TALK - Saturday 24 March - 7.30pm Penzance Sailing Club

We have a talk by Luke Powell this Saturday evening at 7:30pm at the Penzance sailing club.

Luke Powell is a highly skilled wooden boat builder who is going to give us a presentation on the boat he has build and his life in the industry. This promises to be a very interesting talk, I hope you will all come along and support the association.

Don't forget that membership renewal is now due for 2018.

Committee Members Required

A message from our Chairman

This is to remind you all that the AGM  is on the 14th March.

This year unlike most years we have three long serving members of the committee standing down, this is due in part to age and the need for new ideas, but also to create the opportunity for the next generation to take the association forward in these ever changing times.

So it is to you that I am appealing for volunteers to step forward and become committee members.

Please don't take fright thinking, "What do I know about the Happy Return and what possible help could I be?" The committee is made up of eight members and as such we have the need for people with various talents and abilities.

The remit of the committee is much more than just looking after the Happy Return, far from  just the maintenance  and sailing of the boat, the committee has to actively consider such issues as recruiting new members, public relations, marketing, social media presence, fund raising and taking the MBLA forward into the future.

If you think that this would be of interest to you, or that you would just like to help as a non committee member then please contact me by replying to this email.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards


Happy New Year - Saturday Work Parties

Happy new year to you all

With the 2018 sailing season just around the corner it is time to start looking at getting Happy Return ready to go.

Mike Halse was on board yesterday, (Wednesday, 4 January) and reports that  the deck is water tight and all is well below decks. 

As of this Saturday (6 January) we will commence working to get HR ready. If you are of a mind to help, muster is about 10:30 and work will be concluded by mid afternoon.  The forecast for this weekend is cold so dress for the conditions.

All are welcome even if time is short and you only want to pop in and see how things are going. If you are unsure give Skipper Mark a call or text.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

All the Best for 2018


Winter Newsletter


Happy Return is now back at her berth in the Wet Dock in Penzance having spent some weeks in the Gweek boatyard having her deck properly sealed by Andrew Massey together with ancillary works.  The final bits and pieces of work preparing her for her winter layup are now being completed.  The annual maintenance preparing her for the new season will commence the end of January early February 2018 we will give plenty of warning closer to the commencement time.   The good news is, we will all be in dry berths next season whatever the sea and weather can throw at her.    

Dare I remind you Christmas is not far away if you are looking for a present don’t forget that we carry a stock of tee’s and polo shirts of various sizes, sweat shirts to order all with our logo embroidered on them. In addition if you are looking for a Christmas tree present we have in stock, leather bookmarks with Happy Return embossed,  key rings with a picture of Happy Return and un - framed prints of a painting of Happy Return done by a well-known local artist.

 All of these items can be purchased from our Treasurer John Tellam

The first event of our Winter Programme was held on Saturday 11 November with a talk given by Andy Watts on Search & Rescue followed by a curry supper. The Talk was very interesting and informative and the curry was enjoyed by all.

Our next event is our Annual Dinner to be held on Friday 19 January 2018 at the Senara Restaurant at Penwith College.  Last year’s dinner was held there and everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the evening. So if you don’t want to be disappointed doesn’t delay, book now with John Van der Hoff email: time is running out to book.  You should have received the email from John with the menu, just to remind you, you must make your selection of food and pay with your booking.

This is the remainder of our Winter Programme  of events:

Saturday 10 February - 19.30 -      Talk by Jan Pentreath on Cornish Harbours    

Venue - Penzance Sailing Club With Bar   -  Booking Not required

Wednesday 14 March - 19.30 for 20.00    

AGM & Talk by John Van der Hoff On a recent sail to the Galapagos Islands    

Penzance Sailing Club With Bar    Booking Not required

Saturday 24 March - 19.30 -      Talk by Luke Powell.  Builder  of Traditional Pilot Cutters  

 Penzance Sailing Club With Bar    Booking Not required


Our AGM as you will see is on Wednesday 14 March 2018.  Would you like to nominate a member or be nominated to serve on our committee? We are always looking for new committee members to help run our Association to bring fresh ideas on raising the funds to maintain and keep Happy Return afloat, sailed and enjoyed in future years.  She is an important part of the history of the Cornish fishing industry and registered as a Historic Ship.  If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow member to join the committee please let Neil Mills know by Wednesday 28 February 2018.

Winter Maintenance Program - Saturday Mornings at 10.30

Happy Return back in the wet dock - 18 November 2017

The planned work on the Happy Return came to an end this week and with such a settled period of good weather, a snap decision was made to return to Penzance post hast. Thus the boat was lifted in to the river at Gweek yesterday (Thursday) and promptly motored back to Mounts Bay. The Happy Return is now birthed in the wet dock adjacent to the dock gate.

The boat is still very much in need of finishing and putting to bed for the winter, which includes some painting on the hull and the removal of the sailing rig for the winter. We will be working on board over the next few Saturday's to achieve this. If you can help, meet on board after 10:30am. All are welcome and all help will be gratefully received. This also offers the opportunity to meet up, see the boat and the work which has been done this autumn.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday even if it is only for an hour.


Annual Dinner - 19 January 2018 - Senara Restaurant

MBLA Annual Dinner - 7 for 7.30 - 19 January 2018

Senara Restaurant - Penzance

The MBLA annual dinner will take place at the Senara Restaurant, Penwith Collage, Penzance, on Friday the 19th of January 2018, at 7:00 for 7:30pm.

The dinner is open to all members and their guests.

Dress code is smart casual.

Those of you who attended last year will I hope agree that the venue, choice of menu and quality of food was a cut above pub standard and Senara has again put together an imaginative menu which appears below.

The cost of the evening is £20 per head.

On arrival: Glass of red/white wine or Peroni/ale
1.    Leek and potato soup  (Vegan alternative available)
2.    Vodka cured sea trout, celeriac remoulade, watercress, lemon oil
3.    Chicken liver parfait with onion jam and melba toast
4.    Porchetta, Lyonnaise potatoes, sautéed kale, port jus
5.    Roast pumpkin, leeks, crispy sage. saffron turned potatoes, toasted hazelnuts and sauce vierge
6.    Senara fish pie with seasonal vegetables
7.    Cornish cheeses, chutney, crackers
8.    Apple and rhubarb, clotted cream
9.    Tea
10.    Coffee

How to book your place

If you would like to book, please contact skipper John v d H preferably by email.

Include - the names of everyone in your party and their choice of menu using the number code shown against each item on the menu.

John will acknowledge receipt of your booking by email.

Please pay at the time of booking, preferably online:

Payee: MBLA
Sort Code: 40-36-13
Account No 91415484.

IMPORTANT: Please state your surname as the payee reference in order for us to identify who the payment is from.

Space at the Senara Restaurant is limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.


Gweek Deck Sealing

Happy return was sailed round to Gweek on Friday 6 October and lifted out of the water on Saturday evening.  She has been moved undercover and on Monday a working party removed all the sails, spars, deck boxes and general clutter.  

Andrew Massey, our shipwright, has started work on resealing the deck seams with modern mastic sealer so that next year we will be able to stay dry below when the weather is wet above.  

Happy Return will be at Gweek for six weeks while this work and some additional small repairs are carried out. Nick Darling is providing the link between MBLA and Andrew for this project; please contact Nick if you need any further information.

While she is in the dry, we will be taking the opportunity to repaint the hull above the waterline and to examine the masts and repaint them.  This will provide an opportunity for members to join small working parties which will mainly gather on Saturdays to carry out this work.  John Ditton has agreed to co-ordinate these working parties and if you are interested in taking part please contact him.

Lugger News - August 2017


Summer 2017

Our season started off on a high note with a weekend in Scilly for the Spring Bank Holiday 26-29 May.   Dave Keast was skipper and Mark Mitchell mate. Happy Return departed early morning on Friday with very little wind, motoring down the coast as far as Lamorna before a freshening wind enabled sail to be hoisted.  The wind held all the way to Scilly, Happy Return finally anchoring for the night in St Helen’s Pool a very popular anchorage between the islands of Tean and Tresco.  The dinghy was inflated and the crew, skipper and mate went ashore to stretch their legs as far as the local hostelry for pre-dinner drinks, then back on board for supper.  The next day sailed past St Mary’s into St Mary’s sound anchoring in the Cove, another popular anchorage with members, between the islands of St Agnes and Gugh for the night with supper and a noggin or two at the Turks Head on St Agnes, the most westerly pub in the British Isles.  The following day Happy Return sailed back across St Mary’s sound and into St Mary’s harbour, mooring on the harbour wall for the night.  Generous portions of food were consumed for supper at the Scillionian Club the evening was rounded off with a noggin or two.  The return to Penzance on the 29th was an uneventful sail apart from losing the wind just after Happy Return passed the Wolf Rock Lighthouse, then motoring the final part of the trip back to our mooring in Penzance.

Since then the weather has not been kind to us we were unable to attend the biannual Looe Luggers Regatta in early June due to bad weather.  Then the planned summer cruise in July to Ireland to attend the Glandore Classics Regatta.  The start had to be delayed due to bad weather and when the weather improved for departure the winds were all wrong for the trip across the Irish Sea so Happy Return went to Brittany instead only for that trip to be shortened due to another forecast of approaching bad weather.  Watch for a write up of this trip in a future Lugger News.
As Happy Return did not go to Ireland we were unable to take part in PASAB this year.  It had been planned to miss the first leg, the race to Scilly from Penzance however it had been intended to sail direct to Scilly from Ireland to meet up with the yachts taking part in Scilly then sail the next leg, the race round the Islands and finally to sail the final leg of the race back to Penzance. 

However despite the weather there has been some good sailing, Dave Keast skippered the day sail on Saturday June the 17th to Mullion Mark Mitchell was the mate.  The sail over and back was enjoyed by a crew of 11, whilst anchored close into Mullion Cove the crew enjoyed a buffet lunch laid out on the fish hatch with a glass or two of red wine to wash the food down.  Similarly a trip to Cadgwith for the singing and up the coast to Gerrans Bay on the weekend of the 7th of July the write up of this trip by Peter May will be in a future Lugger News. 

We have on occasion struggled to find crews for some of our programmed sails this season; if the skipper hasn’t cancelled because of an adverse forecast very often members miss out on some very good sailing.  We all know how Cornish weather can rapidly change.  If you are unsure because of a bad forecast, ring the skipper before making a decision.

It’s that time of the season fast approaching so if you are hesitating because this or that needs doing think about the long winters night with the wind howling round the chimneys wishing you had gone, hearing how those that went had the best sail of the season!!!  Talking about winter don’t despair your committee are planning a very varied and interesting programme of talks and events during the autumn/winter we hope to have the programme finalised by the next Lugger News.  Don’t forget; put a note in your diary for the Annual Dinner on or about the 12 January 2018 book early to avoid disappointment.  We are hoping to hold it again at Penwith Colleges Senara Restaurant which everyone who attended enjoyed very much.

In addition of course during the autumn/winter period we have the Saturday maintenance all members are welcome to lend a hand in preparing HR for the coming season.  It’s a very a very pleasant way to pass an hour or two with shipmates.  You don’t have to be skilled.  Watch out for the email giving the start date.