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.

Newlyn Fish Festival - Monday 28 August

Newlyn Fish Festival

Just to remind you the Newlyn Fish Festival is not too far way.  The committee is busy planning for the event to be held on Bank Holiday Monday 28th August '17.

Is there any member who wishes to come along and help and also have a current Food Hygiene Certificate please contact Skipper John T ASAP.

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 Lorna Halse via Skipper Mike

Contact skippers via email via the Sailing Calendar - click here

Dave / John / Lorna.

Anti Fouling - Wednesday 14th June at 10.30 - Also Afternoon Sail - Saturday 17 June (10.00)

Two notices to our members:

1) We intend to move HR to the slip by Penzance Sailing Club for anti-fouling and remedial maintenance work to the hull on Wednesday 14th June.  We require a moving crew to move HR from the North arm to the slip, muster 08:30.  Scrub down and anti-fouling work etc. muster 10:30.  Bring old clothes/overalls/head coverings.  Names to Skipper Mike H


2) I still have places available for all day sail on Saturday 17th June, meet 10:00 for 10:30 departure.  Note this is 1 hour later than that published on the sailing program.  Because of low water tide times we will be back approx. 8:00 PM Saturday evening.

Weather permitting it is hope to sail to Mullion, where we can anchor and have lunch.  So please bring pack lunch with you.  Tea/coffee/milk biscuits provided. 

Contact Skipper Dave

Looe Luggers - 9th June to 12 June

Looe Luggers 2017

Once again the Bi-annual Looe Lugger regatta is upon us, this event is commencing on Friday the 9th of June 2017. As in past years the Happy Return will be attending the regatta departing Penzance on
Thursday the 8th at 8:00am. It is planed to overnight at some convenient anchorage en-rooted on the Thursday night arriving at Looe prior to high tide on the Friday evening. (high tide is 18:31 on Friday)

Happy Return will be moored with many of the other traditional craft along side the quay in West Looe on the Friday and Saturday Nights, probably departing on the Sunday evening for Polperro if the forecast permits or some other such port of call. During the regatta on the Saturday and Sunday the Luggers will depart the quay in West Looe daily, leaving on the morning falling tide and return again on the rising evening tide.

This event is open to all members of the MBLA regardless of experience and maybe attended as either a one day event or for the whole weekend. This includes the passage to Looe or the return to Penzance. Looe is at the end of the Branch line from Liskeard so may be reached by rail for anyone wishing to sail during the regatta, or you can just drive if you wish. If you would like to sail on any part of this event please call Mark on either  01736-333224 or mobile 07766913836. All are welcome and we still have space for you, so don't delay call or email today.


Anti fouling - Wednesday 29th March - Cancelled

Hi Everyone

I am afraid that the planed antifouling of Happy Return on Wednesday the 29th March will need to be scrubbed as the weather for this period is forecast to be strong winds from the south. Not only strong wind but rain as well.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help on the slip, we will be trying again in a couple of weeks. Maintenance is ongoing, meeting on Saturday mornings at about 10:30am. All are welcome.

Many Thanks



Hi all,
As announced in the Sailing Programme, Happy Return is scheduled for a visit to the slip for the annual anti fouling ritual and general painting on Wednesday 29th March.  It will be greatly appreciated if you can spare a few hours to help with this.  Muster on the slip from 10:00 onwards.  The slip is located adjacent to the sailing club.  Anti fouling is a mucky job, so please wear your muckiest clothing and head wear.  Wellies will also be useful for scrubbing off on the slip.
Please note that putting HR on the slip is very weather dependant and the event may be postponed unless conditions are ideal.  Please let Mark Mitchell know if you can spare a few hours on Wednesday.  He will contact you on Tuesday 28th March if the event needs to be postponed.
John van der Hoff

Membership Renewal Due

This is a reminder that your MBLA membership is now due for renewal as from the AGM.  I hope you enjoyed sailing with us last season.  The skippers have already been busy preparing this year’s sailing program and hopefully it will be equally as good.  I and the committee also look forward to your continued support for the coming season, let’s hope the weather is kind to us and we have good warm spells with fair winds during 2017.

I am sending this as an Email this year to majority of the members so I can reduce the cost of postage to the association.  I hope this is OK with you.  If you want a written letter, please email me with the request ASAP and I will send you a letter, hopefully before the AGM.

Membership renewal will be due on the date of the AGM to be held on Wednesday 15th March ’17 at the Yacht Inn, Penzance, 7:30PM for 8:00PM start.  The Membership Fee is £20.00 per person per year.  Cheques payable to: MBLA.  You can pay by Cheque or cash on the night of the AGM should you decide to attend or by post to me at the above address.  You can also pay by On Line Banking for those of you who manage your finances On Line.  If so here are the MBLA Bank details:  Bank is HSBC; Sort Code: 40-36-13; Account Number: 91415484; Please put your name in the Payee’s Reference Box (Or Similar).  This is required so we can identify your payment.  Also, please back this up with an email or text message to my mobile, details above.

Please note we now have a new Email system to notify our members of forthcoming events, Sailing Programs (& changes) etc.  It is very important that we have your correct email address otherwise you will miss out on some important events or changes going on within MBLA.  If you have changed any of your personal details; email, phone, mobile, address and NOK etc. please let me know so I can update my records.  You may do this by either email or text, my details are above.  

The 2017 season Sailing Program will be available at the AGM should you decide to come and collect it.  If not, it will be sent to current members preferably by email if you have one (that is why it is important to have your correct email address).  If not, it will be posted to you ASAP after the AGM.

Look Forward for Your Continued Support, Happy Sailing During 2017.  Why not visit our new web site:, and you can now also watch where HR is sailing as we have now installed AIS on Happy Return?  You can follow her progress by going to Marine Traffic:  Go to the Search box (upper left hand corner) and put in ships name (Happy Return) and it will tell you where we are etc.  You can also download the App to your mobile or tablet if required but there might be a small cost for this?


David Keast.

MBLA Membership Secretary

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,