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What a wonderful summer! I hope that you have all recovered from your sunburn – or do I mean windburn and trench foot? Hey Ho, how the seasons change. However, I’m glad to say that some Penguins managed to migrate to find more clement conditions – more anon.

I try to write a newsletter just after the usual September Committee Meeting to warn members that the mailing pack is on its way. Due to inclement weather, the Steam Fair I provide medical cover for was washed out and postponed, forcing us to delay the September Meeting till October 13th. However, we still hope to have the mailing with you by the end of October, if not by Guy Fawkes day. It is a lot of work for Paul Rose (and expense to the club) to prepare all the envelopes, so as we have suggested before, the more members we can send the pack to electronically the faster, easier, and cheaper it is. So do please email Paul Rose if you are content to receive the pack electronically unless you are sure you have already done so. His email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view - if you have any problems, contact me. 

The Committee spent a lot of time discussing Club Insurance. We have always had club insurance to indemnify the skipper – and we discovered that though this insurance covered club employees (we have none – all voluntary of course) it left the directors and officers of the club exposed. We have altered the insurance to correct this, though it does of course result in a greater cost. I hope to write a summary of the insurance issues another time, but for now I would just like to emphasize that the club insurance does not replace your own personal travel insurance which we recommend you take out for each trip, whether abroad or at home. Do read the exclusions in your policy and ensure that it covers appropriate sailing – we do not normally need ‘Offshore Cruising Cover’, though different companies define this in many ways. Make sure yours is compatible with your activities. Such insurance is important for cruise members – it would be regretful if a cruise was curtailed due to underinsurance for an individual who suffered a mishap. 

The other issue coming to light is the ever spiraling costs of Sailing Security Deposits, or the insurance to limit these. We have had to turn down one cruise suggestion due to a 5000 euro Security Deposit, or a £500 insurance charge (non-returnable) for one boat in the Gulf Du Morbihan. Such costs are untenable and, I hope, the client’s refusal to book may make the charterer reconsider, though the upward trend is clear. Where affordable Sailing Deposit insurance is available, it is the Club policy to take it. In fact, this decision saved us a large loss of deposit in Stockholm this year. However I’m afraid that this, together with the increased Club insurance, does increase the cruise fees, although I think we are still the most affordable around. Please do not think that the Club is profiteering – we are all protected by our promise to return profits of over 10% to the cruise members. Our budgeting is usually good enough not to have to do this, and most cruises fall well short of this – always with the risk of a loss. We do, however, need to ensure that the Club remains fiscally viable. 

After all this heavy stuff, it is with a lighter heart that I am able to report the success of all four cruises of 2012. Ian Rose organised the Easter Cruise from Alba sailing at Dunstaffnage – David Newman was Commodore. The weather thwarted plan was to reach Rathlin Island off Ireland, but although adverse conditions precluded this, a cruise round the Mull was enjoyed by all. For full details, come to the AGM!

Lyn Ballard organised and Commodored the next cruise in May – a 2 week trip to Brittany. With only 4 berths in each of the two yachts, this was an exclusive cruise only hampered by the poor maintenance of the older boats chartered.

Next up was the hugely popular Stockholm Archipelago cruise organised and Commodored by Jonathan Walton in late August with 5 yachts. Sun, sea, sand, and rocks. I understood that all the boats touched ground as expected, though some did it with more style. The cruising grounds were challenging and gorgeous – a cruise to be repeated.

The popularity of the Sweden cruise probably unfairly detracted from Graham Room’s SW Ireland cruise – we had planned 2 yachts for 2 weeks, and had to reduce to 1 yacht for the second week. Lyn Ballard and John Starkie were the Commodores, but were hampered by weather and poor boat maintenance. The terrain was fantastic and enjoyed by all – again, a cruise to try again in a few years. 

For your delectation in the year to come, you will be able to elucidate from the eagerly anticipated mailing the coming cruises. I will only tempt you with brief details to allow consideration of your diaries. Our first offering is the Hebridean traditional Easter cruise from Isle of Skye Yachts from 30th March to 6th April – 3 boats are booked with a 4th on option. We do, as always, provide a sponsored place and subsidised places for the Easter Cruise. I’m happy to announce that due to a donation we are able to offer a second sponsored place this year – many thanks to the generous donors.

Next is a ‘Land Cruise’ – following the success of our previous joint celebration of the Club’s 20th and Kevin’s 90th, we are planning to celebrate the Club’s 25th Anniversary at Llangorse Lake over the late May BH from 25th May to the 28th May.

A trip to the Canaries comes next – two boats for a week from Tenerife from Friday 31st May to Friday 7th June. A spectacular and exciting area, this looks popular!

Finally, we are revisiting Skiathos in the Aegean for 2 weeks (splittable) from Friday 6th September to the 20th September. A popular Mediterranean Cruise that allows us to spit the bad taste of British summers into a sparking wake. 

Penultimately, a reminder to put the AGM and Ceilidh in your diaries – Sat 12/1/2013. I have sourced a new band for this year – although the Whole Caboodle were an excellent band, they did enjoy their volume knobs. The Compost Band is smaller – fiddle, guitaqr, and bass, with the excellent caller who gave us the ‘Penguin Dance’. They know we like to be able to hear each other and promise a lower sound level.  I am hoping that the Barrel of Real Ale (note the capital letters) and the promise of a band you can talk over will encourage those put off by the noise to try us again – do, please attend – it the our Main Event and a chance to chat, swap tips, and hear the news while catching up with old friends. As well as enjoying the dancing, food, and music! We will have copies of the new Club Handbook on sale, and our advertising ‘Trifold Leaflet’ will be available. 

Finally, I have to blow my own trumpet Fog Horn – do seek out the November Yachting Monthly for my article on cruising in Cardigan Bay ‘By little Boat to Bardsey’. There’s even a mention of the Penguin Cruising Club slipped in.

Our own cruise this year in Aurial was an attempt to reach the Isle Of Man from Pembrokeshire. We had some great sailing, including a 50 knot knockdown off Bardsey Island, but high winds prevented us from going further than a circumnavigation of Anglesea – interesting enough in itself, and a possibility for a future Penguin charter. With fast tide rips, Force 7’s, and a great deal of sailing with reefed ‘Jib and Jigger’ (Genoa and Mizzen), we were never bored. 

I’ll sign off now to your great relief – thanks for reading so much in one go. Please remember to email Paul Rose if you are happy to receive your pack electronically. 

Have a great Christmas, and we will hopefully all meet up in the New Year!