Cruising, and Vintage Boats
Many GP14 sailors prefer to relax and cruise with their boats rather than race. There are also a number of members who very proudly own some of the very earliest vintage boats of the class.
In the UK both these groups of members are represented by Oliver Shaw, who oversees and coordinates primarily our cruising activities over the year, and also co-ordinates activities for our vintage fleet.
Oliver can be contacted on email via [email protected] and if you have a cruising activity at your club to which you would like to invite Association attendance he would be pleased to hear from you.
2021 UK Cruising Events
We have now had the announcements that we have all been waiting for. Still nothing is certain, but I am cautiously optimistic that our two planned events for July will be able to go ahead; the balance of probabilities does seem to have shifted in that direction, although the government have made it clear that the easing of restrictions is subject to strict conditions, in the form of their tests being met.
We have already had an encouraging number of expressions of interest for both events, but in the light of the cautiously encouraging announcements (yesterday, as at the date of writing, 23 Feb) I think it now appropriate to ask all who are interested to firm up a little on that, please. For both events, that is.
I do not think it appropriate to ask for any payments at this stage, for either event, and I also realise that many of you may feel it is too early to make a firm commitment. But it would be immensely helpful, please, to now have a clear indication of your intentions, subject of course to events between now and then, and subject in particular to developments on the Covid front.
I have also been invited privately to publicise the cruising programme of a well respected club with an invitation to Association members to join them for events, as soon as the programme is finalised. Watch this space.
Hoping to see you on the water, and keep safe.
UK National Cruising Week 2021
Please note that this is entirely dependent on the Covid-19 situation, but we are planning in hope, and will cancel if further developments force us to do so.
However the Cruising Rep’s personal view is that the social side is just as important as the sailing, and there may also be Covid-related accommodation issues. This is especially a risk if the key tests are not met and therefore the relaxation does not happen as fully or as early as the government hopes. So if we are still in a regime of masks and “social distancing”, and/or if there are accommodation difficulties, we will have a potentially difficult decision whether to cancel. But we hope that by then we may have moved on from those restrictions.
We will be hosted by Restronguet Sailing Club, where Richard Moore, our Cruising Rep’s oldest sailing friend (we go back 52 years), and an erstwhile GP14 sailor who is very well known within the GP14 cruising circle, is one of their Rear Commodores. The location is on the Fal estuary, in West Cornwall, which is a very scenic cruising area, and deservedly popular.
The dates will be the week Wednesday to Wednesday, 21 to 28 July; we are deliberately choosing mid-week travel in order to avoid the potential nightmare of travelling to the West Country on a Saturday in the peak holiday season.
The costings will depend in part on the number of participants, and also on what safety or escort boat cover we choose to use.
- Temporary family membership with dinghy parking is £18 per day or £81 per week.
- Temporary single membership with dinghy parking is £14 per day or £59 per week.
- RIB support would cost us £87 per day (for the fleet, so that figure would be shared between all the boats participating). However if we were to use Richard’s Cornish Shrimper as an escort vessel instead of a RIB the cost would be buttons.
So if we had 5 participating dinghies and used RIB support throughout that would work out at £168 per boat (inclusive of temporary family membership) for 5 sailing days in the week. It would be slightly cheaper for single-handers, and significantly cheaper if we used Richard’s Shrimper rather than a RIB.
That may seem more expensive than some past Cruising Weeks, but it compares very well indeed with the cost of a full week’s racing event.
We have already had several expressions of interest. It would be good to now firm up a little on that, please: no-one is in a position yet to make a firm commitment, and we are not asking for any payment at this stage, but it would be most helpful if those who are intending to participate (subject to the events being able to go ahead) would please now confirm your intentions.
We can supply information on local campsites on request.
Advanced Cruiser Training Weekend – July 16/18 2021
Please note that this too is entirely dependent on the Covid-19 situation, but we are planning in hope, and will cancel if further developments force us to do so.
Following the success of what may have been our first ever Advanced Cruiser Training Course last September, on the non-tidal Graffham Water, we are now planning a tidal version on the intensely tidal waters of the Mersey, hosted by Liverpool Sailing Club.
This will be aimed at those who are already basically competent dinghy sailors, and the intention will be to now equip participants with the specific additional skills for independent cruising. The course involves both shore-based training and time on the water, and will include at least one short day-cruise.
In passing, it will also equip participants for the cruising skills needed for cruising in an organised fleet event, since if you have the skills to cruise independently you can take organised cruising fleet events in your stride.
The date is currently set for a 3-day event from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 July, which will include a downriver cruise to somewhere around the mouth of the estuary on the Sunday. I would hope and expect that we will be able to do it at about the same cost as the 2019 event at Graffham Water (£60), but that has still to be finalised with the club.
Expect the course to be fairly intensive, and to include reefing systems (and much practice in using them), masthead buoyancy, alternative propulsion, communications systems, MOB recovery, tiller brakes (etc.), tide predictions, charts, keeping up the position, passage planning, Colregs (a.k.a. “rule of the road”), use of transits, anchoring, mooring, heaving-to, lee shores, and much else.
Again we have already had several expressions of interest. It would be good to now firm up a little on that, please: no-one is in a position yet to make a firm commitment, and we are not asking for any payment at this stage, but it would be most helpful if those who are intending to participate (subject to the events being able to go ahead) would please now confirm your intentions.
A programme for the course is available from Oliver Shaw on request, and it will also be emailed to all participants.
Possible future events for 2022
In the light of the Covid situation we are not currently planning anything else for 2021, but we are starting to look ahead to 2022.
We are periodically asked about the possibility of running a Cruising Week on inland waters. Partly by way of responding to that, and partly because it would fit in well with my extended family and with the availability back on loan of my erstwhile boat A Capella, I am considering the Norfolk Broads for 2022. Feedback on whether members would be interested would be welcome.
One of our members approached us during 2019 about running a camping and cruising weekend on Llyn Tegid (a.k.a. Bala Lake). We did hope to be able to offer this for that year, but he later advised that his club had a very full programme already for that year but that there could be a possibility for 2020. So we undertook to explore this possibility if there were enough interest expressed by members; but, sadly, despite 12 months publicity on the website and also in Mainsail there was nil response! So we did not therefore pursue this further for 2020, and then we were overtaken by Covid. But we remain open to the possibility for 2022 if enough members express interest.
We also had an offer from a member who lives in North Brittany, between Paimpol and Perros Guirec, and offered to put on a cruising event there if there were enough interest.
He wrote “It’s a marvellous cruising location with many picturesque coastal islands, along with significant tidal variations and currents that need to be taken into account.
“My club organises an extremely relaxed multi-class regatta in a sheltered lagoon at the beginning of August, along with a few cruises with accompanying security. … … I could easily try to organise a 3-day weekend of events including the regatta and throw it open to the GP14 association. After all, there will already be one GP14 taking part!”
Again we asked for expressions of interest, and undertook to explore this possibility if there were enough interest expressed, but here also despite 12 months publicity there was again nil response! So we likewise did not pursue this further for 2020, but we remain open to the possibility for 2022 if enough members express interest.
For a flavour of cruising and vintage events, see the two reports below (at bottom) describing past events.
If you would like to raise any questions in the meantime, or if your club can offer a cruising event for either this year or 2021, please feel free to drop an email to Oliver Shaw or Steve Parry via [email protected].
We are very proud of our historic heritage, including our vintage boats, some of them seriously early and still sailing.
Amongst those, boat no. 2, Pimpernel, the earliest surviving sail number in the world, is now owned by the Association and has recently undergone a major restoration. We are now looking for a permanent home for her, which will preferably allow her to be exhibited, and will also enable her to still be sailed on occasion.
Vintage Boat races:
Two early films from the 1960 of vintage GP14s racing on the river Ouse in York
Top tips for a good weekend
- Check your trailer in plenty of time, particularly tyres and bearings, and also the lighting board; and it is a good idea to carry a spare wheel.
- Make sure the boat is all in good working order (cruisers are a friendly bunch and will be happy to help you with unforeseen problems, but it can be frustrating if the whole expedition is delayed while a boat is rebuilt!)
- Do not forget the paddle, or – better – oars and rowlocks.
- Do not forget the anchor.
- Although not all cruising boats are so equipped, both we and the RYA strongly recommend that you have an effective means of reefing (or alternative means of sail reduction); and both we and the RYA (and the RNLI) also recommend that you carry an effective means of calling for assistance in case of need. Do ask if you need advice or guidance on this.
- Be sure that your competence matches the expectations of the event. Ask for advice in advance if in doubt, (some events will suit a comparative novice, but others may be more demanding).