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  Annual Dinner, 2011

The Commodore's speech :

It’s an honour and a pleasure to stand before you as your new Commodore.  I am the 13th person to hold this position – so fingers crossed.

My speech is based on the triumphs and tragedies of 2010.  For those involved in the sweepstake on how long this speech will last, it will be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 deciseconds.

My first task is to thank Joe, your new President.  Firstly for inviting Ros and I to join the club, but mainly for the leadership his has given the club over the last four years.  In 2007 membership had fallen to about 50/60 people, both the Secretary and Treasurer had retired and we had no Vice Commodore.  The club was in recession.   Now four years later we have over 100 members, and that is after a cull to weed out some of the lapsed members who haven’t paid for several years.  Significantly almost 90% of members attend several events per year.  More boats take part in our regattas.  Indeed at Cantley we needed two signing in sheets, not previously need for several years.  More ‘Northern’ boats are taking part.

It’s also nice to see TOG sailing again with Joe at the helm.  Although sailing may not be the correct word at Cantley when TOG couldn’t get round the downstream buoy and ended in the trees.  History repeats itself.

So its my pleasure to present Joe with some gifts from your committee.  [Joe was presented with a drawing of TOG sailing past the Reedcutter at Cantley, drawn by Bob Soutar, and a pair of Waterford crystal whiskey tumblers with a wee drop of malt to fill them, for which he gave a short speech expressing his gratitude.]

I would also like to thank your committee for all their hard work, with special thanks to Julia – well for being Julia really but also for the brilliant job she does as our secretary.  To Bob for the stewardship of the club’s finances, not only are the finances in a healthy state we also know that they are accurate and up to date.  I also thank Margaret for her work as Vice Commodore and also the work she does on the web site and other publicity in the EDP and Cruiser magazine.

2010 – our 25th Anniversary.  The Frolic, what a triumph.  Special thanks to Margaret and Lesley for all their excellent work in organising the event.  And what an event, beautiful weather, great pub, and two days of very serious FUN.  Two highlights, the greasy pole, brilliant, seeing an ex commodore and founder of the club being knocked off the pole into the water by his son was great.  Then the Miss Frolic competition, quite frankly it was a bit worrying seeing the competitors walking in their high heels, I think some of them do it more often than they care to tell us.  Sadly Miss Frolic – Titiana cannot be with us tonight but she/he sends their love.

The Frolic was a great event with everyone coming together to help out, but I want to just give a special mention to two people.  I’ve already mentioned Margaret and Lesley, but these other two people did a huge amount of work behind the scenes.  They were at Surlingham two days before the event putting up marquees etc and organising the site, and importantly they were there after the event, when everyone had left, clearing the site.  I refer to Bob and Terry Cole, known to you as Wiggy.

The sailing in 2010: often too much wind or not enough wind.  The early races were dominated by one boat, but more of that later in the presentation of the trophies.  However it is good to see the high handicap boats doing well.  Lucky Breeze hopes to emulate this in the coming season.  One of many highlights was seeing Chris Sales and his crew bringing home Kingfisher to win the Breydon Passage race.  And the Crystal Ball.  Chris has nominated the Cantley Saturday pm race for this years Crystal Ball race, so perhaps we may see some more Northern boats at Cantley trying to win the Crystal Ball.

Talking of Cantley reminds me of my worst moment in 2010.  It was Cantley Autumn regatta, and I had a new crew, Terry was on Officer of the Day duties.  Big winds were forecast so we arrived early on the Friday and decided to have a practice sail.  Soon we were aground in the reeds on the opposite bank.  My friend Chay Blyth often said to me “David, if you’ve never gone aground you’ve never tried hard enough.  But I was not trying, I was just not concentrating, explaining to Neil how the jib furling gear worked.

OK we were aground, well hard aground, trying to ignore the catcalls from so called friends sat outside the Reedcutter.  Then it happened.  Around the bend came the last person you wanted to see.   It was Mike White, Idleflite Mike, the most immaculate sailor on the broads.  So we had to suffer the humiliation of being towed of the reeds by Idleflight.   Interestingly the next day Anne chose the same spot to also run aground.

I said at the beginning of my speech that it was one of triumph and tragedy.  So it is with great sadness that I have to report the drowning of our club engine.  Sometime in October our club boat was sunk by vandals and sadly the engine passed away.  The good news though is that the insurance claim has been accepted and we may have more funds coming through grants from the RYA, so fingers crossed we will have a new club engine for 2011.

So in conclusion, your club is in good shape.  My aim is to continue Joe’s vision.  To make the Yare Sailing Club the friendliest club on the broads, with great social events and serious but fun river cruiser races on rivers.

Members and guests I ask you to join me in a toast to the Yare Sailing Club.

last edited on:  17/02/2011 at 21:28   by: The Editor