Race report

Sunday 3rd May 2015

It gets harder each week to dissect the intricate world of Saundersfoot Sailing Club by trying to put into words what goes on down here every Sunday. Here’s my problem, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin turns up, rough seas, fog and high wind, twizzling tassels and strategically placed winners rosette, a great charity night, upturned boats by the shed load, Tom Daley impersonations, new members, the great knitting stand off, and cheap beer. How on earth can I summarize that lot to fit into the Tenby Observer, and on that subject apologies for last week as there seemed to be crossed wires somewhere and the sail report went missing on the waves between Saundersfoot and Tenby.

In 1971 Led Zeppelin had a massive hit with “Stairway to heaven”, here we are 44 years later and Robert Plant is stood by the Mermaid watching us sail, maybe he has heard that Saundersfoot is No 2 in the most up and coming Seaside resorts in the country and came down to buy it, he must have thought those daft sailors out there are on the first step in those conditions. Could we please ask our Facebook friends to stop sharing this info as it’s going to get too busy here soon, it’s been passed on over 2500 times so far. I am sure there are photos of Mr Plant to be found in the Shoreline Café by the way.

We do come down here to sail but it’s easy to digress, an expectant fleet all primed and ready to go and obviously not wanting to catch my eye. Tom ( I’m watching you ) Owen the OOD struts along the causeway looking for his second in command Paul, and life long sweet heart of the Dingy Captain Julia. They did look smart in their matching newly knitted hats made by Terry our failsafe rescue man, little did he know how much trouble those hats may cause. Steve and Harry turned up sharp as a button, but apparently Harry this week was having none of it as he peered over the harbour wall at those daunting seas, sorry dad I am off for chips and an early bath and they were gone.

Two new members were more than welcome in the form of Alex who for some reason let us know that he was an experienced crew and was possibly thrown into the lions den by being wired up to the Laser 4000 with Jo at the helm, ( know as “The hunt for Red October “ after today’s performance ) more on this later. It was good to see also new member Ollie who was out sailing the Pico in some very tough conditions. There had it seems been some pre race jiggery pokery going on and the injured team normally out in the Love boat had swapped ( not that swapping ) their race time for a duty with Tom on OOD. ( yes I ask the same question ) Now for some reason this week I was first out of the blocks and cruising through the harbour, on exiting the entrance I came across the silver Phantom sponsored by The Peoples Friend and helmed by James, his face was more red than the socks he has just finished knitting for his slightly eccentric father in law, who does actually look a bit like Robert Plant on a good day. I think the problem was that he had spotted the new knitted woolly hats up in the OOD box and thought that bribery was around, was it that Maurice who seems to be Jame’s new nemesis out on the water.

11 boats out from 7 classes and all ready to impress our celebrity guest watching from the Mermaid, unfortunately Owen in his new Laser with 4.7 rig did not make it past the beach, maybe he was off for an autograph. I am told that dad forgot to put the rudder pin in tight enough and he ended going round in circles. OOD Tom had set a testing Amroth – Monkstone – Harbour course in some very volatile SW 3 to 4 and maybe 5 winds. Apparently there was a big boxing match last night between some heavyweights called Mayweather and Pacquiao but we can match anything from Las Vegas down in Saundersfoot. Over in the Pink corner was Maurice all set as the contender vs James in the silver Phantom both knowing that last years champion David had failed to meet the start line so they were in for a fight. Off went the hooter, up went the flag and then off went another hooter, what was this we all said ? Apparently Oberfuhrer Tom had spotted young Ben over the line, yes we were all thinking the same “we are always over the line” but the race officials were having none of it and Ben had to come back, it cost him dearly in the results. The rest of the fleet were away and Jo was going to show us how it was done, from where I was sitting it did look fast and I was glad it was not me tied to the mast but felt slightly apprehensive for Alex our new member but it all currently looked controlled at this point. The new hot colour is pink out on the bay but the air was red as Maurice and James battled it out though the waves, yes both want this crown.

I like to veer off course while racing, also in my reporting and think it worth mentioning an odd thing happened to me while cruising at speed from Amroth to Monkstone, all was going well then suddenly I seemed to hit a brick wall and actually stopped, it turned out to be a Jelly fish the size of my boat and would have kept a family of Leatherback turtles fed for a week, he looked a bit upset so I decided better to stay in the boat for a while. Back to the race, the previously in control Jo seemed to be flying all over the bay in different directions and all at very high speeds, Alex must have been wondering what he had let himself in for as at one point the Laser 4000 turned into a single hander as Jo managed to exit the back of the boat doing a double pike turn with a half twist that Tom Daley the diver would have won gold for at the Olympics. Apparently during the course of the two races this happened about 5 or 6 times in differing forms, but they managed every time to get that 4000 back on it’s feet and going again so hats off to Jo and Alex who did look a bit wet and weary at the end of the day.

Malcolm was obviously missing new crew Anne as he apparently capsized a few times as well along with our keen starter Ben who it turns out had a dolphin arrive on the scene as he exited his topper, lets hope its on the new go pro video Ben. Club President Martin looked very regal in his Solo and going well until the kicker broke and he was towed back to base a little less regal than when he went out. Keith was sailing well in his Laser with full rig I might add but was carrying an injured knee round the course but he did manage to keep it upright this week. The race did manage to finish and positions were as follows 1st Maurice, 2nd Ben ( could have won if not over the line ) 3rd James. See facebook for full results.

Just a quick point to mention before the second race, we all thought that the action was happening out in the bay in the rough seas, well apparently it was raining as well so the race tacticians all squeezed into the OOD box with Tom. Five of them there were and all the windows getting steamed up, maybe they were discussing where to sail next, I am not actually sure what went on but Graham our bosun appeared wearing Pauls new woolly hat.

Second race and an extremely testing Pendine – Monkstone – Amroth – Harbour course, I bet James loved this knitting pattern when he saw the race board and was all smiles until he saw this golden glow appear from the harbour entrance, yes it was last years club champion David in the Solo out to show these boys he is not going to give up his crown that easy. All very similar to the first race, lots of wind and high seas, now some fog and plenty of capsizes with some also very skilful sailing, oh and forgot to mention that last years champ went over 3 times, nearly as many as that boxer Pacquiao. Two laps for the fast boys and one for the slightly sedentary sailors, yes I am one of those but we did get round. 1st place James, 2nd David, 3rd Maurice.

Extra special thanks to our very wet race crews, Tom and Terry, Hywel and Steve on rescue. Tom, Paul and Julia up in the OOD and of course top helper Clare who does just about everything.

Future events and dates:

Racing next week Sunday 10th start 10am

Push the boat out Friday 15th May, a chance to come and try sailing and all for free with great tuition in a safe environment.

Coppet Week sailing starts on Sunday 24th May, some of the best racing in the country can be had at Coppet Week in fabulous surroundings with glorious sunshine so get those entry forms in to ensure a place. All details can be found on the website.


Charity Party Race Night:

Well what can I say? What a fantastic evening. Members and invited guests packed the clubhouse for a rollicking time refreshed by real ale and fortified with the nicest hotdogs I’ve ever had. Thanks go to Heywood’s Butchers for their delicious swingers (or should that be slingers?) and to Laugharne Bakery for providing the rolls to put them in. Not to mention the cupcakes from Sue. Diet what diet? Rob ‘McCrirrick’ and Honest Ivan did their usual efficient running of the races while Jo and rookie Dave took care of the liquid refreshments and Bodil and Carol were in charge of the ovens.

There are so many people who helped to make this evening such a brilliant success and we’d like to thank everyone personally but there isn’t space on the page! Macmillan Cancer Support was a big winner on the night and some punters even managed some winnings of their own too. Congratulations to Paul who won the draw for the hotly contested ‘winning punter’ and was presented with the winner’s rosette.

Rolfe, SSC President, whose idea this was and me -Anne-Marie, former SSC social sec – your host for the evening, were hoping for a relatively modest £350 or maybe £500 at a push but we reached that before half time and the final amount has exceeded everyone’s expectations by a mile. £1000 is what we expect the final total to be when all promised donations are in!! WOW!! You’ve really set the bar high for the next one! Pauline and Angela from the local Macmillan support group are thrilled to bits, Rolfe is delighted and I am exhausted.

We have some wonderful supporters and grateful thanks go to: our race sponsors Frost’s Hardware, Sutton’s Instrand, Spar Saundersfoot, John Patel, Kelpie Boat Services and Station Garage Kilgetty. Tesco Saundersfoot, Colin and Margaret James and Carol and Rolfe John for their raffle prizes and to the members and friends who sneaked more prizes onto the raffle table anonymously when I wasn’t looking.

Heywood’s Butchers for the delicious slingers (or was that swingers?) specially made for us and Laugharne Bakery for the rolls to put them in. Thanks to both for your generosity. Sue’s Pantry for the lovely cupcakes. Paul and Julia for donating the proceeds from the bacon rolls they made for the early evening sailors. Graham and Vanessa for the gorgeous Winner’s rosette – the rosette was gorgeous not ........ Particular thanks to Kelpie for not only sponsoring a race but also for their very generous additional donation.

Last but not least – thanks to you. Everyone who contributed in anyway, large or small, towards the success of the evening deserves a huge round of applause.

If you missed the event but would still like to make a small donation that would be great Just click here.

a salty sea dog