Spring Newsletter
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Dear Member
Spring Newsletter

Recent events
Last year drew to a close with a very successful Christmas lunch, attended by around 100 people.  Then, shortly after Christmas on Saturday 30 December, we held the Grafham Grand Prix.  The high entry of 169 was whittled down by the conditions, but the 80 or so boats that took to the water enjoyed good racing in strong winds.  Thankfully, the air temperature was relatively benign for the time of year.  To put on this event requires a big commitment from the Club, with around 35 volunteers required onshore and offshore, and we can be proud that it went off well.  The picture shows the Fast Fleet winners: Dave White and Club Member Jon Sweet

Immediately after the Grand Prix, work started on the necessary refurbishment of the Gent’s showers.  The work was completed in early February; before and after pictures below.

In early January we held a couple of Member forums.  The main topic for discussion was the lake sailing areas and restrictions.  Following this we will be implementing some changes;  full details will be announced when we are ready to go.

As you will be aware March has seen some unseasonally severe weather.  On the first weekend in March we took the unusual decision to close the water for three days (Friday through to Sunday) in the face of snow and severe ice (the picture is of the coxswain's jetty).  Unfortunately this resulted in the cancellation of Cambridge University’s flagship event, the Cam Cup, which is held at the Club every March.  Then, last weekend, with high winds and low temperatures forecast, we cancelled the rearranged CAT Open.  This was the second attempt (we had to postpone the originally planned event from last October) but we welcome the Cats back again in October 2018 and hopefully will have better fortune with the winds then.

Grafham again had a presence at the RYA Dinghy Show on the first weekend in March.  This is a good opportunity for us to promote the Club to the sailing community and there was lots of interest at the Grafham stand; thanks to those members who helped over the weekend.

We have recently established an on-line shop for Club Clothing, run on our behalf by Essex Embroidery and Print.  Here you can order direct various clothing items carrying the Club Insignia, and there is opportunity to personalise these with additional lettering.  If you want to use Club vouchers to acquire clothing then you should do this through the Office as before. 

You can find the online shop at

You should by now have received your renewals pack.  Renewals are due on 1 April and we hope that you will continue your membership of the Club for a further year.

At the Christmas Lunch in December we presented our “Volunteer of the Year” awards for 2017.  Ian Wilson received the “Commodore’s Award” for registering the most duties on Dutyman over the year (an impressive 28).  Other awards went to Barry Wyatt (for his contribution as WebMaster and before that in many capacities), to Ann Davies (for her contribution over several years making flags for the Club) and to Barrie Holden (who has taken on the considerable task of restoring the benching in the Gents changing rooms, before that refurbished the external notice boards, and has made other valuable contributions to working parties).

Thanks are due to a number of people for their significant help since the New Year.  A small group has repainted the Café: Gordon Oscroft, Tim Berridge and Peter Wilks, with help from Barrie Holden, Ann Young, Adrian Rose and John Aston.  Peter Saxton, Gordon (again), and Gerry Reeve have carried out a refurbishment of Moonshadow so that she is ready for the new season.  Denise Skinner continues to manage our Lost Property and in addition has done notable work in improving the appearance of the ladies’ showers.  Simon Gray and his team from St Albans Tree & Garden very generously gave a day of their time in expertly carrying out tree work around the Boat Park, removing some, crown lifting others, and generally making the site a lot tidier.

In February Bill Parish and David McNamee, with assistance from Simon Plant, Ian Wilson, Nigel Denchfield and John Aston, organised a mark laying course.  Eight participants braved the bitter Easterly wind to learn about GPS, internal angles, mark streaming, back bearings, VHF etiquette, tide sticks, and other dark arts.  Special thanks to Bill and David for the work they did both in preparing for the event and also running things on the day.  The event was such a success that we plan to repeat it in the autumn (Saturday 13 October); if you are interested in becoming a part of the Club’s Mark Laying team and would like to take part then contact the Office.

Finally, a reminder that our bi-monthly working parties, led by Gordon Oscroft, continue throughout the year.  For those of you that can make it they are on the first Tuesday and the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 10:30.

Forthcoming events
On Wednesday 4 April we have our Fitting Out Supper.  This is the immediate prelude to the Wednesday evening series, which starts the following week.  As last year there will be the opportunity, for those who can sneak away early from work, or for whom work is but a memory, to satisfy their sailing itch by participating in the season’s inaugural “Tower Dash”.  Before supper the bar will be open, we will be holding a boat jumble (if you have bits and bobs you would like to see go to a good home then contact the Office) and over supper we will hold a discussion about the programme for the coming season.

Our Training and Pathway Programmes for the year start on Saturday 7 April.  We will have the usual Saturday activities: Club Coaching, Sociable Saturdays, and Team Grafham.  Our full programme of Training courses is set out in the Club Calendar and Training Programme 2018 Booklet which you received with your membership pack.  For the second year we are running a midweek beginner course, #thisgirlcan, on Tuesday mornings.  Full details on this and all our courses are in the Booklet.

On Sunday afternoons we are introducing a new initiative for our younger members, Team Grafham Racing.  The intention is to build on the Team Grafham experience and to take the next steps into organised racing.  Again full details are in the Booklet.  We intend to provide race coaching for these sessions and anyone who feels they could help should contact the Office.

Our Open Day this year is on Monday 7 May.  Again it will be under the RYA Push the Boat Out banner.  This is an extremely important occasions for the Club in that it is the principal way in which we can advertise sailing, and the Club in particular, to the wider public.  We need a variety of support both on and off the water and if you can help on the day please contact the Office.  At the same time we are running a “Try a Catamaran” demo day.  This is an opportunity for both members and non-members: if you would like to take part please contact Stewart Smith via the Office.

Looking a bit further ahead, the Club’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday 29 July at 5pm in the Clubhouse.  As well as the formal business of the meeting, which includes the election of Officers and Council for the coming year, we will be holding a members’ forum for open discussion.  Please put the date in your diary.

Our Summer Youth Camp is being held again, in the week of 6 August.  This is always popular so if you would like to reserve places do contact the Office


Best wishes

John Aston
21 March 2018

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