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71 members and guests gathered at
Lowestoft for our annual dinner and prize giving. As usual for this event,
the weather was atrocious, with gale force winds blowing all day and some heavy
downpours. The chef at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk produced another
excellent meal for us, after which the Commodore, Joe Farrow, rose and spoke as
Firstly, welcome to the 2014 YSC dinner & prizegiving.
Iím going to start by offering a heartfelt thanks to Anthony Knights
and his staff here at the RN&SYC. Their
excellent hosting reflects a continued long standing association between the
clubs, and I invite you to show your appreciation.
Now. Firstly I have to say Iím
astonished Iím stood here, as your Commodore.
I truly never thought that would happen!
(Although it was foretold with surprising accuracy by a member who's here
Not expecting to be stood here has meant I havenít really ever considered what
Iíd need to say here. Also Iím
not sure which particular anecdotes are Ďsafeí to pull from the YSC annals
(!) to assist me. So I think itís
best if I explain the aim of my words tonight.
Iíd like tonight, to say a few things about the club, about what itís given
me, and how passionately I support the YSC and believe my role here is to give
something back to an organisation which has given me so much.
I do so in the hope that in a few years time, Iíll be sat in this room,
hearing someone else making this speech who otherwise wouldnít have.
For those of you who donít know, I first sailed with the YSC about 11 years
ago. In that time, Iíve gained the
following impressions of the club.
Firstly, weíre quite a calculating bunch!
When I started, I hadnít a river cruiser.
I didnít know anyone, and I certainly knew nothing of racing (some
would argue I still donít on the evidence of my courses!)
Iíd say, itís entirely due to the aforethought of certain people that
Iím here now. Certainly it was at
least three peopleís fault (who are here) who got me into owning
ĎCorsairí. No names.
Let this be a warning to those of you who think youíll escape unscathed.
Secondly. I have never met such a
friendly and welcoming group. It
amazes me when I look around, we share one common bond, sailing.
This dinner, and from the few fixtures we hold each year,
I see some amazing and entertaining friendships being formed.
For example, it pleases me that when new members approach the club,
itís a collective reaction from everyone to ensure they are welcomed, and
supported. Itís something which I
think we shouldnít underestimate as one of our strengths.
Certainly for me, my personal experience of how welcoming everyone is comes from
many years ago. I arrived at
Cantley, in my half decker with a defunct outboard.
Eager to assist, The Dowsetts, Denis, Margaret and Bob all gathered
round, and we set to. Within
seconds, many crucial and fundamental components had been disabled.
About three hours later, weíd fixed it.
I think it was at that moment, I realised how strongly, and how readily people
in the YSC support each other. And,
how nice some of you areÖ [Much laughter]
There are countless other examples. Puckís
sinking at Cantley, retrieving ĎMayí from here during the Diamond Jubilee
weekend, just how many people come and watch the Three Rivers Race and shout
encouragement to the YSC boats in the fleet, Nick Wigginís injury at the
Autumn Open Regatta last year (and how so many members stepped forward with kind
offers of help)
I like to think, that despite us taking our racing very seriously, we maintain a
principle that what we do should be fun and enjoyable.
From our ĎMiss Frolicí competition back in 2010, which I have to say
I was never a cross dresser until I joined the YSC.
Or our inaugural treasure hunt, which I have to thank Kelvin Halifax for.
Those of you who think you might attend this coming season, weíre
already coming up with lots of good ideas as how to make it interesting! Or
perhaps finally, the best evidence I can offer is how if you stand back at any
regatta, youíll see a group of people stood about, laughing, talking and
smiling. That demonstrates the
effect of the YSC far better than I can.
Thatís why I believe strongly in being stood here, and also putting anything I
can back into the club because Iíve been lucky enough to experience those
things Iíve mentioned, friendships, memories and laughs.
So Iím going to finish. I want to
say thank you to not just those of you here, but all the members.
The YSC has truly given me some fantastic experiences to look back on.
I hope that I can make sure in some way that others benefit how I have.
So from me, to all of you. Thank
Tony Knights then announced the winner
of the Gordon Winterton photographic competition, singling out a number of
entries for special mentions. Simon Miles, David Stone and Joe Farrow all
had commended entries, with David's floating Special Brew can being particularly
admired by members. Highly commended were entries from Bob Soutar
and Margaret Kilner, with the latter also taking 3rd place with a photo of
Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland and 2nd place for her photograph of the sugar
factory at dawn. The clear winner though, was Joe Farrow with a wintery
scene which the judges described as a sublime and perfect picture and
enigmatically baroque themed.
This was followed by the presentation of
club trophies for the 2013 season and the announcement of the series
winners. Anna won the Luna Barometer, with Pandora III taking the Hiawatha
Prize for the slow boats championship and May proving a popular overall winner
to take the Wherry Trophy.
Of course, there was also the inevitable
raffle, with Andrew Miles and Julia Kilner doing sterling work to sell nearly
£300 worth of tickets. The latter's reward was to win the hamper.
Some frantic gambling on the tombola saw that take over £140 too, making a
successful and enjoyable evening for the club.