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The GOSSIP

Number 215 / November 2009

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Mersey Canoe Club (RodL)

So, the leaves are falling, the evenings draw in, there's talk of British Gas price rises, folk start to notice the scratching on their hulls - it can only mean one thing: time to look forward to the winter meet and AGM.

We are not the only ones who turn to the more philosophical aspects of our craft when the sailing season ends. The Historic (no, not hysteric) Canoe and Kayak Association met a few weeks ago in a most delightful bit of Olde England that up to then had eluded me - the Wirral. Wally and I were sufficiently taken with it to wonder about the possibility of an OCSG do there. New Kirby also has a large marine lake if the weather or tide is unsuitable.

We walked out to Hilbre Island, home to the Mersey Canoe Club, which consisted of a wood cabin that doesn't appear to have been altered since the 40's. Underneath there emerged half a dozen excellent wooden craft, most of which were made to sail. A member of their club (which hosted us magnificently) had arrived earlier in an original Rob Roy that had been beautifully maintained/ restored all these years. That, the excellent company and the perfect weather (the first big storm arrived the next day), made it a day to remember.

The photo is one of several from the clubhouse wall.

The 1920's club assembled on the beach - another of the clubhouse photos.

Apparently, a younger member having a good time.

The plate reads: S. Bond, Co., Boat and Canoe Builder, Birkenhead.

The boats from the store under the cabin. Rigs were kept inside. Most need renovation.

The nicely restored Rob Roy with new lugsail, overlooking the Dee Estuary.

Testing Your Rig For Balance (Marilyn Vogel)

Fine Tuning In Light Air
On a fair day with steady winds, about 10 knots, the leeboard straight down, try these manoeuvres:

• Sail the canoe to turn into the wind and come about. If your canoe is difficult to turn into the wind and moving your weight forward is not enough, try readjusting the leeboard thwart further forward, as soon as possible! This condition is known as lee helm and can be dangerous. In strong wind, steering the canoe will be difficult and out of control.
• Steer the canoe dead into the wind with the leeboard down. Let go of the sail and helm. The canoe should stay dead into the

Not all canoeists are friendly!

wind. If not, move your weight to find a good balance. If it steers into the wind too easily and the tiller has a hard pull, you have too much windward helm. It may be necessary to move the leeboard thwart further aft.
• Steer on a beam reach, let the sail out 45 degrees in light air. The canoe should sail straight with only a light touch on the tiller.
• Sailing downwind, in 10-15 knots, the canoe should steer straight without resistance from the tiller.
• Sail the canoe with a paddle instead of a rudder.

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