The male members of the club are probably unaware of what the ladies’ changing room in the clubhouse is like. Firstly it is much smaller, as the whole clubhouse width area at the back of the gents does not exist in the ladies, who have only the area excluding this section. Secondly it is in a worse state of repair. Thanks to club member Barrie Holden, the walls in the gents have been repaired and painted and many of the benches too. As with the mens’, the ladies showers and toilets were upgraded a few years ago, but the changing area is in need of attention.

So, while the clubhouse is closed, a group of sociable sailors and other volunteers are coming together to carry out some much needed repairs and maintenance of this forgotten area. This group are determined to make the ladies’ changing room a destination to be proud of and to make the men jealous of.

Monday 25th May

Jane and Elinor arrived for the morning shift. Jane very kindly agreed to help Barrie in the gents’, with socially distanced washing down of the free-standing benches he has been working on for the past week, so they are now ready for painting. Barrie now owes us ladies one. Meanwhile Elinor was able to paint the underside of the free-standing bench in the ladies. It seems that because her landlord doesn’t allow any re-decoration work in their flat, this opportunity is quite therapeutic. Nigel and Fiona arrived for the afternoon shift and put the free-standing bench back on its feet.

Then Fiona painted the top part of the bench, while Nigel painted the long back wall and most of the end wall. This just leaves a second coat on the bench, plus the last bit of the end wall and the two outside walls to paint – these need some repair to the concrete first before they can be painted. The whole room is looking so much brighter and cleaner already.

Meanwhile your correspondent rolled up her sleeves for the first time and did some actual work. I picked up where Gary had left off with the stairs to the cafe. Barrie had brought a wire brush, which helped a lot in removing the stubborn mud (and some of the skin on my wrist). Elinor and Jane kept calling “are you ok?” in response to my many cries of “Ouch”. Then I mopped them down with detergent and finally clean water (5 buckets full!), so they are finally ready for sugar soaping and repainting.

Sunday 24th May

Today Iris (who is responsible for this whole project starting off) and Manuel arrived to carry out double-handed working. First they managed to turn the free-standing bench, that had been worked on by Ann and Elinor previously, onto its side so the underneath could be worked on and Iris washed it down with sugar soap ready for painting. Between them they then managed to paint about one third of the wall area in white paint. Already the whole room looks much brighter. They were here all day as they kept spotting another bit of painting they could do before they went. They are also volunteering to come back next weekend.

Elinor emailed to say that apparently she enjoyed yesterday’s work so much she is coming back tomorrow for more. Jane will also be here, plus Nigel and Fiona Denchfield in the afternoon.

Saturday 23rd May

Elinor arrived to pick up where Ann left off yesterday. She washed down the bench Ann had sanded, first with sugar soap and then with water.This is now ready for painting. Afterwards she gave her Topper a bit of TLC. Elinor said we should make clear that a major perk of volunteering inside the clubhouse is that you can use the toilets (they are being disinfected every night). So please step up!

Gary then agreed to undertake one of the most unenviable tasks so far:cleaning the steps from the changing rooms to the cafe. These were encrusted with many years of mud and it took him seven passes with water and scrubbing to get them clean. The plan is to wash with sugar soap then repaint the steps with floor paint and then apply hazard tape to the edges so they are safe.

Barrie also returned with new sander (thanks to eBay) to carry on with the benches in the mens’. These are now all sanded, now comes the big clean-up followed by repainting.

Many thanks to all the keen volunteers who are carrying this project forward. If you are able to help in any way, please get in touch:

Friday 22nd May

Four days in and we have made huge progress. The preparation is almost finished and we are nearly ready to start painting. Ann worked on her own for more than four hours today! She had brought her power sander with her and sanded down the one free-standing bench in the middle of the area. This was a massive job and a lot of it had to be done by hand as there was so much debris between and behind the bench slats. Hopefully tomorrow’s volunteer will be able to give it one more going over and a wash down so it is ready for painting. The paint and painting equipment has been ordered and will arrive tomorrow.

Thursday 21st May

Today Ros and Chris and Lynn gave up their time to do more preparation work . The walls and iron gates to the cafe are now ready for repainting and the windows are sparkling. We have now ordered the paint and other materials for us to start repairing and improving. Barrie was again working on preparing the benches in the mens’ until his sander gave up the ghost. We hope he will be back soon with a repaired/replaced sander. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who are helping to make our club a destination to be proud of.

Wednesday 20th May

Ros and Ann again spent the whole morning at the club (huge thanks). All the blue mats are now sparkling, having been scrubbed with anti-bacterial solution and are stored in the cafe area until they can be reinstated. The remainder of the coat hooks have been removed and stored for replacing once the painting is complete. All the battens supporting the coat hooks have been sanded down ready for repainting and a good proportion of the walls washed down with sugar soap ready for repainting. Barrie was also back onsite doing more work on the mens’ benches. Next steps are to finish washing the walls and to prepare the iron gates for repainting.

Tuesday 19th May

Work has now started on cleaning the blue floor mats, stripping down all the fixtures and fittings (coat hooks, overhead racks, blue mats, etc), ready for repainting and refitting. We will be filling holes in the walls, sanding down, making good, painting and hopefully putting down a new floor and installing new benches and cubicles.

Thanks to the four volunteers (Ros, Ann, Chris and Lynn) who turned out on the first work day to start all the preparation work. Obviously we are observing all the necessary restrictions on working environments and our risk assessment has been signed off. The plan is to keep this blog going to record the progress and (hopefully) proud reopening of a fantastic new facility.

Maybe if the men ask us nicely we could also help them to improve their changing room. However, the good news for them is that while the work is going on in the ladies, Barrie is also doing more work on the remaining benches in the mens’. The sound of hammering and sawing was heard across the site today.

If you are able to volunteer to help with either project, we would love to hear from you, please email me at