Rotary talk

I was invited to do this talk by my next door neighbour, Bob Calaz but, as is usual with these things, the report is wrong on a number of counts and it would seem they made much of it up!


Rotary Graphics



Meeting held on 26th October 2015 at The Coppid Beech Hotel, Amen Corner, Binfield (Tel: 01344 303333)


Tonight, accompanied by our partners, we were introduced to an interesting nautical adventure.

The adventure was related by Nick Mines (a neighbour of Bob C) who told us that he came from a sailing family and, from childhood, had graduated from racing dinghies to now racing across the Atlantic in a 44ft yacht In fact, he was soon to return to Las Palmas to continue participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) – an event for which he has been planning over the past 3 years.

After telling us about the number and increasing size and sophistication of yachts he had acquired over the years, he turned to detailing a number of the modifications and enhancements he had introduced into the racing yacht, a Southerly, named ‘Hejira’.

Rotary talk

President Elect James greeting Nick Mines

Part of the preparation for the transatlantic race was to voyage around the UK and Ireland, and, apart from telling us about the coastal beauty of both, he emphasised the ‘gentrification’ of Newcastle harbour, the navigation through the multiple locks on the Caledonian Canal and combating the treacherous currents in the Menai Strait.

Nick then embarked upon a list of the modifications and enhancements he had introduced into ‘Hejira’ to improve performance and crew comfort. Among these are a ‘Parasailor’ (a sail having an appearance and performance similar to a Spinnaker, but fitted with lateral ‘wind sock’ to enable easier handling), a mast-mounted satnav, air-conditioning and desalination units and improved self-steering gear.  Obviously, all with the object and purpose of improving ‘Hejira’s ocean sailing performance coupled with the health and safety of his crew of five.

Nick set out on his journey south to Las Palmas in Grand Canaria earlier in the year and reported that Hejira ‘Performed exceptionally well’.  He will return next week (after seeing the Rugby World Cup Final – presumably he has a ticket – lucky man!) and, in the company of 250 other yachts set sail on the 22nd November to race the 2700 miles across the Atlantic to St Lucia in the Caribbean, where they will be expected to arrive around the 9th to 14th December.  I’m sure we all wish him ‘Bon Voyage’ and, hopefully, a place among the winners.




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