Croeso/Welcome to this week's festive “Flag Officers E-Newsletter” - the final edition of 2020. 

In his first e-newsletter as Commodore, Gerallt Williams reports on 2020, a year unlike any other, certainly in living memory. Its events will surely live on in the pages of the history books for generations to come.

We take this opportunity to thank all our members, volunteers, and friends for all the encouragement and support in 2020. Despite everything, we have seen our membership grow and we sense anticipation and expectations for better times on the horizon.


‍We must therefore plan and look forward to an active and fun packed 2021! However, in order to look forward we must attend to the new restrictions that we must face together over the next month as Wales moves into Alert level 4 on December 28th.

We hope that the next newsletter, and first of 2021, will see us being able to talk more about sailing, easing of restrictions, the activities and events planned for 2021. 

On behalf of the Flag Officers of Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club, we wish you a Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda - Happy Christmas and prosperous new year.

 Gerallt Williams - Commodore CHPSC 

I am extremely pleased and immensely honoured to have been given the opportunity to follow in Jane Butterworth’s footsteps and to become the Commodore of Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club for the next two years.

 I’m sure that nobody needs reminding that 2020 has been, and continues to be, a difficult and challenging year for us all. We have seen restrictions to our movements and lifestyles, been separated for months from our friends and families and many people have lost loved ones to this deadly virus that has blighted all our lives.

 Last March, The Prime Minister announced a national lockdown. There was a ban on all travel and we were all confined to our homes. Our pontoons and the marina were forced to close, as too where our club premises at Plas Heli. By the end of May it became apparent that the restrictions would only be lifted very gradually and that we would have to find different ways to operate safely as a club. In line with RYA advice CHPSC set up a “Back to Boating Task Force”. 20 members volunteered to join this group and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their hard work in ensuring a safe return to the water.

 The months of inactivity took their toll on the pontoons, grounds and Plas Heli buildings and I would like to thank all the Club volunteers who came back day after day to clean the pontoons, cut the grass, clean the windows and generally tidy up the facility. Your efforts and dedication to the club are truly appreciated. It is thanks to your commitment and hard work that we were able to host a number of events and enjoy some excellent sailing, during what was a short season. Sadly, further lockdowns and travelling restrictions were brought in in October and many boats were put away for the season.

We are now at that time of year when we should be celebrating and enjoying the festive season but the increase in the infection rate has put an end to any socialising.

The formality of handing over the club burgee by the outgoing Commodore to the new, normally takes place at the Christmas Ball and Prize giving. This event, like many others had to be cancelled and the handover took place during a quiet but extremely pleasant evening at Plas Heli on Thursday 3rd December.

 As only a few people could be present on this evening, I would like to again, on behalf of all the Flag Officers, the Management Committee and all the members of Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club thank Jane for all her hard work and commitment, not only in the last two years but for all the years of service she has given to the Sailing Club, CHIPAC, The Management Committee and to Plas Heli. It has been a pleasure to work with you Jane and your dedication and enthusiasm is an inspiration to us all.

 May I take this opportunity to congratulate Mark Thompson on his new role of Vice Commodore. He and his wife Jo have been a great help to me over the past few years. Mark has worked tirelessly during this COVID-19 Pandemic, studying all the Welsh Government Guidelines and RYA interpretations to help us determine what it was possible for us to do at each stage.

 I would also like to congratulate Lyndsay on becoming our new Rear Commodore. Lyndsay has been a loyal member of the Management Committee for many years and has always given her all to the club despite her work commitments and young family.

 Sadly, Stephen Tudor’s term as President has come to an end. Thank you for all your hard work over the last two years, Stephen. Stephen will of course, remain as our Honourable Secretary, a role he has filled and provided exemplary service for many years.

 I welcome back Bob Lowe, who will start his term as the Club’s President. Bob needs no introduction as he was The Commodore of the club from 2014 to 2016 and one of the founder Directors of Plas Heli. Bob has already given many years of excellent service to Pwllheli Sailing Club.

 Last but not least, I would like to thank Tom and Iwan our new bar and catering team for their extreme patience. I am sure you will agree they have done us proud under very difficult circumstances.

 All that remains is for me to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Stay Safe over the festive period and here’s wishing for bigger and better things to come in 2021.


 Welsh Government Restrictions (announced 16th December) and RYA Cymru Wales interpretation.

 Alert Level 4  will apply from December 28th. Level 4 has no end date and will be reviewed every three weeks;

  • Outdoor individual exercise and professional, elite and designated sports and training permitted- if you have access to water, local to you.
  • Essential travel only- this has implications for clubs and centres.
  • Organised outdoor activities not allowed; this has implications for Club and Centre activities.
  • Organised indoor activities not allowed (limited to specific public and voluntary services)
  • Organisations delivering either workplace learning or adult learning should continue with online learning. RYA Training Centre seeking guidance on running virtual learning should read relevant section Current guidance for RYA Training Centres in Wales
  • Community facilities, sports courts, golf courses, enclosed pitches to be closed; this includes Clubs and RYA Training Centres.

 Our understanding is that organised boating can continue until the 27th December, however given the tightening of restrictions around the Christmas period, there will be no organised activity in/outdoors planned by CHPSC

 Santa Tracking  

Our younger readers are invited to track Santa via the tracking facilities  of the US airforce on xmas eve - details here




Dinghy Compound

‍The dinghy compound with the new RNLI building in the background

Resurfacing and grading of the remainder of the compound has almost been completed and the new fence has been completed.

The dinghy compound will be superb facility for our dinghy sailors and youth section.

Gwyndaf has asked for volunteers to help clear the back boundary before the containers can be located in their final position

If you can help - please turn up on Saturday morning and please bring your own hedge cutters and spades!

When this work has been completed, we will start on the allocation of spaces have you provided us with a description of your dinghy?  

We have already received many expressions of interest and spaces will be allocated on a first come basis - so please let us know as soon as possible!  




Fancy Sailing on a Tall ship? 

Sammo Jones recounts what can be expected when joining a tall ship as crew, for a week with the sea cadets or on one of the outward bound ships.

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A week onboard a tall ship.

There are various tall ships around the country offering weeklong voyages, and some offer longer voyages.

Tall ships Vary from yachts to large 3 or more masted ships (Pirate ships in my eyes) they offer trips for adults and young people, mostly from the age of 13 upwards

Anyway back to what this is about -  some ships will vary from this routine slightly but not by much. I am mainly going to let you know what happens on the bigger ships here.

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 Day 1.

You arrive on the ship with all your kit. You will be allocated with your bed for the week, and instructed to take your stuff to your bed, sometimes you get time to unpack straight away, or you just leave your stuff on your bed and make your way back on deck.

This  is when you will get split into groups or watches as we call them, and the fun begins, the many safety briefs that must be carried out before the ship can go to sea.

Depending on how many watches there are, normally 3 to 4, one watch will do one brief while another does another and so on. There are quite a few briefs, so I wont list them all, but they are all mainly for your safety while onboard. You might not complete all these briefs on the first day, some might be left until the next day.

Where possible and preferably, and what will also happen on Day 1,  is what we call ‘up and overs’ this is where you will put your harness on, and climb to the first platform of the mast, and back down on the opposite side, normally about 10m high while being supervised and helped/assisted by the ship’s crew dotted around the route you take. This is to give you a feel of what it is like, and to see if you are happy with going aloft, do not worry if not, but you will be encouraged to at least give it a go, even if you only make it two ratlines (steps or rungs) on the mast. If you feel you want to give it another go later, all you will need to do is ask. I had one person who made it one step on day one, by the end of the week, she was at the peak of the mast, 30 meters above deck. We just did a bit at a time.

And of course, probably before the ‘up and overs’ you will get welcomed to the ship. The Captain will give his welcome brief, where he/she will talk mainly about the plan for the week, where you will be going during the week and so on, he will then introduce you to all the other crew, and their roles onboard.

After dinner, there may be some more briefs, ice breakers to get to know your crew mates, and of course some time for you to unpack, and possibly even time for you to pop ashore and sightsee - after all the voyage is about seeing new places as well as the sailing aspect.

Day 2 arrives, it will normally start with any of the many briefs that were not able to be completed during day 1. After this, the fun begins, you get to use ropes to do stuff, rather than pulling on them to train, and the ropes not actually doing anything. Albeit training and still tied up alongside, its time for some climbing, going out on the yards (the big poles that go horizontal on the mast of a tall (pirate) ship) and loosen some sails. Once everyone is back on deck, you will learn what the vast number of ropes do, on average, each square sail will have a minimum of 8 ropes to it. Most will have more.

Square sails are set by lowering them from their yard, to the yard below, but of course this is not the case for all the sails, some have halyards also, so you would loosen the sail, pull the sail down and secure it to the yard below, and then get as many of you as possible onto the halyard. No winches on these ships, so everything is done by hand, I have had up to 12 on a halyard before today.

Exercises begin then, of setting and handing (putting away) sails. You will normally do this at least a couple of times.

Normally soon after lunch, it’s time to set sail and go to sea, everyone will be divided into their watches, one watch will be the duty watch, who will be on the bridge, where the roles will consist of actually steering the ship off the berth, filling in the logbook, being lookouts and so on. The other watches will look after different parts of the ship, one watch to the bow, to let go of lines and stow them, and one watch to the stern to do the same. In most circumstances, the ships tender will be in the water (normally bigger than what we would call a tender, the last tender I used was a 5.8m Rib with an 80Hp outboard on the back, and a couple of people will be the shore party, they will be letting go of the lines from the cleats/bollards and so on, freeing them to be pulled in by those on the ship. Once the ship is clear, the shore party normally get a quick blast in the ships tender before going back to the ship, and recovering the tender begins.

Once clear of the harbour, the standard operation is to get rid of the engine as soon as possible, at the end of the day, you are on a sailing ship, which means all hands to sail setting stations, and the sails requested by the Captain will be set - it could be all the sails on the ship, 11 at once is what the biggest ship I’ve sailed  on could set, with a total sail area of around 560m squared!

From here onwards you may have set every sail on the ship and handed them a few times throughout the week, but you will always be learning, and having an amazing time, it is an experience of a lifetime, making memories for life.

Depending on the type of voyage you are on, you may be in a new port every night and seeing new places, or it may end up being a day or more at sea either way, as mentioned above it is an experience of a lifetime.

Some ships will even award you externally recognised certificates at the end of the week.

I have clocked thousands and thousands of miles on tall ships, and even after all that, I am still learning new things every time I go on the ships. 

Sammo Jones - International Sail Trainer & Bosun/Rigger

Vendee Globe 2020

This Incredible race started on Sunday the 8th November and is one we know many members like to follow. 
vendee globe

The race can be followed by accessing the event website here or downloading the app from the Apple app store or Google Play store

At the time of writing the fleet  are skirting the ice exclusion zone heading towards the  Keguleun Islands. Hull damage still effects the leaders, due to a combination of the relentless pace and damage from underwater objects. Sam Davies re-joined the race as a "non competitor" after repairs in Cape Town.



Boredom Buster Video series - week 5

Video 1 - Racing - Americas Cup 2020 - Day 1 highlights


Video 2 - Motor Cruising Top Tips
Video 3 - Documentary - Super Yachts



Plas Heli, the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Event Centre, has been awarded the venue rights for the 'IRC Welsh National Championships' for 2021 and 2022.  The Championship is hosted by Plas Heli, and organised/managed by CHPSC and the RDYC.

We now are recruiting volunteers for event planning purposes and if you would like to contribute, or have any suggestions to enhance the event, please reply to this newsletter. Its intended to have the first planning meeting in December to agree the Notice of Race and proposed format of racing.  This meeting will be open to all potential entrants   and volunteers, and will be held using Zoom. Further details next month.


 2021 Membership Rates


Membership of CHPSC for 2021 is now available from 1st October 2020 for new members - a person who has not been a member for the last three years

The membership year is from 1st January to 31st December.

2021 Fee Structure 

Primary Member - £65

Joint Membership - £115

Racing Skipper - £125

Joint Racing Skipper - £180

Associate Member - £75

Student Member - £30

Youth Member - £20

Dinghy Storage

Small (Optimist/Topper) £55 (£48 early payment)

Medium (Laser) £65 £55 early payment)

Large (Merlin Rocket) £85 (£75 early payment)

Multi Hulls (Dart etc) £95 (£83 early payment)

Reasons to be a member in 2021

Pwllheli Sailing Club offers something for everyone, casual boaters, a base for cruising, racing and motorboating together with being a great venue for events, training and importantly a fantastic meeting place, with views, for friends.

  • In addition to all of the varied activities featured in this e-newsletter membership of the club provides:
    Meeting place for likeminded people in a friendly environment
  • Affiliated membership of the RYA who safeguard recreational boating in the UK
  • Helps to support youth sailing (CHIPAC)
  • Training and Development - RYA courses run by club members
  • Dinghy and keelboat racing opportunities
  • Cruises in company
  • Great social events - club members have priority
  • Discounted berthing at Plas Heli pontoons, and Dinghy storage in a secure compound
  • Access to CHIPAC for members children to learn to sail with experienced instructors teaching in the medium of Welsh and English
  • Members can gain RYA qualifications through volunteering experience at club events.
  • Advertise your Holiday Accommodation to a target audience of visitors to the area during events
  • Receive regular e-newsletters with useful information
  • 10% discount at the bar in Plas Heli
  • Easy membership (application/renewal) process all on-line and starting from £65 for the year!

Plas Heli  re-opened on Thursday 12th November with table service,  a maximum of four people to a table (unless from the same household)  and visitors  are encouraged to pre-book a table,  and provide contact information including verification. Due to new Welsh Government restrictions came into on the 4th of December at 18:00,   (review date December 17th ) -  no alcohol can be served and the closing times are adjusted as below.

The  new opening  times are as follows, and will be reviewed on December 19th

Friday 10 - 16:00

Saturday 10 - 16:00

Sunday 12- 16:00 (carvery available 12-15:00)


The December food menu also includes Beef or Chicken Curry, and Mushroom Risotto,  in addition to the favourites pictured below.


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 IMG 0383"Pysgod a Sglodion" - fish and chips, plus the popular burger - offered as a special on Saturdays


New codes on all gates - please don’t pass on these numbers. Anyone with a genuine need to access the pontoons, compounds or other gated areas will be provided with the code, combination or key. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details, or talk to one of your Flag Officers. The Plas Heli event car park on the quay is also available for members parking, should the main Plas Heli car park fill up - for a parking permit see instructions below.

Track and Trace is a Government requirement, please record your details on the sheet provided at the entrance to the  bar, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It is a Welsh Government recommendation that you also use the NHS app, via the QR code below. 


Future Plas Heli/PSC hosted Events:

None Scheduled 

Thought for  the Day:

"may you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve"


 For more information, membership links and the latest weather and webcam

go to:


Plas Heli Quayside Parking

The parking area on the Plas Heli Quayside is available for paid up CHPSC members and to authorised pontoon users.

The parking area is accessed through the gate adjacent to the old club building

The code to the gate is changed regularly and can be obtained through the website  > Facilities> Parking.  For convenience follow this shortcut link here

Fill in the details – put a tick in the box to confirm that you are a CHPSC member (have your 2020 membership number ready)

Then in the payment bit – use ‘I am a paid up CHPSC member and request permit for parking’ - Then Submit

You will then get a return e-mail with instructions

Please make sure the gate is closed and locked at all times and that the padlock is never left open or with the code left on the dial

NHS at Plas Heli

Many of you will have noticed a new porta-cabin located adjacent to the old club building - this is used by Betsi Cadwaladr National Health Trust Nursing staff for patient consultations in a secure covid-free environment.

Plas Heli is pleased to be able to assist the NHS with this facility and the use of the training rooms in Plas Heli


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