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