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Booze Cruises


Past event:   Riverbanking   Cruising or Fun racing
Sat 7th April 2012      High water: 15:55  Sunset: 19:44

Booze Cruises

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 Apprentice 

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!

Photos by Martin Dixon and Steven Gear-Evans

What, no racing? Time for a Christmas cruise...

December 30 2007

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 headsail only.

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 other better.

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 up.

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 dinghies.

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 swept past.

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 for home.

Dinghy Sailors
Times Jeremy Clarke and Margaret Orgill
Telegraph Helen Leese, Anne Barrowclough and Helen Storr
Guardian Alex Sheffield, Jude Aranha and Kate?
Independent Claire Willis and Gareth Wear
Otazelle Val Nadyelkov and Orla
Canary Bird Charlie Storr and Charlotte
Firefly Hugh and Miranda Kemlo

Safety Boat - Peter Druce Gareth Llewellyn, Beverley Beech, Begonia Serrano.

by Beverley Beech

Beers, bridges and busted burgees

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 courier).

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 impact. Oops.

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 posterity.

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

Copyright © London Corinthian Sailing Club, 29 Feb 2008