Number 207 / March 2009

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Advance Of The American Signal Crayfish (Eden Rivers Trust)

This press release was received from the Eden Rivers Trust and is relevant to OCSG members insofar as Ullswater is part of the River Eden system.

Britain's native crayfish could be wiped out of one of its last strongholds, the River Eden and its tributaries in Cumbria, unless all river users remain vigilant. According to Eden Rivers Trust, a Cumbrian conservation charity, the biggest threat to the native crayfish is the American signal crayfish and the crayfish plague disease which it carries. This American invader is already in

Native white clawed crayfish from the River Lyvennet, Maulds Meaburn, Penrith, Cumbria.

the rivers surrounding Cumbria.

So far the River Eden and its catchment has managed to avoid being infiltrated by the American crayfish or its disease, which is deadly to the native variety. But conservationists are stressing how important it is to make sure that the signal crayfish is not introduced to the river, either deliberately or accidentally.

The American signal crayfish was originally brought into this country to be farmed for food but has since escaped and been deliberately released in to many rivers across the country, including the north of England. It has already eradicated the native crayfish in many river systems in England and there are fears that it could now be transferred to the Eden.

Full article available for download in the Eden Rivers Trust December 2008 news release.


Sailing Canoe Cruise Account (MalcolmC)

The March/April issue of Watercraft magazine carries an article about a cruise undertaken by a John Floutier who advertises hand built sailing canoes from his base near Bristol. The cruise was on the Scottish west coast in the areas visited by our own intrepid band each May. He regularly quotes 'Quest by Canoe' but his own cruise does not really seem to be in the same spirit. He was not self sufficient in that he was accompanied by a large yacht on which he ate and slept. Our members did it properly!!

In The Beginning - Part 2 (JohnB)

After some half hour or so, one sailing canoe had turned up; but within a couple of hours we had seventeen boats on the beach with a great variety of rigs. We had made a start. At the end of that summer we repaired to the East coast at the invitation of the Ten Metre sailors and had a splendid weekend sailing on the Blackwater Estuary. It was at this meet that the briefings by the Ten Metre race officer continually referred to us as the open canoe sailors. For want of a better title the name stuck and we have since been known as The Open Canoe Sailing Group, the OCSG. That autumn the first of the Gossips was published, we're now up to number 207 so we've done something right.

The following year 1991 we had a full program of sailing meets; the opening meeting was on Ullswater. Later that year we sailed from the Steam Boat Museum on Windermere. It was a real catholic collection of craft and rigs but we had a splendid weekend with something in the order of fifteen boats taking part. In the early years it wasn't all beer and skittles, sometimes only four or five boats would turn up at a meet but we soldiered on and in due course, after a few disappointing meets like that, the fleet began to grow. By the following year we were up to the sort of turnouts that you have today.

It was during this period that there began lots of experimenting with rigs, rudders and leeboards. This gathered pace and lasted for some few years but it was all good fun. You would see a tight knot of sailors around some boat or other on the beach; lots of knowledgeable chat although in truth we were all still fumbling for ideas and understanding. Each year though we got better, better prepared boats and better at sailing them, we would take ourselves off once a year to the Canoe Exhibition at the Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and search for converts. Of course we had our opponents, too, people who didn't want to race and became disaffected which caused a few upsets, particularly those who tried to undermine the OCSG.

In 1995 a small group of us went over to America and met the US canoe sailors that we had been

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