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