Saturday, December 31, 2011

What do you look for in a sailing club?

A new year is nearly upon us and it holds and heralds change, new things, new places, the passing away of what is now and the beginings of new adventures.
I have mentioned in my previous post the decision to change boats, selling my Enterprise and buying an Albacore and that we will be moving to a new area. Well I can now say that in August we will be moving to Blackpool where, in September, I will begin work as a Deacon with the Blackpool Methodist Circuit working in two housing estates. We are hoping that Sally, my wife, will also be stationed to the same circuit as a Presbyter to take pastoral chrge of two or more Churches in the Circuit but we have yet to hear of exactly where she will be stationed in the area.
So we will be living in a new area, in a new house, making new friends and discovering new places. We will need to find a new sailing club to join, one that offers us the best combination of accessibility and opportunity to participate in club racing. The search for a new club has begun. Using the Yachts and Yachting website club locator  I have found two clubs really close by; The Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht club  and Ribble Crusing Club, both within 20 minutes drive and both offering tidal sailing. There are other clubs but the travelling time is significantly longer.
The two clubs offer quite different sailing venues.
BFYC is on a small river, the river Wyre, with a limited sailing tidal window, RCC is on the seafront at Lytham and accesses the sea via a jetty across the saltmarsh and mud but it is not clear what thier tidal sailing window is or if they have one (I suspect they do).  I can envision that with strong winds and big waves launching and landing at RCC could be 'challanging' to the point where sailing is unsafe whereas BFYC would not have the same issue.
One of the problems I have with using their websites to explore them is that their sailing programs seem a bit sparse and I don't know if this is a case of 'everybody knows what's going on' assumption of the webmaster or if they really are that sparse. Neither seem to do much frequent/regular racing on any day other than a Sunday (which is a bit of a problem for us) and of the two BFYC seems to do more. I did note that RCC do use a waterfront lake for 8 races on Wednesday evenings between May and July which would be very good but I'm not sure I want to join a club for the sake of 8 races!
It may be that we have to content outselves with just doing a bit of cruising in which case probably the BFYC offers an interesting area to sail and explore but then equally so might RCC.
In terms of membership RCC has a much lower joining fee the subscription depends on when you join. The BFYC entry fee is the same as the subs and both would apply fully no matter when you join and that's not a good incentive to join in August.
I guess we shall just have to wait and see which one turns out to be the best option. Until then I have much work to do, a boat to prepare for the new season and at least the first half of the season will be sailed at Ripon Sailing Club.


Tillerman said...

Good luck with the move and finding a new sailing club.

Tim said...

cheers. Happy new year to you and yours. Here's to good sailing in 2012!