General Statement.
What Have We Done So Far? What Happens Next? – AGM.
Changes to Membership and Boat Storage Fees.
Future Plans.
Concluding Statement

We hope this letter finds you safe and well. Since the lockdown the General Committee has been working hard to support members and provide access to amenities again for members. To its credit WSC has moved faster than other sailing clubs in the area in making facilities available to members whilst still following Government guidelines for Covid 19 and meeting the stringent health and safety measures required.

As I’m sure you can appreciate it has been and continues to be, no easy task. We have tried to keep you informed as best we can of changes as the crisis has developed and we will continue to do so.

Whilst producing our plans we have also considered the need to ensure the future of the Club remains as healthy as possible financially and continues to thrive as a sports, leisure and social club.

The Club’s finances are not fully covered by membership fees. They require additional income from the bar, regular and individual lettings of the clubhouse and our social events, all of which are currently on hold because of the crisis. Some income also comes from services provided to members such as boat storage and cruiser launching.

The situation has been made a little easier because we have received a Government grant of £20,000 to provide financial support in this crisis but this may not be enough to make up for the loss of income this year

You will have already received the June Newsletter with general information about what is happening in the Club but we are providing a few important additional

developments here. Full details of the amenities available for members to use are on the website.

What Have We Done So Far?

  • We have published guidance on the website for how members can use their own boats within Government guidelines.
  • We have made toilet facilities available in the Clubhouse for members.
  • We have made the club dinghies and the canoe available to members who wish to use them, with procedures in place to meet Government guidelines.

What Happens Next?

Annual General Meeting

At the General Committee meeting on Tuesday 23rd June it was agreed that :-

Following our inability to hold the AGM in March due to the lock down, now restrictions have eased, the AGM will be held as soon as possible.

Appropriate notice and time for discussion and voting on proposals will be given to confirm accounts, elect officers and change the constitution to meet issues raised by the Covid 19 crisis and some important changes arising from some out of date clauses.

There is still some work to do to develop the format and management of the AGM under current and predicted Government guidelines.

With the above in mind the GC is aiming to hold the AGM in early to mid-September.

Changes to Membership and Boat Storage Fees

Changes to Membership and Fees

Following a discussion on the loss of amenity suffered by members because of the crisis and with the support of the government grant the following changes to membership and boat storage fees have been agreed for this year.

Subject to the approval of the AGM, the membership period for this year for all members will be extended to 28th February 2021 giving members a bonus of 2 free months and the membership period thereafter will be 1st March to 28/29th February.

For this year only, to attract new members to join the Club, those joining after 1st July 2020 will receive membership until the end of the next membership period, March 2022. This facility normally applies to new members from 1st October in any year.

Changes to Moorings and Storage Fees

Mooring Holders and Cruiser Owners

This year the late launching fee for cruising boats will not be charged because of the current inability of the lifting section to launch them under Government Guidelines.

In addition, the mooring fees will only be charged for the period 1st October 2020 to 31st March – a reduction of 50% for mooring holders.

The normal winter hardstanding fee will remain in effect from 1st October 2020 to 31st March 2021 for cruising boats.

Dinghy and Canoe & Kayak owners

This year the storage fee will only be charged from 1st July 2020 to 31st March 2021 – a reduction of 25% for members storing boats on Club premises.

Donations from Members

The reductions on normal charges have been made by the General Committee based on their assessment of the loss of amenity suffered in general by members due to the crisis. If members feel their loss of amenity is less than the GC has assessed, the GC encourages them, if they wish, and are able, to consider making donations to reduce the shortfall in the Club income. If appropriate, donations can be made anonymously to support the Club.

Future Plans

Future Plans Related To The Covid19 Epidemic

The GC is committed to taking a considered and conservative approach in seeking the best guidance to safely restart social functions and organised water activities.

The next focus is to open the club bar as soon as possible and a working group is looking into the issues following the latest Government announcements which apply from 4th July. In the meantime, all access to club buildings with the exception of the clubhouse foyer and a toilet remain closed.

Next on the agenda is the use of safety boats and the resumption of social sailing and racing.

Future Plans for Club Development (Non Covid 19 Related)

Following the results of the survey of members 18 months ago the GC has been developing plans to diversify its water activities :-

  • With the rise in interest in kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding locally and an influx of new members form the former Wivenhoe Canoe and Kayak Club in May, the Sailing Secretary, Jon Scales is leading efforts to support the growth of these paddle sports in the Club.
  • It is hoped to provide a new temporary 1 year “Getting Afloat” membership to encourage new members to join the Club when Government guidelines permit.
  • In support of the “Getting Afloat” programme and diversifying water activities, the club has bought “Linnet”, a 14ft 6in rowing skiff. She is being added to the fleet of club boats available to members. Daniel Stoker, as Interim Rowing Captain is leading efforts to establish a WSC Coastal Rowing Section which includes “Linnet” being available in July for members to try out. Because of its layout and size it is hoped that this can include the ability for mixed household crews to get afloat in a socially distanced way.

For more details see the WSC website or e email Daniel at

In Conclusion :-

  • Please stay alert to the requirements for maintaining social distancing when in the car and dinghy park, rigging boats and moving to the hard.
  • Please be courteous and considerate to members of the public on the public footpath in front of the Club especially when crossing it going to and from the hard.
  • Please be aware of other members when launching and recovering boats so that safe distancing is maintained between you and others on their way up or down the hard.
  • Please read the weekly Club alerts and check the Club website regularly for details of changes and developments in opening up the Club amenities.

We will continue to monitor the Covid 19 situation as it develops and provide new club advice and guidelines based on changes to Government guidelines to steer the

Club and members as safely as possible through each change in our return to a “new normal”.

For now please review the “Safety Advice for Independent Sailing” on the website as the club is currently not able to provide safety cover for independent sailing yet so:-

All sailing will be at your own risk.

Maintaining social distancing is critical, we may have to review our activities possibly to the detriment of all our members if it is not adhered to.

The club does not want to draw adverse comment from anyone due to guidelines not being followed.

Thank you all for your continuing support for the Club in these difficult times.

Bernie Hetherington Commodore
On behalf of Wivenhoe Sailing Club General Committee

Getting Afloat Programme delayed but not forgotten

Earlier in the year WSC initiated a programme to encourage more people to enjoy life on the water, called Getting Afloat.  As Covid 19 has affected many things this year it has also delayed the introduction of this initiative.   The idea was that owning a boat is no longer essential if you want to enjoy life on the water in Wivenhoe and that Wivenhoe Sailing Club will encourage more people to try out a range of water-based activities irrespective of previous experience and to do so safely with minimal cost.

Whilst it is not possible to start this programme right now we have not forgotten it and will re introduce it as soon as we can.

To remind you the Getting Afloat on the Colne programme provides those who sign up, the opportunity to discover and experience different ways of “getting afloat” over the course of the year. The Club will provide access to canoes and kayaks, sailing dinghies, a small yacht, a motor launch and with our links to Wivenhoe Gig Rowing Clubs,  four seater Gigs, so those in the program can pick and choose which ‘craft’ to try over a number of weekends during the year, supported by the club’s experienced members.

They also get to learn more about the river, coastal wildlife, tides and personal safety. This will be during shore based sessions at WSC’s clubhouse and through a partnership with the Nottage Maritime Institute on the quay in Wivenhoe. The “Getting Afloat” programme is entirely flexible, with sessions – both water based and on land – spread throughout the year. So you need to enrol for a small fee and then pick and choose which sessions to join.

With ambitions to help get more of the community experiencing and enjoying the river, WSC were delighted to be the recipients of a £100 donation from Wivenhoe News. This has been put towards fundraising efforts for a further expansion of WSC’s club fleet – a small coastal rowing boat, specifically suited to getting people of all ages out on the water for the first time, has been identified.

So we will start this programme as soon as practicable and will ensure that members of the public are made aware when we can.

An Update from the Commodore

Dear Members

The General Committee hope you are all safe and well and not too frustrated with the difficulty and in some cases inability to go afloat.

It is a little while since we have updated you on what we are doing to steer the club through the current nightmare. The GC has met via Zoom on several occasions and in smaller groups in between to try to find ways of providing facilities for members whilst following government guidelines.  It has not been an easy task and there are still many unknowns and uncertainties which we are trying to resolve as quickly as possible.

Here is an update on guidance for members sailing independently and for the availability and use of club facilities :-

The Club has issued guidance for members sailing their own boats independently.    Click here to view or download.

Members using their own boats independently.

Members are welcome to launch their own boats from the Club hard as long as they follow government guidelines for group size and social distancing.

Members should:-

When preparing and launching their boats :-

  • Be aware that the dinghy park is accessible to both other members and the general public so there is a risk of boats being touched by strangers.
  • Carry out the hygiene arrangements they consider necessary before going afloat.
  • Prepare their boats for use as much as possible away from the hard, other members and the general public
  • Spend as little time as possible on the hard and maintain social distancing.
  • Launch their boat only when no other boat is launching.

After launching :-

  • Move away and keep away from the end of the hard as quickly as possible to allow other members to launch and not “play or hover” near the end of the hard.
  • Go afloat well prepared and use your boat with extra caution.  Please see the attached Safety Advice for Independent Sailing as mentioned above.

Coming ashore on the hard :-

  • Not approach or land on the hard when other members are launching or recovering their boat.
  • Make the boat safe to put on its launching trolley as quickly as possible
  • Remove the boat from the water and hard as quickly as possible.
  • Stow gear and wash down the boat ashore with extra care and at a distance from other members and the general public.


  • When using the pontoons moor and unmoor one by one bearing in mind the narrowness of the walkways and keeping to social distancing rules.
  • Spend as little time as necessary on the pontoon.
  • The visitors pontoon remains closed and no overnight stays permitted.

Toilets   With effect from Saturday June 6th, the clubhouse toilets will be available to use.  We are required to maintain social distancing and only one person or one household at any time is allowed.   If the toilet is occupied, please wait outside the Clubhouse until the facility becomes available.  The accessible and ladies toilets will remain locked whilst the gents is available as a unisex facility.   The toilet must not be used as a changing room at this time.

We have organised daily cleaning, but please assume that the facility may be contaminated and sanitize before and after use.  Always wash or sanitize your hands before you leave and touch as little as possible on the way out.

Please follow the guidance notices

Club Boats Club boats are now available for experienced members to use with permission of the Vice Commodore.  Covid-19 procedures and Safe Sailing procedures are in place. Please contact the Vice Commodore if you would like to book out a club boat or canoe. email

Government restrictions on social distancing and size of groups do not allow us to launch cruisers at present, but we will keep the situation continually under review and will consult when the situation changes.  For those lucky enough to be afloat and able to sail you can visit Brightlingsea Harbour and leave your boat overnight on the pontoons. You cannot stay onboard overnight on the pontoons or at anchor.

Club buildings etc.
Just to reiterate our previous advice to members with their own boats they are welcome to work on them on the Club premises as long as they follow government guidelines for group size and social distancing.  All club buildings (apart from the toilet) are still closed to members and should not be opened or entered. If members need to recover any personal items from them please contact me.

Hard Cleaning
For members wishing to help with hard cleaning, the equipment is stored in the green shed.   Please assume that it may have been used by others and wear gloves and/or other protective equipment as appropriate.

In the meantime (and it is pretty mean!) stay safe and if you want further information contact a member of the GC or myself – email or mobile Tel 07967505854

Updated 8th June 2020

Bernie Hetherington – Commodore, on behalf of the GC

Boatbuilding Competition

A competition is underway to see who can build the best boat using only one sheet of 8 x 4 plywood. The competition runs until the end of June. Dave Souch (inset) is currently in the lead with his one man (and a dog). A link to a useful website:

I’ve been planning to build a boat for several years, but with other projects round the house going on I never got round to it. Then with the announcement of the Covid-19 lockdown, and already having some materials for jobs round the house on order, everything aligned and a plan was formed.

I read back through several boat building books for ideas, and decided the Micro Mouse in Gavin Atkins “Ultrasimple Boatbuilding” was the project for me.

Gavin explains building with Chines (screwed and glued joints), and stitch and glue methods, (Mirror dinghies are traditionally built with stitch and glue). I decided to combine the two approaches; the simplicity of the chine construction appealed.

I’m pretty pleased with the resulting small craft, and while I know the colour scheme isn’t to all tastes, it was quick and easy to do and should be hard wearing in future. From first cut to completed boat was two weeks of evenings and weekends – I’m told you can build quicker but personally found that schedule ideal to give the epoxies paints and varnishes sufficient drying time between jobs.

I’ve named the boat Dunlin after the small grey wading bird, and am now looking forward to trying her out on the river, rather than just on the lawn with a confused Labrador.

Stay Safe, I look forward to seeing everyone on in the water soon! Dave Souch (Boatbuilder)

Nature Trail by Tim Denham

This year the walk took place on Sunday 2nd Feb. Despite days of rain the day dawned dry and brightish if dreadfully soggy under foot in places. Twenty+ club members and a couple of friends arrived to set off from the clubhouse at 10.00hrs.

There were a lot of apologies from regular walkers due to ops and family events but twenty was a nice number and the bird spotting was really good with excellent numbers of our winter visitors seen. Perhaps the most impressive sighting for us was the large flock of some 450+ avocets all in the air together.

We had good close-up sightings of black-tailed and bar-tailed godwits side by side, so it was nice to compare the differences and a lovely little female reed bunting hunted for seeds in the marsh plants close by us on the sea wall. The walk was the usual 2.5 mile route along the seawall, along the old railway track, up through the wood and along the edge of the field then along Cut Throat Lane to the Chase.

Just before the Chase in the horses’ field there were sightings of some 25 beautiful fieldfares. Down through the Chase and across the sodden marshes brought us back to the clubhouse. We all arrived back rather muddy and very ready to have a drink and another great hot lunch prepared by the wonderful galley crew.

Bird sightings – – all 50 species! Little grebe, Cormorant, Little egret, Grey heron, Mute swan, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Goosander, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Pheasant, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Grey plover, Lapwing Dunlin, Black-tailed godwit, Bar-tailed godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Greater black -backed gull, Feral pigeon, Stock dove, Woodpigeon, Great spotted woodpecker, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Long-tailed tit, Blue tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed bunting.

Guidance – Use of WSC premises updated 8th June 2020

Your Committee has agreed to adopt the RYA Guiding Principles

A. We will always try to follow Government advice. The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and wellbeing and to minimising pressure on frontline services.

We all have a role to play by following the Government guidelines.

B. We will, as a boating club, take a considerate and conservative approach.

Considerate: We will be mindful of the potential impact that we could have on other water users and do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services.

Conservative: We will help to minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to our boating.


Your Committee has approved the following guidance to members.

1. Members may use their own craft (canoe, rowing boat, sailing dinghy, cruiser etc) either as individuals or as a group from the same household.

2. Members may work on their boats, either as individuals or as a group from the same household.

3. Members are responsible for their own adherence to social distancing guidelines on club premises.

4. Members are responsible for their own safety and advised to take extra care when planning trips on the water (weather, tides, personal ability etc.) to minimise any call on rescue services.

5. Members are advised to take additional safety equipment on trips such as; additional clothing (in waterproof containers), food and drink, anchor & spare paddle etc.

6. Members are encouraged (either as individuals or a family group) to help with cleaning the hard. When using club equipment please assume that it may have been used by others and wear gloves and/or other protective equipment as appropriate.

7. The Club toilets are now open.  Please follow social distances rules and the Covid-19 guidance on the entrance door and placed inside the toilet.

8.  With the exception of the toilets all club buildings remain closed.

9. The club boats are now available for members to use via a booking system.  Please contact the Vice Commodore email

10. The visitors pontoon remains closed and no overnight stays permitted.

This guidance will be kept under review and changed as conditions allow.

Agreed by the General Committee June 8th 2020

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) warmly welcomes a return to the water following the Prime Minister’s announcement today [10 May 2020] during which he stated that from this Wednesday, the Government wants to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

Since the lockdown commenced, the RYA has presented a strong case for boating to be one of the first activities that can be resumed safely within the parameters for social distancing.

From Wednesday, 13 May unlimited outdoor activity will be permitted in England, and we understand that this will include all forms of boating. The Prime Minister also indicated that people would be permitted to travel to other destinations in order to exercise. Any activity will still need to be alone or with members of a single household, and social distancing must be followed at all times.

The RYA will review the Government guidance due to be published on Monday, 11 May. The guidance is expected to contain a level of detail that will enable the RYA to issue further advice and guidance for RYA Members, Affiliated Clubs and Training Centres before Wednesday, 13 May. Where there is any uncertainty within the guidelines we will seek urgent clarification.

Until we have seen the Government guidelines in detail, we cannot speculate on when Clubs and Training Centres will be able to reopen their doors. We look forward to seeing the further guidance within the Government’s three step plan.

We will continue to monitor the developing situation carefully and will keep our members, both individuals and affiliates alike, well-informed during these challenging times. Further COVID-19 advice for clubs, classes and training centres, as well as recreational boating in the UK and abroad, can be found on the RYA website.

Stay alert, stay safe

Wivenhoe-RiverCare Group photoWivenhoe RiverCare

Wivenhoe RiverCare is now based at our club from 1st May.

Wivenhoe Rivercare works with local groups, companies and individuals sharing similar aims and who wish to clean up the river, its banks and so protect and nurture the local wildlife.

Regular clean up days are held throughout the year.

With both kayaks, canoes and and river bank volunteers plastics and general waste products are removed from sections of the river.

Please contact Bruce Langley for further information.

WC&KC members join WSC

The Wivenhoe Canoe and Kayak Club will be dissolving as a club on the 24th April 2020 and members will join the Wivenhoe Sailing Club from the 1st May 2020.

WCKC was formed in 2013 bringing members together for social paddling events, monthly pub socials and kayaking trips as well as campaigning for better access to the river.

We welcome these members and look forward to a much expanded Canoe and Kayak section with both paddling and social activities.

The Wivenhoe Rivercare Group is now based at WSC and will continue to remove litter from the river and improve the environment for our local wildlife.