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Sandwell Valley Sailing Blog

Welcome to our sailing blog


Trying to let everyone know what's going on and to have somewhere for your thoughts and ideas about sailing and club activities.


I haven't worked out how to allow you to post on the blog, so just email any contributions and I'll post them.  I think you can add your own comments though.


I think I'm supposed to add pictures sometimes, but I'm too busy sailing to take any!  So if the guys on the bank or in the safety boat could take a few and send them in, I'd be really grateful.

By svsc, Jan 10 2020 12:21AM

"At SVSC we don't take racing seriously", they tell me. And, after hearing of some of the arguments at other clubs, I can see why. One of the pleasures of sailing at SVSC is that most of us would rather loose than win by offending someone else. So why do we need to bother about rules?

Take a look at the basic "Right of Way rules, When Boats Meet":

10 When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.

11 When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

12 When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.

13 While Tacking: After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course. ....

Do you get the idea? You have obligations to other boats. Surely, it's only good manners to know what those obligations are - and at SVSC we're nothing if not well mannered.

But too often we don't fulfill our obligations. No matter, you may think: the other person always forgives us!

Well, the rules have something to say about that:

A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty,

So good sportsmanship requires us to know our obligations and to take the appropriate penalty if we, even inadvertently, break a rule.

Those of us who race, enjoy struggling to handle our boats well and to to understand and utilise the wind. Other boats add obstacles, an extra dimension of interest and provide us with a yardstick against which to judge our success.

The rules ensure we can do it safely and fairly.

By svsc, Jan 10 2019 01:00AM

Last week I was very pessimistic about our PTBO. Less than a dozen bookings and a poor weather forecast. Is it worth the bother? Then as the week progressed, the forecast got worse - wind 2mph, gusting to 3mph! At least it wasn't going to rain.

Saturday morning bright and early I dutifully turned up. Good news: a last minute flurry had doubled the number of visitors and there was enough wind to move the flag. Those gusts could have been a good 5mph! But what really lifted my mood, was the enthusiasm and good humour of the other members. Maybe we were going to sit totally becalmed chatting to our visitors and explaining how much fun sailing is when the wind blows. But we were going to get them in boats and enjoying themselves.

And so it came to pass. The wind did blow (well, huff and puff a little) from time to time and sometimes we were becalmed. But the light winds allowed us to put all the visitors on the helm, bar a 2yr old boy, for whom the best I could achieve was to get him to pull the red rope or the yellow rope. And everyone had a great time. Nobody worried about the boat tipping over, nobody was scared by uncontrolled gybes when they went into their nonchalent pirouettes. We all had time to watch the fluffy little chicks swimming by and the pretty clouds.. They all drove the boat and most wanted to come back and see what it was like when the wind blew a bit more.

Perhaps some of us wind-aholics forget that complete novices can enjoy just getting on the water and discovering boating.

By svsc, Aug 1 2017 09:43PM

Summer is that quiet time, when sailing is very pleasant and relaxing, but hardly exciting. We take the children out and potter around until the icecream van arrives. Well this year the wind seems to have forgotten it's summer. It just keeps blowing - not always straight, of course - but we're not lacking challenge and excitement.

22nd saw 15 boats out and some really close and interesting races. With holidays and other diversions, we may not manage that every week, but it shows what's possible. and how much more fun it gets when more boats are out. The weather seems keen to encourage us, as the long range forecast shows breezy conditions set to continue.

The cyanobacteria (aka blue green algae) is still present, but there have been no reports of problems, even though most of us have continued to sail as usual. The water is currently much less green than it was a few weeks ago, so we hope it is on the wane. With the water fixed, showers are again working and people are advised to use them.

By svsc, May 28 2017 09:04AM

Well, I asked for people to send me photos for the site - expecting pics of boats sailing happily round Swan Pool, merry matelots pulling on sheets and halyards, ODs hoisting flags and hooting hooters, etc. So what do I get? This poor soul off to be first aided. How does this help me portray the fun of sailing at Sandwell? All I can say is, he was having so much fun sailing, that he's still smiling even after being hit on the head with a rudder (don't ask!)

And how does this all come about? We keep on wishing for good winds. Saturday we got them - good, better, even more better and too good for our own good, from the south, the west, south west, west south and directions they haven't even got names for! Not that the wind really matters that much when you spend most of your time swimming. Some of course had more sense than me and pulled their boats off before the second race and Mike cannily forsook his Laser, borrowed the GP and was one of the few to keep their masts out of the water. Well done to them and thanks to Roger, Gill and Sue for their care and assistance to distressed mariners.

Have I learned my lesson? What do you think! See you next week. Lets hope for more good wind, but perhaps not quite so good!

By svsc, May 22 2017 09:02PM

A bit late writing this week, as not much energy left after Saturday (and I guess that applies to some others.) Who'd have thought sitting in a boat for a few hours could be so tiring? Though I guess the painting and cleaning beforehand played some part.

But on the other side of the balance I'm still on a high from the experience - all that effort, enthusiasm and teamwork from so many members trying to make the day a success and all that obvious pleasure and excitement from all the visitors. So I pronounce it a success no matter how many people sign up as a result.

Gordon did give some details at the debrief and i think it sounded good, but I was past being able to take it in. I know one family signed up on the spot and we have enquiries about Start Sailing courses. I'll post more when i get the follow-up info.

Bank holiday weekend next Saturday, so maybe you'll be away. If you come, don't forget your sun-cream, it's supposed to be a scorcher - but with wind!

On a bank holiday? It must be a judgement on you for giving everyone such a fantastic day last Saturday.