Local / Student Sailing . . . . . . .(Click for Reports & Pictures) . . . .

Sailing Molly - Henley area - Usually Saturdays or Sundays.
For anyone, adult or student, to try out sailing, to learn more about it, or to fine-tune their skils.
This includes Henley Whalers, families and friends, college students, and any other visitors.
Our Parental Consent form must be completed for all under 18s.
Sessions are led by one or two Henley Whalers' "experts" (a group of sail and oar enthusiasts).

"...Thanks again for your expert advice and supervision"
"... you've inspired me to join the rowing and sailing teams at Cardiff uni next year"

This is a private arrangement with "Henley Whalers", not associated with Henley College Rowing Enrichment.

2nd April 2011
2nd April 2011
This scheme is currently adjourned but could resume as required - Enquiries are welcome.
What happens?
We row from UTRC (see map) to collect the sailing rig from near Henley Bridge.
We often sail downstream of Temple Island or upstream of Marsh Lock. Spectators can park near Remenham Church or Mill Lane car park.
The Thames at Henley does not provide ideal sailing conditions but avoids the complications of slipping Molly out to trailer, towing, and returning to her mooring from the slipway. It enables us to adapt to crew availability, and weather conditions.
Start time is generally 10:30 but is adjusted to suit the weather. Finish time depends on crew constraints, daylignt and weather conditions.

Clothing and equipment  - IMPORTANT -
Sailing is colder than rowing, and if it rains you will get even colder.  Come prepared.
You MUST bring a full spare set of clothing in case we capsize.  Do you have a way of keeping it totally dry eg “drybags”?

It is appreciated if “visitors” (ie not paid-up members of Henley Whalers) would like to make a voluntary contribution (eg £5 or more) to go to the owner for maintenance and wear-and-tear.
If the lifejacket we lend you “goes off” (self-inflates), you are expected to pay for the re-charge (about £20?)
Bring your own refreshments.

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Reports and pictures of some of our Local Sailing Days
(Some days not reported)

Have you got any photos to add?

14th May 2011
14th May 2011
21st May 2011
21st May 2011

Our first Student Sailing day, Saturday 2nd April, was well attended and went smoothly.  “Plain sailing” you might say, apart from PW’s mobile phone getting wet in the bilge, making it tricky to tell the second “watch” where to find us!
10 “learners” in two “watches” sailed a number of lengths of the reach above Marsh Lock, and several novices took the helm.
The first watch had rowed to the sailing area and helped collect and rig the sails, and the second watch did the reverse.
The only mishap was a broken belaying pin - the gib halyard cleat.
Many thanks to Robin for his expertise aboard, and collecting the lifejackets. Thanks to Geoff and others for lending them, and to Geoff for use of Molly.
"Thanks for a great day."

Saturday 9th April
One "watch" of two students, two adults and two "experts" met at 13:00,and helped by the mother of one student, collected the rig, then sailed down to Hambleden Lock. The south easterly wind enabled several runs up to Temple island and back. Three "novices" took the helm. Finished the day at about 18:00.
"...I love it and it's very good fun".

Sunday 1st May
Strong gusts encouraged us to start out fully reefed. Even that became too exciting so we reduced to the trysail, "Julia". This was more relaxing but not without some thrilling moments and a few quick gybes to get out of trouble. Lost count of the number of tacks downriver against the wind. Students steered on the way home with a generally benign following wind.
"...still keen to learn more, either rowing or sailing".

14th & 21st May - Not reported.

Sunday 20th November
Misty and mysterious. Students confidently took the crucial controls all the way, and with very little instruction. Well done, crew.
"...Sailing on Sunday was lovely and relaxing".

Saturday 17th December
By 10:30, flurries of snow had turned to brilliant sunshine and gentle breezes, but it was still quite cold when three students, two adult learners and a dad, plus one "expert" rowed up to collect the sailing rig. "Shopping" lured the dad ashore so seven souls sailed serenely down to Hambleden Lock and back, pausing briefly at UTRC for a late lunch.
Occasionally we were briefly becalmed but on the whole we found enough breeze to keep moving, and at one exciting moment we heeled over just enough to bring in a few pints of Old Father Thames. "Dad" joined us for the closing minutes, after taking three pictures (right).
Molly back to bed just as dusk descended. A pleasant day with all students working the sheets, and several taking the helm.
"...I really enjoyed myself again".

Saturday 18th February
Mustering earlier than usual to try to avoid the rain, proved over-optimistic. One good decision however, prompted by a higher than usual ratio of beginners to experienced crew (and potentially gusty weather) was to use only gib and "Julia" (trysail); great for down wind, and pretty good on a broad reach, but much less efficient when trying to point up.
Running down to Hambleden Lock was easy but tacking back up kept us busy. Frequent calls of "Ready about"...."Lee ho." That, and the cold rain, motivated crew to warm up by rowing back to the club for lunch.
"...Thanks so much for Saturday and all your knowledge and experience...".

Saturday 17th March.
12:30 start successfully avoided the rain. 5 aboard rowed up to Mill Meadows to erect the rig, then sailed to Marsh Lock, dipping the sail to clear the phone wires!
Above Marsh Lock we managed several runs up and down the reach despite gently fickle breezes, and all "students" took the helm. Returned through the lock around 16:20 sailing right in (at about half a knot!).
Molly "to bed" before sunset.

Saturday 28th April.
09:45 muster did not succeed in avoiding the rain, so cast-off was postponed over cups of tea till after 10:30. Moderate northerly wind all day with occasional gusts, occasional spits of rain, and gradualy increasing wind speed which generated small "white horses" in mid river by 15:00. Molly behaved well but proved that going about with "Julia" is more predictably achieved by gybing 300 degrees, rather than tacking. Maybe we should experiment again with more wind and more "ballast"?
(Three coot's eggs on a nest by the bow at the mooring)
"...Thanks.... It was fun..."..

Saturday 1st Sept 2012.
The afternoon started with the usual row up toward the bridge to collect and rig the sailing gear. Some of us had not sailed recently so a bit of revision was required, paying special attention to safety procedures.
Light winds allowed the full mainsail as we cruised gently down-river toward Hambleden with students on the main controls almost all the way, pausing en-route to practise dropping and raisng the sails. See picture (right).
Returning back up river gave us much tacking practice and a little oar-assisted sailing. The sun shone almost continuously, enhancing the pleasure of the day.
"I love sailing with you and Molly!"

Saturday 20th April 2013.
The report is on a page of its own with many pictures and some closing comments - Click here..

Next sailing day?
Molly's regular weekly and monthly outings and special events continue. See our home page.
As for "Local Sailing", a gradual influx of adult students has been sustaining numbers. Perhaps these, with recruits from "Whalers" or outside, could form the basis of a new scheme. - Opinions please. Any ideas or requests, please let me know (via this website).

For a pretty impressive video of Molly under sail, see our report on The English Raid 2012.

17th Dec Pic1
Sat 17th Dec (1)

17thDec Pic 2
Sat 17th Dec (2)
17th Dec Pic3
Sat 17th Dec (3)



17th March 2012
Sat 17th March 2011






Sat 1st Sept 2012
Sat 1st September 2012



20th April 2013
Sat 20th April 2013

Molly is normally rowed and sailed by “Henley Whalers”, and has attracted accolades and awards at events throughout the UK and Europe.
Henley Whalers, established in 1993, meet weekly, monthly and for special events. See our home page.
New members welcome. Contact the one who runs this site.