Autumn 2005
AGM, Prize Giving and Party
Annual Dinner
Christmas Is Acoming
Bewl Water in August
News of Members
Palm Court
Regatta, Jazz & BBQ
Richard Does It Again
Sail Training Manual
Sailing Secretary Report
Salcombe Sojourn
Social Calendar
South in a Westerly
Teddington Theatre Group
Twelve Days Of Christmas
Ugly Ducklings
Upstream Launching Ramp
Web Site
Winter Reminders
Working Party

August Bank Holiday Monday at Bewl Water
   A Bank Holiday wouldn't be a Bank Holiday without a trip to Bewl for some serious open water sailing. You'd think I'd had my fill at Ullswater but, well; you just can't get enough of a good thing and besides it's one of the rare chances I get to use Over Easy's big red spinnaker!
   This year the Bewl Autumn Regatta on 29 August consisted of 2 pursuit races. Pursuit racing is based on boat handicap to determine start times. In theory if the handicap system works well all the competing boats should arrive at the finish line about the same time. The initial race instructions stated that each race lasted approximately 120 minutes for say an Optimist and about 80 minutes for a Laser.
   In reality the race officer started the Oppies, Toppers and Mirrors at +26 minutes (actually zero) and everybody started as per their handicap after that. SigneTs went at +28 minutes (i.e. zero +2). The last boats to leave, almost half an hour after us were the Flying Fifteens and the big RS Asymetrics. In between everything from Solos and Lasers to RS200s and Enterprises.
   There were 30 entrants but if you include as many again just cruising plus all the fishermen's boats, I'd never actually seen so many boats on the water at the same time. Very strange!
   The briefing was at 10:00 sharp which gave the first Optimist start at about 10:30. Bewl Water SC charged a visitors entry fee of £6 for 2 handed boats and £3 for single handed boats, which is amazing given the club facilities, race organization, the water and prizes.
   One thing that was very noticeable was how low the water was. It had to be down 20 feet. That might not sound a lot but at Bewl that must represent millions of litres of water (Bewl normally holds 31,300 million litres). The usual ramp couldn't be used as it no longer reached the water. We launched off ‘the beach'.
   AQSC members at Bewl included Richard Cannon and Liz Archer in ST368, Keith Hatton and I in ST369, Nigel Knowles in his Laser 35434 and Bryan Clements in the club Topper 20980. There was also our honorary member for the Day Bill Poulton in Enterprise 19536
   Race 1 duly got started around 10:30 with one Oppie and one Mirror crossing the line. Two minutes later ST369 crossed the line and overhauled the other boats shortly after rounding the first mark. The wind was out of the West blowing at approximately force 2. The six mark course used the whole centre section of the water plus one of the three south facing legs, going round twice for one lap.
   ST369 held 1st place for about a lap and a half before being overhauled by a Solo. Leading is great from a 'clear air' point of view but its murder trying to find the marks first time around. At Bewl the marks are so widely spaced that you can often sail half a leg, or more, before even spotting the mark that you should be heading for. At the end of Race 1 ST369 was 15th, Laser 35434 was 19th, ST368 was 21st after starting 10 minutes late, and Topper 20980 was 28th.
   Race 2 was more interesting. For a start everybody was on the line at their appointed time. ST368 and ST369 overhauled the lead boats well before the first mark and held 1st and 2nd places for over two laps. Inevitably in lightening winds the faster boats began to catch the SigneTs on lap three. Now, the Bewl rules of pursuit racing say that a sound signal will be given at one minute before the finish and that a double sound signal will be given at the finish … at which point ALL boats must hold station, one to another, as they come up to and cross the line which is moving towards the boats.
   Try telling that to Bewl Lasers. By the time ST369 crossed the line one Solo and four or five Lasers had overtaken us. The Race Officer's reaction in the committee boat was 'protest them'. So much for rules! The results were published by the time we came ashore and no one was in the mood to change them. ST368 recorded a 5th (boats obeyed the rules). ST369 a 16th (which should actually have been about 11th) with Laser 35434 17th and Topper 20980 21st.
   Both races were won by a Flying Fifteen with RS200s, 400s, Blaze and Lasers highly placed. Considering the opposition I didn't think we did too badly and the sailing was superb. Plenty of spinnaker work and, at times, some close racing. If you've never been to Bewl Water you should definitely pencil it in for one of the 2006 Bank Holidays. It's a whole different kind of sailing on big water and pretty addictive, as anyone who's been there will tell you.
Mike (Over Easy) Baker