As we approach Christmas here is a brief synopsis of some of the things going on at your Club.
Club Racing has continued on its normal schedule through the Autumn. The Duke of Edinburgh trophy, a highlight of the Club Racing Year, was held at the end of September. Winners, again, were Mark and Ben Longstaff in their Flying Fifteen. In recent weeks we have enjoyed particularly strong winds blowing down the length of the lake. With courses set in the middle area or even at the East end, this has given some exhilarating, if challenging, wave conditions!
The Autumn has seen the normal Open Meeting Schedule. In September we hosted the Windsurfer Championships for about 200 boards; this is the second time they have been to Grafham and this year the conditions were kinder for them. Also in September we ran a well attended one day "End of Season" event for the Solos, and in early November we hosted the Laser Inlands. We had the now regular fixtures of the Autumn Calendar: the D Zero Inlands, RS400&800 Inlands, Ovington Inlands and 420 End of Seasons. Unfortunately we lost the CAT Open to "Storm Brian" but we are rescheduling that event for the weekend of 17/18 March 2018.
We have recently completed the replacement of all the Club Fixed Marks. They are now all blue (with the exception of X which remains red). Neil Washington has taken GPS fixings of the new mark positions (similar to the old positions except that "C" has been moved to the East to increase the separation from "X") and we should shortly have accurate maps available showing these.
The Training School had a busy summer with courses throughout the Summer Holidays and adult courses running into October. To meet demand we have increased our fleet of Club Boats: we have added two more Picos and a second 2000. We have also acquired six Toppers from Shuttleworth College and as a result can now make Toppers available on a long-term hire basis. If you are interested in this please contact the Office.
Sociable Saturday continues to be popular (not only because of the cake!) By popular demand we have kept on running the event after the scheduled stop of mid-October, though with a revised format because of the shorter days as winter approaches.
Team Grafham, our Saturday afternoon activity for juniors and youths, has thrived in this its first year. We now have over fifty people registered. Such has been its popularity that we also extended this beyond mid-October and it is running on selected dates up until Christmas. We will see how these winter sessions go before deciding what to do after Christmas, but we intend to restart the weekly sessions in March. Following the success of our youth Summer Camp, we organised a three day event for the October half term. Thanks to Matt French, our Chief Instructor, and Mandy Sweet for running these activities.
Volunteering In September we held another Refresher Day for Safety Boat and Committee boat Crews, again organised by David McNamee. Included in the day was a rehearsal of our Emergency Procedures: for dealing with both an On water and an Onshore Casualty. It is the second time we have done this exercise and again it provided valuable learnings. Verdict from participants: best thing(s) about the day - first, the cake; second, the chance to get to know other GWSC volunteers and to practise the drill before it is a real situation.
Those of you who have visited the Club recently may have noticed that the Gate Hut has been replaced with a much smarter shed. Thanks to David McNamee (again!) for making this happen. We are naming the new shed "George's Hut" in memory of George Emeleus, our former Gate Man, who spent many hours in this place.
We are planning to repaint the Club Cafe in the (relatively) quiet period in the New Year. This is likely to be scheduled over working party days (1st Tuesday and 3rd Wednesday in the month) so if you are available please do come along to help.
The autumn is one of our busiest times of the year, with a number of large Open Meetings as well as the normal programme of Sunday Club Racing and Sociable Saturday. Thanks to all our volunteers who have given generously of their time to help run these various events successfully. Looking ahead, we have the Grafham Grand Prix on Saturday 30 December (for more see below). To run this requires over thirty volunteers; many of the slots are already filled but if you are able to help and have not already signed up, please do so, either via Dutyman or by contacting Anna in the Office.
Forthcoming events Next Sunday, 17 December, we have the Club Annual Christmas Lunch, preceded by the Christmas Pursuit Race. Do come along to the Lunch even if you are not going to sail. This year we will be running a separate Junior Race alongside the Pursuit Race. The lunch normally sells out (we can take a maximum of 100) so book your place soon, either online or with Lisa in the kitchen.
Saturday 30 December is the Grafham Grand Prix. This will be the 37th year of the event. The format is three back to back races starting at 11am on three separate race tracks (Fast, Medium and Slow). This year we are taking, for the first time, entries from foiling boats. We have a maximum total entry number of 200. Last year we came very close to that and therefore we will not be taking entries on the day;entries close at 20:00 on Thursday 28 December. Entry is online at the Sailjuice website https://enter.sailracer.org/events/enter-series-mobile.asp?eventid=210542. We normally get a good entry from Grafham so do come and take part.
Early in the New Year we will be holding a couple of Members' Forums. These will be on Saturday 6 January and Sunday 7 January, at 3pm in the top bar. There are a couple of things in particular to discuss. We are currently considering what to do about Sunday afternoons and the measures we might take to improve participation: a questionnaire on this will be going around shortly. Also, we have been looking at the sailing areas on the lake, and the flag system that we use to designate area restrictions (green, yellow, red/white, blue/white) and how those might be simplified.
Finally can I wish all members a Happy Christmas and New Year, and hopefully we will see many of you at the lunch on 17 December for Grafham's own Christmas celebrations, and/or at the Grafham Grand Prix.