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  Commodore's report, AGM 2012

Report given by Margaret Kilner:

”Good evening and welcome. Well, it’s been an interesting year and I think generally another successful one for the club, despite starting with one of the worst meals I think any of us have ever eaten. I’d like to think that we, the committee, don’t often get things wrong, but clearly we did on that occasion. However, perhaps it’s good to start with a low point, because then you can only get better!

Again, we have had some splendid turnouts for our events, although numbers at Breydon were disappointing this year. However, by my reckoning, 38 different river cruisers have raced with us in the last twelve months, which I think is pretty good going. This was perhaps helped by retaining the Crystal Ball, which attracted a few different boats after the YNR – let’s see if they come back next July to have another go at it!

It has been a year of new things.

Off the river, the big investment for the club this year was a tin garage to house the club boat at Cantley. It is fantastic to finally have our own space to store, not only the boat, but all the other racing paraphernalia – buoys, flags, the race board, etc. The shed was, however, a self assembly job; but instead of the large panels that I imagined we would be putting together, it turned out to be a Meccano kit of several hundred bits and pieces. It took something like 60 man hours to assemble it, over three days, so many thanks to all of those who gave up their time to do this. Let’s hope we never have to move it...

This was actually a genuine concern when the pub at Cantley changed hands in June and for a while the committee all had their fingers crossed. Fortunately, it all seems to have worked out and we have been made very welcome by the new landlords, with excellent meals for our two regattas there. Fortunately they let us keep the shed there too! In fact, their exact words, when I cautiously mentioned it was ours, not theirs, were “Thanks goodness, we’ve got enough sheds already!”

We ventured on to new racing waters this year, with the fantastic regatta on Lake Lothing. Personally, I’d like to do it again, with a bit less wind and a bit more sunshine, but all those who went, I think, thoroughly enjoyed the trip onto salt water. Seeing a dozen river cruisers circling in Lowestoft harbour, waiting for the bridge, was quite something and, when we all hoisted sails for the first time on Lake Lothing, I must admit I had a huge grin. Don’t think I was the only one. When we go to the club there for our dinner in February, you will see our burgee has now joined the array in the sun lounge; given as a small gesture of thanks to our hosts.

We got a new trophy this year too. This is the Diamond Jubilee Trophy, which was very kindly donated by Pippa Ryan. Those of you who were there will have seen this at Lowestoft, when it was presented to the overall winner of the Diamond Jubilee Regatta. In future, starting with the 2013 season, it will be given as an open trophy for a mini series covering the three weekend regattas on the Yare, i.e. Reedham and the two at Cantley. You will need to complete six races to qualify, with at least one race from each regatta, so make sure you have your boat in racing trim by mid-June!

It is now my very pleasant task to thank people. Firstly, John, our new secretary. It can’t have been easy following in Julia’s efficient footsteps and I think to do it “cold” having only just been elected to the committee is even braver. However, John has done an excellent job and it has been a pleasure to work with him over the past twelve months. I’m delighted that he has agreed to stay on for another year.

I’m equally pleased that Bob has agreed to stay on as treasurer for a seventh year. He does an amazing job, with quiet efficiency. As Commodore, it is great to know that the finances of the club are something that you don’t need to worry about – it is all in hand, all in order and Bob always has all the answers to any queries. In addition, he is always on hand to help out willingly at regattas and other events, whether it is assisting with the raffle or laying buoys, or anything else that he happens to notice needs doing.

Thirdly, young Joe, our Vice Commodore: someone else who is always willing to help out wherever he is needed. As well as running many of our races as officer of the day, he often volunteers for small, behind the scenes jobs and, on a personal note, he has always been there for me to bounce ideas off and run tricky problems past. There is a very well worn email link between us!

Chris Duke has been our bosun for the last two years, looking after the club boat and making sure it has been available for all club events where required. This is another behind the scenes post, entailing a lot of jobs that many (including those on the committee) don’t even realise are being done. Of course, Chris has also been visible helping out with race running and he did a great job of compiling the quiz at our Spring rigging party. As he is now standing down from the committee, we have a small gift for him (a bottle of his favourite gin)

Lesley has also decided to stand down this year. She has been on the committee for more years than she probably cares to remember, starting off with a couple of years as treasurer, before moving on to be our secretary for seven years. Since then she has continued to compile the club handbook for us, as well as being instrumental in the organisation of our 25th anniversary frolic. So, thank you for all your hard work over the years and we’d like to give you this (a decorated glass vase and some chocolates)

A second new member to our committee last year was Kelvin and you will have noticed his influence. He is bringing some great new ideas to our events, including the raffola and the club boat agility trials that we had at Cantley. I’ve no doubt the latter will be repeated, but look out also for a waterborne treasure hunt next summer.

Many others have helped in various ways over the year – Lesley put in a lot of time this year converting the club handbook to its new format as well as doing the annual update of information in it; Christine compiled the Breydon programme, which is always the job nobody really wants – and she’s done it twice now! Julia is still helping out in many ways, especially with the raffles. I must thank Terry too for being our wonderful raffle-meister and all those who have donated raffle prizes and those who have sold and folded thousands of tickets over the year – especially Martin and Edward, who set a club record for raffle ticket selling at the dinner last February and have continued to do a great job all year.

Of course, I should also thank you, the members, for being such a supportive bunch. Without you, there would be no club and it is always good for the committee to see a strong turnout at events to make all the organising worthwhile.

I should like to make particular mention of Pete and Betty Charlton, who have been staunch supporters of our club and in particular our regattas. They must have crossed Breydon more times than any other yacht, making the journey down from Hickling to come and sail with us and win our trophies! They have been members for a dozen years and Betty has also served time on the committee. Always offering to help and frequently folding raffle tickets for us; she was even spotted out in the club dory this year. As Henrietta is now being sold, we thought this was the right time for the club to say thank you to Pete and Betty for being such active supporters over the years. We trust we won’t lose you as members, but to remind you of your sailing years with the club, we would like to present you with a picture of Henrietta.

The committee would also like to recognise two other people who have loyally supported the club over many years, namely Chris and Leonie Dowsett. They have been members pretty well from the beginning and Chris was Commodore for three years in the early 90s. Dragonfly was (and is) well known on the Broads, but she made Breydon Regatta one of her specialities, winning the event the first time it was held and again in 2006. And who could forget Chris’s firework displays at Berney Arms? Latterly, both Chris and Leonie have put in hours of time standing around on the line, starting races and often helping to time boats in at the end. They also support the club in many other small, but important ways. So, we have a picture for you too, of Dragonfly on Breydon.

I would just like to conclude by wishing my successor all the best for next year – I have every confidence that the club will continue to thrive and we can look forward to another successful season.”

The Vice Commodore, Joe Farrow, then thanked the commodore for her two year’s hard work as Vice Commodore and Commodore before presenting her with some flowers.

After the meeting had closed members enjoyed supper courtesy of the Surlingham Ferry staff and a dingbats quiz set by Julia and won by the Duke family.

last edited on:  11/11/2012 at 10:01   by: The Editor