Two weeks after the warmest Easter for years, on Saturday 4th May we chose the coldest May Bank Holiday on record for our annual Open Day and RYA push the boat out “Try Sailing in May” event. This didn’t deter more than 150 hardy visitors who came along to Blackwater Sailing Club to find out what we can offer. The day dawned dry and sunny, but we decided it was too cold and windy to safely offer our visitors sailing tasters, necessitating a change of plan. Our guests enjoyed tours of the extensive site finishing at our 7-acre training lake. Here many of our cadets and adults were demonstrating their heavy weather and capsize recovery skills. We also ran wet and wild RIB trips around the lake which were enjoyed by all. Before hypothermia had set in, guests were taken to the warm clubhouse where food and warm drinks were consumed. They were then able to watch our intrepid sailors taking part in a club race. The storm clouds built rapidly before the start and winds quickly built to a howling squall with 40 knot gusts which flattened most of the fleet. This quickly passed and returned to a steady force 5-6 and the race was soon underway with some spinnakers flying. Just after the race finished another squall hit causing more spectacular capsizes right in front of the clubhouse. Guests who had thawed out sufficiently took advantage of river trips on the Blackwater in one of our RIBs or the launch. This gave them a close-up view of the action and they all came back with smiles on their faces, if a little wet. We had static demonstrations ashore of the various boats sailed at the club. The membership desks were busy all day and over 20 new members signed up and another 26 took away details with the intention of signing up. A big thank you to the 60+ adult and cadet members who helped out and made this a fun day for our guests and thank you to all the visitors who came.
Photos © Nigel Butler & Zoe Nelson
The Club was the place to be over Easter with unbroken sunshine and cooling onshore breezes. Over 50 boats raced over five days and many more just took to the waters to enjoy a sail. The cadets had a very successful Frostbite series over Thursday to Saturday and on Friday and Saturday there were four races in the Britannia handicap series with long and short courses set. The Friday sailors decided to cruise around Northey on Friday rather than race and they then invaded Maldon from the sea with the intention distributing flyers for our Open Day. Unfortunately, they forgot the flyers so consoled themselves by emptying the ice cream and chip shops.
On Sunday there was general handicap racing and then on Monday the handicap Osea Cup race which this year was a race around Osea Island in the best wind of the holiday period. A steady stream of cruisers launched over the period with some tuning up for the start of the BJRC series next weekend. Many members enjoyed having a sail on the lake in one of the new club Optimists or just watching the Burnham cadets who were training on the lake on Friday and Saturday. 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.
Photos © Dick Garside
After racing in the Frostbite series 40 cadets and 30 adults spent an enjoyable evening at the club taking part in the Easter Family Supper. Prior to the supper the cadets enjoyed a series of games organised by the cadet committee, these included an obstacle course egg race, pass the plastic cup using straws and a sack race. The Cadet Skipper was narrowly beaten by the Commodore in the sack race who is surprisingly agile for his age, the Deputy Cadet Skipper should have an easier race in two years time against the Vice Commodore.
The games culminated in the Easter Egg Hunt where teams of ravenous cadets roamed the dinghy park looking for the Golden Egg, which was finally found by Ruby Andrews and Rhiannon Webber, who had been tied together to make it easier for the younger cadets. If you find any eggs around the dinghy park can you please drop them off by the notice board.
After prize giving for the Cadet Frostbite Series everybody sat down to a delicious dinner crafted by Master Chef Steff and Sous Chef Alex assisted by Lisa and Sam. The Cadet Committee helped with serving and washing up before heading off to the disco in the Cadet Room.
Photos Kate Stewart and Rob Haigh
The Weather Gods smiled on Blackwater over the Easter Weekend for the Cadet Frostbite Series, with brilliant sunshine and a F2-3 gradient breeze from the NE supplemented in the afternoon by a sea breeze we had excellent sailing conditions. For the main Frostbite series we had a mixed fleet of 2 Fevas, 4 Teras, 3 Lasers and 2 Toppers. Competing, in the Topper/Tera Regatta fleet we had four boats out and we also had 4 boats in the Optimist fleet.
On Thursday with crack race office Marg Norman in charge we managed to get 4 relatively short races in, with an upwind start between Hilly Pool and Colliers and Don Aers and Simon Shelter policing the line from Red Rib the cadets made good use of the opportunity to get some proper race starts in. For Friday and Saturday the Frostbite Series was combined with the Club Brittania Series and we had two races per day over a longer course.
We must also thank all the adults that helped make the weekend happen, coaching from Mini Ribs, crewing Safety Boats, acting as race officers, helping on the ramp etc. Without you we could not put these events on and your help is invaluable.
1st Place Sophie Johnson / Theo Aers (Feva XL)
2nd Place Ruby Andrews / Sophie Foskitt (Feva XL)
3rd Place Aimee Taylor (Laser Radial)
1st Place Sam Glover (Topper)
2nd Place Charlie Garlick (Topper 4.2)
3rd Place Jessica Garlick (Topper)
1st Place Matthieu Bernard
2nd Place Jessica Welch
3rd Place Josephine Bernard
Photos Dick Garside, Paul Trickey and Rob Haigh
There have been a few changes down at the lake, the cadet committee last year decided to scrap all the old club Optimists which were starting to look rather tired. We have replaced them with three brand new OptiQubes bought with money from cadet funds. These are the same boats as the cadets train on and will hopefully make sailing on the lake outside of training events a more fun experience.
The weather is looking good for the weekend so let’s get out and use the new boats. I will be down at the club Thursday to Sunday so can offer advice when I am not supervising the Frostbite Series.
Finally a big thank you from all of us to Marg and Drac Norman for braving killer mosquitoes to help set the boats up last night.
We are pleased to report that BSC Cadet Nick Evans has just won the International Optispring Regatta, at Port Zelande, in the Netherlands. This year it featured seven races in gusty conditions with 220 competitors. The British contingent all sailed well and picked up the nations cup. Congratulations to Nick and the rest of the GBR sailors.
The weekend of the 6/7th of April saw BSC's first Cadet training weekend of the year. This was for our Topper/Tera/Laser sailors and was aimed at our older cadets with a minimum age of 11. This gave us the opportunity for Toppers to make a welcome return to the lake, where the sailors made good progress to completing their RYA Level 2.
On the river our Topper Tango group were working towards their RYA Level 3. Our two race training groups, Topper MG and Laser MG, were out practising race starts and roll tacks working towards their race training badges which are new for this year.
We had good wind on the Saturday. Unfortunately it was quite cold but our sailors managed to complete a full day. On Sunday the wind was lighter but it was warmer and we even had sunshine in the afternoon.
Registration is now open on the club website for the May training weekend when we will be letting the Optimists join in.
The Fitting Out Supper is our annual reminder that winter is receding, the days are getting longer and it is time to get your boats ready since the 2019 sailing season is upon us. On Saturday 2nd March a good mix of members had a most enjoyable evening with a delicious meal at the club. After dinner, all were treated to a fascinating talk from Peter Taylor who is a Mate with the Maldon Barge Trust. Peter explained the history of their two Thames barges ‘Pudge’ and ‘Centaur’ and included some lovely old pictures and videos. He talked about the work of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust and their aims to preserve traditional vessels and skills for future generations. Large sums of money are required to keep these old barges going so donations or practical help are always appreciated. To learn more about supporting the trust or to look at the varied opportunities for sailing on one of their barges in 2019, please visit their website
After the talk, the raffle and 200 Club were drawn. We were delighted to donate the £157 takings from the raffle to the Thames Sailing Barge Trust to help them with their work. A big thank you to Sarah Bakewell and her team for organising a most successful event.
Photos © Nigel Butler
We were very proud to be chosen as the East Region finalist for the prestigious RYA Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year 2019 award. The Commodore, Vice Commodore, Cadet Skipper and Press Officer spent a nail-biting day at the RYA Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace on Saturday 2nd March waiting to see who would be crowned as overall winner of the award. They all attended a finalist’s lunch to meet representatives from the 11 clubs throughout the UK who had made the finals. Everyone there was a winner and this proved a great opportunity to chat to volunteers and exchange ideas with others who share the common aim of making their already great clubs even better.
At 4pm on the main stage, all the winners received their awards and the Commodore collected ours for Eastern Region Club of the Year 2019. The overall winner was decided by public vote and there were only 50 votes between the top two clubs. Having previously won the competition in 2014, Blackwater didn’t quite make the top step this time, but we would like to congratulate the worthy winners, Royal Torbay Yacht Club.
Thank you to all our members and friends who voted for us and a special thank you to our Publicity Officer, Chris Brown for all her hard work putting together and submitting the application.
Watch the video of the event here
Photo © Nigel Butler
This post will be of interest to Cruiser owners although few are in the water yet!
A large maintenance vessel 'WIND SERVER' will be carrying out essential maintenance on turbines in the Gunfleet Sands Windfarm from 15 March for about 12 days subject to weather and sea conditions. A MINIMUM berth of 500 metres should be given to this vessel at all times. The full details are given in Notice to Mariners 1/2019 and you can view or download a copy HERE.
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