#3. Newsletter of 2020

What a year this has been.

A year ago Brian Tennant was introduced to the group after his “Stella” (temporary number #312) went ashore on 3-Dec-2019 in Port Barton, Palawan, the Philippine’s. For two weeks we all watched in helpless fascination whilst he and the very willing volunteers first tried to hand dig her out, only to be defeated by the tides washing the sand straight back in.

(download Newsletter #3 as pdf here – this is best)

After several days they were able to get the only local excavator on the job – it first needed to clear the local airport up after the typhoon damage.

Then on 18-January-2020 we received the news that she was floating free, across the bar, and into open water once again.

Apparently there is rudder & skeg damage but not too much else, so best wishes to Brian for the repairs.

Shortly after that news emerged from China of a strange new coronavirus which we have all since come to know as Covid-19. Following that for many of us we have spent 2020 going in and out and back into lockdown again, as our own regions, and families, have coped with the impact. As I write from the UK in December the vaccination programmes are beginning to roll out around the world and we can begin to see hope that 2021 will be different.

This meant that 2020 was not in any way a normal year of cruising Corbins, or of buying and selling them, but plenty of that has gone on nonetheless. In a newsletter such as this I cannot hope to capture all those stories of the different Corbins out there, but that is exactly what our Corbin 39 Group on Facebook is for, where we can all share directly with each other, ask and answer questions, show photos, and do Corbin chatter. And that is exactly what has been going – other Corbins have run aground, refloated, been found in barns, been bought and sold, started refits, played with spinnakers, and crossed oceans. We have done our best to grab any important facts from the Facebook Group conversations and archive them on the Corbin website along the way. The sailing posts and photos were doubtless a welcome lift for the spirit to those of us in lockdown, so thank you for that. Likewise seeing folks getting busy on refits and repairs will have spurred others on to fix a few things. (Of course if someone wants to try and collate a cruising newsletter each year then please volunteer).

The Facebook Group now has 161-members, including past owners with a wealth of experience to share with the newcomers, which they do most generously (this is up from 98 in May 2020). Some 61-people are now signed up to receive the newsletter by email, as not all want to use Facebook. Along the way some newly identified Corbins have been located this year, and we now have photos of 128-vessels, though we can’t yet put names or mould numbers on all of them.

One voyager I must try and mention, having completed a circumnavigation this year. Joe Bayne in #76, “Jubilee” completed a west-about, reaching Grenada on 16-Dec-2020. That is the only one I noted this year, but do tell us if we’ve missed you, and we look forwards to hearing more from Joe about his voyages.

Late in 2019 we learnt of the death of Lester Helmus at the age of 90-years. Lester created and, for nearly twenty years, curated the first Corbin 39 website.  He was the main actor in creating a Corbin online community. Lester Helmus passed away last October and newsletter #2 in May 2020 was an obituary of him written by George Weeks.

The Covid-19 lockdowns gave time to dig further into design matters and a whole series of naval architecture studies were written up. These give helpful information on the weather helm issue, firstly with anecdotal accounts of the historical background and real-world performance contributed by a great many Corbin owners past & present. These were then matched with a very thoroughly researched theoretical analysis. We in the Corbin community owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the authoritative retired naval architects Jean-Francois Masset and Alain Lebeau (ex of the French research institute ‘Ifremer’) for their fantastic volunteer support, so willingly given to this. The weather helm issue was addressed (and solutions very clearly given for the affected boats), hull lines plans created, static stability assessed including GZ-curves, sailing performance including a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) and the corresponding polars developed, and then an assessment of the dynamic seaworthiness and computation of the STIX number. Everything can be downloaded from the Longform Articles section of the Corbin 39 Association website including the full report (see https://corbin39.org/longform-articles/). This is a fantastic conclusion to a most thorough and authoritative set of studies which I would not have believed possible for us to carry out without their help – I really do not know how we can thank them enough.

I also do not know of any other yacht design that has its basic performance characteristics so openly and thoroughly documented for public access, and it is well worth passing on the link to other yacht-owners or sailors as they may learn something that is relevant to their personal knowledge in their own classes. Some of the key findings are below, but it is worth checking in on the Longform Articles section for the originals and any updates and refinements that are posted from time to time.

Our Corbin 39 Association website has been fleshed out in various areas during the year. It now gets first-page rankings on Google search entirely as a result of organic activity, with no advertising. If someone could update the Corbin 39 wiki entry to mention us that would be nice, and is probably not something I should do myself – over to a volunteer. There is a noticeable upswing in focussed and knowledgeable activity around Corbin 39s and the Association’s website and Facebook Group play a significant role in that. Thank you to everyone who has sent in important information and explained where it should go and what its significance is. If you have sent me stuff and I have done nothing with it, then please excuse me and remind me gently. Also we are currently hunting for legible drawings of the sail & rigging plans – we have good quality readable ones for the mk2 CC-PH-K (thank you to Richard Fuller, of #176, “Falcon”), but not for any of the mk1’s or the mk2 PH-C.

Joan and I updated our Corbin 39 Association accounts in September-2020 but I only got around to posting them online today – I am sorry but that sort of chore is not high on my list of nice jobs. There are some transactions that need recording since September, but as of then we had £328.52 in the bank and we owed me £945.53 to be repaid at some time. Income during the year from donations and For Sale listings was greatly appreciated and helped grow that balance so thank you as follows:

Donation, Scott Hartill (#126, Lapu Lapu)   (£25)

Donation, Horatio Marteleira (#73, Jakatar)  (£25)

Donation, Bill Dougan (#152, Alecaiden) (£25)

Donation, George Weeks (#155, Blue Run) (£25)

Donation, Wouter Tooren (#086, Stella) (£25)

Donation, Scott Hartill (#126, Lapu Lapu)   (£50)

Donation, William Schmid (#174, Anakena)   (£25)

Donation, Don & Tracie Sauer (#044, Seersha) (£25)

Donation, Tim Terrebone (#046, Silent Running) (£15)

Donation, Anthony Nirmaier (#057, Fire Lake) (£25)

For Sale Listing, Gilles Lebrun (#023, Simmerdim) (£50)

Donation, Richard Fuller (#176, Gisela) (£50)

I expect that in about a year it will be necessary to shift the website away from Bluehost to a new hosting location, and that is what funds are being set aside to support as the first priority. A site backup is about 12GB so memory management is an issue as a lot of the info is images, and occasionally the site goes offline if I get the memory & backups wrong, and then I need to beg Bluehost for support. (If anyone is good at website stuff and wants to volunteer to assist, please contact me). Beyond that there is a request for a picture wall feature, but that again will consume time & money so must wait in the queue.

I think that is quite enough writing by me, so can I wish you all a safe, sane, and solvent 2021 with plenty of enjoyable sailing.

Yours aye,
David Sharman
(#123, Bockra)