Flag Officers Friday Newsletter

Flag Officers Weekly News     


Welcome to this week's edition of the Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club E-Newsletter.

Welsh Government continues with its careful and phased approach to unlocking the current covid imposed restrictions. We hope that these steps will lead us back to enjoy our normal boating and club activities at the earliest possible opportunity, in a safe and considerate way.

The travel restrictions, in and out of Wales, were lifted on April 12th, and the roadmap to opening hospitality and organised activity are detailed in the useful image below.



our Flag Officers have attended on-line meetings with our Governing Body, RYA Cymru Wales, and gained clarification on "organised activity". This is of particular relevance to our events, our club racing and helps us formulate our 'protocols'. These are highlighted in the racing section below, where we also explain the use of mixed households.

It is important that we all play our part by respecting and complying with regulations, such as using "trace, track and protect" and complying with our Covid protocols. 

With fine weather this last week, it has been great seeing members preparing their boats for the season, with both the marina and Plas Heli pontoons filling up, lots of activity in the bay, and the peninsula is certainly busy.

Work continues to upgrade and enhance our facilities ahead of the re-opening of the centre, with a project to enhance our outdoor furniture, repairs to the balcony and upgrades to some of the toilets. The pontoon electrical and lighting pillars are being serviced and we look forward to a great season of sailing and socialising.

The protector is ready for launching and the event pontoons filling up - Sammo Jones took an aerial view on a recent mast climb


PHOTO 2021 04 10 11 31 47


















Thank you to Thomas Tudor for the recent landscaping work.

It won’t be long now before we can enjoy a drink on the Plas Heli deck, take in that spectacular view in the company of friends and fellow members, after enjoying all the activities the club has to offer.


The club has a webcam mounted on the Plas Heli Bridge, with views of the harbour approaches -  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 event pontoons and northern end of the marina and will be streamed in the member's area of the club website.

Welsh Government  Alert Level 4 

WALES RETURN TO BOATING 2> Cross border travel restrictions were lifted on  April 12th

> Organised outdoor  activity allowed for  U18's only  until April 26th when it will allow up to 30 participants of any age

> Elite training can take place

> Casual sailing can take place as part of exercise, with max six people from two households.

> The Plas Heli compound and event pontoons are now open.

> Next update  22nd April 

> Latest RYA Cymru Wales  Q & A clarifying the  announcement of April 9th is here    


RYA News

Trading Boats between UK and the EU - news article 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



2021 plans - update from Rob Smith and Stephen Williams

The latest cruising news is in the cruising section of the club web site here, and reproduced below:

There is still uncertainty regarding covid but hoping for further easing of restrictions that will allow organised activity.

Towards the end of last season we saw more cruising boats participating in racing and let’s hope that continues. We will be aiming to tailor more races for cruising boats with shorter simpler courses but centred upon just having fun on the water

We are also hoping to have a varied and interesting programme of events for all boats including Ribs and power. Ideas so far are:-

>  Cruise and overnight stay at Porthdinllaen

>  Day cruise in Cardigan Bay and early evening drinks at the Warren Beach Bar

>  Lunch trip on RIBs to Porthmadog

>  Cruise and overnight stay at Aberdaron – supper in the pub?

>  Cruise and 2 night stay at Aberystwyth

>  Cruise and stay at Greystones linking to ISORA. Possible involvement of Greystones Yacht Club and North Sails

Any other suggestions gratefully received - please email  Rob and  Stephen at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A "Whatsapp" group to enable cruisers to discuss plans etc has been set up  - Join your fellow cruisers and chat all things boating by emailing Rob or Stephen with your mobile phone number to join, or use the QR code below.  (please introduce yourself to the group)

IMG BA76B6A70F9B 1

Cruising - back to the water - Watch Keepingryatraining

Watchkeeping safety - use of VHF radio and AIS

MCA re-issues MGN 324 on the role of VHF radio and AIS for collision avoidance

The recent re-issue of MGN 324 by the MCA on the role of VHF radio and AIS for collision avoidance comes as a timely reminder of their appropriate and correct use, particularly with regard to collision avoidance.


Use of VHF to Aid Collision Avoidance

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the wider maritime community it represents has frequently commented on the misuse of VHF channels, especially Channel 16 and the channels used for port operations, ship movement and reporting. Although VHF makes an important contribution to navigation safety, its misuse can cause interference and become a danger to safety at sea.

IMO Member Governments have therefore unanimously agreed to ensure that VHF channels are used appropriately and correctly.

MGN 324 reminds us all that use of marine VHF on United Kingdom vessels and all other vessels in UK territorial waters and harbours may only be used in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations. These Regulations specifically prescribe that:

• Channel 16 may only be used for distress, urgency, brief safety communications, and to establish voice communications which should then be transferred to a suitable working channel;

• Channel 70 may only be used for Digital Selective Calling, not voice communication;

• The only messages permitted on VHF channels allocated to port operations or ship movement services are those relating to the movement and safety of ships and to the safety of persons;

• All conversations must be preceded by identification, e.g. vessel name or call sign;

• The use VHF radio must be controlled by an operator holding a certificate issued or recognised by the station’s controlling Administration.

In spite of this, there have been an increasing number of collisions where subsequent investigations have found that at some stage before impact, one or both parties were using VHF radio in an attempt to avoid collision.

Serious consequences

Uncertainties can arise over the identification of vessels or a misunderstanding due to language difficulties. An imprecise or ambiguously expressed message could have serious consequences.

Valuable time can be wasted whilst mariners on vessels approaching each other try to make contact on VHF radio instead of paying attention to the lookout and complying with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREG).

Any attempt to use VHF to agree the manner of passing is fraught with the danger of misunderstanding and a course of action that does not comply with the COLREG may lead to the collision it was intended to prevent. COLREG should remain uppermost means of avoiding collision.

Use of Automatic Identification System (AIS)

AIS has the potential to make a significant contribution to safety, however, AIS information should always be treated with caution. Not all ships or marine craft carry or are required to carry AIS and in particular, leisure craft, fishing vessels and warships might not be fitted with AIS.

Watchkeepers should also be aware that AIS fitted on other vessels might be transmitting incorrect data due to input errors which may in turn lead to misleading information being displayed. Under certain circumstances, AIS may be switched off at the master's discretion and AIS positions derived from another vessel’s GNSS receiver (usually GPS) may not coincide with its exact position. For that reason the information provided by AIS may not give a complete or correct "picture" of shipping traffic in your vicinity.

For these reasons, use of AIS should NOT be considered to replace the need for a visual lookout. There is no explicit provision in the COLREG for use of AIS information, therefore decisions should be taken based primarily on systematic visual and/or radar observations; collision avoidance must be carried out in strict compliance with the COLREG.

AIS target data will only be based on the target vessels’ course and speed over ground whilst for COLREG compliance such data must be based on the vessels’ course and speed through the water. Finally over reliance on AIS information may well breach COLREG Rule 7(c) in that assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information.

For more guidance and support

The RYA Safety Advisory Notices and safety hub provide a substantial amount of information on the importance of keeping a good look out and the correct use of VHF, distress beacons and AIS.

The RYA also has over 2,500 recognised training centres teaching small boat sailing, windsurfing, yacht sailing, canal and riverboat cruising, power boating, personal watercraft and motor cruising. RYA courses prepare you for anything from taking your first trip out of the marina to living on board, cruising along the coast or venturing further offshore. Start your journey today – visit the RYA Courses and Training hub on our website.

RYA Safe TRX -

Following on from the article in the last newsletter about the RYA Safe Trx system, we attach videos on how to use the system

Instructional Video 1 - Setting up a trip with RYA Safe Trx

 Instructional Video 2 - Calling for help with RAY Safe Trx

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/Apprentice 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)

Road Trailer £50 or £75 for 2 stacked

Box storage trailers under 10 feet £60 (£75 for larger box trailers)

You can purchase a club burgee or pay for your club calendar postage as part of your membership process!

The indoor sections of  centre are closed in line with Welsh Government Alert Level 4 restrictions, with authorised access now permitted to the pontoons and compound. The Café is now open for takeaway service (see below) In line with Welsh government Covid regulations, we advise the use of the "NHS Covid App"  when visiting any of the Plas Heli facilities. The QR codes are on the doors and relevant gates.

Note: elite RYA squad  training is permitted indoors.

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 to best structure the centre for events, club and community use. Some areas of the centre are hired  to local business and local authorities etc, and meeting rooms (for example) can be booked via the Plas Heli website.

As restrictions are eased, 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.

Bar and  Cafe - Take away service has resumed:

PLAS HELI TAKE AWAY MENU Plas Heli - Event Pontoons

The pontoons are likely to be very busy this year with demand potentially exceeding capacity. A berthing plan has been drawn up and will be emailed to all Plas Heli berthing customers, with the planned location of their berth.

To apply for a berth (seasonal or short term) fill in the berthing application form on the Plas Heli Website here and also  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once allocated a berth please make all efforts to stay  in your  allocated space, remembering boats out racing may be short crewed when returning to their  berth.  Any issues with berths, shore power or water please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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. 

The two J24's, with one good quality trailer, yard cradle and a good set of sails are available for sale as a package, please reply to this email if interested, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 codes below.  (please check in by using the most relevant one for the part of the centre you are accessing)

QRPH QR code pontoons

PH QR code compound


2021Flyer 2



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. The first planning meeting was held last month via "zoom" to agree the format of racing and framework to publish the Notice of Race. This is now complete and published with the online  entry open at the event website here

Thought for  the Day:

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan"


 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 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

Note: the members parking area outside Plas Heli is temporarily closed due to some recent anti social behaviour, and will be re-opened at Easter, or when the centre re-opens



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