Reading Offshore

Sailing Club

For all boating enthusiasts
Newsletter February 2018

Commodore's Corner
Although Winter has still not released its chilly grip I note that signs of Spring are starting to appear, with snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils emerging from the ground. In boatyards around the coast there are also signs of Spring as those hardy species in boiler suits and woolly hats are appearing with angle grinder and paint rollers in hand in eager anticipation of the coming season’s sailing. 

No doubt a couple of sunny weekends and launching gangs will be inundated with demands for boats to be launched in time for Easter.  Personally, I’m aiming to be back in the water around the end of this month to avoid the manic rush and ready to enjoy the early summer before winter returns in June.  Well, that’s the plan anyway –  just a small matter of replacing a few seacocks, a couple of coats of antifouling, a few acres of gelcoat to be polished and waxed and then remembering to refill the gearbox with oil and bolt the propeller back on. Oh! And remembering to collect the sails from the sailmaker.  One of these days I might have to follow Margaret’s advice … and make a list.
One way or another it’s a great time of the year for daydreaming about foreign shores and balmy winds and laying the plans for all that sailing.  Whatever your plans I look forward to seeing you at the forthcoming Club events and hearing what you are intending this coming season.
John Haines

Forth coming events
Rally – 24th March 2018

This is the last opportunity for Members to register their interest in joining the group visit to the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham.
Several members may recall the very interesting and informative visit to Solent Coastguard some years ago. The Lee-on-the-Solent base, like so many others, has been closed and replaced by the new NMOC at Fareham.
This Rally should suit all members as it can be attended by those arriving by boat or by car.
We have been very fortunate to reserve a date for a visit to the new centre. Numbers are limited so if you are interested only a few can now be added.
The Centre has a very high level of security and the Names of all attending will need to be submitted together with vehicle registration numbers 14 days before the visit. All attendees will also need to bring photographic ID with them to get through Security on arrival. 

The provisional timetable for the Saturday 24th is as follows:
12:00 Meet at Haslar Marina (or 14:00 at the NMOC).
14:00 Visit to the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham.
17:00 Afternoon tea and snacks aboard Skippers’ Rhapsody in Haslar Marina.
18:30 Dinner at a local restaurant to Haslar Marina.
More details will be sent to those who wish to attend. As the number of visitors to the Centre is restricted, to avoid disappointment, please submit your name/s and e-mail address without delay to:
Ed Davies at

An early reminder for May

ROSC Yarmouth Rally - Weekend of 12th/13th May

We're sure it'll be a fun weekend with an American Supper on Saturday evening
Berths have been booked on Harold Hayles' Pontoon at Yarmouth
Ideal for both Boat Owners and non-Boat Owners
Bernie Bellchambers is organising this Rally - more details to follow

Many thanks,


ROSC presentation.  5th Feb. 2018

An account by Nick Mines - 'An Atlantic Circuit'.

 by John Scottorn
Nick first put up photos of "Hejira" his Southerly 135,showing and describing the boat and its preparation prior to the Atlantic circuit 2015/16  He spent some time describing Hejira, explaining the pros and cons of certain equipment and why he felt those he eventually fitted were best for him.

She is a standard cutter rigged sloop with single line slab reefing, self-tacking staysail and a raised saloon. Southerly yachts are unusual in that they have a swing keel enabling them to ‘take the ground’ or dry out between tides so that her draft is 1 metre with the keel raised, or 3 metres with the keel fully lowered. Since her purchase, she has been substantially re-fitted, repaired and prepared for Ocean passage making. 
One piece of equipment, a hydro generator, nearly met its end when a shark took an interest in it. 
Other than that the boat suffered little damage during the ARC crossing other than frayed lines.
Nicks solution was to sleeve the problem areas of line with Dynema.
Another piece of equipment that Nick said he would be adding for his next long voyage, would be a salt water tap in the galley.

A small water maker was fitted...... yet gave trouble once south of the Canaries. 
"Our analysis suggested that the tiny bubbles that always run along the hull on passage were the root of the problem. In the small quantities normally experienced, the watermaker can deal with their very minor influence as the pressure is overwhelmingly hydraulic. The sea cock that had been installed however, although of good quality bronze with a strainer, was totally inappropriate. When underway, the tiny bubbles collected in the top of the strainer and progressively compounded into a large bubble which was trapped until the yacht heeled."  

Wind Steering Vane.  "One piece of equipment Nick considered yet dismissed, was a Wind Steering Vane. The Southerly's auto pilot coped well however in wind gusts over 30 knots".   However, it would have meant hand steering if that had failed.
 Fans   The addition of 12V sockets in strategic locations to power electric fans has proved to be a real winner. When anchored in the tropics or when the only shore power is American 60Hz precluding the use of the AC, the cooling provided by the fans is a real boon.
 "These centrifugal fans are sturdy, two speed,  compact and will sit on a shelf, out of the way ready to be switched on whenever the need arises."

Three reliable crew, well known to Nick, were invited to join Hejira for the crossing and the preparatory sail from Portsmouth. This would take in The Cape Verdes before reaching the start of the crossing. 
At the end of the crossing, they would meet up with their wives who would fly out to meet them in the Caribbean.
Strong following Trade Winds for most of the Westerly crossing from Las Palmas in the Canaries to Rodney Bay St. Lucia, meant that twin poled out headsails was the norm for the rig. 
 Although Nick found that their was a slight competitive emphasis put upon skippers by the ARC organisation, they chose to sail conservatively and still finished fourth in their class.
Fishing and bread making were activities during the voyage and a moderate sized fish was enjoyed as a fresh meal occasionally, although the majority of food came from a tin.   One very large fish had eagerly taken a lure, which instantly lost much line and tackle. A tin foil crisp packet lure with hook was made up and used instead. 
Nick joked that he carefully monitored the use of fresh water for the crew, allowing then to shower once a week where he showered each day.   
An intake of water was spotted in the bilge early in the crossing and was found to be due to the big swells and 'bottoming out', causing water to pass over the loop from a recently fitted emergency bilge pump. It was decided the easiest remedy to turn off the seacock until it was required in earnest.
Arriving in the Caribbean the boat had been geared for security and  meant that large hatches could be left open due to being fitted with security bars.
A Blog, including the award winning accounts of the Atlantic crossing in November 2015 and BVI to Bermuda in 2016,  was written up daily by  those on board.  see....
A very well prepared presentation, by a skipper I felt I could trust and have confidence in.... although I would encourage him to fit a wind vane! 
Miscellaneous things
Volvo Ocean Race

January 20th  (Reuters) – Vestas 11th Hour Racing withdrew from the fourth leg of the
Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday after a fatal collision with a fishing boat on the approach to Hong Kong.

Organizers said in a statement that a member of the fishing vessel’s crew had died after being taken to hospital by helicopter.None of those on board Vestas were injured, with the team issuing a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other boat to alert the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre.
“The incident occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg Four, outside of Hong Kong waters,” the statement said.
“Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).
“HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.”
Organizers said the U.S./Danish entry had retired from the leg — which started in Melbourne and ended in Hong Kong — with the boat proceeding to Hong Kong unassisted and under its own power.

American Mark Towill, a team co-founder with Charlie Enright, was the skipper for Leg Four. The team won the opening leg of the race in October and had been on course to finish second in Leg Four.
The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race started from Alicante, Spain, on Oct. 22 and covers 45,000 nautical miles (83,000 km) around the world, featuring a total of 12 host ports. It ends in The Hague, Netherlands, at the end of June.
The Committee is always looking for ways of getting members afloat so if you have any ideas of what you would like to do in 2018 involving other members then why don’t you let us know? It may be you already have a wish list but need others to join you to make it happen or perhaps you just fancy sailing in the company of other like minded people either on the same yacht or on a mini flotilla but need some inspiration. Whatever it is - why not share your ideas and see if together we can build a fun event either here in the UK or maybe abroad? For my part I fancy a Greek Flotilla towards the end of the season but whatever it is you fancy why not let me know and see if we can organise something?  
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We have regular meetings the first Monday of the month at the Upper Thames Motor & Yacht Club (UTMYC) in Sonning. If you would like more information on any aspect head to our website or if you would like to discuss any point with a committee member about our sailing club or visiting us on a Monday to say hello, click here to email Linda, our publicity officer, who will be happy to answer any questions.
ROSC was established in 1971and continues with regular meetings. You don't have to own a boat as many rallies are available by land, meals in a local hostillery are arranged with pre-meal drinks often on one of the attending boats.
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