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Event Reports 2014

The friendly club in the heart of St Peter Port


Member Wine & Champagne Tasting Evening – Saturday 29 November

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An excellent Member Champagne and Fine Wine Tasting evening hosted by our generous and expert host, long standing RCIYC member David Pippon. This is what we enjoyed:







A highly recommended selection of six wines for Christmas that went down very well … if you missed out why not get in touch with David as he offers to gift wrap and personally deliver this six bottle selection to you at a time of your choosing for £69.50. (Exceptional wines and pretty good value seemed to be the general opinion in the Clubhouse!)

Please click HERE for the order form.

Contact – DAVID PIPON IMPORTS, La Roche, Rohais de Haut, Castel, Guernsey GY57NA

01481 258088 / 07781 410237

Thank you


Laying Up Supper – Saturday 8 November

Members gathered for another excellent supper prepared by Andy Taylor of Tailored Catering.

A few photographs of the event are below.



Westerly Owners “ARC Presentation” – Thursday 10 July

A repeat of the very popular talk given last March.  The illustrated talk was lead by past Commodore and skipper of ‘Calypso’ David Mitchison, together with John Frankland, and covered the preparations for the ARC & the ARC itself.

Members of the local Westerly Owners Association were our guests.

The talk was followed by an enjoyable meal at La Perla organised by Mike Tai & Julie Payne.




Tom Cunliffe Presentation at the Peninsula Hotel – Thursday 12 June

In conjunction with Babbé’s, Castlemain Yacht Brokers, Pyramid Construction & Desir Design the RCIYC was delighted that Tom Cunliffe was able to come to Guernsey and give a talk called “Ice with Everything” covering his voyage to Greenland.

It was a privilege to listen to Tom Cunliffe describing an epic sailing trip to Greenland re-tracing the original path of the Vikings – and all in a 38ft yacht bought on E.Bay!

A good crowd (about 70) gathered at the Peninsula Hotel to enjoy his illustrated talk and his usual anecdotes. Well known to most of the boating fraternity, Tom has spent most of his sixty-odd years at sea in a variety of craft ranging from Merchant Navy Coasters, working Thames Barges, dinghies and a number of traditional yachts in both wood and GRP. He has sailed the oceans and visited most of the places that we ordinary sailors merely dream about, be it Brazil, the Caribbean, the South Sea Islands, Communist Russia and the rest.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, a television presenter, an examiner of examiners for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the author of some 25 published books – perhaps the most notable being the Shell Channel Pilot. Tom’s regular boating articles in Yachting Monthly magazine, Yachting World and even in American boating publications are widely read around the world.

A little less known maybe is Tom’s interest in large motorbikes – he and his wife recently rode across America on a couple of monsters – and classic cars. Indeed Tom says he is a petrol-head at heart and spends much time, when he’s not sailing, working on his beloved classic Bentley (he’s just back from a drive around Italy!) Did I forget to say that Tom also read law at Liverpool University and is often asked to act as an Expert Witness in various maritime legal proceedings? Such experience – and what have we been doing all our lives, we might ask ourselves!

Earlier, Tom had addressed students of the College of FE after he had presented some 70 RYA certificates in Maritime Studies. This short talk was truly inspirational as he described how he himself had graduated through the same RYA training scheme – and not without some incident!

No stranger to Guernsey, Tom made it clear that we live and sail in one of the most interesting and yet dangerous areas in the whole world – and he loves it!

Tom made it very clear that he really appreciated the warm welcome that he had received during his short stay in the island – he would like to be invited again!

John Frankland



Winter Talk: “Rigging” – Wednesday 9 April



20+ members & guests enjoyed a talk given by Simon Hall who has recently been appointed as the Rigging Administrator at Boatworks+.

The illustrated talk covered all things rigging, what to look out for, and improvements that could be made.

To learn more about Simon’s rigging background please click HERE.



Fitting Out Supper – Saturday 15 March


The Fitting Out Supper was a success, although we could have done with greater numbers.  All those who attended enjoyed a well prepared 3 course meal of delicious French onion soup, duck, and lemon tart cooked by Andrew Taylor (Tailor Made Catering).




Winter Talk: The ARC – Tuesday 4 March

ARC Logo 2

30+ members and guests attended an illustrated talk lead by past Commodore and skipper of ‘Calypso’ David Mitchison covering the preparations for the ARC & the ARC itself.  John Frankland supported David with Phil Ball and Dino Castro chipping in on occasion.

The talk was scheduled to last 1 hour but such was the interest and the number of questions at the end it took almost 2 hours.



Winter Talk: The loss of an Oyster 51 – Tuesday 11 February


Like most of the evening events that the Club has put on over the winter, the weather on the night of the Lomas family’s presentation was shocking, so the number of members in attendance was perhaps understandably a little disappointing, but all those who did attend were treated to a remarkable hour and a half which felt like a roller coaster ride.  Between them Carl and Tracey, and their young daughters Caitland and Morgause, told the story of their incredible voyages together, and of the ultimate demise of their beloved yacht, in such a way that we were all captivated.

Carl Lomas MBE and Professor Tracey Worth have been RCIYC members for many years, although they live on the mainland, and had not visited Guernsey since the beginning of their epic journey.  They were delighted to be asked to come over to speak at the annual dinner, and very generously refused to allow the club to pay for any of their expenses.  Whilst on the island they also did a presentation evening for the Girl Guides, an organisation with which Tracey and her daughters have been involved for many years, and caught up with old friends.  They were also very pleased to be able to do the “technical” version of their talk, which they reserve for audiences who have a reasonable knowledge of sailing and yachts.

The first part of the talk was all very jolly, with all the family taking it in turns to recall details and anecdotes of the years they spent living aboard their Oyster yacht, exploring all over the Atlantic Ocean, and spending lots of time in South America.  There were plenty of interesting and amusing photographs depicting everything from shipwrecks to penguin encounters, repairing a church steeple using their tools and spares, and attending school and parties in some of the remotest places on Earth, to name but a few.  The most striking aspect of this section was the emphasis they placed on the people they met along the way, and the fondness with which they remembered them.  Little did we know at this stage how many of these seemingly random people had played a crucial role in saving the Lomas family’s lives later on.

The yacht was lost when she struck a small chunk of iceberg at night in the South Atlantic, far to the North of where the ice was expected to extend.  Most of us had learnt this much and more when we listened to Carl’s speech at the dinner.  What was fascinating about the more detailed account was the way in which the family and their supporters around the world worked together.  At first this meant taking measurements inside the breeched hull, to ascertain how quickly the yacht was taking on water.  Carl was in constant contact by email via satellite with the Oyster yard back in the UK.  The engineers there were able to calculate with incredible accuracy what time the yacht would sink, and what the family could do to try to extend this.  However, the news was not good.  They were given less than 24 hours, with the nearest ships on the AIS system several days away.  Of course they had liferafts, but they had been told that they could only survive for a matter of a few hours in such low temperatures.  Therefore the family faced what they considered to be a certainty: that they would die together in the freezing waters of the South Atlantic.

Whilst it was fascinating to hear more about the actions they took during this dark period of the story, we knew that the story had a happy ending.  Essentially the Lomas family were then given the news that HMS Clyde was in the area on manoeuvres, and was proceeding towards their position at full speed, with an ETA just a few hours after the yacht was expected to sink.  So it was that hope sprang from hopelessness, and the family sprang into action to maximise their chances of survival.  They cut the intake pipes to the two sea toilets, which were by now completely submerged. This allowed the flush pumps to become back-up pumps to the boat’s main bilge pump system, which was fighting a losing battle despite pumping at maximum rate.  Whilst taking it in turns to man the toilet pumps, they ran around down below, packing a few essential items to take with them, and ditching much of the rest overboard in an attempt to reduce the weight of the stricken vessel.

Thanks to this incredible effort, Carl and his family were able to prolong inevitable foundering of their treasured yacht until HMS Clyde was on the scene.  The tale of the rescue itself was pretty thought-provoking for any of us who sail more than a few miles from our home port, and the emotional journey from certain death to eventual rescue that was woven together for us was very moving.  The yacht sank just a few minutes after the family abandoned her to the ocean, and their last action was to take down the blue ensign of the RCIYC.

We are very grateful to Lomas family for coming over to the island to share their amazing story with us.  For any members interested in reading more, several copies of their incredible book, “Certain Death in the Ice”, are available to buy in the Clubhouse.





59th Annual Dinner, Dance & Prizegiving – Saturday 8 February


120 Members and Guests enjoyed a successful Dinner, Dance & Prizegiving at the Cobo Bay Hotel.






Sea Shanty Evening – Friday 17 January


January in Guernsey is pretty dire, even more so this year – when will it ever stop raining?  It was disappointing that the Sea Shanty evening was postponed just before Christmas so this event was a bright spot in a dark month.


Sea Shantie Evening 17.01.14


The Sea Shanty evening kicked off after the weekly meat draw with the arrival of pizza from Da Bruno downstairs.

Ken Wheeler produced some song sheets containing a number of sea shanties some well known, some known but not recognised until the tune began, and some new songs.


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The newest was a song recently written by local folk singer Rob McGhee, and not yet recorded.   Dave Herschel got out his guitar and we were away.

It was fun!  Come and join us for the next sea-shanty session sometime soon – date to be announced.


Winter Talk: Marine & General and Cherry Godfrey – Tuesday 28 January
 M & G Banner


On the last Tuesday in January, the weather was abysmal, with torrential rain and severe gales clearly putting many people off from venturing out in the evening. However, those who did make it to the club were treated to another very informative evening thanks largely to David Norman, or Marine and General.

Once again, David brought with him two of his specialist technicians, but this time the central theme of the talk was not engines and propulsion, as last time, but hulls.  John and Steve offered all sorts of gems of wisdom from their many years of experience, and their professionalism and expertise was obvious throughout.  The small crowd made for an intimate presentation, during which many of the assembled members chimed in with some interesting questions, often specific to their own boats or experiences.  David entertained with his wry sense of humour, as well as his pictures and samples displaying what happens when people get things wrong, which was also useful.

Having worked our way through anodes, gelcoat repairs, epoxy coating and various types of antifouling, the discussion inevitably settled on more serious matters such as delamination and osmosis.  It was generally very reassuring to hear what the guys had to say.


Cherry Godfrey

By the time the presentation was complete, and all the members’ questions had been addressed, time was marching on, and the fish and chips were waiting.  By this time our speaker for the second presentation of the evening had also been waiting patiently for some time. Ben Meader is a specialist marine insurance broker from Cherry Godfrey, and it was very good of him to talk to us while we all ate.  Again it was really interesting to hear from a completely different point of view about marine accidents and safety, including such quandaries as rescuing other boaters and salvage rights*.

As always, all those who attended agreed that the evening had been most educational, but it would be much easier for the club to put on these types of event if more members were to support them, so do please keep an eye out for messages about the next talk, and sign up or contact the secretary.

*Ben left us with copies of his talk notes which are well worth reviewing if only to ensure that you are fully covered. Please click here to view them.


Ladies’ Day – Wednesday 1st January


Ladies’ Day 2014 was one of the most successful ever.

Some 30 ladies enjoyed a drink and approximately 10 menfolk joined them after 1.30 p.m.