by: Peta Stuart-Hunt
The Hamble-based Royal Southern Yacht Club continues to develop and implement opportunities to get people onto the water and using their boats. The Club held a Seminar last September entitled ‘Where have all the dayboats gone?’ from which has stemmed a host of practical initiatives covering both dayboats and IRC that will appeal to many existing and new members. The results from the dayboat seminar, combined with other surveys and research undertaken by the RORC Rating Office and the SB20 Class, confirm that owners and their crews are suffering from not just a shortage of money but also from a shortage of time.
Sailors have families too!
As the Club’s Rear Commodore Sailing, Karen Henderson-Williams , affirms, “Racing has to offer better value and recognise that sailors have families too. Sailors are also starting to tire of the ubiquitous Windward/leeward courses and are looking for more variety.”
The Club has responded with a series of initiatives that will go some way to addressing these issues. Regatta fees have been frozen, new ‘early bird’ discounts introduced and some berthing fees have been reduced. Races will be offered for IRC, J/80, SB20, XODs, Club Class for cruisers and a new dayboat handicap class, plus individual Class Championships such as J/109s and X-Yachts. New short course racing will start and finish at the end of the River Hamble. These races will take place on Friday evenings, and as a trial, Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. They will be free to members and just £10 to non-Members. Once the Sailing Committee has analysed the entries, they will do more of the same to encourage people to just turn up and go sailing.
Simple, user-friendly, joined up thinking
‘Club Class’ is being rejuvenated by making it much more user-friendly, and by adopting the RYA’s new National Handicap for Cruisers being developed in association with the RORC Rating Office. This will also be used to start a new dayboat handicap class designed to give other classes e.g. the 707s and 1720s a way back on to the race course.
The Royal Southern has also negotiated with the Harbour Master for an eight-week pontoon berth at half price for boats entering Hamble Club races. With the IRC Classes, the new Limited Validity (LV) IRC TCCs will also be accepted. These enable a boat to get an IRC rating for a single event at a reduced cost to encourage owners to try IRC.
Further detail on the RORC Rating Limited Validity TCC can be found at www.rorcrating.com/lv-tcc
The Club’s four Monthly Regattas continue and the 51st Cowes-Deauville Race continues to lead the passage race series.
The cruisers have not been forgotten as the Club will add a cruise in company to Benodet for Bastille Day and other warm water cruises to its popular Solent based programme.
All of these changes are designed to get more boats on the water and give owners more sailing opportunities, which adds up to more value.
XODs racing in the 175 Regatta in 2012. Photo: Michael Austen
Prior to the start of the sailing season, the Club’s International and National Race Officers are getting together to agree a common approach to the Club’s race management so that competitors know what to expect, and the Club’s own race officers and mark layers have training days.
International Judge, Philip Gage, is running a seminar at the Club open to everyone on 15 March on the new ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing covering the changes made following the Olympic cycle. On 16th March the renowned Jim Saltonstall is holding a coaching day afloat and ashore at the Club.
On 6 April, the Saturday after Easter, the Royal Southern Yacht Club will be joining in the River Hamble Combined Clubs’ Open Day, a fabulous family day on and off the water. To encourage new members, there’s a temporary waiver of the usual Club membership joining fee for the Open Day.