Sailing at Clapham on the 19th July.

July 20, 2009 at 11:56 am | Posted in News | Leave a comment

The day was a scheduled 6Metre day and in pursuance of our new policy we set out to sail them. The day was bright but there was a heavy and gusty wind, enough to cause wavelets to break at the Rookery Road end of the pond. However we got some boats on the water but they were heavily pressed in the strong wind and the gusts laid them over. Gear was taking a pounding and there was some gear failure. Getting the boats in and out of the water was very difficult, the wind making it almost impossible to control the boat and with the sails flogging violently. Your poor Chairman was almost blown into the pond when he was struggling to lift his boat out of the water. Those who had ventured onto the water decided conditions were too bad and that racing without going down a suit was impractical. We retired to the Clubhouse.
A few then decided to sail the Soling and strangely found they coped with the conditions surprisingly well, probably due to the smaller sail area, even so it was possible to sail and there were three of four boats on the water. It was felt that no racing was possible and we one again retired to the Clubhouse.
We have welcomed another new member to the Club, Chris Heath, who has decided to build a Soling before going on to build a 1M.
The Club is building up an impressive fleet of Soling,s and members are keen to sail them, but it is proving difficult to fit them into the current programe of racing 1Ms and 6Ms on the 1st and 3rd Sundays respectively. While it would be possible to vote on the day to sail the Soling in preference to the 1M/6M, such a decision is bound to disadvantage one or more members. The alternative is to set another Sunday in the month to sail the Soling, but that has the problem that those who limit their visits to the pond to the current two Sundays a month would not have an opportunityto race the Soling. This latter problem will have to be decided by the individual concerned and so as a practical way forward I suggest we sail the Soling on the 2nd or 4th Sundays in the month. It may be thought preferable to set a definite day, say the 2nd Sunday, but I think we might leave that decision untill practical attendance shows a preference for one day or another. It surely would be a great sight to see a fleet of perhaps 8 or more Solings on the water at the same time. We shall see.
One piece of good news is that the domestic water appears to have been restored, it has certainly been on for the last several weeks. Let us hope it will be permanent.
The Club membership is slowly building up again, but we must all remember that the larger the membership the greater the need for control and dicipline both on and off the water.
All for now, Derek.

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Sailing at Clapham on the 5th July

July 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Posted in News | Leave a comment

I regret it was a disappointing day at Clapham.
We should have been sailing the 1Metre class, but while the weather was fine, as was the breeze, the water was a little low. A few skippers did try sailing the 1M,s but found the boats were grounding in a few places, although much of the pond was useable.
Some skippers who were watching seemed to have decided that racing would be marginal, with placings being largely dependent on whether or not the boat hit or missed a hazard and an air of uncertainty prevailed and it needed “somebody” to take charge and decide whether all those with 1M,s should get on the water, or make the decision that as conditions were borderline we should sail the Soling,s instead. Either way some skippers would have been disadvantaged by not having the appropriate boat to sail. In hindsight the decision should have been made to sail the 1M,s as that was the scheduled class race for the day. The question is, who is the “somebody” who should make that decision?. As Chairman, perhaps the decision should have been mine after taking a consensus of opinion. I apologise to all for not doing so, although in my defence I was not feeling at my best today.
The situation does highlight the need for a greater degree of discipline on scheduled sailing days. First we must start on time, or at a reasonable time. Second, we must endevour to sail the class of boat designated for the day unless there is a compelling reason why that is not possible. There will be times when some skippers will be disadvantaged by not having the class of boat to be sailed on the day but I see no way around that problem. The decision on 1M or Soling is not so bad as many skippers have both classes, but the decision on 6M days is more divisive, although strangely, when I checked in the Clubhouse today I counted 8 Six metre boats, almost as many as each of the other classes.
Another problem we have is Club members fiddling with other interests such as power boats, kites and computers rather than concentrating on getting a class boat on the water. These other interests are best left to Sundays other than the 1st and 3rd Sundays, or to Wednesdays so as not to interfere with the Club programe.
At the risk of appearing dictatorial I shall in future make these decisions myself after consultation, but I must expect support. If no action is taken I fear the Club will not be fullfilling it,s function of being a dedicated Model Yacht Racing Club.
It would be helpfull if those reading these notes would let me know by Email at derek@crossderek.wanadoo.co.uk whether they agree or not with the sentiments expressed in this blog, but failing feedback I shall put these thoughts into practice at future meetings. Derek.

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