Laying Up - a traditional event in the RCYC calendar, whose origins were probably laid down by be-whiskered gentlemen over a century ago, but this year given a new twist - less emphasis on the trophies and more on overall achievements.
Peter Marchant, Rear Commodore Sailing, nearing the end of an extra long stint of four years, invited representatives from the various classes to share his platform and both review and forecast which made for lively listening by an audience of nearly a hundred.
Most of the one-design sailors have little idea of the range of cruiser activities so offering some air-time to Arthur Heasley was a master-stroke which he used to great advantage! Little known facts - there are 98 Corinthian boats, to Arthur's knowledge, voyaging ten thousand miles plus although Roger Taylor in Mingming 11 accounted for over three thousand of them and they were single-handed! Ouma, Schiehallion, Signature, Silver, and Jack have flown our flag in the West Indies, the Adriatic, the Riviera, Portugal and Gibraltar, whilst locally Penelope Pit Stop prefers romantic evening drifts, Amanda Louise leads East Coast Cruises full of incident and Mick King's wooden sloop Paprika offers pretty young ladies his old oilies and his chauffeur services - but only if they agree to a Corinthian Wedding!
From the largest to the smallest and Carl Anderson, prime mover behind the Saturday dinghy racing, aims to bridge the gap between the Otters and keel boat fleets, and congratulated Ant Law, winner of the dinghy handicap summer series and autumn series winner Jason & Lisa Phelps with help from Katherine Hutton Penman.
With co-operation from the race box, he plans to bring the start forward to 12:00 pm to encourage more Lasers to compete straight after coaching. The pre-Xmas series is now confirmed, offering seven races on Saturdays, starting Saturday 8th November, finishing 20th December with two discards. (How about hot wine and soup behind the bar?)
Thanks to the race box team, especially Derek, Coral & Eddie, the RIB drivers and an appeal for more volunteers who will be very welcome.
Mark Wade was proud to point out that the Burnham Dragon Class remains one of the strongest in the UK, supporting club racing as well as overseas events with a good turn-out for the East Coast Championships, despite it being so early in the season. The class expects to welcome some new members for the Racing Season 2015 with the exciting possibility of some new boats. The highlight of the social scene was doubtless the recent trip to Hamburg, organised by Rob Campbell, so good that the memories are all rather hazy...
The only presentation of prizes was to the RCOD Class and, once over, gave the Class Captain, Barry Lewis the chance to give a quick update on the state of the class. There are currently ten boats out of the complete class of sixteen in good state for regular racing and he was keen to point out that they are probably all in the best condition that they have been for the last twenty years! Of the remaining six, Coralie is ready for fitting out either sale or charter and Coral Nymph is being restored by Boatworks so that both she and Coralie will take the total to twelve for 2015 when the Class celebrates its Eightieth Anniversary. The remaining four are in a very sorry state and it is for them that the Class continues to run the Restoration Fund, further to which he publicised the RCOD Calendar for 2015 which he hopes might be seen hanging on the wall in many RCYC homes - cost a modest tenner...
The centre piece of the trophy display was, without doubt, the magnificent prizes brought home for the second year from Cowes Week by Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey, winners of the White Group and also the whole Week. However Malcolm was keen to stress that the strength of the Squib was not performance in the big national regattas but in the regular club racing and the steady improvements that take place. He won Burnham Week this year, crewed by Jacquie and the first time she went out in the Squib, he had to promise that she wouldn't get her hair wet! They are ideal boats for younger sailors and couples and three teams in Cowes Week were under 25.
The Last Chance Regatta was well supported with three visitors and Malcolm pointed out that beside the Grogans doing well, Roger Smith and Charles Tucker managed all the races in frisky conditions and didn't come last!
Finally the class is about to acquire a club boat, especially to encourage beginner sailing and training and which will be available for non-club members to try.
Finally, with a lot of chair-shuffling and general moving around, Sheena was able to get a large group smiley photo of some of the year's winners and nobody closed their eyes at the crucial moment - result!
And the winners were:- L-R Malcolm Hutchings, Andy Ramsey, Jason Phelps, John Waples, John Waterhouse, Rosemary Archer, Matthew Anthony, Robert Coyle, Peter Marchant, RC Sailing, Gary Harrison, Trudi Churchward, Colin "Woody" Woodcock, Gina Ramsey, Len Cole and Lisa Phelps.