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News at Whitstable Yacht Club

Club News

Derek Emery

We regret to report that Derek Emery passed away on 6th May.
Derek was a keen competitive National 12 sailor from 1960 to 1980, and a member of the club for 40 years. He was the centre of the clubs wilder social activities during this era and loved to party. In his later years he built a cruiser in his back garden called Mystere and afterwards bought his yacht called Minx and sailed with his beloved wife Barbara. He and enjoyed competitive racing and cruising in company. Derek like nothing better than anchoring or mooring up after a long day’s cruising, opening the wine box and inviting fellow cruising members over for an evening of laughter and fun.
Our thoughts are with his family Ian, Philip, and Alison.

Why not try something different at the bar this weekend?

The Bar now has on draught Strongbow cloudy apple cider (ABV 4%), and from Saturday 14th Gadd’s Seasider Amber Ale (ABV 4.3%).

WYC Pool Nights are Changing!

Wednesday Nights - Pool League Games: From 8pm - Pool league games played by WYC pool teams. Feel free to come and support, or enquire at the bar to join a team!
Thursday Night - Open Pool Nights: From 7pm - open pool night. All over 16’s welcome. Free table, winner stays on unless players present want to change.

Dinghy Cruise Report - Saturday April 30th, or “How Fef got back to sailing and won the day”

David Blakey (Hartley 15, 1539), Fef and Dave Marsh (Wanderer 890, Oops-a-Daisy), Richard and Sarah Heap (Wanderer 1561, Giggle) had a lovely day sailing around the bay. We met at 10 am. It was a cold, grey, almost windless morning. Not at all promising, but we planned bravely, if unwisely, to sail across to Pollard Spit, run with the NE breeze and incoming tide to Faversham creek, tie up on the bank for lunch at the Shipwrights, and then sail back on the ebb. This never happened… for the rest of the report, download it here:

The Committee Boat is back!

Slotty, WYC’s Colne Cat Committee Boat, is back on her summer mooring off the club, and ready to go for this weekend’s long weekend of racing. Thanks to the Committee Boat team who’ve worked over the winter doing all the regular maintenance jobs to keep her running well. Welcome home Slotty, we look forward to racing from you again this year.

WYC Bar news

From 22nd April the Friday night bar hours are extended to 10pm for the summer. For the full bar hours, see
Members are reminded that the club drinking license area only extends to the sea wall. Drinks purchased from the bar should not be taken on the beach. Thank you

Club Racing change on May 14th & 15th

Unfortunately the currently published club race start times are not compatible with an open meeting the size of the Merlin and Tasar event over May 14th/15th. Sadly there will be no race on Sun May 15th, however as we are keen to provide a race for club members over that weekend, Sat May 14th will have an amended start time of 11.00. The sailing schedule and google calendar have been updated.

Thank you to everyone who completed our members survey

Thank you to everyone who completed our members survey. We received 220 responses, representing 59% of the membership, a really good response rate that gives us a strongly representative sample of your views. We’ll share more about the results and any actions we plan to take following analysis of the results. And congratulations to the winner of the £50 Dinghy Store voucher, they have been notified!

Welcome to our new Rear Commodore Sailing!

Steve Gray was voted in as Rear Commodore Sailing at the AGM 2 weeks ago. The Rear Commodore Sailing is responsible for all of the racing and ‘water side’ activities at the club (excluding Training), and Chairs the Sailing Committee. For those that don’t know Steve, he’s provided the below introduction:

I am not really a dynasty sailor, but I have sailed for most of my life. It all started when Dad bought Mirror 5988 from Exchange and Mart when I was 12 - a slightly random move as none of our family could sail and there were few sailing clubs in the Thames valley in the early 70’s. After an inauspicious first sail in the Mirror, which narrowly avoided being swept over weir on the Thames, I became an extremely keen and reasonably proficient Mirror racer to Championship level. We joined a small sailing club on a gravel pit near Maidenhead and as teens my brother and I couldn’t get on the water enough, backed by the start of a lifetime study of Yachts and Yachting every two weeks (Clubs and Classes mostly). Laser 10343 came next but at 9.5 stone was far too light so drifted into Miracles where I did a few Championships with some success.

An important step was to become an instructor which led to summer jobs from senior school days through university at commercial sailing schools on the south coast - taught me lots about tide! I didn’t get on with team racing at Uni so joined Midland SC and went back to a Laser (45034) travelling the open circuit and doing a couple of nationals. Sadly, the Laser was traded for a washing machine (same value in those days), and I had a period not sailing when my kids were young. 

A divorce brought a move to Whitstable so I could join a proper, historic, and famous sea club - and another Laser (750??). There have been a few more Lasers over the years, together with 29er 056 (best customer ever for the rescue crew) and Tasar 366 (the Orange one) in which I fulfilled my ambition of racing a Nationals with one of my daughters. I had a spell on the General Committee in the naughties but found travelling away to work and the GC did not work well. Last year I took semi-retirement, bought a Solo (kept the latest Laser), and rashly said I had the time to put something back into the club which has been a big part of my life for the last 20 years. I look forward to serving the club in developing its sailing and racing heritage.

Congratulations to the WYC A Pool Team

Well done to the players in the WYC A Pool Team for winning the second division! On top of that, Sam also won this year’s Chairman’s Cup!
If you fancy having a go, or cheering on the teams, Wednesday nights are Pool Night at WYC, from 7pm. Players and non-players are welcomed, come along and support the Whitstable Yacht Club team.


As advertised previously, following an extensive clearout of the sail loft at the working party on 5 March, all unlabelled equipment found on unpaid racks and on the floor has been removed and stacked outside between the sea wall and Rigden Shed.  This equipment is due to be disposed of next month, commencing 5 April.  Please come and check your equipment and mark it up with your name before the 5th. Sailing Sec

Welcome to our new Commodore!

Andrew Jackson was voted in as Commodore at the AGM last week. For those who don’t know Andy, he’s provided the below introduction:

I started sailing age 11 when my family moved to Herne Bay in the early ‘70s – the Bay was still a popular and crowded holiday resort in those days. I raced Mirror 3290 at Herne Bay Sailing Club with my dad (it’s funny how those sail numbers stick!), and as a teenager I progressed to crewing in Hornets and Albacores, with the Hornet being favoured because it had a spinnaker and a trapeze; the trapeze was a rare and exotic contraption in those days. I sailed an OK for a bit, and I even did a bit of board sailing on the very first windsurfers when they became available in the UK in the late 1970s.

After a break from sailing, I joined Whitstable Yacht Club in 1997. At the time I was still living in London, where I worked as designer and lecturer, but I was finally drawn back to live by the sea a couple of years later when my family and I moved to Whitstable. I have sailed a wide variety of boats over the years including a Merlin Rocket (capsized a lot), a B14 (capsized even more), an RS600 (don’t ask), and finally splitting my time between a Tasar, which I sail with my wife Yvo, and a Laser. As an academic and design historian, I once published an article on the history of the Mirror dinghy – for those interested it can be found here:

I have been a Vice-Commodore for the club in the past and was very briefly Commodore in 2016, when I stepped up because the post had become unexpectedly vacant mid-term. Now that I’m semi-retired I have more time to devote to the club, so I have accepted the offer of being Commodore again, hopefully for a full term this time. When I’m not sailing, I can be found banging away on my double bass with my swing band at various music venues around Kent and occasionally at WYC parties.

Unlabelled equipment from Upper Rigdens Shed

Thank you to all the members who helped out at the Working Party on Saturday. It’s made a real difference to the club, and we’re ready for the start of the season!
A lot of unlabelled equipment was removed from Upper Ridgens Shed. If you think you’re missing anything, please check through the pile between the Sea Wall and Ridgens Shed ASAP. Anything remaining will be donated/skipped!

Please check your boats!

Following the storms, high winds and high tides over the weekend, boats parked at the club have moved by wind and waves and some covers have been shredded by the wind (exposing the equipment stored inside to the elements). If you have a boat at the club, please check it for damage, make sure it’s still tied down securely, and check other boats in the area to ensure that it’s not at risk.

Tom Oliver awarded bursary funding by L&SE RYA

We’re pleased to announce that WYC sailor, instructor and, until recently, Cadet Captain, Tom Oliver has been awarded bursary funding for a Racing Coach Level 2 course by the London and South East RYA. Of the award, Tom said “After racing at the club for the last 10 or so years alongside teaching for the past 4, I was nominated by Richard Maltby for the Bursary. I was eager to continue passing my knowledge down to others as has been done to me over the years. The helpfulness of WYC sailors has enabled me become the sailor I am today and so I hope to reciprocate this to the younger generation of the club. This will also help me expand my wings and take my skills to other Clubs through KSSA training and other events around the South east coast.” 
Congratulations Tom!

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