Christmas 2016 – “In the bleak midwinter”

was half the answer to one of the questions in Barnaby Scott’s taxing Christmas quiz – one of the highlights of Chipping Norton Yacht Club’s December gathering. The question was posed with a short piece of printed musical score. Easy enough if you can read music. Not if you can’t. The other half of the question? Who wrote it?

For another question he’d prepared sets of 10 timber samples, the wood of which we had to identify. Bits of doggerel were there to help. I asked him afterwards how easy this was for him, as a professional woodworker, and whether he could do it by touch and feel. “Nah!” he said, “I don’t need to touch or feel – the smell is quite enough”…

A photo competition (stitched together into a movie by Hugh Woodsend) ran on the big screen, showing something of where members had been and what they’d seen during 2016 . We saw rusting hulks, sunsets, picturesque lighthouses, speeding hovercraft, beautiful anchorages, fine wakes behind far-sighted helms(wo)men, narrowboats and gaffers. Chris Adams won with an evocative shot (below) of The Strand – the drying channel between Colonsay and Oronsay in the Inner Hebrides.

The Strand - drying channel between Colonsay and Oronsay

The Strand – drying channel between Colonsay and Oronsay

Hugh had also put together another movie with highlights of this season’s talks; from members about their sailing exploits, from sailing or maritime professionals, from authors who write about sailing.  This is now available for download at:  The login name is:  and the password: Sailing2016  – this is case sensitive.  Unless you have incredibly fast internet and no data cap, you should download the ‘small’ 842MB file.

But all this was background to an informal gathering, with Christmas as our excuse, at which we could chat to fellow enthusiasts about the things we get up to, or plan to get up to, on or around the water.