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.
The RYA has negotiated a deal with Virtual Regatta https://www.virtualregatta.com/en/ to enable clubs to at least get some virtual racing in, BSC is hosting racing every evening at 20:30, the biggest fleet so far has been 15 dedicated sailors. If you are interested in taking part you will need to register on Virtual Regatta and contact the Cadet Skipper who will give you the logon details.
Please be advised that the Maldon Annual Joint River Safety Meeting which was to be held at the Club on Tuesday 17th March HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
They have advised us as follows:
Dear Harbour Stakeholder
In view of the coronavirus situation and following guidelines from Maldon District Council, the Maldon Harbour Commissioners have taken the decision to cancel the Maldon Joint River Safety Meeting scheduled for Tuesday 17 March 2020.
The Commissioners would like to thank stakeholders for their ongoing support. Notes will be made available, compiled from the reports that were tabled for the meeting. If you have any questions or comments that you would like added in to those Notes, please let me know.
Clerk, Maldon Harbour Improvement Commissioners
On Sunday 12 January a new record number of almost 60 members turned up to help at our third work party with 48 staying for lunch. The BSC fitness trainer, AKA Warden Julie, inspirationally detailed jobs to be done as ways of toning different muscle groups essential for sailing. Relocating the inflatable rack was in fact a lower back workout. Removing rust from and repainting the stairs became a knee and quads strengthening work out. Sadly, the Aquarobics session had to be postponed since the ditches were too full from recent rain - it would have needed a team of bog snorkelers. The weather gods again smiled on us and the whole site was like a scene from ‘ground force’ with lots of jobs getting done and a fantastic atmosphere throughout the Club.
A big thank you to Julie for organising us all and to Kathryn and her team in the galley for keeping us fed and watered. Some say “there is no such thing as a free lunch” well, at Blackwater we now throw in a free workout as well! The Vice Commodore commented that if work parties continue to be this popular then we will have to start selling tickets and limiting numbers! Thank you to all those who gave up their Sunday and came along to work together to get so much done. Our next work party workout is on Sunday 09 February. Put it in your diary now – what a great way to get fit for the rapidly approaching sailing season.
Photos © Nigel Butler
On Thursday 12th December when most of the country were heading out to vote, Blackwater Sailing Club descended on Forrester Park for their annual Christmas Lunch. After a delicious traditional X-mas Turkey meal followed by X-mas pudding, we were entertained by our very own talented Blackwater Ensemble with a variety of favourite carols to sing along to.
This was the first of several Christmas events organised for our members building up to the Friday sailors X-mas sail on the lake with all the boats decorated. This is followed by another not to be missed X-mas lunch. Rumour has it that Santa will be appearing again this year and all those boys and girls who have been good this year will get to sit on his lap and receive a secret Santa gift and a sticker!
Photos (c) Nigel Butler
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