Welcome to Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club

hlsc-letterhead-logoHLSC welcomes complete beginners to experienced sailors. Dinghy sailing takes place on a 117 acre reservoir set in the foothills of the Pennines in Littleborough near Rochdale and is easily accessible; just 7 minutes from the M62, junction 21.

HLSC is run by its members for its members with a great family atmosphere, has good fleet racing, is committed to training & developing sailing skills and is an accredited RYA Training Centre.

 

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More opportunities as we ‘open up’ our club racing

It may only be January but it’s never too soon to start thinking about this year’s sailing season.  Our club racing programme starts on the first Sunday in March and we sail all the way through to mid-December.  So, our first day of sailing this year is on Sunday 5th March.

For 2017 we have made some key changes to our club racing programme.  The main one being that we have decided to adopt handicap racing and so we will be sailing a variety of classes in open handicap racing

Nick-and-Bruce-2013

Enthusiastic dinghy racers, whether you own a single or double handed boat, will be able to readily join our club racing as, because of the differences in speed across the range of boats, the various classes will start together in either the Slow Handicap fleet or Fast Handicap fleet.  This means that members who have different boats will be able to race against the established classes on a handicap basis.  If several new boats from the same class come along and race regularly they will be able to form into a fleet of their own and, if they wish, have a separate start of their own.

As we use the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick (PY), which enables boats of different types to race against one another, then any dinghy with a PY between that of an Optimist and an RS400 can be raced.  However, we would you encourage you to consider sailing in one of the classes that we currently race, especially if you are new to the sport.  These are boats which are especially suitable for our lake and are capable of being sailed well to their handicaps.  Prizes are also awarded to the winners of various series in the classes that we currently race as their results are awarded both in the handicap races as well as by individual class.

The club has always enjoyed some excellent open water sailing on its 117 acre reservoir set in the foothills of the Pennines and it also has a good reputation for organising decent club racing.

Now we have ‘opened up’ our club racing to all classes then why now come along and give it a try?  For more information please contact us on membership@hlsc.org.uk.

If you want to find out more about the main boats that we currently race i.e. the classes which we know have a proven pedigree on Hollingworth Lake, please click here.

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Commodore’s Jottings: Steve Caladine

December 2016jsc-nov-2015

I left last December’s AGM somewhat disappointed that whilst the club was in a good state we had been unable to fill the post of Commodore as the club moved into its 70th year.  So, over last Christmas, I decided that, even though I had already done one stint as Commodore 30 years ago, to allow my name to go forward to January’s Management Committee meeting when I then took up the reins.

I have been proud to lead the club through its 70th year and I think everyone enjoyed our weekend of celebrations at the beginning of July.

One of the positive aspects of the club being 70 is that it has settled down into an organisation with a routine that has evolved over many years.  This means that the position of Commodore is considerably helped by many members who just make sure that some things just seem to happen as they are being quietly managed without any fuss.

A few years ago when I was completing the exhaustive questionnaire for our Sport England application for the £50K grant for the clubhouse improvements one of the questions was “How many people are involved in running your organisation?”.  I surprised myself when I added up exactly how many of us are involved as the answer was “Your Governing body / Committee / Management Board: 14, Your Staff: 1 (part time) and Your Volunteers: 126”.  That’s a lot of support and once you are Commodore you really appreciate how much effort is put into this club by several of its members.

On the water, some of our members, especially our juniors, have had a good year attending various Open Meetings and Championships, both at home and abroad.

At the beginning of July four of our juniors, Oliver Winder, Evan Parry, Zoe Parry & Lucy Heginbotham crewed very competently in what was, at times, a very windy Merlin Rocket Salcombe Week.

Adam Din and Will Rowland competed in the Laser 4.7 European Championship in Crozon-Morgat in France in July and Will also went to the Laser 4.7 World Championship in Kiel in August.  Adam & Will gained a great deal of experience from competing at these events.  Closer to home at the National Schools Sailing Championship at Great Yarmouth, Will finished 5th with Adam 6th, in the Laser 4.7 class, out of a fleet of 29 boats.

Seven of the club’s junior sailors competed in the 10 event RYA North West Junior Travellers Series this year where there have been 97 participants.  Our best results came from Adam Din who finished 4th overall, just ahead of Will Smith in 5th and Will Rowland in 7th place.

Here at the club I was particularly pleased that the innovation of running two races ‘back to back’ on Wednesday evenings during May, June & July was well received and this format will be continuing next season.  At the meeting that was held at the end of last month to discuss ‘Sailing at HLSC; the Way Forward for 2017’ the decision was made to ‘open up’ our club racing as we have decided to adopt handicap racing and so next season we will be sailing a variety of classes in open handicap racing.

In summary, this means that next season any dinghy with a PY between that of an Optimist and an RS400 will be able to participate in our club racing.  Due to the differences in speed across the range of boats, the various classes will start together in either the Slow Handicap fleet or Fast Handicap fleet.  Members who have different boats will be able to race against the established classes on a handicap basis.  If several new boats from the same class come along and race regularly they will be able to form into a fleet of their own and, if they wish, have a separate start of their own.  Prizes will continue to be awarded to the winners of various series in the classes that we currently race as everyone’s results are awarded both in the handicap races as well as by individual class.  I’m optimistic that these changes will result in more of us coming along more regularly on Sundays to enjoy the stimulation of more competitive racing.

I appreciate that for our members who kindly volunteer to run the Starters’ Box every Sunday and Wednesday that instead of recording the finish places of every boat that we will now be asking you to write down their finishing times in ‘the book’.  I must stress that you will only be asked to record the finishing times manually not in the club’s laptop.

At ‘The Way Forward for 2017’ meeting we also discussed the problem of attracting lots of new members when our ‘churn’ figures show that if we could do a better job of retaining our current members (which would be easier and cheaper) then we wouldn’t have expend so much time and effort on appealing to a new audience.

The very useful observations made at that meeting regarding the need to provide some Improvers training i.e. something to follow on after the end of the Start Sailing (RYA Level 1 / Level 2) course have been noted and so the Training Committee, over the winter shutdown, intend to sort out the details of an Improvers programme for next summer.

At the same ‘The Way Forward for 2017’ meeting it was commented on that 53 of our members (or 20%) are under 18 and, as a club, we should be doing more to encourage them to participate more regularly.  Again, this is another initiative that the Training Committee will be looking at over the winter but any such initiatives will require the active support of the parents.

Sailing this season has seen an 8% increase in activity over last year but, if you can remember, 2015 was a poor year weather-wise with higher than average wind speeds.  One of the interesting statistics is that club racing now accounts for just 62% of the overall annual attendance.  Training, coaching and recreational sailing now account for about a quarter of the club’s sailing activity.  So, if you are a member who just turns up on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings in the summer there’s a lot more going on at this club than just club racing.

Off the water the club has run some great parties, barbecues, suppers as well as a good and varied social programme on Wednesday evenings in the winter.  One of HLSC enduring strengths is that not only can we run some decent club racing but we can also run some decent social events.  For those that don’t attend, why not come along next year you never know you might enjoy it!

Talking of social events the bar continues to be the focus of our ‘off the water’ activities and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gerald Whitehead for all his hard work as Bar Secretary over the past couple of years.  I know I speak on behalf of all the club as we offer him all the encouragement and support with his ongoing health issues.

In preparing these Jottings I looked back at what Sally said at last year’s AGM and her comments stuck a chord with me when she said “it saddens me a replacement Commodore has not be found.  This is a role that is not arduous as you are surrounded by excellent committee members.”  I can only reiterate what Sally said particularly as this club has a lot to be proud of, namely:

  • The attendees on our various training courses always comment on the quality of the instruction they receive from our members. In fact, our instructors are our best ambassadors for recruiting new members.
  • We run a good & consistent quality of dinghy racing including well run Open Meetings.
  • We have good onshore facilities both in the dinghy park and in the clubhouse.
  • We have the certainty of having a lease that still has 21 years to run.
  • and, financially the club is in good shape.

Steve Caladine
Commodore HLSC

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 Latest Sailing News

Sunday 11th December

Ten boats were out for the last day of racing at the Lake. The mixed fleet raced on handicap and with a first and a second Martin Brennan in a Solo was the clear winner. In the first race, the RS400 helmed by Ste Mason, with Adam McGovern, soon got way past the Merlin Rockets but its handicap was too much. For the second race, they swapped boats with Steve Crook and Sally Townend. As Les Bithell and Jan MacNeill got clear to lead the Merlins neither Steve Crook in the RS400 nor Ste Mason in the Merlin were able to break away. The westerly wind provided good conditions to end the season. The results below are on the usual class basis. Racing starts again on 5th March.
Merlin Rocket:
Race 1: 1.S Crook/S Townend 2.L Bithell/J MacNeill 3.B Mager/C Jowett
Race 2: 1.L Bithell/J MacNeill 2.B Mager/C Jowett 3.S Mason/A McGovern
GP14:
Races 1 & 2: 1.C Massey/S Garner 2.A Din/O Zuniga 3.L Burns/D Fisher
Solo:
Race 1: 1.M Brennan 2.D Hughes
Race 2: 1.M Brennan
RS400:
Race 1: 1.S Mason/A McGovern
Race 2: 1.S Crook/S Townend

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Sunday 4th December

The penultimate day of sailing at the Lake seemed to provide conditions that, in summer, might be ideal. Plenty of sunshine and a moderate easterly breeze attracted a few keen sailors. However, the wind proved inconsistent in the first race and Martin Brennan with Chris Massey in a GP14 had plenty of experience between them to find the best way, despite the challenge of Adam McGovern and Ste Mason. Indeed, although the Merlin Rocket of Martin and Rene Watts should be faster, they were beaten to the finish by the GP14. The second race started well until the wind suddenly increased and white ‘horses’ appeared. A Laser capsized and some others hurried home to the harbour while the two leading GP14s continued to race.
Merlin Rocket:
Race 1: 1.M & R Watts
GP14:
Race 1: 1.M Brennan/C Massey 2.A McGovern/S Mason 3.C Knott/R Long
Race 2: 1.M Brennan/C Massey 2.A McGovern/S Mason
Laser:
Race 1: 1.W Smith

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For previous race reports please see Sailing News – 2016 News or click here 2016 News