Commodore’s Autumn Newsletter

Commodore Prof. Phil Davies writes:

1 Introduction

As we reach that time of year where we look forward to hauling boats out of the water prior to scraping bottoms, crawling through unimaginably small spaces to fix things we didn’t know were broken and standing open mouthed like a stunned mullet unable to believe the price of spare parts, I thought it might be an opportune time to have a look what the club has been up to this year and at what we plan to do in the future.

When I was elected Commodore I wanted to be sure that in steering the Committee I was following the wishes of the members. I wanted to clarify exactly what the club was about and to that end we carried out a survey of members and produced a list of Aims and Objectives of the club which now appears on the front page of the website and gives a clear definition of what the club does.

The Aims of the club are to:

• provide a well-appointed clubhouse for social and educational events
• arrange a series of local, national and international cruises
• arrange a series of social events
• encourage a wide demographic in membership
• promote and encourage safe boating
• maintain links with other sailing clubs and organisations including the RYA and MSBA to ensure that relevant local and national information is passed to members
• ensure that the club remains financially sound
• support the knowledge of members in the science of navigation and in the art of handling and sailing yachts and other vessels
• share our love of the sea with like-minded members

So with this in mind let’s look at what we have been up to this year and at what we intend to do in the future.

2 The State of the Nation – some nitty gritty bits

We currently have 106 paying members and with partners about 190 overall. Some time ago the committee decided that we should aim for the membership fees to cover the cost of the rent for the club premises. At present the fees don’t quite do this, but we are not far away.

There have been improvements to the facilities during the year and I would like to thank all involved. The club is now a welcoming and comfortable space for our activities.

We are financially sound and we have sufficient funds to cover our current activities, with a reasonable reserve against emergencies.

3 Cruises

We have had a good year for cruises with members making voyages up and down the ever popular East Coast and further afield to the continent, notwithstanding the ever present red diesel controversy. The St. Kats, Conyer, Gravelines and East Coast club cruises were very
well supported and big thanks are due to those members who organised them.

4 Facebook and Our Web Page

I was never a great lover of Facebook and was not enthusiastic when it was first suggested that the club establish a Facebook page. Boy was I wrong. Dick Holness has created an excellent Facebook presence and it is really entertaining and informative. It is a great way to see what members are up to and there are some terrific photos on there. Our web pages also provide information about the club and we will of course keep that running, but I can see that our Facebook presence is going to become more and more popular as members become familiar with it and join up. It’s a great way to keep in touch. If you haven’t tried it yet, take a look. It’s easier than you think.

5 Social Events

We have enjoyed some great Social Events during the year with more to come, especially during the winter months. The Committee is keen to promote more informative talks in the future and we have recruited speakers for several events. Look out for a talk on “First Aid” on board (10 Nov 2019). We had an excellent presentation on “Stress Free Sailing” (oh, wouldn’t that be nice) by Duncan Wells on 19 Oct 2019. Duncan is a well-known author and journalist and downright nice bloke, he travelled a long way to give us a funny and informative talk which was well receieved by all present.

6 Faversham Nautical Festival

The club was represented at the festival again this year and thanks to members who helped with the organisation and staffing the stall. A good time was had by all involved although there was less interest than in previous years, perhaps because of the location of our stall. We’ll look at a different location for next year’s event.

7 Cups

No not the ones with tea in them, but the shiny silver ones that we award each year to recognise members who have achieved something significant in their boats during the year. The Committee welcomes proposals for these every year so when the call for nominations comes out please do let us know who you think merits an award. They really are quite nice to have on the mantelpiece and visitors are impressed!

8 Crewing

Sometimes members with a boat would like to find a crew. Sometimes other members without a boat would like to crew for someone. Wouldn’t it be nice if these members could meet and help each other out? A notice on the board in the clubhouse might achieve this happy meeting but we now have an even better way, yep you’ve guessed it – Facebook. A note on Facebook is a quick and easy way to let other members know that you are available as crew or that you have a crew slot free.

9 The Bar

I once sailed over DOOM BAR. It’s at the entrance to Padstow, where the great Rick Stein plies his trade. It’s actually not so bad, and incidentally is so named because Doom is an old Cornish expression for sand – so Sand Bar – not nearly so terrifying. It’s not really frightening to run our bar either, so if you’d like to do it please do get in touch. We are always looking for volunteers and those Sunday morning bar and food takings make a big contribtion to our funding and help keep the subs down.

10 Tool Bank

Many of us who work on our own boats have a variety of tools, some special and others not so, that we’ve accumulated over the years. But situations arise where you haven’t quite got the right thing to tackle the job, and the idea here is that you can post on Facebook to ask if anyone has such a thing and is willing to lend it out. John Webb has even volunteered to make up special tools where needed in his workshop. So if you find you need a tool then head to Facebook. (I have really got into this Facebook thing haven’t I?)
Anyway we hope that the idea appeals to you. It’s all part of being in a club and helping out fellow members.

11 The Future

When we carried out the questionnaire at the beginning of the year we received some clear guidelines as to what members wanted to see from the club. The Committee has been working on ideas to respond to these needs.
It was very clear that members did not want to have professional bar staff or to have the bar open more often (other than for social events) and preferred to continue to have the bar staffed by volunteers. This is not always easy to achieve, but we are working hard to make it as easy as possible to run the bar and we hope that this will encourage more members to step in and help out.
There was good support for the idea of more educational events, especially in the winter, and we have begun to establish a series of talks, for example those on Safety and on Stress Free Sailing mentioned earlier.
Currently our membership doesn’t quite meet our target membership level and so we have been thinking hard about how to increase membership. As a result we intend to establish a Partner Programme with other sailing clubs to encourage the transition from smaller boats into cruising. As a first step in this process we plan next season to run a “Get to Know Us” day. Visitors will meet at the club for introductions then along to boats which are open for viewing. We need as many different types as possible open for this. The idea here is to get people on board with a view to taking them out on another day if they are interested. Photos of cruises etc. could be available. It will be a chance for visitors to talk to owners and to see what it’s all about.
Then we will run a “Day on the Water” day for those who have expressed interest. This could involve boats moored at Harty Ferry to give access at a sensible time or it could just be a trip out on the tide.
Once we have dates agreed for these events we will be asking members to get involved. I think this will be a great way to get people interested in the club. I remember walking up and down the creek looking at boats when I first got interested in cruising and I would definitely have been interested in any club that offered me the chance to get on board as many different boats as possible and to talk to sailors and pump them for information before committing to buying.

12 And Finally

Enormous thanks to my fellow committee members, they work really hard and do a terrific job in running the club, all on a voluntary basis.
Phil Davies 23/10/2009

Faversham Nautical Festival 2019
There was again a lot of interest in the Hollowshore CC stall at the successful 2019 Faversham Nautical Festival on July 6 and 7, when many traditional craft were on show at the head of Faversham Creek.

Jack Woodford, organiser of the HCC stand, thanked members who staffed the stall over the weekend.  Thanks also to Vivian Thompson and James Read, who brought along and rigged a Swallow Yachts’ Bay Raider 20, and a sprit-sail 14ft scale replica of a traditional Welsh craft.


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