Sunday 27 December 2015

Lydney slip, 0743hrs, ready for the off

Early morning, silly o' clock

And a Lydney tide to catch. Crewing a friend's sailing canoe up through the Noose to Newnham, if all goes to plan.

Forecast looks like it could be, well, entertaining.

Sunday 13 December 2015


Two gigs, an early tide and little wind fading to nothing: opted out of heading down to Portishead this morning to take Calstar out, and racing Buffy at Frampton instead.

Friday 11 December 2015


By which I mean the interval of the set, not the measure of the song.

Going well. If you excuse the point where I utterly lost the words to the first verse of the last song.

That came as something of a surprise. But then, it always does.

A two gig weekend

And sailing on Sunday. Just gotta work out where, with whom, and aboard what.

But first, on in forty minutes. Soundcheck underway. Hello Fishponds, always a fun night at the Lion.

Sunday 6 December 2015


Lilly is a fan of early Sunday morning lie-ins, and reckons if I'm daft enough to get up and go sailing, that's my problem.

Saturday 5 December 2015


Gales forecast for this afternoon. Dad dragged me down to the boat to check the lines, but we're not sailing. Did watch some of the hardier members of Portishead Cruising Club locking out for the afternoon's racing.

Hels is away this weekend and Ben is up north visiting his girlfriend, so even racing Buffy was looking questionable for tomorrow.

However, a quick email sent from the dockside in Portishead and a moment later, Patricia had agreed to crew for me tomorrow.

Love sailing with Patricia. Really looking forward to tomorrow morning.

Photo is a gratuitous shot of me and Jack. No other relevance to this post at all.

Tuesday 1 December 2015


So November seems to have been my quietest month in a while, at least according to the volume of posts up here. Four is an embarrassing low, or would be if I were counting. You'd think nothing had happened in a whole month.

Not quite so, I've just been lazy with my keyboard. Over the last few weeks or so I've had a couple of gigs and been frustrated by the weather forecast and "reduced" to racing Buffy instead of taking Calstar out on a last trip to Cardiff with Dad before the cold properly sets in.

Frustrated is too harsh a condemnation. It was great sailing the Enterprise, I took the opportunity to introduce a potential new member to Frampton and I have a pile of photos taken from the Safety Boat that I've still got to sort through; at first glance some of them seemed quite pretty, with blue sails set against the red, autumnal hues of the tree-shrouded banks of the lake.

It's probably the fact I've not put the necessary couple of hours into sorting through the photos that has led me to being so unusually quiet on this site. Last time such an apparent hiatus happened was after I'd loaded myself up with 600 snaps to sort through from the Watchet trip a couple of months back.

The Sunday of the weekend following the blow-out that consigned me to the lake instead of the Bristol Channel, Dad and I set our sights on a late afternoon out and return with the tide up to the Bridge and invited my friend Hels and her mate and neighbour Maisie out with us. Hels has been mentioned here a number of times before. She co-owns Buffy with me and is my usual crew and co-conspirator when I race the dinghy, although we've not sailed together nearly so much since Calstar came onto the scene; a whole year ago now, would you believe?

Hels has never been on a sailing boat bigger than Buffy (all humble, tippy 14' of her), and the forecast for the weekend concerned seemed perfect to introduce her to the yacht, with blue skies, sunshine and no more than a northing F4 set broad across the width of the estuary. Unfortunately, having made our way all the way down to Portishead, arriving a little more than an hour ahead of our booked lock time, Dad and I were walking down the long pontoon to the boat when I casually asked "You did bring your keys with you, didn't you?"

He somewhat less less casually replied, "No, you've got yours? Haven't you?"

Not able to get into the cabin, we couldn't start the engine, so had no way of leaving the marina and locking out. Instead, we compensated with coffee and cakes from the coffee shop by the marina and sat in the Calstar's cockpit, yours truly shouldering the whole of the blame and attendant mockery for the fiasco. My shoulder are broad, and yes, Dad does have his own keys, but yes, when we sail together I do all the planning and organising and Dad's main responsibility is to bring the tea and bacon.

To be fair, the girls took the disappointment very gracefully. Even without the sailing, Portishead is a nice day out. And at least it didn't rain.

We've promised we'll try again on the first convenient tide in December. With daylight closing down with the approach of winter, convenient tides are becoming few and far between. Looking at the forecast for the week ahead, I'd offer three guesses for which day the said best tide will fall:

But I don't think we'd need three guesses. The weather gods mock me this autumn.

I will sail, one way or another, this weekend. If we don't manage to get Calstar out on Saturday, then I shall race Buffy at the lake on Sunday. But I really want to sail Calstar. It's just over a year since we bought her, but it's got to be more than six weeks since we last sailed her. I'll not anthropomorphize her with sentiment of her own by suggesting she actually minds the neglect, but her own sentiment aside, I don't think I'm emotionally set up for being metaphorically tethered the pontoon for such an extended stretch of time.

I suspect I've been quite spoilt by all my years of dinghy sailing. We may not have the freedom to go far or for long, but we are used to having the opportunity to go out a lot. It's a bit like the band, if I'm forced to go too long between gigs, I start to feel very, very twitchy.

I'm not really complaining. And there is still a long way to the weekend. Much can change between now and then.