As 2022 recedes into the frosty mists of Winter, it is time to look back and forward. After two years with activities somewhat restricted by Covid, this year we have been much freer to follow a normal programme, recognising that our numbers have dropped a little further and our average age has grown a little. Much of our activity has been reported on the website and facebook, but I have summarised below the main highlights.
Following last year’s successful pilot events at Farmoor, Joe Coulson and Dave Gilchrist took on organising this year’s programme which was scheduled to be 6 events at Farmoor (Thursdays) and participation in 3 of the LWAs events (Burghfield, Farmoor and Queen Mary). The Queen Mary event was relocated to Burghfield due lack of water at Queen Mary. The Farmoor events are self-organised with a gate start, and minimal admin. A £10 fee is charged, £5 going to Oxford Sailing Club and £5 to Seavets. We have posted reports on the Seavets facebook pages and websites.
The results are on the website - https://www.seavets.co.uk/results - with Andy Lacy taking overall honours but Richard Williams sailed consistently well to come a close second. You can see that the numbers at each event are not large although we are still attracting one or two new sailors.
We considered holding a joint event with the Midlands at Barnt Green but there was insufficient support to justify this. At the same time there is a view that we should maybe include some alternative venues for 2023 – the difficulty is finding somewhere that either allows us to organise our own racing and has sufficient marks in place to do that, or is attractive to enough Seavets that we can promise a good turnout at venues where the local club will organise the racing. Joe is going to look at for next year.
The arrangement of the LWA has I think worked well for both Seavets and the LWA in that we provide more numbers in their 7.8m fleet, and the LWA events allow us to offer more sailing opportunities to Seavets. We are hoping this will continue next year.
The cruising events organised by Richard with support from John Ellis are now proving to be our most popular activity. Here is Richard’s report:
I'm glad to report that we enjoyed another successful season this year with 6 cruises completed or part completed, the first trip was to Chichester in early May, and this was only part competed due to light winds. This was followed by Poole in mid June and again we were let down by the wind gods, but did finish the job on a second attempt the next day. Next was Mersea in early July where we enjoyed great weather and plenty of wind for the island rounding, with a well-attended cycle ride round the island the next day. This was followed by a great sail round Hayling at the end of July, and then on to the Stone on a blistering hot week in August for a few days of great hospitality, sailing, cycling, sunsets and seals. The season was rounded off with a trip to Calshot in early September where we encountered some rather changeable weather, and a rather strong tidal flow for an aborted and very wet trip to Lepe. However, with some help from a friendly local French windsurfer and great teamwork we managed to retrieve the situation and had a lovely sail to Ashlett for lunch in warm sunshine the next day.
A total of 14 sailors took part this season with an average turnout of 8.5, and despite fickle winds on occasions most trips were well attended, especially the social 3 day stopovers where the introduction of the grand order of the wooden spoon has proved popular, this was won a couple of times by Joe Coulson, and is currently held by Martin Brooks for his mud larking exploits at Calshot.
Many thanks to John Ellis for producing all the sailing plans and Maurice & Barbara Humberstone for their help in the negotiations with Calshot.
Next season will be the 30th (Ruth – 31st?) since the 1st recorded cruise round Brownsea island made by Norman Haddon and myself in 1993; we've windsurfed a long way since then so let’s make it a good one.
Social and Other Activities
Apart from the main cruising events which included Poole and Calshot other events included the Winter Lunch in February, a cycling trip to the Isle of Wight and a sailing trip at Weymouth all with reports on the website and/or facebook. In addition, Jean and Paul organised the trip to Quiberon, possibly the last but there are rumours of a trip to Île de Ré in 2023. Attendance at Poole and Weymouth now seems largely to appeal to those camping or making day visits, with few choosing to book other accommodation. At the same time the idea of a cruise with a couple of days camping is proving popular.
Our total number of members stands at 106 including partners with 85 subscriptions received, a net drop of 7 from 92 last year and with only 3 new members. Whilst this long term trend is perhaps inevitable given the number of new water sports opportunities now available that attract younger sailors and our ageing profile, we still have sufficient numbers to continue for a while yet.
The average age (and median) of Seavets now stands at 75. We could see this as a problem, or preferably something to celebrate.
As the year draws to a close the financial situation at year end (31 Dec 22) is not difficult to predict – we are not expecting a sudden rush of new members. Latest figures are in the table below which show the trends since 2015. We will have enough in our current account to donate £700 to the British Society for Research into Ageing, and still have over £300 plus £1001 in our deposit account.
Excluding the £464 for the Winter Lunch, our income was down £478 this year versus 2021 due to fewer members, loss of income from advertising and the shop. This was offset by £155 from events which we did not receive at all in 2021. Expenditure was up £572 largely because of our decision to take out the RYA Insurance at £448. We are looking at reducing this cost next year. We now also have to pay HSBC £5 per month and also for any cheques cashed (BACS payments remain free).
We will an update on the BSRA when we receive it.
Plans for 2023
The committee met recently and we are proposing to continue activities much as in 2022 with the racing programme at Farmoor on Thursdays and participating in several of the LWA events which have a 7.8m fleet. If we can organise one or two alternative venues preferably with the option of camping overnight (Rutland for example) we will do so. Richard will continue to organise the cruises with John’s support and again these will often have the option of overnight stays or longer.
AGM & Winter Lunch
We are conscious of the fact that there has been no AGM since the Zoom meeting in October 2021. We are proposing to hold one in early February and combine it with the Winter Lunch at a venue reasonably central for members in the southern half of the country. All current committee members have agreed to carry on in their current roles but we will formalise that at the meeting. Watch out for further details once we have the date and venue confirmed.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Chairman and Treasurer
20 December 2022
Photo taken 15 December near Swyncombe in the Chilterns