Some of our Youth & Junior’s have been very creative during this lockdown time and made this fab video…
Many thanks to Paula Irish & family for organising.
Some of our Youth & Junior’s have been very creative during this lockdown time and made this fab video…
Many thanks to Paula Irish & family for organising.
Following the Government’s announcements of Sunday and Monday there is still some doubt as to the status of Sailing Clubs.
We are required to follow the policies of the RYA and Severn Trent and until we have them, we cannot move forward.
While clarity is being sought and processes are then put in place to deal with what this reveals, the position with regard to sailing at Draycote Water remains as currently – the site is closed to the public and members and no sailing is allowed until further notice.
We are working hard to resolve this and will be working hard to open as soon as we can legally and safely do so, but please bear with us at this time.
Jeremy Atkins, Commodore
For this week’s Committee Focus, we hear from our Rear Commodore House, Christine Silver…
How did you get into sailing? Around 20 years ago I went to a ‘Try dinghy sailing’ afternoon at Rugby and Daventry Sailing Club, then took lessons and joined the Club which was close to home. The sailing there was limited to weekends and one evening and I generally just practised in an old Topper and then Comet.
How did you join DWSC? In 2006 the reservoir in Daventry was drained for maintenance work and DWSC offered RDSC members the opportunity to sail at Draycote, I’ve been a member ever since.
Why did you go on the Committee? Jeremy sent out a plea for new committee members in 2017 and I volunteered to keep the numbers up, having had some committee experience at RDSC. He said you didn’t need to be a good sailor to join the committee, so that was ok!
What do you do on the Committee? I’m now Rear Comm. House, a post which had been vacant for a couple of years; the committee role is to liaise with Dave, the Club manager, to have an overview of the running of the Clubhouse and grounds. Dave and the staff team are great and take care of the day to day management of the Club. I also have responsibility for writing grant applications, GDPR and Safeguarding policy.
What’s your best sailing experience? I enjoy sailing in Blakeney harbour in a Norfolk Oyster boat and a few years ago was very pleased to sail from Morston to Cley Mill which is only possible with a high Spring Tide. I’ve also been fortunate to crew some races in the Miracle Nationals at Ullswater and Weymouth with Caroline Noel. We were fairly new to sailing the Miracle but it was good to take part.
And at Draycote? Pottering around in my Topper, on a sunny summer evening, with the Women on Water group.
What is your most embarrassing sailing experience? At Weymouth in the Miracle nationals in 2013 – Caroline had jumped off the dinghy into much deeper water than we realised whilst going ashore. It was a strong (for me) off shore wind, I was crewing and hadn’t helmed our then Miracle and was heading for the harbour wall and some moored yachts. Fortunately I managed to steer away from the wall and then grab a buoy in the harbour and signalled for help from the safety boat. All in front of the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy .
Who inspires you? From a sailing viewpoint it’s Hilary Lister, the first disabled woman to sail solo around Britain in 2009 using a sip and puff system. She was paralysed from the neck down and only started sailing in 2003; she wanted to show people with disabilities could and should take risks.
Who would you like to swap places with for a day? While on a cruise ship in a force 8 gale, I wondered what it would be like in a smaller boat, so I would like to swap for a day with a round the world sailor just to experience sailing in the Southern ocean but not for long, as it looks terrifying!
Which 4 individuals would you love to have dinner with? Leading on from above, it would be good to hear stories from some Round the World sailors: Clare Francis, Tracy Edwards and Ellen MacArthur and to get a dinghy sailor’s experience of winning gold medals at the Olympics from Shirley Robertson.
Over on Facebook, there has been a Sunday Racing Rules series. Here are the first three episodes so far…
During this time of lock down, when we can’t get out racing, we will run a series of articles on the key racing rules you need to know if you race.
Episode 1: What You Need to Know?
Everyone thinks the rules are complicated and, of course, in many ways, they are. They have to cope with boats in 3 dimensions, often not on the same leg of the course, sailing in different directions at different speeds.
But don’t let that put you off. Although the rule book (as published by World Sailing) is 188 pages long, most of this concerns the organisation of races or is for special types of sailing (match racing, kiteboarding, etc.). The actual rules that are really important for you to know fill just 10 pages.
As a club racer, what you need to know is:
You can download the rules for free here: https://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/WorldSailingRRS20172020new-.pdf
Why not read these 10 pages as part of your entertainment while stuck at home!
Episode 2: Right of Way
At every stage of a race, when 2 boats meet, one is the keep clear boat and one is the right of way boat. The following table shows which is which in different situations.
Episode 3: Limitation on a Right of Way Boat
In the last episode we covered which of 2 boats was the keep clear boat and which was the right of way boat. But being right of way boat doesn’t mean you can do anything – there are some limitations on you which we will cover in this episode.
1. You must avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible (Rule 14).
If you are the right of way boat (or entitled to room, which we will come to in episode 5) you don’t need to act to avoid a collision until it is clear the give way boat is not keeping clear / giving room but, when it does become clear, you should try to avoid contact – but you will usually be exonerated if the contact does not cause damage or injury.
2. When you acquire right of way (e.g. by tacking on to starboard or establishing an overlap to leeward) you must initially give the other boat room to keep clear (Rule 15).
The only exception to this is if you acquire right of way because of the other boat’s actions (e.g. someone tacks onto port in front of you).
3. When you change course you must give the give way boat room to keep clear (Rule 16).
This is for every change of course, so a gradual luff is multiple changes of courses.
4. If you were clear astern and became overlapped within 2 hull lengths of a boat on the same tack you shall not sail above your proper course (Rule 17).
When you were clear astern you were give way boat but as you established the overlap to leeward you became the right of way boat (to leeward) but you must not do this so close that the windward boat cannot keep clear (point 2) and you must not sail higher than your proper course (the course you would sail to finish as soon as possible in the absence of the other boat).
In the next episode we will turn to the tricky subject of 2 boats meeting at a mark.
This week we hear from our long-standing and humorous Treasurer, Rodger Webb.
How did you get into sailing? I am a bit of a Jonny come lately to sailing; some time around the late 80s my wife booked me on an offshore competent crew course to get me away from business for a weekend. I enjoyed it but spent most of the time being shouted at and pulling ropes (a bit like being crew on a F15). I didn’t get to learn how to sail. I joined Draycote to learn the basics. Still haven’t got them!
How did you join DWSC? I had a friend, Rob Hadley, some of you may remember him. He introduced me to Draycote; I enrolled in a few courses and found I enjoyed dinghy racing more than offshore sailing.
Why did you go on the Committee? No one else would and as I ran a small business, I thought I could help out with the accounts. I didn’t realise it would become a second career!
What do you do on the Committee? I try and keep Will quiet most of the time and usually fail. In addition, I produce a report each month, keep an eye on the bank accounts and generally try and stop anyone spending any money and try to encourage the rest of the committee to put the fees up. The job has become infinitely easier with Dave as Manager and Rebecca and Frances in the office.
What’s your best sailing experience? I spent a lot of time on the Isles of Scilly in my teens and early 20s and have sailed and motored there several times since. It is a wonderful place to sail to when the weather is good. Beautiful and welcoming and nothing beats a pint in the Mermaid at the end of a long trip.
And at Draycote? I think I won a race once.
What is your most embarrassing sailing experience? The usual; full capsize in an F15 outside the club house. I blame Kevin.
Who inspires you? Apart from Dear Leader (Commodore), I am not sure I have particular person. Admiral Thomas Cochrane, British naval flag officer of the Royal Navy, led the most amazing life. Also, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and in more modern times I am a great admirer of James Dyson. The world needs more engineers.
Who would you like to swap places with for a day? Bill Gates, as long as I could have access to his bank account.
Which 4 individuals (living or dead) would you love to have dinner with? I have been strumming my guitar for the last 50+ years and my favourite artist is Jackson Browne so he would be on the list. Along with Professor Alice Roberts the biological anthropologist who is always on the TV. The Greek Philosopher, Epicurus (thoroughly recommend a book called Travels with Epicurus should you wish to find out more about him) and I think, maybe, Rick Stein, he always comes across as a very jolly fellow and he could do the cooking.
Part three of our Committee Focus introduces our Vice-Commodore (and Menagerie Fleet Captain), Ian Macwhinnie…
How did you get into sailing? I was looking up at a blue sky on a sunny Saturday afternoon in June 2000 and wondered what I would like to spend my leisure time doing and, just like that, the idea of sailing around a lake in a small boat came into mind and seemed very appealing.
How did you join DWSC? The next week I contacted Draycote and signed up for the RYA training courses run by the wonderful Terry Hand and Geoff Wood, who were such great stalwarts of the club and the training programme. After a couple of years still trying to figure it all out, I did the Dinghy Instructor training, initially to help my own sailing, but found to my surprise I really enjoyed teaching courses, so regularly taught the RYA programme for beginners, becoming a Senior Instructor along the way.
Why did you go on the Committee? I had been editing and producing the Club Newsletter Unshackled for a number of years, as well as designing club leaflets and writing press releases, all of which had got me involved in what was going on, so it seemed a natural development to go on the Committee.
What do you do on the Committee? I joined the Committee in early 2015 and began by taking over more of the marketing responsibility from Jeremy, starting with planning and running the annual Open Day which I have done five times now. As Vice Commodore, my job is in essence to do what the Commodore asks/tells me to do! This includes “special projects”, such as planning and “delivering” the 50th Anniversary, which was achieved due to the fantastic efforts of our paid staff. More recently I set up and participated in the BBC Cov & Warwick radio interviews in support of our Club of the Year application.
In addition, I am the Menagerie Fleet Captain, whose role is to represent the Fleet at the Fleet Captains Meetings and provide any support required for those in the Club with non-fleet boats. This includes establishing the rules by which the Menagerie Fleet runs its racing series. More details can be found on the Club Menagerie Fleet page.
What’s your best sailing experience? For simple all-round pleasure of sailing, I would have to say the Turkish coast with warm seas, friendly people, secluded bays and great food. A few sailing trips up the west coast of Scotland have also been really special, including one with a run across to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland past Fair Head. We also sailed around Fingal’s Cave to the melodic strains of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture. Pretentious, or what?
And at Draycote? Every year, just before or after membership renewals (I was lucky to get in early this year!), I seem to manage to find a sunny day with a pleasant westerly F4 and sail my RS Vareo with the kite up from one end of the lake to the other and I think to myself: I have already had full value out of my year’s membership!
More specifically, when I had my Fireball, I beat Mike Deane to the windward mark in a Fireball Open meeting. I was ahead by some distance but I could still see the whites of his eyes and the expression on his face — a look I can still see clearly! (Needless to say, he had overtaken me by the end!)
What is your most embarrassing sailing experience? On an RYA Level 1/2 course, two of my students were an elderly couple who were struggling to tack a Wayfarer in quite windy conditions. The only way to get them through the tack was for me to push the nose of the boat round from the Rigiflex I was in. This worked well enough two or three times. The next time, however, as I stood up to give the Wayfarer an extra shove with one hand, the other hand pulled on the throttle. As the boat accelerated, I was pitched out the back into the water. Fortunately, I had the kill cord on and the boat stopped, but I realised pretty quickly that I had not properly closed my drysuit after lunch and water was seeping in and filling my boots. You would be surprised how hard it is to climb into a boat with that weight of water in your boots! It was a pitiful call for help that went out on the radio!
Who inspires you? I am inspired by anyone who is able to overcome great adversity to achieve their potential.
Who would you like to swap places with for a day? A doctor working in an ICU during this emergency, to experience first-hand what it is like at the sharp end (though God help the patients!).
Which 4 individuals (living or dead) would you love to have dinner with? Reflecting some of my interests outside sailing: Amitav Ghosh, whose stunning Sea of Poppies trilogy brings to life our imperialist ambitions in India and China during the 19th century and their impact on ordinary people; Sir Garry Sobers, undoubtedly the greatest all-round cricketer ever and modest and generous as a man; EF ‘Fritz’ Schumacher who started the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now Practical Action) for which I worked when I first came to Rugby; and Robert Johnson, the most important blues singer ever, according to Eric Clapton.
This week we’re focusing on Will Whittaker, who has been on the committee for 8 years and holds ths post of Rear Commodore Sail.
How did you get into sailing? My Dad sailed a Lark as a member of Barnt Green Sailing Club. As the youngest of three boys, I watched my brothers sail and was desperate to join them. When I finally started sailing, I was nine or ten and crewed for my older brother Daniel in a Cadet called “left over wine”. First Picture – Dan and I at the Cadet Nationals Plymouth 1990.
How did you join DWSC? I had a friend who was a member and it gave me the impetus to get a Laser and join him over 15 years ago. Sadly, Dan was in the army so quickly moved away to Salisbury. I then started joining in with Sunday racing, Chris Dickinson and Robert Browett were the only other Laser boats at that time regularly racing. The fleet, then started to gain other new members and quickly grew in popularity, particularly on Wednesday evenings, where single handed fleet racing is the obvious choice when typically running late, trying to get to racing after work!
Why did you go on the Committee? I spent a lot of time encouraging others to join the Laser fleet and had little help or support from the committee. With my fellow Solo fleet captain (Jeremy) we could not understand why fleet captains were not consulted for racing input or encouragement. This coupled with the seemingly perilous position of the club, I joined with Jeremy to try and bring some expertise as a business owner.
What do you do on the Committee? This has changed significantly since I joined in 2012. Initially Phil, Rodger, Jeremy and I were very hands on, working with Dave to set up processes to move the club forward. Huge time was spent making the club self-sufficient. My predecessor Richard Botting was extremely burdened by the day to day running, dealing with details such as timesheets, shift rotas, etc. Dave picked this up in his role initially as Water Manager. As Dave has grown into the role as Club Manager, my role has become far more strategic, where the committee provide guidance, resource and support to what is an excellent club team which Dave has built. My role has continued with the successful extension of our existing lease until 2045 and more recently the unprecedented situation where the club has had to close and furlough staff. Dave, Jeremy and I have a daily conference call manage the constant moving goalposts from government and are now looking to how we will run without a commercial income for an unknown amount of time, as well as how we start up again when social distancing restrictions are lifted.
What’s your best sailing experience? The easy answer would be to say in a dinghy, but the best experience has to be sailing to the Scilly Islands with my parents in the mid 1990’s. We often sailed along the south coast with friends but decided one summer in fine weather to head off passed the Lizard and onto what was the unexpected magical Scilly Islands. We enjoyed island hopping the white sandy beaches, swimming in clear seas and evening drinks in the local pubs. I hope to take my boys by boat there at some point so they too can have such memories.
And at Draycote? I cannot remember how we faired as a teenager visiting as a crew in Cadets then Larks – not well! However, these days it’s more about enjoying sailing on a windy day on a reach across the lake and racing the excellent Laser fleet sailors we have at the Club. The standard is high across the board and something that should be experienced by everyone. Due to family commitments and the time spent supporting the club, the one thing I have not managed is compete again on the Laser circuit.
What is your most embarrassing sailing experience? When I finished crewing for my brother, I sailed for female helm called Jo. She was very good, and we were always near the front of the fleet. This meant I would often return home on a Sunday evening from an open meeting to show my older brothers my new trophy which said; “first girl crew”. This regularly gave my older brothers huge entertainment. Luckily after a while the trophies turned into gloves and hats as clubs took pity on me. I remember my first Musto hat from West Kirby SC!
Who inspires you? I am going to presume this is in sailing not in life, because they would be very different. Mike Golding and Alex Thompson, both of whom have huge motivation and focus to compete but also podium in the Vendee Globe. These campaigns take huge commitment and if you are ever feeling a little bored, watching YouTube videos of an IMOCA 60 in the Southern Ocean makes you focus your mind! However, for sailing I cannot look past Ben Ainslie for drive, single minded focus and determination to win. A quiet man off the water, but when on it, quite simply the best in terms of Olympic medals but also tactical racing. Who can ever forget the influence he had on team Oracle when he came onto the boat as tactician to drive what was the greatest ever sport comeback of all time. A true sporting great, that we hope can finally bring home the Americas Cup!
Who would you like to swap places with for a day? This is really hard, because it depends what you want to do for the day; sail, relax or go to a back tie ball!! I think given my answers should be sailing focused, I would take swapping with Alex Thompson when his foiling IMOCA 60, Hugo Boss, in the Southern Ocean crashing through the waves at 25-35 knots. This would be an eye opener, physically and mentally and one I would not want to do for any longer than a day!! In fact, a day would be a great experience but allows for me to be back in the bar early evening, showered and dry, ready to relax with a pint of beer!
Which 4 individuals (living or dead) would you love to have dinner with? Well for dinner it would have to have good conversation, unique stories and involve wine! Whilst I would be good to consider the likes of Margret Thatcher who is my economic and political hero, I feel it would be rather heavy conversation for a dinner date. Therefore, I would have to choose 4 people who would make it more light hearted, enjoy a drink or two, have conversation I would enjoy and involve unheard stories.
My first choice therefore would be Richard Branson. He was the first person I recognised with as having the same learning difficulties as me, Dyslexia. For those who don’t have it, it’s hard to understand how you cannot spell, hear or remember words; even words you could spell five minutes before! As a young teenager, knowing someone else (who was cool as he owned planes, record stores and went to parties!) had been through the same struggles and seemingly had not been held back, suddenly made the academic world far more bearable! For this I would like to understand his struggles with Dyslexia and how he managed to overcome them in adult life.
My second choice would be Jenson Button. While Nigel Mansell was my boyhood hero and arguably a better racer, he did not have the lifestyle, party boy characteristics of Jenson. Who in his younger years, along with the likes of Eddie Irvine, were the last of the party racers, that go back throughout Formula One history. I am sure there would be plenty of stories to be shared!
My third choice would be Lawrie Smith, the blonde haired, big earning sailing icon from the 1990’s. His tales from the Olympic, American Cup and Whitbread campaigns would be many and packed with controversy, from onshore team building to high profile football like transfers between teams in the late 1990’s. He would certainly add atmosphere and would not hold back opinion!
Finally, my fourth choice for dinner would be Chris Evans. He has experienced the extreme highs and lows of life, both privately and commercially, interviewed the vast majority of the rich and famous and is a car nut! He’s seemingly done it all and will have the stories to match!
One of the items of feedback we’ve received is that some/many club members don’t feel that they know who makes up the Committee, what the each Committee member does, and therefore who to approach if they need to.
So, each Monday we’ll be posting a quick interview with each of our Committee, and we’re starting at the top with our Commodore, Jeremy Atkins…
How did you get into sailing? My family has always sailed – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We were fortunate to have a family base on the River Deben in Suffolk and there my family had a single-sail, gaff-rigged, clinker boat called Tortus and she certainly did that (taught us)! I then moved onto Cadets, followed by team racing at school and university.
How did you join DWSC? I had a break from sailing of around 10 years while the kids were growing up, but then I wanted somewhere to sail our Pico with my younger daughter, Rachel. We did a few pursuit races, but then I thought I ought to get a bit more serious again and looked for the fleet that would give me the best competition which, at that time, was the Solos. So, never having sailed one, I bought a wooden Solo and started racing.
Why did you go on the Committee? I have to admit that I hoped that I wouldn’t get involved in running the club. Throughout my life I have been involved in running sailing organisations – both sailing clubs and class associations. So far I have done over 100 ‘committee years’! I felt I had done my bit and now was the time just to enjoy myself. But I could see that the protracted lease negotiations and the financial crisis had really damaged the club and I felt that the experience I had could help, so I joined to help the work that Phil Hunt and Rodger Webb had started.
What do you do on the Committee? As Commodore I think my main role is to chair the committee so that we give the club direction and do what is necessary to serve our members. We are fortunate to have a brilliant staff team and we have set in place many things like the Development Plan, the Trading Company, the Boat Replacement Scheme and so on which means that we have a direction and good ways of doing things. But beyond that I get involved in whatever I think I can help with. Because of my professional background, initially this was marketing. Because of my experience in running many major sailing events, I also picked up the Race Team instructions / manuals. Both of these I have now handed on.
What’s your best sailing experience? Winning the Laser 2 Nationals convincingly from a 50+ boat fleet must be up there. As was coming 3rd in the Bloody Mary pursuit race. Sailing into unspoilt Turkish harbours on a yacht was also pretty special.
And at Draycote? The first time I sailed at Draycote, I won the Laser 2 Inland Championships, beating the likes of Steve Irish and Andrew Blee – although they were both in short trousers at the time! Winning a race at the Solo Spring Championships was good.
What is your most embarrassing sailing experience? A few weeks after winning the nationals, I was doing a Laser 2 demo day at Felixstowe Ferry SC in Suffolk. The tide can be very strong there and, with a total novice crewing, the boat drifted onto a groyne, capsized, broke the mast and finally got swept away towards the sea. Embarrassing and frightening!
Who inspires you? It is perhaps strange to select a friend, but I would say Robin Knox-Johnston. I have known him for about 30 years and he is great company, kind and the first to respond to e-mails and pay bills despite a very busy life. Obviously he was the first man to sail around the world single-handed, non-stop, and that is inspirational enough, but his subsequent sailing and business ventures are just as remarkable and the way he continues at 100% at his age is just remarkable. He has made thousands of dreams come true through the Clipper round the world race and, having sailed with some of those this time last year, I know I am not the only one who finds him an inspiration!
Who would you like to swap places with for the day? This is hard and I am going to cop out slightly. Everyone’s live has ups and downs and I’m pretty content with mine, but there are some things which I would like to experience, one of which is cruising around exotic islands – be it the Caribbean or the south Pacific – so I would like to swap places with someone doing that. I’d also like more than a day, but I’d skip on the ocean passages between the islands – for me, the joy is landfall and a new harbour!
Which 4 individuals would you love to have dinner with? Absolutely no question about the first one: Uffa Fox. I have many friends who knew him well, but I never met him. As well as being a brilliant sailor and designer, he was great company. Next I would probably go with Arthur Ransome and his wife Evgenia. I would be most interested in Ransome’s life in Russia and cruising in the Baltic in the 1920s – the fact that he played chess with Lenin and married Trotsky’s secretary (who had a pet snake but left their honeymoomn cruise because of a mouse onboard!). Finally I think I would go with Hilaire Beloc: writer, politician, sailor but quite a difficult person by all accounts – but I think Uffa would be a match for him and it would be an entertaining evening. I will prepare The Windmill for the meal and some very interesting conversations!
Hopefully this will give you more of an insight into our Committee. If you would like to contact any of our Committee members, please email email@example.com and we’ll pass it on for you.
Membership renewal is a bit different this year with the current situation, hopefully this information will be helpful to you:
– If you would like to change from one annual payment to 12 monthly direct debit payments, please log in to WebCollect and use the ‘monthly’ tab (see picture) to re-order the required membership/boats and choose direct debit at checkout. We will cancel your existing membership. Please note – the new order must be done by 12 noon on Tuesday 31st March, to give us time to cancel the old order, otherwise both will renew on the 1st.
– If you would like to pay by card, Dave & Rebecca will be at the Clubhouse on Thursday 2nd April to take card payments over the phone – 01788 811153. Please note that the site will not be open for visitors.
– If you would like to pay by cheque, please post it to the Club as Dave is picking up post.
– Other direct debits that don’t need any changes will renew automatically – you don’t need to do anything.
– Bank transfer renewals – an automated WebCollect email will be sent out on the 1st April with renewal instructions.
If you need any help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for your ongoing support.
We would like to thank our members who sailed over the weekend who acted responsibly by socially distancing, however today (23rd March) Severn Trent closed all its visitor sites to all events and activities, including watersports.
We are therefore closing the sailing club’s premises until further notice. Grafham and Rutland sailing clubs closed yesterday.
This, of course, does not mean that the sailing club is closing down because the sailing club is a members’ club and it is the members that make the club. We do hope that many of you have or will still renew your membership to help us survive these troubled times and ensure that we still have sailing club to come back to.
The committee cannot stress enough the importance of members renewing their membership and supporting the club since without members our members’ club will not continue.
The committee and staff are busy working on all avenues to reduce our expenditure, but we will continue to have costs and therefore need income.
However, racing can continue in the form of e-sailing and this is now available to clubs free of charge if we can find someone to organise it. Please contact Jeremy via the office if you wish to organise this on behalf of the club.
If you are not renewing your membership we would ask you to remove you boat and equipment (trailers, trolley) from the site at the first reasonable opportunity, although we appreciate this may now be after the crisis is over. However, if you want to remove your boat before then, please contact Dave Rowe by e-mail (email@example.com) to make arrangements. The same applies to any continuing members who want to take their boats home to do work on them.
Please stay safe and we look forward to welcoming members back to our club premises as soon as we can.