May/June 2016 Newsletter No. 3


WPYSC logoelcome to our 3rd Newsletter of 2016, full of useful info and tips. Chris Gill offers those brave enough to do the Severn Bridge Race some useful pre-race advice. Sailing continues uninterrupted from inclement weather. Let’s hope it remains so. Turnouts have not been as large as in recent years; probably due in part to a number of recent weddings of members’ siblings. I’m sure our forthcoming ‘special’ regattas will attract the crowds!. More later on both the Royal Regatta (Sat 11th June) and the Olympic Regatta (Sat 2nd July)






Sheila Hatcher passes on

It is with great sadness we have learnt that Sheila Hatcher, widow of Stuart Hatcher a former Commodore and founder member,  has died aged 88.  There will be a few old members who remember her.

Her funeral is at Worle Crematorium on Friday, June 10th at 3 pm and Sheila requested everyone wore bright colours!


Nick’s Generous Offer


Our April Newsletter reported that Nick Noble has a new Luca Bonezzi Contender which he collected from Trento in Italy. This means he now has two top class Contenders. Nick has emailed to say:



‘‘As many of you may be aware I’m quite into Contenders, to such an extent that I now have two.  As with any class it is always nice to race with other boats of the same class. If any member has an interest in sailing a Contender and would like to try before you buy then please let me know and I can make my sister ship ‘Rocco’ available. My boats are not for sale but I’m happy to help with advice as to the best boats currently available in the market for your budget. A good solid club boat should set you back for less than £1000. Please give me a call and I will give you all the help you need to get afloat.  Nick Noble 07792049241’



Ex PLT Green Shed


As you all know we exercised our rights to inherit the PLT Green Shed in 2015 when the PLT relocated to the new RNLI Lifeboat Station.. Unfortunately the PLT failed to tell us that its temporary planning consent had expired!. I’m pleased to inform members that North Somerset Council has now granted us a full planning consent for its ongoing occupation. The Decision Notice can be found on the NSC Planning Portal under reference no. 16/P/0593/F .


Seabird Survey on Denny Island


The Goldring Group from Newport have again asked if we can facilitate their annual seabird monitoring survey on Denny Island. The date chosen is either Saturday or Sunday 18th or 19th June, when we will convey 6 of their members over to Denny to undertake the survey and ringing of chicks. In past years it has been possible to carry over a couple of members to experience the work they undertake. If anyone is interested please let Steve Gill know. The actual date will be known shortly. Those rostered for OOD duty have been informed as it requires M1 to be launched earlier than normal.




Royal Regatta and American Supper - Saturday 11th June


In recent years we have tried to include in our programme at least one Special Event. Yet again we have our Queen to thank and to congratulate in reaching 90 years young. So Saturday 11th June is the date for another Royal Regatta and the ever popular American Supper where members bring their own food and drink to share with others. Tea and coffee etc will be available from the galley, and the clubhouse might even be decorated in celebration. The SSC has programmed a pursuit race for which there should be special prizes.



PYSC Olympic Regatta and Celebration – Saturday July 2nd


What do Portishead and Rio have in common? Rio may have Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and the 2016 Olympics but we have Sugarloaf Beach, Battery Point and our own Olympic Regatta and (South) American Supper Celebration Event. ThePYSC Olympic Regatta Committee, lead by David Pugh, invite you to join our regatta and celebration supper, for a series of fun-filled, rarely seen (probably never to be repeated), action packed events, down at Sugar Loaf Beach. So who will top the medal table; the UK? or will it be South Africa, Italy, or Ireland; or indeed somewhere else? Who will be the new Ben Ainslie? Its up to you….


Olympic Regatta sailing instructions and further details will be issued shortly. There’s already a notice posted in the clubhouse. Participants will be representing countries in the various events, so come early to pick the country of your choice.


The Clevedon Pilot Gig Club have expressed a interest in participating too, so we hope there will be an opportunity for PYSC and CPGC members to join together in experiencing each other’s sport.


Provisional timetable and events





NeNew Members Initiative – Wednesday 6th July


Sarah Long has initiated a new members forum, which will meet again at the Impero Lounge, High Street, Portishead on Wednesday evening 6th July. Both new and not-so-new members are invited to join her and others for a social evening.

Further details from Sarah on 07815850798



Annual Portishead Raft Race – Sunday 10th July


Held each year in the Lake Grounds, Portishead, the event attracts many hundreds of spectators in support of local charities. PYSC has previously benefited from the generosity of the Raft Race Committee in response to our helping on the day. Not only do we help with the actual racing, commentary and rescue facilities, but there is to be a PYSC stand on which we will be promoting the club and its activities. Anne Clubb is again requesting help and support from members on the day, so if you wish to get involved please contact Anne on 07976917260 for further details.



Top Tips for PYSC Open Events


The racing season is upon us and there are a couple of open events at PYSC that attract a bit more competition. These can be more challenging than usual.


Over the next couple of months in the lead up to these events some top tips will be issued to help sailors sailing in waters that are often unfamiliar.


Severn Bridge Race


The Severn Bridge race is a staggered start so plan your start time to be at the turning mark as the tide changes. Except it is not that easy!


Event preparation

This race is the most exposed race we have in our calendar, so plan your sail before you leave the shore. Check the weather in the coming days as well as on the day itself. If the weather is good it is a great sail in waters we don’t usually sail in. Rain and wind can make the sail more difficult for all sailors. Ensure you are prepared regarding equipment and clothing. Protect yourself if the weather changes.

 It is advisable to take flares and VHF radio with you in case you need to make contact or issue a signal.

 Always be aware of other boats around you for safety, and so you can note the conditions they are sailing in. They might be better or worse in terms of wind and tide.

 It is often advisable to stick close to other boats, whilst keeping an eye out for others.


The approach

Keep an eye on the wind. Is it increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?

Be aware that you may not be able to sail a straight line to the mark and what may start off as one sailing angle may change considerably the closer you get to the mark.

Keep an eye on the time; a Fireball will take at least 50 minutes to reach the bridge in a Force 3.


The ‘what if’s’ - Too late

If the tide changes before you reach the turning mark, you’re late but all is not lost – you will not be the only one! Position yourself towards the east (English) shore, working your way up this side and past where you would head out for the mark to gain relief from the tide. Don’t be too eager, stay in the slack tide for as much as possible.


The ‘what if’s’ - Too early

  • If you get to the turning mark more than 20 minutes early then head for tide relief on the west (Welsh) shore – the relief area is larger, you will need it as you will be in it for longer.

If you get to the turning mark within 20 minutes head for tide relief on the east (English) shore as when the tide turns it will be easier to position yourself for the return leg.



The return

  • When the tide floods then position your boat on the same transit from the bridge centre and Avonmouth Docks again staying in the deeper water channel.

When close to Avonmouth and Portbury Docks, be aware of shipping movements out of the Port.


The Finish

  • Make sure the tide does not sweep you past the finish mark! There’s no easy way back if you do! Sail into the bay before mark 4 to give you the best chance of avoiding this calamity.

Seven Bridge Race tatical map


Clevedon Ladies ‘A’ Team 30th in the World!


The rowers of Clevedon Pilot Gig Club are euphoric after their best ever performance at the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly, over the weekend of 29th April to 1st May 2016. This is the sixth time that the club has participated in the Championships; the first was back in 2011 when the club was just established and a hardy group of novices travelled over to the islands on the Matthew. Their first race was actually their first race ever and they came in last. How times have changed! Clevedon is now a highly organised club with a solid training regime and selection process, not to mention an impressive fleet of gigs.


This year, at the 27th annual Championships, with around 3000 rowers in attendance from as far afield as the USA and the Netherlands, Clevedon fielded crews in multiple categories. On the Friday night the veterans’ (over 40s) and super veterans’ (over 50s) raced. Clevedon Ladies raced first coming in 12th out of 23 boats, followed by the men’s veterans and men’s super veterans’ who finished 14th out of 36 and 15th out of 32 respectively.


Day two brought forward a series of open races: Clevedon fielded three men’s and three ladies’ crews all of whom race the same courses. The event began with a long race from St. Agnes back to St. Mary’s. All of the gigs line up on the start line at the same time, and with around 150 gigs it is an impressive sight. When the starting signal goes up, all boats race to the finish line in a riot of colour, oars and shouting coxswains. The results of the race define which group each gig will be placed in for the next rounds with the first twelve forming group A, the next group B and so on.


The next rounds, or heats, take place over a shorter course with twelve gigs racing at a time. In races two and three, the top two gigs go up into the group above, and the bottom two go down a group, meaning that there is still an opportunity to go up the rankings. The final race is held on Sunday afternoon and the result of this race is the crew’s final position. As usual, the Clevedon rowers gave it their all and were delighted to achieve some of the best results ever as the club goes from strength to strength.


The new club record goes to Ladies A who came in 30th, winning their heat to go up to group C with some of the crème de la crème on the gig racing circuit. Ladies B finished 49th, winning their heat and getting the chance to enjoy their success on the podium at the awards ceremony. Ladies C won one of their heats which meant they went up a group, finishing 118th overall. The men’s crews also had some excellent races with Men’s A racing hard all weekend and finishing 50th. Men’s B finished in 76th place having had some great battles along the way, and Men’s C who had a large percentage of novice rowers did fantastically well, finishing 96th.


Overall it was a tremendous weekend for Clevedon and a testament to their dedication and club ethos. Clearly the winter training has paid off, no doubt in part thanks to the new training facility, and the enduring Clevedon spirit. Now that the season is officially underway the club is looking forward to future success over the summer at regattas around the region and hopefully plenty of silverware for the trophy cabinet.





Out of

Ladies Super Veterans



Men’s Veterans



Men’s Super Veterans



Ladies A



Ladies B



Ladies C



Men’s A



Men’s B



Men’s C




Defibrillator Update


Unfortunately the match funding we sought from the Portishead Lions has not been forthcoming. As a consequence your GC has decided to dip into our reserves and make up the shortfall of approx. £600. The other good news is that the Clevedon Pilot Gig Club which is a registered Charity is able to purchase medical equipment without incurring a VAT charge; so they are facilitating its purchase on behalf of the Club. As it is a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) it will be affixed to the outside of the Clubhouse and available to all. It is being supplied by HeartSafe based in the Chew Valley, who will, in due course, be providing a demonstration on its use to those prepared to turnout for their seminar. More news shortly. Once installed we will have an appropriate ribbon cutting ‘ceremony’ to celebrate its arrival.



Sea Rowing Dates Clevedon/Portishead


We have received CPGC’s training programme to the end of September 2016. These dates have also been posted in the Clubhouse. Rowing at Portishead is generally dictated by the launching conditions at Clevedon.


June 2016

Thurs 2nd 1800-2000

Saturday 4th 1700-2000

Monday 6th 1900-2100

Tuesday 7th 1900-2100

Saturday 18th 1700-2000

Sunday 19th 1700-2000

Saturday 25th 0800-1200

July 2016

2nd - potential joint row and sail day

Monday 4th - Thursday 7th - evening rows from 1830

Saturday 9th - 0900-1200

Sunday 10th - 0900-1300

Sunday 17th - 1600-1900

Monday 18th - Thursday 21st - evening rows from 1830

Saturday 23rd - 0800-1200

Sunday 24th 0800-1200

Sunday 31st July 1700-2000

August 2016

Monday 1st - Thursday 4th - evening rows from 1830

Saturday 6th - 0800-1200

Sunday 7th - 0800-1200

Saturday 13th - 1400-1700

Sunday 14th 1400-1700

Monday 15th - Thursday 18th - evening sea rows from 1830

Saturday 20th - 0800-1200

Sunday 21st - 0800-1200

Saturday 27th - 1400-1800

Sunday 28th - 1500-1800

Monday 29th - Wed 31st - evening sea rows from 1830

September 2016

Thursday 1st - evening sea rows from 1830

Saturday 3rd - 0800-1200

Sunday 4th - 0800- 1200

Tuesday 13th - Thursday 15th - evening sea rows from 1830

Saturday 17th - 0800-1200

Sunday 18th - 0800-1200



PYSC Webcam


Many of you will have noticed the CCTV system installed within and outside the Clubhouse. This now includes a webcam located on the balcony facing out across our start line. This view can now be accessed via the Club’s website by clicking on the ‘Weather’ bar on the left of the webpage. You can now make your decision to sail from the comfort of your own home!.

Sugarloaf Bay



Potential Developments


Members local to Portishead may be aware of North Somerset Council’s proposal for a Lake Grounds Management Plan. The Club has suffered in recent years from the problem of green algae on the lake which together with the problem of silt has meant that Cadet sailing has been severely affected. Our alternative locale, the Marina, also has its problems with difficult access down the muddy banks. Our self-elected Property Manager, Charles Murphy, is in dialogue with a number of interested parties, including NSC with a view to developing a Lottery Funding bid to enable the lake to be dredged, whilst also revisiting a previous attempt to have a small slipway installed adjoining Pill Park to facilitate easier launching into the Marina. These projects will inevitably become quite resource intensive; Charles welcomes anyone who wishes to give support or can give advice to the cause, or may have expertise in Lottery Funding bids.



Request for Contributions


Your GC welcomes contributions from the membership for future editions of the Newsletter, so please submit these c/o Steve Gill, at: Anything you think might be useful, newsworthy, or just of interest to members will be welcomed.

(Updated on 06/06/2016)

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