Commodore's Report 2013



The club year ended on a very sad note with the death of Stan Grace. Stan was a very popular and well-liked member, and this was evident with the large number of club members who attended his funeral. Most of you signed the special memorial card that Val Newton made, and many members also sent personal sympathy cards.

He will be sorely missed, and our sincere condolences go to his family.


Overall, the year was a great success, both on the sailing and social fronts. During the year we had all the regular events, most with an added dimension, plus some extra events. Special anniversary clothing was organised by Paul Lohr, bearing a special 40 year logo designed by Shaun Smale.

We started with the  Easter Regatta at the end of  March, with lots of mini eggs for all, followed by a quiz night in April, and then in May, Roger and Sybil Morse hosted an evening set of walks with a hunt for clues along the way. It was well attended and enjoyed by everyone.

The Summer Regatta on 15 June had the added attraction of 40 cup cakes with flags from Val Newton, Marjorie Adams, Jill Stringer and Sybil Morse, all washed down with cold summer punch by the Commodore.

July saw 2 events away from Stanborough. 10 sailors and 3 supporters visited Stewartby for our annual away day and inter-club sailing competition.  We lost again, but got a bit closer to winning our trophy back.  

For the Paxton 24 hour race we entered 2 teams.   The Junior and Supernova teams came 2nd in their events. Matt Cory and Dave Lambert were the captains.

In August Charles and Marjorie Adams organised a very enjoyable evening boat trip on a canal boat from Broxbourne.  Also in August 10 members went to Barton Broad for the bank holiday week end. 

The Punch Bowl trophy race in September had only 5 teams, with very light winds, but there was a much better turnout of 19 boats for the Commodore’s Cup in October. As usual, we had hot punch for both events supplied by Marjorie.

We also had an excellent turnout of 56 diners for the 40 year Anniversary Annual Dinner on the evening of the Commodore’s cup. It was held at WGC Golf Club, and we had 2 speakers: the first Commodore, Derek Dewey-Leader, and the 21 year Commodore Frank Puranik.   A fine anniversary cake was organised by Marjorie, and Val laid on a special photo history of the club. Sheila Stowe did a great job organising most aspects of the event.

At the Xmas Pudding  Regatta in December, the weather was wet and windy, but we were all cheered up with mince pies, and Marjorie supplied 40 chocs with knitted Xmas Pud caps on, and mulled wine.

The Welly Challenge in February, organised as usual by Roger Morse, had an excellent turnout and  raised £225 for Leukaemia Research.

Many of the safety boat drivers attended a refresher course arranged by Richard Bull.

For a club with a small membership, we had excellent attendances at all events, and the proportion of members participating would be the envy of most clubs.

A special thank you goes to all those people mentioned above, and everyone else who supported the club during the year.

Some of our members were successful away from the club.

Ex member Annabel Cattermole could not have done any better, becoming the ladies 420 world champion.

Pauline Shaw came second in the silver fleet in the Challenger class nationals.

Annette Walter also did very well, She is the Comet ladies national champion, coming 10th in the Comet nationals out of 33 boats, and she won the Hawley lake open meeting.

And just to show that it is not only the ladies waving our flag, Alastair Luxford is the Kestrel national champion.


The committee has updated the club handbook. The main change is the addition of a Child Protection policy section. This policy was based on the RYA sample policy for clubs, and is summarised in the handbook. Many thanks to Sue Cory for her valuable input. A full version will be circulated separately to all members, mostly by email. I urge you to read this policy, as it describes our aims, and has examples of good practice.

Some other sections such as starting procedures, were brought into line with actual practice.


We will hold all the normal events. Dates were published in Windsock, and are listed on the website.

We also hope to hold a coaching afternoon on 10th May. More details will be sent out soon to see if there is enough support.


There are 3 aspects which will affect the future viability of the club.

1. Relationship with Finesse

The new lake management ( Sarah Elliot) has financial pressures which did not exist before. In essence, our club only pays about half in Saturday launch fees of what it ideally should. However, Sarah wants the club to continue.  I have tried to work out some new financial arrangement that does not mean we have to keep increasing our fees to much higher levels. As a token gesture, I have agreed to increase our launch fees by about 10% to £2.70 for boats stored in the park and £5.50 for brought boats. They have not changed for several years, and are still less than public launch fees. The additional 30p to the club will stay the same.

I have also agreed to look at the feasibility of Finesse reducing their costs by not having a senior instructor on site in the Winter. The proposal is that WGCSC will open the facility, launch the power boat and be responsible for allowing sailing. We will still pay the normal fees.

A third approach is to allow Finesse to earn some revenue by holding some events whilst we are sailing. These will have to be very tightly controlled, and we will try it out before once or twice.
The relationship will be laid out in a formal Agreement between Finesse and the Club. I have given our input to this and we await Finesse’s draft for discussion. Our sailing hours should not change.

2. Members

Our membership is slowly declining, and we don’t seem to attract new members from Finesse courses, who apparently are not interested in racing.  We have looked at increasing the visibilty of the club. Val has contacted local newspapers, and had a letter in my name published in the Herts Advertiser.  It is too expensive to advertise in papers or magazines, but we will advertise on our cars with a sticker on the back window, or windscreen. This will give us up to 100 adverts around our area. I hope you will all put one on your cars. We have also had a banner at the lake most of last year, and I intend to get a bigger and brighter one.

3. Committee

Although we have a fairly new committee, extra committee members are always welcome, and in the future, as current officers step down, we will need people to take on these roles. Also bear in mind that most of the longer serving members have already been on the committee.


This trophy is awarded to someone who has made a contribution to the club over and above what might be normally expected. I really need at least 6 of these, and many of the same people would be candidates year after year. Their names are already on the trophy. 

My choice this year is our treasurer of many years, Ian Stringer, who performs a vital role quietly, efficiently and reliably.