Commodore's Jottings

23 June 2014S Crook in Merlin

The sailing season is well under way with club racing, informal sailing and a very active training programme.  Also club members have continued to represent the club at various events.

Friendly Fridays have been enjoyed by those attending especially our younger members who enjoy the relaxed format.  You may find this an excellent opportunity to bring along friends; colleagues and relatives who may have expressed an interest in sailing so why not come along for a sail followed by a drink and chat in the bar.  I have certainly found them as a fantastic way to relax into the weekend.

Recent successes at events around the country include:

Julian Parry and Becca Jones 2nd @ Banbury
Stuart Bithell and Kate McGregor 2nd @ Salcombe
Dave Winder crewed by his cousin 10th @ Salcombe; crewed by Ollie Wells 5th @ Hayling Island; crewed by Pippa Taylor 5th @ Rutland and 9th @ Whitstable
Inland Champs at Northampton; HLSC won team trophy which consisted of Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor 3rd; Richard Whitworth and Andrea Ralph 9th ; Julian Parry and Rebecca Jones 11th

Eleanor Davies & Adam McGovern 5th @ Inland Championships, Derwent
Martin Brennan & Alistair Knott 1st @ Combs, Hollingworth and Budworth; 3rd @ Southport
Adam McGovern & Emily Cole-Evans 2nd @ Southport and 1st @ Windermere
Martin Brennan & Alistair Knott are currently leading the Northern Bell Trophy

Steve Denison 2nd @ West Riding and Delph; 6th @ Carsington
Nick Hornsby 15th @ Burwain; 9th @ Delph; 7th @ Port Dinorwic
Northern Area Championships, Abersoch: Steve Denison 2nd; Nick Hornsby 14th

NW Senior Travellers Series
Martin and Rene Watts; Dave Smith and Gerald Whitehead are competing in the series which is held at 7 venues

OnBoard 8hr race ~ our junior team of Craig Broadbent, Mathew Rush, Adam Din, Will Smith, William Rowland, Evan Parry won the event.

Apologies if I have missed anybody who has represented HLSC at an event.

The Open Day on Sunday 18th May was a great success with over 50 people visiting the club and 23 of these going out for a sail on the day.  Many thanks go to the members that helped out on the day.  The success of the day has contributed to our training going from strength to strength with current training for adults and juniors fully booked and a waiting list now being held.  The running of our training is currently dependent on a small group of members, to ensure the continued success of the training we would welcome more members to help out ~ there are many ways you can contribute on an informal basis or should you wish to pursue RYA qualifications to assist with the training the club can support you to do this.  Certainly I have found this aspect very rewarding and great fun, so if you would like to share your joy of sailing and encourage new members into our sport please come and have a chat with me at the club or give me a ring.

Please can members respect the club rule that there is no parking in the boat park on Wednesdays evenings and Sundays.

Finally can I remind all members that our website hosts a wealth of information about the club, upcoming events, duty rotas and the contact details for all members.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer on the water!

Sally Townend
Commodore HLSC


18 February 2014Sally Townend #2014

I can’t believe the winter is nearly behind us and the beginning of the sailing season is only around the corner!

As we all know the club has been closed since December for the Club Modernisation Project.  It is fantastic to report that the works are progressing really well and looking impressive – keep your eye on the HLSC website for photos of the work as they progress.  I am pleased to say the works within the clubhouse should be completed by the end of this month to enable the 2014 sailing season to start, as usual, on the first Sunday in March.

Thank-you to the many members who have given donations or pledged loans to the upgrade of the clubhouse, their generosity will greatly benefit members for many years to come.  During the project some unexpected works have occurred using up our entire contingency fund and so the planned improvements to the dinghy park area will be put on hold until further funds are available.  To enable us to do these planned improvements as soon as possible our Treasurer is looking for further funds.  If you feel you can support this in any way please contact Graham Knox, our Treasurer, to discuss in strict confidence how you can support the club.

Now we have an upgraded interior to the club we are having a Working Party on Saturday 8th March to kick start the programme to smarten up the external approach to the clubhouse.  This will include a clean up the clubhouse external facias, prepare the RIB container store & the Boat Store roller shutter door cover for painting and to generally tidy up the dinghy park & slipways.  The more the merrier so please make every effort to attend.

Although I have received many offers from members to assist with catering events, we have been unable to find anybody to take on the role of Galley Co-ordinator, so if you fancy taking this role on or would like to have a chat about what it involves before committing please give me a ring.

It might have been the closed sailing season at HLSC, but club members have represented the club at several events over the winter; congratulations go to:

Martin and Chloe Brennan – 2nd at Budworth Boxing Day event
Matt Mee with Emma Norris won the Budworth Boxing Day event
Steve Crook and myself – 2nd at BFYC Eskimo trophy
Tiger Trophy – a couple of members braved the storms forecasted for the weekend to take part.

Socially at the club a successful club walk was held between the storms in early January and it was good to see members back up at the club for the first Wednesday social, a fascinating pictorial tour of the world presented as a quiz.  Wednesday evening socials will resume on 26th February with a Beetle Drive followed by a weekly programme of events.  Details are on the website.  Wednesday evenings at the club are a great way to get through the week and it would be great to see you there.

HLSC has signed up to ‘Bart’s Bash’ a monster sized attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for ‘The Largest Sailing Event in the World‘ on Sunday 21st September at 11.00am being planned by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

Finally can I remind all members that our website hosts a wealth of information about the club, upcoming events, duty rotas and the contact details for all members.

I look forward to seeing you all on the water in 2014.

Sally Townend
Commodore HLSC


2 May 2013Steve Crook

Spring has finally arrived and hopefully with better weather we should see improvements in turnouts. As I have said before please don’t base your decision to sail or not on a forecast but come up and see. Earlier in the season we had a cracking sail on a day that was forecast for snow and gales!

Last Sunday we had our Open Day. The turnout by members was fantastic on the day and the people who came through the gates got a brilliant welcome. We signed up 14 new people for potential training and are keeping our fingers crossed that most of them show up on Sunday. When you turn up for sailing please make these potential new members as welcome as possible.

Friday evening sailing starts this week from 6.30pm. This will be a mixture of training for those signed up for this, casual sailing for those who would like a sail with HLSC safety boat cover, practice for those who fancy this and drinking in the bar for the less energetic!

Many of you will be wondering what is happening with the club improvements. The situation is that we have dropped the proposal to extend the garage due to cost constraints and will be concentrating on making the best of the original proposal. We are at the tender stage at the moment and until we receive these we will be unable to say what the precise final costs are. I will keep you posted.

You will have noticed some changes to the dinghy park configuration. Some debate took place at Management on Monday as to whether some available space could be used for parking. It went to a vote but it was decided to carry on with the existing rule that there is no parking anywhere in the dinghy park when sailing (which includes training) is on. Thanks for your cooperation with this.

Again on a serious note can I remind members who intend to sail out of our normal hours that they either do so at their own risk or need to purchase a day ticket from HOLWAC to get safety cover.

I have been asked several times if we are targeting new members who have no intention of sailing in club racing. The situation is that we welcome anybody who wants to sail dinghies as a hobby or sport. These people may not want to race but we would expect them to integrate into the club by taking their turn on duties such as rescue, bar and tea duties. We do not intend being a boat park for non-active members.

A couple of weeks ago we had a pretty serious incident when a capsized boat flipped over the RIB in a gust of wind. Fortunately nobody was hurt but this highlighted the need for RIB drivers to be confident for the conditions. Many members hold the Powerboat Level 2 certificate and a third of them have gone on to the Safety Boat certificate (Level 3) which concentrates on rescuing skills. I would just like to make members aware of this course. If they would like to avail themselves of it please see a member of the Training Committee.

Next Wednesday (8th May) we have a Pie and Peas Supper after sailing, please let Pat Brook know if you are coming. We will be having meals after sailing on Wednesdays about once a month during the summer so keep your eyes open for these. Also, the list is up for the Dinner Dance and Prizegiving, this was fully subscribed last year so sign up early to avoid disappointment.

I hope to see you soon

Stephen Crook
Commodore HLSC


27 January 2013

The season at the sailing club has already started with another fascinating Wednesday evening talk by Gordon Yates. We have a packed programme this winter with several ever popular food nights. The details are on the website. Please sign up for these meals to help with getting the numbers right. Many of these meals are cheaper than eating at home and I would like to encourage newer members to give them a try. The atmosphere is always really informal and a Wednesday evening out is a great way to get you through the week. Wednesday at the club is like a drug. You don’t know whether you should try it but when you do it’s a habit that stays with you forever.

The sad news this winter is the death of two of our members.

I never knew Cro Greenhalgh, she was in her mid-70s when I joined the club over 30 years ago. I do know that if I ever sailed with Tass Greenhalgh that she would have already visited Cro for a gin and tonic. I’m not sure if this was a testament to the quality of the drinks Cro poured or just Tass looking for a bit of Dutch courage before she sailed with me!

I did know Stephen Singleton very well. I sailed Fireflies against him for many years. Highly intelligent, always a gentleman with an immaculately kept boat, he was a constant feature at the club, amazing really as his other passion was hill walking and he had completed all the Munro’s. Ironically he was nearly killed in a rock fall in the West Highlands many years ago and had to wear a crash helmet while sailing to protect his fractured skull. He died walking in the Lake District.

The great news this winter however is the news that we have been successful in our bid to Sport England for a £50,000 grant to improve our facilities. More details are enclosed with this newsletter from our bid co-ordinator Steve Caladine. Only 30% of clubs that applied for the money were successful which is a testament to the quality of our bid. Thanks Steve.

Unfortunately fifty thousand doesn’t go far these days and although we intend to get the best value possible for our money we will probably be fifteen thousand or more short of what we require in order to do all the jobs necessary to complete the project. We will therefore all need to pull together to help with the improvements both in terms of manual assistance and fund raising. Any suggestions for how we can raise funds would be really appreciated. I can promise that when the work is done the club will be a much more inviting place for all of us as well as an environment to attract new members. To remind you, my contact details are phone (text) 07775 603750, e mail Constructive suggestions only please which will be treated in total confidence.

Our first job will be some reconfiguration of the dinghy park. The background to this is that our new lease allows us to have only 65 senior plus 10 junior berths in the dinghy park. This has unfortunately resulted in us having to ask the Water Activity Centre to relocate their boats parked on our land. The result of this is we have more space for club members boats, so we have two Working Parties planned to change the berths a bit to give us a bit more space. The more the merrier for these Working Parties which will be the two Saturdays before the season starts.

Our berthing list is more or less full so we are going to revert to the system from years ago which is that if we do get full the members who use their boats the least will lose their berths in favour of regular sailors.

Training existing and new members will be a big part of the focus for the Committee this season but I would like to emphasise to newer members that sailing skill cannot be delivered to you on a plate. I’ve never had a sailing lesson I’m my life and I don’t come from a sailing background. When in my teens I decided to take up sailing as a hobby I gorged myself on sailing literature, came up practicing whenever I was free, talked sailing to everyone who would listen and raced regularly. I came last, capsized all the time and improved. Training can teach you to sail but only you can make yourself into a sailor. Non-the-less I’m looking forwards to seeing as many new people as possible. Let’s all make them welcome.

Racing starts the first Sunday in March. Please come up and give sailing a chance when you are free. Weather forecasts are so often wrong in our Hollingworth micro climate. So many people nowadays are looking for a reason not to turn up. Please just do it. It only takes one or two more to turn up to make an ordinary Sunday into a great one.

See you soon

Stephen Crook
Commodore HLSC


20 September 2012

It’s been a fantastic summer of sailing for our club. Not only has one of our friends and members, Stuart Bithell incredibly won an Olympic silver medal but I also this summer witnessed one of the best sailing performances I’ve ever seen with Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor winning an incredibly competitive Merlin Rocket Salcombe Week with a day to spare.

We also saw Steve Dennison peaking early at the Solo championships and then Stuart bringing home the Merlin title.

More recently we witnessed a fabulous club turnout at Southport 24 Hour Race with the teams taking 1st and 19th places out of a field of 57. This demonstrates the great strength in depth we have at Hollingworth; there are pictures of this event and a video on the club’s Facebook site.

All this success is brilliant but scares me slightly. Earlier this year I attended an “energising your club” session at Leigh and Lowton organised by the RYA. I sat on a table in the freezing cold and said little but listened a lot. On my table there was a chap who lived in Rochdale but raced on a pond in Cheshire. One of the other guys on the table asked him why he didn’t sail at Hollingworth. His reply was that he wasn’t good enough!

My friend Charley, a professional sailing instructor, brought to my attention that the RYA advice that pictures of superstar sailors sailing at incredible speeds in impossible conditions may actually put people off sailing as what they see is miles above what they may to aspire to. We must bear this balance in mind.

Being conscious of this, the club has already tried to extend the work done on junior training by trying to integrate senior members into the training programme. We held an Open Day in appalling conditions and received the contact details of over 30 potential new members. All of these were invited to Friday night taster / beginner sessions which despite bad weather well received. Unfortunately, despite letter and e-mail reminders few of the 30 turned up but Nichola Thompson joined the club following this and won the first race she sailed!

To expand on this we have purchased two RS Vision training boats using £10,000 grant money from Sport England, so at virtually no cost to the club. These boats are suitable for one trainer and two adult pupils and should be a great asset to the club. Thanks to Martin Watts our senior instructor for driving this forward. We are now looking for Assistant Instructors to help out, see Martin if you can.

On a training note it has been decided that the use of club boats will be charged for in the future. This is so the boat maintenance will be paid for but also to encourage people to buy their own boats.

We have attracted quite a few new members this summer and I would like to welcome Mike Fitzpatrick, a Solo sailor, Rhys & Ute Kelly and their children Noah and Luca who have a GP14, Antony, Becky & William Rowland who also have a GP, John Bannacot who, with Jason Wingfield, have a Laser 16 and are often seen sailing on Saturdays, Tom Murphy who has come over from HOLWAC, Matthew Rush who we’ve seen around for a while and Olga Yatsenko who joined following the Open Day. I look forward to seeing you all out on the water and at the Wednesday social events very soon.

On the domestic front, under the expert guidance of Steve Caladine we have produced a Club Development Plan which has already been circulated. Any questions on this can be answered at the evening on the winter social programme. In summary, we have applied for a £50,000 grant to improve the club facilities and hope to hear if we are successful around the New Year.

None of this would have been possible without a new lease. I must thank Nick Brook for driving this, Graham Knox for his homework, the trustees for scrutinising the document and ultimately putting their names to it and of course Matthew Winder for his legal input.

As for the sailing at the lake, numbers on the water have been reasonable, however the Wednesday evenings and Sundays when we have had a meal on have been an incredible successes. Thanks go to Pat Brook, the only person I know who can double the number of “bums in boats”.

One of the scourges of sailing is the Internet weather forecast and I would like to encourage people to turn up and see what’s happening rather than rely on the forecast. So often we have had great days sailing with ropy forecasts.

The Dinner Dance and Prize Giving is on Saturday 1st December; there are just a few tickets available at £25. Richard Hodgson is now collecting the money.

We have an excellent winter social programme lined up, the next event being next Wednesday’s quiz. Caladine is in my question setting team again and promises that it will be possible to answer at least one or two of his questions this year! The club is warm and the beer, despite a recent small price increase to cover inflationary costs, is excellent so I look forwards to seeing you all soon.

Regards to all,

Stephen Crook
Commodore HLSC