Welcome to the latest edition of The Hailer. Keeping you up to date with everything going on at Henley Sailing Club
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The Hailer

Celebrating last season

And looking forward to what's ahead, at the AGM  

Members gathered on the evening of Saturday 4 February for their annual general meeting, hosted by their sporting colleagues at Henley Golf Club. With the sailing club's premises shut up for the winter the golf club was to be a home away from home and members filed in throughout the late afternoon and early evening before the AGM to take advantage of the salubrious surroundings and enjoy a drink while watching the English beat the French in the 6 Nations. A very pleasing start to the evening.

Club Commodore Carol Stitson got the formal proceedings underway with the usual housekeeping before recounting the developments at the club over the previous season which included highlights such as the redecoration of the clubhouse lounge and re-upholstery of the furniture. It was then on to Sailing Secretary, Amelia Huby-Green who gave us chapter and verse on all matters on the water providing, as it was, a timely reminder of the fun to look forward to as the days get longer and the streams and currents calmer.

Alan Cadwallader as Honorary Treasurer provided his usual clarity on the financial health of the club. It was the tenth time Alan has stood up to deliver his financial sermon and it was to be his last after a loyal term of office. There was many thanks and kind words for Alan as he stepped down as well as encouragement and best wishes for his replacement Jon Wakefield who we welcome to the committee.

This year the committee also bids farewell to Lorraine Robson and Nigel and Helen Bonsor who have kept us sustained with fine food and drink throughout the season, and in Nigel and Helen's case, many seasons before that. Likewise, Fergal O'Connor kept the premises in full working order and oversaw numerous projects to keep the clubhouse and grounds in tip top condition. Let's hope his successor is given access to the hallowed spreadsheet of jobs that keeps us all gainfully employed at working parties in the season. Annette Gent, Judy Saunders, Tony Bottomley and Dermot Martin have each kindly agreed to take up the slack left by those members taking a break from the committee in 2017.

Then it was down to the serious business of presenting the trophies that had been so keenly raced for last summer. It was great to see a number of younger members and relative novices collect prizes amongst the usual suspects. Special mention goes to Joe Dougan who won the Drina Dudley-Smith Trophy for the most promising newcomer and the Huby-Green clan who cleaned up as per usual. This year it was decided to award the club's antique pocket barometer to Steve Gent who has been a stalwart of the club for decades both on and off the water.

With her closing remarks Carol looked forward to next season and touched on some of the changes to be introduced. There will be further encouragement of our sailing members through various race training sessions, coaching and buddying up of crews and helms where we can. In addition, the committee will be seeking to attract a broader demographic on to the water beyond the racers via a parallel programme of events focused on simply enjoying our stretch of the river through swallows and amazons style fun with sailaways, picnics and general messing about in boats.

With the formalities over it was time to enjoy each other's company around the dining table as we all enjoyed a delicious meal of roast rack of pork and apple crumble and custard and compared our own grand plans for the season ahead.

Toasting the Season

With a St Patrick's day celebration 

Members came together at the re-opened clubhouse to 'toast the season' on the evening of Saturday 18 March. With Tim and Judy Saunders installed behind a freshly stocked bar and Anette and Alex Gent in the kitchen we knew we were in for a treat and so it turned out to be. 

There was a St. Patrick's day theme to the relaxed proceedings which provided a suitable excuse to get the Guinness in and enjoy a delicious Irish stew. So delicious in fact that those of us who paused before heading up for seconds were left disappointed. Lesson learned, next time all courtesies will be waived. 

MC for the evening was new Vice Commodore Adam Sokolowski. As well as the usual thanks to those who had given their time and effort to put on the evening Adam gave us even more reasons to toast. First, to newly weds Gillian Nahum and Steve Hoile and also to Tony and Barbara Houghton celebrating 58 years of marriage. 

Before we all tucked in to Alex's delicious Baileys Irish cream cheesecake as well as a selection of cheeses, there was the obligatory raffle. The calls for a new ticket picking system grow ever louder with certain members going home laden with prizes and having made a profit from the evening.

So the season has started and if all our suppers are as toothsome and convivial as this one, it's going to be a cracker.

Blowing the cobwebs away

As the Macpherson Cup gets underway

Two boats went out. Two boats came back. Both a little worse for wear. One with a bent rudder the other with a wet helm, both with a change of crew. But, oh so much happened in between.... !

The weather was unpredictable. Wild and windy with inconsistent speeds and direction. Steve Gent ably crewed by Viv Roberts were the first brave souls on the water with Tim Haigh and Pam close behind. It has to be noted that there were many potential sailors left standing on the bank at the start of the race who had 'just come down to check their boats...!'

The course went the length of our bit of river from F to D with a scattering of buoys in between. All seemed just about in control for the first lap and a half but a suitably unexpected gust of wind caught the Enterprise off guard and sent Tim spinning over the side. Pam also took a spontaneous dip in The Thames and decided she would see the end of the race from the relative comfort of the safety boat. Tim decided to carry on and finish the course, only for his effort to be discounted as he crossed the finish line as he had 1) received assistance and 2) lost his crew. So, race 1 to Steve.
For some reason, the crews decided to abandon ship so new crews were sought for the second race. Emma Cadwallader bravely stepped onto the thwart for Steve and Amelia Huby-Green entered the fray with Tim in a wet Enterprise. 
Despite the now predictable unexpected gusts, all was going well for Tim and Amelia as they held a comfortable lead round the second buoy. The variable winds let them down and Steve and Emma took the lead. This was quickly followed by a near capsize in the Enterprise at D, which was narrowly averted by Amelia bravely throwing herself over the side of the boat. A second near miss occurred not long after. Alas, it was not third time lucky as the Enterprise's sail (and depleted burgee) entered the water for the second time that morning. As a true Laser sailor, Amelia was up and over the top with great skill and alacrity. Tim was not quite so fast and gracefully slid down the side of the hull and into the water, much to the enjoyment of all watching. Once upright again, it was just the final leg to the clubhouse to finish the race, Steve battling with a bent rudder pin and a soggy Tim encouraging a water-filled boat back up the river. 
Despite all the ups and downs, it was a fantastic morning’s sail with the boats dancing and planing their way up the river and the helms and crew shouting (mostly) with delight!
Thanks to all those who pitched in at the Working Parties at the start of the season. There's another one on Saturday 6 May and everyone's invited! 
Upcoming sailing dates for your diary...

Sundays at 11.00 - it's the Macpherson Cup followed by lunch. Dig out your wetsuits.

Wednesday 12 April - the Wednesday evening series starts. Sail away any midweek stress. 

Don't forget; you can always check out upcoming sailing and social events on the website here and even sync them with your smartphone or tablet. 
Upcoming social dates for your diary...

Saturday 29 April - it's the Spring Supper.

Saturday 6 May - join a Working Party and help get the club ready for the Open Day.

Saturday 13 May - it's the Open Day. Will Theresa join us this year?

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Our mailing address is: Henley Sailing Club Willow Ln Wargrave, Berkshire RG10 8LJ United Kingdom

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