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Welwyn Tool Group: Rear Commodore Report

26 October 2012

Generally another very active club sailing year all round, with various ‘special event’ days and open afternoons following on from the successes of 2011.

We held a total of 3 Hitchin roadshows instead of the usual two, 1 regularroadshow, 1 of which fell in line with the Olympics as the ‘Sport Everywhere’ event promoting Olympic sports in Hitchin (thanks to Mike Clarke for organising) – we did get some good interest despite the rather rainy weather, and the additional road show was for Hitchin Youth sports taster day in Hitchin (thanks to Paul & Christine Rose) for running. Overall the roadshows are an excellent way of recruiting members into the club and bringing new members into the sport, either socially or for racing. I’m sure Paul Smith has a refreshed view of the additional members for the year (approx. 12 new family memberships ?)

Events :
Following the Road shows we held the Open afternoons on 28th April and 19 May, and also held a New Members Day on 26 May where we had around 23 boats out on the water in what was a fantastic sunny day with some good breeze. At the new members day we were able to provide some added continuity for members who joined after visiting the roadshows and Open afternoons, showing them how to rig the boats and generally get out on the water. Overall the day went very well and the Roadshow to Open Days to New Members Day seems to be a good all round induction for new members, which was an idea proposed last year by Gordon. It was also useful for existing members who wanted to reacquaint themselves or try out some other boats.

We held the annual Family Fun Day where we had 2 pursuit races, inviting social sailors to come along and have a go at racing, either with a regular racer in the boat or on the helm of a club boat or by themselves. The event did attract several new social members along to the day alongwith families, and it would be great to see them come along to some more Sundays to try out another pursuit race or even join in with one of the series races.

As 2012 saw the Olympics in London and of course Weymouth, Andy Everett noticed and advised that the RYA were promoting their national ‘Push the Boat Out’ event, inviting all clubs around the country to get as many boats out sailing as possible to give the British sailing Team a resounding send off for the Olympics. Well it must have worked after Ben Ainsley’s resulting Gold medal ! On the day we had a great attendance across the club with around 25 boats out covered in bunting, all making a vuvuzela racket at 2:15, followed by an impromptu waterfight (courtesy of Gordon!) and tea and scones in the club house afterwards.

Thanks indeed to all who came along and took part and those who helped get everyone organised, and Christine and Claire for sorting out the excellent cream teas.
Social Sailing – after a good idea from Mr Holmes, we changed the Social Sailing to take place on Saturday mornings alongside the Argonauts, so in general we have a time when everyone can sail at a time when there will be a safety boat and instructors sailing at the same time. This seems to have worked really well, and we look to continue with this approach during next year.

Argonauts – holding the Argonauts for adults as well as children has really worked well for all, and enabled Mums & Dads to get involved on the water along with their children, as well as giving all those new to the sport the chance to get some instruction all included in the price of their membership. I know there are many regulars who go along on Saturday mornings to assist in getting boats organised, but particular thanks go to David O’Shea for his continued coaching expertise, and Robin and Ian Buck for their assistance with getting club boats organised.

Club Boats – this year we have seen a real surge in getting the club boats organised in the lower and upper parks, and particular thanks go to Ian Buck for getting the boat parks organised and particularly for making good several quite significant boat repairs. The Wayfarer has seen substantial repairs to its decks as has the 420, which Ian used funds from selling the old club Solo to make good the repairs on. Well done Ian, and welook forward to you joining the club committees this year as Club Bosun.

We have also had some boat donations to keep some fresh stock in the boat park; a GP 14 donated by Geoff Brealey and Gerrys Solo which KryszBoniki has bought in order to renew over the winter.

- There’s always a shift around in the different boats being sailed on the lagoon, but this year we have seen an increase in the number of new Solo sailors coming over from the handicap or other fleets. Mike Gearing and now myself have gone into Solo’s this year bringing the total of boats upto approx. 8 at the club that would regularly race. This means thatM Mike Clarke the Fleet Captain is considering running a Solo Open event in 2013, something I think would be a welcome addition to the club calendar.
Mirror – the Mirror numbers have picked up too, while there are usually 2 or 3 at best in the fleet, recently Martyn Croker has added his to the racers on a Sunday (well done Martyn) and also Tony Almond has recently come along with one to race. We still need to race for the Mirror trophy for 2012 guys, so get some practice in and you could be talking some silverware off Rays and Ron’s mantlepeice ! well.. maybe..

Lasers– Never a dull moment in the Laser Fleet and always a good representation from the with usually 12 + Laser sailors out on a Sunday morning. A couple of new boats also too this year have joined the fleet as well as a number of new sails under various Christmas trees at the end of last year; those Laser sailors will try anything to get ahead of the Solos wont they ! A particular good turnout for the Laser Open this year which also forms part of the Eastern & Central Grand Prix circuit, so some serious sailors were taking part (including our own serious ones of course !)
The event had the feel of a major national event (it must have been the walkie talkies!) and I think particular thanks go to the OOD and AOOD officers for their excellent organisation on the day (David, Mike C and Mike G & Joe), and also to Rob Powell the Fleet Captain and Kryzs Bonicki for ‘socialising’ the event at other Laser sailing venues they have been to throughout the year. Well done. A special thanks on behalf of the club (as well as from Rob Imsure )goes to Mrs Powell for again organising an excellent buffet lunch – it’s a tough life being a sailors wife sometimes but she does an excellent job of keeping everyone well fed and watered.

Handicap – With Claire & Robin in the Versa, Joe in the Splash and Rachel’s Laser Fun have made up the handicap fleet for the majority of the year, and recently George has brought along a fine new racing machine in the K1. Now that we have some good conditioned club boats working, particularly the GP14, it would be great to see some of the Social sailors coming along on a Sunday to try out some racing via these boats.

Other items – the racing marks were all changed for permanent marks, thanks to Nick and Andy Everett, and Ian for getting these all done, and we have had good turnout for the working parties to keep the club in good condition after the summer, and for throughout the winter. Thanks to Robin Stott an David for bringing together the new look website. We also have a good selection of club event videos now on what is the Clubs Youtube channel.

As I hand over the mantle of Rear Commodore to Andy Everett I would just like to take the opportunity to say thank you to the Sailing Committee members who have supported me and frequented the meetings and helped keep the good ideas flowing forward. I’m sure that Andy will do an excellent job during his term as RC and will maintain the much needed support and help with events from all the club members while in the post.

We will now open the floor for Any Other Business and an open forum to discuss new ideas or question areas, or where people feel we can all improve the club generally.

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