sea trip had to be excluded to stay on schedule. (He travelled about 430 miles in total - Ed.)
One of the main aims of the trip is to raise as much money as possible for my chosen charity, which is Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. I have set up a Just Giving page, so if you want to donate click on the link. One of the reasons I chose Bristol as my start point is because I spent some time at the children's bone marrow transplant centre based in Bristol at the Royal Hospital for Children, supporting a relative who was under treatment for leukaemia. The Blues Cruze trip is symbolic of the journey home.
Portsmouth Numbers (GavinM)
Bank Holiday club racing in a sailing canoe
Time and distance from the south coast to Scotland meant I couldn't make it to the August Loch Lomond OCSG meet but an enjoyable alternative was the August Bank Holiday Regatta at my local sailing club, Netley SC, where it is possible to camp within an attractive park next to Southampton Water.
The programme of events included five regatta races with separate starts for monohulls and catamarans. To be able to compete on handicap I had to propose a Portsmouth Yardstick number (or handicap rating) for my boat. Although I know the same PY number as applies to Mirror dinghies has previously been suggested, I'm sure Shearwater sailing canoes are faster so thought the Mirror PY number of 1385 would give me an unfair advantage. So, with the agreement of the race organiser, I opted for 1260, the same as for a Pico (also una rig with an unbattened 5.1 sq metre sail as opposed to my 5 sq metres and with a shorter but more easily planed hull).
Throughout the weekend north westerly winds were often strong and gusty varying from F3 for the last race to F5 gusting F6 for the 4th race on Sunday afternoon. The latter required Solway Dory outriggers and 2 reefs to be able to complete 3 laps whilst saying upright, but planing downwind was often exhilarating with spray from the bow wave sometimes at eye level. I later checked the wind strengths on Sotonmet. The self-bailer fitted by Solway Dory was essential and without it I wouldn't have been able to complete the race without frequently stopping to bail.
At the end of the series I finished 5th overall out of 42, which sounds impressive, but only 11 boats completed the same number of races. Many of the contestants were keen club sailors so I feel the handicap of 1260 may well have been a little too favourable and an underestimate of a Shearwater's performance, but I need to compete in a few more club races in varying conditions to get a better idea. Anyone else have a view on what the PY number for a Shearwater with a 5M rig should be?
Netley SC is the venue for the next OCSG meet on the 18th and 19th of Sept. This is a level 3 event and although there are no certainties, please be reassured F5/6 winds in Sept are not the norm at Netley! Further details of the event are available from the OCSG website.
Website Update (DaveS)
The complete and professional revision of the website is progressing well. The new and fresh feel of the homepage is in its final draft phase and the main build is about to proceed. Here's a sneak preview of what it should look like. Some of the pictures will change every few seconds but otherwise it will be simple, avoiding annoying features. We hope you agree it looks clean, simple and attractive.
Papua New Guinea (TyroneC)
TyroneC has sent an article looking at the sailing canoes used in parts of Papua New Guinea that will be published in a forthcoming edition - this is a little sample to whet your appetite:
... locals came over in their sailing canoes and guided us where to go while we towed their canoes behind us. The people were fantastically friendly, plying us with fresh produce and welcoming us to their homes. Most of the houses were on three islands and they would use the canoes to go to their 'gardens' on the other islands and to go spear fishing. Mostly the canoes would have 2-3 young guys on board but sometimes there would be whole families with piles of vegetables on their way from island to island.