2015 Season Review

Post date: 26-Dec-2015 08:38:19

Sadly, this has been a very frustrating sailing year. We have suffered too often from either too little or too much wind and an unusually high level of pond weed during the summer months, which together have seriously hindered sailing activities.

However, it was not all bad. The season got off to a good start with four more members successfully completing an RYA Dinghy Instructors course at the Club. This was followed by a fully subscribed, adult RYA beginners sailing course, on which the new instructors were put to good use.

There was a strong turn-out for our Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority sponsored ‘Antigua Sailing Day Regatta’, at the end of April. 22 boats competed to the background rhythm of the steel band. It was a most enjoyable day and great to see so many boats racing with keen participation from younger members of the Club. We are extremely grateful to the Tourism Authority for their continuing support.

The early season race training sessions were also well attended, with numbers boosted by an enthusiastic group of Newmarket & Mildenhall Sea Cadets. We were delighted that they are joining in with the Club’s activities. It was very pleasing to see a significant improvement in the standard of boat handling, starting and mark rounding by all the participants over the three weekends.

The Suffolk Guides held another successful ‘Get Wet Day’, with 70 guides enjoying a variety of on-the-water activities with the assistance of a number of volunteer club members.

The Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Mildenhall Sea Cadets continued to make good use of the lake all season, practicing their rowing skills when they were unable to sail. The BSE Sea Cadets hosted the Sea Cadets Eastern Area rowing regatta in May, in which 80 cadets took part, and combined with the other units to host a joint Sea Cadets Instructors’ Adventure Training course, in September. As a result, the Cambridge Sea Cadets are now looking at becoming another Group Member of the Club.

YPA (Young People Afloat) maintained a high level of activity with an average of 40 youngsters out on the water on at least one evening per week. They still have a waiting list for membership of over 60, so we are looking to find a way of further integrating our training and racing activities.

The Suffolk Scouts were equally active with 2-3 units coming down to the Club for training each week. This year, they were primarily focused on their canoeing activities but intend to do more sailing next year.

Wash Sailability were sadly more affected by the extreme wind and weed conditions than anyone, due to the sailing characteristics and deep draft of their boats, but made valiant attempts to clear

the weed and to get out sailing at every opportunity. Their efforts were greatly appreciated by everyone.

Culford School continued their regular Monday evening activities and hope to more sailing in 2016, while Priory School held regular canoeing sessions.

The Club was also pleased to host a BCU (British Canoe Union) Instructors Course and a Suffolk Fire Brigade training session during the summer. In addition, we were extremely grateful to the BSE Sub Aqua Club who came down to the lake on two occasions to look for lost rudders – particularly as they were successful on both visits.

The RYA ‘Push The Boat Out’ open weekend was also a success with eighty visitors and ten more families taking membership. We were very pleased to welcome the staff from haart Estate Agents, Bury St Edmunds, who once again provided great publicity signs for the event. We were also pleased to get extensive radio coverage on BBC Radio Suffolk and large photo spreads in the Bury Free Press and Bury Mercury.

The monthly ‘Have a Go’ sessions again proved very popular, with an average two dozen people coming along for taster sails on each occasion. These generated a steady stream of new members throughout the year. Particular mention should be made of Jon Holmefjord, who kindly took out visitors, in his own boat, at all these sessions.

Many of the new members took advantage of the two additional RYA adult and two junior sailing courses, which were run during the summer holidays.

Overall, membership is slightly up on last year: 69 family; 27 full; 2 cadet; 7 honorary and 8 groups. Including the ‘Have A Go’ sessions, we estimate that over 1,000 individuals have made use of the Club’s facilities over the year.

We were, sadly, unsuccessful in our Sport England small grant application for three, new Hartley 12 training dinghies but have been invited to resubmit. We were, however, delighted to receive an award from Councillor Levack’s locality budget, prior to her retirement, to buy a badly needed new rescue boat cover. We were also delighted to receive £8,000 from ASDA’s 50th Anniversary Community Fund, which was used to purchase and install a new jetty extension – a great improvement to the Club’s facilities.

We welcomed our new local Councillor, Susan Glossop, to the Club in August. Her representation on our behalf has resulted in our local MP, the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock, graciously accepting an invitation to become the Club’s patron. We look forward to taking him sailing, next year.

Looking forward to next season. The Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Natural England have been very sympathetic to the weed problem. We are grateful that they have now agreed in principle to a two-year trial to try to limit the weed growth in the main sailing areas.