Commodore Report

Commodores Annual Report

From the Commodore. John Barnett

This year has been an interesting challenge to say the least. As both the Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore  comment. Covid has not gone away and indeed, is rearing its ugly head again. Consequently, we felt it our responsibility to postpone the Annual General Meeting  until it is deemed safe to do so.

I would like to announce the new committee to the membership. After much consideration, Ann Blackmore has decided to stand down as Vice Commodore this year. Subsequently, the results of the election are no longer relevant. Ann has asked that I pass on her thanks to all those members that have supported her in the election which she greatly appreciates.

Many of you know Ann well, and she has given years of dedicated service to the club for which we owe her a huge debt of thanks. Ann has served on the General Committee for 11 years, 7 in the role of General Member, and 4 as Vice Commodore. During that time, her contribution has been both highly valued and considerable. Ann will remain a useful source of guidance and advice to the new committee during the transition and beyond.

I have also decided that it is time to pass the baton on and have asked Richard Chidwick to steps forward as Commodore for the next year. I am delighted to say that he has accepted.
Richard has been the Rear Commodore for the last two years. During this time his excellent organisational abilities ensured that all boating activities were maximised within the COVID-19 regulations at the time. He has been especially helpful in supporting all of us to stay safe and active whilst we still respond to the pandemic. I have every confidence that he will ensure the whole membership is represented through the new committee.

Position Name
Flag Officers
Commodore (Flag Officer) Richard Chidwick
Vice Commodore (Flag Officer) Sam Heaton
Rear Commodore (Flag Officer) Jonathan Miles
General Committee Positions
Treasurer Mike Worrall
Maintenance Officer Matthew Hill
Boat Park Officer Tony Pratt
Training Officer Jacquie Willoughby
Development Officer Liam Bunclark
Publicity Officer Roy Broad
Club Management Peter Lambie
Club Management David Grant

From the Vice Commodore. Ann Blackmore

All aspects of our lives over the last twelve months are not as any of us would have wished.

Long periods of successive lockdowns has had an adverse but necessary effect on sporting and social activities.  Whilst this time last year we were hoping the clubhouse would reopen in the New Year, in accordance with government regulations, we were unable to open until the third week of May.

It has been incumbent on the Club to operate within a COVID secure environment for the protection of members and staff which has included the numbers being accommodated within the clubhouse being restricted.  The bar has been open on Friday evenings, Sunday lunchtimes and after sailing and for the customary social events during the Dart 18 GP in June and Open Week in August.  We have also held Friday club suppers and Sunday lunches and have held one quiz night

Whilst COVID cases in the North Devon and Torridge areas remain very high and above the England average the current restrictions will last until the end of December.  We all earnestly hope 2022 will be liberating for us all

On a positive note, the interior of the clubhouse has been decorated, with thanks to Matt Hill, and a programme of maintenance works for the outside will shortly be underway

I would wish to take this opportunity to thank Peter Lambie, David Grant and Clarissa Edwards for their assistance on the House Subcommittee and particularly for their insight on the fortnightly reviews that have been undertaken in dealing with COVID restrictions; to Caroline Wood for her support in the galley and to those members who have volunteered as waiters in the clubhouse during this period.  In this regard a special thanks to Annabelle Marriott.  As always a huge thanks to our Secretary Barry Vincent for all his help and support over the last twelve months.

From the Rear Commodore. Richard Chidwick

It has been another challenging year for sailing clubs, as we all come to terms with living alongside COVID-19. Here at NDYC we have had to adapt as the regulations eased and changed, but nonetheless, we have been able to run a much more comprehensive schedule this year than last.  Once again, I have been nobly supported by an extraordinary team of people to get the jobs done. The year cannot pass without me expressing my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has stepped forward to help out this year. Our 98 duty volunteers covered an eyewatering 481 duties this year, including safety boat helm, crew, race officer, and assistant race officer duties. We are always seeking new volunteers, so please do let me know if you would like to join the team, I would be delighted to have you on board.

I would also like to thank Jon Farr for stepping into the role of club bosun for this season. The early part of the year was particularly busy getting the club boats shipshape and Bristol fashion after standing inactive for two seasons. Since Jon has come on board, he has made sure that the boats are always ready to go for when members need them. Having another member of the team in this critical role makes such a difference. The bedrock of this club is the people in it, and their willingness to help people to get on the water, whether you are an old hand or new to boating.

On the water this year we ran 106 races, with over 100 people taking part. Although it is fair to say at times our race turnouts have been a little disappointing, all our major big events have thrived despite the challenging conditions. Our monohull fleet have been growing in numbers and may have been guilty of temping some of our cat sailors into their growing fleet. The most popular and well attended events this year were cup races, our new regatta over two weekends and Open week.

This year also saw the very welcome return of the Dart 18’s in June for their second GP event of the season with 22 Dart 18’s taking to the water over two days of excellent racing. We managed to field 10 boats from NDYC, which I hope is a sign that we can get out cat numbers racing back to respectable numbers this year. Visitors did find accommodation challenging to source as everyone else was looking for staycations this year, and that had an impact on the number of visitors. However, it was great to see that despite the challenges COVID threw at us, we were able to put on this event and remind the Dart 18’s what an exceptional venue NDYC is to sail from.

Open Week this year ran from Sunday 15th – Saturday 21st August 2021 and incorporated the Fremington Cup, Community Cup, a pursuit race, and a four-day regatta with committee boat starts. A great week of fun varied racing that was well attended with a total of 41 entries. The week finished off with a barbeque and a lively prize giving with a good scattering of prizes across the participants. It was lovely to see such active participation on the water from our members new and old. We are hoping that next year’s Open Week will a celebration moment for the club. We are planning an ambitious family focussed programme with something for everyone, both on and off the water. We hope many of you will join us in what will be our premier sailing event of the year.

Round 1 of the 21-22 SSW Winter Series was the NDYC Wrecker Pursuit which took place at North Devon Yacht Club on the 30th October 2021. We had 28 boats representing 7 different sailing clubs from around the region attending, proving that even late in the season in challenging COVID conditions we can still attract and put on great events here at NDYC. The club had some impressive results winning the club prize and with local sailors just being pipped at the post by Ben Cutler-Sharp from Star Cross (with an NDYC crew!) who took first place. Many thanks to Simon Fleet for arranging the loan of one of the Instow/Appledore Ferries as a stand in committee boat whilst our usually faithful Plymouth Pilot Puffin was ashore for repairs.

This year we were able to have our prize giving face to face at last, having lost the opportunity to COVID-19 last year. This was another example of the great team we have at NDYC. A huge thank you to Jonathan Miles for processing all the results for the year, Hugh Kingdon, who was the most excellent master of ceremonies, Joe Armstrong our knowledgeable custodian of the prizes, and David and Ann Blackmore for the excellent and eagerly devoured chilli supper. It was a lovely way to celebrate successes of the season. This was followed by an active and successful consultation event with our racing and new to sailing members, that we will be using to shape our future programme to make sure it responds to what you have asked us to do.

This year we also extended the Powerboat Instructor team with 6 new instructors for the club, enabling us to get 52 people through their RYA Powerboat 2 course and a further 10 qualified for safety boat helm.

Jonathan has done sterling work behind the scenes again getting everything ready for next year. We have 110 days sailing planned for the forthcoming season. Highlights are:

Sunday racing with the popular committee boat starts with two races per day arranged in classes with separate starts for Cats and Monohulls.  A Single race per day for Gaffers.

We will continue to develop the Saturday Personal Handicap series with separate starts for Cats and Mono’s.

We will continue the evening series as a single start handicap race series over the year

2022 is the Queen’s jubilee year, and we will be taking the opportunity of the extra bank holiday to run a special jubilee regatta over four days.

Cup days for Bell Buoy, Middle Ridge and Estuary will be scheduled as a generic Cup day with the most appropriate event according to weather on the day.

Open week will be 20th-27th August over 7 days of racing with a slightly longer 5-day regatta.

We will be working with the Clovelly estate to run the Clovelly Cup in July which sadly was cancelled this year due to poor weather.

We will be hosting the Sprint 15 sport national championships again this year, and of course hoping that an NDYC  member will once again be declared national champion after last year’s very close call. Great effort from Hector Bunclark and Angus Cook, who were both troubling the leaders last year.

Once again, we will host the SW Wrecker pursuit race which is open to visiting sailors.

Next year we are hopeful of a return to a more normal but COVID-secure way of life. We are determined to build on the experiences and learning from the last two years to help us continue to improve the range of on the water activities, nurture and develop our newest sailors and build a flourishing community of boaters united by our shared love of getting afloat in all manner of craft.

Before I sign off, it is important to mark the contribution, commitment, and dedication of our out-going committee members who I would like to thank sincerely for everything they have done to support the club. John Barnet has been a particular support to me since I started in the role of Rear Commodore, and I intend to make full use of his knowledge and experience as I step up into the role of commodore. John will be continuing to diligently support the club by taking on the role of Safety boat Bosun with the able support and assistance from David Blackmore. This means I will have him on hand to lean on when I need his help and advice. For that I am truly grateful.

Let’s make it a great year on the water and get as many of us out there enjoying all that our estuary has to offer. If I can support you to do this in any way, please do get in touch.
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