Each year at the AGM, our Committee awards The Commodore’s Cup to a member who they feel has significantly contributed to the Club.
This year, Jeremy Atkins announced the deserved winner:
It’s been a difficult year for all of us, but certainly for helping and volunteering as there hasn’t been that much opportunity. I spoke to one club member who said it’s amazing we can run the open meetings, and I replied that we can do so because they’re run by paid staff and there’s no volunteers involved. However, I realised that there was one volunteer, with his daughter, who has been at virtually every open meeting this year. He also runs the youth and junior part of the club, and he would say that it’s not just him doing it, but he does lead it and without him it wouldn’t happen. He also volunteers to do the mark laying for many events, including for the shortly to be cancelled Draycote Dash, and again he would say that it’s not just me, that Izzy is there too. Then when we needed graphics for site signage, we naturally turned to an expert in that industry and Jon, through the company he works for, provided a massive amount of graphics which really communicated the regulations – a lot of it was free, much of it below commercial rate.
So, I and the committee are very pleased to award this year’s Commodore’s Cup to Jon Hughes.
And a lovely response from Jon which really highlights both his own passion for developing youth sailors, and also the many members of our Club who work together to deliver a fantastic programme of Y&J activities:
Last night at our virtual AGM I was honoured to be awarded the Commodore’s Cup by Jeremy. Frantically typing an acceptance speech in Zoom was not really an option, so here we go:
As this is largely a recognition of Youth & Junior related activity (for those who do not know, I am Youth & Junior Fleet Captain), I would like to say a big thank you to all the other club members who have helped us this year and in previous years. Sadly we were unable to run our Saturday Club in 2020 (which normally starts before Easter and runs through to the end of October) due to this pesky virus, but I have relied upon the continuing assistance of Darren Cheshire and Adrian Roberts every weekend in past years, and they were ready for action again this year.
We were able to get our weekly Friday Night racing sessions going as the first lockdown eased, until the nights drew in, and Stuart Middle was a vital part of the machine last year – social distancing meant I had to be in the RIB on my own this year, but when things got a bit fruity, Stu was back on the water in a separate boat to assist. And as new sailors came along, but were not quite ready to race, Darren was out on the water leading a separate group.
Our one Club event for the year which we still managed to run was the Youth & Junior Championships held in September. We had a good turnout of 30 boats with a very high-quality field and close racing throughout the fleets. In the committee boat alongside me was Richard Knight and Izzy Hughes. Manning RIBs to lay the courses and offer assistance and encouragement to those new to racing: Stu Middle, Mike Powell, Adrian Roberts, Norman Byrd and Andrea Byrd . On shore Fleur Maxwell-Middle ran Sailwave (as she has for other race series this year) to get the results out, assisted by Donna Powell. Of course, none of this could happen without the on-going support from all our fantastic staff too!
As we were allowed to open up to visitors in the autumn, the Club was able to welcome a number of Youth & Junior fleets, including Toppers, Fevas, and Teras. There was also a big youth contingent at the Aero event we hosted. This was only possible because of the relentless efforts of our staff team, but again, Youth and Junior fleet volunteers were there, including many already mentioned above, both on the water and on the shore.
And, of course, a big thanks to all our young sailors: What drives me is the desire to introduce the next generation to our wonderful sport, be it just to potter around the lake on a summers day, or strive to compete at the highest level- we try to accommodate everyone, and it is immensely rewarding to see our Youth & Junior fleet members developing from novice sailors to become open meeting winners! It is also great to see those who have been through our Friday and Saturday clubs putting something back by helping out on the water, either in RIBs or sailing with beginners to grow their confidence.
So, in short- we can only function to nurture the next generation of sailors with the support and help of many, many people, both those mentioned here, and many more besides – sorry if I have not name checked you. Long may it continue, and let us hope that we can get back to something near normal in 2021!
And finally… a word from our sponsors! I would like to express my thanks to XG Group, my employers. Every year, for the last few years, they have facilitated the operation of our Friday night club by allowing me to get away from work early to run the sessions. This year, all the social distancing signage around the club was produced by XG – much of it was either discounted or free of charge. Support extends beyond the social distancing graphics to the production of trophies for most of the events we have run this autumn and, pride of place, our massive Youth & Junior flags!