August 2019
Reading Offshore

Sailing Club

For all boating enthusiasts
Newsletter       August 2019
"Off on our summer cruise"
Commodore's Corner

This summer has turned out to be a more typically “British” one with more strong wind warnings in July than I can remember. Nevertheless, there were some favourable periods that allowed members to get to far flung places including a few “firsts”. Reports came in frequently via Whatsapp of trips to the Channel Islands, the West Country, Spain, Biscay, the Netherlands, Maine, Greece and from halfway to the Azores.
Wherever you have been or are yet to go, the Monday evening programme resumes in September with a talk by Tom Sowerby on sail trim and passage planning – to remind us all of what we were getting wrong this summer. A flyer for this event appears elsewhere in this newsletter.
In October we welcome back Stuart Carruthers of the RYA to talk about current issues, including the “red Diesel” debate. You might have noticed that the Government has recently published a consultation on the way forward in resolving this long running problem. Spoiler alert - it involves converting to the use of white Diesel.  I recommend that you respond to this consultation – it is aimed at us as individual yachtsmen and is an unusually well drafted and comprehensible document. A note on this issue follows later in this newsletter.
I wish you fair winds between the storms and hope to see you all at Sonning next month.
Forthcoming Events
Sail Setting and Passage Planning

with Tom Sowerby of
 Bisham Abbey Sailing and Navigation School

at UTMYC    Monday 2nd September
The first half of Tom’s presentation will be on SAIL TRIM, how a sail works (its aerodynamics) and why correct sail trim is important. Discussion on the importance of PASSAGE PLANNING will be the topic of the second half, doing a thorough passage plan and how to make sure your planning is efficient and accurate. This will no doubt be of interest to all yachtsmen and yachtswomen whether they are new to sailing or experienced.
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY                                                    SATURDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2019 

As a departure from recent laying up suppers at UTMYC, we are holding our 2019 Laying Up Supper at the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Playhatch.  This is only about a mile north of our usual meeting place in Sonning.  It will provide an opportunity for Club members to enjoy an evening of good company and look back on the highlights of the sailing season over a relaxed and convivial meal.
Full details of the event and how to order tickets in the September issue of the newsletter.  But in the meantime – save the date!

Sailor's Tales
Sailng in a thunderstorn
by Margaret Haines
"The lull before the storm”
We had almost reached our home port on the River Orwell in Suffolk after a relatively uneventful passage back from the Netherlands in July.  We had hesitated slightly when we read the shipping forecast at 0400 that morning: Easterly 3-5  then 6-7 maybe gale 8 later.  However, we worked out that the latter strong winds would not develop until after 1800 hrs, by which time we would be close to home.  In any case the forecast related to thunderstorms which would be scattered and therefore might not materialise at all.
The North Sea passage was unlike any other; 29°C in the middle of the shipping lanes, blue sea – shorts and shirt sleeves weather more akin to the Med than northern climes.  Winds were very light so that we had to motor sail.  The only excitement was when we hit the double wash of a large container ship and got swamped by the second wave!
Whilst visibility was OK, conditions were very hazy.  We could not see the wind farms in close proximity and the cranes of Felixstowe Docks – normally visible from 5 hrs out - could not be seen until we were closing the port.  Gradually the blue haze began to darken from the south and we realised that the predicted thunderstorms were approaching.  We rolled away the genoa and reduced the main since we had a total wind shift and a very brief 26 knot gust, then all quietened down again although the skies were darkening in the south and we could see lightning 20-30 miles away.  We pushed on and hoped that we would arrive back at Suffolk Yacht Harbour before it rained or that it might just pass behind us......  It was not to be!
Mainsail now fully stowed and half way along Felixstowe Docks at 2030, the storm suddenly arrived.  And what a storm!  We had not experienced such an extreme electrical storm for many years.  The rain was torrential and the wind speed rapidly increased until we were experiencing gusts of 45 knots.  I looked back and could only described the scene as ‘Dante’s Inferno’ – a description repeated by a friend who had views the storm in the docks from the land The rain blowing in from behind us was horizontal.  Not used to this sort of thing, we had not put in the washboards so the cabin and upholstery quickly became drenched.  The River Orwell – normally gentle and benign - was whipped up into a cauldron of frenzied water.  We could not see the buoys and John steered his course as best he could from the plotter.  We were close to home but had difficulty in finding the safe entrance mark for the final approach into the marina.  Just as we found it there was a vivid lighting flash and a ‘sizzle’ immediately followed by an almighty crash of thunder. It was as near as we have ever been to a direct hit.
As John edged his way into the marina and paused in the inner basin while I managed to hang out some fenders, all the marina lights went out – a power cut.  We edged our way to our berth in pitch backless and somehow I managed to jump onto the pontoon where we picked up the fixed warps with some difficulty – we could not see anything.  As we tied up the wind (now slightly abated but still strong and now on the nose) kept blowing us out of the berth!
The storm carried on for another hour or so and was ‘the talk of the town’ the next day.  We only experienced it for the last half hour of our passage and were extremely grateful that it had not arrived earlier!  And I was comforted with the knowledge that the Harwich lifeboat was close by as the storm hit!
Government consultation on phasing out the use of red Diesel in leisure craft
                                                           by John Haines

The Directive on fiscal marking of fuel was published in 1995 with the participation of the UK.  The UK had a 12-year period of derogation during which to sort out the use of fuel in leisure craft – something it signally failed to do.  The current “buggers’ muddle” on tax rates, introduced in 2008, was merely an attempt by the Government to get around the previous inaction. This was always in breach of the 1995 Directive and other European States’ transposition of the Directive into their own national law.
In 2003 the UK Government agreed to end the red diesel concession by 2007 but failed to take any action. More recently the UK tried to argue a case for retaining the use of red diesel for leisure craft. Its case was referred to the European Court of Justice.
In October 2018 the European Court published its deliberation and determined that the UK was in breach of the law it had signed up to – we had 24 years to sort out the problem but mostly sat on our hands.
The present situation is a significant deterrent both to British yachtsmen visiting Europe and to European yachtsmen visiting Britain. The latter cannot afford to return home with red diesel in their tanks.
The Government recently published a consultation about the way forward. This is not about how we can retain an illegal concession, but about the implications of making the transition towards using white fuel for all leisure craft. The decision has been taken to require the use of only white diesel for propulsion in leisure craft. This obviously has implications for the suppliers of marine fuel and for yachtsmen. It will require some sort of transition period for the switch to be made. The document can be viewed at:
The consultation document is very clear and well worth reading. I recommend that you respond to the questions it asks before the 09 September 2019 closing date

£2m investment at Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour

The redevelopment is aimed at securing the marina’s future as a desired location, while keeping pace with modern demands for bigger berths and offering more convenient walk-ashore pontoons.
Marina Projects has been appointed by the Beaulieu Estate (Beaulieu Enterprises Ltd - BEL) to provide advice on the redevelopment.
Within the redevelopment, around 60 additional berths will be provided.
“The initial scope of work included analysis of the local and wider market, historic activity trends, a detailed review of the site constraints, development of concept design options and the development of the business case,” explained Marina Projects MD Mike Ward.
Complex consents
“Careful consideration of the consent strategy was necessary because of a complex consent regime, extensive and sensitive habitats and the fact that the marina sits within the New Forest National Park.”
Russell Bowman BEL MD added: “We are investing in the future of the marina whilst seeking to reconfigure the facility and offer increased availability of walk-ashore berths and an enhanced level of customer service. It is imperative to us that we preserve the character which makes Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour so special.”
Planning permission has now been granted together with a marine licence required to deliver the works.
Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour was opened in 1971 and has remained largely unchanged since 1980.
Bembridge gets its own dredger

Bembridge Harbour Authority has become joint owner of a new bucket dredger which it hopes will be in operation by the end of July.

Dredging is necessary to keep water depths usable and maintain navigation into and within the harbour. Being one of the smaller customers, Bembridge has often had to wait for dredger availability, suffering regular delays caused by bad weather on other contracts.

Safeguarding the harbour's future
Owner and custodian of Bembridge Harbour, Malcolm Thorpe is keen to make the harbour self-sufficient in its dredging capacity and has moved one step closer with the acquisition of United One.  "This is a major investment and a huge step forwards and demonstrates our continuing commitment to safeguarding the future of the harbour," he said

The inner harbour was previously dredged by pumping silt directly into a silt lagoon on the south side of Embankment Road - this area was then declared full by the Environment Agency and it became necessary to employ the services of one of the Solent dredging companies to remove and deposit the silt at a designated spot near the Nab Tower.
When not being deployed in Bembridge Harbour, United One will be available for charter work elsewhere. The barge is narrower than those used by the dredging companies meaning that marinas will not need to be completely stripped of all services and pontoons before, and then rebuilt following, each dredging operation.
Moments to forget
ROSC Photo Competition 2019
As the 2019 sailing season gets underway the Committee are pleased to launch the Reading Offshore Sailing Club Photo Competition.

If you manage to take a great photograph of any on the water sailing activity or club event we would love to see it! There is no formal submission date as long as the pictures are available for the AGM on the 4th November where we will vote on the best picture of 2019!

Pictures can be submitted by email to or via our WhatsApp group. If you have any questions please let Steve Giggs know.
 I thought I would include one of myself, Mike your editor, under full sail
in my last boat,  a 40' Oceanis with centre cockpit.

Please send in your summer sailing photographs or adventures for our Newsletter
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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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