The Blackwater Sailing Club at Heybridge Basin held their annual Open Day on Saturday 7 May from 11.30 to 17.30. The weather was generally kind with only two brief showers in the morning and finished in glorious sunshine. The day saw a steady stream of visitors coming to the registration desk, with a total over the day of 315 people keen to see what our sailing club has to offer. Everyone was offered a guided tour of the clubhouse and grounds by our team of volunteers wearing high viz jackets.
The team on the Lake were offering sailing sessions in a range of dinghies, helmed by experienced Dinghy Instructors – over 200 people had a trip on the water, wearing buoyancy aids provided by the Club. The Cadet Section staged a demonstration of Optimist racing for the younger visitors to enjoy.
The upstairs galley team were busy all day producing filled rolls, cake, tea & coffee for our visitors while the downstairs bar which opened at noon did a brisk trade all afternoon.
Once the tide came in, we were able to offer our visitors trips on the river – either in one of our safety ribs or the club launch, which also ferried visitors out to one of two cruisers who were offering a chance to try a different type of sailing. Club racing also started at 15.30 so visitors were able to watch the racing from the sea wall in lovely sunshine.
The membership teams in the main clubroom were working hard to answer all the various questions about the terms and cost of membership and signed up 42 adults & 8 cadets at the end of the day with a number of other visitors thinking about joining in the near future
The success of this special day could only happen with the amazing dedicated support of more than 80 volunteer members – my thanks to everyone who helped to ensure our visitors had a memorable day.
The Blackwater Sailing Club is one of the leading sailing clubs on the East Coast; an active family-focused Club offering dinghy & cruiser racing for experienced sailors on the river; a well organised Cadet Section for children aged between 8 to 18 years offering initial training on the 7 acre freshwater lake & then coached training and racing on the river for the older Cadets. The Sailing School is now able to offer RYA Level 1 & 2 courses for Adults, which has been in much demand from new members.
If you missed out on our Open Day but are interested in membership please visit our About Us page or email our Hon. Membership Secretary
Photos © Nigel Butler, Iain Marshall
A group from the club, Belinda, Allan, Zoe, Tracy, Nina & Maxine have signed up for the Moonwalk London, raising money for Breast Cancer Walk the Walk Charity. Whilst Belinda, Allan and family are doing the walk in London on 14 May, Zoe, Tracy, Nina & Maxine decided to complete the walk last Thursday 5 May. Nina & Maxine walked 16.3 miles from Paper Mill Lock towards Chelmsford along the canal, then circling round through the woods North of Danbury to Woodham Walter and then back to Paper Mill Lock. Zoe & Tracy walked from the club along the canal to Paper Mill Lock then towards Chelmsford and circled back through Blakes Woods to Woodham Walter and back to the club via Beeleigh Falls. Thanks to all the support on the day via Facebook and WhatsApp which kept us all going to the end. Thanks to the generosity of club members, friends and family, our team has raised a massive £ 2584 so far. If you would like to donate to this good cause, please click on this link
Pictures © Tracy Haigh, Zoe Nelson
Blackwater Sailing Club was the place to be during Easter with plenty of sunshine and cooling onshore breezes. More than 60 boats raced over six days and many more just took to the waters to enjoy a relaxing sail. The cadets had a successful Frostbite series over Wednesday to Friday with club racing from Good Friday to Monday. The Friday sailors held their Friends Trophy race on Friday with 20 boats competing. On Saturday over 100 cadets and their families enjoyed the Easter Family Social which included an Easter egg hunt, family supper and disco. On Saturday and Sunday Zoe and Belinda organised a very popular charity cake sale to raise funds for breast cancer charities. Many members donated cakes including a ‘showstopper’ which was raffled each day. Thanks to the generosity of members £902 was raised.
From Friday to Sunday there was handicap racing for fast, medium handicap and short course with a remarkable 32 entrants for the short course! On Monday, the Osea Cup general handicap race was intended to be a race around Osea but light winds prevailed and some barely made the start line! The fine weather on Easter Monday saw a good turnout for the car boot style boat jumble sale. Despite an early 7am start, the upper car park saw good trading as boat owners searched for a bargain with bacon butties provided by the galley team. Thanks to those members who generously donated to the RNLI at the event. Collecting boxes on two stands raised a useful £81.15.
Overall a fantastic holiday long weekend and it was great to see so many people enjoying being at the club soaking up the sunshine and sea air. Full details of the racing results can be found on our website here
If you are interested in finding our more or joining Blackwater Sailing Club why not come along to our Open Day on Saturday 7 May.
Pictures © Nigel Butler, Anna Lau, Steve Sharpe, Tracy Haigh
Many congratulations to talented Blackwater Sailing Club cadet sailor Charlie Dixon who has been crowned iQFoil Youth National Champion at the RYA Youth National Championships held at Plas Heli, Pwllheli. Following his success, Charlie has been announced as the GB team representative for the iQ foil class at the Youth World Championships in the Hague this summer. Charlie is a great ambassador for the Club and when he is not at a championship he can be seen practising and training on the Blackwater Estuary. This is deserved reward for all his hard work and commitment to this exciting Olympic class.
The full results can be seen here
Sunday 6 February dawned with a cold NW wind gusting over 40 knots and horizontal rain – not an encouraging start for our second winter work party you may think! As 9am arrived, over 70 members came from far and wide to help make this one of our best attended and most successful work parties for years. Blackwater Sailing Club members are hardy folk and are not easily deterred by a severe gale and a bit of rain. Some were dressed in full oilskins and looked ready to take on the South Atlantic as they spread out around the site and set to work.
In four hours they achieved an amazing amount including clearing out and tidying the members workshop, clearing and tidying the dinghy trailer storage compound, enhancing the landing area either side of the lake ramp, moving the waste oil tank to prepare for another kayak rack and relocating all the club boats so they are together in a row including the reclaimed dinghy storage area by the pond. A pruning team made short work of the St George’s and footpath hedges and an enthusiastic gang deep cleaned the catering galley while the flags team decluttered the office and tank room.
At 1pm, the finish bell rang and the tired and hungry workers made their way to the lower deck. When all were present, they were presented with a glass of prosecco and the Commodore led a toast to Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate 70 years since her accession to the throne. They were then rewarded with a delicious lunch of jacket potato with beans and cheese followed by a selection of puddings prepared by Katherine and her team in the galley and Zoe contributing an excellent crumble.
We are extremely fortunate to have so many members who give freely of their time to come and help at our work parties to make our club a better place for us all. Thank you to our Hon Warden Julie Nelson for organising everyone and to all those who came along and worked so hard on the day.
Photos © Nigel Butler & Alan Hoy
As an RYA Recognised Training Centre we have recently started running RYA adult ‘Start Sailing’ (RYA1) and ‘Basic Skills’ (RYA2) courses for Blackwater Sailing Club members. Senior Instructor Alan Coday leads our adult dinghy courses and instruction is provided by our own dinghy instructors on a rota basis, which gives an interesting and varied approach. Beginners can ‘know about and try’ RYA approved techniques in the RYA1 ‘Start Sailing’ programme, whilst improvers on the RYA2 ‘Basic Skills’ course ‘can do and demonstrate’ a series of skills, tasks and manoeuvres essential for safe, satisfying, successful and fun dinghy sailing.
The inaugural cohort of six adult beginners, battling through the winter months, all recently ‘graduated’ achieving RYA 1 and 2. On completion, Mike said: ‘The course was fun and encouraging and I really feel my sailing has improved since taking part. The instructors were excellent, very knowledgeable, experienced and supportive.’ Irena said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed this programme which was the highlight of my week, I have learned so much and my confidence on the water has improved’. Tony said: ‘The course is first rate and it’s been a great way to spend Friday afternoons. I'm going to miss it!’ and Sophie said: 'I have absolutely enjoyed myself. The instructors have taken me from a beginner to understanding how to sail and how to sail better. From parts of the boat, to rigging, launching, points of sail, tacking and safe gybing. Slowing and stopping the boat by putting in irons and of course man overboard. The fun and laughter the 6 of us, along with all our instructors, over the weeks has been amazing.’
To help satisfy demand, we plan to run adult dinghy courses throughout 12 months of the year. The next January weekend course is over-subscribed and the next six-week course starting 28 January is already full but we shall be following that with an RYA Level 2 (improvers) course commencing mid-March, a Direct Assessment day (mid-April), another weekend course (end of April), another beginners’ course (May), followed by another improvers course (June) – repeating the series all the way to Christmas.
These chargeable courses in BSC boats are bookable by members through the ‘Events’ page of our website or via the Wild Apricot member app. We also provide ad hoc one-to-one mentoring, arranged for one or two mentees. For more information please visit the Sailing School page on our website. If you are interested in becoming a member and taking advantage of our adult and cadet training, please visit Contact Us
Photos (c) Alan Coday & Belinda Sturge
On Thursday 16th December Blackwater Sailing Club descended on Forrester Park for their Christmas Lunch which had been cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19. After a delicious traditional X-mas Turkey meal followed by X-mas pudding, we enjoyed a sing along with a variety of favourite carols.
There was some particularly enthusiastic participation to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with each table in charge of a day! Many thanks to Marilyn Sinclair for organising this most enjoyable event and to Belinda Sturge for leading the singing and Allan Hunt for providing the music.
With best wishes for a very Happy Christmas to all our members and friends and a sailing filled 2022.
Photos © Nigel Butler
On Sunday 12th December Blackwater Sailing Club held their first Children’s Christmas Party with 33 children from babies up to aged 10 enjoying the fun. The kids were entertained with music, games, bubbles and magic tricks and then sat down for a bite to eat, before Father Christmas arrived. He walked into the club room and took his seat by the Christmas tree and the children lined up to receive their presents. A big thanks to Marilyn and her band of elves and Santa’s helpers for making the day so special for all the children and parents.
Photos (c) Tracy Haigh
On Friday 19th November, 80 Blackwater Sailing Club members and their guests packed into the beautifully restored 17th century thatched Essex Barn function suite at Channels, Chelmsford for our black-tie Laying up Supper. Everyone looked very smart in their finery and there was a great atmosphere with the venue looking very festive and decorated for Christmas.
After grace from organiser, Joe Bird, everyone settled down to enjoy a delicious three course meal with friendly and efficient service from the house. During coffee, the raffle was drawn. Thanks to the generosity of members, we had some amazing prizes which were divided into goodie bags for the winners. This was followed by the 200 Club draw.
Without further ado, DJ Mitch Fisk entertained us with his mix of music and the dance floor was quickly full of people showing off their moves. This year, the Friday Sailors energised themselves with ‘fortified’ coffee and led the dancing until the carriages arrived at midnight to carry them away!
Thanks to the successful raffle, there was a small profit from the event that is being donated to ‘children in need’.
All in all, a great time was had by all and evidence that there is still demand for a black-tie dinner in addition to our more informal trophy supper held at the Club. Many thanks to Steve and the team at Channels and to Joe Bird and Tracy Haigh for organising a most enjoyable event.
On Sunday 7 November over fifty helpers turned out for our first winter work party which enabled us to finish the three main tasks of the day. Our main task was to clear out the mast shed of the old unused masts which have not seen the light of day for many years. After clearing the masts and old wood etc., we were able to re arrange the mast shed so it not only looks tidier but has some spare racks for cruiser owners who wish to store their masts over winter.
Our next major job was to resurface the new dinghy storage area. This is where we reclaimed some land on the edge of the drainage pond which was left to settle after the club house rebuilding finished. The land is now stable and has been levelled and re finished.
At the Ballast Hole side of the club grounds the entire length of the banking has been cleared of brambles and has been trimmed. This has tidied up this area and allowed members to get to their dinghies.
There was a very high tide and the Fireballs out for Winter racing only just managed to get back before the flood gates were closed.
Well done to everyone who helped, we got an awful lot of jobs done.
Photos © Belinda Sturge
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