AGM Reports 2018

Commodore’s Report

2018 has been a remarkable year for Bowmoor Sailing Club which has seen membership numbers rise to the highest levels since we have been at the new lake and quite possibly as high as they have ever been.  Perhaps the outstanding summer weather has been a major contributor to this fact, but early indications show that renewals are already ahead of this time last year and whilst we generally see a fall off in numbers as first-year members decide whether to renew, the trend continues to be a gradual increase year on year.

Increasing membership has been one of our core objectives as a Committee as this underpins everything that we do and wish to do as a Club.  Higher membership provides for greater income to deliver the 5-year plan, greater diversity of people and interests, greater participation levels and security for our future.  Sailing Club membership has been falling across many parts of the country, so it is really pleasing that we have been able to buck that trend.

Part of our strategy for achieving this has been to make Bowmoor a great place to spend time and over the last few years, we have invested Club funds to make improvements.  The bar/members kitchen area, new furniture, the pictures above the windows and this year our amazing new deck.  None of these projects were cheap, and it would have been easy to create an argument not to do them.  However, by taking a bold approach, we have sought to create an environment that sets us apart from other sailing clubs in our region.  By having fabulous facilities, the more people that we can get to visit the Club, the more that will join as members and every new member comes with friends and family that may also decide to join.  More people does equate to a heavier footprint on the Club and combined with higher utility bills, we have had to make a small increase in annual subscriptions so that we can continue to maintain our standards and also deliver the 5-year plan.

We are also fortunate as a Club to own our lake and the land that we have for our Clubhouse, dinghy park and camping field.  We should acknowledge the tremendous deal struck by Don Cannon and his Committee at that time when we moved as leaseholders from our old lake.  The legacy that they created has enabled us to create the Club that we now all enjoy so much.  Owning our own lake has enabled us to diversify the activities that we provide.  We are first and foremost a sailing club, but our facilities enable us to share with other outdoor activities.  Open water swimming continues to be extremely popular and Stand-Up Paddle boards also grow in popularity.  We have attracted new members over the last year specifically to these activities.  This year, we also worked to gain a certificate of lawful use of existing development so that we can secure the right to camp at the Club; this retrospective permission was necessary to ensure that we can continue to enjoy camping as our numbers grow and members seek to take advantage of this option more regularly.

Following discussions taking over a year, Pat & Stan finally retired and the Committee had to look at how we would continue with a galley service at the Club.  Keen to avoid any return to a galley service run as a duty by members, we sought interest from external individuals and local cafes.  We have been delighted to secure the services of TT Linnet’s of Highworth and we look forward to developing our partnership arrangement with them over the coming months.

After many years, Don Cannon, our Club President, has elected to stand down.  Don has been the ‘godfather’ of Bowmoor for many years and his contribution and wise counsel will be greatly missed.

As I come to the end of my tenure as Commodore, I reflect proudly on the progress that the Club has continued to make over the last 3-years.  None of this would have been possible without the support of committed volunteers who serve as Committee members and I thank them sincerely for the contributions that they continue to make.  Finally, as I hand over the helm to a new Commodore, I wish him every success for his tour of duty.

John Banbrook

Facilities Report AGM Nov 2018

The most noticeable change to the Club house have been the deck and galley.  The new deck and furniture that almost doubled the usable floor area for members. This project was costed within our 5 Year Plan and was built on time and budget.  The design was to project barrier free access to the club, a large seating area with a glass windbreak that would allow members to watch activity on the lake while enjoys refreshments, with a surface that would not become slippery if wet.  The second major project started as we entered the new financial year was the galley refurbishment to coincide with the new food franchise.  This has provided new professional kitchen equipment to enable the deliver the new menus and achieve an improved environment for food preparation and service.

Externally, you could not have failed to notice the arrival of Pods on site.  We established planning permission for Pods and have completed Phase One – 15 plinths members can lease for a Pod and the first 6 are on site already.  We are still working on how to fund up to 4 Club-owned Pods for rental my members. We have also built the Optibat rack for the training boats and are considering repeating this for members Optimist storage and canoes.  Work party days have planted a hedge around the training boat park, conducted running repairs on the car park and re-established 2 rows in the Dinghy Park with permanent tie-down points.  We have a more robust road gate waiting to be installed in the very near future and this will improve Club security.  As the colder weather approaches, you will appreciate improvements to the Club hot water system increasing the availability of hot water for showers.

Once again, we have enjoyed a highly successful year of social events to an enormous thanks to those who planned these occasions and ran them so well.  Our intention is to run a similar programme to the last year, engaging the new caterers who also intend to run some pop-up restaurant events at the Club.

Looking ahead over the next 12 months we plan maintenance work on the jetty, the boat house, relocate the bin store, improve the race flag system and bring a fibre-grade wi-fi service to the Clubhouse.  We are also hoping the deliver a project to increase equipment storage capacity for members.  Achieving all this is dependent on continuous financial management of Club running costs and income streams from membership fees, training and gift aid.

With the growing membership, we are adding another dutyman option, that of ground maintenance which could suit those who do not want particularly to support our racing calendar.  From April through to October, we will add duties on the first and third Sunday of each month.  This will not remove the requirement for occasional work party days to tackle the large jobs that need doing. Finally thank you for those who have helped this year to continue to improve our Club facilities.

Training Report – 2017/18

The newest fleet upgrade has been the Optibat replacement and you cannot have failed to notice the new flotilla of bright blue boats plying the waters or stored on the purpose-built rack.  The much-needed replacement was brought forward a year as the exiting boats started to suffer hull failures.   The next thing on the plan is 2 x ARGOs to enhance adult and spinnaker training and upgrade the 3 Lasers to XD over the winter.

The year has been a busy one with the RYA programme delivering 57 RYA Stage 1, 68 Stage 2, 9 Stage 3 and 12 Stage 4 courses to junior sailors plus 49 RYA1 and 48 RYA2 adult courses.   To deliver this we also qualified 6 new Assistant Instructors and 2 Senior Instructors (SI).  Over the same period, we also gained 1 SI and 3 Dinghy Instructors (DI) who joined the club.  The demand for powerboat courses has been equally high both for those on track for a DI course or to support general club sailing.

Youth coaching this year seen a good growth in activity starting with the spring series of Saturday coaching for post stage 2 level sailors that led up to the highly popular May half term youth camp.  This had the greatest number participants ever, great sponsorship and fabulous write ups in both the printed Yachts and Yachting magazine and the on-line version.  Over the summer Sunday morning ‘hour of power’ build on basic skills from RYA courses and spring coaching leading to participation in club racing.  Post-course engagement continued in the autumn series of Sunday coaching for post level 2 sailors.  The focus shifted to double-handed sailing with taster days designed to give intermediate level sailors basic skills in sailing the club FEVAs and this is being followed by autumn/winter asymmetric Saturday coaching for the advanced level sailors. Many recently RYA level 2 qualified young sailors are yet to buy their own boats and we have been at fleet capacity for most of the recent coaching, sadly turning away those without their own their own boat.   WebCollect has been a vital tool in managing all this activity; as has the support of all the parents.  Our talent pool of home grown assistant and dinghy instructors and coaches have delivered the majority of this coaching to a very high standard, thank you for all your hard work.

Training is delivering results.  We have a number of young sailors competing both at national and international competitions, including class championships and holiday family weeks, and are also represented across the RYA and class association selected winter coaching squads.

Moving off-shore, this year we have run 4 RYA Short Ranger radio (VHF) courses, passing 16 students along with another 3 who completed the online course. There is a further SRC course on 17th Nov on which 3 places are already booked.    Eleven students successfully completed the 2017/18 Day Skipper Theory course and passed the exam; one dropped out due to family commitments.  Five of the students wanted to get some practical experience, and so 3 weekends were arranged in Plymouth with the students sailing in up to Force 7 winds. So far, 5 of the students have passed the practical course and are now fully qualified Day Skippers, and some of those have now booked a boat for November and will sailing by themselves.   Building on this we have 9 students on this year’s course, which has just started. We will be booking boats again this year for practical sessions.