2016 Season Review
Post date: 24-Jan-2017 16:33:45
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.