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  Annual dinner and prize giving, 2016

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62 members and guests, including the Vice Commodore of the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club, Kingsley Farrington and the Commodore of Beccles Amateur Sailing Club, Richard Baylis, gathered for the annual dinner and prize-giving at the Yacht Club in Lowestoft.

Commodore, Margaret Kilner, began with a tribute to a recently deceased member, speaking as follows:

As many of you will know, John Tunwell sadly passed away on the morning of the Turkey Race after a four year battle with cancer.† John first sailed on the Norfolk Broads at Easter 1963 with the Green Wyvern Yachting Club and he remained an active member of that club right up until the end.† In later years, he joined the Yare Sailing Club and he greatly enjoyed attending our regattas at Reedham and Cantley.† He was usually to be seen on Puck; a boat which he raced, cruised and maintained for nearly 30 years, without ever actually owning it.

John was nearly always to be seen with his pipe and with an ever-present bunch of keys at his waist.† This bunch would include a whistle, a pen knife, a pipe cleaner, a shackle key and several spare shackles, in assorted sizes.† His presence will be much missed at our events in the future and I would ask you all, please, to remember John in silence for one minute.

The Vice Commodore, Bob Soutar, then said Grace, before an excellent meal was enjoyed by all.† The Commodore then rose to give a well received speech, with many members anxiously watching the time to see if they were in with a chance on the now traditional sweepstake as to the length of the address.† It took 11 minutes and 48 seconds for her to say the following:

At the beginning of this evening, I mentioned John Tunwell.Some of you here were at Johnís funeral and at the crematorium will have heard his brother in law give an entertaining tribute based on an A to Z of Johnís life and character.I liked this so much that I am unashamedly pinching the idea for my speech tonight; so here we have an A to Z of sailing and the Yare Sailing Club in particular.

A is for the Art of coarse sailing - an entertaining read that covers many situations experienced by anyone who has ever cruised the Broads without an engine.Denis claims to have experienced all bar two of the incidents in the book, including the exploding oven.You can picture the painful results: kneeling in front of the cooker as the door flies open...

B is for Beer - to be drunk in the evening after a pleasant dayís sailing ... or at lunchtime after a hard morningís sailing ... or first thing, whilst contemplating sailing ...

C is for Cantley, the unofficial headquarters of the Yare Sailing Club, where members may often be found enjoying B for Beer and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Norfolk Broads .

D is for Dinner.We have a lot of dinners in this club; not only the formal dinner each year here, which is by far the best (I have to say that, as their Vice Commodore is listening) but pub meals at most regattas, meals during cruises, or sometimes, meals just for the pleasure of all having a meal together.

E is for Evenings, which are there for the enjoyment of B for Beer and D for Dinner, often taking place at C for Cantley, but always in the company of

F for Friends.We are a very friendly club.Look around the room - nearly everyone you can see will be a friend.

G is for Gun.I like the fact that we start our races with a gun.However, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to every holiday maker who has ever fancied a quiet night at Cantley and so moored as far away from the pub as they can.So there they are in the morning, enjoying a late breakfast in the sunshine, with the roof open, when, suddenly, booms are whooshing over their heads, guns are being fired and the Alsatians are barking.Another Yare Sailing Club race is underway.

H is for Handicaps.We all know our own handicap is far too harsh and everyone elseís is much too lenient.However, I think, like religion and politics, handicaps are not a subject for dinner parties, so moving swiftly on...

to I for Ideas.We like ideas.Without them the club would be static and eventually would become predictable and boring.Ideas bring change and keep things interesting.We hope.Those of you who were members in the beginning will recognise how much the club has changed because of peopleís ideas, and a moments thought will bring to mind some of the things we have tried: the treasure hunts, blindfold club boat driving and, perhaps the most successful recent idea; the introduction of our pursuit race.

J is for Jubilation.I would define Jubilation as the emotion felt by a skipper, which lasts from the moment his yacht is announced as the winner and he proudly receives the trophy, to the dawning realisation that now he really ought to buy a round for the entire crew...

K is for Knots, especially those knots that tie themselves.You know the ones - they appear in the halyard, disappearing up the mast as you try to get the sail down in a hurry.Or when you pick up your neatly coiled mooring line and throw it to a waiting pair of hands on the shore, only to watch the rope tie itself into a knot, mid-air, and then drop mockingly into the river - leaving you at the mercy of whatever disaster is pending because you canít get your sail down.

L is for Langley Woods, because I know how much you all love Langley Woods, especially when racing.I can tell you do because of the amount of time you all spend there, just drifting around and gazing at the trees.

M is for Moorings, many of which seem to have convenient pubs attached, where one can drink B for Beer and have D for Dinner with F for Friends in E for Evenings.

N is for the Nut on the tiller.Actually, I think we must all be slightly nuts.Think about it: going out in very powerful yachts, with sharp bits at the front, probably over-canvassed, in too much wind and charging about on a river, with 15 other powerful, pointy, over-canvassed yachts, all fighting for the same bit of river at the same time.We call it racing and apparently it can be enjoyable.

O is for Optimist.The Optimist is to be found in Beccles, every year at the end of the Ray Perryman Race.We do try very hard not to terrify the young sailors.

P is for Parties.We do parties quite well, from informal barbecues at Beccles right up to the 25th anniversary frolic, which is probably the most ambitious event the club has ever put on.

Q is for quant, that essential bit of equipment, which is needed when the skipper hasnít quite been paying enough attention and puts the boat on the clarts or right up the veg.The quick thinking skipper will blame a near-by boat for this predicament, or, if no-one is close enough, the crew may be blamed instead.

R.Now in many sailing clubs R would stand for Regattas, or Racing, or possibly Reefing. If you are a certain sort of club it may stand for Rallies.Not the Yare Sailing Club.With us, R can only stand for Raffle!

S can also stand for many things.Sailing is the obvious one.Some say it stands for Socialising.The unkind may say it stands for Squabbling.It could even be for Sweepstake...(7 letters left, if you are counting). No, I think S stands for our Secretary and his String.

T is for Trophies.We have a lot of trophies.We have more trophies than races, by a long way!I counted them up and reckon we have twice as many trophies as we do races.(Fortunately, we only present about a third of them tonight).Of course, T is also for Turkey and I understand the Rheads are still eating the one they won!

U is for Uphill.You all know what Uphill is.It is tacking, in a race, against the tide.In not quite enough wind, and you canít quite get to the top mark near Langley .And it is raining.And the rain is running down the sail and up your sleeve.And every time you go about, more water is dumped down your neck.And you wonder why you are out enjoying this racing lark, when you could be miserable in the pub instead.That is Uphill.

V.Well, I think V is for Vixen!But it is also V for Visitors: our friends from the Northern Rivers who are coming to our regattas in increasing numbers, especially Breydon and the Autumn Regatta.They are most welcome.

W is for Water.Never to be taken internally, water is only there to be sailed on.

X is for the Unknown.There are a lot of unknowns in racing, beginning with, What on earth was the race officer thinking when they set that course? and ending with, Who has won?Of course, there is also the unknown mysteries of the handicapping system, but weíre not going to talk about that.

Y is for the three things that make up this club: the River Yare itself, Yachts and You.Three essential components, without any one of which, we would not have a Yare Sailing Club; and I feel the world would be a poorer place for it.

Z is what Denis refers to as Big Zeds - the sleep of the just, which we all enjoy after a good day on the water (and a skinful of beer) and which some of you may be enjoying now, having nodded off somewhere around the letter K.But, I would ask you please to wake up as I have, of course, reached the end, so could you please stand for the usual toast, to the past, the present and the future, I give you the Yare Sailing Club.

Rachael Seaward won the sweepstake and, at the culmination of a lengthy raffle, presided over by Terry Secker, she also won the top prize of the £60 hamper.

In between these two events, the trophies were presented, many to Pandora, including the Wherry Trophy for the Club Championship.† Puck retained the Hiawatha Prize for the "slow boat" division and Anna won the Luna Barometer.† Ruth Rhead claimed the photographic competition trophy with her photograph of two members on the Wherry Maud, described by the Commodore as "the grizzled skipper with his cabin boy!"† Members then adjourned to the bar to continue the friendly drinking and socialising that characterises our dinners.† As always, the hardy few rounded off the night with final drinks in the rotunda at 1pm.

last edited on:  07/02/2016 at 14:49   by: The Editor