Commodore’s Report 2019/2020

Our Club year, which commences 1st October, got off to a pleasant start with our rally to East Cowes where we were invited to join the Medina Yacht Club for dinner at the Island Sailing Club. Only 12 of us made it as the somewhat adverse forecast correctly persuaded a number of members to stay at home.
The Club’s 10th Annual General Meeting was held at Hornet accompanied by an excellent curry dinner and we were graced with the presence of a number of people who were instrumental in forming the Club in 2009 and who served on the first committee. We were also joined by the Commodore of the Royal Air Force Yacht Club, and his lady. They were very complimentary about the welcome and hospitality they received from our members.
Our Christmas party also held at Hornet, was great fun and equally enjoyed by all despite the entertainer forgetting to turn up. Needless to say, Stewart has removed him from the Club’s Christmas card list. Some did say they didn’t miss him at all and that it was good to have extra time to chat.
We planned to broaden the attraction of club membership by arranging more shore-based events during this year, including meals/get togethers at Haslar. The first of these events consisted of a series of winter evening talks and we enjoyed excellent presentations from Emma of the Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trust and our very own Brian Masters who is a senior educational speaker for the RNLI. Both were very well received.
And then along came COVID-19 which pretty much wrecked the rest of the season. In protest I confess to having given up eating bat and pangolin soup from our local restaurant.
The carefully planned Events programme for 2020 pretty much went out of the window along with the unwanted pangolin.
I have written about this issue of COVID-19 in previous emails to the membership, but both in Lockdown and even when restrictions were eased your committee debated long and hard as to how we could continue with the programme whilst not putting our members, and others, at risk and to follow the UK Government guidelines. No doubt we lacked clear direction for boaters, and we found ourselves swimming around in a pool of uncertainty. We were not alone and in discussions with other yacht clubs we all finally arrived at the conclusion that the rallies that we know, and love should be suspended. The vast majority of our members felt the same way.
With the easing of Lockdown, we issued a survey asking members if they wished to attend rallies adhering strictly to UK Government guidelines. Although a few responded positively to the survey the reality was that only a very few signed up to the two gatherings of boats that we attempted subsequently – Bembridge and East Cowes.
We obviously have no idea as to how 2021 is going to pan out but a limited programme of events for 2021 has been drawn up in the hope that life returns to what we consider some sort of normal. We will increase, amend and adapt the programme as circumstances dictate.
Before I finally leave the subject, another of the adverse impacts of COVID-19 has been on membership numbers; particularly those members who have joined us more recently and who have had little opportunity to enjoy the bonhomie of the Club and develop friendships. Understandably, they have let their membership lapse but hopefully will renew once the risks related to the virus have been reduced to a safer level. Unfortunately, this effect is being felt by a number of clubs, so we are not alone. To those members who have joined this year, a huge welcome and we look forward to meeting up with you as soon as possible.
Because we have no premises of our own, rallies and events are the life blood of Haslar Yacht Club but for those of us berthed at Haslar we also have the pleasure of regularly meeting each other for a chat in and around the marina, on the pontoons and when working on our boats.
We are fortunate to have an excellent relationship with Ben Lippiett and the team at Haslar and indeed with the Board. Haslar Yacht Club has enjoyed the support and sponsorship of boatfolk over a number of years for which the Club is most appreciative
For 2020, the Board of boatfolk had generously agreed to contribute to a number of club rallies and activities but there has been very little event activity and therefore virtually no drawdown of the sponsorship. Hopefully, 2021 will see greater activity and hopefully boatfolk will be generous enough to make some contribution to those activities. In the meantime, thank you to Ben and the Team for all your help and support and for making Haslar Marina such a pleasant place for us berth holders!
As the vast majority know, Dean & Reddyhoff merged with Quay Marinas earlier in the Spring to become ‘boatfolk’ – (no capital B). The group has become a major player in this marina market and is continuing to invest heavily in a range of improvements including benefits to berth holders. The proposals announced over a year ago for new buildings, additional pontoons, etc., are continuing and new ventures are starting up.
Although some of these proposals have suffered delays due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus the plans to improve significantly the berth holder facilities on ‘G’ pontoon are well advanced and it is hoped the first stage will be complete by 1 April 2021. A second facilities block is to be built directly opposite the existing across the pontoon. It will comprise ‘family’ units which seem to be preferred by the majority. Heating will be via heat sink pumps. Once the second unit is operational, work will start on the original unit bringing that up to a similar specification and standard and will more than double the existing capacity. The dredging of ‘H” and ‘I’ and visitors’ pontoons will be going ahead and certain piles on ‘H’ pontoon will be replaced. Architects have been engaged and plans are being drawn up for the new restaurant which will be located on the site of the current marina office. Plans for the additional berths to take larger vessels have received a setback due to concerns from QHM over the narrowing of the channel so revised plans are due to be submitted to satisfy the objections.
In addition to the launch of boatcare, those annual berth holders whose boats have holding tanks now have the benefit of a pump out boat, at a cost of £5. initially known as ‘Blue Nose’
it is to be renamed “Pumpy Mc Pumpy Boat Face”. A new brokerage, ‘boatpoint’ has just been launched covering Haslar, Deacons and Portland Marinas.
The new group, ‘boatfolk’, comprising 11 marinas around the UK wishes to engage with as many of their berth holders and staff as possible across all their marinas. To this end the management is planning a series of quizzes for berth holders and staff, particularly over the winter months, and Haslar Yacht Club has been asked to join and contribute. Early days as the keel for this activity has not been laid down yet!! More to follow in the coming weeks!
I am most appreciative of the hard work and dedication of the officers and committee of your club and most particularly during this abnormal year. We have found that Zoom meetings make it much easier for the committee (spread across 3 counties) to convene with more attendees and that the duration is much shorter.
We are blessed with a talented group of people with a wide range of skills. Richard Swinbank joined the committee at the beginning of the year and we are delighted that he has decided to stay and take on the role of membership secretary, much to the relief of Stephen Burder, who after taking over as Treasurer from Paul Baker at the last AGM, found himself taking on both jobs. Sherria Hoskins also joined the committee last year and has made a significant contribution. It was Sherria’s idea to set up our WhatsApp Group, with the support of Brian. It has proved a great success, especially in these difficult times. The re-launch of the Club’s magazine, ‘Ahoy’ scheduled for this year, has been put on hold for the time being until we actually have something to talk about!
I am delighted to welcome to the committee, Trudi Allen-Shalless. Trudi and her husband Dick are both very active members of the Club and sail their yacht, Magenta, which is based in Gosport marina.
I am pleased to say that all of the existing committee members have agreed to serve for another year. This coming year will be my fifth as your Commodore and, in accordance with our Constitution I will be stepping down at the end of this year. I feel this is a necessary step to allow new voices to be heard and new ideas developed to help the Club grow.
The accounts for the year together with the Treasurer’ Report are published on the web site and I am delighted to announce that I and your committee regard the club as being financially secure. Our thanks to Jenni Waite for undertaking the review of the Accounts.
Finally, I am sure we all wish Alex Thomson, sailing ‘Hugo Boss’ every success in the Vendee Globe and hope he has a safe race and beats his 70-day target!
It remains for me thank all those who attended this AGM and to wish you all safe and well during the coming twelve months. Let’s hope we can have a season to enjoy in 2021.
My warmest regardsDavid

David Whitehead

Haslar Yacht Club 13 November 2020
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