Club Newsletter – Winter 2020/21
It was only a few days after the autumn newsletter that we received the sad news of John Henderson’s passing. As a club stalwart, John is fondly remembered by his many friends, and sailing companions. His sense of humour and strong common sense were always a feature of his company. John’s family were heartened to see so many ABC members turn out, to line the streets, in recognition of his place in the club. He will be sorely missed.
Given the recent weather, and ongoing lockdown, we’re clearly still a long way from the sailing season. Preparations continue unabated, though, and the ABC Club Members have been very busy. Committee meetings have successfully taken to Zoom, and we’ve grasped the opportunity to progress several background initiatives. There’s a distinct lack of glamour or glory in these projects, but they’ve been tackled positively and cheerfully. If ever there was a sign that people are bored by lockdown, this is it.
A primary concern of the club, and the Pier & Harbour committee, is the condition of the harbour floor, following last August’s flood. I’m not sure if the appropriate word is labyrinthine, or Byzantine, (perhaps both), but Roy Marrian has successfully navigated the legal, regulatory and commercial landscape, allowing the P&H to commence work. A date of March 1st has been set to start clearing the harbour floor. Circumstances permitting, this will take the best part of that week. Roy will be supervising this work, and ABC members have, as always, offered to pitch in as necessary. Richard Luxmoore is ABC’s chief coordinator for this project.
As our membership has grown, and changed, it’s clear that ABC has been struggling to accommodate the historical level of storage, within our facility. There’s no easy answers here, but as outlined in the Autumn Newsletter, Step 1 is to conduct a spring clean across the site. Step 2 will be to re-introduce management policies to reduce recidivism. The goal is to eventually cover the workshop, the dinghy park, the outboard store, the tender shed on the middle slip, and the hard dinghy storage areas.
Through the miracle of email, members will have received several coordinating messages, driven by Steve Kell. The key thrust is to help ourselves manage our effects across the site. Many thanks to the membership for getting on board with this effort, and huge inroads have already been made. Clearly, Steve’s approach has struck a chord. With the Covid restrictions, we’ve been unable to pull together a full work party, but by steady, small-scale, efforts, we’re seeing continual progress. In this way, we’ve (so far) been able to avoid the expense of skip hire. This is an ongoing project, but members are now able to walk from one end of the workshop to the other without using a slalom technique. The saloon storage areas have been similarly consolidated, by Steve and Annie Welch.
Under the management of Colin Whimster, the middle tender shed has been cleansed, and organised. Work has started on the hard dinghy area outside. Colin is introducing a management policy that will look startlingly familiar to our more senior members. Back to the Future, indeed! The goal is to maximise the amount of indoor storage, and make allocations predictable and visible. To this end, only the Committee (Landward) – which will mean Roy Brown – can allocate slots. We kindly request members not to take slots themselves. Colin’s Clear up has already given us a few extra spaces, which he intends to use wisely. He believes all sailing members can be accommodated this year, if we follow the standard 1 boat = 1 tender principle. Next, the success of the outboard storage shed means it’s full to overflowing, but we still have outstanding requests for space. It’s felt that priority should be given to those with boats in the bay, and spaces will be allocated by the Committee (Landward). Again, this means Roy Brown.
The Clubhouse is one of our club’s finest assets, and we carry an obligation to look after it. Dave Stewart’s tenure as Commodore made huge strides in this regard. We have a solid, watertight facility, that is well-served by its furnishings. To build on that foundation, Steve Kell recently audited the HSE side of our clubhouse, and identified several areas for improvement. These include such things as replacing the fire extinguishers, upgrading our CCTV system, investigating & mitigating our fire hazards, and revising our waste management policies. Regulations and social expectations are continually evolving, and Steve has created an ABC Environmental Policy. This is now is held in the Club Handbook, which resides in the saloon. Electrical testing of the facility, and all appliances, is scheduled for later this year. During his research, Steve uncovered an RYA sanctioned site, relating to environmentally sensitive, and sustainable boating, which I would commend to our members.
Of particular interest, was a video on best practices in anti-fouling.
Although we’re trying to set a crane-in date, it goes without saying that the best laid plans, etc; particularly with Covid restrictions. Be assured we will attempt to give members as much notice as possible. Regardless: in preparation for crane-in, there are three main activities underway:
- Ramsay McInnes has replaced the keel strip on the Workboat, and conducted some necessary structural maintenance. With Dave Stewart’s assistance, he’s moving to prepare the engine for the season’s start. Many thanks, to Ramsay and Dave.
- David Mann has now received, and distributed, the new chains and shackles to re-fettle the Bay Moorings. He is liaising closely with Dalgety Bay, since their barge will be re-laying those moorings as soon as permissible. This is probably the critical path to crane-in, as DBSC are under the same Covid restrictions as everyone else.
- Our Crane Master, Dave Mathieson, organised a Crane Team training course. This has five years’ validity, and ensures we comply with Fife Council’s requirement for qualified crane oversight. We now have a core team of suitably qualified personnel. As a club, we are (obviously) very keen that crane-in/out be conducted safely, without damage to personnel or property. It’s our most dangerous activity, and ABC takes it very seriously. Luckily, we have a huge reservoir of experience to draw upon, and much of our approach is to formalise our existing safe practices, that have evolved over the years. Dave sees craning days as a well-conducted symphony, not free-form jazz.
We do have CV-related holdups, regarding our larger projects (shower, kayak storage). The wheels are still turning, albeit slower than hoped.
Other activities: thanks to Jim Watson, and his work with the membership, for bringing in the club subscriptions in record time. Perhaps this is the time to remind members that P&H subscriptions are now due? Please don’t forget. Mark Maylin has taken delivery of the new season’s club handbooks, which are available in the clubhouse. I’m told Mark’s sterling efforts mean there are fewer mistakes than normal, so you’ll have to try very hard to spot them. Apart from their fetching shade of orange, I’d draw the membership’s particular attention to the excellent sailing calendar. Substantial effort has gone into this, and it looks like being the making of the season. Dave Mathieson is also (fingers crossed) planning to conduct a Work Party, as soon as circumstances permit.
In closing, I’m hopeful that vaccinations and lockdowns will have the desired effect over the next few months. At that point, we’ll “only” need good weather, and can look forward to a cracking 2021 Sailing Season, and renewed socialising between the members.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org