Essex is not short of sailing clubs. I have belonged to three of them: the Up River Yacht Club, Hullbridge Yacht Club, and the Marconi Sailing Club.
There are a several advantages in belonging to a club, and perhaps the most valuable is being able to use a club mooring, which is almost invariably cheaper than one supplied by a boatyard or a marina. Another advantage is friendship found with other members, especially those who sail similar boats to yours. For sailors who are socially minded, a club may be found that offers facilities for socializing, such as a bar and a restaurant. At certain times of the year, members may organize get-togethers; for example, a combined meal and prize-giving, or a dinner and dance evening, or a summer barbecue - even an AGM can be a bit of fun if it is creatively organised, perhaps with a video presentation of club events. A big club will require a lot of upkeep; therefore organizers will be looking for members with time on their hands to do things like painting the premises, keeping boat parks in good shape, scrubbing the slipway, laying moorings, launching and retrieving boats etc.
Last Friday I was invited by a member of the Island Sailing Club to have a look at the Club’s facilities. I was very impressed. The clubhouse has a large, well-furnished lounge and a decent bar, plus the usual changing facilities. The boat park is enormous, and there are two large mobile hoists for moving vessels with the aid of a tractor. You could not want a better slipway, which has a perfect angle of descent, being not too steep, nor yet too shallow for manoeuvring craft in and out of the water. There are many piled walkways to which yachts can be moored, facilitating access to them by foot at all states of tide. One drawback is that it is only possible for most yachts to sail in an out of the creek from two hours before high water to two hours after high water.
Despite the rather uninviting signs at the entrance to the club, and the Fort Knox appearance of the gate, I’m sure you will find a very warm welcome from members, as was my experience, last Friday. I say, thank you once again BD for being my host. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and your beautiful ‘Scruffie’.
Island Sailing Club
Up River Yacht Club
Hullbridge Yacht Club
Marconi Sailing Club