CNYC Meeting Archive – Year 2022
CNYC held it’s AGM by Zoom in January. We nearly decided to go physical but wimped out.
It was heartening to hear our Commodore’s report of 2021, in which, as he reminded us, we had managed to enjoy several “real” meetings with dinner and a talk, as well as many virtual talks. The Zoomed events improved as we became accustomed to using the technology - some adopting Caribbean seascapes as their background, some zipping in and out of media-sharing to show slides or movies. Not the same as a pub, but kept us going and in touch through the year.
Financially we have kept our flag flying with no government support whatsoever, and have resumed membership subscriptions for 2022, after living off our hump for a couple of years. Even when paying for speakers, Zooming meant we had no travel, accommodation, meal, drink, top up, or CNYC mug to fund. The result we're meeting in the flesh and enjoying some great talks from guest speakers after dinner.
Above is an image of a member not just enjoying a good dinner and talk. He's enjoying being out on the water again sailing his Yarmouth 23, a heavily-built modern gaff cutter, romping along nicely under plain sail, in Greek waters.
Chipping Norton Yacht Club keeps flag flying
CNYC held it’s AGM by Zoom in January. We nearly decided to go physical but wimped out.
It was heartening to hear our Commodore’s report of 2021, in which, as he reminded us, we had managed to enjoy several ‘real’ meetings with dinner and a talk, as well as many virtual talks. The Zoomed events improved as we became accustomed to using the technology - some adopting Caribbean seascapes as their background, some zipping in and out of media-sharing to show slides or movies. Not the same as a pub, but kept us going and in touch through the year.
Financially we have kept our flag flying with no government support whatsoever, and have resumed membership subscriptions for 2022, after living off our hump for a couple of years. Even when paying for speakers, Zooming meant we had no travel, accommodation, meal, drink, top up, or CNYC mug to fund.
There’s a full programme being organised for 2022, with the barn at the Blue Boar as our new venue. If you have an interest in joining us, or would like to come along to a meeting to test the water, you’d be most welcome. No need to own a boat, we have many already. Visit cnyc.co.uk for the programme and to make contact.
Those were the days
Member Dave Oakley entertained us this February, with a talk reminding our older members how different sailing and boating were in his youth. Dave’s father, a woodwork teacher, had his pupils build “make it and paddle it” canoes, year after year. Dave showed us flickering black-and-white movies of them battling rapids in the Ardèche, capsizing, cooking on open fires, and having a wonderfully adventurous, fun and character-building time. No lifejackets, no nannying, no fuss. Dave recalled passages on his father’s self-built plywood boat (pictured). His parents would sail through the night to the next country, beach or creek with the kids tucked up in their berths. They overheard memorable snippets of conversation from the cockpit (“d’you think we should let off a flare?”). Dave remembered being storm-bound, as gale after gale streaked through some Brittany harbour.... Later Dave’s dad fitted out a Dutch-built steel 30-footer and his parents headed off across the oceans. That’s another story.
The talk was concluded with an account of a 2020 summer cruise from Plymouth to Brittany, taking in Tréguier, Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, and Dinan (up the Rance by dinghy). His father’s son, indeed.
Sailing Super Yachts –
designing, building, and operating their masts and spars
From the days of the Vikings, masts have been held up by stays, originally rope, even in Nelson’s day, more recently by wire. Traditional square-rigged ships split the sail area into several smaller sails, which required a large number of sailors to climb the rigging to set and take in the sails, with a forest of ropes both to hold up the masts and control the sails. For super yachts, the solution has normally been to have 3 masts to increase the number of sails, but with a large sail on each mast. Starting with the iconic award-winning Maltese Falcon (292 feet long), Damon designed 3 free standing 200-foot carbon fibre masts rotating on bearings, with the square sails furled inside the masts and the angle of the sails controlled by electric motors rotating the masts. This has given this incredible yacht push button sailing. The same technology was then applied to the larger sailing yacht Black Pearl (106m), and the more controversial sailing yacht A (146m) currently impounded from its Russian owner.
The Voyage of the Globe Star
In an incredibly well-researched and well-illustrated talk Ex-Commodore Frances Miller told us about Marvin Creamer, who, in the early 80s, sailed around the world without compass, sextant, clock, watch or any electronic navigation aid - a unique and extraordinary feat.
We’d assumed this was a mad-cap, bravado exercise but, as Frances explained, it was well thought-through and planned. Creamer carried modern navigational and communication kit in a sealed bag for emergency use (never opened) and their position was covertly transmitted back home. So how was this done? Their principal source of positional information was star charts and knowing that the star directly overhead indicates where you are on the globe’s surface. Not easy to observe, from a small and heaving boat deck, and impossible under cloud cover, but you don’t need to know exactly where you are in open ocean. They knew about ocean currents and prevailing winds, had good charts, could estimate how far they’d sailed each day, and kept an eye open for other clues e.g. a land bird, or cloud formations on the horizon.
July / August 2022
The Green Blue - a joint environmental programme
Phil Horton, Environment and Sustainability Manager of the Royal Yachting Association gave our last talk of the season. His theme was The Green Blue - a joint environmental programme created by the RYA and British Marine to promote sustainable use of coastal and inland waters by recreational boaters. We play an important role in helping to protect and safeguard the waters, wildlife and habitats we enjoy. Interesting stuff!
We now enter our summer recess, with members heading off to the water, on boats scattered across the UK and Europe. Some were inaccessible through the depth of Covid restrictions, but are now being spruced up and readied for use. Quite emotional for some of us!
Recently a few of us crewed for a friend on a boat chartered from Oban, as his 60th birthday present to himself. Sailing in and around the Hebrides is challenging, with its strong tides, tricky passages, rocks and islands, and (very often) strong winds. It went well, with few mishaps. We are all still on speaking terms!
We reconvene in September for a talk on The Pioneer Sailing Trust, which provides learning opportunities for young people to equip them with skills for life, both at sea and on land.
Recovered from the depths
Rob White, Vice President of the HMS Hood Association, had the floor. Known as The Mighty Hood, HMS Hood was a British warship sunk by the German battleship Bismarck in the Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941. Tragically, only three of the 1,418 hands were saved, making it the worst loss of life from a single British warship.
A ship’s bell is symbolic of the vessel and is at the heart of the workings of the watches that set the rhythm of life afloat. In 2012 there was a failed attempt to recover HMS Hood’s bell from the deep water where she lay; a later attempt, with more modern equipment, succeeded. It was unveiled at an emotional ceremony by the Princess Royal in 2015 and is now on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.
Two heroes saved the day when a laptop glitch could have scuppered the whole meeting: speaker Rob had brought his guitar and entertained with songs while member Dave dashed home to fetch another laptop… with few spotting anything amiss!
Our last event featured a presentation on Greenland by member Hugh Woodsend. Hugh is a professional and relaxed presenter who brought his own high-tech AV kit, and we enjoyed a crisp and fascinating show partly about a cruise he and his wife had taken but also covering Greenland’s geology, history, politics, demography and economy.
Greenland is a third the size of Australia comprising (approximately) 3 islands fused together by thick ice and hundreds of (now retreating) glaciers which, if they all melted, would raise the world’s sea level by a stonking 7 metres. The population, today around 56,000, never recovered after the 1550 plague before which it exceeded 300,000.
A self-governing part of Denmark, Greenland has a rich history from its founding by Erik the Red (according to ancient sagas) over a thousand years ago. During WW2 the country’s economy was massively boosted by the refuelling of thousands of aircraft being ferried from Canada and the US to Europe. Hugh, a former test pilot, had personal experience of flying this route.
With retreating ice, the viability of the elusive North West Passage is being tested and though not easy, it could well put Greenland back on the map.