Commodore's End of Year Review 2014
As we're drawing to the end of 2014 it's an excellent time to reflect on the year we've had at Thames. We started the year underwater with the terrible flooding on the Thames, but soon we'd cleared up and fortunately we had only a few repairs to make. We haven't seen any sign yet of similar conditions this winter, but just a reminder here to members to make sure their personal belongings left in the sailing shed and liable to flood damage are removed – quite a few nice items of sailing clothing had to be thrown out last year.
Our sailing programme started in March and ran through to the end of September, although there are a few brave-hearted KUSC members who are continuing through the winter! As usual, our fleets are dominated by Merlin Rockets and the majestic Thames 'A' Raters, both of which had a great competitive year on the water, both home and away at events around the region and the country. Bourne End week was well represented by the club, despite the weather, and there was the usual competition against the crews from Tamesis and Minima down river. Congratulations to our 'A' Rater crews who took an overall victory at the Three Rivers Race in Norfolk too!
Our Annual Open Day in June again proved very popular, and many thanks are due to the volunteers who turned up for the third year in a row to help throughout the day. This year, despite the poor weather, we had over 70 people turn up and 'Have a Go' in a variety of our boats. It is clearly a popular event, and we are looking forward to running it again next June, so please check out our website closer to the time for the date. It's a good day to get family, friends and relatives involved too, so bring them along to sample the joys of sailing!
There was plenty of fun off the water too at our usual, legendary, events (Cocktail Party, Summer Party and Awards Ceremony) over the summer and autumn months as well as many ad-hoc BBQs. Social and Country members are always welcome at these events as well as our sailors and their families.
Our Friday after-school programme for young children ran for 6 weeks at the end of the summer term. With a 'Swallows and Amazons' theme we hoisted the Pirate flag and took the kids on an adventure around the island in search of George the legendary crocodile who lives on the other side of Ravens Ait! We also taught them some basic boat skills and the various parts of a boat. The series was well attended and we intend to repeat this next year.
Training is a fundamentally important part of our club activity, and in the view of the General Committee, it is an area on which we need to focus to support club growth. During late Spring and Summer 2014, we ran two successful dinghy sailing courses for adults and children, qualifying the adults to RYA Level 2 and the children to RYA Youth Stage 2. We also ran power boat courses to ensure that we have enough members qualified to man the safety boats for both TSC and KUSC activities, and we will be doing the same next year. If any member wishes to obtain a power boat qualification next year, contact Graham Bartholomew at: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or check the website. We also run first aid courses, so if you have never been on such a course, or simply need a refresher, contact Graham at the address above.
Taking advantage of a £10,000 grant from the Sport England Small Grants Fund, we acquired two new Omegas during the summer, and have retired two Omegas which are now up for sale at around £2,000 each. When we sell them, we will buy a further Omega which mean we will have 4 Omegas to provide great flexibility for training, and potentially, to support team racing. The General Committee has agreed that we need to acquire new safety boats, and as soon as we are able, we will be submitting a further bid to Sport England to acquire these, retiring Risk-It and Spritzer at the same time. We also need to replace our very ageing Toppers, and we are considering ways to do this, given the many demands on our limited funds.
Thames Sailing Club was proud to team up with Minima Sailing Club for Bart's Bash in September raising money for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. We jointly had over 30 boats on the water and we helped to set a Guinness World Record with over 30,000 sailors globally on the water at the same time.
Securing the Club
Over the summer we unfortunately had a number of acts of vandalism against the club premises and also some vehicle break-ins in the car park. Following Police advice we have started the installation of CCTV, initially to secure the club house and its immediate vicinity, by installing 3 external and 1 internal (at the bar) high definition cameras. Notices will soon be clearly posted to deter would-be vandals and thieves from visiting our premises. We are planning shortly to extend coverage to the car park area but as you can appreciate trying to secure a site the size of ours is always going to be a challenge. Privacy of our members is a high priority and is something we take very seriously so access to the CCTV has been extremely limited and it will only be accessed if we are alerted to suspicious or damaging behaviour.
Our proposed development plans for the club are continuing to take shape. At the EGM in late Summer, many of you would have seen our plans for the future, and as agreed, we have moved forward with ground investigation works to further determine the feasibility of our plans. We're pleased to say that the drilling was completed successfully without, provisionally, any adverse ground conditions, save for the obvious issues with developing next to the river, and we're awaiting the final report before we consider our next steps. Our plan is still to submit Planning Permission in the New Year but before then we'll update you further once we obtain our final ground investigation and feasibility report. We are still looking into how we can further fund our development so please get in contact with me if you know of any funding sources or are prepared to assist in this activity.
Race Box Volunteer Required
We are putting the feelers out to see if anyone would like to take on the running of our 'Race Box' on Sunday mornings. The role would be to run the two races which involves "signing-in" the helms, managing the starting sequences and recording lap-times. If you are interested in doing this, the Club will provide the necessary training, and you will be nominated an assistant and a Safety Boat officer who will be present for both races. If you feel that you would like to get involved then please get in contact with Jemma Hughes, our Vice Commodore via email: email@example.com for further information and a chat. As an incentive you'll receive one year's free membership of the club!
A Message to Our Guests
If you are reading this as a non-member, we have another great year of sailing, fun and other activities lined up with something for all of the family. Membership can be as an individual (adults, young adults or children), a student (through Kingston University) or as a Family if you want to get out and sail with us. In addition we have a membership class as a Stand Up Paddler (SUP) if you're interested in this fast growing sport. Alternatively you can join as a Social or Country (>40 miles away) member to enjoy our full range of social activities and access to our bar. To find out more about membership please look at our website: http://www.thamessailingclub.co.uk/about/joining-thames-sailing-club or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
A Very Big Thank You!
I will be finishing my three year term as Commodore at the next AGM in March 2015, and I'd like to thank everyone for their support and participation during this time. We have achieved a substantial amount of change in this period, and there have been a number of challenges for the club to deal with, and I would like all members to appreciate the efforts of those who have invested a great deal of their time to respond to these challenges. Particularly, I would like to thank those who will be leaving their posts at the same time as me. I will of course offer thanks again at the AGM.
As indicated above, I and a number of other post holders will be resigning their posts at the AGM having served their time. To maintain momentum and to ensure that all members benefit from membership of one of the most successful clubs in the UK, we will need to fill these posts. All Full, Family, and Junior Adult members are entitled to be nominated for any of the posts, including those where the incumbents are not required to resign due to time in post. You will need a proposer and a seconder and your nominations will need to be notified to Malcolm Clements, the Honorary Secretary, at least 14 days before the date of the AGM who will post them on the club's noticeboard and on the website.
On the website, you will find brief job descriptions for each of the roles in the club (http://www.thamessailingclub.co.uk/about/club-roles-and-responsibilities). The key roles that need to be filled from March are:
- Rear Commodore
- Honorary Treasurer
- Honorary Secretary
- Membership Secretary
- Bar Secretary
- House Secretary
- Catering Chair
- Harbour Master
- Sailing Secretary
- Social Media Secretary
I am very happy to discuss what performing these roles entails, confidentially if that is your preference. However, I would say that after 3 years in my post, despite the ups and downs, it has been a very rewarding experience, and I am pleased and honoured to have been able to contribute to the ongoing progress of the club. I am sure that any of you who take on one of these roles will enjoy the work just as I have.
Thanks for reading this update. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we very much look forward to seeing you all in 2015.