The slipway was finally opened this week for recreational sailing use by members and one of the first families to take advantage of the reopening and widened slip for the first time were the Calvin family.
Neil has been instrumental in the resurgence of dinghy sailing in the club after returning home from university and initially getting a fleet of Lasers on the water, which has progressed into the RS 400 fleet.
He has also been involved in assisting the Club obtain the vital planning permission for the widened slip.
As a junior sailor Neil was one of the team of junior sailors who completed the challenge to sail an optimist dinghy across the North Channel to Scotland and actively sailed Mirror dinghies before progressing into Lasers. It was good therefore to see him along with his children, junior members Emily and Ollie take to the water not in the RS 400 but their newly acquired Pico recently purchased from the club fleet to make way for our new RS Qubas.
During the 1980’s Neil’s father and mother Ray and Maggie who were for many years responsible for junior training at the club, sailed a yellow Ruffian 23 called Bounder for a number of years before progressing to much larger yachts and many sailing adventures abroad.
Emily and Ollie have named their yellow Pico ” Little Bounder” in memory of their grand parents boat and took to the water wearing Ray and Maggie’s “Bounder” caps from the original boat.
The Calvin’s were quickly followed on to the water on Saturday afternoon by the MacFarlane family who decided to wait until there was a full tide and a strong southerly wind head on to the slip. No balmy evenings for them!
Frank, like Neil started life as a junior sailor in the club and progressed through the junior training programme and various boats into Lasers and eventually his own RS400.
Frank has also been actively involved in assisting the Club achieve the slipway improvement and as an Environmental Engineer prepared the essential Environmental Management Plan for the works to support the planning application and importantly obtained the necessary Marine License to allow the works to proceed and has been invaluable in the slipway development.
Frank’s boat of choice for the first launch off the slip was not his RS400 but again the Pico and whilst he worked out his plan for tacking off the slip dispatched his children junior members Ana and Matthew to clear the seaweed for him!
Frank successfully completed a full tack out off the slip in a strong headwind something which would have been impossible off the original slip, particularly for the conditions encountered on Saturday.
Frank, Ana and Matthew enjoyed a great sail in the harbour reminding us all of the benefit of this facility for training and sailing on those unfavorable days.
Hopefully as restrictions ease we will see not only the Calvin’s and MacFarlane’s but many other families and individuals take advantage of the improved slip and get on the water over the summer months while we all look forward to full activity returning and hopefully an official opening event.