Commodore’s Report 2021

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Hello everybody, well little did I think a year on from the first Covid lockdown we would still be leading our everyday lives under Government restrictions, so welcome to our second different AGM in strange times.

At this point we normally just pause for a moment to remember members who have passed and send our best wishes to their families.  This year is no different, but significantly this year the Club lost not one but two leading lights and I feel duty bound to say just a few words.  Firstly in the summer Mike Pearce died after a short but devastating illness, Mike filled a number of roles within the club most notably as a modernising all-inclusive Commodore and more latterly as Treasurer.  I shall certainly miss our little chats and his words of wisdom always delivered in a friendly and helpful manner.  More recently, we lost our President Richard Roberts, again Richard has dealt with many thorny issues at Club level and was also willing to give me his very considered and gentle advice any time I asked for it.  So rest in peace both of you, you will be missed by your families, all who knew you and most certainly by Orford Sailing Club.

General report

I must start by saying a huge thank you to all on the committee for their efforts and support during a difficult season.  Last year threw up an immense number of challenges to everyday life and not least to our current focus Orford Sailing Club.  We set a full schedule of events in closed season only to spend open season cancelling the vast majority of them.  We did however enjoy a summer of good weather and a slight easing in restrictions saw sailing activities in an informal format, a socially distanced and busy dinghy park, and we even managed to get in two informal regattas.  Both club members and many locals also took advantage of the good weather because I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many swimmers in the river.  Some informal dinghy racing also continued during the season and many thanks go to Troy for keeping a small informal fleet enthusiastic right through to November.  As it became clear towards the end of last season normality was some way off, I challenged the Committee to focus on the upcoming season with renewed focus on infrastructure both material and digital.  To that end we now have a completely revamped website which is bound to have teething problems but I hope is a huge improvement on our last offering and more importantly much more user-friendly and relevant.  The live web cam picture I personally find quite addictive!

On a material front we decided to revamp the pontoons, closer inspection revealed much more than a revamp was required to the point that we have had to replace four full pontoons and we are in the process of revamping the others.  Work on this continues, so if you have a boat space where the work is being carried out please bear with us and put your boat in the general area, you’ll get your space back soon enough.

With not much more to look back on I will try to look forward.  The dinghy park and slipway are currently open as is the toilet under the clubhouse at the weekends and it will be professionally cleaned after every weekend.  Hand sanitizers are being provided at most touch points.

No doubt there are many thoughts and questions about more freedom at the club in terms of facilities and indeed organised activities.  I ask you to bear in mind that we are a family club completely reliant on volunteers from the membership to realise our ambitions and to deliver a full range of activities for all.  Currently our thinking will be to take a steady cautious approach and try to deliver as much as we are able, as safely as possible, within the capabilities of our volunteers of which we are always extremely grateful.  We will look to guidance both from Government and the RYA and make decisions based on our ability to deliver bearing in mind what has already been said.

You may have taken from my report ‘informal’ is the buzz word but we will formalise all activities when we feel able.

On a completely different note, with no Laying Up Supper, the McKnight Burgee remained unpresented.  The McKnight Burgee is given by the Commodore to someone who has gone above and beyond to deliver for Orford Sailing Club whether on the Committee or from the general membership.  This year it is my great pleasure to tell you that earlier today I presented the burgee to Troy Batley. 

That completes my report and I hope this season becomes more normal as we progress through the year.  Thank you for having me as Commodore, it is something that I am immensely proud of and I hope to see as many of you as we are allowed as soon as possible.