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Principal's Newsletter


Spring arrived early, then went away before returning for Easter. Who knows what conditions will be like for our first sailing session on 4 May. We will be starting at 1400 and plan a get together for tea and cake afterwards. I am looking forward to seeing everybody out on the water and meeting with you afterwards. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us.

Whatever the weather a dedicated band of volunteers have spent much of the winter cleaning, antifouling and refitting the boats. So it is nearly time for the start of the new season. In this newsletter I will try to bring everybody up to date on what has been happening over the winter and what is planned for the new season.

But first a vote of thanks to all those who have helped out with maintenance over the winter. I will not list names as I am sure to forget somebody. You all know who you are. Be assured that your efforts in the cold and wet, to ensure that everything is ready for us all to enjoy time on the river, are very much appreciated.

I should also introduce myself to those members I have yet to meet. At the end of last season, I was invited to take on the role of Principal. I have been dinghy sailing since I was about 8 and have been an instructor for many years. My wife Cherry and I moved to the area last year after I took semi-retirement. Please bear with me as I get to know you all and how things work at Dart Sailability and please do not hesitate to introduce yourselves and let me have any thoughts you have on how the club is operating or could improve.

For this season Anna has arranged an interesting programme with a variety of trips in addition to the normal sailing programme. Please look at the programme on he website as the tides mean that we have had to vary start times on different days. We have also found that the river is silting up near our moorings so we will have to be prompt getting afloat and getting back in on some days. On those days please arrive early for a prompt start and do understand when you are asked to come in when you are having a lovely sail.

Another addition to the programme this year is social get togethers after sailing. These have been introduced in response to suggestions at last year’s brainstorming. The idea is that we all plan to have lunch or tea together, chat about the session etc. We hope that this will also provide a good opportunity to share thoughts and ideas on how we can improve how we operate and the opportunities that are available Check the programme and bring your picnic.

Another change for this season is that we will be racing the Hawk at Dittisham Sailing Club on various week day evenings. Check the programme for dates. We have chosen this rather than Sonar racing at RDYC because of the lack of access for Sonars to the hoist. We have purchased a new hoist and are waiting for the harbour master to install it on the visitors pontoon. This will give easier hoist access for the Sonars and hopefully allow us to enter later RDYC Wednesday series and the Regatta.

As you will all be aware Premier have started developing Noss Marina. As a result, our hut has been moved alongside the container. We are erecting a roof between the two to provide us with a sheltered area for socialising and greeting visiting groups. This will give us a permanent location during the works over the next couple of years until Premier have built the planned commercial units and we have hopefully secured one as our permanent base. However, it does mean that we will have to be a lot more organised in getting ready for sailing and packing away as there will be no quick popping to the hut to fetch things. As you will have seen on the web site there has been a lot of thinking about how to arrange things. We have bought and pre-packed trollies and had a number of practice runs.

What this does mean is that volunteers will need to arrive at least an hour before start time to move the kit to our normal meeting place by the picnic benches. When you get to the meeting area please check in with the OOD so that he/she knows who is there and can work out allocation of roles.

For sailors we will continue to meet by the picnic benches.

The development at Noss will also create other problems through the year. Please watch for notices on the web site and watch out for works vehicles and obey any directions. We will initially be parking on the right just after the gate but do watch for notices. Disabled parking remains by the ramp to the pontoon. In case of problems Premier have asked that we all display a membership card on the dashboard so that they can find you if there is a problem with your car. There is a print facility on Mojo when you renew your membership. Please comply with this request. Premier are being very helpful and accommodating so it we should do our best to make their life easy.

One thing that we have been asked to do is to make sure that we keep the entrance to the ramp and pontoons clear for other users. We now have a new system for controlling wheel chairs on the ramp which will speed up the process. The team on the ramp will connect a strop to the wheel chair and then call you forward to the top of the ramp.

We recognise that the access to the hut and container is rather rough and unsuitable for some wheel chairs. Premier have promised to try to put in a suitable path. Please bear with us until it is completed. I am sure that people will be happy to help. Whilst a social by the hut will give us access to the tea urn and allow those packing kit away to mix in, we may need to find ways to move sufficient tea to the picnic benches if wheel chair access is too difficult. We do have permission for disabled drivers to park by the container.

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