Autumn update

posted Oct 24, 2017, 2:16 AM by SESCA admin   [ updated Oct 24, 2017, 2:20 AM ]

Thanks to everyone who came along to help out at the Club's working party. A lot of good work was done but there a still a number of jobs that need doing including: re-staining the sheds with red cedar; cutting back bushes along the foreshore; more strimming around the dinghy park; re-emulsioning some of the walls in clubhouse and cleaning & polishing the Club boats. 

The Sunday morning Winter Series continues until the 19 November. There has been some very good racing amongst the Lasers and Toppers of late. There are Club boats available to sail if anyone else would like to join in. Please note that there is no Sunday afternoon sailing during November.

The final race will be for the Beaujolais Bottle, which will be followed by the Laying Up Lunch. Details will be announced shortly. 

The Club's AGM and Prizegiving will be held in the clubhouse on Thursday, 23 November.

SESCA 'Push The Boat Out'

posted Jun 15, 2017, 2:40 PM by SESCA admin

The St Edmundsbury Sailing & Canoeing Association held a very successful Open Day at Lackford Lake, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday, 21 May.

The event formed part of the Royal Yachting Association's 'Push The Boat Out' initiative to encourage everyone to get out on the water and celebrate a national week of sailing. The Open Day also featured as a BBC Sports' 'Get Inspired' Activity, as sailing trips and kayaking tasters were offered throughout the day. Local estate agents, Haart Bury St Edmunds, helped promote the event by putting up 'For Sail' signs around the area, which generated considerable interest.

The sun shone and there was light breeze which provided perfect sailing conditions for over 100 visitors, who came down to the Club. These included local councillor Susan Glossop and her family. Most of the visitors went out on the water and experienced sailing for the first time. Six families joined the Club, while several others took away membership application forms.

WASH Sailabilty, the Club's disabled sailing selection, took out visitors in their Access dinghies, while the Newmarket and Mildenhall Sea Cadets provided a colourful display by sailing around in their Toppers, Picos and new Quest dinghies.

SESCA is one of the most isolated sailing clubs in the country being the only sailing club in West and Mid Suffolk and SW Norfolk. It prides itself on being accessible to all with very low membership fees and a fleet of Club boats, so that it is not necessary to own your own in order to sail. For those who missed the Open Day, the Club will be holding a series of monthly Sunday afternoon 'Have a Go' sessions. See the Club's website, for details.

Bright & breezy Antigua Day

posted May 7, 2017, 12:25 AM by SESCA admin   [ updated May 7, 2017, 12:57 AM ]

Competitors in SESCA's 5th Antigua Sailing Day Regatta were greeted with bright, breezy and chilly conditions on Sunday. However, while the temperature was significantly cooler than that being experienced at the 50th Antigua Sailing Week, that had just started in the Caribbean, there was a similar warm atmosphere and fun side to the racing. This was in no small part due to the Calypso sounds of the steel band, which had been generously provided by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, wafting over the Lake.

The racing consisted of three races for both adult and junior divisions. In the first race, Alison Stevens led the adult fleet away in her Laser, pursued by Carl Day & Alan Shaw (Enterprise) and Jon Holmfjord (RS Aero). Ali built up a commanding lead to take both line and handicap honours, while the RS Aero and the Enterprise battled for second place. Jon ended up snatching the position from Carl & Alan by just 2 seconds on corrected time. Leslie Denny (Vibe) and Jon & Finn Senior (Vibe) took 4th and 5th spots respectively. Tim Perree (Laser) and Mike Senior (Laser) found the conditions a bit too lively and succumbed to several capsizes.

The junior fleet was bolstered by entries from Ben Stringer and Sophia Shaw from Newmarket Sea Cadets in their Pico single-hander dinghies. Ben led at the end of the first lap, pursued by Sophia, Richard Denny (Topper) and Ben Denny (Optimist). Richard handled the conditions well to take the win.

The breezy conditions were a challenge for the fitness and stamina of competitors, but recovery was certainly helped by the tremendous range of delicious cakes (all cooked by Shena Senior), plus free hot & cold drinks provided by Shena throughout the day.

Suitably refreshed, the competitors headed out for Race 2, with the wind as breezy as ever with plenty of challenging gusts just before the start. Ali led the way again, followed by Carl & Alan, then John Holmfjord and Mike Senior. Jon & Finn Senior, now in a Wanderer, suffered a capsize near the start but managed to complete a lap before retiring. Tim had more capsizes just after the start and decided to retire early and try to recover with more coffee and cake. The finishing order was Ali in 1st, followed by Carl & Alan, Jon and then Mike.

In the junior race, Sophia led the first lap while Richard was set back by capsizing and fell behind Ben Stringer. Richard recovered to take second place behind Sophia, with both Ben Stringer and Ben Denny retiring from the race.

After a well-earned lunch-break, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the steel band, a reduced complement of hardy competitors took on the final race. Once again, Ali led all the way from Jon & Finn Senior in the adult race, with Richard Denny beating his brother Ben.

In the overall standings, Aly Stevens was the winner of the adult prize, with Jon Holmfjord sharing equal second with Carl Day & Alan Shaw. The 3rd place prize was awarded to Jon and Finn Senior. The junior 1st prize was won by Richard Denny, with Sophia Shaw in 2nd, and Ben Denny in 3rd.

A special thank you was given, once again, to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Office, represented by Sean Matthew on the day, for supporting this unique event in SESCA’s racing calendar. Sean was presented with an engraved SESCA tumbler as a mark of thanks.

Well done to all the competitors for surviving the conditions, and many thanks to all the helpers who made the day a success. Racing continues at Lackford on Thursday evenings and Sundays. The season is now in full swing with many other groups using the lake, including: Culford and Priory Schools, WASH disabled sailing, Young People Afloat, Suffolk Scouts and the local Sea Cadets. 

The Club's next major event is the RYA 'Push the Boat Out' Open Day on Sunday, 21 May when free sailing taster sessions and joy rides will be on offer to potential new members.

A Flying Start

posted Apr 10, 2017, 12:53 AM by SESCA admin   [ updated Apr 10, 2017, 12:58 AM ]

It was a glorious weekend for sailing and great to see so many boats out on the water at the start of the season. Several people were out social sailing on Saturday and there were nine boats out racing on Sunday, with a large contingent of Toppers. We were also pleased to have several prospective members come along to visit the Club. We hope to see them on the water soon. 

Preparations are in hand for the Club's Antigua Sailing Day Regatta on Sunday, 30 April. We are endeavouring to make this event even bigger and better than ever and would like to encourage everyone to come along to participate in the racing or just spectate and enjoy Kathy's delicious catering and the steel band, which is once again being generously provided by the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority.

Season Preview

posted Mar 16, 2017, 3:06 PM by SESCA admin   [ updated Mar 16, 2017, 3:10 PM ]

The St Edmundsbury Sailing & Canoeing Association’s 2017 sailing season commences on Sunday, 26 March, at Lackford Lake, 5 miles NW of Bury St Edmunds. 

Another busy programme is scheduled this year, with sailing, rowing or canoeing activities taking place almost daily, until the beginning of November. These include events organised by SESCA’s  eight group members: the Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall and Newmarket Sea Cadets; YPA (Young People Afloat – a sailing youth club); WASH Sailability (disabled sailing); the Suffolk Scouts; Priory School and Culford School, as well as by the parent Club.

Dinghy racing will be taking place on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, with a Thursday evening, personal handicap series running from the end of April through to September. The Club has a mixed fleet of dinghies, which principally comprises of Lasers, Wanderers, 2000s, Gulls, Enterprises, Mirrors and Toppers. WASH disabled sailing sessions are held on Tuesdays and the first and third Saturdays of each month. Saturdays are also used for training, race coaching and social sailing. The Club is a recognised RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Training and Foundation Centre, running adult and junior RYA sailing courses for members during the summer.

The Club will be holding its popular, early season, ‘Antigua Sailing Day Regatta’ on Sunday, 30 April. The Club is hoping to make the event even bigger and better this year, as a fitting tribute to ‘Antigua Sailing Week’, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee from 29 April to 5 May.  The Club’s Regatta is once again being generously supported by the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, which is kindly providing a steel band for lunchtime entertainment and prizes of a suitably Caribbean nature. 

As in previous years, there will be several opportunities for potential members to visit the Club and try sailing throughout the season. A series of monthly, Sunday afternoon ‘Have a Go’ sessions are scheduled from the beginning of May, in addition to the Club’s RYA ‘Push The Boat Out’ Open Day, which is being held on Sunday, 21 May, when sailing trips and joy rides will be run on as available basis.

The Club prides itself on being accessible to all and being a great resource to the local community. It has very low membership fees (junior £25 pa; adult £62 pa & family £72 pa) and a fleet of Club boats, so it is not necessary to have your own boat if you want to sail or kayak. Anyone interested in dinghy sailing (pottering or racing), canoeing or kayaking is most welcome to visit the Club to see what is on offer. New members welcome.

2016 Season Review

posted Jan 24, 2017, 8:33 AM by SESCA admin   [ updated Jan 24, 2017, 9:23 AM ]


Having, sadly, lost a number of members over the winter, due to the extreme wind conditions and unprecedented amounts of weed in the lake in the summer of 2015, there was some trepidation as to what this year would bring.

Natural England and Suffolk Wildlife Trust were extremely sympathetic to our predicament and kindly gave their permission to allow harrowing and weed cutting of the Lake. Fortunately, this proved to be unnecessary, as the weed did not reappear and we experienced pleasant sailing conditions throughout the season. The continuing success of our RYA ‘Push The Boat Out’ open day and monthly ‘Have a Go’ sessions resulted in a steady influx of new members, which resulted in the Club sustaining a net increase in membership from last year.

The sailing season started in April with a series of race training sessions prior to our popular Antigua Sailing Day Regatta. The Regatta was again generously sponsored by the Antigua and Bermuda Tourism Authority, who provided a three piece steel band and prizes of English Harbour Rum, for which we are extremely grateful.  The Regatta was once again a well contested event in both the adult and junior divisions. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the start of Antigua Sailing Week, so we are hoping to make our 5th Regatta a suitably fitting tribute.

Bury St Edmunds Sea Cadets continued the regatta schedule by hosting the South Norfolk and North Suffolk Sea Cadet district rowing, boat handling and sailing regattas at the Club, while the Newmarket and Mildenhall Sea Cadets hosted a couple of multi-activity days for the Cambs Sea Cadets district.

We were very pleased that Cllr Patrick Chung, the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, was able to visit the Club in May, as one his last appointments while in office. Fortunately, the weather conditions were perfect, so that he could go for a sail in one of the new WASH Sailability Access dinghies, that he had helped to purchase for sailors with disabilities.

As already mentioned, the RYA ‘Push The Boat Out’ Open Day, at the end of May, was another great success with over 100 visitors; 85 sailing taster trips being given and eight more families joining the Club. Haart Bury St Edmunds were again very supportive in providing and displaying ‘For Sail’ signs to publicise the event around the area, while BBC Radio Suffolk sent along a radio car to help promote the event on air.

At the beginning of June, we were delighted to welcome our local Councillor, Susan Glossop, and our new Club patron and local MP, the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock, to the Club and take them out for a sail. During the visit they were able to inaugurate the new aft benches for the Club’s Wanderer training dinghies and the wheel chair friendly picnic table, which Cllr Glossop had kindly funded from her Locality Fund.

The Club’s RYA training team got together in June to run the first of the Club’s, adult, RYA Start to Sail courses. This course was fully subscribed, as were the second adult course and the two junior courses that were run later in the year. The training team also ran a six session, Work Place Challenge sailing course, on behalf of Suffolk Sport and the RYA. This course also proved extremely popular and was oversubscribed as soon as it was announced.

YPA (Young People Afloat) continued their usual high level of activity over the summer, getting at least 40 youngsters out on the water each week. They also ran additional sailing sessions for Fairstead School, Priory School (special needs) and Suffolk Young Carers.

The Suffolk Scouts extended their activities this year with several units arranging to camp in the Club grounds over a weekend, while participating in canoeing, sailing and rafting events on the water.

Wash Sailability also had a very good year, seeing a significant increase in both the number of disabled people joining the group and the number of volunteers coming forward to help with running the sailing sessions. They took full advantage of the good weather throughout the summer to get many more people afloat.

Priory School and Culford School were equally successful in getting a group of their pupils out paddling and sailing, at least once a week, during their spring and summer terms. We are very pleased to hear that Culford Prep School will be offering sailing opportunities to their pupils in 2017, while a number of other schools have also expressed interest in sailing at the Club.

Finally, a tremendous job was done by Club members at the Autumn Working Party in repainting the changing rooms; re-staining the clubhouse and tidying the club grounds for next season.

The 2017 Spring Working Party will be held on Saturday, 18 March with the sailing season commencing on Sunday, 26 March.

Photos of the 2016 season can be viewed here.

Autumn Working Party

posted Oct 25, 2016, 1:50 AM by SESCA admin

Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Working Party and to Kathie who produced another delicious lunch. A fantastic number of jobs were done including: repainting the changing rooms; restaining the outside of the clubhouse; recovering the roofs of the workshop and shed; restaining the outside tables; cleaning the gate; packing up the Club boats; derigging the 420s; pulling out SESCA1; strimming all round the dinghy park; servicing the mower and cutting back the brambles.

'Push The Boat Out' Success

posted May 30, 2016, 10:24 AM by SESCA admin

SESCA held another very successful RYA 'Push The Boat Out' Open Day on Sunday, 22 May. Over 120 people visited the Club and 96 visitors were given sailing tasters. Many thanks to all the helpers; haart Bury St Edmunds for providing the promotional boards and to Rob Medd and BBC Radio Suffolk for covering the event. We look forward to welcoming all the new Club members.

In full swing

posted May 20, 2016, 12:46 AM by SESCA admin   [ updated May 20, 2016, 12:48 AM ]

The sailing season is now in full swing at SESCA, with on-the-water activities taking place on nearly every day of the week at Lackford Lake.

Priory School were out paddling on Monday night; WASH Sailability were running disabled sailing on Tuesday; an RYA/Suffolk Sport Work Place Challenge sailing course was being run alongside Club social sailing on Thursday; the Suffolk Scouts were holding a District watersports session over the weekend and the Club’s Ladies Day, with racing for the Rose Trophy, was held on Sunday.

Sunday’s racing was held in bright, sunny conditions with a cool, light, North Easterly breeze.

There was a 180 degree wind shift just before the start of the first race, which led to an unusual downwind start. Debs Steele got away well in her Topper chased by the Denny brothers in three more Toppers. Meanwhile, the faster Lasers, led by Mike Steele, closely pursued by Tim Perree, and Jon Holmefjord’s new RS Aero worked their way to the front of the fleet. In the middle of the pack, there was a close battle developing between the three Wanderers sailed by Leslie Denny; Vicky Forkes and Chris Moore and his son.

The faster boats held an advantage in the light breeze and finished in the same positions on handicap as they did on the water, with Mike Steele first; Tim Perree second and Jon Holmefjord third. Debs Steele moved up to finish fourth and first of the lady helms, Vicky Forkes second and Fliss Elsom-Cooke, in her Vareo, third.

The wind had settled down for the second race, giving a good upwind leg. Mike Steele (Laser) led to the first mark but was soon caught by Holmefjord’s very slippery Aero downwind. These two traded places several times on the ensuing two laps of a figure of eight course. The rest of the fleet were closely bunched for much of the race, with mark roundings proving to be interesting, as boats rounded several boats abreast. Graham Newton and his daughter Josie gamely flew their spinnaker on their Laser 2000 through the melee. Richard Denny was doing very well to lead the Topper fleet but was eventually overtaken by Debs Steele.

Mike Steele took another first, with Holmefjord second and Debs Steele securing third on corrected time.

After a lunch time break with traditional cream teas, a slightly depleted fleet took to the water for the third and final race. Vicky Forkes switched to a Topper and showed Debs Steele that she was going to have to work hard to win the Ladies’ Trophy. A fast improving Holmefjord secured the line win in his Aero but Mike Steele took another first on handicap, with Holmefjord second and Debs Steele getting past Forkes, in the final stages, to finish third.

Debs Steele won the Rose Trophy, with Vicky Forkes second and Fliss Elsom- Cooke third.

There is no racing next Sunday, as the Club will be holding its annual RYA ‘Push The Boat Out’ Open Day. Visitors are invited to come down to Lackford Lake for a sailing taster session between 10 am and 4 pm. Further details at


Antigua 'Icicle' Regatta

posted Apr 26, 2016, 10:54 AM by SESCA admin   [ updated Apr 26, 2016, 10:55 AM ]

Competitors in SESCA's ‘Antigua Sailing Day Regatta’ were greeted to very un-Caribbean like conditions, with near freezing temperatures and hail.  However, they enjoyed a great day’s racing and warm Antiguan hospitality.
The regatta was initiated 4 years ago as a fun Club event to celebrate and coincide with ‘Antigua Sailing Week’. Through a Google news alert, the Regatta came to the attention of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, who were so taken with the initiative that they have been generously supporting the event ever since.
In the first race, there was a scramble to start at the favoured outer end of the line.  James Denny in his Topper got away well, followed by the Enterprise of Commodore Carl Day and Club Secretary Alan Shaw.  These two boats were closely pursued by a pack of Lasers.  The Enterprise got the best of the shifts and lead around the first mark with Mike Steele’s Laser close on its transom.  Steele slipped past down wind and pulled way to finish first, while a close battle ensured between the Lasers of Mike Senior, Tim Perree, Andrew Griffiths and Jon Holmefjord, with the Day/Shaw Enterprise not far from the fray.  Meanwhile, James Denny lead the pursuing fleet of six Toppers.  Steele held his position on corrected time with James Denny securing second.

Fliss Elsom-Cook in her Topper had a good start in the second race but was soon overtaken by the faster Steele Laser and Day/Shaw Enterprise.  Steele had a tight race with the Griffith’s Laser, before Perree managed to get past Griffith on the final lap.  The Day/Shaw Enterprise had an equally close race with the Moore/Willoughby Wanderer, while the Denny family fought it out in their Toppers. Leslie Denny slipped past Elsom-Cook, leaving all to play for, to determine the winner of the Ladies’ Trophy.  On corrected time, Steele took another first, Perree second and James Denny third.

After a welcome lunchbreak, during which crews were refreshed with food of a suitably Caribbean nature and cheered by the sounds of an authentic steel band, courtesy of the Tourism Authority, racing resumed for the third and final race. Steele and Griffiths had another close tussle.  A capsize by Steele nearly lost him the lead but he recovered to take another line win.  However, James Denny sailed flawlessly to take the race on corrected time with Steele second and Griffiths third.  
Overall, Steele finished first, James Denny second and Griffiths third.  In the Ladies Trophy, Fliss Elsom-Cook took first with Leslie Denny second.  In the Youth category, James Denny came first, with his younger brothers Richard second, Sam third and the youngest brother Ben, doing extremely well in his Optimist, fourth.  Special mention should be made of the Mildenhall and Newmarket Sea Cadets, who were represented by Barney Foreman and Josh Lawrence. 
Prizes were presented by Cherrie Osborne, Marketing Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority. 

Next year sees the 50th Anniversary of the ‘Antigua Sailing Week’, so the Club is planning to make SESCA’s 5th ‘Antigua Sailing Day Regatta’ a suitably memorable occasion.

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