Last Saturday saw a return to sailing on Forfar loch, by Tony Walker and myself in a safe and socially distant manner. The conditions were almost ideal, it being both sunny and adequately windy. With the southerly wind blowing directly on to the pontoons it did necessitate a beach launch from the north side of the inch. The two that boats ventured out were my own Mirror and the newest addition to the club’s fleet, a Mirror called Snout.
Snout was donated to the club by Irene Bruce, a former member of the RTYC. We were a bit sceptical about the boat as when Mirrors are given away it’s usually for a good reason. However, this one turned out to be in excellent condition. The boat had been built by Irene’s father, and as she had now retired from sailing, she didn’t want to see the boat rot away in her garage. Snout is currently getting a few improvements, mostly to the running rigging, and will be available to all club members. Perhaps there may be some challenges for the Mirror Trophy.
I hope that you are well. I am sure that like me, you were all eager to hear what, if any, changes would be announced at the end of last week. Unfortunately, whilst England are taking the first steps in lifting restrictions, here in Scotland there has been no change.
As we wait for further announcements, we are continuing to monitor government advice and guidance from RYA Scotland. We are putting together a plan to restart sailing activity in a considerate and conservative way so that we are ready to return to sailing when it is permitted. Our primary consideration will be the health and safety of our members.
Meanwhile, we continue to do what we can and a number of you have been joining in with our virtual racing series. This has proved to be a pleasant distraction once a week, although I suspect that this lockdown will have to continue for some while yet before I consider that I have got the hang of it! Fortunately, some of our members have taken to it rather well and the radio sailors have demonstrated their skills very ably. My thanks to Erwin and Becci Oosterhoorn for setting up and running the sessions each week and also to Tony Walker, who has graciously kept me from finishing last! Plans to host an online quiz are also progressing and we hope to run that soon.
As you will understand, maintenance work at the Clubhouse has been unable to progress over recent weeks. However, with the dry weather that we have had over the last couple of months, the loch is at a very low level and it is an ideal time to carry out some necessary repairs to the pontoons. We have therefore ordered the required materials and plan to carry this work out in a few weeks’ time.
As the restrictions continue, we are all missing our usual activities and look forward to a return to sailing in some form in the near future. Meanwhile, we would love to hear your lockdown news, boat-related or otherwise, or any suggestions for online activities or training.
The club’s topper ladder is intended to be a fun competition that anyone and everyone can participate in. It is separate from all other cups and competitions so even if you don’t want to commit to a points series you can still join in the ladder and sail as little or as often as you like. The ladder will created by drawing the names of those interested out of a hat. Those not interested at this time may join the bottom of the ladderwhenever the fancy takes them. Once on the ladder you may challenge anyone up to three places above you. They have ten days to agree a match. If they can’t commit you swop places. If you win you swop places. There is no penalty for losing ( and trying) you just both remain in your positions. The ladder was dreamed up to encourage friendly competition and to take the place of the Thursday pursuit racing although you can obviously sail whenever it suits both parties. Please be aware that although this is a fun event normal basic racing rules apply i.e. no collisions. The decision to sail and the safety aspect is the responsibility of the participants. Cadets must be accompanied by a responsible adult who obviously will make the appropriate decisions It might be that both participants agree to race in a different boat , lasers for example, although the Topper should be given priority. There will be a ladder at the club and possibly on line ( to be decided ) That will be the only admin required
come along to the General meeting on the 24th March at 14:30, both to
support the club and to pass comment on this venture. Tony Cook
Now we are coming out of what has been a remarkably mild winter, it’s time to think about getting boats back and looking forward to sailing again. This means it is time for memberships to be renewed and subs paid; you will find a link to the membership form further down this newsletter. We look forward to welcoming back current members and hopefully seeing some new faces as well.
Over the winter we have undertaken some much needed maintenance and I would like to thankTony Walker, Tony Cook, Mark Kimber, Peter Tait and everyone else involved in refitting and painting the sail room and entrance to the changing rooms as well as other essential maintenance.
Not everyone stops sailing for the winter and Aberdeen University have made good use of the Loch for their training sessions. They planned to hold a couple of events there but in the only real cold snap of the season, the Loch froze and they had to relocate to Dundee. The radio sailors have also continued to meet over the winter and have helped with general upkeep of the grounds. They have a couple of events this year that they will host at Forfar so we look forward to seeing them in action.
As noted below the day for boats returning is Sunday 24th March and we will also hold our Half Yearly meeting that afternoon. We really hope to see as many members as possible at this to hear about the year ahead. We will also be voting in a new treasurer as Simon Brown leaves this role after two years. Thank you to Simon for keeping the accounts going, the tuck shop stocked and lots more.
The new sailing calendar is almost complete and will be emailed to everyone so you can put dates in your diary. We are returning to the system of OOD and safety boat helm on Sundays for the racing in the afternoon and to support the free sailing in the morning. We are updating the list of people who are able to use the safety boat. We think we have everyone on the list but please contact us if you see any inaccuracies. Everyone cleared to use the safety boat will be given roster dates and I thank you in advance for your support of the club. (current members will receive an email with the calendar, helm list and duty roster soon) We are also introducing a Sailing Ladder instead of the pursuit race on Thursday evenings. We hope this will encourage more people to try racing and gain the confidence to join other racing events at the club.
Finally, this year sees the club reach its 60th birthday which we plan to celebrate later in the year. Plans are still being developed and we will let you know what form this will take as soon as possible. If anyone has suggestions please contact a member of the committee.