Following our reopening on 29 March, BSC returned to racing in style over the Easter weekend on 2-3 April. Despite the cold, grey weather, with a biting NNE wind, there were lots of keen, happy racers out. During the two days we had 11 boats in Fast Handicap, 22 in Medium Handicap, and 8 in the Short Course fleet – 41 boats for the first event of the season! To comply with our Covid-19 protocols, all participants had to register to race via the website or member App. A ramp marshal controlled access to the ramp to ensure social distancing was maintained and the spacing between starts was increased to avoid any crowding ashore. The changing rooms had to remain closed so participants were encouraged to come changed or had a chilly change in the car park.
All fleets were racing around the new 2021 courses, using some of the new race marks – everyone had to think hard to work out where to go, and there were a few cases of boats rounding the wrong marks, and at least one occasion of a whole fleet heading for the wrong windward mark!
There was close racing throughout, with multiple race winners. The Fast fleet was won with a race to spare by Maria Richards and Graham Hoy in their Fireball, the Medium Fleet was won by Jess Haigh and Lucy Shelter in their RS Feva XL.
Closest finish was in the Short Course fleet, ending with three Jessica’s on equal points, Jessica Taylor and Jessica Garlick in their Toppers, and Jessica Welch in her Optimist. Jessica Taylor was the overall winner with the best individual race score enough to split the three of them!
The Novice Optimist Winter Cup was won by Callum Marshall, always smiling his way around the course and finding time for a friendly wave to his friends as he passed them on the river. For the full results please visit the results page
Thanks to all the volunteers, including Race Offices Sheena Berney and Barry Foulds, and the RIB crews who endured the cold to keep everyone safe.
Steve Perkins, Hon Sailing Secretary
Photos © Nigel Butler and Belinda Sturge
As the daffodils burst into flower to announce the arrival of Spring, I am delighted to announce that we can reopen the club on Monday 29 March for general sailing, boat maintenance and cruiser launching. Now we have a roadmap out of lockdown we have a better idea of the route to normality. The Covid-19 team and the management committee will discuss our stepped plans for reopening in detail and I will send members a more detailed update before we reopen. We will continue to follow a considerate and conservative approach, but I hope that we will be able to start racing on Good Friday 02 April using the Covid-19 protocols we established in 2020.
Flooding following record winter rainfall turned into freezing during February as the ‘beast from the east’ hit with the club blanketed in snow. The swans were seen skating on the pond and Zoe flew her drone to capture some great aerial shots of the snow. As the snow melted a rapid rise in temperature make it feel like Spring and the waterlogged grounds started drying out at last. The staff are working hard getting many jobs done and we hope everything will be looking good and ready for our reopening.
Photos (c) Zoe and Julie Nelson
Many thanks to our Sailing Secretary Steve Perkins, Ewan Harris and their team from the Sailing Committee who since 2019 have been working on improving our existing courses and adding some new race marks. The new race courses have now been published and the five new marks have been purchased. The new marks are Sandy Bight, Muddy Cove, Beacons, Mundon and Kraken. We now have 96 courses with a something perfect for every wind direction and distance. You can view and download the new courses and race marks map from the Racing at BSC page. To learn more about how the new courses developed please read New Courses Development
The biggest and best dinghy show in the world was due to be held at a new venue in Farnborough this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the show will now be held 'virtually' on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th February but will still have many great talks, presentations and exhibitors.
For more information visit the Dinghy Show Website
Registration is free so don't forget to register and then you can join any of the many sessions and visit the virtual booths of the many exhibitors. Register for free here
As another first for Blackwater Sailing Club we have a 'virtual booth' at the show. Please come along and visit us and have a chat. Click our link on the show exhibitors page
We look forward to 'seeing' you at what promises to be another great show.
This dinghy/tender has been found drifting in the river and is now ashore. Please contact the Honorary Secretary if you need more photos
Blackwater Sailing Club is proud to announce that they have now been awarded the coveted status of RYA British Youth Sailing Recognised Club.
Please see the announcement in Yachts and Yachting BSC RYA Award
To see what being an RYA British Youth Recognised Club means click the following link British Youth Sailing Recognised Club
On 24th March, the Covid-19 lockdown meant that we had to close the Club for the first time in its 121-year history. The Flag Officers formed the Covid-19 team and met weekly during lockdown via Zoom, at all times following a considerate and conservative approach. Regular meetings were also held with the management committee who agreed phase 1 re-opening on 13th May with access to the grounds and boats moving to phase 2 on 16th May with the reintroduction of social sailing and cruiser launching. At all stages we have followed the RYA and gov.uk regulations and guidelines to keep our members safe while allowing them to do what was permitted. An enormous amount of effort has been put in by our staff and large band of volunteers to ensure that our activities and premises are Covid secure. Our sailing committee in particular worked tirelessly to enable racing to restart on 18th July with online registration and completely rewritten procedures to ensure social distancing and no groups of more than six on our launching ramp. The changing rooms have remained closed throughout and all our planned social events have been cancelled.
It is easy in this crisis to focus on what you haven’t been able to do but here at Blackwater Sailing Club we would like to look back and celebrate a little of what we have been able to do this year:
· Social sailing only restricted for 7 weeks
· Virtual Spring Regatta during May
· Launched over 100 cruisers
· 35 club meetings held via Zoom
· Virtual AGM and EGM
· Became skilled at changing in the car park
· Virtual quizzes and social evenings via Zoom
· Many members enjoyed social sailing, cruising, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and model yacht racing
· Completed the rebuilding of the centre and southern sections of our Clubhouse in June
· Re-opened the bar in July
· Members fit out of the new Clubhouse completed during July-August
· Introduced online registration for racing
· Club racing restarted 18 July
· Cadet Reid Scott 5-day race series for 70 cadets run during August in place of cadet week
· Most of our major cup races were run during August-October including the Dyer Cup, Round the Islands Races and Bart’s Bash.
· 6-day race series with 69 boats run during August in place of Club week
· Online virtual RYA first aid training courses
· Welcomed the Chelmsford Fire Service to do their Swiftwater and mud rescue training at the Club
· Optimist training for beginners on our freshwater lake
We are planning a full sailing and social programme in 2021 in the hope that the Covid-19 restrictions will be eased, but if not, we can still enjoy sailing on the beautiful Blackwater Estuary and our 7-acre training lake. We hope to be able to officially open our fantastic new Clubhouse and run an Open Day so that we can invite our friends and potential new members to come and see our great new facility.
Photos © Ian Johnson
Blackwater Sailing Club is very proud to announce that the rebuild of the central and southern section of our Clubhouse has now been completed and we are putting the finishing touches to the Club fit out. We can't wait for the Covid-19 restrictions to ease so that we can open the new building to our members and show our friends and welcome potential new members to this fantastic building that will serve current and future generations for years to come.
The Commodore recently announced by email to Members that the Bar in the Osea Room will be opening from Friday 10th July at 7.30.
A strict one-way system will be in operation entering via the Main stairs and leaving by the stairs to the Cadet room and balcony.
Protection is in place for bar-staff and names will be recorded.
Full details will be published on the website
After 4 weeks of lockdown, BSC sailors came together on line to take part in a virtual spring regatta. We had 12 sailors competing in J70 Sports Boats to determine who would represent the club at the RYA e Sailing Spring Championships.
The regatta was held over two days with 6 races on each day with a total of 4 discards to help compensate for the inevitable broadband issues of virtual sailors living out in the wastelands of the three H’s (Heybridge, Hackney and Hatfield Peverel).
The Virtual Bridge was open 10 minutes before the first race with the Race Officer and his glamorous assistant maintaining social distancing rules by being in the study and the kitchen respectively. With a minute to go to the first start we had a 6 racers on the start line, after 10 minutes of tight racing Nick Evans emerged as the winner, unfortunately that was it for the Evans family as their dial up internet connection was not upto the job.
Race 2 started with the Andrew’s family joining in, we also had two of our more mature sailors taking part giving us a total of 10 racers on the start line. This time Charlie Dixon emerged victorious after a tight tussle with Hugh Andrews, this was to set the scene for the rest of the race series. Jess Haigh and Graham Hoy lead the following pack with some very consistent results, although Graham’s performance did drop off when he ran out of VMG tokens. Special mentions should go to Izzy Wallace who had a good series and managed to record a bullet in the penultimate race and also to RGA294 a surprise entrant from Spain who somehow managed to hack in to our last race, covered Charlie Dixon for most of the race and manage to sneak a win only to be disqualified by the race officer.
Congratulations to Charlie Dixon who was our overall series winner and will go onto represent the club at the RYA Eastern Region Virtual Racing Championship, on the 18th of May, and hopefully qualify for the National Finals. We have also made the decision to award Charlie the Cadet Frostbite Trophy this year which hopefully we will be able to present to him in person later in the year, in the meantime here is a virtual version.
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