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Work Parties and Storm Eunice at Blackwater Sailing Club

by Christine Brown 26 Feb 10:42 GMT
Aftermath of Storm Eunice at Blackwater Sailing Club © Zoe Nelson

February often brings us the worst of winter. At Blackwater Sailing Club traditionally this month is a time when no racing is scheduled. The opportunity is taken to carry out maintenance on the race marks that have been brought ashore, ensuring that they are kept in good condition.

This time they have all had nice new labels attached; this greatly helps anyone racing. Also, they are very useful for anyone else navigating our waters; its always reassuring to see a familiar landmark and in recent times there has been a huge increase in river activity with paddleboarding particularly becoming more popular.

Our sailing committee has been busy revising the race courses. This has been done to accommodate the increasing range of craft that regularly race at the club. Short course races have also been introduced in recent years and these are very popular with many members.

At the beginning of the month we held one of our regular winter work parties. Word must have spread about the tasty jacket potatoes on offer for lunch.. At 9am on a Sunday morning the heavens opened, the wind was howling. Despite this horrendous weather there was a great turnout with over 70 members helping on the day. There was a team of busy bees deep cleaning the main galley, and another group preparing the lunch in the members galley.

Meanwhile, others were battling against the elements outside. Trailers were moved to enable grass cutting, and these were then neatly lined up like soldiers. Hedges were trimmed, the members workshop was cleaned and tidied. The dinghy park was tidied up; dinghy access at the training lake was improved. All this and many more jobs that members quietly get on with. The BSC self help ethos enables the club to run like a well-oiled machine.

The day coincided with Accession Day, 6th February. This year marked 70 years since The Queen acceded to the throne on the death of her father, King George VI. At lunchtime the Commodore proposed a toast to Her Majesty and we look forward to celebrating her Platinum Jubilee in June.

And then along came Storm Eunice. Winds at the club reached 85 miles per hour. Flood alerts were in place along the Blackwater but the sea wall was not breached. This was probably due to the wind coming from the South West, which was very kind to us.

It was a very different story a few days later as the pictures show. Due to high winds from the North East and a Spring tide, the River Blackwater was again on flood alert. The Environment Agency flood gates were breached and the footpath became impassable.

There is a feeling of Spring in the air now. Racing will resume, cruisers will be launched and a new season of sailing begins. If you would like to visit the club with a view to joining then please contact our membership secretary by emailing

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