Merry Christmas!

As we complete the final race of the year before taking a short festive break, we’d just like to take a moment say thank you to all of our members for making 2019 another fantastic year at CSC and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

See you on 5th January 2020 for the Pond Pounders Pot followed by a social in the Waterside Centre from around 2pm; all members welcome, bring along left over Christmas fare to share.

Updated weather guidance for DOs (and today’s fantastic winter race)

With forecast wind speeds of 20mph+ and gusts of nearly 40mph at South Norwood Lake, today’s race was the first to implement CSC’s new adverse weather guidelines for DOs.

On this occasion, despite the forecast, the race went ahead and 7 adventurous members had a fantastic first race (even if 3 did retire), and 4 even decided to continue battling mother nature in a second, with many choosing to take advantage of the club Picos and Hartley 12.2s. And judging by the messages on the racing WhatsApp group, it was almost as much fun to watch as to take part!

A massive thank you to Kathy (DO), Maria & Carl (ADOs), and Robert for an enjoyable day and all your help in the safety boat.

So, what are these new guidelines?

With the possible exception of an extreme weather warning or very heavy rain on the day of the race, CSC recommend that any decision regarding whether a race should go ahead by a duty officer (DO) should be made at the lake, taking into account factors including:

  1. Based on the conditions at the lake on the day of the race, are you confident that you will, with the help of your ADO or ADOs, be able to assist any member who gets into difficulty during the race? (No = no go); and
  2. Are all of the members wishing to take part in the race experienced enough to handle the conditions? (No = politely tell them that they can’t take part, it’s better for a member to be disappointed once than be put off for life by a bad experience)

Races should go ahead wherever possible, but do not feel pressured into going ahead with a race if you are not confident that it can be run safely.

Photograph courtesy of Kathy.

Fisherman releases 1,000 fish into South Norwood Lake in memory of his mum

A lifelong fisherman has donated more than 1,000 fish in commemoration of his mother, to help give a lasting boost to the population in South Norwood Lake.

John Vincent worked with Croydon Council staff to bring about 500 tench and 500 bream to the lake in memory of his mum Betty Vincent, who died in September 2018 aged 90.

For full article, see Croydon & Sutton Guardian article here.

Each of the fish were 4 years old, weighing 8 or 9oz (225-250g) each, bred at a fishery in East Devon

Members Tony and Richard were there, plus representatives from the council, press and fisherman, and of course the guy that bought the fish, about 20 in total.

Mini Pursuit Cup 2019: Results

With a chill wind and forecast gusts of up to 28mph, it was great to see so many members turn out for this year’s Mini Pursuit Cup on Sunday, 1 December 2019.

The 60 minute pursuit (it is “mini” after all) saw the club Topaz head off first, followed a minute later by the Comets, the Byte CIIs 3 minutes after that and finally the Lasers.

As the race progressed, the fleet of Comets began to spread out, with Tim, Andy and John M breaking away at the head of the pack, and the Lasers cutting through from the back, having overtaken Tony’s CII, following a wrong turn at Bog that left him in a dead spot, but as the Lasers tussled for position, Neil’s attempt to gain the advantage instead meant his course was not made so good, leaving him floundering at Hermit, watching Richard round the mark and disappear off in the direction of Island.

With the race coming to a close, Tim, John M and Andy had managed to extent their lead over the rest of the Comets, but with just one lap to go Andy (claiming he had heard the finishing bell) relaxed a little too soon and capsized at bog, literally falling out of the top 3. Richard, meanwhile, had made his way past all but one member of the fleet and was lining up to sneak through on the inside when… Ding! Ding!

And so, after 60 minutes, the results were:

  1. Tim (Comet)
  2. Richard (Laser)
  3. John M (Comet)

So, congratulations to Tim, a big thanks to Robert (DO) and Mark (ADO) for running a great race, and hat tip to Martin, who stayed upright for the entire race and and finished in a respectable 7th place in the club Topaz, despite it being just his second time taking it out.

Q. What do you call a “heap” of Comets?

With 8 Comets seemingly all stuck at Island mark during the second race yesterday, DO Richard posed an interesting question: “What do you call a ‘heap’ of Comets?”

What do you call a ‘heap’ of Comets?

So, we thought we’d open it up to our members. Let us know your thoughts by replying to this post on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll publish the best answers here next week!

A rather more elegant formation during the first race

UPDATE: And the best suggestions were (in no particular order)…

  • A “shame” of Comets (as in “oh, what a shame, all the Comets are stuck at Island” … from one of our more sarcastic non-Comet sailors 😉 )
  • A “bang” of Comets (because other than the banging into each other, there’s not a lot going on)
  • A “planet” of Comets (going back to the big bang for all you science fans)
  • A “coggle” of Comets (in a nod to the “gaggle” of geese looking at them at the lake); and finally
  • A “constellation” of Comets (keeping nicely in context, while acknowledging the complete lack of movement)

We also had some more literal suggestion of a “shower”, “blast” or “collission” of Comets, but thought they implied that they’re actually moving!

If you want to check out any of the other suggestions, head on over to our Facebook page or Twitter feed using the icons at the top of the page.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a suggestion!

RESULTS: Golden Shackle 2019

The Golden Shackle marks the beginning of the Winter Season and is unique in the CSC racing calendar, being the only cup race that takes place across 2 consecutive Sundays. This year’s race took place on 20th and 27th October, with two races in each session and the winner decided using the best 3 of 4 results under the bonus point system (where 1st = 0, 2nd = 3, 3rd = 5.7, etc).

With 12 members taking part, the first leg saw nearly half the fleet come away with less than 20 points and at least one score in single digits, so there was all still to play for.

However, as members stopped for a coffee break on week 2, it was clear that the field was narrowing, with Tim picking up 2 wins and a 4th (8 points) and Rob a win, a second and a 4th (11 points). Could Tim hold on? Or would Rob up his game to snatch the trophy?

#NameRace 1Race 2Race 3Race 4Best 3Tie break
3John M8331014
11Tim M1817

That’s right, with Rob finishing in 1st place and Tim in second, both players finished on 3 points, and with their dropped result added back in as a tie break they both had 11, so in another CSC first, this year’s Golden Shackle was declared a tie.

Congratulations to Rob & Tim, this year’s winners of the prestigious Golden Shackle trophy!

Wet or dry suits REQUIRED from 17 November 2019

With the weather rapidly getting colder, we recommend that all on-water participants at CSC now wear a wet or dry suit, which will be compulsory from Sunday, 17 November 2019 until the end of February 2020.

If you’re looking to buy a new wet or dry suit for the Winter, there are lots of bargains to be had online right now at sites like Amazon and Wetsuit Outlet, but it’s important to make sure you get one that’s suitable for the conditions.

For a wetsuit, that means a 5mm or thicker full length suit, which includes suits labelled “3/5mm”, “4/5mm” or similar, meaning they have slightly thinner arms to help you to move more freely.

You may also want to consider buying a rash vest to go underneath, which not only prevent your wetsuit rubbing and chafing, but also helps to keep you a little bit warmer.

No wet or dry suit means no sailing, no exceptions.

Cold feet?

We often have members complaining about getting cold feet around this time of year, so if you’re suffering from chilly toes, we highly recommend getting yourself some neoprene wetsuit socks like these.

RESULTS: Hartley Head-to-Head 2019

With forecasts of heavy rain, thunder and lightning at South Norwood Lake in the lead up, it was a great surprise when DO John’s WhatsApp message arrived first thing on Sunday morning to confirm that the that the inaugural Hartley Head-to-Head was going ahead, with twelve members turning up to take part on what thankfully turned out to be a dry and breezy, and capsize free (just!), day.

Organised into six teams of two, the teams completed three rounds of a round robin tournament, with each race consisting of two laps around a triangular (In-I-B-H) course, with the helm and crew swapping after the first lap. There were a number of standout moments, but the highlight (for spectators anyway) must surely have been when Geoff & Oliver almost beat John M and Rob in the last stretch of their race despite a disastrous start involving a detached boom.

The efficacy of the teams was born out by every sailor succeeding in winning at least one race! After 9 races three teams had won two races and three had one win, thus providing the perfect opportunity of two final race-offs using all three Hartleys, resulting in the following placings:

  1. Tony & Valeria
  2. Tim & Richard
  3. Rob & John M
  4. Andy & Neil
  5. Steve & Jackie
  6. Geoff & Oliver (with John M standing in for Geoff in last two races)

The best race time of the day was achieved by Andy &Neil in the final race-off, finishing the race in just 8 minutes 9 seconds.

We were honoured to have our Commodore present the winners cups to Tony & Valeria, and post-race chat indicated that it had been a successful event enjoyed by all, so it definitely looks like it’s going to be an annual fixture on the Sunday racing calendar.

So, a massive thank you to DO John and ADO Arthur for making our inaugural Hartley Head-to-Head such a fantastic success… Although perhaps we won’t let members choose their own partners next time 😉

Adapted for web from original race report by John. Images courtesy of Denis and Geoff.

REMINDER: Hartley Head-to-Head, 6th October 2019

Here at Croydon Sailing Club we’re always open to suggestions for new cup races and events. We try to include at least one experimental event in each of our race seasons, some of which are popular enough to become a regular feature.

Following the success of our annual Pico Match Racing event, we’ve had a number of requests from members to consider including more double-hander events in our racing calendar. So, on Sunday 6th October we invite members to take part in our first ever Hartley Head-to-Head (or Head-to-Head-to-Head if there’s a larger turnout).

Here’s (roughly) how it’ll work:

  • Members interested in taking part should arrive by 10:00 to help setup, with the first race getting underway at 10:30 sharp
  • Teams will be made up of mixed-ability pairs, with more seasoned members paired up with those with less experience
  • Using a round-robin format, we’ll aim for each team to race each of the other teams at least once (or at least have the same number of races, if this isn’t possible)
  • A simple triangular course will be used
  • Each race will consist of 2 teams and 2 laps, with the helm and crew swapping roles/positions at the end of the first lap, wherever possible (exceptions may be made for mobility issues, for example)
  • The start will consist of a 1 minute signal, followed by a start signal, rather than the usual 5-4-1-Go, so that we can fit in as many races as possible
  • The winning team will be the one with the most wins
  • If there are 2 or 3 teams with equal numbers of wins, there will be a race-off to decide the winner

If there’s a large turnout, the DO can at their discretion, include 3 teams in each race to minimise downtime for each team between races.

See you on Sunday!

REMINDER: Comet Cup, Sunday 4th August

That’s right, this Sunday is the CSC Comet Cup!

The Comet Cup is a short knockout tournament, with 2 semi-finals, a final and a race off*, with each race lasting around 25 minutes and (as the name suggests) all participants racing in Comet class dinghies.

If you’re a member of CSC and would like to take part, please arrive at the boat park by 10:00 to help set-up and for a pre-race briefing by the duty officer.

See you Sunday!

* format may vary depending on turnout

RESULTS: Mid-Summer Regatta 2019

On 23rd June, more that 20 members headed down to South Norwood Lake for our annual Mid-Summer Regatta, with 15 taking part in the on water activities, including families and juniors, regular Go Sailing attendees and racers.

The first event was a triple-hander, with teams of three sailing three laps of the lake, swapping helm at the end of each lap.

After a short pit-stop for a cup of tea, the second race was our popular Pico Tag event, this year seeing 5 teams of 2, with each member doing 2 laps each, swapping after each lap.

And with everyone refuelled after lunch (a big thanks to everyone who contributed something), the final event of the day saw three teams of 4 taking part in another “tag” event, this time with 2 members doing a lap each of the lake in Picos, with the remaining members of the team (plus one of the Pico sailors as crew) doing 2 laps in the Hartleys, with each lap helmed by a different team member.

With all 3 races complete, we added up the scores (using the racing system of 0 for 1st, 3 for second, 5.7 for third and so on) for everyone that took part in all 3 events and the top 5 was:

  • =1st (8.7) – Danny
  • =1st (8.7) – Paul
  • 3rd (9) – Andy
  • 4th (13) – John M
  • 5th (13.7) – Dirk

A fantastic day had by all, and a big thanks to co-DOs Richard and Neil for making it such a great success.

REMINDER: Mid-Summer Regatta 2019 on 23 May

Just a quick reminder that it’s our annual Mid-Summer Regatta on 23rd June 2019, meeting at 10:00-10:30 with the first race scheduled to start at 11:00.

The event is open to everyone, regardless of whether you normally attend our racing or Go Sailing sessions, and is a chance to meet, sail with and get to know members that you might not normally see.

On the day, there will be 3 or more team-oriented events throughout the day, with a cup of tea after the first and a buffet lunch at around 13:00, with everyone asked to bring some food to share.

Look forward to seeing you on 23rd!

REMINDER: Commodore’s Cup this Sunday, 5/5/19

Just a quick reminder that it’s the Commodore’s Cup this Sunday, 5 May 2019.

Being the Commodore’s, this is a cup race with a twist: before the first race begins, the Commodore (or highest ranking committee member present) is presented with the cup, and he then gets a 1 minute a 4 minute head start in each race (he’s in a Heron after all) before the rest of the fleet get the chance to chase him down.

Can you catch the Commodore and take his cup away?

RESULTS: Easter Egg Cup 2019

Congratulations go to Derek, who just pipped Tim to because this year’s winner of the Easter Egg Cup!

With winds of force 2-3, gusting 4, the first race was won by Derek (Comet), closely followed by Tim (Comet).

Tim came close to reversing that result in the second, leading the race for 6 laps until Derek took advantage of a change in wind direction as they neared the finishing line and, in what was very nearly a photo finish, took first place by less than half a boat length.

So the results were as follows:

  1. Derek
  2. Tim
  3. Geoff == Phil
  4. Andy
  5. Denis
  6. Jackie

RESULTS: Pico Match Racing 2019

After being delayed for several weeks due to extreme weather conditions, our annual Pico Match Racing event, which celebrates the first race meeting of the year that wetsuits are no longer compulsory with a series of 1-on-1 races in a round-robin format, finally took place on 17 March, and despite the chilly and rather gusty conditions, 13 members turned out to take part.

With DO Stephen in charge, racing got underway at 10:30 around a triangular course, with each race made up of just a single lap starting between Jetty mark and the pontoon, around Island and Hermit markers and back again.

By the time racing paused for a well earned tea break, all participants had completed 3 races, but just 2 had managed to keep a clean sheet, John M and Neil, who were lined up for a final race off, which couldn’t have been closer.

John got a fantastic start, leading as they rounded the first mark, but it was almost neck-and-neck by the time they reached Hermit, where John turned decisively towards Centre on a single tack strategy and Neil decided to head close hauled straight for the finish line, but whose tactics would pay off?

Half way to the finish, Neil had pulled slightly ahead, but John’s decision was clearly paying off, rapidly picking up speed as he turned towards the line… and if the course had been just a metre longer it might have worked, but Neil held on by a nose to clinch victory and become our Pico Match Racing winner for 2019!

So, after a 4 way race off between members with 2 wins, the final results were:

  1. Neil
  2. John M
  3. Richard

REMINDER: Pico Match Racing – 3 March 2019

To mark the end of wetsuit season, it’s time for our annual Pico Match Racing event! For those of you who haven’t taken part before, here’s an introduction from DO John:

Next Sunday (3rd March) is the annual Pico Match Racing trophy for which I’m DO. The normal race format is suspended for the day and only the four Picos being used for the races (2 racing and 2 getting ready for the next race) will be allowed on the lake.

Pico Match Racing will ideally be a round robin tournament (everyone races everyone else once) but if turnout is too high then the default will be that everyone has the same number of races.

The winner of the trophy will be the member who wins the most races — if it’s a tie, the overall winner is the person who won when they raced each other; if they haven’t raced, there will be a final race off.

The course will be short, with just 2 or 3 buoys and a single lap. There will be a one minute start (three short blows will warn of the imminent one minute start whistle so that you can set your stop watches and the next whistle will be the start).

After the race is over, please get the boats back to the jetty ASAP for handover so the next race can be started without delay.

In order to fit in as many races as possible I hope to start the first race by 10:30am, so please can participants turn up by 10am and rig up 4 Picos – just main sails, no jibs.

See you on Sunday!

Icicle Cup 2019 – Race Report

Living up to its name, this year’s Icicle Cup was delayed by a week due to the lake freezing over, but it was well worth the wait! Here’s the race report from DO Richard:

With blustery weather and winds of 17mph gusting to 26 (mainly NW, but switching to N and W at times to keep racers on their toes), we got off to a slow start as it wasn’t clear how many would be racing. In the end 7 for the first race and 8 for the second.

After an epic battle with Ray, the first race was won by Tim, who got a flying start and eventually won by overtaking Ray between Bog and Hermit on the final lap to win, with Steve a steady third and Martin (Pico), Andrew (Byte) and John (sailing the Hartley 10 single handed) making up the chasing pack.

Geoff had an eventful first race, going the wrong way at least once, snagging a fishing line three times (!) and seemingly using Brownian motion to plot his way around the course finishing last.

Dennis (Heron) joined in the second race, with Bog mark switched out for Centre to take account of changes in wind conditions. This time, it looked like Geoff was in for a complete reversal of fortune after a stunning start, but he couldn’t hold off Ray, who was able to reel him in to take first place, with Steve once again third and Tim, unable to repeat his earlier performance, leading the chasing pack of John, Andrew, Martin and Dennis.

So, after 2 races with Croydon Yardstick and cup point applied, the results were:

  1. Ray
  2. Tim
  3. Steve

Thank you to Rob and Patrick for helping with ADO duties.

Temperatures down, attendance up!

Despite temperatures dropping below 1°C and many of us having to scrape ice off our dinghies before we could get set up, 13 intrepid members turned up for last Sunday’s Winter season race, a record turnout for a January race (at least since I’ve been Sailing Secretary).

It was certainly chilly, but otherwise a beautiful winter sunshine day with light but consistent winds throughout (by South Norwood Lake standards anyway).

Images courtesy of members Phil (top) and Luke (bottom).

Sunday League 2017-18 – Results

For anyone that wasn’t at the AGM last week, here are the Sunday League results for 2017-18:

Winter 2017-18

View Fullscreen

Summer 2018

View Fullscreen


Results are calculated using each participant’s best 10 results, where 14 points are given for 1st place, 13 for 2nd and so on.

“A” series races are the ones starting at 10:30 and “B” series those starting just after midday.

Highlighted dates indicate races or events that are not part of the Sunday League calendar, for example cup races (gold), training (red) or free sailing (green); the Summer season was shortened due to blue-green algae.

Ancient Mariners 2018 – Results

Despite the lake being closed for several months due to blue-green algae, our Wednesday afternoon Ancient Mariners league managed 25 races this season, with just 9 points separating the top 3:

View Fullscreen

Final results were calculated using the same system as our Sunday leagues, with each participant’s score based on their best 10 results, where 14 points are given for 1st place, 13 for 2nd and so on.