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NEWSLETTER 2021-01 (45)


23rd May 2021

Greetings Fellow Penguins,


Yes - Pugwash is still here!

Pugwash has finally realised that is is NEARLY A YEAR since publishing a Penguin newsletter - it’s not as if there were other pressing things (like sailing) to do over that period. . . . . 

I can only apologise - as the few smidgeons of news have been about cancelled cruises (Commodore’s newsletter late last year). The committee and cruise organisers have had a frustrating year - to say the least!!!

We hope to offer some crumbs of comfort for the ensuing 18 months and, happily, the West Country and Scillies Cruise, together with the Canaries Cruise, are still going ahead as planned (see further notes from respective  cruise organisers).

However, the last year (and a bit) haven’t been entirely devoid of sailing adventures -The Vendee Globe race has provided some vicarious (or should it be sadistic) pleasure in tracking the intrepid fleet around the globe - well done Pip!  Also, the America’s Cup - together with some amazing graphics - was fun to watch - albeit disappointing for us Brits!  Sadly a rather sedentary season for most of us armchair sailors!


On a note of sadness though . . . .




Dr C E Davies (Cliff) - April 1946 - May 2021


Penguin since 2004


It is with much sadness that we have to report the untimely passing of fellow Penguin Cliff Davies.

Cliff was an enthusiastic and highly competent sailor, who loved the Penguin cruises - especially in his beloved Scotland - he was an inspiration to all of us with his appetite for life.

He had also sailed with the Oceans of Hope group (Oceans of Hope brings together people with MS into a sailing environment, working collectively to overcome these challenges.) and completed a trip from Panama to the Galapagos Islands - a globe trotter!

On completing a recent Easter cruise, he planned to follow-up this cruise with the ascent of one of the famous Monroes.  Such was his enthusiasm that he persuaded some other members of the crew to join him!  However, adverse weather - even for Scotland, scuppered the plans.  Nevertheless this sums up Cliff’s zest for life and being outdoors and interacting with nature. His enthusiasm for the wildlife was infectious and led many astray when cruising the Aegean searching for the roost of the Black Falcons!

Cliff died - following something he loved - being outdoors, cycling in the Scottish mountains. He had a bad fall from his bike, last Friday 14th May, in which he sustained serious injuries. After 3 days on life-support and 2 brain scans, it was deemed fitting to remove the support and allow nature to take its course.

Cliff will be remembered as an energetic, curious, intelligent and very caring person. It was always a great pleasure to have his company - you always left with a smile, a little wiser on life.




Anniversary Cruise

There may be light at the end of the tunnel!  

 It looks as though the long-delayed Anniversary Cruise from Oban to Ullapool and back via the Outer Hebrides, possibly taking in St Kilda, will finally be realised; albeit with smaller crews than originally planned.  We have been eagerly studying the proclamations coming out of Holyroodhouse over the past 12 months for glimmers of hope that COVID restrictions will be relaxed sufficiently to give us a shot at the cruise.  Fingers crossed; it looks like it really will be on!

pastedGraphic.png     St Kilda


The cruise is planned for 3-17th July and we have three boats, booked from Alba Sailing.  We are hoping that the anticipated relaxation in Scotland to ‘Level 0’ will be in force by then, meaning that we will be able to take a maximum of eight people from four households on each boat.  In practice, because of the number of couples who signed up for the cruise, we can only accommodate between five and eight crew on each boat.  We have therefore, regretfully, had to disappoint some applicants.  However, we should be able to have a viable and interesting cruise.  For those lucky enough to have a berth, it’s almost time to regain those sea-legs!


West Country and Isles of Scilly Cruise


All according to plan . . . We used the new MyClubhouse site to administer this cruise and managed to iron out a few gremlins! Mike Fergie has been busily working away and we hope to offer all 2022 cruises via the MyClubhouse site.

The cruise was very quickly subscribed and we have 26 berths already filled , with two reserves. Liberty Yachts in Plymouth are our chosen charterers and we have FOUR yachts on charter from Friday 3rd September until Monday 13th (most of the Monday is sailing time as we don’t have to have the yachts back in Queen Anne’s Battery marina  until 16:00Hrs)

There is also a yacht from Oxted Offshore Cruising Club - who have press-ganged one of the organisers to join them and will be shadowing the fleet, AND a prospective member has expressed interest in also “tagging along” in their Dufour 385, so plenty of security in numbers! 

We are confident that the COVID-19 virus will not affect our plans but - given these different variants and the possibility of the clampdown on freedom of movement as a result - we remain FLEXIBLE!


Canaries Cruise


The thought of cruising the western islands of the Canaries in November evidently appeals strongly to Penguins as we now have a fleet of four yachts chartered from CanarySail and a full complement of crew for each. We're still open for applications but any further applicants will be invited to join the reserves. We do not ask for deposits from reserves until offered a berth, if that happens. Further information about the cruise will follow in due course. We need to hope for a significant easing of the Covid regulations which, at present (22 May), do not permit travel to Spain (including the Canaries) which is on the amber list. There is time …


Cruise Programme 2022

Preparations are underway for our 2022 cruise programme.  At the moment, we envisage:

  • The traditional Easter Scotland cruise, using Alba Sailing’s yachts from Oban  
  • A 2-week June cruise to Galicia, NW Spain, exploring the picturesque Spanish Rias and hoping to avoid the pesky Orcas, which have reportedly been taking an interest in yachts off Cape Finisterre!  This is a new area for Penguin, but it looks like a great area for sailing 
  • A cruise on the Norfolk Broads in traditional gaff rigged yachts late August or early September

Further details and confirmation of the cruises will be given later and bookings are likely to be released late October.

If anyone has any particular recommendations for other future cruises, please get in touch and we will add them to our list of prospective cruises.


Penguin Ponderings

 One of the “joys” of being a Penguin skipper is the organising of the assigned crew - pre meeting at the quayside - where, if you are on a UK based cruise, you will need to victual your ship to suit the crew’s tastes (well, mostly!).

One of our newly appointed skippers asked for advice and, as Penguins do, a round-robin mail was despatched to known previous skipper to offer the benefit of their experience - BAD MOVE!

Recalled from the days of early Penguin forays from the West coast of Scotland - “A Kevin Walton"original" food list: 

Alpen - in individual portion packets so you could eat them from the packet without making washing up.

 Dehydrated meals - add hot water at lunchtime and bury pan at the bottom of your sleeping bag for the afternoon. Kevin used to sail for three weeks at a time so the sleeping bag added flavour and aroma to the meal by the third week.

 Five Pints powdered milk - no fridges, no fresh food. memories abound of waking to the sound of someone shaking the five pints mixture in the morning before the first cuppa.

 Broken Biscuits - 5kg box - excellent the first week (almost complete biscuits), smaller bits the second week and crumble topping the third week.

 Rice Pudding - 1 kg tins (x3) - these made a number of trips to Scotland over a number of years until one boat was brave enough to open one. The remains of the tin was passed on to a second boat. On viewing the now slightly yellow rice pudding in a rather rusty tin it was decided to bury the tin at sea with full honours. A "hazard to shipping" shallow reef is still marked on charts, just south of Armadale.

 One thing was certain, we were never hungry, if you had left overs on your plate they were passed on around the table until someone ate them; if they returned to the originator then they had to eat it; nothing was ever wasted! Kevin and Ruth would go to the old Bookers Cash and Carry in Malvern Link (now B&Q) and buy all the food for three boats for three weeks, then box up the food in one week portions per boat. A fellow Penguin’s company van was pressed into service - all nine boxes were then loaded up and off we went.

Bill King, a similar character to Kevin, who sailed single handed around the world and took part in the 1968 Golden Globe race only ate wholemeal biscuits, soaked raisins and nut-oil and he lived on that for months at a time.”

The benefits of a vegetarian menu were also aired:

“Discovered recently that from a skippering point of view is that the ingredients for vegetarian menu are cheap compared to buying animal products and last pretty well over a week or more. There are obvious food hygiene benefits over storing animal products too.  The meals are very tasty and usually are one pot affairs – sometimes two if having rice or pasta with it.  A supply of herbs and spices is required, but these can be selected from a stock at home and easily transported (rather than buying small, new packs … again). 

OK - a veggie diet may generate a bit more wind, but this may be an advantage on a calm day and save on diesel costs”


Jane’s Penguin Merchandise

We have a number of items for sale - 50th Anniversary Mugs, buffs, key fobs, ditty bags, collector’s items perhaps? Jane is offering discounts for multiple orders - have a look at our web-site for details. 



And finally. . . .


Ice Chest:

Insulated compartment in the galley that holds a block or two of ice to keep food and beverages cool. No one knows why - it could have something to do with sudden temperature changes, continuous sea motion, and pressure - but fresh produce placed inside undergoes a transformation into a dense peat-like substance surprisingly similar to soft coal; frozen meat corrodes; and containers of beer are somehow transformed into cans of Diet Coke . . . 


Tight Halyards! 


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