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60th celebrations at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Christian Hill 6 Sep 07:15 BST 4-5 September 2021
60th celebrations at Fishers Green Sailing Club © Claire Chown

Two days of sailing and games on and off shore were held to mark the celebrations of 60 years of the beautiful Fishers Green Sailing Club.

It may be a small disused gravel pit, with fickle winds and various shallows, but it has been built on love and family feel, with a warm welcome to visitors, for 60 years. Various locations and clubhouses have come and gone until we settled on Holyfield Lake, the present clubhouse being entirely built by the club members at the time.

Saturday

The celebrations started with a 36 boat pursuit race for the newly presented 'Conroy trophy', the Conroy name being involved with the club for well over 50 years, this will now be added to one of the big ones to win on the club calendar.

The revitalized Topper section got the 90 minute race under way. There were 15 different class of boats involved and the spectators, made up of members past and present, were treated to a great race. The fairy tale was nearly written as Steve Conroy (solo 5328) took the lead, only to be pipped at the post by the vintage Merlin, with a rich history at the Green, Cream Cracker(2997) sailed by Christian Hill/Clive Gladwin.

As ever at the Green everyone was treated to a superb lunch, and later in afternoon, tea created by Jane O Brien and Sandra Williams and everyone also had a chance to chat to members of the Model boat section and admire their impressive display.

Step forward Fishers Greens resident compère, straight from his race win, now into game show apparel to announce inflatable racing, Topper tug of war, egg throwing, obstacle course challenge, VR headsets, musical chairs and children's treasure hunt. Great family fun with enough action to work up an appetite for a monster BBQ produced by Christian Hill and Genevieve Braas.

As the sun was a setting, a toast was made by commodore Kevin O'Brien. VIP former members and current members and their families and friends raised their glasses which was the signal for the epic, outstanding, amazing (unfortunately my words can't do it justice) light/firework/music show which could have graced any opening ceremony. This awesome display was engineered by new members Karl Moss and Matt Stolton who are also the driving force behind the resurgent windsurfing fleet. Finally 3 kegs of beer, from the New River Brewery, ensured that a good night was had by all.

Sunday

3 Menagerie fleet races took place, the emphasis being on involvement, with new crew pairings all over the fleet. Competitors were blessed with a pleasant force 2 northerly, which gave everyone room to race. New member Tony Cooper (Laser) sailed two flawless races to take the win. Two stalwarts of the club, Paul Rayson (Solo 5181) and Godfrey Clarke (Solo 4807) took 2nd and 3rd places respectively and Matteo Mancini, crewed by Nick Yannakoyorgos in the vintage Merlin Shogun (3055) was the first U/18 junior helm.

Mo Allen led the sunset paddle safari to explore parts of the lake inaccessible to boats. Craft included SUP's, Toppers, kayaks, and windsurfer boards, if it could be paddled it was, just another way the club has grown over the last 60 years to include recreational paddling.

The staple meal of any sailing club is the chilli con carne, this time created beautifully by Genevieve Lappage. As the sun set, with a few pints still left in the kegs, the annual prize-giving from 2020 was finally held, and club champion Graham Sexton (Streaker 2126) was crowned.

A great weekend of sailing and fun was had by all. Old film and photos were brought into the digital age, past members were remembered fondly and new memories combined with the old ones. Here is to the next 60 years with a bright future.

Too many 'thank you's to mention individually. Club Secretary Vicky Hill was the driving force behind the scenes, writing lists and thinking of everything, who co-ordinated the 40+ team of members who all contributed to the success of the weekend.

Thank you to everyone who turned up to make it such a special occasion.

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