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Strand on the Green Sailing Club has a small but enthusiastic sailing membership. New members very welcome. New social members are also welcome.
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  Dinghy sailing on the Thames at Chiswick  
NEWS ...
Dinner dance 2016 - report
AGM 2016
Contributions welcome!
When you're on the river ...
SGSC in Germany
The 2015 Dinner Dance
Racing - near Kew railway bridge.


Strand on the Green Sailing Club boats on the beach - near Cowes


To see race results and read a brief race report, click the down arrow below and choose a date.


Strand on the Green Sailing Club, racing on the river ThamesWe sail at Strand on the Green, up river to Isleworth and down to Hammersmith and beyond. Currently sailed at Strand, in order of popularity: Enterprises, Lasers, Gulls, plus a Vibe, a Lightening a Leader a Heron and a Wayfarer.

Every summer we have a weekend away, based on the Beaulieu River at The Royal Southampton Yacht Club's HQ at Gins. We usually sail across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Other recent excursions have been to the Norfolk Broads, Berlin and on a Thames Barge on the UK east coast. In 2015 we chartered yachys on the Baltic. A canal trip is planned this year.

We race on the Thames near Kew Bridge every Sunday from March to November. The race time depends on the tide. Consult the Calendar for race times. Courses are close to our railway arch HQ, plus Hammersmith, Isleworth and long distance races.
        Drawing of dinghies at Strand on the Green

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On Saturday 5th March, the big event of the year ...

SGSC annual dinner and dance at the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club.

As usual it was a great success - well attended, great food and music and vigorous Scottish dancing. What we lack in terms of skill and finesse we easily make up for with enthusiasm.

Thanks as always are due to Marian Armitage for organisation; Joyce Willard for our introduction to the Golf Club; and to the organisations who kindly donated prizes for the raffle:

A weekend in St Ives -
Voucher -Hammonds Butcher and Deli
Meals -

The City Barge,
One Over the Ait
The Bell and Crown
The Brewery Tap
The Cafe Rouge
The Bull’s Head







AGM 2016

The 2016 AGM was held in the excellent upstairs room at the City Barge pub.
Tim Young's second year as Commodore, with Alex Pape as Vice-Commodore slot. The committee is otherwise unchanged.
The coming season's programme is now on the website.

Planned excitements discussed for 2016 were a canal boat weekend on the Oxford canal with our German friends, and the Gins weekend over the August Bank Holiday weekend - 28th August - David Berger is organising this.

There will be a 70th anniversary race on 17th April, and an Island party on the 3rd September - the same day as the Great River race.


Dance 2015 - Saturday March 7th

As usual the annual dinner dance at the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club was a huge success. The meal was delicious, the prizes were given out speedily, the raffle was well supported and after a surprise specially composed song from the Commodore, it was down to the dancing.
Rumbustuous as always, the dancing was great fun for all ages, newbies and seasoned kilted experts alike. The Craigievar Scottish Dance Band provided their excellent lively reels and jigs including our own Strand Hornpipe.

Prizes for the raffle, most gratefully received, were as follows:
A weekend in St Ives (
Vouchers for food/dining at:
One over the Ait (Kew Bridge)
Hammonds Butchers and Delicatessen (Kew Bridge)
The Bell and Crown
The Brewery Tap, Brentford
The City Barge
Cafe Rouge








Contributions welcome!

Accounts of all/any club activities can be added to this news section of the website with ease - before mid May, during part of August, and from early October at least! And if anyone is techy enough, and willing, to do so at other times, given the ancient system with which the site was constructed, speak to Mary.




Summer Garden Party and Gins weekend 2012

This year's party, in James and Marian's garden was a most enjoyable evening. Quite a few stalwarts were away so numbers were low but the rain kept away, the food was delicious, and a good time was had by all. Huge thanks to James and Marian for the hospitality and to Marian (and her helpers) in particular for providing the food.

There was no Ladies' Plate race this year due to blustery weather and a shortage of willing sailors.

Gins weekend 26th August. Sailing the Solent, seeing the lovely Beaulieu River, dinner at the RSYC, ... contact Kurt Berger.



Strand on the Green go Sailing in Berlin

Early in June eleven Strand Sailors set out for a sailing and cultural weekend in Berlin. We were guests of SKB sailing club based near Potsdam on the Wannsee Lake. Taking part were James and Marian Armitage, Rob and Heather Adams, Enoch and Zena Rodrigues, Ivo Hosman from Amsterdam, Sam Shentob and Katie and Chris and Mary Greenwood.
After an early start the London contingent arrived at Schoenefeld Airport having had an excellent aerial view of the lakes. To our delight and setting the tone for the rest of the trip we were met by Norbert Dreifurst, my sailing companion and our contact in Berlin, and Juergen Pollok, Commodore of SKB and driven to the Steiglitz Hotel, our centre for the trip. The 4* hotel, offering attractive weekend rates and a more than copious breakfast was strategically placed for the railways midway between the lakes and the centre of Berlin.
The first easy decision was whether to go for a sail in the afternoon, so in bright sunshine a promise of wind and fortified by coffee and cakes, off we went for our first outing on the lakes. Most of the boats in the club are around the 25' mark with day cabins and take 4-5 people. Accompanied by Norbert and Jurgen we set off on a jolly sail to a distant bar on an island and enjoyed some local beer. In the evening we were all invited to the Potsdam Yacht Club which has a wonderful club house overlooking the lake. Norbert had invited a number of SKB club members chosen partially for their linguistic skills. We exchanged gifts of pennants, an SGSC sweat-shirt, prize mugs, tea, whisky and a photographic memento of a recent wedding celebrating Anglo-German unity. The PYC has a rather interesting way of ordering drinks, you simply write your order on a piece of paper with your name and club, SGSC and settle up at the end of the evening, very civilised.
Day 2 on the trip and we were all invited for a guided walk around Sanssouci in Potsdam the summer palace built by Frederick the Great as a rival to Versailles. It is indeed a monument to greatness and made more enjoyable by the illuminating insight of those in our party from the architectural professions. A trip over the Glienicke Bridge where spies were exchanged brought history more up to date and moved us via beer to another sail. This time the outing was marked by a thunder storm and we were all luckily able to anchor and shelter inside the boat. An alternative group were taken on the club motor boat for a special 7 lakes trip around the Southwest of Berlin with a guide to the many historic villas on the lakeside. The motorboat was also weather proofed and well supplied with coffee and cakes. In the evening we were invited to the Summer Party of SKB where we met many other members and enjoyed the sailorly pastimes of eating, drinking and singing.

On day three "culture" was top of the bill. Rob Adams had been given a list of must-see's in Berlin including both very new and classical buildings and monuments. Everyone's curiosity was fed by the East/West divide and the reconstruction projects that have been accomplished in the city which seems to have more that its fair share of modern history. Top picks for some were the Neue Museum, which is itself a work of art, and the rather eerie Holocaust Monument. It is an impossible task to do justice to such a splendid capital in a day and I'm sure that everyone will look for an opportunity to return at some point.
Monday was a public holiday in Germany and also the date for an annual race for the Max-Oertz Prize 20 miles along the length of the lake from Spandau to the Glienicke Bridge and back. Norbert managed to get a late entry as SGSC, which may be our first international race. Taking part, after an early start, were James, Rob, Ivo, Norbert and Chris in a day sailing boat belonging to another club member.
With over 50 yachts at the start it was quite exciting but we soon settled into a long beat up the lake, pausing only briefly to test the depth of the lake with the keel. At the end of the lake, a jibe, and the spinnaker was hauled up for the return; always an interesting opportunity for debate if the crew are not familiar with the boat. The bright sunshine and reasonable wind made for steady progress upset only by a rather severe broach. At almost the end of the race Rob spotted that the rest of the regatta were almost becalmed and drawing on the experience of fickle winds on the river we dropped the spinnaker and regained several places coming 26th overall.
During our trip we were all offered many kindnesses and a very thoughtful itinerary which everyone enjoyed. We plan to invite Norbert and his club to London next year at the end of May 2012 to enjoy a sail on the river and perhaps a trip to the Solent, a party at Strand on the Green, Scottish Country Dancing, Kew Gardens and of course shopping.

Chris Greenwood

SGSC visit to Berlin




SGSC Gins Weekend 2011

The annual visit to the RSYC base at Gins on the Beaulieu River during the August Bank Holiday was enjoyed by all, despite indifferent weather, difficult tides, and only five boats taking part.

Michael Kemlo, the RSYC member and originator of these visits, sailed his cruising boat Scorcher with a family crew from her home base at Gins. Hugh and Miranda Kemlo, together with Anne and Philip, brought an Enterprise. David and Sheila Berger chartered Lady of Shropshire from the Hamble, with Kurt and Margaret crewing and sleeping on board. Nick and Sally Floyer brought their 15ft Breton dayboat Alarc'h, and Bridget her 12ft Tideway dinghy. Enoch Rodriguez and Zena completed the party; they like the Floyers camped at the site. Most of us arrived on the Friday evening, and enjoyed fish and chips in the Turfcutters Arms in East Boldre.

The wind on Saturday was a brisk nor'-westerly, so the Tideway did not launch, and the other four boats sailed downriver to the mouth to assess conditions in the Solent. A close reach across to Newtown Bay on the Isle of Wight then seemed to be quite manageable, and all went well until well past the halfway mark, when the wind freshened considerably. With the wind against the strengthening ebb tide, it became very rough, with short steep seas and breaking crests. This caused the Enterprise to lower her main, and Alarc'h to lower everything and start the outboard; their crews were glad to reach the shelter of Newtown and tie up for lunch alongside the two keelboats; both small boats made the return voyage under jib alone.

We were eighteen for the Club Dinner on Saturday evening, including Tony Smith who nobly drove down for it, going back afterwards. Kurt Berger was celebrating fifty years of SGSC membership (and umpteen years of organising the Gins weekend) and very kindly bought all the wine for the meal.

Sunday's weather was only a little more promising, and the later time of low water made it difficult for keelboats to get back into the river if they ventured out, so with Scorcher returning early from her overnight stay at Lymington, the two big boats motored up past Bucklers Hard. The smaller boats, Tideway included, tacked up, the Enterprise easily, but the two gaff-rigged boats very slowly between the sheltering trees and against the fast-running ebb tide. Lunch was at the small 'No Fishing' jetty that we (and the fish) discovered some years ago. It is known by Dave Berger as the Swimmplatz, though sadly it was too chilly, and the tide was running too fast, to swim this year. The easy run back to Gins was over in no time.

In the evening, Michael and Maggie Kemlo once again kindly invited us all to a party at their house in Lymington, where the food was excellent and the drink plentiful.

On Monday, with more sun and less wind than before, Lady of Shropshire set off back to the Hamble, and the Tideway was taken out for an early return to London by road. Alarc'h and the Enterprise went downriver and along the Lepe shore, with the intention of exploring Ashletts Creek off Southampton Water. However, the tide in the Solent had turned against us by the time we got there, so the plan had to be abandoned in order to be sure of getting back to Gins and hauling the boats out before the tide level dropped too far. The return was rapid even against the wind, so perhaps we should have carried on further. As it was, we ate our picnic in sunshine at Gins, packed up the boats, and drove away.

Thanks once again to Kurt for organising another successful Gins weekend in excellent company.

Nick Floyer








New ramp donations

Thank you very much indeed to all our neighbours who contributed to the costs of building the new ramp. We received 6 generous cheques from neighbours along Strand on the Green, and many donations of items to sell on Ebay from members and friends, including a very profitable one from John Day of nearby River Homes. The total raised so far is £356 - a great help in putting the Club back into the black, and much appreciated. We hope our antics on the river will continue to entertain those watching from the bank as it does the participants. The new ramp is excellent, very confidence inspiring because it's completely non-slip.




Nigel has recently set up an SGSC Facebook Group. It could be a great way of sharing photos with other members. You'll have to sign up to Facebook and think of yet another password , but it's free and easy and you don't need to reveal all your secrets - just your name,date of birth, and email address.
To visit it and see what it's all about, click here:
SGSC Facebook Group






Annual Dinner Dance - 2011

The 2011 dance was a great success as ever - thanks to Marian's organisational skills. The dancing was Scottish, sociable, exuberant, energising, and exhausting. The roast beef and the rest of the dinner was delicious and the speeches short. An excellent evening.
The raffle was well supported and we are grateful to all the pubs and others who donated prizes.





Jessie's Jaunt, Summer 2011

(Jessie is Henry and Mary Brown's "big boat" - actually 3 different ones - in which we've sailed from Poole harbour to Italy over the course of 6 summers)

Jessie's jaunt this year was a two-part affair. At the last-minute we decided to buy a new boat and so our travels were shaped by the fact that the old boat (Jessie 2) was in Corsica while the new one (Jessie 3) would be arriving in the south of France by lorry. The new boat is an Elan 333, a 33ft racer/cruiser with a very good pedigree. The one we bought was built in 2004, had been lightly used, and would, we rashly assumed, come with fully up-to-date and working gear.

In the middle of May we flew to Corsica and drove down to the little port of Taverna to be reunited with Jessie 2. Our first passage was 25 miles northwards to Bastia, Corsica's second city. We were very pleasantly surprised by the slightly scruffy charm of the old town around the port, with tall, brightly coloured buildings, and very narrow streets bustling with activity. From there we had a clear run north to the little town of Maccinagio, almost at the tip of Cap Corse and had a lovely day walking the cliff path. Cap Corse is the 20 mile-long rugged, bony finger that sticks up from the top of Corsica. It's a notorious trouble spot for sailors: the winds whistle around the tip several notches on the Beaufort scale more than elsewhere, so we were not at all disappointed to have an almost flat calm when we sailed around the cape and down the 'sauvage' western side. Two more hops took us to Calvi, completing the circumnavigation of Corsica and Sardinia that we'd started in 2009.

After a couple of days relaxing and provisioning we set off north-west for the 95 mile crossing to Cannes. The forecast gave the wind as F3-4, with thunderstorms. After an hour we were aware that the sky to the south-west seemed rather dark. Then the westerly wind picked up enough for us to put in a reef, at which point the appearance of white horses bearing down on us persuaded us to put in the other (fortunately, all the reefing was done from the cockpit) and a very nasty storm hit us - we heard reports later that it had got up to F8. With bolts of lightning striking the sea, and disinclined to change direction in such conditions, we bashed onward for an hour. When the storm abated, soaking wet and with the prospect of another 18 hours to reach Cannes, we turned back to Calvi.

The next day we set off again into a light northerly. This time it was fine. As when we crossed in 2009 we spent a very pleasant 20 hours, about 7 under sail alone, and reached the other side just after dawn. We anchored between the idyllic Iles Lerins, just off Cannes, and slept.

We had arranged for J3 to be delivered to Hyeres, just east of Toulon, on 16th June, and it was essential to be there when she arrived. So we pressed on westwards in 20 mile hops to St Maxime, Cavalaire and the island of Porquerolles, where we could afford to relax for a couple of days before berthing in Hyeres on 14th June. Everything so far had worked like clockwork, but that's when the spring broke.

The 'convoi exceptionelle' had a puncture 50km from the port and by the time it was fixed we had missed our slot with the crane. The catalogue of problems with the "new" boat that then emerged would be very tedious to relate, and much more so to read, so I won't. But with the appearance of a guardian angel - a 'professionel' called Andre, 13 times transat sailor and general boaty wizard - and the passage of time, and the infusion of euros, we were ready to go by the end of August. Actually it wasn't as bad as that sounds. We came home from mid July to mid August, before which we had a week of sailing J3 around the delicious Isles d'Hyeres, and after which we had several days doing the same with Josh, Mary's eldest. But on 31 August we finally left Hyeres with the works completed to resume our eastward journey in the new boat.

After a couple of passages getting to know Jessie 3 in gentle weather, another mini- drama unfolded. From an anchorage just west of Cavalaire we set off briskly on the run under genoa alone towards the Golfe de St Tropez, intending to overnight in St Maxime. The wind picked up, dropped, veered from SW to NW, and as we turned into the gulf came at us with serious intensity bringing steep, short, foam-flecked waves. We were about 5 miles from St Maxime at this point, which was directly to windward. We dropped all sail and relied on the motor, hoping that as we approached the windward shore the waves, at least, would diminish. The Elan went into the seas with a minimum of protest but enough spray to leave Mary at the wheel looking a bit like Mrs Lot by the time we reached the relative shelter of the land. Our instruments measured 37kn of wind - a full gale, although with a blue sky and sunshine. It was far too windy to risk entering the port so we anchored off the beach to have lunch and allow the wind to drop. It didn't, and after half an hour of tugging, the anchor started to drag. So Mary phoned the port and asked for refuge. Sorry, they said, we're full - because of the mistral. To our huge relief and after some pleading Port Grimaud, four miles away at the head of the gulf, agreed to squeeze us in. Whew!

Port Grimaud was built in the 1970s as a boaty resort for the rich. It's a strange cross between Venice and a Provencal village, a vast stage-set but very pretty. We spent a day there waiting for the mistral to blow out, then set off north east out of the gulf heading for the Rade d'Agay, a deep bay in the Massif de l'Esterel, where we had an important appointment. The Elan sails beautifully on all points and we were doing 5-6kn hard on the wind when a photographer's helicopter from St Tropez circled us and took photos, perhaps having tired of all the local fat-cat powerboats. We felt like celebrities.

We reached the Rade d'Agay ringed by the craggy, purple porphyry Esterel Mountains in the early afternoon, picked up a mooring buoy and motored ashore in the dinghy to collect Dave and Sheila Berger who were in France on a walking holiday. Next day we headed for the Iles Lerins, off Cannes and with Dave at the helm made short work of the 16 miles to the islands. We anchored just off St-Honorat, dinghied ashore and walked through the pine woods to the monastery of St-Honorat, which was founded in the 4th Century and has a formidable 11th Century tower on the southern coast. The next day we explored the northern island, Ste-Margherite, before motoring across to the mainland in a dead calm. Dave and Sheila caught a train back to Agay and their hire car, and we pressed on past Antibes, Nice and Monaco to Menton, the last town in France.

Menton looks like an Italian town and was only absorbed into France in the late 19th Century. The town climbs up a series of hills in multi-coloured, six to eight storey buildings, with elegantly proportioned windows, many with trompe l'oueil painted architectural details. We anchored off the beach and rowed into the port. The next morning we crossed the border into Italy, which at first seemed less beautiful than the French side of the border, largely because of the works of man. Particularly near San Remo, the hills are covered with plastic greenhouses serving the cut flower industry.

We stopped at Alassio and were helped to a mooring by a man who said the forecast was bad. He was right, and we were there for four days. Alassio is a fairly typical Italian resort town: a small remnant of 18th Century and older elegant buildings on narrow streets, with the remains of a Genoese tower; grand hotels and squares from the 19th and early 20th centuries; a rash of more recent stuff in villas and apartments; and almost the entire beach carved up into lots, covered with sun-beds, which are either attached to hotels or rent spaces at €20 a day. To make up for lost time we then moved on another 36 miles north-east to Arenzano, a small resort just before the industrial sprawl of Genoa, and anchored off the marina.

We had taken the precaution of telephoning ahead to our next stop, Genoa, because it was clear from the Pilot that it was a big and scary place. Next day was still and we motored the ten miles to Genoa past increasing urbanisation to the heart of the city - the Porto Vecchio. Genoa got our prize for the friendliest marina in the Med. They met us in a rib, guided us to a berth, took our lines as we reversed in and gave us a map of the city. And the showers were awesome.

Genoa was a delightful surprise to us. We had read its extraordinary history but that didn't prepare us for its physical charisma. From the waterside you walk underneath a modern elevated road to be confronted with six to eight storeys of solid ancient building penetrated by canyons and tunnels threading their medieval way through the mass. They open at intervals into eccentric spaces flanked by churches and palaces of amazing variety. The ground level seethes and hums with life, and not just of the tourist variety. We wandered in a daze for four days, every evening finding some tasty restaurant and every night returning to our floating home in the middle of the action.

On 26 September we moved on, thinking 'top that', and ended up topping it, by contrast if nothing else, in San Fruttuoso, 16 miles to the east. The character of the Italian Riviera is very different on either side of Genoa. The Riviera Ponente (west) is a relatively gentle coastline with almost continuous development. The Riviera Levante, to the east, is much more steep-to with high mountains crashing into the sea all the way to La Spezia. The first outbreak of this landscape is a large headland formed around Monte Portofino, and San Fruttouso is in a narrow cleft in the south facing cliff. San Fruttuoso is a stunningly beautiful Romanesque monastery founded in the 8th Century and rebuilt in the 10th on the waterfront at the head of the inlet. There's a fishing village next to it and a 16th Century tower on a promontory between them. There's no road access but the tripper boats come in droves from Portofino. We picked up a mooring in the crystal clear waters and, once the trippers had gone home, had this sublime place all to ourselves. Next day, after visiting the monastery, and snorkelling to see the underwater statue of Christ placed there to honour divers lost at sea, we sailed further into Golfo Marconi (it's where the great man did transmitting experiments) to anchor off the pretty little resort of St Margherita Ligure. Our next anchorage, in a bay called Riva Trigoso, after a stonking reach at up to 7kn with two reefs in the main, was another contrast: a rather grim resort sprawls along the beach and smack in the middle is a massive shipyard with a couple of large naval vessels on the stocks. Beyond that is an area called Cinque Terra, five lands, so named after five villages that cling to a precipitous 10 mile stretch of cliff which up to comparatively recently had no road access. Italian engineers, in the Roman tradition, have now sorted that out and so the Cinque villages have lost some of their charm, but from the sea the best of them look amazingly improbable: densely packed multi-coloured houses perched on cliff tops with perilous-looking landings at their base.

The Riviera Levante ends at the two islands that guard the western side of Golfo de la Spezia. We turned sharp left into a narrow passage between the mainland and the big island and into a small bay where we picked up an unused mooring, whose owner fortunately did not return that night. Spezia is a major naval base and opposite is the delightful village of Lerici, haunt of Byron and Shelley. To the south lies another wide coastal plain and almost wall-to-wall beach resorts. Behind them is the massive, barren and craggy Alpi Apuane, 6,000ft high, scarred white by dozens of marble quarries ancient and modern including those of Carrera. The end of the 16 mile-long beach is marked by Viareggio, a sort of Italian Atlantic City, still packed with holidaymakers even in late September.

Our last sail was a very relaxing reach to the mouth of the Arno, past a national park with empty beaches and sand dunes. Jessie's home for the winter is about a mile up the broad brown Arno in a small boatyard, where we were welcomed by the charming owner and his Romanian assistant. The next day Jessie was whisked out of the water and onto stilts and the following morning (5th October) we went by bus and train to Pisa airport and home.

Altogether we had covered 730 miles in our two boats and spent 109 nights aboard, most of which were at anchor. Jessie 2 had given great satisfaction to the end and we are delighted to report that that she now has a new (French) owner. Jessie 3 has proved herself to be comfortable, fast and reliable and we look forward to many more seasons aboard her. Roll on next summer.







When you're on the river ...
Here we'll collect any safety/navigation items that come our way.

1. A reminder of the rules

Anyone sailing in our races must comply with three related sets of rules. The first is the current Racing Rules of Sailing, which are based on the international COLREGS, and which are modified by the PLA Byelaws for the Thames. A critical modification of the normal rules for the Thames (modification 15 (a)) is that "a vessel shall not cross or enter a fairway as to obstruct another vessel proceeding along the fairway". This means that if we are tacking across the fairway (defined as the central channel used for navigation up and down the river), or crossing it between buoys, we must keep out of the way of any power boats or rowing boats that are travelling up or down the river. This rule takes precedence over the normal rule of power giving way to sail. The rules for the Thames do not recognise racing dinghies as a special case.

We must also be aware that many power boats are much less manoeuvrable than a dinghy. In particular we have been told by the PLA that their new catamaran launches are particularly bad in a cross wind and are very restricted in their ability to stop or go astern - give them plenty of room.

In general we have a duty under the COLREGS and common sense to avoid a collision at all costs, and this means keeping out of everyone's way - even competing dinghies.


2. Watch your speed when driving the safety boat

There is a speed limit of 8 knots on the river above Wandsworth. Rowing club launches are now required to seek approval from the PLA to exceed this limit when escorting rowing boats. If they are likely to carry more than two crew, their wash is to be tested by the PLA. We are OK if we only speed in response to emergencies, but shepherding the fleet on a B or C course is another matter. We do not need to be tested - yet - but if there are any complaints about our wash, that may be required.

So, watch your speed, especially near rowing boats, and don't carry more than two in the safety boat if you are going to go faster than 8 knots.

3. Sound signals

Rob Adams noticed this information on the web. Useful to know what the correct sound signals are, by which powered boats may announce their intentions ... occasionally ...
Click on this link then just scroll down the page a little way.

Link to a rowing webpage with info about sound signals





Email addresses please!

Anyone who is interested in reading the racing results each week should please give me their email address. I can't always put the results on the site at once - but I can easily email you to tell you when they are there - which would save you looking for them in vain. So please email me - just click on this link now - and I'll add you to the group to notify -




Second hand boats etc for sale

  • Hawk race wind indicator, suitable for Laser. In Force 4 catalogue they are £17.95. Available from Henry for £10 (or more if you like!) to go to Club funds.




News archive:


Remembering Bob Folkerd

Bob Folkerd, for many years a regular Strand sailor, died in February. His daughter (who once won the Ladies' Plate herself, and who with her partner also sailed across to the Isle of Wight from Gins with us in an inflatable dinghy) asked if we could contribute to a scrap book of memories about Bob, which she is compiling. Henry has sent the following.

Bob Folkerd and Strand on the Green Sailing Club

I have just browsed the Club's archives to find out when Bob joined. I think it was in 1968, for he certainly sailed in that season in a Firefly called St Crispin. It's possible he sailed some other craft before that date. It seems that he changed from a Firefly to a Miracle in 1979 but stayed faithful to St Crispin by continuing with his name. St Crispin, I learned from Bob, was appropriately the patron saint of cobblers. He sailed the Miraculous St Crispin for 20 years and finally changed to an Enterprise called Cream Rose in 1999. His last season with the Club was 2000, after suffering the fickle winds and wilful tides of Strand for 32 years, and moving on to calmer waters.He was in many ways the epitome of the Strand sailor. He was there not to win, which he was sometimes surprised and delighted to do, but to simply enjoy a Sunday on the river in congenial company. He was a crafty sailor who didn't push his luck in strong winds: his concession to such things was to wear a hard-hat and take it easy. I don't ever remember him capsizing, unlike the rest of us, in the 20-odd years I sailed alongside him.

I got the impression that he strongly preferred to sail alone but it was a mark of his generosity that he adopted at least two members as crew, and even traded up to the Enterprise to satisfy one of them.

He was always easy-going, cheerful and generous with time, help and advice. He served on the Committee for many years and did his turn as Commodore in a characteristically relaxed and informal manner.

We have missed him since he left us in 2000 but all those of us who knew him were very saddened to hear of his death. He will certainly live in our memories in the best possible way.




Ladies' Plate, 30 July 2011

The Ladies Plate hasn't been contested since 2006 so it was very good to see the two Marys willing to put their skill and courage to the ultimate test. The weather was kind, up to a point, and Paul set a short A Course. Mary Short (Greenwood) got into the lead on the first lap, a lead which Mary Brown increased for her by touching and having to re-round the downstream buoy (crew's fault)(disputed: Ed). After an hour and seven minutes Mary S was the clear and deserving winner with Mary B an honourable second about 3 minutes behind. Andy was in attendance in the safety boat but his services were fortunately not called upon.

The Summer Party, which followed was held this year in James and Marian's lovely garden. It was a pleasant if not exactly balmy evening and the party was extremely enjoyable. The Commodore presented the traditional plate to Mary S and consolation mugs to Mary B and both crews. And a well-fed time was had by all. Many thanks to the hosts and to all the helpers.


Better late than never for this report ... Many thanks for producing it to Chris Greenwood and Nick Floyer

Gins weekend - 2010

A good fleet of dinghies and yachts, enthusiastic sailors and guests enjoyed a bracing weekend based around Gins over the August Bank Holiday. We were pleased to see some newcomers and also the veterans who have kept the traditions alive.

The start of the weekend was dominated by quite a strong westerly wind, significant enough to keep the yacht hired from the Hamble and skippered by Rachel on its mooring on Friday evening. Saturday dawned calm, and to those accustomed to London, idyllically quiet. After lengthy and detailed discussions, a trip to the Island was agreed and the four smaller craft set off for Newtown. Increasing wind meant that Chris and Mary turned back at the mouth of the Beaulieu. Nick and Sally Floyer in Alarc'h, and their daughter Biddy and friend Brek in their Tideway dinghy got to the island but came straight back, leaving David and Sheila in their new Albacore, who alone made it to the final destination.
Scorcher, skippered by Michael Kemlo and crewed by his own family plus four Broadhursts went cruising in the Solent, as did the hired yacht with a full compliment of Bergers, Enoch and Zina, Andy, Ian and a jet lagged Joel. Alex Jones and his family, whose yacht is based on the Hamble, had also been hoping to join us. Unfortunately they had some technical problems so weren't able to do so.

The supper on Saturday evening was very well supported with around 30 guests, including Edmund Rutherfoord and Tony Smith who had made the trip from Chiswick just for the evening. Kurt's choice for the menu, the quality of food, the hunger of the guests and the attentive service from the staff made for an excellent dinner.
Camping proved an attractive option this year with 5 tents all securely anchored down against the wind. Breakfast on Sunday gave an opportunity for alfresco dining and a choice of full English, or porridge.

The weather on Sunday was again fairly windy, so a sail up to Buckler's Hard and a picnic was the chosen option. One of the highlights of the picnic was some appropriately themed red and green stuffed peppers. Unusually a pontoon mooring was available making it easy to visit the village where three ships were built that saw action in the Battle of Trafalgar (Euryalus, Swiftsure and Agamemnon). The Master Builder provided a glass or three of beer.

Monday provided the best weather for sailing at Gins for many years, warm and sunny with a steady SW breeze. However, the Tideway and the Enterprise had both returned home, and Scorcher did not sail, so only half the fleet was left. The other difficulty was that because the tide was low in the middle of the afternoon, there was nowhere easy to stop for lunch, and it would be late before we could take boats out of the water afterwards. Nick and Sally took Alarc'h out early, and with Dave and Sheila joined the Bergerboat for three hours out into the Solent. After returning to Gins, Rachel and crew left for the Hamble, the smaller boats were packed up, and everyone left in good time.

So it was a good conclusion to a somewhat frustrating weekend, though a pity that we could not exploit it more fully. We must try again next year!

CG and NF






Gins Weekend 2008

This years outing to Gins was a great success for all those who made it there; though slightly tempered by car/ditch interaction. In keeping with most of this summer there was plenty of wind, over 30 knots in the Solent, but equally unusually on Saturday morning the sky was clear and blue and the sun was warm. A fleet of four smaller boats two Enterprises an Albacore and the Floyer special French day boat were complimented by a Bavaria 36 hired by the Bergers.

The warm weather and a clement forecast inspired confidence in the small boats and a decision was made to explore Kings Quay a small inlet east of Osborne Bay on the Isle of Wight. The trip over was made in quick time with a good half wind and following tide. Nick and Sally Floyer with Henry and Mary Brown as crew arrived first followed by Chris and Mary Greenwood in an Enterprise. An attempt to anchor and wait for the tide to rise before entering the creek was defeated by the rising wind and when Dave and Sheila Berger in the Albacore and Hugh and Miranda Kemlo in their Enterprise arrived, all beached and had a picnic. After some debate the sea was deemed either too cold or too soupy and the annual swim was postponed. A rising tide invited the Kemlos to sail partly up the creek whilst the rest of the fleet departed for home. The wind, which was now swinging to the west and increasing, was in opposition to the tide and provoked the more unpredictable wave patterns for which the Solent is famous. The fleet had a somewhat wet return to the Beaulieu and helpful advice from the Kemlos saw the Greenwoods returning home on jib alone gaining increasing confidence in their boat and pondering on the need for better preparation.

The supper at the club in the evening was a great feast with around 20 people including Tony Smith and Edmund Rutherfoord who had driven down from Chiswick. The service from the club was first class and added to the convivial atmosphere.

On Sunday the overnight rain, clouds and forecast were altogether less inviting and the small boats elected to sail up-river for the swim and a picnic above Bucklers Hard followed by a trip to Beaulieu. This is a beautiful stretch of river, a little like our home stretch of the Thames in that the wind strength, the bendiness of the river and unexpected shallows make sailing very variable. The pay-off was an excellent cup of tea from the Montague Arms, secreted confidently from the tea room to the waters edge.

Monday promised stronger winds and the ever iron-shaded clouds. Two boats, the Floyers plus Bridget and Miranda and Hugh Kemlo plus Ann and Philip set off up river. The big boat under the command of Rachel set off for a cruise up to Bucklers Hard and then on a rising tide back out into the Solent. By this time the westerly wind was getting up to over 30 kts at times and the crew including Kurt, Alec, Gillie, Andy Ross, Enoch Rodrigues and Chris sailed to and from the island several times eventually making some headway to the west against wind and tide, their passage impeded by a stream of east bound yachts and marked by the eerie sound of the bell buoy north of Gurnard Bay.

Our thanks go to Kurt for his organisation, to RSYC for their hospitality and to everyone who participated for an excellent weekend.

Chris Greenwood
August 2008


Gins Weekend 2007

In the midst of a damp grey summer, Gins this year was sparkling seas, blue skies, HOT.
Early arrivals had supper at the clubhouse on Friday, and Newtown as Saturday's destination was, for once, decided early. In the morning the fleet began to set off and with only the Floyers' lovely French dayboat and Hugh and Miranda's Enterprise still to launch, a taxi screeched to a halt bearing the Browns, hotfoot from France via Bournemouth airport, and only having expected to arrive at Gins in time for the evening's supper. The Floyers took them aboard on Saturday and Monday, and on Sunday they joined Michael and Sarah Kemlo and Kurt and Margaret Berger in Scorcher. The Floyers had also hired a Wayfarer for Hugo,Toby, Biddy and friend Brec and with Dave and Sheila Berger's Enterprise, that was the total SGSC fleet. We were joined by Brock, a 32ft Westerley, skipper Jeremy Whiting, crew Liz and Beverley from LCSC.
A good sail in a north westerly across to Newtown was followed by lunch for most rafted up to Scorcher, and a most excellent swim. Beating back up the Beaulieu river in the evening light was a delight, as ever. The dinner that evening was very convivial with the party now extended to about 25, with Tony and Margaret and Andy Ross driving down from London for the evening.
On Sunday the plan was Hurst Castle or Yarmouth but in the event, with not much wind and lunch overdue, we stopped in the mouth of the Lymington river where despite gloopy mud only about 3 ft down, and some dire warnings about cleanliness, almost the whole party eventually braved the water. It was hard to resist on such a day.
That evening we all went to the Mayflower Inn at Lymington for an excellent (mostly) pub barbeque eaten either in darkness or by torchlight.
Monday as usual was a potter upriver to Beaulieu where we picnicked on a grassy bank, joined by Michael, Maggie, Sarah and Rebecca Kemlo who came by road. Then it was back to Gins slightly later than planned, to find just enough water left to allow the boats to be pulled out without too much difficulty and with most of the mud confined to feet and trailer wheels.
Sally Floyer magicked tea and lemon cake from their camper van in the carpark which enormously improved the packing up process, and sadly, it was all over for another year.
Not a huge turnout but pleasure is measured in quality not quantity and it was a fabulous weekend. And four open boats and two yachts with a complement of 19 happy sailors wasn't bad either.
Thanks as ever to the Royal Southampton Yacht Club for their hospitality and to Kurt for organising it all.


Strand visit to LCSC, 14 / 15 July 2007

The two days could not have been a greater contrast in sailing conditions. Only James was towed down on the Saturday (thanks, Andy) to face two other Ents and two Lasers. It was a steady F4 westerly, with stronger gusts and lumpy conditions with wind against tide. The race resolved itself into a struggle between Rees and Hugh Kemlo (Lasers, both LCSC) in the lead and James and Beverley + ? at a discrete distance in the Ents. After a two-hour struggle Rees was ahead of Hugh, the lasers taking first and second places, and James was seconds ahead of Beverley in third place. Everyone capsized at some point but it was an excellent race.

The Browns, the Birches (in the Gull) and John Bull (in the Otter) were towed down on the Sunday, which was humid, still and threatening rain. They joined a similar number of LCSC boats. What wind there was was ENE to E, and very light. Several boats paddled or were towed to get the right side of the start line and the start was a collective drift with tide and a little help from above. The two upstream buoys were rounded without too much difficulty before the slow and painful business of beating up the bank began. Two Lasers and three Ents were making good progress until they had to leave the back-eddies along the bank and head into the current to round the LCSC pontoons. James made it, as did a couple of Lasers, but they then struggled to make the downstream mark. The Browns and Beverley struggled for an hour and a half without avail; Hugh got round the lower mark and gave up on the way back from the upstream marks; Rees never made it past the lower mark. And James (with Edward Broadhurst) lapped everyone, creeping without apparent effort along the bank, to complete three laps. To add to the delights we had a thunderstorm with lightning strikes uncomfortably close and a biblical deluge of rain.

So SGSC acquitted itself well: James got the silverware both for Sunday and for the combined event, leaving Rees (LCSC) with the cup for Saturday. Many thanks as usual to LCSC for their hospitality, and many thanks to Tony for his long wet day in the safety boat.


LCSC visit 13 May 2007

We had been promised a contingent from the Southbank Sailing Club in Putney, as well as London Corinthian Sailing Club, but the weather forecast was so dire - wet and windless - that only three hardy boats came up from LCSC and none from Putney.

We had organised a C Course and trailed a line upstream of Kew Bridge for boats to hold on to before the start. In the event it was in a wind shadow and most boats made use of the Surrey-side moorings.

The race was uneventful. A gentle and fitful easterly meant that we had a running sort of reach up to Isleworth and a beat back along the Middlesex bank. James got a lead on the way up which he extended on the way back. David Jones and the Browns were next around the top mark, almost together, and the rest of the fleet followed at not much greater pace than the tide. The return journey, initially against the tide, was a good exercise in bank-creeping, tree-dodging, and roll-tacking. Robin and Beverley from LCSC caught and overtook the Browns at Brentford Dock and clung on to their lead to finish second. The Browns were third followed by John Bull and David Jones, who lost position to the second LCSC Ent on the handicap calculation. The third LCSC Ent capsized and retired, perhaps trying too hard to roll-tack.

It rained gently much of the time but not enough to dampen the spirits. Colin, Tony and Edmund did very effective service in helping boats through Kew Bridge and Jenny withstood the elements to supervise the race.

The après-race was as good as ever: a very welcome tasty keg from Steve Newell, and food contributed by several members and masterminded by Marian. Strand retained the Challenge Trophy (a team prize).


Gins weekend 2006

What a weekend it was! Well up to standard. There were three Strand Ents. (James Armitage, Dave and Sheila Berger, and Hugh and Miranda Kemlo); the Floyers in their beautiful new boat (a smaller version of Ratty the revenue cutter, built in France and called Swan in Breton); two Ents. from London Corinthians (Jeremy + friend and Beverley and Kirsten); and a Wanderer (Ben and Alan, we think). The fleet was shepherded by Michael Kemlo and crew in his yacht Scorcher and the Browns / Birches / Bergers (Snr.) in a 33ft Najad sloop called Tern IV, chartered for the weekend from the Hamble.

Saturday morning was passed in the traditional way: discussing where to go and when to set off. It was noon by the time everyone was launched and on the way to Newtown River (which is, of course, where we always go). The little blue sails were soon dispersed across the Solent: a beat down the mainland side in the slacker flood tide and a dashing reach across to the island. We on Tern IV saw them in the distance and followed into the mouth of the river where we rafted up with Scorcher and James for lunch. The other dinghies beached up towards Shalfleet to picnic or to visit the pub.

The sail back was exhilarating in a F3 - 4 westerly breeze and sunshine, and the dinghies left the big boats well behind. It gave everyone a healthy appetite for the evening meal in the RSYC: a large table-full of about 30 Strand and LCSC voyagers and friends.

The forecast next day was NW F3-4, increasing F5-7 later with rain then showers. Not the most inviting prospect. The consensus was to sail down the river, poke our noses into the Solent, and return up to Beaulieu or Bucklers Hard. Perhaps predictably, once the dinghies were out in the Solent, and it was bright, sunny and perfectly manageable, the fleet decided to head across to Cowes. From there we all went up the Medina to the Folly Inn for lunch. With the tide still at the stand we set off back down river, aware that the wind had indeed picked up. At the mouth we were confronted by a good F5, gusting more, with white horses all over the place, stirred into the notorious Solent chop by motor boats, and augmented by a power boat race that was taking place just to the west. All the dinghies bar one promptly dropped their mainsails and bounced their way back, white-knuckled, in clouds of spray. Exhilerating, to say the least.The forecast rain didn't materialise but the crews were just as wet as if it had. In the mouth of the Beaulieu mainsails were raised again for a slog against wind and tide, but in calm waters, back up to Gins.

Dave and Sheila, in an impressive display of boat handling, came back the whole way with the main up. Beverley and Kirsten had had enough when they reached the Beaulieu and accepted a tow from Tern IV back to Gins. That evening everyone found their way to the Kemlos' house in Lymington for a splendid and convivial meal in the garden.

More strong winds were forecast on Monday morning, so the remains of the fleet made its way upstream to Buckler's Hard. Tern IV picked up a spare mooring and was promptly joined by the Floyers, the Kemlos and the junior Bergers: fifteen people crammed cheerfully into the cockpit to consume the collective picnic leftovers.

Tern IV then had an urgent appointment in the Hamble, so we dropped Kurt and Margaret back at Gins and enjoyed a sizzling sail back, with two reefs, touching 7 knots on a beat.

So ended another unforgettable Gins weekend. Many thanks, as usual, to Kurt for the organising, and to both the RSYC and the Lymington Kemlos for their hospitality. And how nice to have some Corinthians along. Let's hope it's the start of another tradition.

(By the way, Gins reports from 2005 and 2004 and lower down on this page, in the archive.)


Ladies' Plate & Summer Party 2006

Three fairly apprehensive helms contested the Ladies' Plate this year and were rewarded with a light wind which was fortunately not a total drifter. So progress round the course could be made, give or take some running aground.
The winner was Mary Brown, crewed by Henry. Second Jo Broadhurst crewed by Sam, and third Mary Greenwood crewed by Chris.

In the evening it was the summer party, held in Kurt and Margaret Berger's lovely garden. As usual Marian did a wonderful job of organising a great meal (wow that pudding!), and the evening was enjoyed by all.

Gins Farm trip 2005

Gins Farm is the Royal Southampton Yacht Club's outpost on the Beaulieu River. It's a Strand club tradition to have a weekend trip there, and to sail the dinghies aand usually some bigger boats across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
Thanks to Nick Floyer for this report:

The expedition to Gins was a more intimate affair than in past years, though kind organiser Kurt Berger had done his best. The RSYC, in their splendidly refurbished clubhouse on the Beaulieu River, was welcoming as ever, and allowed the seven-strong Floyer contingent to create a tent city on the yacht club lawn.
Saturday gave us sunshine, high tide at mid-day, and a strong SE wind. Four boats sailed for Newtown harbour: Hugh and Miranda Kemlo in their Enterprise, Michael and Maggie Kemlo with family and friends in their 35ft cruiser Scorcher, Kurt and Margaret Berger with local Alan in his Hawk dayboat, and the Floyers in their 18ft cutter. While most made a fast passage and picnicked in Shalfleet creek, a phone call from Miranda, saying that the prospect of having to return against wind and tide and a temperamental centreboard had limited them to Gurnard, caused some consternation, as did the Floyers' late return, having stopped to swim. The larger boats close-reached home, slowly and wetly against the ebb; all survived squally conditions at the mouth of the river, and had a quick run upstream.
The dinner in the evening was the usual cheerful affair, with twenty present, including commodore Tony Smith and a good balance of ages.
Sunday gave us more sunshine and an even stronger SE wind. Only the Hugh Kemlos and the Floyers had remained to sail, and we went upstream to find an unoccupied jetty half a mile above Buckler's Hard. Unusually, there were no forbidding notices except for No Fishing, a prohibition which a number of large fish were taking full advantage of. We swam and had lunch in the sun before returning, the Floyers under engine but no faster than the quick-tacking Enterprise, to take the boats ashore before the tide dropped.
The weekend was much enjoyed by those who were there, and but for the strength of the wind, conditions were ideal. Next year, we hope to have the three-day August Bank Holiday weekend again, and to be joined by lots more Strand sailors.

Nick Floyer

Gins Farm weekend - 2004

The Gins weekend is when we take our dinghies down to the Solent, launching from the Royal Southampton Yacht Club's clubhouse at Gins on the Beaulieu River.
Dinghies taking part this year - James and Joseph Armitage in Porpoise, Dave and Sheila Berger in their smart new Enterprise, Stafford Craig and friend in Wayfarer. Also the splendid Revenue Cutter, Water Rat, belonging to Sally and Nick Floyer and family, this year Biddy, Hugo and Phoebe. They were joined, as last year, by a Hawk 20 which took Ruth Narain over the waters on the Saturday. And this year the debut of Jessie - Henry and Mary and Brown's new trailer sailer, a Trapper TS240. The fleet assembled about 11am and set sail for Newtown Creek in a nice westerly breeze. Kurt and Margaret made the crossing in Jessie with the Browns. Most of the fleet moored at Shalfleet jetty and some went off to the not-so-nearby pub. As the tide started to ebb those that could set sail for home. The pub contingent had to do a bit of mud wrestling to relaunch, and Jessie made good use of her lifting keel ... and rudder. Another lovely sail across to the Beaulieu and a splendid beat back up the river to Gins. There were 27 at the evening feast in the Gins clubhouse, as the sailers were joined by, among others, a contingent of (Michael) Kemlos, and Tony and Margaret Smith.
Sunday was cold and too windy to contemplate another crossing to the island. So the dinghies made their way up to Beaulieu for a picnic on the green. The Browns and Ruth Narain hitched a lift with Dave Jones in the safety boat. Most of the fleet stopped for tea at Bucklers Hard on the way back. Jessie then set off on a breezy jolly down river with Dave and Sheila aboard and explored some ways of hoisting twisted sails and again, discovered the virtues of a lifting keel.
Kurt had arranged an evening meal at the Turfcutters' Arms in East Boldre for all who could attend.
Monday was a better day for wind but, running short of time, sailing activities were restricted. James and Joseph joined Kurt and the Browns on Jessie and, followed by Dave Jones and Margaret in the safety boat, and the Floyers in Water Rat, went on a brisk spin down the river and out into the Solent. As on the Saturday, Jessie did the right SGSC thing and beat all the way back up the river as though she were a dinghy.
Another very enjoyable weekend. Many thanks to Kurt for the organisation, Dave Jones for the comforting presence of the safety boat, and the RSYC for their hospitality.


News from the north (from Dave and Sheila Berger who no longer sail regularly at Strand - only because it's just a bit too far to commute from East Yorkshire every Sunday)

As I write this the day time temperature has not crept above freezing out of the sun for a full three days. I have been idly looking at the excellent SGSC website to remind myself what we're awaiting before the new season gets underway.

The news from Yorkshire is that - horror of horrors - the Bergers have bought a different boat! I would have said new, but it's actually almost 30 years old - a nice wooden Albacore: "By Jingo". Dave decided that as we were the lone Ent at Hornsea SC we might as well get a boat that at least one other sailor was sailing so we could have some boat-for-boat comparisons on the water. This Albacore has had little use in the past 8 years or so - it's previous owner having spent much time coaching and taxi-ing his son in a Topper to some very useful effect (like the National squad).

To date we have not yet launched the boat - so don't even know if it floats! - however to ease the transition Dave has been tinkering with fittings so that at least the usual Kicker, outhaul and cunningham will fall easily to hand.

Albacores have a few more bits of string - like a fly-away jib stick (one pull and it's set) which should cause fewer inadvertent dunkings on those windy runs when previously someone had to go forward to set/retrieve the stick. Also they have adjustable shrouds - so the trick is to let the rig right forward on the run. This sounds good till you think about what may be involved in a gybe - do you gybe with no rig tension? old windward shroud on/leeward shroud off (or vice versa) and what about those frenetic roundings back onto the beat when you completely forget to put the tension on again and find yourself sliding back down the fleet even though you have checked for weed round the rudder and have remembered to put the centreboard down!

The Albacore has no spinnaker, but at 15 foot, though relatively heavy (240 pounds or so in sailing trim) it is an excellent sea boat (can't wait for Gin's Farm 2008!) and quirkily recently became the fastest mono-hull!! - in Canada ( see: it was in loads of wind and for a very short burst of speed - there was a weblink - seems to have disappeared).

Another former SGSC member - David Sibthorp did sail an Albacore with his wife Jenny - I think in the distant past they even joined us at Gin's as they were based in Portsmouth - I have guilty memory of pulling his Albacore into the car park at Royal Southampton and shorting out the main 3 phase power lines - bowing a hole in his mast and causing the lights (and galley, showers etc) to be out of action for a couple of hours!

Dave and Sheila look forward to joining some of the Strand sailing this year - we're holding on to the Ent just in case we don't get on with the "old man's boat" that the Albacore has a reputation for being!

Dave & Sheila Berger
E 22807 & A 76836



Jessie's jaunt 2010

(Jessie is Henry and Mary Brown's 1975 Trapper 500, a 28ft sloop. We've sailed her from Poole harbour to Corsica over the course of 5 summers)

Jessie's 2010 adventures started in Ajaccio, Corsica, where we had left her the previous year.
The plan was to sail down to the south of Corsica, cross over to Sardinia, and continue south along the western side of the island to Cagliari. We would then to follow the eastern coast of both islands northwards - a near circumnavigation. The rationale was that we would be swept down the windy western side of the island by the prevailing west and north-west winds and enjoy the relative shelter of the land on our way north.

Our first passage was a 24M hop south to Propriano where it blew F6 to F8, so we hired a car to see a bit more of the island. We then took three short hops down the coast, including our first beautiful anchorage of the season, before being blown briskly into the extraordinary and dramatic harbour of Bonifacio at the southern end of Corsica. There the next mistral kept us ashore for four nights enjoying the beauties of the town and the adjoining coast. Unlike the rest of Corsica, which is practically all granite, Bonifacio sits on a narrow peninsular of limestone thrust up out of the Mediterranean with sheer and undercut cliffs over 200ft high from which the old town emerges seamlessly and alarmingly (the last time a house fell into the sea was in 1966). On the landward side the cleft that almost separates it from Corsica forms a wonderful natural harbour. To the south there are clear views to Sardinia, only ten miles away.

On 17th June we crossed the notoriously windy Bouche de Bonifacio on an exhilarating reach to the shelter of S. Theresa di Gallura and a change of language and culture. The next day was a long hop (for us) of 34M west and south to picturesque Castelsardo. We had five days to get to know it as the next mistral blasted in from the north west, but on the sixth we beat west 24M across the gulf to Stintino on the peninsula that curls north around the bay. The next day was another long one - 34M - out into the open sea and south down the coast towards Alghero. We started early hoping for calm seas to squeeze through a narrow passage called Fornello that separates the mainland from the island of Asinara to the north. The passage involves some nifty navigation with leading marks and back bearings and least depths of 3m, which if there's a heavy swell coming in from the west is impassable. But we had calm seas and sunshine and, apart from having to motor, a perfect passage. Once out into the open sea we had the delightful experience of being adopted by a dolphin that played with us for well over an hour. We rounded the spectacular limestone mass of Capo Caccia at the end the day and sailed into a beautiful large bay called Porto Conte. This had several lovely anchorages on the western side. We spent two nights at anchor, and rowed ashore to walk and climb in the scrubby heat to an extraordinary stalagmite encrusted sea-cave called Neptune's Grotto - in Italian.

We had a good run eastwards across the bay into the port of Alghero where we were met outside the breakwater by a rib offering to shepherd us to a berth. This turned out to be on a remote and bleak marina pontoon - the huge harbour is leased out to several marinas, which compete aggressively for custom. Fortunately Mary seized an opportunity to break free and we headed for the town quay where there was plenty of space right under the battlements of the walled city. The interesting part of town lies within these walls, built by Spanish colonists in the 14th Century and still known as 'little Barcelona'. We also hired a car and explored some of the many intriguing archaeological sites that litter Sardinia.

On 30th June we resumed our southward journey, first to Bosa then to an anchorage in the Golfo Oristano where we stayed two nights so that we could row ashore and explore the remains of an ancient port called Tharros, occupying the narrow peninsular that encloses the northern part of the gulf. It was another magical place: fascinating remains from over 2,000 years of occupation; the scent of the maquis; crystal clear water; and the attentions of a little owl and at least two hen harriers patrolling the scrub.

The interestingly named Buggerru was our next stop, an old mining town with a rather silted harbour (we touched the bottom going in), followed by a brisk dead run under genoa in a F4-5 to Carloforte on the island of San Pietro, just off the south west corner of Sardinia. In contrast to Alghero, Carloforte is pure Italian Riviera. It is a product of Genoese occupation in the 18th Century, and the locals are still said to speak with a Genoese accent. We spent a pleasant day cycling round the southern end of the island, over low hills and past saltpans, and ended the day with an excellent meal on the waterfront.

Pausing only for an impromptu harbour swim to disentangle a stray rope from the propeller, we then continued south around the bottom of Sardinia . There was another lovely an anchorage at Capo di Pula - the site of a Phoenician trading port called Nora, rebuilt many times and abandoned when the Roman Empire collapsed, leaving some wonderful remains to be discovered in the 19th Century. We spent a day enjoying the ruins and the snorkelling, and next day sailed north east to the vast harbour at Cagliari and the end of our first voyage. Cagliari was a complete culture shock after a month of anchorages and small towns: big city streets and traffic and big city distances. The far end of the harbour, where we parked Jessie, was over a mile from the town centre, and even the nearest supermarket was a not very pleasant urban bike ride away. On Bastille Day we caught buses to the airport and flew home to Stansted.

Easyjet brought us back to Caglari on 25th August. We sailed east the 21M to Vilasimius at the bottom right-hand corner of Sardinia and had a night at anchor before the next mistral appeared, keeping us in a marina for three days. These Mediterranean winds tend to come out of a clear sky and last for days and they are particularly strong at the extremities of both Sardinia and Corsica. Fortunately, with several different forecasts available on the internet, it is easy keep out of harm's way. We certainly wanted good conditions to round Capo Carbonara, which involves a passage between the cape and Isola dei Cavoli that gets nasty with strong winds or a swell. When we left on 31st August we had a good westerly that took us on a reach down to the cape, a run through the gap, and then increasingly unreliable winds as we headed north up the east coast of Sardinia in the wind-shadow of the land.

The east coast of Sardinia, like that of Corsica, can be difficult. Typically the mountains come steeply into the sea with few inlets or rivers providing shelter. In the 140M stretch between Capo Carbonara in the south and Capo Coda di Cavallo, beyond which the coast becomes more indented and cruiser-friendly, there are four safe refuges at roughly 30M intervals. The prevailing north westerlies come over the island and resolve themselves along the east coast in an often confused way with, for us, an unhelpful northerly flavour. We had to trust to luck to get reasonable conditions for travelling north. So we didn't complain too much when our first leg, from Carbonara to Porto Corallo, had light winds which required more engine than usual.
The next hop was to a busy port called Arbatax where the forecast was for storms. We moved to a marina in a little neighbouring town called S Maria de Navaresse and spent a day sheltering from heavy rain and lightning. The next day took us for 20M along an extraordinary range of limestone cliffs with occasional beaches in clear turquoise water. We couldn't resist stopping for a swim. We were refused permission to moor in a busy little fishing port called Cala Gonone for the night, the next scheduled stopping point, but fortunately conditions were benign and we anchored safely outside the harbour. The next day was our last long hop up to a town called La Caletta where we replenished our supplies. The coasts from that point on becomes more indented and varied and next day we sailed on 16M to the aptly named Capo Coda Cavallo (the tail of the horse), which curls round to form a delightful anchorage sheltered from all but a north-west wind. It is dominated to the north by Isola Tavolara, a massive lump of granite 3M long and almost 1,900ft high, which had been growing on our horizon for the last two days. The forecast was for increasing wind from the west so we laid out all our 50m of chain and rope and relaxed for the day as the wind rose to F6 plus. The next day it was still blowing quite hard as we set off with one reef in the main for a fine reach north westwards. The first bit was quite hairy before we got more into the lee of the mainland, and the wind had lessened by the time we turned Capo Ceraso and headed across Golfo di Olbia to our target anchorage. We had barely set the anchor before the heavens opened and we were hit by a tremendous squall that, we later discovered, dragged our anchor about 20m. It was over in 10mins but the wind remained high overnight and the next day, so we stayed put.

Three more hops beating northward took us to the famous Porto Cervo. At the north-eastern corner of Sardinia, this port is the centre-piece of the vast Costa Smeralda, developed in the '60s by the Aga Khan specifically for the super rich. Despite being pure stage-set architecture and ludicrously expensive, it's a pleasant place to visit. The port was heaving with huge yachts as one regatta followed another but we were given a place in the old port. Because another mistral blasted in, and because we were mindful of the reputation of the Bouche de Bonifacio, which is just around the corner, we stayed four nights and enjoyed watching the big boats with their big uniformed crews doing their stuff in the windy conditions. We could find no affordable restaurants and ate aboard every night.

On 15th September we left Sardinia and sailed into the Maddalena archipelago that lies between Sardinia and Corsica. We spent a night in the old harbour of Maddalena, a charming and characterful town on the largest of the islands. Then we pressed on to the Corsican side of the Bouche, and the fascinating uninhabited island of Lavezzi, where we anchored on the leeward side. We rowed ashore in the evening and had the island to ourselves. It looks like a heap of boulders from the water but from ashore it has a wonderful landscape of exotic scrub and fantastic eroded granite boulders with views over bays to the limestone cliffs of Bonifaccio. It was magical to be alone on the island in the dying light.

Mindful of more forecast gales we pressed on next day to Corsica proper and an exceedingly well sheltered and beautiful bay called the Golfe de Rondinara - almost a complete circle of white beaches around turquoise water within maquis-covered hills. The wind kicked in on schedule during the evening and we were one of eight yachts at anchor. It blew F7 all the next day, too fierce and cold to be tempted into the water, but what a lovely place to be storm-bound. The next day we beat northwards to Porto Vecchio and spent the following day enjoying the old town perched in a citadel high above the port. It felt good to be back among French-speakers, and the food both in restaurants and shops seemed better than in Sardinia.

The 22nd September was more motoring than sailing in light northerly winds to Sollenzara, 19M to the north, and the next day turned out to be our last sail of the season. It was, regrettably, more motor-sailing than sailing with light and contrary winds, but we needed to cover the 32M to Port de Taverna in one hop. Our plan had been to press on to Bastia, another 30M to the north, but neighbours in the marina warned us that places to over-winter both in Corsica and on the mainland were scarce and/or expensive. After some phoning we decided to stay where we were. We got a good price for a wet berth over winter and we were a short taxi-ride from Bastia airport and Easyjet.

On 26th September we flew home having covered 632M, mostly under sail alone, and 70 nights aboard, almost a third of which were at anchor or on a buoy. Another memorable summer.


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Last amended 1/3/2016

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