AFLOAT: Sailing club reflects on historic year

Dorset Echo: CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS: Members of Weymouth Sailing Club re-enact a photo taken 100 years ago CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS: Members of Weymouth Sailing Club re-enact a photo taken 100 years ago

AS THE curtains are drawn on Weymouth Sailing Club’s (WSC) centenary, members can look back at an eventful and exciting year.

On New Year’s Day 2013, the commodore opened the season, winning the first race of the year which ended outside WSC’s Nothe Parade headquarters.

A few weeks later, members and guests crammed into Weymouth Pavilion for the annual dinner dance and prizegiving where special guest Stephen Park, manager of Team GB Sailing, presented the club with RYA championship status.

A select handful of members gathered on the beach at Greenhill on a cold Sunday morning in May to re-enact a photograph taken after the first race organised by the club back in 1913 – the photos, 100 years apart, were used on the centenary celebration cakes in September.

By the time the summer solstice arrived, a fleet of 25 club boats had crossed the Channel to visit friends at the Yacht Club de Cherbourg, where a French barbecue was laid on with lashings of local wine to celebrate WSC’s centenary and the French cousins’ 75th anniversary.

Into July, the club challenged Parkstone Yacht Club for the Bussell Cup, an inter-port trophy that had been held by Parkstone since 1985. Three races were held in Merlin Rocket dinghies.

In light then heavy winds the WSC team came through and brought the cup back to Weymouth amid much celebration at the clubhouse.

The main celebration weekend was held over the first weekend in September. With the help of a heritage lottery grant to fund, an exhibition filling the downstairs longshed of the club was opened up for public viewing.

Tender racing was held across the harbour on the Friday evening with vessels from standard ‘Avons’ to bouncy castles and inflatable sofas.

Alongside that experience, BBC Radio Solent transmitted their weekly H2O programme live, interviewing prominent members of the club.

There was a centenary race for the cruisers on the Saturday afternoon, while a crabbing competition was held on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, the dinghies and Squibs held a pursuit race out in the bay, culminating in a sail past of the club’s boats, led in from the bay by the Weymouth lifeboat, with the salute taken by club commodore Kathy Claydon.

Once off the water, members gathered for the centenary party where toasts, speeches and cakes rounded off the weekend’s festivities.

To finish the year, vice-commodore Jez Rees was presented with the specially commissioned centenary pennant in recognition of his work in leading the team who had masterminded the whole year’s celebrations and activities.

While the last few races of the season take place, the club is planning another exciting programme of events to keep members enthused both on and off the water for 2014, mindful that it is only 99 years to the club’s bicentennial celebrations.


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