Awards Evening 2013

The thirtieth annual presentation evening of Shotwick Lake Sailing took place on at The Armory, Flint. Members and their guests enjoyed a meal, a dance to the Acme Ceilidh Band and watched the seasons awards being presented.

A great meal was had by all before the first half of the evening entertainment took place with Ceilidh dancing to the sounds of the Acme band. Virtually everyone had a go during the evening and all seemed to have a great time trying to get it right and laughing when we inevitably all got it wrong.

In the interval to the entertainment, Tony Forster, the Club Commodore said a few words summarizing the 2013 sailing season combining comments with those of the Sailing Secretary, Jonathan Edwards (who had a long standing commitment –  his mother’s 70th birthday!)

“Your club remains strong and this year boasts a membership now standing at 145 with a few extras currently being processed. Although a slight drop on last year’s figure this is still a very respectable number considering that families & Permit Groups bring the total number of people involved with Shotwick Lake to something in the region of 350.

Activity levels seem higher than ever with weekends and evenings seeing much racing, training and leisure sailing. We are also pleased to see groups of members utilising the lake on weekdays as well.

On the training front, newcomers to, and improvers in the sport have been well catered for by the efforts of our enthusiastic and ever ready training team. Shotwick Lake retained its RYA Recognised Training Centre status. This has enabled us to continue to offer RYA Level 1, Level 1& 2 combined, Seamanship Skills, Powerboat Level 2, Safety Boat and Start Racing together with Start Windsurfing. Numerous adults have taken advantage of these low cost courses and many of these have become active members. We have continued with a high level of youth training throughout the Summer and earlier in the year we again supported the WYA in providing open youth training.

The annual Open Day held in the Summer was again a well supported event with large numbers turning up to have a go at sailing and windsurfing. Again, this has helped to put the club on the map and resulted in numerous membership and training enquiries. As always, the event would not have been possible without those who gave up their time to help with this day even by just being present and sailing for their own enjoyment to add to the ambience.

Following on from last year’s RYA “Sail For Gold” initiative the club decided to repeat the format of fun events and barbeque as our own “Sail For Gold Day”. The event raised £267 for the RNLI and everyone had a great time in achieving this.

Looking back generally at 2013, it has been a year when sailing has really hit the public consciousness and grabbed their attention, with the footage of Ben Ainslie winning the America’s Cup virtually singlehanded in San Francisco, sailing a 72 foot foil borne, wing masted catamaran; with the boats separated by mere feet and all whilst travelling at speeds of up to 30 knots (35 mph) upwind, and over 43 knots (50 mph) downwind. And to think some of you get worried when Jonathan whizzes past in the 300 at a rather sedate 14 knots!

However, the Cup also served to remind us that sailing is not without its risks, with the sad loss of Olympic gold medallist Andrew “Bart” Simpson during a training accident aboard the Swedish Artemis catamaran. It was with issues like this in mind that the traffic light system was introduced this year for the racing at Shotwick Lake, to help raise awareness as to the suitability of the weather for sailing and provide crews with the information necessary so that they could make considered decisions on their own participation in the day’s racing. This has worked well and will continue to be part of the race day duties.

Of course Ben didn’t win the America’s Cup singlehanded, he was supported by a large team who worked together to both defend the Cup and also organise the entire event, and the same is true of the club. It is only a small group of members tonight that will receive awards for this season, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the contribution of everybody in the club, whether they be on the committee, in the galley serving up drinks and snacks, helping at work parties, doing their duties as race officers or in the safety boat, or participating in the racing …. even though they know before they get on the water that Dave Turtle will inevitably win! So thank you to everybody for your contribution however large or small, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Shotwick sailors have been busy away from the lake gaining some notable achievements this year, and some of these will be recognised later on. But it is worth mentioning a few of the others ….

  • Chris Walker & Paul Newman were members of the Northern team that won the inaugural Scorpion class Regional challenge, beating the Midlands and Southern teams.
  • Dave Clark who won the dinghy class in the Anglesey Offshore Dinghy and Catamaran Race, sailing his Laser Radial.
  • Dave Herbstritt & Josie Airns who have been busy competing on the Miracle open circuit. At the National championships they managed to finish 2nd in the bronze fleet, and 23rd overall. As a reward they got promoted to the silver fleet for next year, and Josie had to write the report for the bronze fleet for inclusion on the Yachts & Yachting website!
  • According to another report on the Yachts & yachting website, in the first race of the Scorpion National championships “Rich Jones and John Purdie rounded in fifth and defended their position honourably until the wing mark which caused the fleet to pile up and allow the first four boats to pull clear.” In other words they held the faster boats up.

Back at the lake, this year saw several changes to the way in which the race series were scored.

  • The fast and slow handicap fleets were retired, being replaced by a single handicap fleet to provide more competition between the best sailors in both fleets.
  • New for this year, the times from the races were also used to score the race results based on personal handicaps which were updated monthly based on each crew’s performance, with the aim of giving everybody an opportunity of winning some silverware. This appears to have been successful with several new names appearing in the prize list. The intention is to continue with this next year, but with the personal handicaps being revised after every race to make it even more competitive!
  • The regatta’s were changed to use Olympic type regatta scoring with the last race counting for double points and being non-discardable, which seems to have achieved its aim with more competitors participating  in and the result only being decided after the last race on both occasions. The option on whether to retain this scoring method for next year or revert to the traditional best 2 results from 3 races will be on the AGM agenda for a vote.
  • We have also introduced for this year the Club Champion award for the sailor who performed the best across all four race series. Getting the balance right between rewarding good results and good attendance was always going to be difficult with this award, but we feel it has delivered a worthy winner for this season. However, we think the scoring system can be improved upon and a proposal on this will be forthcoming at the AGM, with information available on the website in the New Year to give you time to time to come to grips with it.
  • A set of trial club handicap numbers were produced based on last year’s results and feedback from a members survey, and all the race results were also calculated using these to provide information on their impact. This work has continued this year and again a proposal will be forthcoming at the AGM with the aim of making the racing fairer for all. Information for this topic will also be available on the website in the New Year to give you time to digest it.

Another change that has been implemented for the Frostbite series has been the relocation of the race marks as a trial, with the aim of providing better courses given the shape of the lake and the predominant wind directions we experience, based on data from our weather station collected over the last 2 years. Information on these changes is already available on the website and will open for discussion at the AGM.

So, in summing up, we appear to have had another great season and tonight’s celebration provides a fitting end to yet another successful year for Shotwick Lake Sailing.”

Following these words, the various prizes were awarded as each individual or crew was called up in turn. Gwyneth Jones, wife of member Peter presented the trophies on behalf of Shotwick Lake Sailing.

SEE Awards Table

Also, thanks and gifts were given to Dot, Gladys, Win, Sheila, & Julie for all their hard work throughout the season in the galley. These wonderful ladies give so much to make Sunday racing a splendid sociable event and really do deserve a huge vote of thanks.

Thanks were also given to Gwyneth Jones, Louise Stephenson & Gill Morris who have on occasions stepped in to help in the galley.

A number of people were also thanked by Tony, on behalf of the members, to a number of people whose efforts continue to make ours the best club in the region. Without their tireless input our club could not succeed.

“Firstly your Sailing Secretary, Jonathan, who has done a fantastic job of organizing, improving and supporting the racing throughout the season.

I would also like to thank Michael Plane and Tim Bowden for their sterling efforts in giving so much time to organizing and providing training

Please do not forget your Directors and co-opted Management Committee members who, as ever, are the unsung heroes, or back room boys and girls, who work tirelessly throughout the year ensuring the smooth running of club. Many of you will not realize how much does need to be done to manage such a successful organization. So thanks to them and please give them your support in future when asked to help in some way.”

At the end of the presentations, toasts were drunk to the achievements of all of the trophy winners.

And finally a toast was drunk to celebrate the announcement that the club has finally completed the purchase of the lake …

“Secondly, but very importantly, it gives me great pleasure to finally announce that, after nine years of effort and legal wrangling, we have finally completed the purchase of Shotwick Lake and have held the deeds in our own hands. So now you, as members of Shotwick Lake Sailing can be proud to be the owners of the lake, the buildings and the land which comprise the club. This has been a fantastic achievement which would not have been possible without the sterling efforts of the committee members over that nine year period. Therefore would you please raise your glasses and drink a toast to those hard workers and to being the owners of our own sailing club.”

With speeches done, there was much more dancing before the evening finished.

A great time was had by all!


Andrew Jones

I joined the club in 2010 having just not long completed a RYA L2 training course elsewhere. Spent a year sailing casually on a Saturday before taking the plunge and starting racing in Autumn 2011 and never looked back. I've been a bit of a boat 'tart' considering I haven't been sailing long having owned a Topaz Magno, a Laser Vago, an RS Vareo and lastly a Laser 1. I've had the Laser for over a year which is a bit of a record for me in terms of boat ownership. I have recently joined the Club committee in order to help with running of the club - 'The more you put in, the more you get out'. Having come to sailing later on in life, I'm very keen to look to ways to support and encourage adults to enjoy the sport and to look at ways to bridge the gap from the end of an RYA L2 course to fully confident and competent sailing.