The season started with some reasonable sailing conditions and we didn't lose any Sundays at the start due to excessive current. The second Sunday, 7 April, was particularly good with a 10 to 12 knot East wind.so we took the opportunity to hold the Long Distance Race for the Cundy Trophy; there was an excellent sail using Wilsons' ferry, just below Sunbury weir, as the turning line. This was probably as far upstream we have ever raced.
There was an excellent 3 days sailing at the Spring Holiday visit to Bewl with 10 to 12knt winds, although fewer members attended than usual; probably due to the bad weather forecast and the Jubilee celebrations. We also had good conditions for the Hampton Regatta and our own Regatta.
The Mid-Thames Trophy gave us another new experience sailing at Desborough Sailing Club a few miles upstream. Unfortunately the very light East wind was their worst direction and it was very difficult to get round the short course. Of the visitors we had the largest number of boats and came 2nd to the host club.
Another new venture for us was hosting a Signet Open Meeting at the Club. The weather was great for the sunbathing spectators but not so good for sailing with very light wind until the last race. In spite of this our visitors enjoyed themselves and thought highly of the club.
The weather was far from ideal for the Open days and we had fewer visitors than usual but the land sailing, with the Pico, at the Jubilee 'Picnic in the Park' (Busy Park) was much more successful. We held another open day for those who expressed an interest and it was much more productive than the first one.
From August there were very few good sailing days. Even the Signet events on large open water like Rutland Water had no wind nor did the August visit to Bewl. We were unable to sail for three of the last four Sundays; one due to gale force winds (over 40 knots) and two due to excessive current after prolonged rain.
A group of our youngsters have reached 18 with exams, work or college giving a life style change; this has reduced their sailing activity and had a big impact on the number of boats racing. The normal race entry was only about 4 to 6 boats per race, and the best was 10 boats at the Regatta. A total of 28 members helmed in at least one race.
Normally not more than one club boat has been out in a race and it is disappointing how little the Pico is used.
AQSC members supported all the SigneT Meetings and came away with the majority of the prizes. At the Signet National Championships Richard Cannon, with Robert Britton as crew were 1st. Also Richard with Robert as crew won 11 of the 12 Signet races they entered over the year.
As usual all trophies, except the Broken Boom which is for the overall best Boat Handicap result, have been allocated to Personal Handicap results and this gives much closer Series results and usually helps spread the Trophies amongst the competitors instead of all going to one helm. Some results were very close and a tie was need on one 1st and two 2nd place results. On ranking for prizes there was a tie for 1st place and 3rd was only 3 points behind. Rodger was the only helm, apart form those in the result's table, who did enough races to qualify for any series.
There was a change to the format of the racing this year; the fun race was moved from being the last race to being the first race of the day. I don't know if it has been an improvement. We intend to try the format for another year unless the general feeling is to change back to having the fun race at the end.
We need more members to partake in more races to make the distribution prizes more interesting. I welcome suggestions that might improve support for events. Am I giving members what they want? Should racing be different times or days, too much or too little racing, alternative events. Please let me know so I have a chance to incorporate any suggestions in next year's programme.
The AQSC Web site and E-mail continue to be useful communication media. We now have our own domain name www.sailaquarius.org.uk and all committee posts have an E-mail address like email@example.com. Our previous address will remain active for the foreseeable future.
The latest race results are generally available on the web site by the evening following Sunday racing. Other useful pages are general News, Sailing and Social program, Sailing and Bar duty rosters, and the last 11 newsletters. I hope members are finding it useful. If Members with Email are not receiving occasional E-mails from me could they please let me have their E-mail address. I would welcome any suggestions on improving the communication, marketing and presentation aspects of the web site.