Mount Batten Centre

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November 2014

Busy times at the Mount Batten Centre!

19th November 2014

Its been a hectic few weeks at the Mount Batten Centre, so we've put together a brief write-up of all the activity goings on at the centre! 

The Centre was delighted to have once again hosted the BUCS Student Nationals in Dinghy Sailing on the 1st and 2nd November. Working closely in partnership with Plymouth University, University of Plymouth Student's Union, the Marine Institute at Plymouth University, University of Plymouth Sailing and Powerboat Club, the Royal Yachting AssociationPlymouth Youth Sailing and of course all of the volunteers who helped with the race marshalling, safety boating and shoreside services without whom regattas such as this couldn't take place. All of the organisers would like to pass on their thanks to the Cattewater Harbour Commision for allowing racing to take place within the Cattewater due to the High winds in Plymouth Sound on the first day. For a full write-up please see here http://www.busa.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2014/11/14bucsFleetChamps_ReportiPicsG.pdf

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Despite the temperatures cooling off and the shorter days we've had full attendances on our Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential and RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor. Both courses saw participants from across the country travel to Plymouth. 

The Duke of Edinburgh 'Get into Maritime' Gold Residential focuses upon introducing participants to the marine sector and water sports skills. Participants visited the impressive ship simulator at Plymouth University discovering the many options for Marine based Higher Education courses whilst navigating-virtually into Sidney Harbour! They then got to grips with Stand up Paddleboarding, Kayaking, Dinghy Sailing and Keelboat Sailing achieving certificates from the Royal Yachting Association and British Canoeing. Dates for 2015 Residentails coming soon! 

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The RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor also proved a popular course with a full group of 12 aspiring Senior Instructors from across the country attending and enjoying great sailing conditions.  If you missed out on this years RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor course the dates for next year are 14/15 and 21/22 November 2015 - for more details please email enquiries@mount-batten-centre.com 

SI course

Finally, for Children in Need 2014 we held our own Great British Bake Off and invited Hooe Primary Years 5 and 6 to participate in a charity abseil off our building whilst raising money for such a great cause

Abseiling for Pudsey

Posted by Sam Waites at 9:50am

Top 5 tips for safe winter paddlesports - Part 1

10th November 2014

Top 5 tips for safe winter paddlesports - Part 1

The nights may be drawing in and the temperatures cooling off, but that doesn’t mean the paddling fun on the water has to stop. Here’s a rundown of our top tips for safe winter paddling

1)      Get an online accurate weather forecast – It might sound really obvious but obtaining an accurate weather forecast before you go afloat is so important during the winter. With so many different weather forecasts online it can be daunting sifting through the myriad of websites. As a centre we triangulate three different forecasts to get an overall picture, and then use a live weather feed before heading out to check the accuracy of the forecasts. Here’s a rundown of our preferred online sites: The Met Office has had a recent facelift and is very user friendly for local forecasting. Windguru as the name suggests  is pitched towards windsurfers, kitesurfers and sailors as it focuses on popular areas for these sports but can still be a useful website for paddlers. Completing our trio of sites isMetcheck – a popular weather website for all sports enthusiasts. For live weather feeds giving you an accurate update of what’s actually happening in the Plymouth area we use the Rame Head Observatory, many popular surfing beaches will have webcams showing you the water or you may be lucky enough to have an the In the Elements weather station giving a live weather and pictures. Of course if you’re a technophobe and prefer traditional weather forecasts you could use the Radio 4 shipping broadcast, local TV and newspapers.  

2)      Order a free Kayaking safety pack from the RNLI - The RNLI have put together a really handy pack for kayakers with reflective tape making you and your craft more visible, an identification tag for craft and an emergency help card to carry in your personal floatation device so if the worst happens you’ll know what to do. It’s free and it will help to keep you safe! What’s not to like?!  

3)      Get some training - Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or new to the sport we all at some stage in our paddling career need some training. To make your training specific to your needs why not try a 1:1 lesson with theMount Batten centre? The focus of the lesson is exactly geared to what you want to achieve: Sit-on-top safety, Journeying skills, learn the Eskimo Roll, First time sea kayakers – the list could go on!

4)      Wear appropriate clothing – the saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather but inappropriate clothing’ is never more true than in winter paddlesports! A buoyancy aid with pockets for spare hat and sweets is a definite for the winter - whilst a well fitted pair of wetsuit trousers with a windproof dry cagoule is a good starting point for clothing. A set of pogies to keep the wind chill of your hands and a neoprene skull cap to complete the winter look. It may be worth considering a Drysuit for the depths of winter, as there is a wide range of drysuits on offer to suit all budgets and activities. We recommend a 'onesie' thermal suit for wearing under drysuits to stop the cold patches near the midrift which two part thermals can cause

5)       Make it social! – Whatever paddling your doing this winter make it a social event: Not only will it be more fun with others, but safer too. You could try a Go Canoeing Tour through the Mount Batten Centre or join a British Canoeing approved Canoe Club - many of which will run winter development courses in white water kayaking and canoeing. The UKRGB is a popular online paddlesports forum where paddling partners can be sourced and in the South West the ‘Kayaking on the River Dart’ Facebook page has over 2000 paddlers. 

 We’ve only just scratched the surface and next time will look at winter route planning, river levels, British Canoeingcourses and much more but in the meantime Happy Winter Paddling and we look forward to seeing you on the water soon !

Posted by Sam Waites at 2:08pm

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