Committee Focus – Robin Warren

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This week’s Committee Focus turns to one of our newest Committee members, Robin Warren…

How did you get into sailing? I started at school in 1969 through an after-school club travelling to Butterley Reservoir in Derbyshire. It was only about 50 acres. A few basic instructions from our teachers but largely left up to ourselves to learn through play. Initially oversubscribed but after a couple of weeks there was only a handful of us. Tuesday night was climbing, Wednesday night was canoeing and Thursday night sailing. State schools are not like that anymore.

How did you join DWSC? I went to Warwick Uni and sailed at DWSC with them. After Uni and starting work in this area it was obvious to continue. I started with a laser for a short while before getting a new GP14, but always had trouble with regular crews so when the GP fleet declined I moved over to the Miracles which were easier to sail single handed if necessary. Eventually ending up with a Solo and now have the opposite problem of not being able to take anyone out for a sail.

Why did you go on the Committee? Apart from a spell as fleet captain of the GP14s I had not done a great deal to help the club, always being a bit busy with other things and then children came along and doing any extra became impossible, but I always felt a bit guilty. Now my excuses have finally run out with said children going off to Uni., so I volunteered at the last AGM.

What do you do on the Committee? My role so far has been to shadow Chris Silver the Rear Commodore House. This has involved mostly checking procedures and having an input to the various issues that come up at the monthly meetings. Probably more issues at the moment, but even so, not very onerous work.

What’s your best sailing experience? With over 50 years worth of sailing experience there have been many. Up there with the best must be cruising in perfect weather off the west coast of Scotland, or powering down the Portuguese coast on the way to Gibraltar, beam reach, warm sunshine and realising that everyone else was having a siesta and I was on my own, on deck, marvelling at the power of the yacht as it ploughed through the waves.

My worst sailing experience was the first day of my first big boat cruise heading from Lymington to Weymouth in misty conditions with a quartering run. It was not just the sea sickness, it was finding out that what I had always wanted to do was awful. Fortunately just before Weymouth it was noted we were about to loose the life raft overboard and the ensuing panic instantly got rid of the sea sickness and I was OK afterwards.

And at Draycote? No specific event comes to mind but anytime there is some close demanding racing and I come out on top, the feeling is hard to beat.

What is your most embarrassing sailing experience? Sailing has a habit of tripping you up if you don’t take care, so not the best sport if you are easily embarrassed. Winning the solo capsize trophy for the second time might be one, but then if you don’t capsize occasionally you are probably not trying too hard.

Who would you like to swap places with for a day? I would love to experience some Southern Ocean sailing on in a Volvo round the world race, but I know I could not stand the cold for a whole day.

Which 4 individuals (living or dead) would you love to have dinner with? Ellen McArthur would be top of the list. We went to the same school (a generation apart) and knew some of the same people. In her first book she said she was inspired by reading Sir Francis Chichester’s book which she took out of the school library, and was amazed that only one other person and taken the book out. Well guess what. I too was inspired by Chichester after reading his book, also borrowed from the school library and I was surprised that I was the first to take it out.