Category Archives: News and Reports

Updates and reports on events

An ACE late summer cruise

Starring Wardley’s ACE (and dashing) skipper Norman Ingram

(Three trips to IOM this year!)



Yacht: Sika
Skipper: Norman Ingham
Crew: Bob Hoath
Date: Sunday 18th September

We met at the clubhouse and straightaway took our supplies down to the boat. Now, the tide didn’t wait for King Cnut so it certain wouldn’t for couple of Wardley’s Creek sailors. With everything checked and carefully stowed aboard the good ship Sika,  we threw off the mooring lines and with the engine made our way down the river on a fast ebbing tide. The depth gauge was dropping fast, but there was no need to worry because were soon making good progress along the pastoral shores of the river Wyre,  passing the plethora of Knott-End moored boats and, sooner that one would have liked, found ourselves out at sea feeling somewhat exposed in that great wet wilderness. Our plan was plain and simple, which was to make it safely across the shallow and turbulent waters of Morecambe Bay and find the Ship Inn on Piel Island. We picked up a mooring in the lee of the magnificent but daunting ruins of Piel Castle. We watched the endless stream of wind-farm work-boats powering their way up the ‘Walney Channel’, who, when traversing the Piel Island anchorages kindly throttle-back in order to smother their enormous wakes, and who more often that not, wave heartily at any passing sailors and fisherman. A couple of cruisers followed us in. With a fast falling tide, a large cruising trimaran decided to dry-out on the mud between us and adjacent Piel Island Inn, it’s cabin lights appeared to grow brighter as the day slowly faded into night. We suppered on corned beef and beans with lashings of Worcestershire Sauce (the Skippers speciality) and discussed our plans over the best part of a bottle of Scotland’s finest.

The next morning was bright and clear, so we set off early and we crept down channel past Seal Beach. There was too much northerly in the prevailing breeze so a hard-wind-on-the-nose plug up the Cumbrian coast as originally planned was out of the question.  We therefore slackened-off  and set sail for Isle of Man. Douglas was to be our first port of call. Very soon we were in the Morecambe Bay wind farms  surrounded by monster wind turbines with slashing rotor blades. Like the haunting ‘Weaping Angels’ scene from the BBC’s Dr. Who series, every time we had to take our eye of them, say to  look down at our charts to make a calculation, when we looked back up, one of them would be intimidatingly close to us!  Putting primeval fears a side, we could only conclude that we were indeed making good our passage. We were under full sail surging along at six knots.

This is what its’ all about: –

A special boat erecting the ‘Weeping Angels’ of the Irish sea

We were able to keep the same tack for about six hours, but eventually had to tack north. At this point in the cruise the skipper spotted a problem with a slack shroud. We furled the sails and motored towards the still distant Douglas Bay.

Wardley’s sailors don’t need to spend tens hours cooped up in an aeroplane to find an exotic location – ten hours in one’s own boat is by far the most satisfing way to go.

The promonade’s electric lights grew brighter as we approached.  And similarly the sights, sounds and smells of the waterside grew in amplitude. Finally we tied up in the outer harbour at about nine pm. Whilst we waited for the gates to open to enter the yacht marina, we watched in boyish awe as the ferry ‘Manuman’ pivoted into it’s dock – all lights blazing. Finally on the twelve chimes of midnight, we crept passed the open gate and snuggling-up alongside the North Quay wall. We were both feeling tired.

Yacht Sika
The North Quay wall.

Tuesday was a maintenance day and I was able to take lunch with a friend from ‘Derbyhaven’ whist the skipper re tensioned the shrouds.

The shrouds needed to be set must tighter.
Sika – a true blue water sailing boat.

The start of our journey home was dictated by the Manx tides and the 7 knot waterline hull speed of a 32 foot ‘Golden Hind’. We calculated to best slip our moorings at 5am as soon as the road bridge would swing open and give us access to the sea.  After leaving the harbour we checked the charts set a course for home. About three hours of passage the sea started to mount up into series after series of moving walls of water. At times we were struck by great green slabs from over the bow.

Green slabs of water – ‘Sika’ shrugged them off!

Looking beyond our own plight we could see ‘Ben my Cree’ passing well to the south on her long dogs-leg to Heysham, and also see a turbine erection vessel passing astern with three towers and all blades set, with it’s jack legs raised clear of the ocean floor.

Ben-my-Cree (on a nicer day)

We made good time and re-entered the pastoral scenes of the River Wyre with the last of the flood, the coarse shrieks of the sea birds were gradually replaced by the singing of their woodland brethren as we swept further inland. The skipper took back the helm as the opening to Wardley’s creek slid into sight to port. Keeping a strict eye on the ‘leading marks, we threaded a path up the narrow channel passing familiar boats, jetties, resident ducks, and sundry, until the bend in the creek marked the end of our voyage. A beautiful spin-turn was deftly executed, and ‘Sika’  gladly secured to her awaiting berth. Our journey was complete at three in the afternoon.
All in all it was a great four days

From a report by Bob Hoath

The great adventure that nearly was not. September 2016

A pre-sail meeting at the Wardleys Marine Yacht Club on a wind and rain swept Saturday morning wasn’t enthusiastic  for a  planned Morecambe Bay crossing.  Talk of F8 winds and atrocious conditions in the Irish sea  eroded the once rock solid resolve to get out after several weekends of bad weather. Three  skippers, having made plans via a flurry of texts, were originally set to go.  By the end of the meeting only one boat was still up for it – helped by a phone call to the Ship Inn in which Sheila, the landlady, confirmed a warm welcome was awaiting any adventurer daft enough come.

The skipper of ‘Peter Duck‘, one of the smallest craft at Wardleys, pumped up his Avon round-tailed dinghy and rowed out into the river to find this boat bouncing and bucking in the pouring rain. Just hauling himself on board felt like a bridge too far. Ahead lay the prospect of a lonely wet squally fifteen mile sail into a grey world of surging  tidal rips and hazardous sandbanks.

Thunderball Heavy Weather

Just at the point when ‘Peter Duck‘ was readying to cast-off, all of a sudden, like a bolt of lightning with blue and white sails, out of the creek and into the river sailed ‘Thunderball’,  at a rate of knots, canvas aloft, pressed hard by the wind.

Two boats were up for it now!

The first leg down the river didn’t take long helped by a following wind and four knots of ebbing tide. The two skippers, both displaying  a  firm-jawed resolve, stood at their respective helms quietly contemplating  the challenge ahead.

Once out at sea and at about the time they reached the Wyre Tower, all sight of land disappeared and a world of grey closed in. In such grim situations, compasses and hand-held GPS units rule the roost and become a skipper’s most prized possessions.

Peter Duck and Thunderball battling along. Still no sight of land

The wind was offshore so the sea-state was initially slight. By the time they reached the halfway point the sea-state began to deteriorate and the wind strength increasing to F5/F6. ‘Peter Duck’ with a broken tiller pilot, heaved-to in order to take some shelter and slurp at a badly slopping thermos cup of coffee. The general direction of drift was roughly on course for Piel Island so all was well. A VHF call was duly made to  advise of the manoeuvre such as it was. ‘Thunderball’ surged ahead and quickly became just a small sail on a large grey horizon.

After ten minutes of welcome recuperation Peter Duck resumed her course, now chasing  some way behind. Suddenly the distance between the two boats shortened. It appeared that ‘Thunderball’ was in some sort of difficulty. She had turned around and seemed to be making her way back. Her sails were flogging, her bow rearing high on the oncoming waves, and her skipper up on deck fighting a problem?

Peter Duck passed close by and suprisingly received the thumbs up from a beleaguered looking boat. It quickly became clear that Thunderball’s skipper was bending some very deep reefs. After all, she had had come out under full sail. The wind by now was a full F6. Still no sight of land. The boats resumed course together, both chomping at the bit, surfing down the following waves.

Eventually land fall was made and in no time the two boats entered the Barrow Channel and were plugging the still ebbing tide to Piel Island. The wind had backed somewhat during the crossing, and since both had turned to starboard, the wind was on the nose. Peter Duck being heavily reefed and towing a dinghy required the help of Mr. Mariner 4HP to complete the final leg to Piel. Soon, both boats were thankfully at anchor  with the wind still rising and the rain still pouring.

Now, before leaving the Creek, it was reported that another of Wardley’s serious sailors and skipper of yacht ‘Sika’  had left a few days earlier en route to IOM and no one had heard any news since. It was thought that chances were her skipper would abort the trip, given the dire weather warnings, and would be holed up at Piel Harbour. This turned out to the case. ‘Sika’ was found at anchor with both crew members alive and safe but a bit little sorry looking. To aggravate matters, Sika’s diesel powered heating system had caught fire but was quickly extinguished by a skipper who’s very thankful of possessing a good sense of smell. An electrical fault in all evidence was to blame.

All Wardleys Creek Club Members were duly ferried ashore and received  the best of Cumbrian hospitality at the Ship Inn. Sheila pulled the pints and Steven doled out some good honest gastro nosh just how us Brits like it (Ah Qui, c’etait exactement ca, les rosbif se regaler!).

The wind blew hard in the night. The tide carried on ebbing, then started a long flood and eventual started to ebb again. All club boats pitched and rocked relentlessly! Sleep wasn’t easy for anyone.

Come the morning the wind had dropped a little, however the sky was now blue and the water turquoise.   Everyone was smiling. The VHF was full of requests of ‘what time do we all start back?’. The excitement of the day ahead was contagious. As the early morning progressed the wind steadily dropped to F4 – the perfect wind for setting sail on Morecambe Bay,  and exactly as predicted by XC  The colour grey had been finally banished!

Early morning at Piel (photo by Amanda Ingram aboard Sika)

Soon it was time to sail home. Peter Duck was the first to slip anchor closely followed by ‘Sika’. ‘Thunderball’, not wanting rush a traditional eggs and bacon breakfast, departed a little later. Three boats from Glasson Dock, also having braved the weather the previous day, joined in and thus six sails made their way up the Barrow Channel in bright sunshine. What a fantastic sight!

Peter Duck was the first of the Wyre contingent to slip anchor. (Photo by Amanda Ingram from Sika)

The sail back was perfect. No need for noisy diesel engines or outboard motors. Just white canvas against blue skies,  blue seas and brilliant white foam, and the the gentle creek of rigging taking up the strain. All boats got back to Wardleys Creek safe and sound. So yet again, another great and memorable adventure undertaken by  members of the Wardleys Marina Yacht Club. Bravo!

A combined Glasson and Wardley’s creek flotilla heading out to sea.

The End


Failing Equipment & Cautionary Tails – August 2016

Wardley Marine Yacht club members have recently reported some equipment failures that, it would be fair to say, wouldn’t normally have been been anticipated with relatively new kit.

Swivels: –
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 20.10.03

Brand-new Tiller Pilot: –
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.06.47

Swivel Story by Bob Hoath

When the river bed dried I could see that the brand new recently installed riser swivel had jammed. From the photograph you can see that riser itself had twisted to such an extent that it’s length had shortened by at least a metre, probably nearer two.
I didn’t have the heavy tackle to free it, but Pablo walked out onto river bed that evening with a lump hammer and managed to free everything.
Shows you can’t ever take things for granted.
Images of what really wound Bob up: –

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 20.35.10 Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 20.34.11


Tiller Pilot story

   Peter Duck (Simon) departed on the return leg from Piel at 7am on 7/08/2016 in F6 gusting F7. The  wind was a straight westerly,  so the one tricky windward leg was that of clearing the Barrow channel. If it turned out to be too much, I was to turn back. I took precautions with a fully slab reefed main, loads of kicker, and just enough jib to provide balance. This was all very well but it turned out to be not quite enough! Peter Duck was time and time again overwhelmed by  F7 gusts  by oncoming bow thumping waves, and by  spray lashing into the cockpit. The Tohatsu 4 Saildrive was bought into play to keep the boat edging forward during the long periods of ‘mainsail-wind-spilling’  necessary to keep the rudder planted in the water.  The notorious Seldom-Seen reef was just to port,  only yards to the lee of the starboard markers! Eventually, and in spite of everything, the required mile to  clear said dangers was soon behind me, and I was able to bear-away across the Mort Bank sands. Relief of sorts! Soon the boat was surfing  under-sail-alone at 7 knots with large rolling waves passing just abaft of beam. I was soon ready for a break.
      The Tiller-Pilot, still in its first season,  was pressed into service. Its job was to steer a straight line towards the Fairway buoy and allow me to get some shelter in the cabin.  All went well for a number of sea miles.  However, after an hour of sailing, the tide had turned and  was now sluicing back into Morecambe Bay. Massive banks of breaking waves were visible a mile up-ahead. I took back control, so as to steer into the  gaps between the shoals of white foam. Nevertheless the odd breaking wave came along, and soon enough, one struck the boat broadside on. This caused the boat to slip sideways with the surf and then head up violently. At the same time, five  or six buckets of water came crashing into the boat, drenching everyone and everything. Eventually Peter Duck moved into safer waters beyond races and onto the last leg to the Fairway. It was time to hand back to the Tiller Pilot. This time, however, it could only make a brief strained mechanical whelp, followed by a beep,  an LED flash, and promptly switched itself back to standby.  The skipper was thus forced to hold onto the rudder for the remaining passage, and thus no shelter and hot coffee in the cabin.  Eventually the boat made it back to the Fleetwood channel  somewhat earlier than usual. The familiar mile long sand banks were still high above the incoming tide.  Peter Duck was  welcomed by three windsurfers sailing at 25knots plus.
     Back at home I removed the six or seven bolts clamping together the unit’s two plastic halves. I opened it up and notice splashes of saltwater everywhere. The electric motor’s casing was already showing signs of corrosion in places. I spent the next half-an-hour drying it out with a hairdryer and then tried it out connected  to a motorcycle battery. Amazingly it started working again! Still, its going back to the makers to see what they make of it. Will keep you up to date with developments.
Hit by a more powerful version of this: –
Breaking waves enroute to Piel Island.
Breaking waves enroute to Piel Island.

Tiller-Pilot in action  earlier in the season: –

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 22.59.27


Advance party awaiting arrival of the fleet, July 2016

Darren awaiting the main party’s arrival.

See the full video: –


SimonB’s and Joanne’s ride, the Maxi 84, a fine sailing machine:

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 21.46.23

Not exactly ‘Rivendale’ herself but same design. Deep keeled, thus safe and stable sailing offshore!

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 21.45.50

A well thought out interior

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 21.47.34

The Maxi 84’s galley arrangement. Have enjoyed two excellent barbecues on this type of craft. It’s easily to see why: –

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 21.45.39

Maxi 84’s specification: –

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 21.59.13

Jetty No1 Work Party, July 2016

Work on Jetty No 1.

Thanks for all the great effort guys!

“I am just a working man
Doing the best job that I can
Nine to Five, or Eight to Four
Do my eight and out  the door
Loading trucks to hit the road
Get ’em out with a full load
Doing just the best I can
I am just a working man”

Roger Turner – Poet

Lifting the deck boards.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.04.13

Trenching with the club tractor

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.04.57

Cutting the anchor pole prior to fitting in the trench

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.07.41

Preparing the anchor chains

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.06.26

Will add more photos as they come….