On a few evenings, Saturdays or
Sundays, we cast aside our competitive spirit and enjoy the simple
pleasures of messing about on the river. Several excellent pubs to
visit at reasonably short cruising distance, including the London
Apprentice in Old Isleworth and the Ship in Barnes.
Look at the time in case you
stay late and need lights to sail home.
Cruise to the London
4 July 2009
On a warm Saturday in July, 11
Corinthian boats set out on a cruise to the London Apprentice in
Isleworth. A fabulous day!
by Martin Dixon and Steven Gear-Evans
What, no racing? Time for a
Both light and tides wrong for
racing at Hammersmith and with nothing in the sailing calendar, what
better way to blow away the post Christmas excesses than a cruise down
to Putney and lunch at the Duke?
As four enterprises prepared to
set sail, and with the permission of dinghy committee rep, the club
pontoon was used for a moving and dignified Hindu funeral ceremony.
Around a dozen mourners said prayers and then scattered the ashes of a
much loved son into the Thames, followed by flowers and petals.
At around 11.30am and with
virtually no wind, we began the drift down the river. Gareth Llewellyn
generously loaned his launch in place of the Club’s safety
boat and it was quickly deployed into action as Ed Hipkin and Andy
Ransom sailing Telegraph became jammed between barges at Hammersmith
Pier. Being launched from the beach Ed had decided to raise his main
once underway and he was not able to see that the main halyard was
looped over the top of the mast. This meant the main could not be fully
raised and the strong tide swept the boat downriver and into a gap
between the barges. After rescue, the crew sailed down to Putney under
The remainder of the drift down
was uneventful, with the boats easily clearing Hammersmith Bridge (as a
rough guide, upright boats with burgees can clear the bridge when beach
can be seen on the river side foot of the northern pillar). The boats
were safely beached on the Putney hard just a few short steps from
lunch and liquid refreshments. It was a leisurely affair as we needed
to wait for nature to change direction of the river flow to take us
back to Hammersmith. We were eleven for lunch as we were joined by
Peter Wright’s wife, Miranda, and their new baby daughter.
Waiting for the turn of the tide and with no pressure to get home,
lunch proved to be an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each
The wind had improved a smidgen
for the sail back and this time Ed Hipkin showed how much easier it is
with two sails by leading the fleet all the way back to the club. A bit
of entertainment was provided by Beverley Beech when launching from
Putney by managing to fall in backwards – fortunately she was
in a drysuit. Otherwise the sail back was challenging but uneventful in
the zephyr winds.
A great day out –
just what was needed in the gap between Christmas and the New Year and
thanks to Liz for having the energy to organise it all and Gareth for
the loan of his launch. We did take some photos but the camera played
Participants:: Liz St Clair
& Chris Crosland (Guinness) Gareth Llewellyn & Peter
Lamb (Independent), Beverley Beech, & Peter Wright (Times),
Eddie Hipkin & Andy Ransom (Telegraph) , Peter Hallett
& Deborah Ley (safety boat).
by Peter Hallett
To the White Hart we go.
Sun 22nd Jul 2008
The crews gathered at 17.30 and
speedily rigged the dinghies and launched the safety boat. The weather
was beautiful, a sunny evening and a force 3 wind from the west. What
more could we ask for? Thanks to the activities of Jeremy Clarke (who
encouraged his offshore crew mates to come and sail we launched seven
Quite a few sailors were
inexperienced and as we did not want anyone swimming we put three in a
boat, in most instances. There is nothing worse than capsizing and then
sitting in a pub gently dripping.
The experienced sailors set off
quickly and milled about having fun waiting for the tail enders to
launch, and those of us in the safety boat sat about watching some of
the muddles and making erudite comments about what the crew should be
doing to drive their dinghies faster - a very simple exercise when
sitting in a motor boat.
The condition of the tide was
very strange, normally it speeds past the pontoon but there was not a
lot of movement. Because of the huge amount of flood water there was
very little tide, but the river just quietly rose. Normally, the
dinghies have to heel over to get under Barnes Bridge but we had
decided that it would be most unlikely that we would have enough room
by the time we got there and this proved to be the case.
We beached the dinghies on the
Middlesex bank using a rowing club's slipway and then walked across the
bridge to The White Hart. The lazier members cadged a lift from the
Safety Boat. A happy hour, or so, was spent quaffing beer and having a
quick snack before the tide changed. We estimated that because the tide
would now be assisted by a great deal of flood water it would be likely
that it would be sluicing past the pontoon at some speed by the time we
got there, so the dinghy sailors were given a briefing on how to
approach the pontoon. Needless to say, most of them forgot. It resulted
in a minor pile up on the upstream pontoon and some considerable
confusion while a warp was strung between the two pontoons to assist
the crews in drifting down to the downstream pontoon, and not helped by
one of the crews untying it and casting it off just as a dinghy was
halfway between the two pontoons, fortunately they were grabbed as they
Charlie Storr and Helen had fun
when they sailed between the two pontoons and were swept onto the ramp,
fortunately there was absolutely no wind so the main came down and they
were walked back around the pontoon.
By now the sun had gone down
and we hauled the dinghies out quickly, the safety boat towed back a
dinghy that having undertaken the correct manoeuvre to land alongside
the pontoon found it was already cluttered up with dinghies and because
of the strong tide began to drift towards Hammersmith Bridge, they were
towed back by the Safety Boat. All the dinghies were taken out of the
water quickly and the combined efforts of all the crews got the Safety
Boat up the ramp without the need of an additional assistance from car
with a towing bollard.
All the dinghies and the Safety
Boat were tucked up by 23.00 and a collection of happy sailors headed
||Jeremy Clarke and
||Helen Leese, Anne
Barrowclough and Helen Storr
||Alex Sheffield, Jude
Aranha and Kate?
||Claire Willis and Gareth
||Val Nadyelkov and Orla
||Hugh and Miranda Kemlo
Safety Boat - Peter
DruceÂ Gareth Llewellyn, Beverley Beech, Begonia
Beers, bridges and busted
It was a glorious Saturday
morning somewhat of a surprise for 2007's disaster of a summer and we
had gathered for a trip up river to Isleworth. It started much like any
other dinghy sailing event. We took station near the slipway to study
the river, keeping a weather eye on the developing winds and discussing
the sail ahead in pinpoint detail... well, either that or hanging
around chatting, drinking tea and not doing very much at all.
When safety boat stalwart Woody
pointed out we had to leave soon to catch the tide and get under the
bridges safely we were all action and rigged the boats in a record 45
minutes (ish along with another cup of tea). There were three
enterprises out for the day, with offshore sailors Gareth Wier and
Debbie Leach out for their first time on the river.
Myself, Simon Wilgress-Pipe and
his able assistant Lucy-Jane Cypher were in the most crowded boat (not
dissimilar to Jerome K Jerome with sails) while Martin and Vian Dixon
brought along two-year-old son Charlie for some seasoned expertise.
With Woody looking regal in the safety boat, we set off in light winds.
It was an unusual day on the
Thames we had a steady wind and it was taking us in the right
direction, so we reached Barnes Bridge quickly and all passed under
safely. As we got through Barnes the wind started to pick up though and
we were having a great sail. It was also a bit of a record for most of
us on the trip the furthest upriver we'd ever been.
The trip soon became less about
the sailing and more about enjoying the scenery, fauna and tranquillity
of the river. Our reverie was only interrupted by the odd lesser
spotted sculler, displaying their trademark sweaty lycra plumage and
typical behaviour of going as fast as they can while looking in the
wrong direction (rather like their land-based cousin, the cycle
As we reached the Victorian
splendour of Kew Bridge, yours truly was clearly leading (oh, didn't I
mention it was a race? Well, it was. But only when I was in front)
though hanging back and letting the 55-ton pride of Kew through the
bridge first seemed a reasonable plan. That let the others through
first and, with some finely balanced leaning they cleared without any
problem. My turn, shouting at Wilgress-Pipe to use his ample
proportions to induce the desired cant and KLONK! Our mast hit the
bridge and we were through with only the burgee suffering from the
We soon passed Brentford (with
many a cheesey nylon reference) and had a quick beat down to Isleworth.
And what a lovely place that is. I have to admit my image of Isleworth
to date was all roundabouts and business parks, but arriving at Old
Isleworth was like sailing right into the 1950s. We pulled our boats
onto the slipway, walked past the collection of classic cars and
ensconced ourselves in the river garden of the London Apprentice.
In order to get back safely we
would have to wait for the tide to turn and so unfortunately we had to
prepare ourselves for two hours in the pub. Fellow Corinthians will
appreciate what a hardship this was. We caused some interest among the
locals and even met an erstwhile Corinthian (we tried but failed to
persuade him back to the fold he wasn't that daft).
Charlie had exhausted himself
giving father Martin much needed sailing advice and so decided to
return home with mother Vian on the bus (which was apparently VERY
exciting). So a little crew reassignment was in order and Simon
absconded and joined the good ship Dixon.
We were expecting the trip back
to be uneventful and it would have been except the offshore contingent
decided to bring some of their big boat skills to the enterprise and so
Gareth took the tiller and Debbie the mainsheet. It was not totally
successful and they capsized in winds that one may not have described
as gale force. Luckily Martin was at hand to record the event for
Once righted, it was a quick
trip back to Hammersmith for everyone and, after much needed showers, a
final drink in the Ship before heading home.
For me this was one of the best
river sailing events I've done and I felt privileged to have had the
opportunity. A magical day with great company in an exceptional place.
There are cruises throughout the summer both up and down river. Look
out for them and sign up you won't be disappointed.
by Ed Best
© London Corinthian Sailing Club, 29 Feb 2008