Chairman's 2017 Welcome

Dear Otters and Parents,

Welcome to the 2017 season! There’s been plenty happening in the ‘off season’ with a number of our Otters participating in squad sailing over the winter, in Optimists, Lasers, Cadets, and Fevas to enable them to reach their goals this summer and beyond – well done to all of them! Additionally, after the fundraising of last year, the Otter Management Committee was able to purchase a Topper Sport to encourage those non-sailing parents onto the water, as well as giving the smaller Otters the chance to have a sail in a larger dinghy. The boat entered the Icicle Race on January 1st, and came 5th, so it has speed too!

As usual we will begin the year with our Start of Season Meeting to be held on Saturday 11th March . I’m excited to tell you that we have Niki Birrell, the UK Medal winning Para Olympian sailor, to give us all a talk, and as last year, we will have Andy of Yachting Solutions on hand in the Dinghy Park to help with any rigging issues you have, replacing missing pieces of rope, or renewing fittings, so that by Saturday 18th March your boats will be ready for sailing! Tristian Hutt of Zhik (and sponsor of many Otter prizes) will also be showing their new range of junior sailing clothing and guiding us through what layers are best, and importantly, all will be available to order at a unique discounted price from Andy at Yachting Solutions…Zhik do not offer discount usually…this is a special deal for the Otters that we have arranged with Yachting Solutions.

The Start of Season Meeting will also provide an opportunity to hear from your new Otter Commodore, Harry Phelps, and to meet with the other Flag Officers for this year - Ben Barr, Vice Commodore, Colette Bacon and Scott Ellis, Rear Commodores, and Dom Moon, Secretary. The Flag Officers will also be regularly at the Club on Saturdays if you would like to raise any Otter issues with them.

At the End of Season Prize Giving I mentioned that we need as many parents to drive ribs, handle radios, and have the First Aid qualification. All are vital to the running of the Otters. For those that sail and would like to help on the water, the RYA Club Racing Coach certificate (weekend course) is ideally required. Just contact Kate Knights or Marie Kennedy at the Club office on 01621 782105 to check dates and availability to book on these courses.

I would like at this point to take this opportunity to thank Jason Phelps before he steps down as the Otter Treasurer, a position he has held for the last 5 years. Jason has done a fantastic job in what has been an exceptionally busy period of office. During this time we have managed to raise sufficient funds to purchase 3 ribs, 6 training Oppies plus sails, a new engine, two rowing boats and not forgetting the recent Topper Sport! The good news is that Jason is handing over to Tammy Fisher this spring with everything in good order, with an overlapping period to help the transition. Thank you Jason on behalf of all the Otters, and welcome aboard Tammy!

Finally a reminder that the 2017 Membership Fees are now due and I would ask that you all complete and return your renewal forms to Kate Rands, our Membership Secretary, as soon as possible before and no later than Friday 3rd March.

I hope you all have a very enjoyable sailing season, and look forward to seeing you all on the 11th March for the Start of Season Lunch (please book in with the Club), and, by way of interest, the Dinghy Show is at Alexandra Palace the weekend before, so maybe see some of you there.

Justin Waples
Chairman, on behalf of the Otter Management Committee