Information about our friendly boating association.

March 10, 2021
by spba2018
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Reopening Plans

As promised here is the update on reopening plans for the yard and club rooms. In planning the reopening schedule we have used information from the RYA and British Marine. Obviously the schedule is based on the planned deadlines being met and is subject to change in the event that the reopening plan set out by the government is altered.
At present the planned reopening will follow this schedule:
From now: The yard is only accessible to members to check their boats and to carry out any work that is essential to keep them safe. This work should be completed as quickly as possible and then members should vacate the yard. Other essential tasks to prepare the yard for the coming season are permitted but these will be under the direction of our Bosun who will identify what tasks need doing and which members are to carry out the work.
From 29 March: Members can access the yard to carry out work on their boats. All social distancing rules should be adhered to. The toilets will be open but we ask that members use the provided cleaning materials to clean down surfaces after they have used the toilet. The workshop will be accessible as there is essential safety equipment stored there. The engine store will also be accessible so that members can access their engines for servicing and general maintenance tasks. We ask that members clean behind them if they need to access these rooms. The clubhouse will remain closed.
From 12 April: The rules change very little in respect to our yard and club rooms. We will wait to see if there is further guidance provided and let members know if the rules can be eased once we know more ourselves.
From 17 May: Club house reopened with a limit of 6 members.
From June 21: All restrictions lifted.
We have used the following sources of guidance to put our reopening plan together:
The first link is to British Marine “Back to Boating”: https://britishmarine.co.uk/coronavirus

Coronavirus – British MarineBritish Marine understand that cases of Coronavirus are expected to rise in the coming weeks which may have implications for our members and their day-to-day operations here in the UK. The situation is constantly evolving which means the Government’s advice may change in the future. We would like to reassure our members that we are monitoring the situation closely and will post regular …britishmarine.co.uk

The second link is to the RYA Covid-19 FAQ’s valid in England; https://www.rya.org.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/clubs/Covid%20FAQs%20in%20England%20from%205%20Jan%202021.pdf

RYA Covid-19 FAQs valid in EnglandRYA Covid-19 FAQs valid in England (Updated 4 March 2021) These FAQs have been developed in accordance with the ‘National Lockdown: Stay at Home’ and updated as a result of the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ Government guidance.

We appreciate that the proposed deadlines will restrict members’ opportunities to get their boat ready for the Spring Launch dates (20&21 April). If you feel you are going to struggle to be ready in time please contact me ASAP so we can support you as best we can. We still plan to proceed with the planned Spring Launch dates, subject to the reopening dates we have set out not being significantly altered.

Jake Daykin – On behalf of S.P.B.A. Committee

November 3, 2020
by spba2018
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COVID Update

Dear Members the second lockdown starts from this Thursday and I am writing to advise you that the yard will be closed from Thursday 5 November onwards. We will keep the situation under review and update you as soon as it is possible to reopen. In preparation for the yard closure could we ask that all halyards are checked and secured to ensure disturbance to our neighbours is kept to a minimum? Please contact me ([email protected]) if you have any issues or concerns that you need help with or wish to pass on to the committee. We remain committed to trying to maintain good lines of communication for all our members during this difficult time.

September 9, 2020
by spba2018
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Craning Dates

The dates for craning out are:

Sat 10th October 0800 start 1600 finish

Sun 11th October 0900 start 1700 finish.

Please remember that many hands make light work and we are expecting all our members to help with the craning of everyone’s boats.

We are looking forward to seeing SPBA members on these days in their full PPE.

March 22, 2020
by spba2018
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Spring Launch Update

Spring Launch has been postponed. We are currently looking at Friday 29 and Saturday 30 May but this might change as you will appreciate. We are asking people who have to use the yard to stay out of the clubhouse and to distance themselves from other members. Please follow the hygiene rules, which are clearly displayed around the yard.

Please remember – we all have a duty to each other to keep everyone safe and well. If you don’t need to go to the boatyard please stay away.

September 19, 2019
by spba2018
1 Comment

Ian McNee’s Grand Voyage – Week 15

“West of the Lizard is no place for a small boat come the end of August”, it says in the West Country Cruising Companion. So with that in mind I set off from Padstow in the early hours, bound round Land’s End to Newlyn. There was still some swell left over from the strong winds. In fact, as I worked my way out past Trevose Head, the seas were enormous.

Originally I had hoped to tackle Land’s End from St Ives, but the conditions didn’t permit, so I had to do the trip in one go. To shorten the journey somewhat I planned to take the inshore passage, but if it was going to be rough then I’d prefer to have more sea room to play with, especially in the onshore winds. But that would be a long trip indeed. On the outward journey, I’d had some rough treatment around here, and really wasn’t looking forward to the day. Apprehension was building as I worked my way south west, in fact, as I passed St Ives, I seriously thought about just taking the boat in and handing the keys to someone. After all, my journey was pretty much over, this was no longer about fun, just about getting home. At least I’d save on winter storage fees. But it sounded like a hassle so I just pressed on. As I rounded Pendeen Point, I found that the water wasn’t that rough and it was a blowing a happy Force 4.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

All the tension I’d felt on the way down started to melt away as it turned into quite a nice sail. I was still keen to get around and into shelter as quickly as possible, but the fear was fading away now. I took the inshore passage behind the Longships lighthouse.

Much better than last time.

At this point I was supposed to get a boost from the inshore counter current, but I didn’t seem to be getting any help at all, although I wasn’t fighting the tide either, so I just watched the coast go by as progress was steadily made. Eventually I had gotten past the most treacherous parts, and as I was sailing away from Gwennap Head, I looked astern and it seemed like the weather was closing in. It was as though the Gods had chosen mercy and allowed me a window of safe passage, and now it was closing up astern.

The sense of relief was enormous.

Soon enough I had made it all the way to Mousehole where I checked to see if I could anchor. There was too much swell for a comfortable night so I pressed on to Newlyn. It was pitch black as I approached and had to watch carefully for anchored yachts hidden against the town lights. I wasn’t planning on going into harbour, so I found a good spot to anchor, and promptly went to bed.

Newlyn at night.

The next day it was time to do battle with the Lizard once more. In the previous bout I’d been slapped around quite badly, but I felt a bit more prepared this time. The relatively easy passage around Land’s End had boosted my confidence somewhat. I clipped across Mount’s Bay in good time with favourable tide and wind, doing about 6 knots over the ground. It was a smashing day. The sun was shining, the sea was that brilliant colour that you only seem to get in Cornwall and there was wildlife everywhere. Part of me thought: when you’ve got this sort of thing on your doorstep, what’s the point in sailing hundreds of miles away?

Great day.

My Dad, a birdwatcher, had informed me that there was a rare bird in the area, an unusual visitor to these parts in the form of a Brown Booby (yeah, have fun with that). It had been seen around St Ives the day before and now apparently it was sighted at Kynance Cove, which I was very close to. There were tons of gannets about and some pretty big mixed feeding aggregations, with dolphins chipping in too and I even saw a sunfish, but no basking sharks.

Little sunfish.

I kept my eyes peeled for the booby, but it’s really difficult to use binoculars on a small boat when you’re getting bounced around, one hand on the helm and the other hand holding onto to something solid. But I did see a likely culprit in one feeding group, and snapped a couple of pictures.

Possible booby on the far right.

In the end, after lots of careful analysis, I think it was just a young gannet. I’m not too fussed about seeing rarities though, I’d rather just watch everything in action instead of stressing over an unusual visitor. The water around here was just brimming with wildlife.

Common dolphins.

I would have liked to linger a while, but had to get on. I had timed it to arrive off the point at slack water, but when it turned it’d be against me. I also set course to pass about 5 miles off, but as I got closer, the inshore route looked OK, and there were a couple of other boats passing much further in, seemingly without trouble. I decided to take a shortcut and pass closer to land.

Hard to port.

I was almost passed the point and into safety when the tide turned and started to flow against me. And it flowed hard. It built in speed very quickly and I soon had both engines on, the inboard and the outboard, the first time I’d done this. Fighting against it, I was less than a mile away from safety and had the boat pointed eastwards but was travelling northwards. The sea wasn’t especially rough, at least not yet but I could feel the overfalls building. After what seemed like forever, I made it through into clean water, immediately east of the point itself and suddenly the boat started going where she was pointing. Feeling a bit stressed out I decided to find a cove to drop the anchor and take a break. I was a bit disappointed in myself for letting a situation like that develop. I probably shouldn’t have changed course on a whim, I nearly didn’t make it round the point. But I ended up in a nice spot where I had a swim and some lunch, and waited for the tide to turn again in my favour.

Time to cool off.

It occurred to me that my experiences of rounding these exposed headlands have all been very different, and were never what I anticipated. I don’t know how much of this is down to pot-luck and the complexities of weather systems and tidal currents, or if it’s a sign of just how little I know. I’d like to have a better idea of what I’ll face in any given situation with regards to the weather. One thing I need to do is develop more knowledge of small scale weather systems; it’s always been a bit of a mystery to me.

Mackerel sky = the weather is going to change. I think…

Later that afternoon I set off with the tide to find a place to stop, not just for the night but for the following night too, as a front was moving in. I decided to go into Gillan Creek instead of the Helford because it looked like it would afford more shelter and I could use the boat’s small size to tuck right in.

Up the creek.

It was quite close quarters finding a spot equidistant between the moorings but I ended up dropping hook off the picturesque little village of Flushing. I didn’t go ashore, just waited for the wind to blow through and then on the morning of Thursday 5th September 2019 I set off for the final passage of my journey, back to Plymouth.

Set course for Plymouth!

The forecast said it should have been a great day for sailing, but it was a little stronger than I was expecting. I certainly made good progress, but the wind kept shifting from a force 3 up to a force 6. Not gusting, but blowing for about 20 minutes and then changing. I kept reefing, and then finding myself doing 2 knots, then shaking out the reef and shortly thereafter getting blasted and heeling right over with the tiller in my armpit. And the direction kept swinging back and forth through about 40 degrees, so that I couldn’t just leave the tiller pilot to do the helming.

Looks good but was strangely difficult.

I suspect it was because the wind was blowing from over the land. It was actually quite frustrating, but I made very good time. In fact, it was the first long passage of the entire trip where I arrived before my ETA. I usually arrive significantly after. Last year the journey from Mevagissey to Plymouth had felt like a massive undertaking, but now I was doing a journey twice as long and it felt routine. Before long, I was rounding Rame Head and then Les came out to meet me just off Penlee Point to welcome me home and we sailed along together.

Thanks for the photo Les.
Looks like she was worth all the effort.

I went over to Bovisand and anchored in the sandy bay, where Ness and her friend swam out to the boat and joined me for a drink. It was in this spot back in 2014 that I saw a boat at anchor, when I was up on the coastal path, looking down on it from above, I think it’s what made me want to get a boat and learn how to sail. It was such an idyllic sight and having grown up in rural Scotland, only just moving to Plymouth that year, it’s the sort of thing that had always seemed unattainable, the quintessential life of privilege. I guess that means I’m a man of privilege now, but it’s pretty amazing that you can get an old 70’s fibreglass yacht for next to nothing and just go off and mess about in it. I talked with Bernie about this later on in the pub, and it’s great that you can still do this here. Apparently in most countries you need to be qualified before you can do that, but here they’ll let a dafty go out and do what they please. Long may it continue.

Surprisingly this doesn’t usually happen when I anchor.

Anyway Les showed up after a bit and scared them off, and then we had a few beers and waited for the tide to allow us back onto the moorings. It was a short trip back in, and it felt strange to be coming back in around Devil’s Point and then seeing Storehouse Pool open. Maybe it was just the beers. I came alongside the pontoon and met a few members who had come down to say hello. It was nice to have a few folk welcome me home, so thank you for that.

Welcome home.

I apologise if anyone had wanted to do so, but couldn’t because of the short notice, but my passage plans always seem to be somewhat elastic and I didn’t want to schedule a date I might miss. On that note, I’ve got to leave for Australia tomorrow and spend more money. I wonder if they’ve got Lidl down there….