In recent years the Club has acquired a good number of dinghies with a range of sizes
and sailing performances. The latest addition to the fleet is an Escape Cascade -
obtained through the good offices of Graham Thompson (thanks Graham!) which is a
real fun boat and hopefully will prove popular with our younger members.
The principal purpose of the Club boats is to enable members to experience a variety
of boats on the river and to facilitate a more informed decision when it comes to
buying a boat of their own.
However, old salts also have a range of boats available to select from according
to the weather (and their inclinations) and many of us have made good use of them
over the summer when conditions have been very "variable" (i.e. generally pretty
awful!). By using a boat attuned to the prevailing conditions, sailing has been made
more interesting; thus for example on Sunday 23 Sept we had all four Bosuns on the
water and some amazingly close racing with the lead changing constantly and only
a few seconds between 5 boats at the finish of the last race. One week later conditions
favoured lasers and 4 of them were out.
By common consent this has been a disappointing summer; we lost 2 weeks sailing because
of the exceptional current following the torrential rains in July and August and
at other times winds have been very fluky. Nonetheless two events stand out in my
The Midsummer Madness Cruise, carefully scheduled for the full moon on 27 June, was
sailed in virtually no wind and moderate rain. (We got most lift from the rain impinging
on the sails!) Tony Hopkins and I were dressed accordingly and the drift back from
Sunbury on the current in the twilight was a surreal but hugely enjoyable experience.
Conditions were quite different when the Club hosted the Signet Open meeting on 2
September: Visitors saw Aquarius at its best. The wind was from the west so the downstream
leg was a reach and some boats even tried their spinnakers! The new patio really
came into its own, with spectators lining the rails to observe some quite eventful
and close racing.
As the sailing season draws to an end our thoughts move to planning for next year
(the racing programme continues to 11 November, but we will continue informal sailing
and aim to provide safety boat cover on Sundays for as long as conditions allow.
Note also that the "once a month" Sunday lunches will also continue as last year).
In this regard please note the AGM on Sat. 1 December. This is when the Officers
and Management Committee are elected (for which there are always vacancies!), but
just as importantly it is an opportunity for the membership at large to have their
say and to discuss what you want of your Club. There is always a tendency for things
to continue unchanged because "we always do that", so please think what you like
about the Club and what you don't like, what we do and what we might do, what we
could do better or more/less etc. and then air your views at the meeting.
Next year is an important milestone in the development of the Club with the 60th
anniversary of our founding in March 1948. We plan to mark the occasion with a birthday
dinner at the Club on Sat 15 March. Details are still being worked out, but note
the date. Because of this event, the format of Ladies Night in February will change
- but never fear Ladies- we will still look after you!
This being the last newsletter of the year, I conclude by thanking everyone who has
contributed to the Club's activities this season and in particular the Management
Committee whose stewardship ensures a (generally) happy Club.
May I also remind boat owners to ensure that their boats are secure against winter
winds and possible floods, with bows up and bungs out!