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Commodore's Report 2015

We've come to the end of another year and I can report a successful year with three varied cruises enjoyed by over 12 crews.

We started the year with our customary cruise to the Scottish Islands and although there was a force 11 storm hanging over Iceland ready to sweep across the area at any time the boats managed to get to Ullapool and back with 3-4 days of classic cruising into some rarely visited Easter harbours.

During the summer we had two yachts mixing sailing and gourmet pleasures in a two week cruise to the Channel Islands and Brittany organised by John Marriot. There is a wonderful log and photos to read on the penguin website at

The final outing for the season was a much anticipated and very popular return to Maine USA with a Lobsterfest at the island home of a local penguin member, an evening sail on the arctic Schooner Bowdain and some of the most amazing sunsets we have encountered afloat.

There were no incidents during the year but the safety of all members and the associated risks of organising, leading and participating in offshore sailing is at the top of all the committee meetings. Insurance is a constant challenge but we are also continually reviewing additional training for
skippers, mates and members in general. In man-overboard there is plenty of talk and numerous gadgets but we all know there is a big difference between rescuing a bucket and a fully watersoaked unconscious victim so we are looking hard into what practical courses may be available.

While on the subject, I would recommend that skippers and mates who do come to the AGM on the 16th January in Colwall come join us at the post AGM meeting where we discuss and share as a group current safety topics and learning points from any “hairy moments” during the year. 

The club now has over 300 members who have sailed with us sometime in the last 4 years. Jane Fanshawe our membership secretary continues to do an excellent job but I will use this as an opportunity to gently nudge members to sign up to pay annual dues by direct debit as it saves Jane a lot of time in administering them. If you wish to continue with standing orders please can I ask you to check with the bank that the amount is the latest rate. At £7.50 per year for an individual its a fantastic way to support the various fixed costs (mostly insurance) that the club has. 

Looking forward to the year ahead there are three cruises planned. First is the traditional Easter cruise to Scotland. I say Easter very loosely as the dates of Easter, the school term dates and the tides at Ardvassar and the need to get the boats in order before hoisting anchor means that the cruise dates of 9th to 16th April fall in term time for half the school districts. Disappointing we agree but hopefully a one off. 

Lyn Ballard has offered to organise a interesting and adventurous circumnavigation of Western Scotland (28th May - 11th June) looping out northwards via Orkney and back to the west coast through the Caledonian Canal. This will be a first for Penguin and will entail some long passages round the Cape. 

Our final cruise of the year is a two week cruise to the inland sea of Holland organised by Peggy Meredith with the first week (19th Aug - 26th Aug) in sheltered waters suitable for younger families and a second (26th Aug - 2nd Sept) in the more exposed coastal region of the Fresian Islands. 

All the details of these three cruises as well as the details of the AGM and Ceilidh can be found on the Penguin website. 

As a final note for this year I would like to highlight my thanks to Jonty for being our Newsletter editor. He has done this now for many years and we credit his now burgeoning career as a yachting 'pundit' (not to mention sense of humour) to the Penguin experience. We are always on the lookout for members to help with the club, joining the committee, organising cruises or assisting in communications. If you have an interest and time, please drop me a line on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

I look forward to seeing you at the AGM on the 16th January if you can make it.

Best Regards