Introduction and News
A year ago today, the flag officers and I were busy in Plas Heli, setting up the large TVs and putting up flags and posters to welcome our members and guests for the start of the Guinness 6 Nations rugby tournament. Saturday saw the bar full, and we enjoyed watching Wales play Italy, and Ireland play Scotland in the first two games. Little did any of us imagine then what was to come. Seven weeks later we were in lockdown.
2021 started with a frightening increase in cases and some new variants of the disease but as we said goodbye to January, there has been better news - not only are the cases and fatalities across the UK beginning to subside, there is hope of two new vaccines that could be approved by the MHRA within days. The latest Novavax vaccine has proved to be 89% effective and will be made in Stockton on Tees UK.
The Welsh Government review completed on the 28th January, concluded that the whole of Wales should remain at Alert Level 4 - this means everyone must stay at home and all non-essential retail, hospitality venues, licenced premises and leisure facilities must remain closed. There will be a further review of restrictions by the 19th February, and we will report any changes in the next newsletter.
With the infection rates coming down across the country and the nation’s vaccination programmes being rolled out, let us all hope that we can return to a normal life in the very near future.
SATURDAY 6th This weekend then we must watch the rugby at home, the games will be played behind closed doors, but I am sure that there will be some exciting moments for us all to enjoy - the fixtures will be:
ITALY v FRANCE at 14.15 GMT.
ENGLAND v SCOTLAND at 16.45 GMT
WALES V IRELAND 15.00 at GMT.
If rugby doesn’t rock your boat, then this weekend may be a good time to get out the charts and pilot books and get involved in some passage planning in readiness for what we all hope will be a great summer.
Meanwhile things are beginning to grow in the gardens, I have seen the first snowdrops appear in Abererch - It won’t be long now before we welcome daffodils and early lambs to herald the arrival of Spring.
Last week saw the arrival of Pwllheli’s new all weather lifeboat coming a step closer with the delivery of her new launch and recovery tractor (SLARS) which now stands proudly in the new lifeboat station - see the article below.
Only a week ago we were reminded of the bravery and dedication of the RNLI volunteer crews, when no fewer than seven lifeboats from five different stations were launched and involved in a two-day search for the missing Fishing Vessel "Nicola Faith." sadly the vessel and its three crew could not be found and our thoughts are with their families and friends.
The 9th Vendeé Globe Round the World Yacht race came to an exciting and dramatic end on Wednesday the 27th January when French Skipper Charlie Dalin was the first to cross the finishing line at Les Sables d’Olonne - although first across the finishing line, he had to wait for both Boris Herrmann of Germany and Yannick Bestaven of France to finish before a winner was declared. They had been awarded time allowances of 6 hour and a 10 ¼ hour respectively by the race jury for their part in the search for and rescue of Kevin Escoffier. Boris Herrmann collided with a fishing vessel when only 90 miles from the finish and Bestaven crossed the line to beat Dalin by two and a half hours on corrected time. Dalin greeted Bestaven on the pontoon. There was no protest and Bestavens first words were “There are two winners on this Vendee Globe” A great example of true sportsmanship and a lesson to us all.
Sadly, this week we learnt of the sudden and untimely death of Captain Tom Moore, who inspired the whole nation last year by raising £39 million pounds for the NHS. This great man will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family at this time.
Let’s all continue to abide by the Government restrictions and heed their advice. Hopefully, a more normal life awaits us in the not to distant future.
Take care and stay safe
Gerallt Williams -Morlywydd /Commodore - CHPSC
The club has a webcam mounted on the Plas Heli Bridge, and the live images can be viewed here, or at the bottom of the website home page.
An additional webcam will be installed later this year looking over the Plas Heli pontoons and marina and will be streamed in the member's area of the club website.
Welsh Government Alert Level 4
Latest RYA Cymru Wales advice here
BREXIT - RYA Guidance
Border force (customs) requirements for recreational boats leaving UK waters (for example visiting Ireland) are listed here with links to the forms etc
Bad Achub Pwllheli Lifeboat - Shannon Launch and Recovery System arrives in Pwllheli ahead of training
Video and photos courtesy of the RNLI and Tomos Moore (Press Officer RNLI Pwllheli)
Pwllheli RNLI has taken delivery of an impressive kit which will launch the station’s new Shannon class lifeboat when she arrives. Pwllheli RNLI also took delivery of a new tractor which will launch the station’s inshore lifeboat
The new SLARS unit features much improved facilities for the operator and will enable the volunteer crew to launch and reach casualties quicker. The current Talus and Mersey carriage has a speed of approximately 7mph, where the SLARS can track the whole rig to the tideline at approximately 10mph.
Coupled with an impressive recovery and turnaround time, once the Shannon has reached the shore, after an exercise or service, it can be recovered and turned around to be available for service again in 10 minutes. This is thanks to the highly sophisticated and unique turntable cradle, which winches the Shannon onto it and then spin’s the whole cradle a whole 180 degrees. When comparing this to the current 45 minutes with the current Mersey class, this enables the RNLI as a charity, to be back and ready for service once more in less than half the time of the current setup. All in all, the SLARS system is an impressive piece of kit, and is one component out of many, that will enable us to continue saving lives off the coast of Pwllheli for many years to come.
As well as the new SLARS, and equally as important, the New Holland 3045 for the D Class has also arrived on station. Quite a change from the current setup at Pwllheli, it features a 4WD system, a winch to the front of the tractor and towing point’s to the front and to the rear, giving flexibility on how the shore crew decide to launch the D Class.
As you might have seen in the photographs, the SLARS unit at Pwllheli has been named ‘John Llywellyn Mostyn Hughes’. Mr Hughes was passed away in 2017 and left a significant share of his estate to the RNLI and in recognition of his bequest part of his generous gift has been used to fund the SLARS for Pwllheli in its entirety. He was a lifetime supporter of the RNLI and when he was young boy had a connection with Moelfre Lifeboat Station and the Coxswain at the time, Richard Frances had taught him to sail. In his professional career, Mr Hughes primarily worked in London and sat on many boards for high profile companies such as INTEC Telecommunications systems as a Non-Executive Chairman and his most recent, the chairman for Just Eat. From all of us here at Pwllheli Lifeboat Station, we would like send our deepest heartfelt thank you to Mr Hughes and his family for the generous funding of our new SLARS unit and there is no doubt, his legacy will live on with us here at Pwllheli for many decades to come.
Clifford Thomas, Lifeboat Operation Manager at Pwllheli said:
‘These are vital pieces of equipment that our shore crew rely on every time that we have an exercise or indeed a service. Without these highly advanced pieces of kit, both boat’s simply could not launch. Volunteers will commence with training on the equipment shortly and cannot wait to get involved with their new equipment’
Pwllheli RNLI's Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive on station in early spring of 2021, following crew training and mechanical trials at the RNLI College in Poole.
Article courtesy of the RNLI press release 30/01/2021
RYA Cruising Conference goes Virtual for 2021
“We have a broad range of speakers and workshops lined up for the day, from cruising sailors to technical specialists and RYA experts. We look forward to sharing the full conference programme very soon.”
Booking for the 2021 RYA Cruising Conference is expected to go live in early January. For all the latest conference news visit the RYA Cruising Conference page or follow the Royal Yachting Association on Facebook and Twitter.
Cruising - Look after your lifejacket
RYA Cruising Manager, Stuart Carruthers, considers the importance of lifejacket servicing.
I have had some correspondence about the lack of availability and cost of replacement items to enable owners to do their own servicing; particularly replacement rearming kits and parts. It is argued that this makes it difficult for lifejacket owners to do their own servicing. The question is should you be servicing your own lifejacket?
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency publishes extensive advice on lifesaving appliance (LSA) servicing requirements in two Marine Guidance Notes (MGN). MGN 548 (M+F) provides guidance on inflatable SOLAS LSA and MGN 553 (M+F) on non-SOLAS LSA. Whilst the guidance is primarily aimed at vessels that operate commercially and at liferaft servicing, it does make it clear that inflatable lifejackets on small commercial vessels (including training and bareboat charter craft) should be serviced at a service station accredited by the manufacturer. In fact on small commercial vessels it is an offence to carry an inflatable lifejacket which is known to be defective, or which has not been serviced at the intervals prescribed by the Regulations.
Most lifejacket manufacturers recommend that their products are serviced annually by service stations that they have approved although some may extend this to two years for privately owned lifejackets. Your lifejacket is an important piece of technical safety equipment and there are some tests that simply cannot be done by a DIYer; the most important of which is the overpressure inflation test where the bladder is over inflated under controlled conditions and temperature and pressure are monitored over a period of time. If it does not pass these tests, then more than likely the lifejacket will not work as intended and it will be condemned.
Check your lifejacket regularly
So what can you do and why are rearming kits and parts available? It is important that you understand how your lifejacket works, how to use its features and how to ensure it performs as intended throughout its working life. This means that you should check your lifejacket regularly throughout the season for signs of damage to the bladder cover, webbing straps, stitching and clips and buckles. If you are concerned, get it looked at.
There are three inflation methods for gas inflation lifejackets – manual, automatic and hydrostatic. Both the automatic and hydrostatic inflator mechanisms rely on a water sensitive element dissolving rapidly to activate them but differ in activation; it is worth knowing how yours works. Clearly, manually inflated lifejackets are operated by pulling a cord which pushes a firing pin into the CO2 bottle which inflates the lifejacket.
Automatic and hydrostatic lifejackets still have the manual cord, however, automatic inflator mechanisms have a small water sensitive cartridge or bobbin which is what holds back a powerful spring. When the cartridge/bobbin comes into contact with the water it dissolves very rapidly, releasing a spring which pushes the firing pin into the gas bottle.
The most common types of automatic inflator mechanisms are the United Moulders cartridge and the Halkey Roberts bobbin. The UML Automatic Cartridge has an expiry/replace-by date printed on it, the Halkey Roberts bobbin has a date of manufacture printed on it and typically has a three year life when taken off the shelf (provided it is stored correctly) and fitted to an inflator.
The hydrostatic (Hammar) lifejacket inflation system has a hydrostatic valve that protects the water sensitive element until the inflator is approximately 10 cm underwater; they have a five year expiry date and are ideal where you are regularly soaked by waves or excessive spray.
Be aware that screw-in CO2 bottles in lifejackets can work themselves loose and are a common cause of failure and should be checked for tightness every month. In fact the international standards body responsible for PFD standards are addressing Cylinder Seal Indication (CSI) on all inflatable lifejackets and a number of manufacturers produce lifejackets with indicators to show the state of the bottle and trigger mechanism.
If a lifejacket is accidentally inflated during the season, and it does happen, you will want to be able to get it ready for use again straight away, particularly if you are on a long voyage. The principle reason that rearming kits are sold is so that you have the ability to rearm your lifejacket if you are, for example, on passage and it inflates for whatever reason so that you are not left without a lifejacket.
Check the CO2 bottle for corrosion. A heavily corroded bottle should be replaced. Also check any areas of material that have been in contact with a rough cylinder – the fabric may have been damaged. CO2 bottles are not “lifed”, they have a weight marked on the side of them and provided they are free from corrosion and provided they weigh at least as much as the weight marked on them they should be ok.
Annual servicing is a requirement for SOLAS approved lifejackets for professional use and a strong recommendation from authorities worldwide for recreational users. The overwhelming advice from the RYA, RNLI and MCA is to get your lifejackets serviced annually by an approved service station.
Recent RNLI lifejacket clinics have found that in excess of 30% of lifejackets brought in for inspection would not have worked in an emergency. Those who have their lifejackets serviced according to the manufacturer's instructions, check them at regular intervals, and have a spare rearming kit available should not have serious concerns.
Boredom Buster Video - Documentary - "Inner City Sailing"
an inspiring story of an inner city London school ultimately racing in the Fastenet
2021 Membership renewal process
At the end of last year a bespoke membership renewal email was sent out, which we hope simplifies the renewal process, with much of the user data populated when logging onto the members area. This process also includes an option to collect the new and fantastic club calendar, or for a small fee we can post it out to you.
The calendars have arrived and the collection times for local members when a Flag Officer will be in attendance at Plas Heli are published below- We will be using the external door of the middle ground floor training room (to the right of the main entrance) - this will be signposted as the main doors and internal facilities will be closed. Please don't make a special journey, but we recognise many local members pass by as part of their exercise so an opportunity exists to collect the calendar.
2021 Membership Rates
Membership of CHPSC for 2021
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
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)
Road Trailer £50 or £75 for 2 stacked
You can purchase a club burgee or pay for your club calendar postage as part of your membership process!
Reasons to be a member in 2021
Pwllheli Sailing Club offers something for everyone, casual boaters, a base for cruising, racing and motor boating 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 (120,300 individual e-mails sent in 2020/21 - see past copies here), 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,
- Dinghy storage in the refurbished and 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 (small fee applies)
- 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!
- Racing Skipper membership includes all racing entry fees, except the IRC Champs and the ISORA element of coastal races.
The 2021 racing programme is being developed by club Racing Captain Vicky Cox, and will be published on the website, and in the club activity calendar here shortly.
Racing and event updates will be confirmed in the Friday newsletter when the applicable restrictions are known.
The marks have been lifted and are undergoing annual maintenance by Abersoch Moorings
Club Racing at CHPSC is arranged under the guidelines of the RYA/RYA Cymru Wales and the latest charter is reproduced below.
The centre is closed in line with Welsh Government Alert Level 4 restrictions. New opening hours will be posted as soon as restrictions are eased, and our bar and catering partner's have assessed what they can offer.
In order that the club and centre can open re-promptly, there is some essential maintenance work being undertaken on the infrastructure of Plas Heli and both Plas Heli and CHPSC equipment by the Directors and Flag Officers, in line with Welsh Government Regulations. In addition a review of the facilities is currently underway.
When restrictions are eased a little, we will be looking for additional volunteers to ensure a smooth return to club activities. All voluntary activities will be managed to keep members safe, and all within allowable guidelines.
J24's for sale - expressions of interest
A project is underway to look at the feasibility of replacing the two academy J24's with a lift keel sportboat, to use for race training, club racing and for CHIPAC sailors to transition to keelboats. It will also be available for charter into class events in the UK and Ireland, representing Wales.
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 shortly 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.
Thought for the Day:
"you only get this day once"
For more information, membership links and the latest weather and webcam
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 plasheli.org 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 2021 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 receive an automated 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