It’s with great pleasure that I write my first Commodore’s Column. Firstly, I’d like to thank the outgoing committee members: Dave Stewart, as Commodore, has left a tremendous legacy in the club’s bricks and mortar. George Stewart, who played an integral part in the committee and club activities over a period of years, has decided to step away from sailing, and we’re due him a debt of gratitude. Thanks, George – don’t be a stranger! Andy Oldfield, is stepping down as Sailing Secretary. He’s built an enviable network of contacts into the FYCA and RYA teams, and will remain our linkage into them. I’d like to introduce three newcomers to the committee, Annie Welch (Social Secretary), David (Dex) Mann (moorings rep) and Colin Whimster (Sailing Secretary). None are shrinking violets, and will be delighted to hear members’ views and suggestions. Richard Luxmoore and Steve Kell have volunteered as the Seaward and Landward Flag Officers, respectively.
There’s probably been enough said about the abbreviated nature of the last sailing season, but we should give ourselves a pat on the back for keeping the ABC flag flying, over a difficult period. We obviously had the same difficulties seen nationally, but a can-do spirit saw us through. Of course, we’re not yet out of the woods, as evidenced by our first electronic AGM. The members provided several forthright suggestions for club advancement, and the committee is treating them all respectfully and thoughtfully. That’s not to say every proposal will make the top of the priority list, but be sure active consideration will be given to all.
It’s traditional for the autumn newsletter to reflect on the AGM, and give some idea of where our priorities lie for the season ahead.
- Dex Mann will be overseeing the relaying of the Bay Moorings. If you have any questions on this subject, please contact him. He’s liaising tightly with Dalgety Bay, and upon request, will place orders at a reputable chandlery for chain and shackle replacement.
- Not part of club activity, as such, but I’d like to bring members’ attention to the work of the Pier & Harbour Committee, with Fife Council. We’ve all seen the impact of the “Big Storm” on the harbour, and the bridge over the Dour. Roy Marrian is keenly aware of the potential to impact next season’s activities, and is better placed than most to liaise with the Powers-that-Be. At such times, we can’t expect to be Fife Council’s highest, or most urgent, priority, but Roy will optimise the situation for us, in that regard.
- We’re intending to progress the installation of a club shower. There has been a great deal of discussion on this, and eventually the cards have fallen in its favour. Many thanks to all members for their constructive proposals, and considered inputs. Early indications are that this will be well received by overnight visitors and kayaking members.
- With a number of members now focussed on kayaking and paddle-boarding, we intend to invest in improvements in their storage space, over in the dinghy park. We have a couple of options for the design, which are under committee consideration.
- The workshop, and middle shed are eternally difficult to keep clean and tidy. Steve Kell and Roy Brown are running an intensive clean-up session, in the New Year, so please make sure all your equipment is labelled appropriately, marked for disposal, or removed for home storage.
- The subject has arisen over providing a landing area/pontoon in the harbour. Although there is club support for the idea, we need to be 100% clear that the harbour is not owned by the club. At this stage, we have agreed to investigate the idea, without commitment to taking this proposal any further. Obviously, the Pier and Harbour Committee must be kept informed of any ideas, or activities.
- Safety concerns were raised, around the workshop and the saloon, in the event of any catastrophic event. It’s a commonplace for all venues to consider worst-case scenarios, and we are obliged to do the same.
- Thanks are due to Ramsay McInnes and Dave Stewart, who continue to work on the Club Rescue Boat. Their winter season intention is to replace the keel band, and carry out essential engine maintenance.
- Notwithstanding Andy Oldfield will provide us with a racing calendar, Colin Whimster has offered to build a more ambitious club cruising programme. I’d heartily recommend this to the club members, given the great enjoyment that’s to be had around the small harbours of the Forth, socialising with members of sister clubs, and becoming better acquainted with those from our own. On occasion, finding sufficient crew members can be a concern, so please contact Colin if you’re needing help to find either an extra deckhand, or even a berth!
- Annie returns as Social Secretary, in the midst of a pandemic. She’s looking at possible e-events, during the lockdown restrictions, and – pandemic permitting – looking forward to a summer programme which should culminate in a formal 91st Club Anniversary Dinner.
- Jim Watson, as Treasurer, is now completing the membership renewal activities. Please lend him your support, and ease his workload by timely renewal.
- Mark Maylin’s planning is already well progressed for the publication of the latest club handbook. Please ensure that he is notified of any relevant changes of details.
- Dave Mathieson is organising a programme of work parties, and estate management, in addition to managing the craning processes. This year, he’ll be looking at requalifying the official safety qualifications of the craning crew. Fife Council have taken an encouraging, and sensible, interest in the HSE aspects of our craning days. These official qualifications are part of Aberdour being seen as a best-practice harbour, in the Forth.
- Pete Drumm raised a thought-provoking concern about membership of the committee. It has been increasingly difficult to fill all positions, particularly with new blood. Some of this reflects changes in the membership demographic, and “social competitors”, such as other pastimes, family and work commitments. They’ve always existed, but expectations may have changed over the years. At the moment, the ongoing discussion has focussed on refining membership limitations, particularly regarding the length of service on the committee, and the residential qualifications. Nothing drastic, or immediate, is being considered, but I believe people want to be on the Committee for the same reasons they always have. They want to contribute to the club, and its wellbeing. They want to build on the existing, hard won, club heritage, and move it forward. Committee members give of their time, because they believe the club can prosper in future years, and continue to contribute to the furtherance of boating activities in general, and the quality of local life. Note to Pete D: I hope my restraint is appreciated, in not succumbing to a Johnsonian, “Prosper Mightily”, or “Sunlit Uplands”.
Whilst ABC has thus far escaped the ravages of coronavirus, I’d like to send best wishes to John and Liz Henderson. John’s recent illness prevented him appearing at the club this season, and we wish him all the best during his recovery and convalescence.
To those who have managed to read thus far, I appreciate, and admire, your stamina. It won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that this is a large events programme. Even at this length, it’s incomplete. We’ll be unlikely to get through it all. My belief is it’s better to aim high, and fall short, than have the committee twiddling their thumbs. Obviously, a lot will depend upon the distribution of the expected vaccine, but fingers crossed for that.
I’m looking forward to the next couple of years as Commodore, and having all my mistakes brought up for the ongoing entertainment of the Old Salts. I’m sure they’ll provide as much merriment as my many and varied sailing mistakes, so thanks in advance for your forbearance.
Malcolm Russell – Commodore
Thank you to those of you who have renewed memberships promptly. Just a reminder that if you haven’t already done so they are due by the end of December. Payment can be made either by cash, cheque, BACS or via the Club website.
Please remember to sign and return a form regardless of what payment option you select, A signed form is required annually in order to comply with data protection regulations.
If you are having any difficulty in making payment by that date for whatever reason, but intend to remain a member, please advise myself or Jim Watson and we can discuss options.
Mark Maylin – Hon Secretary
We would be delighted to include photos and other articles or items likely to be of interest to our sailing and shore-based membership. Please e-mail email@example.com