Commodore’s Blog – Wednesday 4th January 2017

Commodore’s Blog – Wednesday January 4th 2017

Dear members,

Happy and prosperous New Year to all !

Having watched the dinghies competing in the glorious, albeit cool, sunshine on New Year’s day in the Payne-James Icicle Race you could have been forgiven for thinking the season was about to start again proper. It truly was a fantastic day to be out on the water and with much less breeze than promised, allowed all competitors to arrive safely back ashore without feeling just how cold the water really is.

Not wishing to miss the opportunity of having the RIB in the water I loaded it the next day, the Bank Holiday, with scaffold tubes, tools and suitably painted timber to venture across to Wallasea and finally replace the broken upper start triangle that has been the source of much teasing from our more upright neighbours along the sea wall. With thanks to Martin Brooks for layering up and turning out with me, we do now have a complete start line which, after a bit more paint, will be the smartest and of course the most upright on the river, for now! Pictures on the new website so more about that later.

Back in the club it has been a busy Autumn with a variety of external events, parties and functions. Our Steward Jane has been seeing in the new till systems, carefully installed and configured by Chris Slatter and Martin Brooks. These tills offer us real-time recording of our trading position and stock, we are only now starting to see the benefit of this equipment. Our new bar supervisor Matz has already proven to be a real asset to the club, his pleasant attitude is most welcoming in the bar, welcome to the team Matz.

As well as these systems I hope you may have seen by now that the new club website is up and running. The web site was built by Julio Graham and overseen by immediate Past Commodore Adrian Lower, who kindly continued to stay with this project to see the new site completed. Whilst modestly still describing the site as ‘work in progress’, none of this would have been possible without literally hour upon hour of work and input by Lizzie Brown in the final stages to complete the site content and to co-ordinate input from contributors. A huge thank you goes to Lizzie from all of us, but the job is not done yet and constant updating is required. If you have any worthy news, stories, logs, pictures, events to publish relevant to the club and its members, please get in touch with Lizzie or editor in chief Chris Slatter directly; your class captains or via the office.

Having parted company with our head chef Scott, our second chef Damian has proven himself admirably, with some assistance from Jane and outside help to prepare for major functions, Damian has continued to provide a great service for us. Damian is hoping to start his professional training soon at Westminster College on a part time basis having been offered a place through committee member Neill Scott, which the club fully supports. We wish him well in his training and his continued service to club members. Since Damian has risen to this challenge providing our day-to-day service, the club is not in a hurry to find a replacement head chef in these leaner months, preferring to rely on our contacts and bring in expertise when we need it is a formula that is working well. We will, of course, continue to search for the right replacement for Scott.

Our club Christmas lunch was a great success, including the visit from Santa who may have been more Glasgow than North Pole. Nevertheless, Eighty keen mums, dads and even some kids sat down for lunch and waited for Santa. Its just a shame that the kids had to queue behind Simon Barnes to sit on Santa’s knee. Simon-you are just a bit past that stage are you not?

This was followed by lunch on Christmas Day, prepared by Steward Jane herself. The reports I have received were most complimentary of a delicious lunch and a thoroughly enjoyable day for the fifty plus members in attendance. On New Year’s Eve John Hooper managed yet again to organize a splendid dinner and dance to see in the New Year so there truly has been something for everyone to enjoy at the club and it has been a pleasure to be there.

Thinking of the season ahead, much time has been dedicated by the general committee to the decision of what form our proposed new pontoon should take. As you will be able to study on the noticeboard from tomorrow, we agree that we should not sell short the opportunity that we must grasp to improve our access to the water. In that case we have decided to apply for planning permission to widen the pontoon and improve the facilities for launching and mooring boats and dinghies.

You will see that the plans incorporate all the existing pile positions for planning purposes. In reality when we come to negotiate with the new Government ‘quangos’, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation – MMO, we will have plenty of ammunition and be able to negotiate away the existing piles we do not need for fewer replacements. If you are unable to see the plans on the noticeboard the office can provide a copy by email or hard copy upon request.

You will hear more at the AGM as to the financing proposals being considered for this important asset we wish to replace, however, we are bound at the moment to effect urgent repairs for the season ahead because the task of achieving all the regulatory approvals is now long winded so we hope to be in a position to order the new pontoon towards the end of next season. In the meantime multiple letters of support for our planning application will no doubt expedite the process so I shall forward the planning reference when we have it to allow you all to support the application.

Lastly, as you know Burnham week has been run until now as the Joint Clubs Committee, the JCC. It has been decided to regulate this organization into a formal limited company that is to be called ‘Burnham Week Limited’. This deals with many loose ends and allows the organisers to rest easy under the umbrella of the company, rather than a group of volunteers on behalf of the four member clubs. The work to produce the articles of the new company has been kindly undertaken by our own committee member David Osborne. I am extremely grateful that David has stepped up to produce these papers and will continue to form the company itself. In addition and hot off the press, David has also agreed to become the Company Secretary for Burnham Week Limited to keep the company’s legal and statutory affairs in order and I thank him for this as well.

There have been a few brainstorming sessions recently around the organisation of Burnham week. In this 125th Anniversary Year of the regatta there is a drive to make this a very special year and to grow the regatta with traditional sailing events, as well as encouraging more people to visit, spectate and be encouraged to take part in more diverse activities such as the Gig rowing which has proved hugely popular.

In that case Burnham Week does need your support in attendance, but also support in the form of assistance to plan, organize, market and run the event we all enjoy so much. If you feel you would be able to help in some way there are various gaps to fill so please contact myself or Jo Barker in the first instance to discuss.

There is to be a commemorative programme for the event which will require sponsorship as well as input such as historic logs and stories of voyages, racing in past years, ideas for the future. Again, please get your creative side thinking about what you might wish to contribute and let me know if you have any thoughts.

With best wishes for 2017.