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News at Whitstable Yacht Club

Club News - January

Margaret Winn bequest

Many of us will remember Margaret Winn, who passed away just over a year ago. She was a long term member of the Yacht Club and was made an Honorary Member in 2010.  For many years she was the Minutes Secretary to the Sailing Committee, but she will best be remembered for her invaluable help in the Race Hut where she could be found most weekends recording the race results.
Her family have again told us just how much the club meant to her throughout her many years in Whitstable, and we are very grateful to announce that she has left the club a bequest as a measure of her gratitude for so many years of friendship.

RYA recognises WYC for our junior youth race training

Whitstable Yacht Club has achieved RYA British Youth Sailing Recognised Club status.
This achievement reflects the excellent work done by the WYC Training Team and Cadet Committee to deliver youth sail and race training at the high standards required by the RYA.  The RYA works in partnership with sailing clubs through the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Recognised Club Programme to help them enhance their junior race training. BYS Recognised Club status allows junior sailors to develop their sailing and racing skills, and encourages young sailors at grassroots level to stay in the sport.
The RYA said “The key challenge for our sport is to encourage more young people to start participating in sailing and progress into racing. This is best done at club level and a successful junior and youth training and racing programme will enable a club to flourish. The BYS Recognised Club status distinguishes those sailing clubs with a commitment to the development of junior and youth racing and race training, which is delivered in a safe and fun environment.”
We are currently planning our 2021 training and sailing schedule, which includes (Covid-19 restrictions permitting!) a Topper Class Association (London and SE region) Traveller weekend on 10th & 11th April and a KSSA Youth Training event on 6th November. We’re also looking forward to seeing the young sailors compete at youth events around the country.
To find out more about the British Youth Sailing Recognised Club status, see, and to get the young people in your family out on the water, go to

Jill Grantham

We’re sorry to announce that Jill Grantham passed away today.
Jill had strong family ties to the club, and was a very active member in the 60s and 70s.

Gavin Barr, January 5th 1931 – January 2nd 2021

We’re sorry to announce that Gavin Barr passed away on January 2nd. You can view a short biopic on Gavin and Caroline made by Gavin’s grandson a few years ago at, and below is a message from Richard Maltby:
In the passing of Gavin Barr we have lost a most remarkable person, a great sailor and a true gentleman. A master of many arts, not least in making a slow boat go fast, his influence was as considerable as it was unique. Within the unfailing consideration, humour and gentleness of his manner there was inner steel to his nobility of character. By his death from Covid-19, so cruelly and undeservedly contracted in hospital following hip surgery, the club has lost a great man and the widely felt pleasure of his wisdom, kindness and company. 
Born in East Lothian and a lifelong rugby supporter of Scotland, educated at Dartmouth, sailing and going to sea went together for Gavin as cadet and subsequently Lieutenant Barr in the Royal Navy. When Caroline, his beautiful wife, was recovering from polio and being advised of the benefits of a hot climate, Gavin resigned his commission and entered the Colonial Service. As a district officer his engineering and administrative ability served in helping to construct the infrastructure basis for Zambia, a country for which Gavin retained great affection and where one of his sons continues to live with his family. On return to the UK to work for an engineering company and also the Church Missionary Society, Gavin and Caroline made their home at Charing, bringing up three children. Sailing led to membership of Whitstable YC and progression from racing a Merlin Rocket to Wanderers, most successfully with his boat “Thistle” (W 1282). 
With Gavin at the helm and Mark Skipper as crew, this fantastic partnership achieved an unparalleled run of success in Wanderer Open and National championships. In his 80s Gavin was still winning open events and was featured in a BBC SE News programme on sailing with presenter Natalie Graham on board his boat. Generous in his advice, Gavin’s technical sections in the Wanderer Class Owner’s Association website enhanced by his hand drawn diagrams provide all the guidance for “Sailing Faster”. WYC members were extremely fortunate in having Gavin at hand and always willing to give us his time and advice. Under his captaincy Wanderers became a significant club fleet, the Whitstable Open became a regular event, nurturing national champions in Paul Yeadon and Liz North. In 2019 to mark their appreciation the class purchased and donated the Gavin Barr trophy, a replica of a Wanderer in stainless steel wrought by a Whitstable blacksmith. 
Gavin’s talents as a musician and performer, entertaining us with his guitar playing and slightly risquée songs brought laughter and appreciative rejoinders to Wanderer and club gatherings. We will also miss his great sense of humour, company and wit. I shall cherish his funny comments in emails. It was always lovely to see the undemonstrative but profoundly felt devotion between Gavin and Caroline in all that they did. Our deepest sympathy on their loss in such terrible circumstances goes to Caroline and the Barr family.