Recent Events

Canoe Adventure on the River Wey for Beginners 29th July 2017

posted 29 Jul 2017, 10:57 by Honorary Secretary

Eleven paddlers, two walkers and one dog attended an adventure on the River Wey, particularly designed for our 2017 canoe trainees. We paddled 2.7 miles upstream from Guildford to the Parrot Inn in Shalford, had lunch, and then paddled 2.7 miles back with the stream underneath us.

In addition to working on their paddling skills, the trainees had to learn how to 'portage' through the locks.

However, team leader, Kathy softened on the way back, and made Steve get out and let them through the final lock at Guildford. They seemed to prefer this method.

Yu and her Mum stoically carried Steve's kayak through the lock, for which he was very grateful!

Chichester Harbour Adventure 1st July 2017

posted 2 Jul 2017, 11:44 by Honorary Secretary   [ updated 4 Jul 2017, 09:41 ]

The Canoe Section follow their leader (Kathy) across the main channel from Itchenor

Creek crawling in Bosham Hoe
Arrival at Bosham was carefully timed to coincide with 'happy hour' at the Sailing Club (in the background)

Happy hour at Bosham Sailing Club

Our adventures are not just exciting, they are educational too: Kathy gives us a talk on Bosham history

The canoe section re-enacts the famous historical moment when King Canute tried to stop the tide at Bosham
Although the section failed to stop the tide, we were just in time to buy some ice creams.

We had to battle a force 5 headwind and some quite big waves leaving Bosham...

....but we found calmer waters on the other side of the river.

Our adventure ended with a sit down meal at the 'The Ship Inn' in Itchenor.

Photo credits: Steve Collins, Rehanna Neky, Bernie Tonge









Lechlade to Oxford Adventure 20-21 June 2017

posted 22 Jun 2017, 10:14 by Honorary Secretary   [ updated 29 Jun 2017, 05:08 ]

[Tues 20th June launching at St John's Lock, Lechlade]                        [Glorious paddling conditions]
Travel time of over two hours to the higher reaches of the Thames renders a day adventure impracticable, so the idea of a two-day trip was born. However accommodation next to the Thames is scarce and the laws of supply and demand mean that riverside hostelries specify expensive two day stays at weekends. So a midweek trip was planned. The put in at ‘St Johns Lock, just downstream from Lechlade was not as straight forward as it looked, the concrete slipway was very steep and resulted in one damp and one very wet paddler.
Once underway the scenery was lovely, the river is perhaps 15 to 20 feet wide and very rural. All the locks are manual, so ‘someone’ had to jump out of their boat at each lock, open the sluices to fill the lock (we were going downhill) and then manhandle the gates.  At one point a terrible roaring heralded an appearance by a USAAF Stealth Bomber, an amazing sight, although in this context it seemed anything but ‘stealthy’. The going was fairly slow for the first 6 miles, possibly because the river course is very twisty and paddlers were constantly adjusting their course

Having negotiated two locks we noticed a sign at Radcot Lock offering a ‘Canoe Pass’. Steve bravely disappeared down it and some anxious moments later the rest of the group followed. It was as good as flume ride at a theme park and we vote that all locks should have one! Shortly after this we spotted a good exit point and make a late lunch stop. At this point at 16:00 hours we had covered just 6.5 miles of the sixteen miles planned for the day and we had some concerns about what time we would arrive at Newbridge - more specifically, whether the pub would still be serving food! 

[Kathy emerging form the flume ride by-pass round the lock]                [Kathy and Jon rejoining the river after lunch stop

The following 9.5 miles were taken at a much faster pace, through lovely countryside, pretty locks and historic bridges. The group arrived at Newbridge very tired but proud of their efforts at 19:30 hours

[Paddling under the Tadpole Bridge]                                                            [Bernie at New Bridge]

Shenaz, Jon's wife was waiting for us at Newbridge with a car, and she took Kathy and Jon back to the start point to collect the support vehicles and canoe trailer. Unfortunately they got lost on the way when Jon’s GPS phone gave up, but we all settled down a well earned meal and a few drinks when they eventually go back (fortunately the pub was serving meals until late).

 

[Boats lined up on the bank at the 'Rose Revived'

I'd like to report that we all slept well -  but that's another story (it may be a few weeks before Barbara feels able to relate the story of her night in the shepherd’s hut).

[Barbara sees her Shepherd's Hut for the first time]                       

The paddlers bid a fond farewell to Shenaz and set off on what was to be the hottest day since 1976. It was, though, definitely a few degrees cooler on the river, which we noticed particularly when we had to walk half a mile to the pub at lunch time. The Talbot pub was at Eynsham, where we crossed the toll bridge, unbelievably there are two full time employees collecting, in cash, the 5p per car toll.

Wed 21st June Launching after a night at 'The Rose Revived'                [Waiting for the lock keeper (Steve) to open the sluices]

Lunch partaken, the final leg of the journey took the group past the sites of Roman Fords and more recent ferries, ruined abbeys and historic pubs. Suddenly, after Godstow lock, the river broadened and became shallow, with the famous Port Meadow, flood plain to the north, a massive flock of geese were chased into the river and created a cacaphony of honking to herald our arrival at the cunningly hidden Perch Inn.

[End of the rural idyll,  pladdling under the A34 Bridge]                        [Emerging onto the Oxford flood plain]

 [A cacophony of honking]                                                                            [The Swans were more serene]

Kathy and Jim set off back to Newbridge to collect the car and trailer, while the rest of the group carried the kayaks through from the riverside to the car park and then established a base in the garden for what turned out to be an excellent meal and refreshments (apart from an unwise choice of  craft’ beer by Bernie for Lee). 

 It was an epic trip (28 miles in two days) and our best adventure yet! Next year, we will have to do Godstow Lock to Wallingford via Abingdon on the next leg of our journey down the entire length of the  non-tidal Thames from Cricklade to Kingston. 

Trip report by Kathy Collins

Arrving at the 'Perch' and (later) refreshed after a couple of lagers and supper L-R Barbara, Steve, Jon, Kathy, Jim, Bernie and Leigh

Solo and Enterprise Open Meeting on 7th May 2017

posted 9 May 2017, 06:29 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 19 May 2017, 05:15 ]

A northerly is a rare pleasure at Minima, sitting as the Club does on a north-south reach of the Thames at Kingston, plagued by the prevailing south-westerlies, but to have this excellent wind for two days in a row was a real treat, particularly as on May 6th and 7th we had the good luck to be hosting boats from no fewer than 12 other clubs for two days of competition in near-perfect conditions for river sailing.

On Saturday it was Minima’s turn to host the Firkin Trophy, the longstanding team race against Twickenham sailed in Solos and Enterprises. The straight-up-and-down breeze, getting towards force 4 at times, should have eliminated any local advantage, but Minima dealt with their old rivals quite ruthlessly, winning 6 – 0



The trophy is a thing of beauty, a miniature half barrel carved with the date 1938, under a silver sail. But the real prize, enjoyed by winners and losers alike, is a real firkin of London Pride, donated by Fullers in what must be one of the oldest and most excellent sports sponsorships.

Photo (right): Minima’s Commodore John Forbes, Sailing Secretary Robin Broomfield (with the trophy)  and Hon Sec Steve Collins raise a glass to Fullers, providers of the real Firkin.


Photo (above): Enterprise line up before the start of the Firkin Trophy on Saturday

Minima’s victory was not to be repeated on Sunday, when representatives of the other 11 clubs turned up for the local legs of the Enterprise Thames Valley Bowl and the Solo Thames Valley series.

In the Enterprises the old guard reigned unchallenged, with David Beaney winning in straight sets as it were, with three firsts, only headed for the first couple of laps of the first race while he got the hang of the course and conditions. The usual suspects battled it out for the other podium places, with Steve Collins taking second, Phil Chambers third and Lensbury’s Chris Rowsell fourth.

There were ten Ents, and 13 Solos, nearly twice the numbers that turned up the last time the circus came to Minima, and credit is due to Deborah Bishop and her team in the race box, who never missed a beat.

The Solos travelled in a fleet stretching boom to boom across the river at times as the back markers caught up on the run, presenting the Ents with an intimidating cloud of sails to pick their way through on the beat. The Solo results were extremely close. Simon Derham had the thin end of the luck, losing to overall winner Andrew Boyce by two seconds in the second race, and then falling back to third after Paul Playle pipped him by four seconds in the final race. Andrew Wilson from Maidenhead was fourth,

With a straightforward wind the places in both classes went to those closest to perfection in boat handling, with slick mark rounding and well-timed gybes paying off (this the opinion of one signally lacking these skills), particularly in the final two races, when the distance between marks was shortened as the wind slackened.

Results (full listing at http://www.minimayc.co.uk/enterprise-open-2017 and http://www.minimayc.co.uk/solo-open-2017).

Firkin Trophy: Minima YC. Enterprise Open: 1 David Beaney and Sarah Hirst-Malin (Wembley), 2 Steve and Kathy Collins (Minima), 3 Phil Chambers and Alexandra Parker (Hampton). Solo Open: 1 Andrew Boyce (Papercourt), 2 Paul Playle (Island Barn), 3 Simon Derham (Littleton).


Canoe Adventure Reading to Henley

posted 30 Apr 2017, 04:50 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 30 Apr 2017, 04:51 ]

The put in at the Tesco car park in Reading was not very attractive but very convenient for the river for the Canoe Section's adventure on 29th April 2017. We then had a very pleasant paddle downstream. stopping at the Shiplake Lock glamping site for lunch, paddling past Henley Sailing Club (which is actually in Wargrave) then taking out in the The Eyot Centre in Henley itself.


















A stunning day on the river

posted 10 Apr 2017, 03:09 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 10 Apr 2017, 03:35 ]

It was a stunning day on the river on Sunday 9th April 

. The kayakers went on a paddle to Teddington Lock, while the sailors stayed on the Kingston Reach 
(their masts are too tall to go under the bridge). 

Last Canoe Adventure in 2016

posted 23 Nov 2016, 12:20 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 23 Nov 2016, 12:21 ]

Minima Yacht Club Canoe Section went on their last adventure of the year on the 19th November. Twelves Kayaks were loaded onto the Club trailer and roof racks and taken to Laleham where we put into the river.

We paused for a photo opportunity under Chertsey Bridge......

L-R Gareth, Rob, Barbara, Morgan, Steve, Jon, Judy, Hugh, Bernie, Lee. Not in photo: Jim (Photographer) Kathy (Support Driver)

Kathy was waiting for us at the Weir Pub, near Sunbury Lock and directed the lift out operations!



Minima Regatta Report 2016

posted 10 Sep 2016, 10:11 by Domain Admin   [ updated 10 Sep 2016, 10:48 ]

Minima Yacht Club’s regatta stepped up the pressure for 2016 with five races over the first weekend in September instead of the traditional three.

Apart from a certain amount of muscular strain and pain felt by some of the less athletic competitors the result was generally acclaimed as providing nearly twice as much racing while still leaving time for a cracking party on Saturday night and an excellent lunch on Sunday.


Minima’s 2016 regatta got underway with a good breeze and sunny weather, on the last Saturday of the summer holidays

The new format allows for two discards (to minimise the disadvantage for visitors who can only make the three Sunday races) and that in turn meant that in most classes competition, particularly for the second and third places continued right to the final race.

An unexpected bonus  was that you could meaningfully compete against yourself: in the handicap class Jim Houston in a Laser Radial on Sunday narrowly pipped by one point Jim Houston sailing with wife Judy in a club Topaz Argo on Saturday. Not sure how you would resolve a draw in this situation.

A clearer benefit was that we had three races in a half-decent wind on Saturday and Sunday morning – after which the blustery south-westerly which is always problematic on the north-south reach of the Thames at Kingston (and which capsized four out of 15 boats out on Saturday) died to a westerly with as many holes as puffs by Sunday afternoon.


Ed Mayley in his Topper leads the handicap fleet on the way to his fourth victory, as the Thames Raters come through the start line completing their first lap

In line with recent turnouts there were 22 boats on the water in the regatta, which is sponsored by TWM solicitors. Their generosity allowed Minima to keep the tickets affordable for the Saturday night party and provided bottles of bubbly for each winning helm and crew.

Enterprises and Handicap were the largest classes, with three Lasers sailing in the Handicap fleet nearly justifying their own competition.

Result of the day was Ed Mayley’s victory in the handicap class in his Topper, the only competitor to notch all five firsts. At 17 his name will join his grandfather David Mayley’s on the trophy which Mayley senior won several times in a visiting Mirror, back in the day.

In the Ents Steve and Kathy Collins, making a guest appearance in Brian Cheetham’s borrowed boat, showed they had not lost their touch. They took three straight wins, despite having taken time out of Ents, first for a spell in Wayfarers and most recently cruising, flying back from a trip to France and the Channel Islands to join the festivities.


Turks’ passengers get a grandstand view of a combined Enterprise and Solo start

Twickenham’s Nick Titley also took three firsts and the Solo class honours in Saturday and Sunday morning’s stronger breeze, but as the wind dropped so did his position, with Minima’s Rob Brooks taking second place after winning the last two races, local knowledge perhaps coming to the fore.

In the Merlins all was to play for right up to the fifth race, partly due to a course misunderstanding earlier in the day, but three of the four helms competing won races, before Denis Lockwood and Erica Bishop took the honours.


Jim and Judy Houston having fun in an Argo – little knowing that Jim was destined to beat them himself, in his Laser

A most welcome sight after a couple of years’ absence on other business were the 40 foot carbon fibre masts of the Raters Vagabond and Strait Dealer, coming down from Thames Sailing Club to join the fray on Sunday morning. The two were inseperable, never more than a few yards apart as they sliced through the fleet, pointing, as Raters do, outrageousy high. For them Sunday was a three-race match: a draw was impossible: Dicken Maclean in Strait Dealer won the first, but in the lighter airs Thames Commodore Miles Palmer helming Vagabond took the last two and the Rater Salver, to take its place in the cabinet alongside the 2016 Queen’s Cup.

The Saturday night barbecue has been elegantly entertained, it seems like forever, by Graham Wiseman’s traditional jazz band. Graham died just a few weeks before what would have been his 25th appearance, and we drank a toast to his memory. Friend Gerry Ingram led this year’s quartet at short notice. Thanks to Graham that trad jazz sound on the Minima balcony at summer’s end is as much a part of the club’s heritage as any of the old photos or ancient trophies.


Commodore John Forbes retired after righting his Enterprise with crew Andy Cuckson, at extreme left is the upturned stern of John Wilkey’s Solo, upended by the same gust, at right Twickenham’s Ed Skinner was unscathed, sheltered by the trees

Results (MYC unless stated): Enterprise: 1 Steve Collins, Kathy Collins; 2 Alex Cane, David Cane; 3 Robin Broomfield, Paul Bloomfield. Handicap: 1 Ed Mayley (Topper), 2 James Hamilton (Laser, Tamesis Club), 3 Keith Payne (Laser). Merlin Rocket: 1 Denis Lockwood, Erica Bishop; 2 Ben Marshall Sel Shah; 3 Paul Seamen, Eileen Barry. Solo: 1 Nick Titley (Twickenham YC), 2 Rob Brooks, 3 Andy Banks. Thames Rater: 1 Miles Palmer, Nick Fribbins, Kevin Pearson. 2 Dicken Maclean, Cleo, Sue.

Bake off and Tea on the Thames, June 2016

posted 29 Jun 2016, 09:06 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 29 Jun 2016, 09:07 ]

Minima’s first ever Bake-off on Sunday 12th June 2016 was a great success and a fitting prelude to the Annual Tea on the Thames in aid of Sail4Cancer which this year coincided with the Queen’s official 90th Birthday.  There were 11 entries for the Bake-off, of a very high standard, drawn from all sections of the club (sailing, paddling, social).

The challenge, obviously, was to bake a cake ‘Fit for a Queen’, and all the entries certainly were.




First prize went to Adi Holmes with a Chocolate and Guinness cake with mascarpone frosting.  Every slice looked like a freshly poured pint of Guinness with its frothy top, and melted in your mouth in a surprisingly mellow way.


Second prize went to Denise Norman with her High Treason Death by Chocolate Tower: four layers of rich chocolate sponge, ganache and buttercream, topped off with maltesers and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  The groans of delight as tasters (and later on tea takers) took their slices were a joy to hear.


Third prize went to Michelle Banks for the perfect Victoria sandwich, with a classic jam filling and "precision" swirly buttercream topping.


The "winner's whisk" award for the cake that didn’t score highly enough overall but which looked perfect for the occasion went to Steph Morgan, with a salted caramel crown cake decorated with union flag bunting and 90 years butterflies.

The main judge was our very own Delia, Delia Curtis, a local Mum and prize winning baker.  She was ably assisted by Teddy Curtis and Daniel Fletcher (both aged 11), two Sea Scouts who really understood the work the charity is doing and have experienced first-hand all the benefits of getting out on the river.  They are also champion cake tasters.  James Curtis (aged 6 and still a Beaver but allowed on the river for kayaking) was on hand to give his own valuable opinions.  (Anne Gulland's never-fail fudgy chocolate cake nearly didn’t make it upstairs once James had started on it and gone back for seconds!).  Following the judging, slices of cake were offered for sale, in aid of Sail4Cancer, attracting plenty of passers-by on the towpath.

 

The afternoon teas commemorating the Queen’s 90th Birthday were well supported by members and the public, with the help of an occasional shower of rain.  The spread on offer and the room decoration were stunningly attractive.  With donations, the total raised for Sail4Cancer was £500.  Many thanks to Steph and Bob Morgan for organizing a most enjoyable and successful event.

 

MYC on Tour - Cricklade to Lechlade (St John's Lock)

posted 25 May 2016, 01:32 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 25 May 2016, 01:55 ]

The weather gods and forecasters were not in tune with the MYC Paddlers’ plans for the weekend of 21/22 May 2016, the forecast for Saturday was truly vile so plan B was implemented.

 The main party rendezvoused at Lechlade, lunched and bravely set out on a circular walk, which revealed an individual and quirky Cotswold village. The group manfully opted for the extension to the ‘abandoned’ church of St John the Baptist, which was well worth the effort. Returning to Lechlade via a figure of eight route, some of the party were lost, when the scent of the pub drew them back over the bridge, whilst others manfully completed the walk and discovered an alternative finish point at St Johns Lock and the Trout Inn.

 Saturday evening and night were spent in ‘The Lydiard Beefeater and Premier Inn at Swindon where we received excellent service and spent a comfortable night.

Sunday morning saw the group successfully meet up with three more paddlers at Cricklade, the navigable head of the Thames for unpowered craft. The mighty Thames is a mere five metres wide at this point.  

As the paddlers took to the river one by one the nature of the river became immediately apparent. At Kingston we occasionally get a strong stream, but nothing like this. Paddlers hung on to overhanging branches and began to appreciate how to spot quiet areas where there were back eddies.



 The group had not gone far when the first obstacles in the form of fallen trees and branches appeared, there were many more. In some cases an advanced guard found routes through and advised and helped the subsequent paddlers; at other points, the way through was not totally blocked but fast flowing, beware of not getting the right line first time or you ended up sideways on to the obstacle.

 It was hard and challenging work but the sense of achievement was great.

 By the time we all arrived at the Second Chance campsite at mid-day we had only covered 3.9 miles and two of the team had been swimming. Spirits revived by lunch and use of facilities at the apparently deserted campsite the team set off again, optimistically predicting that the river was wider now and unlikely to be blocked again. WRONG! Paddling under the Hannington road bridge a passer-by judged us to be about two miles from Lechlade; another capsize, this time in dreadful slow motion and a freshly fallen willow proved to be the final throws of the adventure dice and, once recovered and negotiated, the remaining miles were smooth and scenic.

Our support driver greeted us enthusiastically at Lechlade and the team were all game to go the extra mile to the first lock on the Thames at St. Johns, where the friendly lock keeper insisted that we go through the lock (curiously clean and free from slime) and extract into the camping field at The Trout.

 Eleven miles, seven hours and a lot of energy expended.

 Our accompanying driver, who had walked ten miles while we paddled, ferried the other car drivers back to Cricklade, whilst the rest of the group checked out the pub (good beer but no food until 19:00, well we were “out in the sticks”). So once the trailer was loaded the team returned to Kingston. Supper was partaken at the GBK with a sense of achievement and not a little relief.


 Reflections from the group included:

“Suddenly finding myself upended in the water, the speed with which it happened with very little recollection of how, ….. The total dependency on your companions without which would have been in an irretrievable situation. A strong bonding experience with the group.”     

 “A fun get away and a great adventure. … I went to bed last night feeling that I was still rocking in my kayak!”

 “When the flow is strong you have to be assertive in your paddling. If you need to hang on to something, find a place along the side where the water is quieter. Otherwise the flow tugs at your boat. I found it would tug at the back end and if I had let go, the boat would have gone sideways. Avoid the overhanging trees along the side. Unless of course it is the only way to go through. Then be sure to line up your kayak so you get through going straight. Otherwise the flow tugs at your boat and you can end up sideways on.” 

 “A great experience of 'team spirit ' in action, great company and good laughs.......what more could you ask for?”

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