Sail Practice Events

Amongst the racing calendar this year, the sailing committee have introduced Sail Practice Events. These are favourable tides where members can practice sailing manoeuvres such as spinnaker hoist and drops, tacking, gybing, sail trimming and helming outside of race conditions.

The remaining sail practice events for 2024 are as shown below. If your boat hasn’t been beyond the lock for a while and you’d like to practice your sailing manoeuvres in the company of other boats, these may be the events for you! Non-racing members and other Portishead Marina users are all welcome. If you are planning to go out, please let our Sailing Secretary, Matt Bundell know so he can let you know how many other boats will be joining you.

The remaining Sail Practice Events for 2024 are:

  • 11th August, HW 11h50, HT 11.m
  • 1st September, HW 19h21, HT12.1m
  • 14th September, HW 16h57, HT 10.2m

Ordinarily we leave the marina approximately an hour or so before high water and return to the marina an hour or so after high water. This is then typically followed by a pint or two at the sirens to debrief on what was seen from fellow vessels on the water!

Bristol Harbour Cruise

Given the recent weather, a club social around Bristol Harbour may not have been a wise choice! However, for our summer social, the sun shone and everyone enjoyed a couple of hours cruising around the harbour, stopping off at the Grain Barge and chatting about the passing view or recent sailing adventures.

Boarding the Bristol Ferry Matilda at the Nova Scotia boarding stage and after dodging the many sailing dinghies, paddle boards and other craft enjoying the good weather, our cruise took in many of Bristol Harbour’s familiar sights.

From a glimpse of the MV Balmoral ensconced in dry dock as she undergoes an extensive refit to the passing of the impressively restored SS Great Britain through to sights of Bristol’s waterfront of yesteryear, it was the perfect venue for this year’s summer social.

If you’d like to join a club that has social events, cruising and racing but don’t know where to start, contact us to find out more! We have our weekly club night from 20h30 at the Old Mill pub at the seaward end of Portishead High Street on Wednesdays and new or prospective members can always be assured of a warm welcome.

Lydney Rally 2024

Photo credit: Lydney Yacht Club

Lydney Yacht Club have invited members to attend their annual rally. The event will be on Saturday 7th September 2024. High Water is at 11:06 with a 7.5m tide and as an added incentive, the EA are allowing boats to stay in the harbour free of charge for the event.

Vessels can arrive on the Friday tide should they prefer – if so Will Gissing is planning a pre-Rally get together on Isis Tres. All vessels will need to leave on Sunday’s tide.

The Yacht Club will be holding a BBQ on Saturday evening and they invite any musicians to bring along their instruments for some live music. The bar will be open and camping is available to anyone that wises.

The EA are stating a maximum of 12 boats or so in the harbour so apply early to guarantee the space as LYC will apply a first-come first-served basis.

Please note that the EA require LYC to notify them 7 days in advance and then 24 hours before arrival (you’ll get an email to remind you!)

If you’d like to attend, please email Will Gissing ( ASAP and let him know the following. An email confirmation will then be provided.

  • Details of the boat – name, LOA, draft, name of skipper & number of persons on board
  • Insurance certificates (EA requirement!)

EA Requirements

Please see below the conditions the EA require to be observed for visiting boats. In order to meet point 6 we need to ask you to provide insurance documents. You will note point 1 refers to the risk assessment which can be found here.

1) LYC will ensure full compliance with all Safety Parameters as discussed with the EA and as outlined in the attached Risk Assessment.

2) The overall responsibility for compliance with Lydney Harbour Safety regulations will remain with Lydney Yacht Club – so please behave or we’ll be in trouble!!

3) It will be necessary for all participants’ boat owners to sign a “Letter of Consent,” which the EA will provide to the club later.

4) The EA need details of incoming boats no later than 7 days prior to the event and then confirmation 24 hours before arrival. Will will do this and furnish EA & LYC with the final list including details of the visiting boats.

5) As a gesture of goodwill, this year there will be no mooring fee for the participants; however, please be aware that this may change in the future.

6) Please ensure that all invited boats are fully insured and compliant with local and national marine laws, including River Severn byelaws 1974.

LYC look forward to seeing you 

All the very best

Will and the LYC committee.

Ctrl-J Scores Shanghai Hatrick

Over the weekend of 29th /20th June, PCC crews headed to Cardiff for the second weekend of the annual Shanghai Cup, Bristol Channel IRC Championships and Nimrod Cup. This time hosted by co-organisers Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, crews once again pitted their skills and tactics in pursuit of arguably one of the most impressive cups available!

Going into the Cardiff leg, PCC boats were well placed in the overall leaderboard so stellar performances were needed to maintain their standings. In stark contrast to the first day of the Portishead leg, winds at Cardiff were light so crews had the extra pressure of keeping their sails full.

With Sunday’s conditions being broadly similar to Saturday’s, crews sailed six races across the weekend in addition to the three sailed previously in Portishead.

After the racing, crews headed back to Cardiff Bay Yacht Club for the results and prize giving and it was PCC boat Ctrl-J, skippered by Andy Williams that took first prize overall. However, the accolades didn’t stop there as this was the third time in a row that Ctrl-J had won giving them a Shanghai Cup hatrick! Jaloha, the J/80 from Pembroke Haven Yacht Club came 2nd overall and PCC boat Hero completed the podium positions with 3rd overall.

As another successful Shanghai Cup, Bristol Channel IRC Championships comes to a close, the organising committee extends their thanks to all the competitors from across the Bristol Channel for taking part and to all the race committee, mark layers, scorers and photographers who ensure that the racing can be safely and successfully run. The racing will return next year.

PCC crews will now continue their club racing before some of the boats head off to Ireland for Volvo Cork Week in the middle of July. The next big Bristol Channel event will be the Holms Race on 28th September.

If you’d like to join future races but don’t know where to start, contact us to find out about the latest crewing opportunities that may be available. You don’t need a boat to join in the fun!

Photos by Timothy Gifford

Racing & The Waverley

Racing off Portishead often means that crews need to also share the water with other vessels either out for a sail or commercial traffic heading in and out of Avonmouth and Royal Portbury docks.

During Cockburn 2 on the 1st June, the fleet were excited to spot the unmistakable hull shape of the PS Waverley, the world’s last seagoing paddle steamer. As she docked into Portishead the fleet enjoyed great views of her from the water – and those onboard Waverley also witnessed the spectacular sight of the PCC fleet with spinnakers flying as they completed a downwind leg of the course. Arriving into Portishead from Clevedon, Waverley was making a short stop before heading off for a cruise around the Holm Islands.

Aside from the spectacle of a paddle steamer making way through our local waters, the crews were impressed at her speed too! As National Historic Ships UK National Flagship of the Year 2024, it’s always a great sight to see her in the Bristol Channel.

After a brief break for the Shanghai Cup, Cork Week and some of the club’s downside races, the Cockburn Series will continue on 28th July where the penultimate race will doubtless have a bearing on who will be the winner of this key series of the club’s racing program.

If you’d like to join future races but don’t know where to start, contact us to find out about the latest crewing opportunities that may be available. You don’t need a boat to join in the fun!

Photo Credit: Chris Armitage

Shanghai Cup @ Portishead

In partnership with Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, PCC hosted the first leg of the 2024 Shanghai Cup, the Bristol Channel IRC Championships and the Nimrod Cup in King Road just off Portishead over the weekend of 15th/ 16th June.

Unfortunately, Saturday’s racing program was cancelled on safety grounds given the strong winds and gusts over 30 knots that were forecast and which duly arrived. This meant crews spent the day either fine-tuning their Sunday racing plans or sampling the delights of Portishead’s many marina-side bars!

With new weather, Sunday provided a full racing program in near perfect conditions. Crews from Thornbury, Portishead, Cardiff and even Pembroke put their tactical racing skills into action as racing saw the fleet beat up to the outfall bouy and then back down to channel markers and laid marks just off Portishead.

With spinnakers flying and close-hauled racing, the fleet made for a great sight from the shore but it was PCC boat Ctrl-J, skippered by Andy Williams that took 1st place in two out of the three races sailed. And, in a great day for PCC yachts, the club took 1st and 2nd place overall for Ctrl-J and Hero, who took 1st place in the second race, with other club member’s boats Scrumpy-J in 6th place and Assassin in 9th. Full racing results are on the official regatta website.

The crews now head to Cardiff for the second leg of the regatta over the weekend of 29th/ 30th June where the weekend concludes with the formal prize giving.

Running a weekend regatta is a team sport in itself so PCC would like to thank our sponsors and those individuals that provided their time to be race officers, supplied their boat as the committee boat and our mark layers and photographers. Final thanks to the social team for organising another fine drinks party at the boat hoist on Saturday afternoon.

If you’d like to join future races but don’t know where to start, contact us to find out about the latest crewing opportunities that may be available. You don’t need a boat to join in the fun!

Photos by David Mumford.

Portishead to Portland

By Stu Phipps, PCC Cruising Captain

After a fun bank holiday cruise in company up to the Severn bridges, it was time to move my boat, Segeta from Portishead to Portland.

Leaving Portishead, Martin and I had a brisk South Westerly on the nose and fairly lively conditions until we got to Ilfracombe later that evening. Overnight, the wind disappeared and we motor sailed. As the daylight returned we enjoyed sunshine all the way down the Cornish coast until Lands End which we reached in the late afternoon. Perhaps this was our reward to see the chimney’s at St Just in full sunshine after our ‘spicy’ start leaving the upper reaches of the Bristol Channel!

Rounding Lands End, we spotted fellow PCC members who had left Padstow earlier in the day and were heading just round the corner to Newlyn. Our course though was to continue to Portland and so we set about organising our overnight watch shifts. After a few hours without much breeze it soon filled in so we turned the engine off and sailed our course.

During Martin’s watch he thought he was seeing things on the AIS but in fact we were in the middle of a French yacht race with approximately 14 boats heading for us and the bobbing green and red navigation lights were headed in our direction. We were well clear of them but gave them a wave as we continued on our way.

The following morning and we were just off Dartmouth and the wind filled in on our stern quarter. This meant we could power across the significant distance of Lyme Bay and make the tidal gate around Portland Bill at 16h00. As we approached I thought we were close enough to the land for the inner route but as the tide was running fast we drifted into the edge of the race for 5 minutes. This was enough of a nudge to ensure that next time I’ll get even closer as we experienced 6 – 8 feet waves which were extremely confused!

After a successful rounding, we headed into the Boatfolk Portland Marina and were allocated a visitors berth for the evening. As ever, the staff at Portland, a sister facility to Portishead, were very helpful and came to meet us. We’d radioed them and explained we were sailing short handed and very tired having been going for 49 hours. Of more concern was the strong wind coming off Chisel Beach into the marina which made berth hunting much harder. All tied up we headed to Portland and found a local pub which although not serving food, allowed us to bring back a Chinese takeaway to enjoy with a well deserved pint. A good end to our trip!

Portland Bill. Source: Wikipedia, By Simaron.

Downtide Bank Holiday Cruise

By Stu Phipps, PCC Cruise Captain

With some decent weather finally in sight, our bank holiday cruise program could finally get underway.

We’d like to thank the 6 boats from Portishead Marina and PCC who joined the first cruise up to the Prince of Wales Bridge on June 1st. With the wind from the north, our outbound leg gave us some great upwind sailing practice and involved plenty of tacks as we headed up through the channel markers between the two Severn bridges.

We had hoped to anchor at the unappealingly named Slime Road for a short picnic but the dropping wind meant that most of us decided to use the remaining wind for a downwind cruise back to the marina while eating.

Everyone had a great day out and the club would like to welcome Allen and Jane as new members to PCC and look forward to seeing them out sailing with us again soon.

If you have a boat and would like to explore beyond the lock in the company of some PCC boats, let us know. We’ll put your name on the list and let you know next time we’re out.

River Severn Cruise

With another bank holiday weekend ahead and the locks fully operational again, PCC are eager to get back out onto the waters of the Bristol Channel!

To celebrate the start of the season, on Saturday 1st June, the club extends an invitation to any boat moored in Portishead Marina to join us. We’re planning to head up to some hidden places under the Severn Bridge, anchor for a picnic and then return on the tide.

This is an ideal opportunity to get together over the bank holiday weekend for some fun sailing, provide an opportunity to meet some fellow Portishead-based sailors and discuss future cruises planned for the 2024 season.

If you haven’t been out beyond the lock recently, would like to join in but would also like to benefit from having someone aboard to help you with the navigation etc, please contact us as we may be able to connect you with a PCC member who can join you for the afternoon and impart some local sailing knowledge.

High water on Saturday 1st June is 15h20 BST. The plan is to lock-out and muster at Portishead Pier two hours before high water. Please listen in on VHF Channel 37 for any mustering information from either Stuart or Geoff.

Our adventure will only take place in good weather. As a guide, we’ll sail up channel in a force 3 and if the wind is blowing force 4, we’ll likely head up to the Suspension Bridge via the River Avon. As is tradition, we’ll then round the afternoon off with a social drink at the Sirens Calling.

If you’d like to join us, just complete the form below and include your mobile number so we can add you to a WhatsApp group for more information.

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