Up River News – April 2020

Hi URYC members

I don’t have much news regarding sailing or social functions at the moment, but there’s still a lot happening, and I thought you might like to know about it.

Dennis Haggerty Commodore Up River Yacht Club

Thank you
I would like to say thank you to several members who have been using their daily exercise to walk via the yacht club to keep and eye on the premises and members boats. Special thanks go to Ben Harris for quietening several boats with slapping halyards following reports I received from other members that suggested halyards/lashings had come adrift in recent high winds.

Also, I would say the club as a whole is most grateful for Terry Bagley transporting a professional mower to the club and cutting ALL of the grass. This has done us a huge favour as lock down has prevented several of our members who regularly use club mowers (Gerry and Mick Groombridge come to mind and I’m sure I’ve missed someone else) from attending the club.

Helping hand
I know of several members who have been helping out other members who are self isolating. I won’t embarrass anyone by mentioning names, however I know from the members concerned that these offers of help were highly appreciated.

Business as usual (almost)

Despite ‘nothing happening’ your Exec have been busy representing the interests of members with the Crouch Harbour Authority. For example urgently requesting members return their unneeded CHA (river licence) plaques, so members would not be charged for plaques they don’t (yet?) need.

A right telling off…

Don’t be tempted

The CHA’s Notice to Mariners 10 has effectively closed the river. Canoeists were told to go ashore and go home by the Border Force who were patrolling the Crouch just this week. So if you are thinking of sneaking down to the club for a cheeky sail – please think again.

Launch and recovery

If only…

As reported last month, it is impossible to maintain social distancing whilst using the club kit to launch cruisers (specifically due to the chain winches). However, should the lock down be lifted (but social distancing remain in force), anyone with their dinghy/boat on its own launching trolley/trailer would be able to launch (with difficultly but its do-able) and maintain 2 metres between members attending.

As you can imagine this has huge implications for the majority of our cruiser owners with boats laid up at URYC.

Exec meeting on Skype

Exec meeting on Skype

The club Exec held our first virtual monthly meeting on Wednesday. We had several hilarious examples of Pensioners v Technology, and yours truly failed to make matters any better. However we did hold a successful meeting. I will circulate the minutes as soon as I get them.

Members say

I have spent some time ringing most of our cruiser members with moorings at Hullbridge. Firstly to ask after their health (and I’m pleased to say I found everyone well and in good spirits) and secondly about their personal views regarding launching this year. Many were happy that they would not be wasting their river license (CHA Plaque) and had already returned their’s to Dave Willsmore.

Opinion was divided regarding the prospects for launching. There were a minority (including me) who are optimistic we will get afloat somehow, even if we need to stay on our moorings this winter. However, I must tell you that the majority felt social distancing/self isolation/shielding will continue, particularly for people over age 70. This will mean, even if Government restrictions are lifted, it may be too late to launch this season.

Counting the cost

We have ‘done the math’ and even with almost all members maintaining their membership of the club (thanks for having faith in our future) we are taking a big hit in terms of lost income. Not running Push The Boat Out and losing anticipated income from new members joining being most significant. We have built quite a reputation in recent years and we have attracted new dinghy sailors and cruiser owners. We have grown our membership at the same time as other clubs are contracting. Unfortunately, by necessity, this growth has has been ‘put on ice’ and it will take a lot to get it going again.

Up River Yacht Club is very fortunate as we own all of our land and buildings (we are not paying a mortgage) and most importantly, we have always maintained a strong balance sheet. We never spend a penny we don’t already have in the bank. therefore we can confidently weather the anticipated financial impact of Covid-19.

With due regard to most members being forced to lay up their boats, especially since the CHA closed down the river, we have waived the usual summer lay up fee for those members ready/intending to launch.

I am also extremely pleased to report, following representations from our Treasurer Alan Parker, the Council have waived our council tax for this year. This is worth £500 a month to the club so this is making up for the shortfall in our revenue. Which is very good news for our club and ultimately the fees our members pay to keep our club afloat.

Racing on line

Check out virtual reality racing

Marcus organised a virtual reality race on line – worth checking out if dinghy racers especially are up for this?

Keeping in touch

Your Exec have had a bit of welcome fun using Skype in a group video call. Skype is not the best, but unlike Zoom free accounts, you are not limited to a maximum of 40 minutes for a group call.

I found both Zoom and Skype work really well for up to 5 people simultaneously. For bigger groups (up to 50 on Skype but I wouldn’t like to try it with that number!) its a little more haphazard in terms of the display as Skype try’s to show the person speaking. We used a variety of kit, PC’s, laptops, ipad and phones and the call proved reliable and the sound quality pretty good too.

I would recommend some members get together and try a Skype or Zoom group video calls. They are well worth doing and a good morale booster.

Fair winds and keep well.