Inclusivity in Sailing

An area of increasing focus in sailing is the subject of inclusivity. I am proud to be a member of a club where members are friendly, inclusive and open to anyone interested in sailing . However, like many other established clubs we need to consider also how our club infrastructure should be enhanced to meet the needs of the many diverse groups within modern society (including disabled people, single parents, people of different religions and cultural backgrounds and the LBGT+ community), in order to provide a comfortable and safe environment in which every individual is able enjoy our sport.

The RYA launched an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy in 2021 highlighting the importance of the subject, and a small group of us within the club recently started some work to consider how we measure up and to suggest and make any changes resulting. I will keep you advised of any plans as these emerge and with this work in mind, we would be happy to hear from members that have thoughts on the subject – please contact me here and let me know if this is the case

Neat and Tidy

Please can I remind everyone to pull their trolleys clear of the lake edge when launching. While I know this is tricky for single handed sailors, please try to buddy up and help others out as much as possible to keep the launching area  clear and safe for others to use.

Mission Impossible

The RIB pontoon finally met its end during the storms of a couple of weeks ago, as evidenced in the picture above. With a new pontoon on order the mission  was then to recover the 2-3 ton old concrete one without loosing the mooring lines, and then get it to a point where it can be lifted and taken for disposal.

Thanks to Simon Conway, Jon Elmes and Chris Meredith (he’s the one surfing five-oh style on the pontoon in the pic below) who successfuly took on and completed the task. The old pontoon should be lifted out later this week, while the new pontoon should be in place in early/mid June.

Club Dinghies (by James Williams)

Following discussion at the 2022 AGM, we are trialling a change to the use of the club owned dinghies by allowing Group Memberships to hire the dinghies (under the same rules as ordinary members). We anticipate that in the main the use will be during the week at times when the dinghies are not typically in use, and will drop off during the summer months when our student groups are not in residence. Any use will still need be agreed with the OOD on the day, although payment (e.g. for University groups) will be invoiced separately. Fingers crossed the trial goes well and we can get more of our members a chance to get out sailing!

Calendar change (by James)

There has been a minor calendar update. The Start Racing sessions will run every Thursday evening from 1st June to 29th June (1 week earlier than previously advertised). Do keep an eye on the electronic club calendar for what’s coming up. I’ll try to use the newsletter to advertise any changes.

Member travels (by James)

In the first half of April club members have continued to travel to events:
At the 3rd Spring ILCA Qualifier we had representation in both the ILCA7 (Ed Baker) and ILCA6 (Ollie Allen-Willcox) fleets. Ollie won 3 of the 5 races over the weekend across a range of conditions to win the event overall.
Elsewhere, Oliver Houseman took his Merlin Rocket to Ranelagh and over the Easter weekend Alex Knight and James Clark took on the International 14 fleet at Itchenor, including a 2nd place in race 5 in a very high quality fleet.
Back home, the club hosted its first open of the year for the Fireballs and Scorpions. Best placed home boat was Derian and Andy Scott in the Fireball fleet, winning the first race of the weekend.

Wednesday evening racing (by James)

Our most popular racing series is back for 2023. With turnouts often well over 50 boats there’s always someone to race against and the promise of gentle breezes and glorious sunshine (perhaps later in the series) make this a fantastic way to break up your week. Antonia’s Deli will serve you a delicious meal after racing and the bar will be open each week. What’s not to like?!

The duty roster has been set up, do request swaps with others if you can’t make the duty you have been assigned. We’ve currently short of around 10 slots, so the most regular Wednesday racers last year may find a second duty appearing. Volunteers always gratefully received!

Lake and Cake (by Jo Cudmore)

The first Lake and Cake of 2023 was held on Saturday. We were blessed with warm dry weather with a light breeze which gradually faded away bringing us all ashore for an Easter themed tea of Hot Cross buns home made biscuits and Easter egg nest muffins amongst other goodies.
We welcomed new member Freija who crewed in the Cfly with Tom.
Thanks to Rosie for taking some great photos!

Electric outboard

While options for powering our fleet of RIBs are presently prohibitively expensive, Jeff Stratford, Dave Hales and myself recently visited All Aboard on Bristol Docks to see their Torqueedo Cruise 3 engine in action, with a view to potentially getting one to use at the club to eg help support training or similar activity, where speed and power are not a priority. The small rigiflex was certainly a great platform to train from and paired with the engine was an ideal combo.

Advance Notice ref Club Dinghy Hire – Club Quests Booked for Training Course in May (Dave Orme)
We are running our first RYA beginners’ course of the year over the weekends 13/14, 20/21 and 27/28 May. We schedule the 4-day course over 6 days to allow flex for the weather etc. This is an advance notice to let members know that the 4 club Quests won’t therefore be available for general hire over those weekends.

Dinghy Instructor Revalidation Opportunity (Dave Orme)

The RYA has offered its clubs the opportunity to hold a 1-day revalidation session for Dinghy Instructors whose qualification has expired recently – say within the last 5 years. This would be a great help to ex-DIs keen to get back into instructing without having to commit to the usual 5-day course, and a great help to the club too!

If there is enough interest in the club, I will approach the RYA to see what dates might be available. I think it’s a fairly flexible offer, but I’d expect that if we didn’t have at least 4 ex-DIs to buy into the day it wouldn’t be worth the RYA’s effort to run it. I have one interested candidate so far.
If you are a lapsed DI who’d be keen to take advantage of this opportunity, let me know.
Dave Orme, RYA Principal

Advanced Rescue Helm Safety Course

Due to a drop out we have one place available on the Advanced Rescue Helm Safety Course on Saturday 29-Apr-23. It is one day, free and the only prerequisite is that you hold the PB2 certificate. It is not an RYA course but it is run by RYA instructors. It is the aim of the club that all rescue helms hold the RYA Safety boat certificate or have attended our in house course. To book the place email Jeff at

There is also one place left on the course on the 10-Jun-23.

Mary Bracey (from John Smalley)

Many of our longer standing members will remember fondly Mary Bracey who sadly passed away on Tuesday 04-Apr-23 following a valiant fight against cancer.

She leaves a son, Paul, and a daughter Caroline (who served the Club as Rear Commodore for three years).

Mary was a very capable sailor, logging many miles with her husband, Mike, on their yacht. The Channel Islands was one of their favourite destinations. At the Club Mike and Mary were a part of our ‘Chewfarer’ fleet, and Mary enjoyed sailing her grey Topper dinghy.

She accompanied Mike when he went to receive an award from the RYA in recognition of his many years of service as Chew’s Bosun.

They were both also stalwart supporters of the RNLI, fundraising not least by selling Christmas cards and calendars at Chew’s Visitors Days.

Once again this seems rather like the end of an era for the Club; Mike and Mary were both almost ‘ever present’ and instrumental in helping to create our ethos of friendliness and volunteering. I remember Mike’s philosophy that you should only expect to get out of a Club what you are prepared to put in.

Andy Jones