Seeing the “Bewl Valley Sailing Club Spring Open Regatta, Open Pursuit races” in
the 2007 club sailing program gave me great expectations of a real insight into sailing
and racing on a large scale.
Well 7.30am on Bank holiday Monday morning I was knocking on Richard Cannon’s front
door to get an early start for the drive to Bewl as Richard had asked me to crew
Also making the annual pilgrimage to Bewl were Simon Lunniss and his daughter Hanna
and family, with the Club Pico on the car roof, and Richard’s long time crew Robert
accompanied by his girlfriend.
The weather was not good with plenty of rain, strong winds and extremely cold; With
a temperature of 8°C, reduced to 4°C with wind chill it was more like mid winter.
We arrived at Bewl by about 9.15am and racing was due to start at 11.00am. The launching
area was deserted and there was not the hustle and bustle I had expected from an
open regatta at such a large venue.
We started to get the Signet ready to launch when the OOD arrived and calmly told
us that racing was cancelled due to bad communications and that nobody was available
to staff the event!! I would have liked to have experienced racing amongst many boats
on a large bit of water with strong winds but with the conditions Richard was relieved
he didn’t have to race, the Lunnisses were only intending to play with the Pico anyway.
We retired to the club house for coffee and bacon sandwiches and to discuss what
to do next. Over coffee the OOD said that the safety boats would be out and we could
We rigged the Signet and set off, the North wind was fairly strong (15 to gust 30
mph) but very changeable and the burgee must have gotten dizzy!; this had made it
very difficult rigging because it wasn’t head to wind for more than a few seconds
at a time (more like Aquarius).
After about an hour of some very demanding helming I could see Richard going blue
so we headed to back to thaw out and get some lunch (capsizes nil as Richard was
too nervous to trust me with the helm in the difficult conditions).
While we had been sailing Simon and Anna had been out in the Pico and had an interesting
time including capsizes!
We were going to go out again after lunch but the safety boats had been put away
so we had hot showers and packed away the dinghies and headed home.
For the whole period we were there only 2 other boats and 1 wind surfer sailed. Not
the Bewl and end all of sailing that I was expecting.