2017 has arrived and may I wish you all a belated Happy New Year. My name is Colin Metcalfe and I have been given the honour of being elected by the members to be Commodore for 2017. If you don’t already know me I’m the one who sails the purple Topaz; which like me prefers the windier days!
I joined the club 15 years ago when looking for a family friendly club where I could enjoy some friendly racing whilst introducing my then 4 year old son Noah to the sport of sailing! Well I achieved one of my two aims and I can assure you Shearwater was not to blame for my son’s current lack of interest in sailing; I believe that has something to do with launching off a beach in a force 4/5 or more accurately trying to beach the boat half an hour later in an onshore breeze! It took me some 12 years and a brand new sail before I got the hang of the wind shifts on Shearwater and actually started to win races on days other than when it was blowing a gale. And I’m not the only one who thinks Shearwater is a great place to improve your sailing ability as the article in Yachts and Yachting proves: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/194013/Sailings-Mr-Nice-Guy It is a great club!
I realise that the high winds and rain we are experiencing at the moment may not make you think of the fantastic sailing that awaits you this year but the first thrash is nearly upon us. With that in mind please spare a moment in your busy schedules to fill out that membership renewal form and more importantly the cheque or BACS payment; and don’t forget to license your boat with Longleat Estate. There are also the usual jobs that that need to be carried out to the club house, boat park, jetties and race hut before the season starts so we will be having a couple of work parties on Saturday 18 February and Sunday 26 February between 9:30am and 2:00pm. The more volunteers we get the quicker and easier the task and for the new members among you it is an ideal time to meet other club members at a time other than when they are busy preparing their boats for racing. And in that vane the committee are planning to arrange a fitting out supper at the same local Pub we held our prize giving dinner, only this time it will be a less formal affair in the skittle alley. The proposed date is Friday 3 March, more details to follow.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those committee members who stood down this year for all their hard work and to thank those who volunteered to fill their shoes. We are a small club that relies heavily on willing volunteers to ensure its smooth running. To provide a full season of racing it is essential that all members sign up to do at least two duties throughout the year. Remember the earlier you volunteer the more choice you will have of a couple of dates that fit in with your diary. There are around 38 sailing days that require a minimum of an Officer of the Day (OOD); an Assistant Officer of the Day (AOD) and a Safety boat operative. In windier weather two people are needed on the safety boat. Mathematically, we need a minimum 114 volunteers to run the sailing on Sundays throughout the year. (The Sailing committee have generously volunteered to run the Tuesday evening racing between them). A commitment of two duties is essential if the work load is to be shared. I am afraid that if you do not sign up then the duties officer will be allocating you your duty days. The duty list will be available to fill in at the clubhouse during the work party days otherwise please use the facility on the club’s website.
Whilst I am on the subject of volunteers there will soon be a need for a replacement trustee. It is a legal requirement that we have 3 Trustees to hold the club’s property in trust. If you are interested in volunteering for this please read the appropriate section in the Club Constitution and Rules: http://www.shearwatersailingclub.co.uk/downloads/SSC%20CONSTITUTION%20AND%20RULES%2013012009.doc
Most of you will be aware of the improvements that were made to the clubhouse during 2016 and it is hoped to continue this initiative throughout 2017. The committee has decided that the first focus will be the changing rooms. This will start with a general de-clutter during the work party days but I would be very interested to hear your views as to how the changing facilities could be improved keeping in mind we are not a cash rich club! You can email me your suggestions (through the website) or just jot your suggestion down and hand to me at the club.
So I hope, like me, you are looking forward to some exciting sailing during 2017 whether you race or just use the lake for social sailing; It’s not long now to 5th March and the First Thrash.
Thank you club members.
We are only a small club member wise but I never cease to be amazed at your generosity and willingness to take on and complete tasks which benefit the whole club.
We now have constant hot water in the both changing rooms and the galley. Our thanks must go to Sandy Lavelle for installing a new electric boiler. No excuse for not washing our hands now.
If you look on the website all the race results are up to date. Our thanks must go to Chris Barlow and Pat Jones for all the work they have put into it.
Clubhouse poster. A new poster designed and produced by Pat can be seen as you enter the Club. Thanks Pat.
Along with some improvements already made outside the Committee have decided that now is the time to smarten up on the inside. We propose to decorate the main area. ie The walls; ceiling; and woodwork over a three day period in October and also if time permits the changing rooms. I realize that most of the members work during the week, so this appeal is to the lucky few who have retired or have time on their hands or wish to dodge the shopping! We are hoping to attract a small group of willing volunteers of around 4 – 6 people who in a midweek period of three days can complete the decoration. If you are able to offer help for one, two or even three days would you email me email@example.com or give me a ring on 01747 841062. The second week of October 10 – 12th would be favorite at present. Thank you in advance.
With only 9 sailing Sundays to the end of the season we still have vacancies for duties over the next two weeks. Can you help? Use the website to indicate availability if you can. The rest of the season I am pleased to say is covered.
Annual points and Pursuit series yet to be finished as is Autumn points and Pursuit. There are only two All in Series race days left and these results go towards a whole variety of awards.
The weather as always is a factor we can’t control. The winds have been very variable from drifters to hold onto your hats. This weekend the winds will be on the lighter side for the All in series races.
See you on the water or carrying a paint brush!!
Regards to all
Autumn is on its way and the wind is just as unpredictable as always. Some drifters and some great sailing.
Duties for September/October
There are vacancies for duties in September on 18th and 25th and on October 2nd. If you could help out on one these dates then please let Juley Simmons know via the Duties enquiries page on the Shearwater Website. I am grateful to members who have done extra duties this year. Can you fit in one more?
Buddy Sailing Policy at Shearwater Sailing Club
Lone sailing on the lake is not encouraged. If however you wish to sail the Club’s policy is that you must either sail together with another boat or have a responsible person on shore in possession of a mobile.
Your safety and that of your crew is your responsibility.
It is recommended that if you are a novice or a returning sailor getting back into sailing you should only sail when a Safety Boat is on the water. This is on a Sunday throughout the year or a Tuesday evening during the summer. There are also specific dates shown on the calendar and the website where social sailing is encouraged as a Safety Boat will be in attendance.
Any person who is a poor swimmer should be wearing a life jacket and nobody should launch without an appropriate buoyancy aid for their build and age.
Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions bearing in mind sudden changes that can occur.
A weather check the day before and on the day is essential. Wind speeds are always given as an average wind speed. i.e. A 10 mph wind may well have winds between 5 mph and gusts of 15 mph. Take a paddle in case the wind drops completely.
Only sail in winds you feel you are competent to sail in. In the event of a capsize check the safety of everybody and then right the boat. If there is a problem stay with the boat. It will drift into one of the banks.
Sailing s a wonderful sport but your safety and that of your crew relies on an element of caution about the weather and your own ability. Should conditions change it is better to return to the clubhouse than hope for the best.
Using the Club’s Facebook page is a good way of enquiring if other boats are going out.
The RYA runs many schemes to improve our sailing skills. Check their website for details.
Sailing Committee August 2016
Tuesday evening Sailing.
A reminder this Tuesday 6th of September is the last of the series. Starts 6.15pm. My thanks to the Sailing Committee for doing all the duties throughout the series.
Awards Dinner will be held at The Royal Oak Corsley on Friday 25th November at 7pm. So please make a note in your diary. Numbers will be limited.
Your Committee is meeting next week specifically to discuss what clubhouse improvements that can be made both in the short and long term. It is hoped to target October to start the upgrade. Details to follow on how members can help. Please contact me or any Committee member if you have any suggestions.
Regards to all.
Commodore Shearwater Sailing Club
There must be something about Tuesday evenings. I should be sailing but thunder storms are moving up and down the Blackmore Vale. If the club had a web cam I could see what the weather was like on the lake but a decision had to be made and that is why I am writing this newsletter rather than risking the weather.
The last Familiarisation Day was well attended. Dave had his first sail in his newly refurbished Mirror. Mike Dickens was able to crew for him and ease him into sailing. Bill cruised the lake in his Firefly. Juley was able to gain some confidence by reacquainting herself with her 420 and Mark and Lydia enjoyed an afternoon on the lake in their Duo.
Many walkers stopped and talked to club members and there were two genuine enquiries about membership. It was an idyllic scene with boats cruising around our beautiful lake.
The next Familiarisation Day is Saturday 2nd July from 1pm. All are welcome. No racing just cruising. If you need support just ask. Safety boat will be on the water until 4pm.
We now have enough volunteers to man the Safety boat every Saturday from 1pm to 4pm in July. Social sailing is available to all club members. Bring the family down. If they sail with you don’t forget to sign them in. If you want to hire the club boats don’t forget to sign up and pay your money. Guests can go out with you but they cannot hire the club boats.
If the work party is active give them a hand in any spare moment.
Buddy Sailing. This is a reminder that all club members can sail at any time on the lake. Yes! Any day but only in daylight hours. The only proviso is that you have a Buddy on the shore watching out for your safety and who could raise the alarm in an emergency.
Lost and Found
Mike and I were searching for a lost Firefly tiller from the safety boat that was lost and by chance we spotted a launching trolley in the water near the dam. It wasn’t quite the raising of the Titanic but we were able to retrieve it. If any member has lost a launching trolley in the past can they get in touch with me? I would estimate it has been under the water several years.
Fishermen can be our friends. On Sunday morning the missing Firefly tiller was propped up against the clubhouse. I can only surmise that an angler hooked the tiller by mistake and hauled it in and very kindly put it outside the clubhouse. Thank you if you are reading this.
Last Friday club members and two dogs joined in a Treasure Hunt organised by Juley Simmonds. You had to find clue one and this led to the next. Ten cryptic clues in all. (with hints if you were desperate). It was great fun. All clues were close to the path between the Race Hut and the Start box. Thank you Juley for organising it.
In spite of the weather we have been having an excellent turn out on the water. Not been down yet? We would love to see you.