What a year!
As we approach the end of 2020 it is difficult to remember the normality we enjoyed at the start of it.
We kicked off 2020 with arm wrestling rather than sailing with Bosun Dan Earthquake organising the first Udezumou event of its kind in the UK. There were no security issues at the club on that day!
At the 3rd attempt of the season we managed to get a Bartley Bear sprint racing event on the water with strong or no wind hampering the previous two.
At the end of January the clubhouse was packed with friends and family for an informative talk on the reservoir by Severn Trent.
After a few months of discussions with various providers Andrew Simpson Foundation signed up as the training provider for Bartley on 10th Feb. In 2021 all of our training will be coordinated through the Andrew Simpson Centre (ASC) manager Benn Freeman.
February bought us storm after storm with the next Bartley Bear forcing the laser fleet to drop a sail size to handle the conditions, followed by storm Jorge a few weeks later with some epic photos of sailing on the day.
In March we welcomed Steve Watson back for another talk on the sailing rules and held the Winter end of series regatta and working party to add more gravel to the dinghy park. Thanks to all who helped.
On March 15th we held Topper class winter training run by the International Topper Class Association (ITCA) with participants travelling form Wales and the home counties.
And then… the most used words of the year appeared 'unprecedented' and 'Covid-19' and the club went into lockdown and we retreated to our homes. But that wasn't the end of it – the club quickly moved the reservoir to our computer screens with new friendships (and rivalries) developed on the virtual racecourse. We also enjoyed 'a photo a day' to remind us of happier times on the water.
The club used the time to get some jobs booked in; specifically, the gents changing room floor, the disabled toilet (which those of us who don't use it hadn't realised what a state it was in), and repairs to the pontoons which were both in an unsafe condition due to storm damage over the winter.
We also had to deal with a fly tipper…twice! Thankfully the culprit seems to have ceased littering our grounds.
As VE day celebrations came and went we were back on the water for 'recreational sailing' and buying food from Tilly's using a new contactless system! Risk assessments and one-way systems became the norm as we enjoyed seeing our friends again at a 2m distance and 6 at a time!
At this time some smaller craft joined us as the Bournville Radio Boaters could not sail on home waters and joined us to sail their smaller (but no less tactical) craft on the reservoir. It has been great to see them and a lot of fun to watch.
SUP also grew from strength to strength as more people visited the club during the months that exercise was constrained to outdoors only.
With no open meetings or holidays abroad, the club enjoyed bumper participation in all disciplines over the Summer with some fantastic days for sailing and windsurfing. The WhatsApp group became the way to communicate with a few 'specialist' groups also popping up (Youth, Windsurf, Novice improvers), and Facebook had all the photos of members enjoying the weather and sport to the full (thanks to all our photographers and to Jennifer for posting them). We had more enquiries and new members than ever during this time and it has been great to welcome so many new faces to the club over recent months.
In August Andrew Simpson Centre Birmingham finally came off furlough and onto the water with a weekend of foiling that was great fun for the participants. The UK Laser class association also got one of the few Nationals off the ground with Josh and Megan participating in Weymouth for Bartley.
In September we managed to hold the AGM (at last!), Barts Bash, a Merlin Open meeting, and UKLA and ASF Laser youth training. The Autumn series marked an end to recreational sailing and the start of organised racing again, and our friends from Trimpley SC joined us for an away day. Sadly, September also saw the passing of Derek Campbell, a former Commodore and club regular who will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
October continued the training theme with Toppers training once again at Bartley, and Optimists and Windsurfers also enjoying their performance coaching with ASC Birmingham. Maintenance activity continued with a fresh coat of paint for the flagpole. The Toppers enjoyed the windiest Open meeting in history and then we were back into lockdown.
November went back on-line with some pop-up VR Inshore races and a fun quiz before opening with a bang with UKLA and ASC Birmingham Laser youth training and the end of series regatta in December.
Who knows what 2021 will bring? We hope that we can start to open more extensively and that Andrew Simpson Centre Birmingham can really take off, we hope that the competition circuit can open up again, we hope the new racing rules of sailing don't cause us any headaches, we hope the clubhouse can open fully so our social scene can reinvigorate, we hope the vaccination programme enables all of the above as swiftly as possible, and most of all we hope that 2021 is a happy and healthy one for all our members.
Thanks to the army of helpers at the club who make all of the above happen, we really wouldn't have the vibrant club that we all enjoy without you.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!