Current Newsletter – July 2021

We are excited to let you know that we are planning on holding the OCSS Generations event this year, after last year’s break!

The event is planned for the 2nd October 2021 at Farmoor reservoir. We would hope to hold the AGM and Annual Dinner after the sailing at Kellogg College as per previous years. However, due to Covid the College has not yet been able to confirm that this can occur.

Given the circumstances we would like to gauge interest in both the event and the dinner.

Please could you email you are interested in attending the sailing, a dinner, or both and/or if you have a team assembled.

Kind Regards,
Gregory Sale
Acting Hon Secretary

Newsletter Archive

February 2021

To lighten your lockdown boredom your Committee has organised a webinar at 06:30 PM on Thursday 11 March. It will feature Conrad Humphries describing his experiences of round-the-world racing and recreation of Bligh of the Bounty for Channel 4, and promises to be a most interesting evening. It is also a great opportunity to see old faces, despite COVID scuppering OUYC/CUCrC collaborative drinks this year.

Conrad is a triple round the world yachtsman. He competed as the youngest entrant in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race (now Volvo Ocean Race ). As skipper, he led his team to victory in the BT Global Challenge by dominating the race and winning 4 out of 7 legs. Conrad became the fifth British yachtsman in history to complete the legendary  Vendée Globe , single-handed, non-stop around the world without assistance.

Most recently Conrad was the professional skipper onboard the tiny 23ft open boat, Bounty’s End in the recreation of  Captain Bligh’s epic story of survival , Mutiny on the Bounty for Channel 4. Using traditional navigation equipment and surviving off the same meagre rations as Bligh, nine men were cast adrift 35 miles to the south of Tofua near the Kingdom of Tonga in a replica boat. Their mission: to survive and safely navigate across 4000 miles of open ocean to Kupang, Timor, and recreate one of the world’s greatest open boat voyages of British history.

Conrad will entertain us by regaling tales of daring do, as he fought multiple-tentacled sea monsters and battled force 27 gales crossing seas at the ends of the Earth.

Committee Changes 

Three new members have joined the Committee. Greg Sale(C) is taking over from Fiona Hampshire as Secretary – many thanks to Fiona for her almost-five-year stint in the role. Rowena Conway(O) joins to assist in maintaining liaison with Oxford sailing and spotting potential new members. Rachel Tilley(C) joins to administer our port stocks – with Katie Nurton continuing to provide her excellent advice on what vintages to buy and which to drink.

Coming Season 

Though the sailing programme for the coming season remains in doubt, we are currently planning a real face-to-face Generations Event and Dinner on Saturday 2nd October. More information will follow as the year progresses.

Member News

Congratulations to Miranda Merron on finishing 22nd out of 33 starters and 25 finishers in the Vendée Globe on 17 February 2021. Also to Sam Davies who finished the course with two competitors behind her despite setting out in last place after retiring at Cape Town in mid-December.          

Best wishes
Gregory Sale
Acting Hon Secretary

December 2020

Just a reminder, if you are not already aware, that 2 Society members, Sam Davies and Miranda Merron, are competing in the current Vendee Globe. We wish them every success and you can follow their fortunes on the Vendee Globe website.

We have had a good response to our recent data cleanse campaign – many thanks to all who got back to us. We await confirmations from some members – if you have not already done so, please let us have your best email address and current mobile number.

Best wishes forChristmas and a better 2021, Anthony
pp Fiona Hampshire, OCSS Secretary

September 2020

The aim of this email is to give you some guidance as to how to sign in to, and participate in, the Society’s virtual AGM and Port Auction – to be held on Thursday 1 October at 7pm.  It is important that you ‘attend’ this meeting so that we have the necessary quorum of 20 members.

Joining the Meeting
Signing-in to the meeting will be available from 6:45pm on the day, using the link:

If you have Zoom installed, proceed in your usual way.  If you do not have Zoom installed, use the browser version by following these steps:

  1. Click on the link above or paste it into your browser
  2. Click on the ‘launch meeting’ link that will appear in the middle of your screen
  3. Click on the ‘join from your browser’ link that will appear immediately below it
  4. After entering your name and navigating “I’m not a robot”, click on the ‘Join’ button
  5. Click on the ‘Join by Computer Audio’ button
  6. Finally, click on the small ‘Start Video’ symbol at the bottom left-hand side of your screen – and you are in!

In extremis, should you need the information, the Meeting ID is: 839 9632 9714 and the Passcode is: 016146 .

Participating in the Meeting
Participants’ microphones will be muted as a default.  If you wish to speak to a point, hold down your space bar and speak.  If there is a collision of speakers I (Tom Low) as Moderator will invite people to speak in order.  Votes on particular issues will be taken using Zoom polls – each with the two answers of ‘Agree’ and ‘Disagree’.  The President, Patrick Bird, will have the name Virginia Bird attached to his image, and I will have the name Patrick Bird attached to my image.  Please keep this in mind to avoid confusion!

Other Points
This email gives only the briefest of guidance.  If you are not familiar with Zoom, please Google and view the many excellent videos available on YouTube.

P.S. The accounts for the last 18 months are now available on the website: .

Best wishes, Tom
Tom Low, AGM Moderator

September 2020

As there is no Annual Dinner this year, members are invited to buy some of the Society’s excellent vintage port to drink at home instead. The port will be sold in an informal auction, starting today and ending at 7.30pm on Thursday 1st October during the online AGM. Successful bidders will be announced at the end of the AGM.

The Auction
• The auction is open to O&CSS members only
• Bids can be submitted via an online form or by e-mail. See below for details
• Current winning bids (but not names) will be announced at the start of the AGM
• You can bid for up to three bottles. To allow a range of members to enjoy the port, the second and third bottles will be allocated only after other close bidders (‘close’ is at the auctioneer’s discretion).
• The auctioneer’s decision is final!

How to Bid
Please complete the bidding form here
You can also submit bids by email to, including the following information:
1) Which port you are bidding on – make two bids if you want to try for both ports
2) How many bottles you are bidding for (up to three)
3) Your bid per bottle (min £28)
4) Your delivery preferences. The auction price excludes delivery. You can collect the port from Itchenor Sailing Club or London SW4 or have it sent by courier (extra cost).

The Port
Smith & Woodhouse 1997 (12 bottles)
Smith Woodhouse was founded in 1784 by Christopher Smith, Lord Mayor of London, and now belongs to the Symington family. They use traditional methods, with grapes still crushed by foot. One critic described the 1997 as “everything one could ask for from a Vintage Port of the highest quality”, with scents of eucalyptus and mint overlaying the fruit. Ready now but should keep another year or two in a cool cellar.
Quarles Harris 1997 (6 bottles)
Quarles Harris one of the oldest port houses, founded in 1680 and now owned by the Symington family. Unlike its competitors, it didn’t have its own vineyards but selected the best grapes from small farmers. It is known for its firm, dry style. The 1997 has lively aromas of liquorice, blackberries, rosehips and cream, with sweet fruit and gentle tannins on the palate, a spicy aftertaste and a long, big, tingling finish. Ready now but should keep another year or two in a cool cellar.

Do not miss this chance to acquire some very fine port – and good luck in your bidding!

P.S. Varsity Match is now a 1-day event at Farmoor this Saturday (19 Sep).

Best wishes, Katie
Katie Nurton, OCSS Port