End of year newsletter – 2021

Well with 2021 coming to an end and looking forward to a great calendar of events planned for 2022, we would like to wish all members a great New Year. We can’t wait to welcome you (and your boats) back to Bala Sailing Club in March.

To support the packed months, we are aiming to get much more regular newsletters out to you and this will be members opportunities to contribute by adding to the report as we get these going. Watch out for subtle request coming your way, especially if you are part of the regular (or even newbies) to the racing calendar.

We have broken this month’s report into a number of sections which hopefully give you both a reflection on 2021 as well as giving you some important information about memberships for 2022 and the winter maintainence program.

So without further ado lets dive into the report…..

Commodore – Mike Allen

Greetings everyone, I hope you’re all enjoying the winter break. I’d like to once again thank all members for supporting the club this year, and over the period of the pandemic. Considering how difficult it’s been over the last two seasons the club continues to be in a strong position and we are well set to make the most of the 2022 season. There are some plans for maintenance over winter, including work on the foreshore to create some more boat parking space early next year. Fingers crossed for a calm winter. I’m sure you can’t wait to get back on the water, March can’t come round fast enough for me after a lack of sailing this year due to a dodgy knee.

August Bank Holiday gathering

The website is up to date with the Club Racing Dates and Open Event Dates Published for 2022 so go and check that out and get some dates in your diary. With more plans for Social Events and Saturday Racing/Cruising days we should have a great season. The Sunday Morning Race Coaching will continue next year, each Sunday from April Onwards and Stella plans to continue with her Saturday Morning Improver Sessions which worked well this year. Take care over winter, see you all early next year!

Membership Secretary – Andy Beetz

As we get ready for a new membership year, Webcollect will be ready for annual membership renewals from the 1st of January.

Day memberships and events will be handled through a separate Webcollect account which will allow us to restrict payment for these to PayPal only. By doing this, it should allow us to ensure unsupported payment types are not accepted and I hope that the refund processing will be improved. Especially important, I feel, with the possibility of further covid restrictions in the coming year that could lead to event cancellations which will be easier to process the refund.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Facilities Manager – Mick Flemming

A quick update on the facilities jobs which have been noted as priorities in advance of the 2022 season.

a) Soffit repair around the clubhouse in white UPVC quote awaited from supplier.

b) Concrete in x2 winch anchors in the boat house.

c) Cracked door panel on patio to be replaced.

d) Cracked flags on the patio to be replaced and additional purchased as spares.

e) Quote to be obtained for steel tube fencing for along the drive to the roadside to improve the look of the entrance; for club banners; and to make public access to the beach more difficult.

f) Lock on the Race Office door to be replaced.

g) Quote to be obtained to level and clear the foreshore and boat parking areas. Also need to clear more of an area towards to moorings to create more space for boat storage.

h) Quote to be obtained to repair the wall near the club boats.

i) Undertake plumbing jobs in the gents and ladies’ toilets.

k) Purchase and fit racking in the gents changing room to create storage.

l) Review repairs to the shed which houses the freezers.

m) Re paint the yellow step edges on the stairs to the front door.

n) Erect new signage at the gateway on access and BSC liability.

It has also been noted that the Ladies Changing rooms and showers need redecorating. There were some leaks earlier in the year and there is some residual damage that needs some work. There is paint in storage and the work can be done over the winter, just awaiting a couple of volunteers  to complete the work so if you have some time spare and would like to help, please get in touch.

Racing Lead – Gary Darch

Lots going on in the racing calendar for 2022 with racing on Saturdays being encouraged more next season along with the introduction of a monthly cruising Saturday.

Some great news, we now have Solo fleet status again at Bala SC with the Association after a 10 year plus absence. A one day Solo open at Bala is planned for next season and Dave Grube is the new Solo Fleet Captain and he will be arranging some race training days with the Association.

The Families week in August, now called the Bala Open week and planned for 22nd – 26th August.  This is a sailing and fun week, with racing, cruising and the Paddling Extravaganza which is being organized by our new paddle board members Rose and Glyn.  All Free for members.  Notice will go up in the clubhouse early next year.  We already have some volunteers to help myself and Julie run the week.  Social every night of the week including the famous Bala fancy dress party, just come as something beginning with the letter C.

We will continue the “Fastest Lap” which was trialled this year, that’s X -5-2-1-X or X-1-2-5-X depending on wind direction. Its fastest dinghy and fastest cat. No handicap just straight speed. You just need a witness starter time keeper for the lap and it can be sailed any time throughout the season, over the weekend or during an event.  Awards for fastest club sailor and fastest visitor.

Initially we are planning to organize a pre-season get together in Chester during January opposite Chester train station so we can discuss the coming seasons sailing. We will let everyone know what date ASAP.

Looking forward to hopefully some great sailing and fun in 2022.

Training Manager – Mark Jones

2021 saw a return of a fully packed training programme. We were able to run two learn to sail courses, three powerboat level 2 courses, 1 safety boat course and one first aid course. It has been great to see so many members engaging in the training that we offer. We have also seen members taking part in the improver sessions on a Saturday morning, and the race training sessions on a Sunday morning.

The plan is for more of the same next year. The website has been updated with the initial training dates for next year. So far I have only scheduled one powerboat level two course, but more will be added as the season goes on. I plan to run another first aid course relatively early in the season, as we already have demand from the membership.

I am looking to develop the instructor team over the next 12 months. Several instructors will be undertaking a catamaran endorsement to allow us to run learn to sail courses in catamarans. I am also looking to grow the number of instructors at the club. The training for this be provided by current instructors from the club. The journey towards becoming an instructor is as follows:

  1. Hold RYA Powerboat level 2 and First aid certificate
  2. Shadow an instructor on a learn to sail course
  3. Take part in a 1 day preparation course
  4. Complete a 1 day pre assessment to assess your sailing ability
  5. Complete a 5 day Dinghy instructor course

The club would cover all the costs of becoming a dinghy instructor, and in return, would be looking for you to volunteer on 4 days throughout the season. If anyone is interested, please feel free to contact me.

Social Secretary – Kim Allen and Rear Commodore –  Lisa Butler

Hi all, Lisa and myself are hoping to organise some improved social events for the next season.

2022 will see the introduction of some fun crafty activities; Silk painting, introduction to crotchet, paper quilting and poms to name a few. We will be having monthly take away evenings, Quiz nights, BBQs and much more.

We hope to see you all using the club and its facilities both on and off the water. 2021 saw some fantastic social events and we are keen to grow this next year.

We look forward to seeing you all next season.

Training – Rob Sloggett (Student)

Having had the smallest amount of sailing experience over 35 years ago which amounted to 7 days crewing with the Ocean Youth Club, the opportunity to fulfil one of my lifetime ambitions and learn to sail solo led me to sign up with Bala for their Lvl ½ RYA Dinghy Sailing Course. Ran over 4 sequential weekends by Mark (supported by Mick) and due to Covid restrictions limited to 4 students, the other change was that the approach was changed to be single handed boats from the start as opposed to the previous training approach of double handers shadowed in the boat by a tutor.

Due to this, a significant amount of the early sessions was based around land drill. This teaching method mixed a good understanding of the theory and practical demonstrations with hands on “drill”, making sure that before we went out on the water, we had a level of comfort with the steps and hand actions for the key manoeuvres.

Out on the water, there was always a 2-1 ratio of students in lovely Laser Picos and a teacher in a powered Rib. As well as giving us the confidence that if something went wrong, we were also getting regular tips and pieces of coaching as we practised our techniques of “tacking and gybing” around a small sausage course until it started to become second nature.

Due to the ever-changing weather conditions at Bala, the unpredictability of the wind must make putting on a training course dependent on that one thing quite difficult to schedule, but by blending the theory, land drill and practical sessions as the weather dictated, we were ensured the maximum time on the water when the conditions were right.

Oh, and yes, we did all get wet because as a minimum we had to demonstrate confidence in both a single handed and double handed capsize situation! (Needless to say, I was glad to use it a number of times since). But that is part of the reflection as a student of Bala running the L2S course. We didn’t walk away having just “passed the course”, we each came away having learnt a set of skills that gave us confidence to embrace sailing either as just a leisure past-time or in a more competitive nature by starting to join in the racing calendar.

Wind the clock forwards a few months after the L2S, the majority of us on our course started to dabble with the Sunday sailing calendar, so the club kindly started some ad-hoc training on race day. These informal sessions, starting at 10:00 on race day allowed us to understand more race rules and theory as well as practising techniques such as the start procedure and “rounding the mark”.

If you look at how the L2S is approached by the club (which a lot of that is down to the fantastic training approach, knowledge and style of the training team) and the ongoing coaching available, the framework to take newbie inexperienced sailors and turn them into safe, competent solo dinghy sailors who can really start to enjoy this hobby at a level they want to continue with is in place. I think it’s no surprise that two of us from our cohort have already traded up from the boats we bought to something a bit more competitive for next year!

Whilst this newsletter is mostly going to members who sail, I hope this write up helps encourage anyone who is thinking about learning to sail to book a course for next year!

That’s about it to wrap 2021 up. We would just like to close by thanking everyone who has supported the club this year and we hope you have an enjoyable time in 2022, whether you are purely leisure sailing, or mixing it around the marks in our fun but competitive race program.