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News at Whitstable Yacht Club

Club News - August

Bar opening hour changes in September

From 1st September there will be some minor changes to opening hours based on a review of the usage over the last month. The updated opening times can be viewed at
Times can always be amended for parties or organised gatherings - please discuss your requirement’s with a member of the Bar committee.

The Pool League is restarting

The Pool League is restarting from 15th September and both WYC teams need new members! If you want to join a team come along on a Wednesday evening from 7pm and ask Chris for an intro!

Mike Fitzpatrick

Sadly, we must report that a long-standing member of the club, Mike Fitzpatrick, passed away at the weekend after a long illness. Mike, (pictured above sailing in the 2008 Merlin Rocket National Championships) is well known for his sailing skills and achievements, his humour and willingness to help others and his contribution to the running of the club.
There will be a private cremation, and a celebration of Mike’s life will be held from 5pm on Saturday 28th August at Whitstable Yacht Club.
Born 30 June 1942, son of a fisherman at Leigh on Sea.  One of his early boating experiences was when his father’s fishing boat was requisitioned by the navy to rescue residents of Canvey Island trapped by the 1953 floods.  He was all set to go as his dad’s boat boy but was taken off the boat on the orders of the RN officer as being too young!  He used to dine out on the story that as a teenager a young girl crewed for him at Leigh - Helen Mirren!
He went to Loughborough College where he founded, on a shoestring, the college sailing team.  In the 1960’s and early 70’s he built and sailed OK dinghies, campaigned one of the early Contenders, then moved on to Flying Dutchmen and then the Finn. He crewed for John Oakeley and Bob Fisher in their Soling campaign to be selected for the 1976 Olympics. They were favourites to win the trials but John O fell off his boat on the dock and broke his arm, had to sail with his arm in a cast and they didn’t win. During this time he also crewed the winning GP14 at the National Championships in 1964 and the Soling at the National Championships in 1977 and 1978.
Mike stayed involved with the Finn and became an international class measurer.  At the time the fastest Finns were being built by Bungy Taylor in UK so a steady stream of boats passed through Mike’s living room in Dunkirk to be measured on their way to customers in Europe.
In the 1980’s he commissioned his first new Merlin, customised for him and Wendy to sail but he did not stay in the class long and moved on to Tasers and later Lasers.  When his two boys were young, he built Optimist dinghies for them and an embryo fleet was formed for the cadets at Whitstable Yacht Club and Westbere Lake. In the early 1990’s he was heavily involved in activities at WYC organising major events including, in one year, 6 national championships.  The “volunteer burnout” that followed led to the club’s open meeting policy being written!
During the 1990’s he became involved with the International Canoe and sailed the World Championships in San Francisco. His boat remained in the roof of his garage until very recently.  He loved building, modifying and mending boats and was an inveterate boat bimbler and innovator.
He worked for Lloyds in London “in IT” then for a paper manufacturing company near Canterbury.  On leaving that he was employed part time by WYC in the office as sailing administrator before finally retiring in 2006. 
He moved back into Merlin Rockets with Julie crewing at a very windy Abersoch championships in 1998.  He fitted out a new Winder hull in his inimitable alternative style which never really worked so Julie bought a new complete boat in 2006 and he was ordered not to change anything without the say so of the class captain!  As a result, they were pretty successful in club racing.  His love of the Finn dinghy never diminished even though he was too light to be competitive and most recently in 2009 he sailed in the Finn Masters World Championship in France.
He and Wendy cowrote wrote the Sailing: Techniques of Seamanship (a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award guide) and Dinghy Racing.  He was very chuffed that the first friend he made when he moved to Bradbury Grange Nursing Home had read the book!
He will be missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew him.

WYC memory from Tony Hays

We recently received the following message from Tony Hays, one of our members in the 50s and 60s:
“In 2020 you posted an interesting video of the 1967 Admiral’s Cup series.  You might be interested to know that a WYC member was on the UK team (at least, I think I was still a member in 1967, having moved to Bristol in 1962 for university and work). My parents, Philip and Joan Hays, were members of WYC in the 1940s to 1960s.  I vaguely remember my mother saying that she was the first woman member, although I don’t know if that is actually true.  My father had an Essex One Design and originally raced out of Herne Bay Yacht Club, but moved to Whitstable around 1939.  He then transitioned to an 18 ft National, then a Flying Dutchman and Merlin-Rocket. I joined as a junior member in about 1956, sailing Cadets, and was probably a member for about 12 years or so, before emigrating to the United States.
I started to crew in offshore races when I was 17, and worked my way up to race for Ron Amey, owner of the Noryema series of ocean racers (the name of the boat is Ron Amey spelled backwards). Some of the races, or race series, that I competed in were: 
1966 Transatlantic Race (Bermuda-Copenhagen) (Noryema IV), 
1967 Admiral’s Cup Team (Noryema V), 
1968 Onion Patch Trophy Team (which included the Newport-Bermuda Race) (Noryema VI), 
1972 Onion Patch Trophy Team.  (Noryema, a stock Sparkman & Stephens design, was the overall winner of the Bermuda Race, thanks to brilliant navigation on the part of the skipper and navigator, Ted Hicks.  She is the only non-American yacht to win the Bermuda Race ( The photo is the crew photo for Noryema, I’m the second from the right, Ted Hicks is third from the right.
I’ve also raced both the Fastnet and Bermuda Races on other boats.  In 1969 I emigrated to the United States, and have raced fairly extensively on the US East Coast, Great Lakes and West Coast, including several races from the US to Mexico. Currently I crew on a Beneteau 32 out of Dana Point, in Southern California.”
You can see the full 1967 Admiral’s Cup series on our youtube channel at Thanks to Tony for getting in touch. If you have any memories of Whitstable Yacht Club, we’d love to hear them!

Reminder - Safety Guidance

Following a “near miss” incident at the club on Saturday caused by a sudden change in weather conditions, we would like to remind members of the following guidance, designed to reduce risk and speed up the response to any safety issues at sea: 
• We have a Safety Advice for Free Sailing and Water Sports section on the website ( and in the club programme, and we strongly recommend all members going sailing should read and follow this advice. In particular, always dress warmly for the conditions – it is easier to take off a layer than put it on, and it’s often colder at sea than on land, especially if you get wet. Carrying a waterproof layer will significantly reduce the effect of sea spray, rain and wind chill. 
• The WYC Boat Parking, Equipment and Windsurf Board Storage Policy, on our website ( and in our programme states that Trolleys, trailers, covers and any other equipment left on the beach when you go sailing must also be clearly labelled with your sail number and name. This is to aid identification in the event of an incident. The quickest way to see who’s returned to the club (for example when free sailing, if a boat has been stolen or put to sea without owner’s permission, or in the event that there’s an error on the race sign on sheet) is to check the beach for trolleys. If your trolley is not labelled, it makes it harder to check that you’re safe. 
• Please familiarise yourself with the position of the Oyster Trestle area marked by the yellow hazard buoys. You are strongly recommended not to go within the area marked by the yellow Hazard Buoys. During racing, the area between the yellow Hazard Buoys and the shore is a prohibited area. Sailing within this area will result in disqualification (Rule 10.2). If you see someone in trouble in this area, please call 999 and ask for the coastguard, or alert the Race Team (do not enter the hazard area). Please report any incidents or ‘near misses’ to the club. Please email incident or near-miss reports to

Whitstable Week 2021 Wrap Up

Wow - what a Whitstable Week! A great week was had by all, and a return to normal, or at least as close as is possible at the moment! The weather did it’s best to disrupt us in this rather unseasonable end of July, but our Race Officer and the team still managed 3 full days of racing, getting in 6 races. We also hosted 5 evenings of social events - Vinyl Night, Pool Competition, Ian and Phil’s Lazy Quiz, Cocktails with the Commodore, and the Friday Night Finale Party! Despite the RNLI Pursuit Race getting blown off on Friday we still raised over £200 for the RNLI from all the Whitstable Week entries.
Congratulations to Max Hunt who won Whitstable Week overall in his Laser Radial, narrowly beating Rick an Sarah Perkins in their Tasar and Charlie Campion in his Laser. The full results can be found at Also, congratulations to our special Whitstable Week Prize Winners: Submariner Award to Veronica and John Moore for their capsize at the beginning of Tuesday’s racing, the Loudest Competitor to Andrew Jackson for his ‘feedback’ to the Race Officer on the line bias for one of the races, the Oldest Competitor to Geoff Bush, still Laser Racing at 77, and finally the Spirit of Whitstable Week to the Support Boat Team, who were kept busy in the windy conditions!
Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped make Whitstable Week 2021 happen: 
Rescue boat drivers and their crews Jo, Sam, Dave, Georgie, Glenn, Miriam, Joe and Ian. 
Andy for driving the committee boat. 
Georgia and Miriam for their photography.
The volunteer recorders Jill, David, Ian and Richard. 
Sally for results and prize coordination. 
The Race Officer John and his Assistants Paul and Chris. 
The social team, including Mike, Dickie, Ian and Phil, Tizzie and the cocktail team, Magda and the bar staff, Keith and the coffee hut team.
The Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress for presenting the prizes at Prize Giving! 
We’re looking forward to next year already!