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News at Whitstable Yacht Club

Club News

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. 

Updated World Sailing Racing Rules and WYC Sailing Instructions

The new 2021-2024 Racing Rules of Sailing will take effect on January 1st and can be reviewed at Whitstable Yacht Club’s Sailing Instructions for Club Races have been updated to align with the new rules. The updates to the WYC SIs are minor changes to the new RRS numbering, updates to add clarity on insurance requirements, and to add an RYA recommended Risk Statement. The updated document can be downloaded from the club website at and will be included in the printed Club Information Programme when it is distributed before the racing season. Thank you to John Cooper for reviewing the documents and ensuring the WYC SIs are aligned.
Club members who take part in racing are encouraged to review the updated Racing Rules of Sailing and the Club Sailing Instructions.

Coronavirus update - Tier 4

From 20th December Whitstable Yacht Club is in a Tier 4 area as defined by the Government. In line with the latest RYA guidance our changing rooms and toilets are now closed. Anyone requiring access to collect equipment should contact the Rear Commodore Sailing or Rear Commodore House. Under the Tier 4 regulations, non-organised water sport and sailing activities are allowed. All members should take notice and follow current government advice and restrictions when using club facilities or going on the water, and follow Safety Advice for Free Sailing and Water Sports.

2020 Race and Series winners

Despite a very different year of sailing compared to what we expected at the beginning of the year, we’ve done everything we can to maximise the amount of safe and secure sailing, racing and training available to our members. We sailed 20 races (weather allowing we would have raced more!), and the club facilities and Support Boats were available for Supported Sailing and Free Sailing sessions whenever possible. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this happen.
Unfortunately there won’t be a Prize Giving this year, but congratulations need to to the series and race winners. Trophies will be available to collect from the club when it’s safe to do so. If you’re a winner who’d like to collect their trophy, please contact Sally, our Sailing and Membership Secretary, who’ll arrange the collection.
Click through to see the full list of prize winners.

More ›

Mike Jackson

We’re sorry to announce that Mike Jackson has passed away. A message from his family:
“Sadly I have to report the death this week of Mike Jackson, husband of Ann, brother of Barry, all long standing members of WYC, all now retired. Some of the older members will remember his parents and brother and Ann’s parents being enthusiastic members in the past. Mike started sailing as a cadet at an early age and went on the sail until health problems a year ago when he and Ann had to sell their last boat. I’m sure the older members would like to send their sympathy to Ann and to Barry.
Pam Porter.”

Barton Marine Rising Star Winner Announced

We’re pleased to announce that Seventeen year old Harry Newton, a member of Whitstable Yacht Club and Westbere Frostbite Sailing Association is the winner of the Barton Rising Star Competition and will become a Barton Marine brand ambassador in 2021.
Harry has been sailing Toppers since he was nine years old and after joining Kent Sailing School Association in 2016 has taken part in multiple race series including the Traveller, National and World Topper championships.  Winning a place on the RYA Topper London and South East Zone Squad in 2017/18 followed by the ITCA National 5.3 Topper Squad in 2018/19, Harry raced at the 5.3 Topper Worlds in Medemblick, Netherlands in August 2019.  Upon returning from the Worlds Harry switched class and began racing in the UKLA Laser Series with a goal of achieving a place on the national squad and winning a gold medal at the Olympics.
Harry Newton said, “I was so pleased to hear that I had won the Barton Rising Star Competition.  Sailing is a big part of my life and to have the support of Barton is great.  Despite the Covid restrictions, I still managed to get in some sailing and training this year and entered a few Laser National competitions before the second lockdown.  I really look forward to being the Barton brand ambassador in 2021 and hope for a full season of racing.”
As well as his racing accomplishments, Harry has a host of RYA qualifications including RYA Race Coach Level 2 to help train his peers at Whitstable Yacht Club and is planning to carry out Dinghy Instructor training with the cadets and scouts over the next year.
Christian Brewer, Barton Marine Sales Manager said, “We are delighted to have selected our first Rising Star and look forward to working with Harry throughout 2021 to support his sailing ambitions, help develop and test the Barton range as well as inspire other young people to get involved with sailing.”
Alongside the title of Barton Rising Star, Harry will have access to a full complement of Barton equipment to kit out his Laser, Barton branded clothing and accessories, a GoPro camera to record his experiences out on the water and a Barton mentorship to help him achieve his personal goals and objectives.  Harry will become very much a part of the Barton team.

End of year message from the Commodore

Here we are at the end of another season and this year more than ever it’s time to thank the many people who in different ways enable the club to operate, from the behind the scenes administration and maintenance work through to those providing the operational support for our on the water activities. Responding to the challenges of this year demonstrated the tremendous commitment of employees, volunteers and participants alike. I extend my personal thanks to you all.
Although our planned racing and training programmes were significantly reduced this year we were able to start reopening the clubhouse, hold over 20 races, introduce supported social sailing and hold the annual Whitstable Week event with really good turn outs. Windsurfers were able to take to the water and pleasingly the Cadets were able to hold their annual CadetFest where tremendous fun was had by all. We have benefited from the Royal Yachting Association’s guidance on Covid restrictions and, with the advantage of wonderful summer weather, managed to support people of all ages and abilities to get afloat and enjoy our watersports safely.
Going into next year we have planned for a full programme of activities although some may be subject to change depending on any government restrictions applied during the year. We also plan to hold the AGM in March, further details of the format will be published nearer the time.
The impact of the pandemic has meant that some of the changes we were planning for this year have been delayed. However there have been some successes. Online booking for training completed a successful trial, work has started on setting up the Dutyman application for next season making it easier for members to review and manage their duties, and we have introduced membership cards, the first benefit of these being a discount on purchases when produced at the bar.  We also had the unplanned benefit of being chosen as one of the locations for the Whitstable Pearl filming.
So whilst the year has been somewhat unpredictable there have been some positive outcomes and we look forward to next year when things will gradually return to the new normal.
Finally, on behalf of the General Committee I would like to thank everyone for their continuing support for the club and wish you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy and safe New Year.

Masts to be taken down over winter

Members are reminded that, in line with WYC Boat Parking and Equipment Storage Policy, masts must be taken down at the end of the Winter Series, which finished on Sunday 13th December. If members are planning to keep their mast up over winter to allow them to continue free sailing, they should let their Class Captain or the Sailing Secretary know, and ensure that their boat is tied down securely and checked regularly. If members are unable to get to the club due to Coronavirus restrictions, please contact your class captain so they can arrange for your boat to be checked and/or the mast lowered.

Coronavirus update - Toilets & Changing Rooms open from 5th December

Based on the latest guidance from Sport England and the RYA, Sailing Clubs in all tiers are able to open their changing rooms and toilets. Given the time of year and availability of cleaning staff, from Saturday 5th December WYC will provisionally be opening our changing rooms and toilets on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, during daylight hours, accessed through the external doors. 
Whilst these facilities will be open, the maximum capacity will remain at 6 people, and members are strongly encouraged to change at home and not use the changing rooms where possible. Showers should only be used if essential, and then only used for rinsing (no soap, shower gel, etc). All members should take notice and follow current government advice and restrictions, including use of the NHS QR code for Test and Trace purposes.

WYC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response - Updated 21st December

Friends and members,
The General Committee is continuing to take RYA and government guidance with regards to the latest restrictions. In line with the latest government guidance:

  • The club’s changing rooms remain fully open. Please enter and exit from the external doors.
  • The club bar remains open however seating in the service area is limited (cashless is still preferred but not mandatory). Please see for the current bar opening hours.  Preventative measures such as increased ventilation and protective screens will remain in place.
  • All members should continue to take notice and follow current government advice and restrictions when using club facilities or going on the water, and follow Safety Advice for Free Sailing and Water Sports.
  • We recommend that everyone visiting the club should take a symptom-free tested prior to their visit to protect themselves and others.
  • The wearing of masks is not mandatory but is encouraged when moving around the club buildings.

Thank you for your continued support. The General Committee will regularly review the situation and we will share any further developments by email, on the website and social media. 
Yours sincerely, 
Kelvin Tolson
Commodore, Whitstable Yacht Club

Coronavirus update - Changes from Wednesday 2nd December

Whitstable Yacht Club is in the Kent and Medway Tier 3 area as defined by the Government. Under the revised regulations water sport and organised outdoor sports activities are allowed, therefore WYC plan to run the last two races in the Winter Series on Sunday 6th and Sunday 13th December (weather permitting!). The RYA is providing us with updates as it continues to receive and interpret the implication of the Government rules on clubs, and the Covid sub group will update the News and Social Media channels with updates as we receive them from the RYA.
As of Wednesday December 2nd, the club house will remain closed, (apart from those who require access to work within the premises). We are waiting on further guidance on the use of the changing facilities and showers. All members should take notice and follow current government advice and restrictions, including the NHS QR code for Test and Trace purposes, which is displayed on club building entrances including the Rigden and Stroud sheds.
Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation in ensuring WYC remains a safe place to enjoy.

Draft 2021 Sailing Schedule

In our original 2020 schedule we had the annual Meeting of Sailors planned for this weekend. Sadly, with Lockdown 2, and the Coronavirus restrictions before and likely continuing after, we won’t be able to hold the meeting this year. However, as is traditional for this time of year, the DRAFT 2021 sailing schedule is now available to view here: 2021_Programme_Draft_v4.pdf
We’re planning a full schedule of club and open events for the 2021 season, starting in early March, and running until December. This will allow a level of flexibility based on the availability of a vaccine and/or continued Coronavirus related restrictions. I’m optimistic and hopeful that we’ll be able to run something resembling a ‘normal’ sailing schedule for next year! 
If you have any suggestions or comments that you would have raised at the Meeting of Sailors, or about the draft schedule, please contact me or your Class Captain. Stay safe, and I hope to see you at the club or on the water soon! 
Robert Govier - Rear Commodore Sailing.

Whitstable Yacht Club will feature in upcoming TV Drama

WYC is pleased to announce that we will be supporting the filming of the new TV crime drama based on Whitstable author Julie Wassmer’s books! Julie’s novels The Whitstable Pearl Mystery and Disappearance at Oare have been commissioned to become a new British crime drama. Work on building the set will commence this week and will involve some cosmetic changes to the Rigden Shed.
Sailing and windsurfing activities are not expected to be disrupted however access to equipment in the shed will be limited when the set is being built and while filming takes place. Details have been emailed to members.
You can find out more about the books that the TV drama will be based on here: and you can read more about the filming at

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