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From the Club Commodore, Jonty Pearce.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! I’m impressed with myself – looking back I also managed to send Newsletter no 12 out on New Year’s Day, so at least I’m consistent. And 16 Newsletters means I’ve been sending them out for four years of my five year stint as Club Commodore – any volunteers for the post apply to the Committee! I’m sure they’ve all had enough of my autocratic behaviour by now.


You will all have had your Mailing Pack by now – Paul Rose apologises for the delay due to technical problems (now resolved for the future) but I do appreciate the massive amount of work that he, and Paul Fray before him, put in. I’m sure that the way forward is to move over to an Electronic Mailing, though retaining a Mailing Pack for those who specifically request it – who, problematically, are probably the members who do not receive these Newsletters due to low computer quotients. We shall be bringing this up at the AGM for discussion, but if anybody can’t be there (shame on you) but has a viewpoint please do send comments to me. Only favourable ones though….


Which does bring us neatly on to the AGM and Ceilidh to be held as usual at Colwall Village Hall on the 21st January. The doors open for the AGM at 1400, the AGM starts at 1430 and ends with tea at 1630, with the optional Sailing Forum  at 1700 to discuss any thorny points of nautical practice or confusions. Supper then starts at 1900, with the Ceilidh at 2000, though we often delay this slightly with too much gossip! The band is again The Whole Caboodle, who went down well last year – I shall keep nagging them to keep the volume reasonable though! Badger will supply wine on a sale or return basis, Trevor Still is masterminding soft drinks and cans, and I’m arranging for a barrel of real ale again. Paul Rose (see the mailing) can help with accommodation. I’ve arranged the weather to be mild and sunny to facilitate travel – was it two years ago I was clearing the snow from the car park by doing handbrake turns with my snowchains on???   Do try to come – it’s a great chance for a Penguin Congregation. Or Huddle.


A subcommittee has been hard at work updating Lester Copestake’s old Penguin Handbook. I have a draft copy of the new version from the printer, and will finalise this on Tuesday, hoping to be able to have copies for the AGM. I have also updated the Trifold Penguin Leaflet that promotes the club, and hopefully Jane Fanshawe will have managed to print a batch by the AGM as well.


Our cruises have filled up well – Jonathan Walton’s Stockholm Archipelago cruise has been the market leader, now with even the fourth boat in reserve filled. Easter with Ian Rose is virtually full, and I have not chased Lyn Ballard or Graham Room for updates on Brittany or Ireland. I think the message is contact them quickly or you’ll (literally) miss the boat.


On a sadder note is this from Michael Webb:

“I write to let you know that Alan Thomas, who sailed with Penguin Cruising for many years, died on 2 May 2011 at Heswall, in The Wirral. He introduced me to Penguin sailing, for which I shall remain eternally grateful. In addition to Easters in the Hebrides, we sailed in Maine USA in September 1999. He was a lovely gentle man, always ready to help others and had a great sense of humour. This good nature saw him through difficult times, such as when he played a vital role as radio communications officer during the defence and bombardment of Malta in WW2, not to mention storms in the Hebrides and nearly running out of provisions. 

Many of you will remember Alan Thomas with kindness and I shall miss him greatly.”

 I shared a cabin on ‘Bowen’ with Alan on my first Penguin Cruise back in the year 2000, and endorse all Mike’s comments. May I extend our best wishes to all his family.


I hope you all had a good Christmas, and have lots of nice new oilskins ready for our 2012 cruises. We’ve passed the Winter Solstice, the nights are drawing out, and we’ll be out sailing before we know it! I look forwards to seeing as many of you as possible in three weeks – till then, enjoy the unseasonable warm climes, eat healthily, and walk off that Christmas cake! Though I’ve got more walking to do than anybody else…


Jonty Pearce