No sailing this Sunday! (It’s on Monday instead)

With our training schedule now in full flow, South Norwood Lake will host the first Level 1 course of 2015 this weekend meaning that there’s no racing this Sunday, 3 May. BUT DON’T PANIC! Our regular race session has simply be re-scheduled to Monday, 4 May instead.

The next training session is scheduled for the late May bank holiday weekend, 23-24 May, meaning racing will move to Monday, 25 May, then too.

See you there!

6 refreshed at CSC!

Last Saturday saw a flying start to Croydon Sailing Club’s 2015 training schedule when instructors Janice and Neil kicked things off with a one day refresher course for six rusty sailors.

The course started with land-based simulator work (practising manoeuvres in a Pico raised up on tyres) and quickly progressed to the lake to put that practice into action through a series of progressively more challenging exercises, with a short break for lunch and reminder of the 5 essentials.

You could see the confidence levels rising rapidly throughout the day, so we’re looking forward to seeing our newly refreshed members regularly during the rest of the Summer season!


Introducing the Croydon Yardstick

The start of the new Summer season on 12 April also sees the start of new innovation: the Croydon Yardstick (CY).

Why are Croydon Sailing Club (CSC) introducing CY?

Anyone that’s sailed at South Norwood Lake would probably agree that it is a unique sailing experience, so while the Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) has served us well for many years, it was felt that, like many other sailing clubs across the country, CSC’s yardstick should be more representative of the particular features and circumstances of our club and its location.

What is CY intended to do?

Much like a golf handicap, but calculated using classes of dinghy not individuals, CY is as an evolution of PY that will make it slightly more challenging for classes of dinghy that have performed above reasonable expectation over recent seasons and open up opportunities for classes of dinghy that have consistently underperformed over an extended period.

CY is purely intended to ensure a more level playing field for all CSC members and is not designed in any way to penalise or benefit any individual or individuals over any other.

How was it calculated?

CY is based on two of the 3 methods recommended by the RYA: manual calculations, based on recent race results, plus common sense.

In the future, we hope to bring in additional data from the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick Race Analysis Website, the third method suggested by RYA, which was not available to us this time around due to an RYA system upgrade.

How do the changes affect me?

With each class of dinghy sailed at CSC now allocated a Croydon Number (CN) rather than a Portsmouth Number (PN), the exact effect will depend on the class on dinghy you sail at CSC.

Here’s how PNs compare to CNs for the most popular dinghy classes at CSC:

Class PN CN
Byte 1190 1190
Byte C2 1146 1129
Comet 1190 1190
Enterprise 1097 1097
Firebird 1256 1256
Heron 1345 1365
Laser 1087 1103
Mirror 1385 1390
Pico 1300 1300
Topper 1313 1313

In a typical race, this means that a Byte C2 will have to gain an additional 20-30 second advantage over a Comet to win during the Summer season, and that the rest of the fleet will have to make up an additional minute on a Heron in a pursuit.

Will CY ever change?

Yes: to ensure that it remains fair to all members and dinghy classes, CY will be reviewed at the end of each season to take into account the most recent race results and changes in the make up of the CSC fleet.

CY will not change mid-season unless their are exceptional circumstances.

Mainsail on CNN

If the sailing news on this website just isn’t enough for you, one of our members has suggested taking a look at Mainsail, a regular news programme available on CNN International.

At the time of writing, CNN International is only available on satellite and cable TV in the UK, but if you don’t have either of those, don’t worry: you can watch it on the Mainsail website any time you like.


Match Racing: we have a winner!

Congratulations to Neil, winner of the first ever Match Racing day at Croydon Sailing Club!

The day saw a series of closely fought 1-on-1 races around an Olympic-style course, with racers using a combination of their sailing skills and mastery (perhaps we won’t go that far) knowledge of the rules to out-sail and outsmart their opponent in any way they could, but after all the races were run, and despite some great sailing by all, Neil was able to stay just far enough ahead to remain undefeated and become our 2015 Match Racing champion!

A big thanks to Phill for taking up the role of Match Master (sounds much better than DO, right?!) and helping to make the day such a success.

Name Wins
Neil 3
Michael 2
Ray 1
Geoff 0


REMINDER: Match Racing this Sunday!

Just a quick reminder that it’s our first ever Pico Match Racing day this Sunday, 15 March. Your chance to show your skills 1-on-1 with other members and take home the exclusive CSC Match Racing mug, to keep forever.

Match Racing is open to all members: just bring yourself and your wet/dry suit to take part, nothing else needed.

See you at 10:00 on Sunday!

Match Racing: 15 March 2015

In a change to our published schedule, Sunday, 15 March 2015 will be Croydon Sailing Club’s first official Match Racing day!

Rather than a regular fleet race, our inaugural Match Racing day will see with members going one-on-one in a series of short head-to-head races in the club’s new Picos, with the sole aim of using their skills and knowledge of the race rules (you do all remember the race rules, don’t you?) to out-sail and outsmart their opponent in any way they can to gain advantage and win the race.

The event is open to all members, so we look forward to seeing you there!

Happy New Year!

Despite the freezing weather, gusty wind, ice and fog, an amazing 11 racers turned out for the first race back after the Christmas break: the Pond Pounders Pot

No doubt spurred on by the promise of post-race mulled wine and mince pies (plus all kinds of other goodies), the race got off to a competetive start and continued in much the same way throughout, with the race order changing changing every lap until the last.

Josh (Pico) made a great start only to be scuppered by a sudden change in wind direction approacing Jetty, leaving him stuck in a header as he watched Derek (Comet), who had to restart after beginning the wrong side of center, come from nowhere to finish second and Janice (Comet) show Neil (Laser) how it’s done, beating him to fourth place by a cheeky 0.1 seconds (corrected time)!

But even Derek’s heroics weren’t enough to catch Tony (Byte CII), who came home to win of the first cup of 2015. Congratulations!

Thanks to Tommy for the photos.

Rules of racing game

If you find yourself with a few moments to spare over the Christmas break, why not check out this simple Regelspiel Uli Finckh (Rules of Racing) game:

The graphics aren’t quite PlayStation 4, but the animations are clear and concise, it only takes a few minutes to complete and is a great way to learn some of the rules while you take a well deserved break after a busy 2014.

Good spot Ray, thanks for sending it in.

Free sailing: 21 & 28 December

With a high proportion of regular members going away for the Christmas break, there’s no Winter Season racing for the next two Sundays at CSC, but the club will still be open for Free Sailing, meaning all members are welcome to come down for practice, and with a Match Racing day planned early in 2015 (watch this space for more information), it’s a great opportunity to come down and brush up on those skills, tactics and techniques you might not get the opportunity to try on a regular Sunday.

Free Sailing can only go ahead if enough people turn up, so if you’re coming down, please get to the boat park before 11am to avoid disappointment.

Don’t forget your wet (or dry) suit!

After what seemed like a never ending Summer, I think we can safely say that Winter has arrived.


So, until 15 March 2015 wet (or dry) suits are now compulsory, meaning that you will not be able to participate without one, and after that it will be at the discretion of the DO until things start to warm up again.

Wetsuits should be full length 5mm suits (one described as “5/4” or “5/4/3” is fine) and dry suits appropriate to the season.

Mini Pursuit, Maximum Excitement

Despite the predicted bad weather, there was a good turnout for the Mini Pursuit Cup earlier today, with 1 Pico, 5 Comets, a Byte CII and a Laser all lining up to take part.

Michael made a strong start in the Pico, giving himself plenty of breathing room before being hotly pursued several minutes later by a fleet of Comets and, later still, by Tony in his CII and Neil’s Laser.

Making the most of the best winds of the season so far, Neil and Tony quickly saw off the Comets (quite literally, with all of them retiring before the end of the race), before catching up and overtaking the Pico. Having made up the deficit on the CII, Neil and Tony spent most of the second half of the race jostling for position, constantly changing positions, coming close to colliding as they snuck past, out thought and outmanoeuvre each other to gain whatever advantage they could.

With 90 minutes almost over, Neil had gained a slim lead, and when “3… 2… 1… ding!” came from the side of the lake, he pumped his fist in the air. But his excitement was short lived. Because while the CII and Laser had been using all their energy to tactically jostle for position and steal each others wind, all they had been doing was playing into Michael’s hands. He hadn’t been just one lap ahead when they’d started, but two! They’d fallen into his trap and he’d beaten them both by nearly half a lap.

So, congratulations to Michael: winner of the Mini Pursuit Cup 2014.

Winter is coming!

With the Summer results announced, marking the end to the 2013-14 race calendar, all eyes are now on the 2014-15 Winter season, so it was fantastic to see such a great turn out for the first race of the series:

Thanks to Tommy for the photos.

Results for 2013-14

Well, as Summer 2014 draws to a close, it’s time for the analysis and wild speculation about the 2014-15 season to begin! But, before it does, here’s a summary of the results for 2013-14:

Winter 2013-14

Building on his form from the previous season, Winter 2013-14 was largely dominated by one individual, who has clearly found his groove after switching to the Byte CII class from Heron a number of seasons ago. But, with just over 10 points separating 2nd from 6th in the A series, the competition was clearly hotting up, with Robert showing that he was the best of the rest.

A Series

Position Name Points
1st Tony 51.5
2nd Robert 40.5
3rd Ray 37.0

B Series

Position Name Points
1st Tony 57.5
2nd Robert 40.0
3rd Geoff 35.5

Summer 2014

After finishing head and shoulders above the rest in the Winter series, Tony was nowhere to be seen in the top 3 for the A series, but clearly benefited from a nice strong coffee at half-time, pipping Neil to first place in the B series by a single point! Despite his disappointment at being pushed into second place by such a narrow margin, however, Neil’s efforts made him the highest placed Laserer (is that a word?) in the club’s history, which may offer a crumb of comfort.

A Series

Position Name Points
1st Ray 86.0
2nd Philip 80.5
3rd Peter 73.0

B Series

Position Name Points
1st Tony 60.0
2nd Neil 58.5
3rd Peter 50.5

All Seasons 2013-14

The all seasons trophy goes to the best performing sailor when all 4 series are combined, and with a win in the both the A and B Summer series and B in the Winter, the overall winner probably came as no surprise, with Ray and Geoff showing that a strong, consistent performance throughout the year can put you in a great position overall.

Position Name Points
1st Tony 240.0
2nd Ray 206.0
3rd Geoff  179.5

Cup Winners

Alongside the 4 series that make up the racing calendar, Croydon Sailing Club have hotly contested cup races once every 4-6 weeks, and with 6 different winners it shows just how competitive CSC has become!

Date Event Winner
 18/04/2014  Easter Egg Trophy Derek
 25/05/2014  Firebug Pursuit Michael
 06/07/2014  Mid-Summer Regatta  Ray
 06/07/2014  Mid-Summer Regatta (Novices) Anna
 20/07/2014  Commodore’s Cup Tony
 16/08/2014  Charity Pursuit Michael
 14/09/2014  Croydon Armada Tony
 19/10/2014  Golden Shackle Peter


What’s the fun in having a set of results if you can’t use them to speculate and make wild predictions for the future? Well, here are mine…

Favourite: Tony

With a stellar performance last Winter and a B series win in the Summer, Tony has got to be odds on favourite to retain at least one of his Winter titles and possibly even the All Seasons trophy, hasn’t he?

One to watch: Philip

Finishing a single point outside of the top 3 in the Winter A series and pushed into second place by just 5 points (less than a single DO duty) in Summer A, I predict that Philip will continue this great form to win at least one A series during 2014-15.

Dark horse: Geoff

Despite not troubling the top 3 of either Summer series, Geoff’s strong overall performance throughout the year gave him third place in the All Seasons. If he can finish an average of just one place better in each race of any given series during 2014-15, he’s in with a great chance winning the series. My prediction? Geoff will finally win one of the 4 series during 2014-15.

Up and coming: Tommy

With a recent seamanship skills course under his belt, rumours of regular practice sessions at Queen Mary reservoir and his recent performance in the club’s new Picos, Tommy shows all the signs of a future contender. Expect to see him rapidly moving up the rankings during 2014-15, giving some of the longer standing members a real run for their money.

What do you think?

Do you agree with these predictions? Or think they’re nonsense? Got any predictions of your own? Why not let us know via Twitter or Facebook!


Cheaters DO prosper

Congratulations to Neil for pumping, flapping, swaying and generally cheating his way to victory today, lapping the entire fleet in the process!

With glorious sunshine, but predicted winds of force 0 gusting to 1, DO Phill decided to liberate the fleet from rule 42 of the ISAF Racing Rules. You know, that pesky rule that says “a boat shall compete by using only the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed. Her crew may adjust the trim of sails and hull, and perform other acts of seamanship, but shall not otherwise move their bodies to propel the boat.” Although he maintained a ban on wiggling the rudder and lassoing, or otherwise tethering, dinghies to ducks and other wildlife.

Rules relaxed, the fleet used a variety of ingenious boat rocking, flapping and swaying techniques to get things moving, with Robert and Derek looking like early contenders to swindle their way to a win. But it wasn’t to be, as Neil sneaked past and never looked back to take both first place on the water and victory in the race.

I think we all know who we should keep an eye on next week, when it’s back to rules-as-usual for the Golden Shackle! 😉

Our instructors just keep getting better!

Not content to rest on their laurels, Croydon Sailing Club instructors Neil and Janice, along with prospective instructor Valeria, headed out to Queen Mary reservoir to attend a one day seamanship skills course as part of the RYA’s Instructor Professional Development CPD programme.

Running from 09:30 until just after 18:00 in force 4-5 winds, senior instructor Steve Baverstock put all the attendees through their paces, working through all the important seamanship skills, from man overboard to rudderless sailing via lee shore landings, punctuated with amazing opportunities to throw open the spinnakers and take advantage of the fantastic conditions to plane across the wide open spaces the reservoir has to offer. And practice the occasional, impromptu capsize drill.

A fantastic time had by all, so a big thanks to Steve and Queen Mary Sailing Club for hosting a great day’s sailing.

Throwing open the spinnakers

There are more pictures from the course on Facebook and, if you’re an instructor, or training to be one, you can find out more about the RYA’s CPD training days by clicking here.

CSC vs. Hurricane Bertha

When most people woke up this morning and heard that Hurricane Bertha was making its way across south London at 60mph, they promptly decided it was time to make a cup of tea and go back to bed. But then, they’re clearly not members of Croydon Sailing Club.

So, while others were sat in bed sipping hot drinks, thunder booming, rain lashing and the wind growing ever more fearsome, Tommy, Neil, John and a brand new member decided it was time to sail, and with Gordon and Dominic as DO and ADO, that’s just what they did. Twice.

With some impressive aquatic acrobatics along the way, our four intrepid sailors took on mother nature and won, taking on everything she could throw at them to complete 2 races. Some might say, ten of the most courageous and energetic laps ever completed at South Norwood Lake.