We race at Lakeside on Wednesday, Friday and Sundays, between 1000 – 1200.
Visiting sailors and spectators are always welcome, though in fairness to all, we do ask that after three sailing visits to he Lake, you will consider joining the Club, if you wish to continue racing with us. Laid out below is some guidance, which will, I hope maximize your enjoyment of your time with us, and your safety. We like to minimise prescriptive rules, but it is important that we stay safe, get on with each other, and avoid damage to our yachts.
Access and Parking
As a Club, we have the privilege of being allowed to bring our cars down to the waters edge. To maintain park security, this means that we have to unlock the access gate, usually shortly after 09:00, and each member arriving by car remains ‘guard’ until the next arrival. At 09:30 prompt, whoever is guarding at that moment, is responsible for relocking the gate behind him/her, then return the padlock key to the Sailing Committee member who first opened the gate that morning.
Regrettably, any arrivals, after the gate is locked, must park in the outside car park and walk down to the Lake, a distance of about 600 yards.
Once in the Country Park, vehicles are only able to leave once racing has finished, when all members leave together in convoy. So if you are likely to need to leave before 12:00-12:15, you should choose to park in the outside car park.
Please drive very carefully, and avoiding disturbing the turf more than necessary. In damp or wet weather it is very important to follow the ‘U bend’ route to the parking area, to avoid a particularly soft area of ground. Follow other members if in doubt. Speed in the Country Park is “Dead Slow”. 5mph is a good guide.
We have the use of a small pier for launching and recovering boats. The pier is for launching and recovery only. If you need to make adjustments, please vacate the pier promptly, and make the adjustments well clear of the pier. Please, only two sailors on the pier at any time, and avoid blocking the access to the pier.
Most boats can be plucked out of the water by their masts, but for the larger swing rig boats, some form of launching cradle is recommended, specially in winter when the water is very cold on the hands.
Alternatively there is a wide sloped area adjacent to the pier and in front of the Control Area, where boats can be launched and recovered by those wearing waders. High rubber boots are adequate for Dragonforce 65s and similar sized yachts.
The sloped area is marked by concrete blocks at the waterline, and this zone can be slippery. So exercise care where you place your feet – we have had painful and expensive accidents. Beyond the blocks, the bottom is hard gravel and easy to stand and walk on.
Yacht Safety on Land
Boat stands are very useful when setting up your yacht, but be very careful when leaving your yacht on the stand, if the breeze is at all variable or gusty. It doesn’t take much to blow over a boat stand, causing possible damage to the yacht. When laying your yacht on the grass, be careful where you do this. Sailors walk up and down the bank, with most of their attention on the racing. A yacht left carelessly can easily end up under someone’s foot!
Yacht Safety on the Water, and Rescue
Waders are really an essential item of dress for sailing at Lakeside, or at least you should have them in the car: Much of the lake perimeter is reed growth or overhanging branches, so that it is easy for a yacht to become trapped if you are distracted or lose control. For skippers who are able to use waders, all of the perimeter can be walked with care, to allow boat rescue. There is one fairly deep part, about 3 metres wide, on the southern side of the Lake, where shorter people may find going difficult or even impossible. A steadying stick can be useful, and a life jacket a wise precaution. A Club life jacket is usually available. Although there is a rescue boat available on many racing days, this cannot always be relied upon, specially when a little self help or personal responsibility can solve a simple problem.
Unfortunately, it is also possible for yachts to become fouled on the racing markers, which are well beyond wader depth. Usually with some patience, the wind will blow a fouled boat away from the mark, but otherwise the rescue boat is required. One member has a radio control rescue boat, which can sometimes rescue boats, but not if the boat is fouled badly.