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North West PCA Meet 2005

Coniston Water, Lake District, Cumbria

Over the weekend of 20-21 August a total of three PCA members made it to the meet at Coniston which had been arranged at relatively short notice. Brian Gilmore and his wife, and John Cooke arrived and met up at the Coniston Hall camp site on the Friday evening, then Jon Stockton arrived on the Saturday for some sailing on the lake. Brian and John had a pleasant hour or two on Saturday evening looking at Brian's photos of Wharram cats, and the one that Brian nearly finished! John and Jon managed to meet up again on Sunday lunchtime to view Jon's almost complete Tiki 21 (get it finished then put some pictures and words together for The Sea People, Jon!). Unfortunately no photos of the Tiki 21 here.

Coniston Lake at dusk (7kb)

Coniston Lake is a beautiful location - one of the settings, of course, for Arthur Ransome's fictional single lake in the "Swallows and Amazons" stories.

View from tent (15kb)

The view out of John's tent on the Friday evening after Aoraki's hulls had been assembled.

Shore looking north (23kb)

Aoraki down on the shore; the mast could not be put up on the campsite because there were some low trees to negotiate above the track down to the beach. We were very lucky with the weather over the weekend.

Brian and Aoraki (22kb)

Here's Brian Gilmore beside Aoraki after we'd finished putting her together.

Aoraki full view (21kb)

Aoraki ready to go into the water. Note the PCA burgee! Not much wind though.

on the water (14kb)

In the morning the wind was very light and fluky - it didn't seem to match the way the clouds moved at all! John sailed gently (very gently) up to the pier at Coniston village, then back and forth between there and the camp site; no other PCA members to be seen at that stage.

Old Man (11kb)

In the distance is Coniston Old Man (the mountain), and on the shore the moorings of the Coniston Lake Sailing Club, and Coniston Hall, an old stone manor house.

On the beach (11kb)

Here is Aoraki drawn up on the beach near the pier at Coniston vilage.

Gondola (9kb)

The old Steam Yacht Gondola sails around Coniston Lake, along with several other more recent tourist boats. It is one of the possible models for Captain Flint's houseboat in the "Swallows and Amazons" stories. It looks beautiful on the lake, and is very fast.

Gondola steaming (11kb)

A view of Coniston pier, with the Gondola getting steam up ready to depart. Coniston Old Man is in the background again.

Jon and 505 (10kb)

Around lunchtime Jon Stockton arrived, and soon had his 505 out on the water. The wind picked up almost immediately, becoming rather more reliable, and enabled Jon and John to sai back and forth across the lake down to the campsite.

Jon from Aoraki (11kb)

Yes, the 505 is faster than Aoraki - but then it's a racing dinghy with a much bigger sail! However, Aoraki performed well and the sailing really was good fun.

and again (9kb)

Travelling in opposite directions for a change ...

gear (15kb)

Here's Aoraki's steering gear. The mainsheet block is on a traveller, but I rarely use it unless trying to get the very best windward performance possible.

Aoraki car-topped (17kb)

Aoraki on top of the car ready to go home. It was a lovely sunny morning, but began with almost no wind, so I decided to pack up rather than attempt to drift up the lake again. Of couse, the wind came back later ...

Coniston shore (15kb)

Looking up the lake from the shore at the campsite - very similar to the view in the first image above. The lake gets quite busy on an August weekend, but there's plenty room for everyone, and (great) a speed limit so the noisemakers stay well away in the main.

Not a very well attended meet, but not bad for one arranged at short notice, those of us there certainly enjoyed it, and the builders are full of renewed enthusiasm!