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
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
> 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
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
MÔR DEITHIO / CRUISING
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
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)
Cruising - back to the water - Watch Keeping
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.
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.
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 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
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!
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 (123,700 individual e-mails sent in 2020/21 - see past copies here), membership of the club provides:
- Meeting place for like minded 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 recent racing newsletter is available here, and the key points summarised:
Welsh Government have adjusted the start date of "organised outdoor activity" (max 30 people) which is now April 26th, the same day as outdoor hospitality resumes. This means organised racing can resume with some adjustments needed to cater for the numbers of people taking part. The racing committee will look at this and options include more classes and different start times to separate groups to remain within the 30 limit for each group/class.
note: this is still subject to final confirmation on April 22nd
When not racing in an organised activity, the rule of 6 (from maximum two households) apply, however, when in an organised activity (such as club racing we are permitted to sail with mixed households, and more than 6 providing there are mitigation measures enforced.
RYA instruct organisers to publish these by way of Protocols. We will republish the CHPSC Protocol from last year and this is very similar to the rules set by RORC. It will be a condition of entry that all skippers (and crew) abide by our Protocol.
> Crew limited to 80% of the IRC certificate crew number (to nearest whole number)
> Skippers should have a COVID protocol for their boat
> Good hygiene and distancing should be followed, with other mitigations such as masks and gloves, and the current COVID restrictions followed before and after the race and when ashore
Much credit to the pathway returning us to racing, and allowing organisers to manage their activities goes to the RYA and RYA Cymru Wales.
The ability to use mixed households for organised racing is a great improvement over norml outdoor numbers, and the RYA CW guidance document for skippers is published here
The 2021 racing programme has been developed by club Racing Captain Vicky Cox, and is published on the website, and the club activity calendar here
Stephen has developed a matrix of course and distance between marks and generally improved the racing resources which can be found on the club website here
The matrix is also reproduced below
Whilst we tick down the days until April 26th, the Commodore Challenge and Tremadog Triangle are available to keep us busy, so a good opportunity to set a time now the marks are laid.
Club Racing at CHPSC is arranged under the guidelines of the RYA/RYA Cymru Wales and the latest charter is reproduced below.
ISORA are publishing its 2021 programme and further information and the race schedule can be found here
This includes the five race "Plas Heli Welsh Coastal Series" starting on April 17th . ( NB first race now likely to be in May)
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 - 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.
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. 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
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