yachting group2018 has been a good year for the sailing group. Some members from last year decided to stop sailing but other new members took their place, so we are 12 in total again. The U3A also has a fresh sailing advisor at the national level. He sails on lakes in a trimaran specially modified so that he can sail following a stroke, which is a great demonstration of sailing for all.

This year we visited Yarmouth, Poole, Beaulieu, Bembridge and the Hamble in our summer sailing trips. The heatwave gave us lovely warm temperatures but limited winds in the high-pressure weather system and so we used some of our time to practice boat handling under engine for example. Boat locations can be monitored using AIS and one husband wondered what we were doing going back and forth in the marina, but we were reversing and finding out whether the boat turned quickest by turning to port or starboard (left or right).

We again met up with the Warsash group sailing on Seadust, this time at Bembridge. We had a BBQ during the heat wave, the photo shows many of us sitting around the picnic table that the marina provides for BBQs. Peter and Tony planned our route into the harbour through the narrow channel in the sand and mud.

Our members range from enthusiastic (but no longer) novice to Yachtmaster, and although most of us live near the south coast our members live as far afield as west London. This year a number of members of the group have been developing to skipper level and hopefully by next season that will be sailing as actual skipper rather than acting skipper. Also, the Warsaw group have invited the Southampton group to join their classes on navigation and two of us have taken advantage of this option. Sailing is an activity which really matches the U3A ethos because you learn best by doing it. This is underpinned by many more available formal training courses and qualifications. Having more skippers is a great development both for the individuals and the group as a whole because it means we have more choices of what we can do.

A fresh activity arranged by the group was to do day trips with a local sailing school using their boats. We arranged two trips, one around the eastern Solent the other to East Cowes. Both were great fun but with very different weather conditions. We encountered very light winds during our first trip whilst the second was quite breezy. As with our other trips there was a mix of sailing for pleasure and skills development.

Our winter afternoon meetings so far have included one comparing our summer photos and planning our talk subjects. The last topic was buoys, shapes and lights patterns that you see at sea. The next topic will be weather - in particular the passage of a frontal system across the UK, followed by how to plan the pilotage into an unknown harbour.

The group will welcome new members since with more skippers we can plan more summer activity. We meet on the 4th Monday of each month at 2pm in the winter, in different houses each time and summer sailing trips are more varied in which days, but always in the week.