Dear Members, Supporters and Staff.
A very happy and prosperous New Year to you all. Having started 2018 with the residual effects of drought, new recruits and promotions to our sailing leadership team, and a few unplanned facilities expenditures, who would have thought we would achieve a record breaking year? With a small but perfectly formed surplus going into 2019, we can commence our long overdue programme of planned facilities upgrades, for example the changing room wet floors. We can also focus on further growth initiatives, such as building on our very successful junior and youth membership programmes. Then, new funds allowing, we will turn our attention to some club boat replacements and additions. We are ever mindful of external economic pressures on you, our members, so you will notice that we have kept membership increases to the cost of living or below this year. However, we will of course be recognising the contribution of our staff teams, who have worked so hard in achieving the brilliant successes of the 2018 season, maintaining QMSC as an industry leading club. Finally, we are encouraged by the recent survey results (to be published shortly), showing very good progress. We will be particularly focusing on all your comments, which always tell us the real story.
Thanks must go to our marvellous QM staff, volunteers and supporters:
Thank you to our wonderful Office Team led by Tony, our GM, Caroline, our Office Manager, Janet, our fabulous Sailing Secretary, and hard working Charlie. Building on previous success and using social media and emails, the Sailing School now makes the largest financial contribution to the club. This evolution is indicative of an industry moving quickly towards skills-led experiences for the younger generations. New membership, course booking and access systems have been successfully adopted, enabling us to better understand and connect with our members’ evolving needs.
Thank you to our fantastic new Sailing Principal, Paul together with our new Chief Instructors, Ben, Ross and the whole beach team, who have managed the huge summer peaks so successfully. They have handled Open meetings, all manner of Courses, including a growing number of personal 1-on1’s and of course the Summer School totalling 656 youngsters and hosting over 100 a day in the last week of the summer holidays. Stay tuned for many new courses and event offerings planned for 2019 and beyond.
Next, our dedicated and heroic Race Officers without whom there would be no racing at all: led by Principal Race Officer, Andrew and Sailing Committee Chair, Bob, thank you ROs and Rules Advisors; having worked with you, I can say you are a very impressive team close up. In any weather conditions, high pressure management situations and fast moving complexity, it’s all managed with aplomb.
Thank you to our eleven volunteer Council Members for services and advice rendered. Very special thanks to our new Hon Treasurer David. This year David has spent many complex volunteer hours working with our Bookkeeper, Petra, together with Tony and our accountants. This work is vital in supporting our ambitious future plans and prosperity, as QMSC evolves more towards a Sail Sports Club every year.
Thank you to our Bosun Wayne, with Adam and Kevin, our heavy engineering crew, who successfully kept our new boilers and pumps, lifts and pontoons, working almost to the end of the season, water levels aside, whilst building bespoke new additions, such as our splendid new podium which will be seen at the 45th Bloody Mary this Saturday.
Our volunteer-led Saturday Club has gone from strength to strength, with competitive and relaxed racing and cruising, and as a very successful social club per se. Events include trips to Weymouth and the Greek Islands sailing holiday, both with Saturday Club sailors racing at the front of the fleets I might add, together with cycling, walking etc. The Saturday Club Circus is always moving on to new challenges. So this year there is mention of adding skiing, that’s snow not water, why not!
Thanks from everyone involved to our dedicated band of 20 or so Sailability Supporters, who turn out every Thursday and allow six special needs schools and many disabled adults to enjoy both cruising and racing on the east lake. This typically involves 75 students, carers, supporters and adult sailors every week. Sailability, under the guidance of Andrew, has continued to evolve into a slick highly professional organisation. This year, safety upgrades of boats and equipment, led by Ray, have been a major focus and a source of renewed confidence.
Finally, huge thanks to Blue Wave, our wonderful Catering staff led by Debbie, Tracy and Sue, who have managed the summer peaks and introduction of new menus, and new technologies, with calmness and good humour. Your kind words in the recent survey are much appreciated by the team, scoring their best ‘overall level of service’ in recent years, well done to them.
Sailing successes and our fleet achievements:
Lasers: Mark Lyttle (Olympian 1996) this year WON the Masters Nationals and Masters Worlds and QMSC also WON the Club Trophy too. Mike Hicks 2nd – Great Grand Master. These are stunning examples of QMSC Laser sailing excellence. The Laser class is in great shape thanks to Fleet Captain Tony Woods’ focus and enthusiasm.
RS400: 1st May Salcombe Race, with 3x2nds the honours went to our own Howie and Lou. Also, 2nd for Howie and Lou at the Eurocup in Carnac and 8th at the Weymouth nationals. Great work, Fleet Captain Jules, success in 2019.
National Schools Sailing Association Regatta: Held at DWSC, the QMSC Topper fleet arrived and swiftly achieved 7 of the top 11 places by the end of the week, exceeding everyone’s expectations. Racing excellence is integral to all our QM fleets, including our junior sailors.
Flying WindSurf Techno fleet: Junior: Iona Shefford, aged 11, WON 4.5 m Techno fleet and Will Ziegler WON the 5.8 m Techno fleet at the Eric Twiname Champs in Rutland.
WindSurf Techno fleets Worlds: Held in Latvia. Millie Searle came 12th as a Junior Female in Techno 293, EJ (Emily Jane) Eldred 13th as a Youth Female too. QMSC gets everywhere.
The Royal Thames Yacht Club: RTYC ran the week long J80 Historic Cumberland Cup here at QMSC. RTYC Commodore, HRH Duke of York also presented QMSC long service awards to John Hobbs Mallyon and Paul Schroeder. HRH’s visit was relaxed, and much appreciated.
Another great success at QM when over 170 youngsters of all ages from more than 40 sailing clubs across London and the South East enjoyed a weekend of sailing fun at the RYA’s 1st Regional Junior Championships.
In memory of Martin:
Martin Pride was an accomplished Sailor and a dedicated supporter of Queen Mary Sailing Club over the years. Martin was very competitive and, whilst always racing to win, would make sure good seamanship and a sense of fun always prevailed. Most recently Martin turned his attention to becoming QM Rear Commodore in 2003 and then served as Vice Commodore in 2007.
To conclude, our raucous Fun Race and Christmas party at the end of 2018 was a great way to round off a fabulous and memorable 2018. The restoration of the Commodore’s table for visiting past club heroes, luminaries and dignitaries seemed to work well too. Thanks must go to Bryan Willis and Chris Simon: their recollections of the start of Queen Mary Sailing Club and past America’s Cup glories were both informative and humbling.
In 2019, we are planning even more exciting events and we have already kick-started the season with the mighty 45th Bloody Mary pursuit race last Saturday. The prestigious Bloody Mary is never for the faint hearted, force three winds, gusting four and building to five later, certainly tested skills of sailors towards race end. Well over 300 national and international sailors in 242 boats, representing 56 classes, from 98 clubs went all out to win. To everyone’s astonishment young Monique Vennis-Ozanne in a 29er, along with her crew John Mather just held off a marauding 49er by around 30 metres to win. Monique is not only the first female winner, but also the first junior to win the Bloody Mary in all its illustrious history, a stunning achievement!
Richard Steele – Commodore – Queen Mary Sailing Club