Notes from the Chairman 3rd January 2017

Welcome to 2017, I trust that you have all had a wonderful Christmas and survived the New Year celebrations.

Looking back at 2016, we had quite a good sailing season with not too many breakages (for a change) and the weather was far from the worst we’ve seen.

September saw the Happy Return moving to Gweek boat yard for pre-planned work by Andrew Massy. The forward covering board on the starboard side had developed some rot which needed to be attended to promptly.  Andrew, true to his normal standard worked like a Trojan completing the work on time. Whilst this work went on members gathered to scrape and paint the boat so that she was looking ready to start the 2017 season.  

The Happy Return then sailed back down river under the command of John Van-der-Hoff (and a fine bunch of stalwarts) on the 20th October heading for the Penzance Wet Dock.  Needless to say, that is not all of the work to be undertaken and work will re-commence in the near future.

During the 2016 sailing season, Happy Return visited the Isles Scilly on three separate occasions, calling into all the main islands and anchoring in some new locations throughout the archipelago, such as the west side of Great Ganilly and Puffin island. 

The Happy Return also attending Sea Salt and Sail in Mousehole.  This is a traditional festival which gives members of the public the opportunity to see many of the old historic boats from the South West and Brittany.  

Happy return to the rescue

It was during this festival on the Saturday morning when guest crews were taking breakfast on the quay, that someone made the comment.  “Is that boat moving in the Bay” on closer scrutiny it was seen that one of the visiting boats from Belgium had dragged its anchor and was well on its way to grounding on Penlee Point.  The crew, who had been totally oblivious of the situation, came running down the quay embarking post haste on HR. The crew of the Happy Return castoff and proceeded to steam out of the harbour at full speed.  Helmed by the intrepid Nick Darling, Happy Return was put alongside the stricken vessel to embark the crew.  Meanwhile the R.I.B from the Penzance Sea Cadet Corps had been gallantly pulling the vessel in an endeavor to clear it past Penlee point.  All went well with just the smallest amount of paint damage to each vessel.  So all in all a very interesting start to the day with the Sea Cadets proving to be the heroes of the hour and Happy Return being the fastest Lugger to depart Mousehole in many years… all very exciting.

Looking forward to 2017, once again I trust we will have a good season and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.


MBLA Annual Dinner

MBLA Annual Dinner:
In a break with tradition, the annual dinner will be held at the Senara
Restaurant, Penzance, on Friday 13th January, 7.30pm for 8.00pm.
Senara is lauded for its exciting choice of menu and quality of cuisine,
in sharp contrast to the uninspiring pub grub on offer from the other
establishments we have approached.

Our menu is attached - click here - and to wet your appetite even more, the  cost is
£15 for three courses.  

Coffee, tea, wine, spirits, beer and soft drinks are available at extra cost.
This event is open to members and their family, partners and friends.
Maximum capacity is 50 people, and as the annual dinner has been
oversubscribed in recent years I would urge you to book as soon as
possible and in no event later than 22nd December when I need to confirm
bookings and choice of menu with Senara.
The boring stuff:
Please book with John van der Hoff by email only: stating your name and name(s) of your guests.  You will receive and email from me to acknowledge your booking.
Please indicate the choice of menu for each person in your party by the
letter appearing against each choice of course on the menu.

Payment of £15 per person should be made at the time of booking, by
internet banking if at all possible, to MBLA, account no:91415484, Sort


Alternatively, please send a cheque (payee MBLA) to me: John van der Hoff, Maple Barn, Nancherrow, TR19 7PW.
Don't miss this opportunity to swap tales of drama on the high seas or painting the gunwales with your fellow members.
I look forward to seeing you all on 13th January. In the meantime, have an outrageously enjoyable Christmas and New Year.
Best Regards,


Lugger Newsletter

As I write, autumn is upon us and our sailing season is over for this year.  However, we can now look forward to the return of next season and the fresh sailing programme offering new ports of call and of course the ever popular ones.  In addition, we have the bi-annual Looe Lugger event to look forward to.  I do hope you had some good sailing on Happy Return this last season.  Happy Return will be returning to her winter berth in the Wet Dock on Thursday 20th October having spent a month in Gweek boatyard having her cover boards replaced and some ancillary works done.   

The weather wasn’t brilliant this last season with some trips cancelled due to weather but there was also some very good sailing.  This year it was the bi-annual Sea Salt and Sail Festival at Mousehole in early July.  The weather wasn’t good but the event is always very enjoyable.  Some 40 plus boats attended the event.  Mike Halse was the skipper for the weekend with Nick Darling mate.  Racing around the buoys was held on Saturday.  It is always keenly contested and Happy Return acquitted herself well as you would expect of an old lady!  She also took part in the Parade of Sail adding to the wonderful spectacle of so many classic wooded boats for all to see.

We also took part in the annual PASAB race in late July.  Mark Mitchell was the skipper with Mike Tudor mate.  The weather on the race out to Scilly wasn’t very kind to us with little or no wind for the whole trip.  The race around the Islands on Sunday started later than usual; in order for Happy Return to complete the course and get back into St Mary’s at a reasonable time.  She set off before the official start and was unfortunately disqualified however it was an enjoyable sail around the Isles.  The return race on Monday back to Penzance was our sort of weather with a steady wind on the quarter and Happy Return romped home back to Penzance.  

On 14th August Happy Return attended the Porthleven Lifeboat Day.  John Tellam was the skipper with Clive Humphrey mate for the weekend trip.  She sailed over on Saturday returning on Monday.  The visit was very popular and she drew a lot of interest.  She was open to the public for them to view a traditional Cornish fishing Lugger.  Most members will know she was built by Kitto in Porthleven in 1904/5. There is now a provisions shop where the old Kitto Yard was situated, opposite the quay.  On the day the Cape Singers came and performed from her deck which drew a large crowd who appeared to enjoy the singing.  The visit was such a success we have been asked if we will return for next years Lifeboat Day.  On leaving Porthleven on Monday we created a little bit of history, we were the first Lugger to sail out of Porthleven harbour for 50 years.

The annual Newlyn Fish Festival was a great success, it is our main fund raising event of the year and we appreciate all of our members who turned up and lend a hand on the bank holiday and the day before to help set things up.  We would also like to thank the members who contributed towards the afternoon slice of cake and a cuppa.  This goes down very well with the public.  The Fish Festival is a lot of hard work but also very enjoyable.  Fortunately, the weather was good this year.     

This winter we will be holding a series of events in addition to the Annual Dinner and AGM.  We do hope that you will find them of interest and will come along.  There is nothing like a good pint and some nautical chat to help brighten up the winter I will be sending out a separate programme of these events and dates for you to keep in your diaries shortly.

That time of the year is fast approaching so if you are thinking Christmas presents don’t forget that we offer a wide range of polo and T-shirts, fleeces with or without hoods of all sizes, all with our logo embroidered on them plus useful stocking fillers such as key rings with a picture of Happy Return and leather bookmarks with our logo.  We also hold in stock prints of a painting of Happy Return done by a local artist.  Contact John Tellam and check what he has available in stock, if he doesn’t have it he can order it.
The annual winter maintenance programme for Happy Return will be starting soon and we will need your help.  If you are not aware we meet up where Happy Return is moored in the Wet Dock at about 10.30am on Saturday mornings.  Don’t worry if you don’t have any technical skills just to be able to wield a paint brush will be okay.  Do come, it’s not all hard work but an enjoyable few hours spending time with shipmates chatting over sails past and future.  If you are able to spare some time on a Saturday contact John Van Der Hoff. It gives John time to plan what’s to be done and who is available.

Just to end this news, if you would like to put pen to paper and share with other members one of your sailing experiences on Happy Return or any other sailing experience, it doesn’t have to be long.  I would very much like to hear from you. 


Winter Maintenance

Happy Return is currently laid up ashore in Gweek boatyard for repair and general maintenance.  

We are looking for volunteers to help out on Saturdays (commencing 1st October) with all general maintenance tasks such as sanding/painting, cleaning etc.  

The work day normally commences at 10:30 and finishes at around 16:00.

 If you can spare a few hours within that time frame to help out, please contact skipper John vd H for details of where to meet etc.  Telephone number is on the printed program - or send an email via the link on Sailing Program - click here.  

Please note that John does not have a mobile signal at his home address, but you can leave a message on his voice mail.
Work does occasionally take place on weekdays and there will be a few of us there on 29th September (Thursday) so let me know if you would like to join in.


Newlyn Fish Festival

All hands on deck for the Newlyn Fish Festival.

Newlyn Fish Festival is this coming Bank Holiday Monday 29th August.

This is a big fund raiser for MBLA where we barbeque Pilchards, sell teas / coffee & also a cake stall.  We would appreciate any help during the day with barbequing, selling teas/coffees etc. or just sell MBLA to the members of the public.  Hopefully we can also gain some new members.

For you ladies out there if you can make / supply a selection of cakes, buns etc. for us to sell on the cake stall it would be much appreciated.

If you can help for a few hours etc. please contact skipper Mike.

A request from Lorna with reference to any of our lady members who wish to help on the food (Barbequed Pilchard) stall can you please bring your own suitable Hat (Hygiene Requirement) and a suitable Apron.  Any queries please contact skipper Mike, contact details on sailing calendar page.

The weather forecast is dry so hopefully we will have a good day.

Sailing Happy Return to Newlyn

Sunday 28th August - Morning Sail to take Happy Return to Newlyn - Skipper is Peter - muster at 11am.

Lugger News June 2016 - Part 2

Friday, 26th September

Skipper John Vanderhoff and his intrepid crew of Ges Wilson, Marco from Italy (Polo), Di Copperwheat, Rob Fishburn as visiting writer set sail at 08:08 to the Wolf Rock in the sunshine. Di helmed beautifully but extinguished both the sun and the wind, so the “Enough” “Enough” said the skipper, the engine was activated and we headed to the Isles at 12:21. Picnic on deck: Cheese and di’s home grown beetroot & tomatoes. We past the Wolf at 13:17 and pumped the dinghy (did it leak?). Ges put her glasses on and saw land – the Isles not France. We missed the rocks off Ghue and threw an anchor searching for 7 metres of water as we knew the Turk’s Head was open and we was thirsty! Leaks yes so we pumped the dinghy again, threw in the outboard and invaded St Agnes. Outside the pub, we somehow got talking to a lady who had ‘aggressive vowels’ Anne and Nigel from Bolton. Back to Happy return for Chili Con Carne, Red Wine and bed by 10 pm.

Saturday, 27th September
There were stars in the night and a very low Plough. The Full English for breakfast then walking on St Agnes – we all headed in different directions and I wondered if we ever meet again. Di, Ges & Marco took a St Agnes walking tour, I went for Troytown milk. Anyhow coffee at The Turks’s Head or the High Tide restaurant followed with Oyster Catchers and a Heron for company. Back to Happy Return and transit out and round to Tean Pool. The sails were hoisted and Ges tried to catch supper. We sailed past St Mary’s, the Eastern Isles and around St Martin’s to Round Island and a crabbing transit into Tean Pool. The skipper steered us in, arriving at 17:00, with free buoy parking, dinghy at 17:30, Karma resorts at 17:35. “My name is MacNamara and I’m the leader of the band” and soon we were off to the Seven Stones Inn under new management, Emily and Dominic. Doom Bar, Naked Ladies, Echiums, Agapanthus, Monterrey Pine and Fish Pie at £12.50. Overheard: “Don’t go schwimming with bow-legged women” (Christine Macrae) to which J. VdH replied “Here’s to drinking with bow-legged women”

Sunday, 28th September
Dinghy to St Martin’s for island walking and free Amaryllis Belladonna courtesy of Ian. Coffee and Christine and Alan’s holiday cottage and supposedly the girls went swimming. Nicholas George of St Buryan telling lunchtime stories with friends at the Seven Stones which had put Scuppered Ale back on. Luckily Happy Return was not scuppered and we sailed round Round Island to New Grimsby and Ges caught the buoy first time. Red legged Partridge at the Ruin Café, followed by beer at the New Inn followed by Pasta and Vegatable Tomato Soup sauce dinner on board.

Monday, 29th September
We caught a wisp of breeze at 08:08 and motored for home. Clean the dinghy, wash the decks, porpoises fishing, dolphins leaping, hot and sunny and back in Penzance wet dock. Great trip and lovely memories.

Don’t forget if this has wetted your appetite for a trip to Scilly or anywhere else
Book Now to avoid disappointment
Fair Winds & Tides

Lugger News June 2016 - Part 1


Hope you are enjoying this lovely weather and getting lots of sailing. 

Do you know that you are able to track Happy Return just go to the Marine Traffic website put in the necessary data and you can follow her on her trips.

Whilst Happy Return was being totally rewired this winter the Trustees thought it would be an added safety measure if we fitted an AIS system to her, this has now been completed and is registered. In addition to members being able to track her there are many safety features, one of which gives a warning if we are on a collision course with another ship, useful I think you will agree. I would think that some members will already know via our Facebook page but it is good for all to be aware.

We note that some of our members are not opening their Mailchimp messages from the Chairman and Membership Secretary.  This has become our main method of communicating with you the members.  The postal system is far too expensive and unreliable. The majority of members are connected to the internet either by phone or computer we feel this method of communication is the most reliable and speediest so please check your emails and spam boxes and open your messages.     

The season is now well underway and to date the weather has been reasonably kind with few cancellations due to bad weather. This weekend Happy Return is in Scilly, I gather from Mark Mitchell, the skipper the weather was good and the trip was very enjoyable. Unfortunately our first trip to Scilly over the May Day bank holiday had to be cancelled. There are another two more trips and PASSAB to Scilly this season. These are usually very popular with the members so don’t delay book early. In fact I would say to avoid being disappointed book early for any trip even a sail round the Bay as these are very popular too.

For members who haven’t yet been on a trip to Scilly I thought you might like to read two separate members experiences of their trips to Scilly :-
We mustered at 5 am on 14 September 2012 to set sail to the Isles of Scilly. My cousin Megan and I had seen a boat before but never actually set sail on one. Although, we had been deemed ‘capable’ for the trip by our uncle Mike Tudor, on a practise sail the day before, I was very nervous. After getting the boat ready, hoisting the sails and navigating out of Penzance harbour and round Mousehole Island, dawn began to break, the rain set in and the wind picked up. My worst nightmare had begun to materialise; I was on a wooden sailing boat in moderate seas and beginning to feel queasy. Our skipper Mark dived downstairs (correction, ‘below deck’) and started making a sausage sandwich for us. I politely declined. As we prepared for our first tack (Meg and I had seen Ben Ainslie in the Olympics so knew the lingo)

 I felt the unmistakeable heave of my stomach. “Not there Penny, be sick downwind otherwise we’ll all be in the way!” About 8 hours later Uncle Mike woke me up and I took the helm. The seas had calmed, it was sunny and we could see Scilly. It was the most beautiful evening and arriving into the bay

between the Isle of Gugh and St. Agnes at sunset, was just wonderful and worth every bit of being ill. Nick, Keith, Mark and Mike provided chilli and wine, Meg and I provided banter and haribo. A great first night.

The rest of the weekend involved walking, sightseeing, island hopping, pubs and many laughs.The return trip was great with a pilot whale, container ships and the lesser spotted Mike Tudor seen snoozing in the dinghy. Thank you to all involved, a great experience and I loved it.

Saturday & Monday Sail - 4th & 6th June

Saturday & Monday Sail:
Afternoon Sail - Saturday 4th June:

There are still some places available for this sail.  Winds are light so come along for a easy sail around the bay.  Weather is forecast good with light winds.  Muster 13:30 for 14:00 departure.
Contact John Tellam 01736 362281 to book your place.

Evening sail on Monday 6th June:
There are still some places available for this sail, so grab the mermaid by the tail now and contact John van der Hoff (01736 786349 or 07775607574) to book.  Muster is at 17:00 for 17:30 departure.  You'll be back on dry land by 21:00.  Get sailing before summer's over!

Happy Sailing!!!
All the Best,

Dave / John.

Saturday Sail - 14th May

UPDATE: Today's (Saturday 13th May) cruise was tremendous! In the above image you can see the exact course of Happy Return  around Mount's Bay. This plot is generated from our onboard AIS system. You can follow Happy Return whenever and wherever she sails. See earlier post for details.

New members are encouraged to take this great leap in to the unknown.  The forecast is fair. Muster is at the very civilised time of 10:30.  An opportunity to sharpen your sailing skills after the winter lay up.  So contact the skipper, John vd H (phone number is on the paper sailing program) to secure your place.  Happy Return has escaped from the confines of the wet dock and is now berthed on her usual summer residence on the North arm. 

ETA back in Penzance is 14:30.

 See you on board!

 All the Best,

Dave / John.