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  Annual dinner & prize-giving, 2022 New Page 1

For various reasons, only 29 people made it to this year's dinner and prize-giving, but it was sufficient to produce a convivial and enjoyable evening at our usual venue of the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club in Lowestoft.† This began with Julia reading out messages from the President and immediate past Commodore, neither of whom were present, but both of whom were immediately identifiable from their words and, in Will's case, the bad jokes.

After Grace had been said by the Vice Commodore, members and guests then enjoyed their three course meal before the Commodore, Margaret Kilner, arose to give her speech, as follows:

"Last time I stood here and addressed you, I gave you a fairy story.Cinderella, in fact.On reflection, I feel this was perhaps a little frivolous, so this year I am going to talk about a much more important and serious subject; that of health and safety.

We have recently appointed our very first Welfare Officer, which is clearly an important step and, as you know, we do advise that a suitable buoyancy aid should be worn at all times while afloat during our club activities.But I feel we need to go further!

We will now be asking that you continue to wear your lifejacket when getting on and off the boat - a very risky activity with all that water about.In fact, you should continue to wear your lifejacket while on the riverbank and, because I could not decide what a safe distance from the water is, you will wear them into the pub, at the bar and until you are seated.Then you may remove them.You should be well versed in this procedure, as we followed it for much of last year with our facemasks.

Remember to put your lifejacket back on before leaving the pub.By now it is likely to be dark, so we are going to ask that you install exterior lights on your boat to assist with your return there.You have a free hand as to what form this takes, so you may wish to personalise your lighting to aid in identification of your vessel and to make sure you find your way back to the correct bed.

Once in bed, you may remove your lifejacket, provided you are over 18.Children should be made to wear them for 24 hours a day.Extra precautions might be felt necessary by tying small children to a mudweight and you must fit an alarm to your cabin doors for added security.This will ensure that, should your little darlings wander off in the middle of the night, the whole mooring will be awoken and able to aid in their rescue.

Your boat should be fitted with guard rails all round. A maximum of four gates will be allowed for getting on and off - two on each side - the exact locations are up to you.Gang planks with side rails must be used at all times - none of this dangerous leaping about, please.These can be either hinged to the deck or removable.Wheels are optional.When moored in the strongly tidal reaches at or below St Olaves, Reedham and Acle there must also be a safety net underneath your gangplank.This may have an added advantage as an aid in catching any dropped mobile phones.

There will be no single-handed mooring allowed, as this is clearly extremely dangerous.The only exemption is for Chris Dowsett, as he has Chloe to help him: he just needs to train her to open the gate in the guard rail, drop the gangplank, pick up the mooring line and walk ashore with it.How hard can that be?Even Saoirse can open things, push stuff over, pick up ropes and walk and sheís much younger!

The next area I want to look at is safety on the foredeck.One of the most dangerous operations here is lowering the mast.There are many procedures and safety checks to undertake before doing this, so these are available as a separate appendix upon receipt of a stamped, addressed envelope.However, I will highlight a few points here.

Firstly, before taking off the forepeak hatch and thus creating a deep and dangerous hole in your foredeck, you must be roped to a buddy.This is so that, should you fall down the hole, you may be rescued.

You must sound an alarm as the mast lowers.This can be as simple as a hand bell, or you can use a hooter, a siren or a whistle, or even something fancy like they have on reversing vehicles.ďStand well clear, mast lowering. Stand well clear, mast lowering.ĒThat sort of thing.

You will also need to have a large and colourful burgee on the top of the mast which will double as a warning flag when the mast is lowered.Joe Farrow is ahead of us all here.Ideally, Iíd prefer you all to fly club burgees, so that you can be easily identified and I can keep track of you all.The only exception here can be if you are a flag officer of another yacht club, although such disloyalty is to be discouraged and it should also be noted that being a Vice Commodore of this club outranks being a Rear Commodore of any other club, no matter how posh they are.

Ropes on the foredeck are a clear trip hazard and so should be left neatly coiled at all times.We all know that a neatly coiled rope will self tangle the moment it is moved, so this has the added advantage that when they fall overboard they will self knot and become too short to reach your prop.However, years of observation has shown me that halyards work differently.These need to be thrown untidily on the deck to ensure they magically untangle as you lower your sails.

This does produce a conundrum though: if your halyard falls overboard while you are lowering sail, the magic straightening means it is likely to reach your prop which, as it turns, will cause the sail to rise again.Clearly not good.I did consider mandating a small wall around the edge of the deck to prevent anything sliding in to the water, but this then produces a trip hazard as you get on and off the boat....I havenít solved this one yet.Answers on a postcard, please.

We now come to the actual sailing.It is advisable to warm up before undertaking any sort of strenuous physical activity, so there will be limbering up exercises before each race - the briefing will be 30 minutes earlier to accommodate this.Both myself and the OOD will be far too busy to organise this, so leading the routines will be the Vice Commodoreís responsibility.He is looking forward to this.

There must be cushioning underneath your boom to protect everyoneís heads, but as an additional precaution we are also going to mandate the wearing of hard hats.If there are more than two of you in the cockpit, steel capped boots are to be worn to protect your toes from being trodden on.It goes without saying that industrial gloves are also vital to protect against splinters and rope burn.And donít forget your face mask!

Because we use a loud shotgun to set off races, ear defenders should be worn until after all boats have started. To those already hard of hearing, we apologise that we no longer have alternative visual canine signals at our starts since the sad loss of Pepper.Chloe is proving far too laid back, so there is a vacancy here.Any suitably qualified dogs may apply in person.

You must have thick padding all around your boat during crowded starts.Mattresses may be used, if you canít afford bespoke protection.These may be removed after rounding the first buoy (if you trust your fellow competitors enough).All projecting bowsprits must have red flags on their tips, unless they are fully retractable and there must be a warning triangle on the end of your boom.These are to be replaced by white front and red back lights in poor visibility.You will soon get used to telling the difference between these and your port, stern and masthead lights.

In calm conditions, when you are likely to be sailing slowly, or possibly even backwards, you must display orange flashing lights to indicate that you are a hazard.Actually, maybe we are all hazards, all of the time?Perhaps the orange lights should be flashing all the time on every boat.Itíll be ever so pretty out there - just like fairy lights at Christmas.

Finally, everyone must, of course be fully vaccinated and I shall be personally checking you all out to ensure your compliance.However, if this worries you for any reason, it should be noted that I am easily bribed.A pint normally does the trick, but, when you go to the bar, donít forget your lifejacket!

I hope you will all agree that these measures will keep us all safe and sound for many years to come, so I feel confident in raising a glass to our future.If you would please stand, I offer you a toast to The Extremely Safe Yare Sailing Club."

In the now traditional sweepstake, Bill Clark came closest to guessing the speech length of 9 minutes and 18 seconds, although there were some other close guesses and one pessimist (optimist?) who predicted 27 minutes and four seconds!† We then moved swiftly on to the prize-giving, with Eve Cronin being a popular winner of the photographic competition (although sadly not present to collect her trophy); Modwena winning the 15% and over division of he Club Championship and Wandering Rose taking both the Luna Barometer and the Wherry Trophy, the former on a tie break and the latter, for the Club Championship, quite comfortably.

Lisa and Denise did a fantastic job of selling raffle tickets, raising over £220 for club funds and, as usual, Terry was Master of Ceremonies for the draw.† The hamper was won by a somewhat bewildered Jonathan, who hadn't quite grasped the concept that, when it comes to raffle tickets, orange is the new pink.

last edited on:  06/02/2022 at 16:47   by: The Editor