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Caution Water Blog

Below you will see some of our blog posts. To see any older posts, hit the "previous" link, and to see any newer posts, hit "next".

Thu 15

APR 2010

Sailing Taster Course at Trimley Sailing Club 2010

That time of year again - Trimpley (West Midlands) are running a taster sailing course, more details within.

Aimed at complete beginners or those with a little experience, this course is an ideal introduction to the basics and the fun and excitement of dinghy sailing. Teenagers are generally taught in a boat, most commonly the Topper, and the younger children are placed two up in an Optimist with an instructor coaching alongside from a safety boat. Adults will be buddied up with an experienced helm in either a GP14 or a Laser. The 4 week course will enable participants to gain the experience and instruction to be able to confidently helm a small dinghy. By the end of the 4 week course the participants will have developed a range of sailing skills and background knowledge and will be on their way to becoming a confident sailor. Our beginner courses run twice a year. Please note we are not an RYA qualified training centre and do not issue RYA Sailing Qualifications. Price includes full use of our Galley area, changing and showering facilities, bouyancy aids, experienced sailors instruction and boat usage. Adults £80, Youth (under 18s) £40.

The course runs at Trimley Reservor, near Kidderminster, from 9.30am on Sunday May 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd. Please contact Michelle Tromans (michelle.tromans at for more details or to book now.

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Sun 28

FEB 2010

Dinghy Show 2010

Hi all, don't forget the Dinghy Show next weekend (March 6th), we'll be there, find us and we'll have some goodies to give away!

We'll be at the RYA Dinghy Show for most of Saturday - we don't have a stand yet (that's a few years away I think!), but if you can find us (here's a clue, we'll be wearing Caution Water merchandise), we're taking a small stash of goodies with us, including fridge magnets, posters, and handy small versions of our Topper Rigging Guide, to give away to anyone who wants them. And hopefully we won't get thrown out for doing it...

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Fri 27

NOV 2009

New toy

Not much going on of late, been too busy in the real world, but we have bought a new toy, and it's Merlin Rocket shaped...

Sorry we haven't put many updates on lately, I've been trying to finish off the spinnaker series (and just put the last article, General Spinnaker Tips) live. I'm also trying to finish off the seamanship series of articles before Christmas.

A couple of weeks ago, after yet another frustrating day sailing the Laser 2 on a lake too small for a scale model of it, we discussed what boat we'd like to sail there. It's a pretty shifty small lake, so any boat that needs long beats or runs is out of the question (like the Laser 2). We wanted something competitive.

We discussed an Enterprise as we've had much success in them there before, and while they're a nice boat, it won't push us (no spinnaker, not much rope to tweak). Also, the Ent's that Bec likes, the Jack Holt ones (the best classic ones available) go for just over a grand. I'm always wanting a fast whizzy boat, and we'd also just done a couple of races in the club 420, which sailed like a real treat after getting used to the increased tippyness. It's a crime it doesn't get sailed more often, but it's a "memorial" boat, donated by the parents of someone local, memorial in the sense that it's left to rot in the corner of the dinghy park. I won't say who it's a memorial boat from, in case any relatives read it and get upset, but it's a real shame. We're pushing to use it more, but it's an uphill struggle against people who think it's too precious to sail.

So, I suggested a Merlin Rocket, not knowing much about them other than the one we saw at the Dinghy Show last year looked very nice with lots of complicated string. We went and researched it, and discovered that as they were originally designed as a river boat, they're pretty nimble, and good in small areas of water, so might be vaguely competitive against Mirrors. Plus with all the tweaking you can do, there's plenty of room for improvement. We had a look around, had a look at a couple, and finally managed to pick one up for a spectacular price from Bala Sailing club. I won't say how much - but less than £500. A real bargain - we just helped sell Bec's bosses Mirror for the same price we picked the Merlin up for which is astonishing really.

Built in 1977, 3146, Sledgehammer is a Smoker's Satisfaction design, one of the most popular of the time. Built by the Roswell Brothers and designed by Phil Morrison, who later went on to design half of the RS boats, it's a very wide boat, at six and a half feet, and very spacious inside. It needed a little work doing, as one of the gunwhales had some rotten wood (fortunately not very deep). I spent most of last week working on it (5 days under a giant blue tarp out of the rain and wind), and it's now filled and varnished, and should last while longer. Not a very pretty job I have to admit, but nothing short of a re-gunwhale would restore it to it's former beauty. I'll get some photos up soon - it's not as bad as it sounds!

Unfortunately, due to crappy weather and a holiday (not sailing), we've not managed to sail it yet. We had a half hour long maiden voyage, in very light winds, to discover two things:

1. It does go well in light winds;
2. A three and a half feet long rudder, and a 5 feet long centreboard pose a problem when half of your lake is only three feet deep or less.

Some rudder modifications (a bit of rope, bungee and some pulley blocks) later we had a rudder downhaul, which isn't perfect but is functional, and another piece of bungee to hold down the centreboard. If we decide to keep the boat, I'll spend the time to make a new rudder blade, but for the time being we're waiting for conditions to improve to get used to it. It's an incredibly tippy boat, which we coped pretty well with in light winds. However, the week after, we took it out in pretty gusty conditions, and lasted 10 whole minutes before capsizing in four feet of water. After getting the boat back up, it was full to the brim with water, and we had to be towed back to land by the safety boat. Which brings me nicely to the final (current) modification we're making on the Merlin.

It now has a nice big shiny orange bucket stowed in the crew compartment. Photos soon...

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