The Brixham Ace Blog
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We had a beautiful, sunny morning for our annual BBQ with very little wind. It was so warm that we struggled for space in the shade. We shared the day with members of our local Cheshire Home and Theresa Chapman, the mother of the late Robin Chapman. We fondly remember Robin as a drummer and a lover of wrestling.
Maggi, as always bought and cooked the BBQ food and Charlie, Chrissy’s partner, sliced the onions. Our priceless volunteers brought in pasta and rice dishes with bowls of vegetables and fruit salad.
After this delicious lunch, the ACE chair, Robert Boyd had the bitter/sweet task of saying a huge thank you and sad farewell to Sam Watson as she takes up a new teaching post closer to home. Sam has been the tutor for the Write Way group for 13 years. Robert, members of the class and volunteers thanked her for her enthusiastic teaching, which encouraged so much hilarity and class participation. She always had an encouraging smile and wonderful arm ology that brought life and energy to her creative writing and poetry classes.
The class discussed the written work of many authors and wrote their own pieces during the lesson that they read out. They were tasked with weekly homework. They jointly wrote plays that they performed in theatrical costumes. ACE members loved these plays and their readings and we wished we had had a Sam Watson to teach us.
Class members presented Sam with her leaving presents and they all said how much they had enjoyed Sam’s classes and how she had guided them to become creative writers; changing their lives.
Many tears of joy were shed that day.
The ACE charity was formed in 1998 to provide learning opportunities for disabled adults in Torbay.
On 10th July the members met in our garden for a BBQ. It was another beautiful, summer’s day.
We were first entertained by the Black Bess Morris dances. This all female dance group, dressed in the style of like Dick Turpin in black three cornered hats, red coats, black trousers and white stockings invited us to join. We couldn’t resist the fun of the dance and the rhythm of the music.
We then enjoyed the skill of Whizz bang our local magician.
Then it was time for Maggie and friends to serve up a delicious meal to remember 25 years of learning and friendship at ACE.
On the following Thursday we staged workshops of ACE activities for invited guests and friends, which culminated in a cream tea in the garden.
As ACE members we know how fortunate we are to be members of such a friendly, informative group.
Please contact Yvonne Ramos the ACE Administrator for more details on Swimming, Pottery, Thursday Group, Creative Writing, Sports Mobility, Drawing and Painting and Gardening classes.
How long have I been sailing and when did it start?
My first sailing experience was with the Jubilee Sailing Trust on their Tall Ship Lord Nelson in 1989. We sailed from Plymouth to Liverpool, via Dublin, the Isle of Man and Anglesey, over an 8 day period. We experienced all kinds of weather conditions, ranging from flat calm to a force 7 and everything in between. I have since done several Blind Weeks when it was part of RYA Sailability and since it changed. These were hosted by various Yacht Clubs along the South Coast and now alternate between Southampton and Falmouth. I have also taken part in a Cross Channel race as well as sailing in the Mediterranean Sea around Corsica, plus the Ionian Sea and along the Turkish coast.
What is the EAST Cruise? What is the Format? What boats are used and where do we go?
EAST stands for East Anglian Sailing Trust and is based at Levington just outside Ipswich in a marina known as Suffolk Yacht Harbour. EAST hosts 3 main events throughout the year, which comprise of 2 weekend events, one in the spring and the other in the autumn. These run from Thursday to Sunday and involve a sail along the coast to some resort. This could be to the West or to the East, depending upon weather conditions. These are primarily intended as Taster Courses for beginners but experienced Sailors are welcome and do attend. Apart from these two events there is the Summer Cruise. This is a 10 day event which normally takes place in July. The Summer Cruise tends to go further afield due to the longer time available. The boats vary in type and length, from around 26 ft to 40 plus and are usually Skippered by their owners. Each boat has one visually impaired person on board and at least one other sighted person apart from the Skipper. The plan for the Summer Cruise has usually been to sail across to the continent, firstly heading for somewhere such as Ramsgate as this is a convenient starting point for the crossing. The weather is crucial if this is to happen because one has to take into consideration the return voyage.
What Did You Do This Weekend?
Julian and I arrived at Suffolk Yacht Harbour around 05:30 p.m. on Thursday and were welcomed by the crew of Sanfire until my boat, Sulis, arrived from Wolverston where it is moored. When they arrived, I was met by Ian, my Skipper and owner of Sulis. Our fellow crew were Ian’s Partner Barbara and a friend called Lynn. Sulis is a 37 ft Jeaneau so the four of us had plenty of space.
On Friday morning at just after 10:30 a.m. we set sail for Brightlingsea. It was decided that it should be a race. There were 9 boats taking part, each with a visually impaired person on board. Earlier in the week the weather was thought to be unfavourable to make this trip. However, things changed during the last few days and the wind was ideal. North Westerly. It took five hours to reach our destination and we were all safely moored on the Pontoon at Brightlingsea by mid afternoon. The crews were given the choice of either dining on board, or going ashore for a meal. Our crew decided to eat on board. Because of the Tide, it meant a fairly early start next morning. The wind had also backed from a westerly direction to more easterly, making it favourable for our return trip. We cast off around 07:40 am. Again it took roughly five hours to reach our destination, the Royal Harwich Yacht Club on the river Orwell just down river from Ipswich. We sailed all the way, no engine in either direction, which was truly amazing. The weather was very pleasant with no rain although especially cold on Friday, but warmer on Saturday. Those who ate ashore on Friday dined on board Saturday. Our Skipper, who is a member of the Royal Harwich, booked our crew in for a meal at the Yacht Club.
The event did run until Sunday afternoon, but owing to Julian and I having a long drive home, we wanted to make a fairly early start on Sunday morning. One of the other Skippers needed to be away early too, so he offered us both a lift round to Levington where our cars were parked. We set sail down the Orwell just after 09:00 a.m. We had to do lots of short tacks along the way. Then we fired up the engine for the final stretch into the Marina.
Julian and I left Levington Marina around 10:45 a.m. and had a pleasant drive home. With it being Sunday the traffic was light and we made it to Devon in just 5 hours.
What Do You Like About It?
I like the EAST events because I like being part of a crew on a Cruising Yacht. Although I have done Dinghy sailing in the past, it doesn’t appeal to me as much. There are fewer boats than on Blind Week, making it a smaller group of people, which is something else I like. The skippers on these events are very aware of our needs and not too strict. Whilst safety is paramount and is at the top of their list, at the same time, they allow the V I to be involved at whatever level they wish to be, or are capable of. It is only possible for the Skipper to assess their ability and confidence level after having spent some time with the visually impaired person. It is also up to that person to speak to their Skipper and tell him or her just what they wish to do or not do.
Visually Impaired people interested in sailing can obtain information from various Websites including the following:
There are also RYA Sailability Groups dotted around the coast at various points. These are usually Dinghy sailing though.
Well we finally got there, the website has now been upgraded and updated to the latest version of Joomla!. It was a long time coming, the older software was dreadfully out of date and was starting to become a security risk on our server. whereas the content has remained much the same, that will be up to Rob and David to sort out, I have installed various new components and modules. The most noticeable difference will be the blog system that is now installed. This blogging program is something I use on various websites and I find it extremely user-friendly. I have also installed the latest version of Ignite Gallery which enables us to create various categories which then means you can separate photos into their own section. A nice little addition is the Facebook like button. I would encourage people to click this as it will automatically put a link on to your Facebook page and spread the word about our new website.
So I hope the new look appeals to everyone. I am working with Rob in order to make a user-friendly website that everyone can enjoy.