An update on recent events at the Club and information on forthcoming events
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Dear Member

Here is an update on recent events at the Club and also some information on forthcoming events

Sunday Winter Series
The Sunday winter series starts this coming Sunday, 6 November.  As you probably know, Racing Committee have elected to try out a revised format of three back to back races (first race at 11am) followed by lunch (no sailing after lunch).  Lisa will be offering a sit-down lunch in the café; if you want to do this then please book with the kitchen before you go afloat. Hopefully we will have a good number staying on to eat after sailing.

Recent racing activity
On 18 September we held our Barts Bash event.  Notwithstanding the wind (Force 0 but getting as high as Force 1 in the gusts) we had 39 boats on the water, including eight Challengers from Sailability next door. The event was won by Sam Neal and Andrew Johnson in their RS400.

On 2 October we had the Club Championship for the Duke of Edinburgh trophy which was won this year by David Summerville sailing a D Zero.  In shifty conditions Dave recorded two firsts and a fifth to win from Dave Maclay in a Laser.  Nearly fifty boats took part.

Our training school has now wound down after a busy summer.  The last junior and adult coaching sessions took place on 8 October.  Sociable Saturday sessions have also finished for the year.  #thisgirlcan continues on Tuesdays and is becoming increasingly popular with over a dozen regular participants (and not all female).  Plans are I understand to continue into the winter months, weather not withstanding.  Special thanks to Peter Saxton and Ian Rawet for helping put on these sessions.

We have had the normal busy Open Meeting autumn season with the RYA Zones, RS 400/800 Inlands, CAT Open and, this coming weekend, Ovington Inlands.  All were well attended events.

Thanks to those who attended the two forums in early October, where we had constructive debate and some useful suggestions.  Following this Council is now working on proposals with the intention of concluding on something before the end of the year.  The areas of focus and an outline of current thinking are as follows:

Moderating the duty burden
We are looking at possibly reducing the requirements to support racing on a Sunday afternoon (where we have comparatively fewer participants).  In addition, we currently roster four people for Committee Boat duty generally and there are arguments that this can be reduced to three for Sunday mornings.

We are considering splitting Sunday duties into am and pm to give more flexibility to those who have difficulty in managing the whole day.

For the longer term we are also looking at ways of automating the Committee boat processes which may enable us to make further savings in required numbers.

Responsibility for duties
We are considering how the responsibility for duties should fall across the Club membership.  There is a good argument that some responsibility should rest across the membership as a whole, but with a greater degree of responsibility on those who race, either on a Sunday or a Wednesday evening.

Our sense is that vouchers are appreciated so we would intend to continue with this, though perhaps make the vouchers useable also in the café and at Jonti.

In the same way that we have introduced a "pathway" for sailing, from novice to keen racer, then we should establish a better pathway for those who support racing, either in a safety boat or on a Committee Boat.  There is a view that some people feel intimidated by what is required of them.  So we are looking at ways of facilitating training (and removing some of the cost barriers to safety boat training in particular).  We want to make supporting racing an enjoyable activity rather than a chore, and a part of this is that people are confident in what they are being asked to do.

Nature of activities
We want to give more prominence to the fact that supporting racing is not the only way that members can support their Club.  There are many other tasks that fall to us the membership: grounds maintenance, car park marshalling, shrimp wash marshalling, jetty maintenance, committee boat maintenance and club house maintenance to mention but some.

This is a brief outlilne of the ideas that Council is working on.  It is no too late to provide input so if you have thoughts or would like to discuss these ideas then please contact me or any of our Council members   These are (to remind you)
Myself, Mike Edwards (Vice Commodore), Ian Rawet and David MacNamee  (Rear Commodores), Tim O'Brien (Treasurer), Gordon Oscroft, Andy Baker, Joe Constable, Russell Taylor, Stewart Smith, Caroline Randeria, Dave Philpott, and Ali Reynolds.
Refresher day for rib and Committee Boat teams
The Club held its second Refresher Day for Committee Boat and rib volunteers on Saturday, 29 October. 14 participants came along to attend sessions on our Committee Boats Moon Shadow and Grafham Belle, on a rib to practise safety-boat procedures, and on shore to run through VHF radio procedures and the basics of using GPS for mark laying.  And this time we did a drill to test our on-water emergency procedures. A man-overboard dummy was recovered from the water to the jetty and met by a shore party. The “casualty” was placed on a stretcher and lifted into the Coxswain’s shed where first aid was given. Several learning points arose and we will be adjusting our emergency procedures accordingly.

As on the first Refresher Day held earlier in the year, feedback from the participants was positive. We will  incorporate the emergency exercise into future Refresher Days and open up this training opportunity to all Club members. We are very grateful to the instructors who helped throughout the day: in particular Sue and Peter Saxton, Jim Hibbert, Nige Morse, and Bill Parish.  With the 24 club volunteers who came to the first Refresher Day held in July, 38 members of our race and safety crews have now been to a Refresher Day. This day is not only a great way to learn about the Club's ways of working but also a great way to bond with other volunteers into a team. And a great way to meet new people and make new friendships
Here is a picture of the group enjoying waitress service lunch (soup and a roll) in the café.

Christmas Lunch
Finally please put the Christmas lunch in your diaries: Sunday 18 December following the Pursuit Race.

Best wishes       

John Aston
3 November 2016
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