise (Ian and Ben) three Comets ( George Bell, James Peel, Brian Tweedie Smith) and a Solo leapt off the end of the Pontoon into the moving water. This was an act of desperate wishful thinking. So while the fleet tried in vain to reach the starting line, David whose sail fell down in prep (and got a postponement), launched dead last and as he hadn't drifted as far as the others from the line, crossed it first. By then his competitors were trying to kedge where they might, whereas the veteran George knew to get alongside Benn 1 and wait.

    From then on, it was a game of who could get to windward of whom, because if you did, your opponent just stopped and went backwards. And nobody could luff or tack which would bring you broadside buying you a ticket to Molesey Lock. The exception was George who found a lane on the Mddx. bank and snuck up to a place he could hope to round the E mark from (a hefty distance by the way). This he achieved after three or four attempts coming alongside the mark. Like a gentleman he declined to save 5 minutes by bumping the mark, and incur a 'pirouette' 360 . Good karma because after he eventually got round E he shot down to H and after a monumental effort made the finishing line. The rest of us had retired by then except Ian and Ben who carried on. Not that they made it, but it was an example of the Nelson Spirit so dear to HSC, to carry on for another 20 minutes in the rain before yielding to the inevitable.
    Result? George in Comet 'Merlin' 1st. Everybody else DNF.

    In the light of the foregoing you can imagine how welcome the sausage rolls, cheese , quiche etc was. And cakes no doubt. Thanks to Claude and Sue Morley for that.
    Thanks go to the Timekeepers Lucy York and Chris Bell. Thanks to Phil McHardy on bar. Finally thanks to Richard Page DO and Philip Dalby ADO .

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    Sail Chat 22nd October 2023

    Four boats went out in conditions something less than torrential, about 2 knots of stream. Ian and Sophie (!) in the Peerless Enterprise , and three from the Handicap class, James Peel and James Bay in Comets and David. The wind was as predicted from the SW but annoyingly intermittent. Thus we had to employ all our thinking skills to negotiate the stream, wind and course to get round. We all did in fact so it was rewarding in the end. David of course led to the first mark and rounded it the wrong way thus falling to third behind Ian and James Peel the latter sailing a stormer in Phoebe. The result put Ian and Sophie in first place, James Peel second, David in third and James Bay fourth.
    There were cakes and sandwiches and full IPA box things. Thanks goes to Jo Heath and Anna Jenkins (catering), Ben Peerless (!) bar, motor boat and general heavy lifting, Maureen Dance and Hilary Dodman in the TK box and Course setter Stuart Jenkins assisted by Robert Heath.

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    Sail Chat 15th October 2023

    Overall a sunny day which was relished by the last of the sun seekers. With the wind from the North twitching from NE to NW, it paid to be vigilant, spot the patches of breeze and be patient for the arrival of a puff. If you bore away, your vmg went to pot and; if you luffed to Surrey, you ran into most of the GP fleet including the Bunner's in their new shiny GP. Derek and Sue won that one. Ian and Suzie joined the Handicappers unoffically, won by David in a hard fought battle with Roger's Laser, James Bay and Michaela's Comet. Phil Dalby and Charlie sailed by themselves in the Merlin. This was much applauded by the club (quite rightly) and it continues something of a tradition in their fleet of being crewed by infants. They generally become great sailors in the fullness of time.

    The AM handicap was won by Simon Girven and Claude by several laps sailing the short course. Brian's Comet sailing solo came second, David came third, unable to get far enough ahead of the Comet, the second place changing hands several times and James Bay improving all the time.

    There were cakes from Lizzie Page etc. DO Trevor. ADO James Peel.

    With thanks to David our Sailing Secretary

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    Merlin Vintage and Open- 7th & 8th October 2023

    Hampton Sailing Club Merlin Open Weekend

    7th & 8th October

    Hampton Sailing Club ran open meetings for the Merlin Rocket class over the weekend of 7th and 8th

    October. Sailing was for the Vintage Wing on the Saturday and for the open Thames Series on the

    Sunday. All weekend we were blessed with quite extraordinary warm sunshine T-shirt and shorts

    weather with light winds.

    Saturday kicked off with the 9 boat fleet launching after a short postponement into a light, largely

    southwesterly breeze. Two races were held before lunch as the forecast had suggested the wind

    would drop later in the day. The first lap of the windward leeward course was led by Phil Dalby and

    Livvy Bell sailing Livvy's dad's boat, Grace. As the fleet spread out Rob and Hattie Cage in Hullaballoo

    worked their way to the front, and stayed there to win, followed by Phil and Livvy, then Ollie

    Houseman and Egle Tumosa.

    After a quick turnround, the second race started on the same downriver/upriver course in maybe a

    little more wind, though still a bit fitful. For this race, Rob and Hattie led from start to finish. There

    was some place changing behind, with Richard Parslow and Simon Girven in Splatter slipping from 3 rd

    to finish in 5 th again, with the same boats as before coming in 2 nd and 3 rd .

    A cold buffet lunch followed with plenty of rehydration in the warm conditions. For the 3 rd race

    there was a little more wind and a little more consistency in the southwesterly direction. Again, Rob

    and Hattie led all the way round with Ollie and Egle in 2 nd place. Behind them, Richard and Simon

    held 3 rd place for 3 laps before Phil and Livvy slipped through to finish 3 rd . Unsurprisingly the final

    results were Rob and Hattie first, Ollie and Egle 2 nd and Phil and Livvy 3 rd . In 4 th overall was Stuart

    Jenkins with daughter Imogen sailing Cindy.

    My race was spoilt by a quite frightening collision with a rowing 8 which was doing a speed trial

    through our reach of the river. We were hit by the rowers going at full tilt, resulting in our boat,

    Shenandoah, being skewered by the bow of the 8 crashing through the hull planking and half way

    through the centreboard case. Fortunately there were no serious injuries to either me or my

    daughter Ellie nor to the young crew of the 8, but it took 2 rescue boats about 30 minutes to

    separate the boats.

    There was our usual evening social with the curry provided by a local takeaway and kindly organised

    by Nicky Page.

    On to the Sunday. The forecast was for extremely light winds all morning. This proved to be correct

    and therefore racing was postponed to allow the wind to fill in. Hoping for it to happen, a couple

    more visitors arrived from neighbouring Tamesis SC. At 12:10 we got afloat for a 12:15 start and as

    we launched the wind appeared. It remained however much lighter and more fitful than Saturday,

    sometimes enough to fill a spinnaker, sometimes not. Phil and Livvy made the best of the

    conditions, finding the fingers of wind running down the river, and led the first race, with Stuart

    Jenkins following them round, crewed by Nicola Scadden. There was quite a bit of place changing in

    the fleet behind before Ollie and Egle worked their way through to 3 rd .

    After a great lunch of meat or veg lasagne, we took to the water in just a little more breeze for race

    2 which was led for 4 laps by Simon Girven with Richard Parslow crewing before Phil and Livvy got by

    to take the win, with Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts finishing 3 rd . There was quite a game of

    snakes and ladders behind with the fleet quite closely bunched and many place changes.

    Race 3 followed after a very short break in just a little more wind though still somewhat changeable

    in strength and direction. Rob and Hattie came through to win after being well down the fleet on

    the first lap. Joe and Sean finished 2 nd after swapping places a couple of times with Phil and Livvy

    who came 3 rd . There was excitement at the leeward mark in this race as Richard Page managed a

    bizarre capsize. Gybing into the mark he crossed the boat and pulled on the mainsheet to find the

    wind had completely disappeared and the boat tumbled over on top of him.

    At the prizegiving Richard got a special mention and some goodies from our sponsors, Craftinsure,

    who generously supplied prizes for the first 3 places on both days.

    So concluded a weekend of warm sunshine in which somewhat against expectations, 3 races were

    held on both days with enough wind to get us all round the course and keep us interested!

    Andrew Mills

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    Sail Chat Saturday 23rd & Sunday 27

    After a magnificent supper, on Saturday, in honour of our outgoing Commodore, who sadly could not attend at the last minute due to a family bereavement, Sunday offered a blustery southerly with some big gusts. In the morning there were only four out David Solo, James Bay Comet, Brian Comet and Claude Pico. Interesting course set by race team of Nigel and James, with an upriver mark in sporadic wind and a down river mark at I for a gybe and then a beat to H Middlesex and one tack (if you stood on far enough) to H Surrey. It was particularly gusty opposite the Church. From what I viewed the Comet was giving the Solo a good challenge.

    In the afternoon Nigel set us all off together with two Merlins Richard with Philip and John with Hannah, two Enterprises having a very close race with numerous place changes at the tricky windward mark, in them Ian with Ellen and me with Jane. One GP Derek with Sue and in the Handicap fleet was David Solo, James Peel Comet and Brian Comet. The key was hugging the Surrey bank, to attempt a fast fetch across the river and tack back was detrimental as the wind direction dictated going back across the river and below the lay line. Just after the start James Peel was capsized in a violent gust but then showed that Comet's can be recovered quickly, perhaps height helps?

    Nice licky tea from Angela and Ellen, Excellent timekeeping by Margaret and Maureen and bar by Philip McHardy.

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    Sailchat-GP Open Saturday 16th September

    After a nice warm day with gentle breezes for our GP Open, where our very own Derek and Mary came second, Sunday dawned unsettled with a strong easterly and only one morning taker James Bay (who else). Officiating were Simon and Claude with a lone Tim Herbert Smith in the Timekeepers Box.

    Jane and Hywell arrived for the afternoon race having driven all the way up from the Wedding of the Year in Salcombe. Hywell then relieved Simon as No 1

    The strong breeze of the morning brought in a considerable shower of rain which suffocated the wind. Two others joined James in the Handicap fleet in the afternoon David Solo and me with Paul Enterprise. We all rigged in rain which abated somewhat when we were on the water. With a sensible course in the light easterly with a shade of north in it, we started down river and had a tricky run up which suited the Enterprise more than the single handers. It was a short race of four laps with some drizzle, some dead patches at I and then a very useful mark move.

    The small but select group, including veteran Jimmy James, then enjoyed Fiona's and Chris's delicious cakes and then we attacked the IPA or some of us did. Jane assisted and generally amused us all.


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    Sailchat Enterprise Open 10th September 2023

    After two or three very hot windless days our open presented a light shifty breeze from an easterly direction. Race Team of Derek May and George Bell wisely postponed until 1130 for the first race. They set a short course in what wind there was, a beat down river, a gybe and then a run up to a windward mark, set up river. It was still very hot 28 to 30 degrees so short races were promised and given. In the hot box Rob Bunner and Alison Hewitt, comforted themselves with personal fans (the sort you cool yourself with). Seven boats raced, six from the home fleet (only two missing) and one very welcome visitor from Lensbury Chris Rowsell and Alastair. The start of the first race was held in sufficient breeze to get the whole fleet round the windward mark. Phili and Sophie had a good start but chose the wrong line and were overtaken, just before the mark, by Chris/Alastair, John/Harry and Ian/Susie, Chris jumped into the lead, this he held for two laps, chased by Phill/Sophie, John/Harry and Ian/Susie. The arbiter of this race was the run up river and choosing the right little flurry of breeze and where it was. After four hot laps but in considerate time, the finish was Phill/Sophie, Chris/Alastair, John/Harry.

    It was great to have a visit from Peter Skingley one of our most mature members, he received a warm welcome in personal and climatic ways!

    After a catering delight, of a healthy lunch, provided by Chris Bell, Mary May and Emily Bunner. The next race started after a good break. This was a considerable contrast in conditions, the sky had darkened, the wind had turned 180 and freshened considerably. The course was now in reverse but slightly longer upstream. There was a clean start with some out hiking, Phill/Sophie got it right this time and, whilst at times threatened by Chris/Alastair and John/Harry, were not caught. These conditions prevailed for about two laps and then the sky brightened and the breeze dropped. The finish was novel, the Commodore Michaela and team presented us all with ice creams. A great tradition which must be continued!

    After a decent rest to re-hydrate the last race was held in the lightest of conditions but still with a gentle and at times faint south westerly. Phill/Sophie refrained, as the helm complained of exhaustion! This race was even more a labyrinth of breeze and placement and Ian/Susie crept out of fourth place to win.

    A swimming party was held with Sophie and Ava, who outdid us all by swimming across the river and back, Harry performing off the balcony, Ellen with the 'bigger splash' and Angela and me drifting sedately.

    After a home made tea of excellence the prize giving was held by the Commodore, The Sailing Secretary and Phill the Fleet Rep. 3rd was Ian and Susie, 2nd Chris and Alastair, 1st Phill and Sophie. The Thames Valley Youth Trophy was presented to Harry Bunner and the Thames Valley Ladies Trophy was presented to Jane and Ellen. The Sailing Secretary presented a glass to Ellen for her disguise! The Bar did a brisk trade with alcohol expert Graham in charge!

    Full list of participants Phill Chambers/Sophie Penwarden 1st. 23218 HSC, Chris Rowsell and Alastair 2nd. 23249 Lensbury SC, Ian and Susie Peerless 3rd 22559 HSC, John Hollands and Harry Bunner 4th 23229 HSC, Jane Chambers and Ellen Cooper 5th 23162 HSC, Richard Cass and Claude Wheeler 6th 22526 HSC, Sarah Rolfe and Hannah Bridger 7th 23160 HSC,

    Many thanks to all who participated and helped.

    Philip Chambers HSC Enterprise Fleet Rep.,

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    Sailchat 28 August 2023

    West by North breeze blowing with cloud cover which produced some cats paws puffs making sailing interesting. Race team of Richard Cass and Rob Bunner produced a windward leeward course with an interesting diversion off Bell Hill. The best breeze being down river for most of the racing but in the afternoon it backed a bit and produced a few surprises!

    In the morning just David Solo, whose leak had now transferred from the bailers to the flaps, hence a short postponement handled expertly by Hillary and Ava in the box, he is after all the HSS. Also taking part was Brian back from the old gaffers, in his Comet, Claude in the Pico and me with Hannah. Really nice race with the Surrey bank generally favoured up river. Harry was also out practicing in his Laser. This was followed by the Youth race with Elize Topper and Harry Laser.

    In the afternoon a sudden invasion of sailors! Good showing of the Merlins with Hywell/Nicola, John Heath and youthful neighbour, Andrew/Claude and Richard with daughter Elizabeth.

    In the Enterprises there was Ian/Susie, sailing away with poetic roll tacks, Jane/Emily and lone Peter (Alans Son) in Dame Blanche.

    The Handicap was swollen by Nigel and David in Solo's, James and Sue (multi crew in every class) Comet, Brian Comet and Roger Laser.

    The GP's were also out in force with Derek/Mary (looking very pastel), Trevor/Kevin, John/Ali and George with Chris. I was on the balcony with Jimmy and thought the sailing was very well mannered, but of course was not near the marks.

    Tea was by Selena and Susie, with the most divine Victoria Sandwich (named after that robust Queen who probably eat too many of them) and Flapjacks by Ian. Bar was by occasional Alan.

    Encouraging to see Sammy and Charlie out on a Topper with rather large crew!

    Ian made some announcements about the Commodore's Dinner, The Magpie Race and the Dinner and Dance. Dates see programme or ask Alison.

    Just a reminder ULEZ will be in force from 28.8. 23 today.

    See you next week Sunday 3rd September.


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    Sailchat 20th August 2023

    Wisely just one race on this day with a lovely warm south west by west breeze blowing at about 12 to 14 mph. The Race team of Richard Parsloe and John Hollands set a sensible course to suit the conditions and were prepared to change it with the conditions at the leeward (gybe) mark off or near Garrick's Temple. The windward mark was in the cut at B and made the sailing there quite technical, the north bank favouring, with a helpful streak of wind- a great course and very enjoyable windward leeward race.

    It was a points race but as there are trophies for LDR it was treated as a pursuit contest. The Topper Pinky Seaweed, sailed by Elize and Cousin, set off first followed by the Handicap fleet of David Solo, James and Fiona Comet, Roger Laser and the lone GP with George and Chris. Next off, two Enterprises Chris and Ra and me with Hannah. Last to go was the strongest fleet of Merlins, John Bell and Deirdre, Stuart with Nicola, John Heath and Colin and Hywell with Paul.

    True to his international sailing reputation Richard planned the race meticulously, on the race board and on the water,timed to the second for the finish at 1600. Very close racing in all classes and well done Elize and Cus for representing the youth, Old Man River won thanks to his impeccable crew.

    Excellent and most prompt timekeeping by Susan and Dorothy, with lots to work out. Also congratulations to Susan for the shiniest returned trophy I have seen at HSC for some time, won last year by Keefie and herself.

    A delicious BBQ was served by Ian and Susie to 40 people thanks to the endeavours of our Social Secretary.

    The tantalising mystery of the missing shorts last week (Shortsgate) was solved, apparently the fact that the respective owners both wear white shorts (how retro) was the culprit. It was noticed however that one label was of a more distinctive brand than the other! So those members of the club involved with this kind of marketing are not working in a vacuum!

    Great work by the few that cleared up, washed up, stocked up and locked up. Not everybody does!

    Finally - thanks to George and team who have secured the passage to the the Gents from the weather and hopefully from our unwanted and destructive visitors.

    See you next week. Phill

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    Sail Chat 13th August.2023

    Breezy with plenty of shifting cloud cover provided us with a 15 mph SSW wind. Veteran members from Lymington Sue and Steve presided and James Bay was assistant race officer. Fiona and Nicola were timekeeping. Just three out AM, David Solo, James Comet and me with Jane Enterprise. It was quite a challenging wind with some interesting puffs. The course was different (of course Steve Harridge !) with a sort of double beat up river in the windiest bits and a gybe just off Bell Hill. Anyway we all stayed upright until the end of the hour race, except for David who managed a splash just off the pontoon coming in.

    In the afternoon there were two Merlins racing, Richard and Philip and John Bell with Paul. The wind was still constant with some black bits on the river. In the Enterprises were Chris and Ra (breezy! Chris attends), Ian and Susie and Sarah with Hannah in Dame Blanch again. I wimped out as a big gust came through whilst I was rigging. Very close race between Ian and Chris with Chris capsizing on a beat but recovering quickly with nimble crew and then spending about four laps to catch Ian and Susie. The finish was a close run thing on the last beat to the line with Chris winning by a half a boat length. Sarah and Hannah provided the entertainment as Sarah evacuated the boat on the run to go swimming leaving Hannah in charge. This she did with some degree of dexterity, proved by the fact the boat stayed upright and not helped by roared instructions. There was considerable laughter from the water and the boat. The safety boat was always on hand. The scene, apart from the evacuation, was filmed by Mark, its worth a viewing.

    Only James Peel with Claude and Graham in Comets for the Handicap. James gliding round and Graham, who rarely sails doing a great job staying upright to finish sans shorts! David decided to give it a miss due to wet gear and only one change. Very close race by the two GP's John and Sue and Derek with Susan, with place changes and canny tactics. The graceful Mary being still unwell.

    Wonderful cakes and Sandwiches from Sue and Ian (multi tasking). Rather quiet bar for Shaun but on hand early.

    The Commodore then reminded us of next weeks Long Distance Race (LDR) it is a class points race with the usual pm start times 1430 etc. The morning handicap will still be held at 1200. There is a BBQ after the LDR. Please inform Alison Hollands if you want to indulge? We also sang or croaked happy birthday to Michaela I think??

    Finally our sailors abroad Brian, Amelia and Colin are all safely arrived in port.


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    Sail Chat 23rd July 2023

    Sparkling and frisky conditions welcomed us with 9 to 15 mph south westerly, with the occasional gust of more. Hywell and Tim Harms were officiating, Millie and Jane (Freshers) were time keeping, along with Gryf! As one comes to expect Hywell placed the windward mark in an unconventional area in the Middlesex channel off Thorneycrofts Island. Only two takers James Bay, Comet and David Solo. Thrilling downwind runs were seen by the watchers. The Hon Sailing Secretary requested a mark move due to rounding space at mark mentioned above and this was complied with. He led the whole race, carefully wearing round the gybe mark until the last turning, then he went for it! Ruefully to splash in and allow James to recover, a whole leg and just win. In the afternoon class racing there was a good showing from the Merlin class, fresh from windy endeavours in Salcombe. Richard with Philip, John Heath with Nicola, John Bell with Sue and Andrew with Hannah. Richard shot away at the start, showing the mettle of a Salcombe fleet winner, never to be headed. Just one Enterprise again, this time with Chris and Ra, revelling in the strong breeze. Plenty of Handicappers, James Bay, James Peel with Claude and Ian all in Comets along with David who stayed upright for the whole race to win. Tight race in the GP class with Derek and George, John with Paul and Kevin with Maddie, held up rather by ingress! Tea by Jane and Susie with cakes also from Ian and Chris Bell. Bar by Mack in gay shirt. Many visitors for HSC Tea Shop causing shortages. More next week. Phill

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    Sail Chat 15th July 2023

    Roaring mighty winds most of the week and this Sunday no exception with 25 mph gusts from the south west. All resulting from a typhoon from Brazil, according to my foreign correspondent. Seasoned race team of Stuart Jenkins and the Hon Sailing Secretary, ripe as ever with advice. Having viewed the wounds of the gladiators from Salcombe there was much trepidation and little activity near sailing boats. Domestic tasks within and without the club became a priority.

    But! We were shamed by family McCardy/Bay. Nonchalantly, James went out in his Comet morning and afternoon as our lone rider of the storm. In the morning with one sail and in the afternoon with two and Paul as crew. Elise did the the youth race with a drastically reefed 'Pinky Seaweed' Topper, remaining upright throughout and completing the race to win. Well done Elise.

    Time keeping was by a bruised Nicola and tea was by Michaela and Brian, once again the succulent rock cakes, with flap jacks and victoria sponge from Brian, he is so edible (I mean eligible!). Bar by John.

    Congratulations to Richard Page and his daughter Elizabeth for coming first in the Silver Fleet and to the others who braved the turbulence of the Salcombe Estuary.

    Many thanks to Derek who has put up a hook and eye to hold the front door open, making the 'Dog' chewed wedge redundant and finally, Gentlemen be aware that a vital part of our facilities are temporarily out of action and a bucket may be required!

    More gentle breezes next week please.


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    Sail Chat 9th July 2023

    Another sprightly day wind wise for us at HSC, with a south westerly 9 to 12 mph, generally favouring a port tack up river.

    Richard Cass and Paul of the Tug officiated, providing a fine track and well placed marks, and Sue with Claude were keeping time. Really very steady breeze for Hampton and a delight to sail in with a consistent tacking up wind and pole out, run down for a steady gybe at high I. Sadly only two takers David Solo and me with Jane Enterprise. The Solo executed some interesting, skiff like, tacks down wind, perhaps he aspires?

    In the afternoon a flurry of activity as Chris and Ra joined us, lowering the average age considerably, Derek and Mary, keeping it consistent, James and James, Roger, David and Jane median and moi (no comment!)

    Anyway, spirited battle between the two Enterprises commenced the sailing, as no Merlins,(all away in West Ken On Sea!)

    The breeze had now backed a tad so whilst it was still frisky there was now some reaching down wind. So we had an exciting close race. Mary and Derek, elegantly represented the GP fleet and both James engaged in Comets, David Solo and Roger Laser (yes a Laser out!) competed with many place changes but the Laser had it by 3 seconds. What a remarkably fine PY we have at HSC. Good to see veteran yachtsman, rower and once Merlin sailor Tim at the club.NEXTGEN GALLERY

    After that Commodores super rock buns and Jane's lemon drizzle for tea.

    See you next week. Phill

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