It has been great to see the attendance high and keeping high, even over the Easter weekend, and also to see different boats on each occasion, some of whom are new to LTSC Meets.
Bucklers Hard was another good gathering, although as far as I was concerned not entirely incident free.
I naturally decided to keep somewhat to starboard going in to leave plenty of room for the turn to port, but somewhat over-did it.
Tuska€™s resident professional skipper later told me that this is the fourth time something similar has happened to them in recent times whilst berthed and involving an insurance claim! Chichester two weeks later was a much less stressful and a more pastoral affair for Selene and myself. I did not make the Poole Meet, Selene being out of the water to have her annual anti-foul, sail-drive service, and scrub up.
The recent Open Day, and otherwise, seem to have provided us with a very good new intake of members specifically interested in sailing on yachts rather than dinghies, and in a couple of instances who own nice cruising yachts.
One thing that does concern me is finding ways to get those who do not own boats sailing with those of us who do, and thus into the swing of things. It is not so bad for those who are free to sail on Wednesdays and can Meander, and this does provide some sort of a way in for new members. One thing we could do, although not because of all the other meets until the autumn, would be to restart the Saturday Saunterers in something like its original form. So we should perhaps try again in the autumn, but with proper pre-announced destinations and the draw of a decent lunch.
A closely related matter is that several of those who have joined recently have sailing experience but some time ago, or on dinghies rather than yachts, and have said things like their a€?knots are a bit rustya€? (hint - try not using wire rope?) At least one took the very sensible step of taking an RYA Competent Crew course before actually coming along to join the club.
Something we could do, which would also get people meeting each other, is to book the pontoon one Saturday, get two or three yachts alongside, and so some revision of basics like knots, how to make up lines on a cleat, springing off, etc. Keith Willis, our Rear Commodore Sailing, with a couple of other dinghies, is intending to sail an Osprey to Alderney this summer, something that is well documented as a tradition in the club years ago.
As everybody knows, Mike Kelly is our admirable Admiral as far as the LTSC Annual Cruise goes, and year after year he works very hard at researching the itinerary, making berth bookings etc etc. He usually goes on the cruise on Graham Swetmana€™s boat, so it was interesting when I caught him during one cruise looking severely at Graham and pointing and I captioned it. I think I converted the photo to B&W with an intent to use it in the then printed a€?Cruising Newslettera€?. So a very nice weekend.A  The facilities at Chichester are excellent, and the marina is well run with a smooth running system on VHF where you book in when wanting to leave and then get called in groups of 3 or 4 when it is your turn for the lock. Keith Willis, our Rear Commodore Sailing, with a couple of other dinghies, is intending to sail an Osprey to Alderney this summer, something that is well documented as a tradition in the club years ago.A  Duncan Wright is intending to take his RIB across with them, as I believe is Dave Gorringe.
It has so much magic that Ia€™m thinking it might even be the answer to that rather vexing twin fin issue of wanting the crazy loose feeling but not wanting to have to be so careful about spinning it out or even have to put a couple more boxes in there to quad the thing. My basic steps are to draw out the new template, cut it with a jig saw, draw the center line onto the edge then rough out the shape with a file. And herea€™s another one for all us compulsives with Obsessive Compulsive Rigging Disorder and a little time to spare.
The paint was chipping off mine and even if it hasna€™t yet on yours, it wona€™t be long so no worries about that. A A A  I had already been running my lines just a couple inches apart to make for finer sheeting sensitivity and line placement.A  And Ia€™ve been using roller hooks since Reactor brought them to market as they also promote sheeting sensitivity and go easier on the lines. A A A  And it might also be worth mentioning the line placements may well be a little asymmetrical. A A A  For those that may be concerned that the single point loading might be hard on the boom, I wondered about that a little too.
I'm with a pack of American cyclists in the heart of northern Italy's wine country, struggling up and soaring down the formidable hills that are everywhere pinstriped with vineyards.
Suddenly I feel like a time traveler, catapulted back to the Old World, when powdered stag horns served as medicine and astronomy was a noble science. A few days after Easter, we're heading north towards a rolling mountain range known as the Langhe. Having brought dozens of American tourists to the Cantina del Conte, Claudio is now counted as a friend of its proprietor, Luigi Pelissero, who is on his knees weeding the vineyard with his granddaughter as we drive up. As we file downstairs to the cantina, situated beneath heavy oak rafters that date back 500 years, I reflect how Grinzane Cavour is one of those towns that embodies Piedmontese wine culture. Upstairs, as Pelissero fastens the paperwork necessary for transport of wine over the corks, I ask him about the old bottles of Barolo displayed on a shelf. What a fine family tradition, I think, wondering how my life would have been different had my parents reared me with quality Barolo. On the drive home, I ask Claudio what it's like to grow up in a culture where wine is such an integral part of life. Claudio started learning more about wine from his uncle, who owned a family-style restaurant and took the young boy to purchase wine from the cantine sociali, places where small producers pool their grapes to make wine collectively. Patricia Thomson is a regular contributor to PASTA and is president of La Dolce Vita Wine Tours. What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.
I have not been that far up Southampton Water before, but you cannot get lost - carry on until you have just passed the big silver dome that houses the incinerator and the view ahead is full of cranes, containers, and container ships, and you have reached Marchwood YC whose pontoons will be on your left.
The food was good and they had, perhaps appropriately for the 1950s architecture, a beer on tap that seemed to be something that has disappeared from the pubs down here.
We brought up temporarily on the C pontoon hammerhead whilst Peter Bennett went ashore to get a berth allocation from the HM - they do not operate on VHF and we could get no signal on our mobile phones. All was OK as I started in, taking account of the cross-tide, but just as I had fully turned into the fairway there was a sudden very heavy gust. Mike Knowles has been working valiantly on lists of those who want to find yachts to sail on, and of skippers willing to take new crew.


However quite a few of the newer people are younger and work, so cannot sail and make their initial contact with skippers on a Wednesday. In recent years it declined to a very pale imitation of the Meanderers, with a meeting in the Solent Room one Saturday every month.
Ideally I think it should be run by a newer member and one of those who are working mid-week since this would provide some a€?creative tensiona€? with the Meanderers. And if there were sufficient interest we could have a yacht or two doing a€?trips round the baya€? meantime to get crew introduced to skippers, etc. This for those of a historical disposition later got renamed TellTales whilst remaining still purely a Cruising Newsletter under that title, until eventually we, the cruisers, agreed to let the rest of the club also put other stuff in it because the general LTSC Newsletter a€?Mainsheeta€? had become essentially defunct. Selene is due to go back in the water tomorrow, sans radar pole, after being anti-fouled etc. I have not been that far up Southampton Water before, but you cannot get lost - carry on until you have just passed the big silver dome that houses the incinerator and the view ahead is full of cranes, containers, and container ships, and you have reached Marchwood YC whose pontoons will be on your left.A  The very hospitable club is housed in what is left of the old military port with a classic taste of MoD guard-house architecture. So what about some yachts going across with them - for one thing this could provide some berths for the evening for the dinghy guys, for another would be much in the a€?one-cluba€? spirit, and we could probably have quite a good evening, either in Braye or up the hill in St Anne, once we are there.
A And no wearing yourself out fighting a rig that you don't even realize is out of balance. A These experiences convinced me the only two prerequisites for getting on them are an open mind and a reasonably modern sail thata€™s rigged to be at all draft stable. A Variables like the current's relationship to the wind, sailing stance and degree of reach seem to have a noticeable effect. As we pedal past acres of Cortese grapes which produce the white wine called Gavi di Gavi, our Piedmontese guide, Claudio Bisio, continues his impromptu lecture. Being a modern-day American, I'm used to discussions about winemaking revolving about soil analysis, fermentation technology, phenolics, and oxidation. Rather than being dominated by technology and terminology, it's homey and familiar - the result of growing up with a vineyard in your backyard alongside the vegetable garden, and having a wine glass at your plate by the time you're age five, feet barely brushing the floor. This is Big Wine country - land of bright and sassy Dolcetto, rustic Barbera, and imperial Barolo. What's more, as the Italian wine industry has professionalized over the past few decades, producers have had little trouble selling their more profitable bottled product.
Not only this 15th century house and its occupant, who carries on the tradition of his grandfather, the Count, and generations of nameless vinters before him. He closes his collar, afraid of catching cold, then proceeds to fill our demijohns, sucking the end of a long plastic tube like someone siphoning gas from a car. On the other hand, I can't imagine any normal, red-blooded American teenager wanting to spend their birthday with their parents. Not surprisingly, some of his earliest memories revolve around the family vineyard his father and uncles tended. At that time, family restaurants generally sold only house wine bought in bulk directly from producers and served in unlabeled bottles, which one ordered by grape type.
Claudio is carrying a bottle of Barbera from last year's session which he plans to taste for the first time.
What a splendid start to the season, a Meet every fortnight and glorious weather more or less throughout. I did not like the berth allocated, A10, which was narrow and going to be hard to turn into with the wind, which at that point had freshened to about F5, blowing straight up Selenea€™s stern as we approached up what little fairway there is between A and B. Selenea€™s T-keel conveys rather little lateral resistance unless she has a bit of way on, and I was slewed and blown onto the protruding anchor platform of a 19 metre LOA Grand Banks MV (ironically called Tusk) berthed on the B pontoon hammer-head. In my case when leaving one sounder display showed minus 0.3 metres for a couple of moments (I have two displays with different offsets!), but we escaped nonetheless. However he reports the obvious - skippers are conservative creatures, and like taking their established crews! Memories of my time as an RAF cadet marching into various airfields in the 1950s came flooding back, see the picture below. But locked in with only a short free flow period, and 7 miles from the sea, would not be to my taste as a permanent base. A Much more than a half an inch off and you are gonna know it by the steady pull from the direction you need to shift the line toward.A  I suppose a draft stable sail is a bit of a prerequisite and I do love the Robechaud battens in my Northwaves. A Thank Kiting since the Mono would seem to be trickle down from what they designed for kite bars before they switched to center lines. This 39-year-old Italian who grew up trampling grapes underfoot has proven to be an informative wine guide, so we listen attentively.
We may know more about wines from different parts of the globe than the average Italian (who retains a fervent regionalism in this regard), but we'll never be as relaxed with our knowledge. There on the wall is an engraving of Camillo Benso, the Count of Cavour, who was Prime Minister of Italy from 1850-61 and the owner of the castle that literally overshadows Pelissero's shop in the town of Grinzane Cavour. There's also the 12th century castle towering above, where local producers bring their wine every summer for a judging, hoping to earn a spot in its prestigious wine museum and enoteca. They're in the unlabeled bottles of fresh, fruity wine that are still set on your table at a tiny countryside restaurant.
My hands are cold and stained red with the fragrant liquid, which drips through my fingers as I shake and empty each bottle. Every evening, the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.
But never forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change forever. Having seen someone else get into difficulties up there and have to be rescued and turned in by the HMa€™s assistant in his dory, I asked the HM for somewhere else but no joy.
Or, to be exact, the pole on Selenea€™s stern holding my radar and other antennae was (the radar is there because the self-tacking jib does not give enough clearance in front of the mast). Other than the streaming hay-fever I was suffering from, the whole weekend was extremely pleasant.


I started the Saunterers and then persuaded Sheila Wicks to take over, and it worked well for a while on the basis that it would go to a definite place where we could all get ashore for lunch, one not normally frequented by the Wednesday Meanderers, and that the destination would be announced by e-mail a couple of days in advance once the likely weather was known. Perhaps if we go to Marchwood again I should take one of my trumpets along so we could do a proper colours ceremony? A In my quest for ever more perfect groove out there, I've even taken to measuring the line placement along with the other settings after particularly dialed sessions and keeping them in a book.
A A I was just needing to cinch the velcro tension on the boom straps a little more (after arriving at perfect placement if you prefer) to keep the lines aimed downward at the preferred angle. A They haven't seen any failures from the lines and their carbon tubes point load to eight hundred pounds.
A It was all about eliminating harness line input to the bar and certainly was one of those happy accidents. That's the allure of Mediterranean wine cultures, and it's precisely the lesson I wanted to absorb.
Barolo producers set aside 50 to 60 bottles from a harvest the year a child is born, he explains.
Claudio remembers the festa after the harvest, as well as his chores - hauling bottles, fetching corks, pressing grapes underfoot. And they're in the groin-vaulted cellar of Claudio's 15th century house, which has a vat in the corner for pressing grapes. Some are four decades old, made of thick, weighty glass; others are recycled from last week's meals. At least I got the mast and the shrouds past before the gust, but the radar pole suffered, see below. An extremely nice meal was had by all on Good Friday in the Chichester Yacht Club, with their hi-tech buzzing and flashing devices to tell you when your individual meal was ready for you to collect. This not only provided a vehicle for those who were not free on Wednesdays, but also for those whose boats were not parked in Lymington.
A I guess if you've been out trying to stick monstrous one handed forwards or back loops hooked in -- or have an old beater aluminum boom thata€™s looking a little powdery from too much time in salt water -- hey you might want to stick with the conventional lines.
So when Claudio invited me to help select and bottle his year's supply of table wine, I jumped at the chance. As we putter past ancient hilltowns and vineyards reawakening from winter, he tells me that it was only 20 years ago or so that many producers started selling wine by the bottle. Each district in Italy has one - a combined wine store and tasting room featuring the wine from that region.
Claudio then ciphens the wine from demijohn to bottle using a special pressure-sensitive hose that automatically shuts off when the wine reaches the bottleneck. Having combined the pleasures of handcraft and harvest, I'm satisfied that I've had a taste of the good life.
So unfortunately did Tuska€™s bow and varnished capping rail, and various efforts by the HM in his dory and others who took a line on the dock, pulling in opposite directions, bent a couple of Selenea€™s stanchions and damaged her gel coat for a few centimetres along the toe rail when rubbing against Tuska€™s prow. On the lay-day, Easter Saturday, Robyn and Peter, with most of the others, walked into Chichester itself, whilst I stayed around the boat and did a few odd jobs, and ate lunch in the very nice marina restaurant. I dona€™t think it is a coincidence that the idea began to decline once Sheila handed it over and the path of least resistance as a copy pure and simple of the Meanderers took over. So unfortunately did Tuska€™s bow and varnished capping rail, and various efforts by the HM in his dory and others who took a line on the dock,A  pulling in opposite directions, bent a couple of Selenea€™s stanchions and damaged her gel coat for a few centimetres along the toe rail when rubbing against Tuska€™s prow. A That it's the improved efficiency and balance of a rig with perfect line position and no line input along with the single hinge point letting you impart far more rig leading to the board.
A Now, assuming that hasn't blown away or if the book is at hand, I can cruise through rigging without pause and hit the water with total confidence that at least my gear is ready. Soon our garrison is ready for the corking machine - a cast-iron device that resembles a old-fashioned water-pump. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour, millions of men would die for Him.
That evening we had a a€?pontoon partya€?, but on the grass, and Andie and Mike Smith whetted some peoplesa€™ competitive instincts by organising an egg-and-spoon race.
A Yeah, why risk being less than dialed on that all important first run of the day -- as it so often sets the tone for the entire sesh. A But Ia€™m not exactly easy on my stuff and I've been yarking on mine heavily for about four years now, on the southern Oregon coast, with no problem.
Greenough really was so freaking far ahead of his time that we are still trying to catch up.
Claudio greases its moving parts with olive oil, while I apply a light coating to the corks. One by one, we set a bottle in position, pull the handle, and compress the cork inside a metal iris. Sensitivity to others not only shows maturity, but it also appeals to us because we want others to tell us when they’re worried, when they miss us, and when they care. Still brand new, it will be completely transformed in a year and requires some experience to judge at this stage.
The culture of analyzing wine - looking, smelling, tasting, comparing - has come to the fore only in Claudio's generation. I like to use my labels, have a cellar with 20 bottles of Barbera from 1995, 1997, and so on, you know? Every night, it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.
He’ll actually sit through your stupid girly movies with you because he wants to watch them with you.




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