Commodore’s Newsletter – April 2017

Commodore’s Newsletter – April 2017

Hello to you all, the sailing season is now well and truly underway with a variety of conditions being experienced over the past 7 weekends resulting in some exciting racing conditions, and surprisingly, some very pleasant social sailing days at the beginning of the month. The Comet and Topper Open was once again a great success and my thanks goes to all those involved in its organisation, both on and off the water. I hope you all had a happy Easter break, the Founders Trophy race day on Easter Sunday was well supported with 11 boats starting the first race; however the somewhat gusty conditions took their toll with only 6 boats making it out for the second race after lunch and a hardy 3 boats contesting the final race! So, if you haven’t done so yet, get your boat down to the lake and enjoy the wind while it lasts. And if you haven’t joined yet then sit down this evening and get that paperwork done before you miss out on what promises to be a good year for sailing on Shearwater.

For those of you have not yet put your name down for at least two duties please do so soon. Look at the website and check all available dates. My thanks go to Juley for keeping track of the all the duties and maintaining up-to-date lists on both the website and in the clubhouse . If by the end of April your name does not appear on the list then you will be allocated your duties and it will be your responsibility to swap if they are not convenient. You have been warned!! If you are qualified to man the safety boat then please volunteer for this first as we are getting short on qualified safety boat drivers. With that in mind if there are any members interested in gaining the qualification then please make yourself known to Nic Cross our Coxswain and if enough people are interested he may be able to arrange a course specifically for club members.

Clubhouse Cleaning.
Unfortunately our cleaner of some 12 years retired this year; a big thank you Kathleen from all members of the club past and present for keeping the place in order. Lois sent flowers, chocolates and a thank you card on your behalf. Kathleen’s retirement did leave the committee with a tough decision to make, as finding another cleaner at a rate we could afford was not going to be easy. The decision was eventually taken not to engage another cleaner but to rely on volunteers to muck in and get the job done. I would therefore ask all members to ensure that they clean up after themselves as much as possible, always leaving the clubhouse as they find it, if not cleaner!

Club Trustee
As mentioned in my last newsletter the club is in need of a third Trustee. If anyone would like to volunteer to accept this responsibility please let me know. It is not a position that requires any commitment in terms of time or effort.

Social and Family Sailing Day Saturday 10th June 1pm – 4pm
This is an opportunity for you to sail on our fantastic lake without getting in the way of anyone racing. There will be a safety boat in attendance so that you can cruise to your heart’s content. If you want to improve your basic skills then some experienced club helms will be on hand to help you; or if it has been some time since you last sailed and are not sure how to rig your boat then bring it down and we will get it sorted. Always crewed and want to helm? Then take out one of the Club’s Comet Duos with a supportive crew to help you. If you cannot make it on this occasion don’t worry there are 5 more of these Saturday sailing events planned throughout the season.

Tuesday Evening Series sailing.
Just a reminder that the hotly contested Putty series starts on Tuesday 25th April at 6.15 pm. As the evenings get lighter in June we will once again start the races a little later, at 6.30pm, to hopefully allow more of you to make the start line on time.

Classic and Vintage Open – Saturday 13 May (Note date has changed)
This is an open meeting for Classic and Vintage dinghies which means that they were built before 1985 to a design created before 1965. Typical classes welcomed are Enterprise, GP14, Merlin Rocket, Firefly, Solo, Mirror, Miracle, Gull, Heron, Otter, Pacer, Wayfarer, Int. Moth, British Moth and many more. If in doubt, ask our sailing secretary Chris Barlow.

Fishing Area Markers
The Longleat Estate warden has informed us that the yellow buoys that mark the fishing ‘no go’ area around the lakeside will be removed this month as it has been decided that they pose a risk to the welfare of the fish. The exception to this will be the first buoy you leave to starboard on leaving the jetty. Unfortunately this leaves us with the responsibility of judging our distance from the lakeside as it will still not be permitted to sail close to the bank. The committee have decided that the general rule of maintaining a distance of 3 boat lengths from the bank should be adhered to. It will be at the discretion of the OOD to disqualify a boat from a race if it is deemed to have sailed unnecessarily close to the bank.

Lake Access Barrier
The Longleat Estate Warden has also informed us that the barrier at the entrance to the lake will be closed each evening in an effort to prevent certain unsavoury acts that have become more prevalent around the lake recently. Those wishing to leave after the stated closing time must ensure they have the combination code for the lock. Be aware this code will be changed frequently so do not assume once you have the code you will be OK for the rest of the season.

I look forward to seeing you all out sailing on the lake.


Colin Metcalfe
Commodore Shearwater Sailing Club

Outstanding duties

Dear All,

I have started allocating dates for duties.  For those who haven’t signed up please pick at least two dates please before I sign you up.

Also,we have some gaps early in the season,  which is a little worrying. If you are available for any of these dates and duties please let me know asap it is much appreciated thank you.

Regards Juley



16/04/17,  21/5/17, 28/5/17


21/05/17, 28/05/17,


30/04/17, 07/05/17, 21/05/17, 28/05/17


Commodore’s Newsletter February 2017

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: 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:

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.

Colin Metcalfe

Duties for 2017

Happy New Year to you all.
Please could you all look at your calendars and book up at least two duties if not three for the coming season. You all have until the end of February.
After this the duties will be allocated by me as needed on the rota. Also, bare in mind that during the summer we have racing on Tuesday evenings from May to Sept and family days on the lake Saturdays during July and August. Although this is usually covered by the committee it would be good to have some volunteers to help out to relieve some of the responsibility.
If we don’t cover all the duties required, then we can’t race or will have to cancel activities, or some very kind members have sacrificed their race time to man the rescue boat and race box.
Lets work together on this and I wish you fun and good racing this this season.
Juley Simmonds
Duties Officer