Following a review of sailing activity over the last couple of seasons the Management Team and Trustees have decided to change the mix of sailing boats provided for the use of our members.
We are therefore pleased to announce that following trials with sample sailors and volunteers and discussions with Queen Mary Sailability we have purchased a Drascombe Long Boat (see picture below) which we plan to fit with central wheel steering. This will provide an excellent boat for cruising the river Dart capable of taking a large group of sailors and offering the facility for sailors who may have difficulty with tiller steering to sail a boat with a larger group than they can in a Hansa. It will also provide a very stable platform for teaching sailing and can, if needed, also provide an additional power boat for trips on the river if there is no wind or a large demand. See Juliet’s assessment below:-
On Saturday afternoon, myself, Anna C, Ian W, and Roger M took Dolly's brothers Drascombe Lugger out for a trial sail on the Dart in view of the possibility of the club buying one .
As both a sailor and a Trustee, I would like to pass on my viewpoints from both positions.
The Drascombe Lugger can take up to six people and in a similar way to the Hawk can take people on jollies whereby they can either take part as a crew member adjusting sails, being a look out or helming, or just sitting back and enjoying the ride.
It is a smoother, more gentle boat to sail than the Hawk and feels much more stable.
The sails are easy to rig ...with no boom, the main sail winds up vertically and ties to the mast.
It is a very sociable boat and could easily be taken upstream with a picnic lunch and lashings of ginger beer in a relaxed Swallows and Amazons kind of manner!
The outboard motor would allow it to be used in socials like the annual Malsters Arms evening event or in similar ways to the Nab.
It can be adapted with removable bucket type seats for people with less lower body stability. This would need to be discussed with individuals who were in this bracket.
It can have a central steering wheel fitted instead of a tiller so that more sailors with varying disabilities have the opportunity to helm. This has apparently proved very successful at other Sailability clubs.
I think it would be a new experience boat for the club at this point in time. As the Sonars are not a viable option at present with the changes at Noss/mobility levels of those who are keen racers, and as we are planning on getting another Hawk so that people who still want to race can do so, it seems to me like the Drascombe Lugger or the slightly larger Drascombe Longboat (which takes up to eight people), would allow for a gentle, safe, relaxed and enjoyable time on the water which many sailors would benefit from. For myself from a personal perspective, on days when I am experiencing more physical pain or tiredness, I would be more inclined to come sailing rather than not if I knew I could go out on a boat like either of the Drascombes.
So overall, I think it would be money well spent for the foreseeable future of Dart Sailability. I am aware that we need to be mindful of costs we will most likely incur with mooring fees once the new Premier evolves, however I am also aware that if we have too much money in the pot, it can also become a negative asset when applying for funding.
I therefore favour going forward with a Drascombe ...and would suggest the Longboat as there is more space and leg room for the steering wheel option and it would increase the number of sailors that can enjoy this boat at any one time.
In view of the recent lack of use of the Sonars due to problems with access to the hoist and limited interest we have reluctantly sold our Sonars. We are pleased to report that they were bought by Sussex Sailability to add to their fleet so they will continue to provide opportunities for disabled sailors.
Following the sale of the Sonars we have re-evaluated the use of the Hawk and will be using it for racing in the Royal Dart Wednesday evening series if there is sufficient interest from crews. We will accompany the Hawk with a Support Boat when outside the Castles and will be asking for volunteers to man the Support Boat. This will also give volunteers experience of handling a boat in open waters which will help develop power boat handing skills. We are also looking at the possibility of borrowing or purchasing another Hawk to expand our capacity and potentially offer match racing.
Looking at providing further sailing opportunities we are arranging a trial of an RS Venture dinghy (see picture). Watch out for notice of opportunities to join the trials. There are a number of questions with such a boat, including storage, but it could offer a different type of sailing experience for members as it is a relatively high performance boat with an asymmetric spinnaker and could be raced in dinghy events at Dittisham.
Exciting and interesting times with new sailing opportunities for our members. If you have any questions please speak to Ian, Anna, Bob or Neil