MEMORIES AND A SHORT HISTORY OF
BROADSTAIRS SAILING CLUB
FOR THE 60 YEARS FROM 1935
Broadstairs Sailing Club was first conceived in September 1935 when Harry Arthur Dipple met and discussed the question with Archibald Robert Boult, and his two sons Stewart and David Boult. Further meetings were held on 5th January 1936, and 30th May, 1936, and the Officers of the Club were appointed. Some racing took place in the summer of 1936, but it was not until 1937 that racing really got underway and a programme organised. By then Mr. Dipple had arranged the purchase of five one-class boats, which were built by Coopers of Conyer. They were 14 ft. open boats of Bermudan rig and had a very good performance, We also had about eight handicap boats, ranging from a 27 ft Naval Whaler ‘WANDERER’ ketch rigged and owned by Jim Cole, Terry Wooster and George Bailey, and a number of open 10 ft and 12 ft. dinghies, mostly gunter and gaff rigged. ‘FREELANCE’ was owned by Geoff Miskin, and later Jim Cole. ‘ALERT’ was owned by Jack Croom.
My own boat was ‘MITZI’ which I bought for £10 from Len Warner, Jim Cole and Charlie Goodwin, and I also had two partners, one of which was Janet Humphrey whose father, after the war, became Rear, then Vice Commodore. At that time the majority of boats had no buoyancy and, of course, no self-bailers; crews virtually never wore life jackets if they could swim, and we did not have safety boats. Beating to windward in a breeze, the open boats continually scooped up the sea, and in these conditions the crews chief function was to bail the water out. ‘MITZI’ which was 14 ft long, gunter rigged and three-quarter decked, sailed very well, and we raced it with some success until it met its end late in 1938, when it broke away from its moorings in Broadstairs Harbour and was virtually wrecked.
|1.08||May 12||Royal Temple Y.C. Coronation Race, 14 ft|
|5.58||„ 16-17||3.0||1st and 2nd Points Race|
|11.33||„ 23||11.0||3rd Points Race|
|3.30||„ 30||3.0||4th Points Race|
|7.11||June 3||5.0||1st Spoon Race|
|10.6||„ 6||Visit from MARGATE Y.C. Team Race.|
|3.50||„ 13||3.0||5th Points Race|
|5.31||„ 17||5.0||2nd Spoon Race|
|10.20||„ 20||11.0||6th Points Race|
|2.7||„ 26||3.0||3rd Spoon Race|
|2.40||„ 27||3.0||7th Points Race|
|8.30||July 4||11.0||8th Points Race|
|2.50||„ 11||3.0||9th Points Race|
|5.37||„ 15||5.0||4th Spoon Race|
|8.30||„ 18||11.0||10th Points Race|
|1.49||„ 25||11.0||11th Points Race|
|6.0||„ 31||3.0||5th Spoon Race|
|6.45||Aug. 1-2||CLUB REGATTA|
|1.49||„ 8||11.0||12th Points Race|
|4.12||„ 12||BROADSTAIRS REGATTA|
|0.0||„ 19-20-21||ROYAL TEMPLE Y.C. REGATTA|
|6.53||Aug. 22||3.0||13th Points Race|
|4.0||„ 26-28||MARGATE Y.C. REGATTA|
|5.18||„ 29||The VOISEY TROPHY Race|
|0.47||Sept. 5||14th Points Race|
|4.57||„ 12||15th Points Race|
Points Races for the Series … 1/6
Spoon Races „ … 1/6
Challenge Cups. Per Race … 1/-
No Entry Fee for under 17 years, 14 ft R.
All Entry Fees must be paid
owners are eligible to compete.
14 ft. Dinghies must conform with the Margate Restrictions
Fixtures will be adhered to except when cancelled
owing to bad weather
Special information will be issued later.
Sailing dress in those days was canvas shoes, shorts and anorak, as it was possible, if necessary, to swim in these until rescued by another dinghy or perhaps a passing motor-boat. Another member, Jock Douglas, had a number of boats at different times, all of about 19 ft. and with sail, but also with an outboard engine and he would follow the fleet around if conditions were doubtful, and he effected many a rescue.
Laying the buoys for our racing courses was also a problem as the present large plastic inflatable buoys were not then available, and a solution was found by Dougie Tomlinson who got hold of some ex RAF aircraft wing fuel drop tanks. With the assistance of a few members he cut them in half, inserted one end of a mooring chain and a fair amount of concrete, to make them float upright, and joined the two halves together with fibreglass cloth and resin gel, and two or three coats of this made a strong watertight joint. These buoys had to be laid at the start of the season and left in position until the autumn and, because of their size they were moored with large concrete concave sinkers, also made by Dougie, to ensure they stayed in position. North, East South and distance marks were laid, and because of the weight involved master fisherman and member, Jack Croom, was called upon with his motor boat Perceverence, and a few members would put them out. Because they were left out permanently their positions had to be established on Admiralty charts. Racing courses were triangular round the three buoys or up and down the coast between North and South buoys and the direction to give a windward start. We also had a series of long course races, going round the Longnose buoy off Foreness Point or the Quern off Ramsgate Harbour.
By 1956 it was decided that the Club should no longer rely solely on such members as Jock Douglas to use his boat for the safety or our racing members, and our first safety boat ‘CYNARA’ was acquired. It was a small white painted boat with a seagull outboard engine and was also used as a tender to the Foreland Fleet.
In 1958 Club member and boat builder, John Madgwick, built our first purpose built Safety Boat ‘MAYDAY’, which was a 15 ft hard chine Bass Boat, and was powered 4 HP Seagull engine. It was painted a bright yellow and also because of its limited manoeurvering ability it was known as the ‘Yellow Peril, and was kept on moorings alongside the jetty inside the line of Foreland moorings. Its engine and gear such as anchor, tow ropes, paddles etc., were kept in P store and had to be man handled up and down the Jetty’s vertical ladders before and after every race. This boat gave good service until 1963.
After a long and heated AGM held in the Pavilion because of the anticipated large attendance, it was decided to look for a more powerful boat capable of towing a Foreland in difficulties against the tide. It was decided to buy an ex Trinity House 18 ft boarding boat, and one was purchased when it was laid up in Dover Harbour.
It was towed by road in a rather ‘hairy’ manner on Dickie Lockyear’s ex-RAF bomb transporter, and deposited in the store behind the Amusement Arcade at the top of Harbour Street. One working party overhauled and painted the hull and superstructure, and a second team of mechanically interested members stripped and reconditioned the power unit which was an inboard 10 HP Morris Vedette, the marine version of the early Morris 1000 car engine, which was fitted with a water cooled heat exchange unit, and a forward, neutral and reverse drive gearbox. This boat served us well and about 1966 the cabin was removed to give a larger working platform, and the navigation lights were taken off, and after being lovingly restored by Ted Temple they now grace the Wardroom Bar.
In 1972 it was decided to replace ‘TRINITY HOUSE’ by another ex-Trinity House boarding boat and the choice was ‘GUIDETTE’. It was obtained from Whitstable Harbour where it had been used as a Pilot Boat and was powered by an 8 HP air cooled Lister diesel engine, but was only used for one season before being replaced by the new generation of fibre glass boats.
In 1973 ‘Rescue One’ was purchased and is an Island fibreglass 17 ft Dory with a Cathedral Hull, and built by Brian Cory of Deal. It was powered by a 25 HP Yamaha outboard engine and capable of 15 knots. With its relatively light weight it did not need to be kept on moorings and could be launched and recovered on its launching trolley by a reasonable party of racing members.
In 1980 another fibreglass Island 13 foot Dory was bought, again built by Brian Cory of Deal, but its hull was of very light construction and by the end of one season its hull had cracked. Although repaired it was considered unsuitable and was replaced in 1981 with an identical design, but with a heavy duty hull and powered by a 28 HP Yamaha outboard engine. It was also kept in the dinghy park and trailer launched, but in 1991 it was disposed of, and was replaced by a NAWAHL 13 ft rigid inflatable, and this became our present Rescue Two and is powered by a 30 HP Mariner outboard. The Yamaha outboard of Rescue One has also been replaced by a 30 HP Mariner.
In 1989 the Club acquired Rescue Three which was a 5.3 metre rigid inflatable built by Tornado Boats and it was named ‘THE HARRY DIPPLE’ after our founder, by the Mayor of Broadstairs. For safety reasons this boat was stored in the winter of 1994/5 in the Minnis Bay Sailing Club locked boat compound and, together with the trailer, was stolen. It was valued in excess of £3500 which was a considerable loss to the Club. and about the same time we lost our dinghy park fencing in heavy seas which, again, cost over £3000 to replace.
The following is a list of the names of members, mainly obtained from Club handbooks of members who have played a leading part in the servicing and manning of the Safety Boats and trust any omissions will be excused:
John Madgwick Peter Overton
Alec Martin David Tomlinson
Anne Wheddon (later Austen) Adrian Trice
Ron Austen Colin Briggs
Ted Temple John Velvick
Phil Edwards Dave Cannon
Tony Lane Tony Vanstone
Sarah Jutsum (later Lane) Steve Dyson
Paul Hodson Tony LeSurf
Graham Thomas Peter Holland
Chris Stockwell Josh Lidstone
In 60 years we can proudly say that is has never been necessary to call out the Lifeboat or Air sea Rescue Services to assist during Club racing. (except once at a European Championship !!) It is a great credit to Race Officials who decide whether to race and if so to select the most suitable course for the prevailing conditions, and the efficient handling of the Club rescue boats.
The original annual membership of the Club was one Guinea, or by arrangement not less than 1/- (5 pence), and life membership was five Guineas. We have been fortunate that our membership has been mainly local residents and an important leisure pursuit in the town. Harbour dues in 1935 were 7/6d per annum (37½ pence).
After the war, I bought the 12 ft. open dinghy ‘ALBATROSS’, but it did not sail all that well, and in 1948 I got a Cooper built at Conyer ‘SASHAY’ and by then the Cooper had become known as the Kent Class, and they were also sailed at Margate, Herne Bay and Whitstable. I bought ‘Sashay’ at Herne Bay, and ‘Jock’ Douglas helped me sail it back to Broadstairs. There were frequent inter Club races between Whitstable, Herne Bay, Minnis Bay, Margate and Broadstairs, and many members from these Clubs attended all their annual Dinner/Dances.
One of our pre-war members who raced in the Cooper/Kent class with very considerable success was Peter Styles who, also had an Essex One Design which he raced with the RTYC at Ramsgate, and had many wins. The Essex One Designs were also raced at the Margate Yacht Club and for Burnham Week, the first week in September, many sailed their boats to Burnham. Dinghy sailors at Broadstairs Sailing Club were often invited to help crew the boats across to make up their three man crew. The boats were 18 feet and 3/4 decked, and for their size were good sea boats. The route across would usually be inside the Margate Sands to the Whitstable Street buoy, then across towards Southend, and if arrival could be timed to cross the Maplin Sands about one hour before high water springs, to go through Havengore lifting bridge into the Roach, and then join the Crouch about 3 miles to the east of Burnham. Apart from the very shallow water over the Maplin Sands, it is a Naval gunfire range and prior permission has to be obtained to cross to Havengore. If this route is not available a 20 mile longer route has to be taken down the West and East Swin channels round the Whitaker Beacon into the Whitaker Channel, and on into the Crouch, about 45 miles in total from Margate. A shorter route is to go north from the Longnose Buoy into the North Edinburgh channel and take the rather tortuous course following the buoys round the long sandbanks which run NE to SW and dry out, to the Whitaker Beacon. At low tide there are many seals lying along these sandbanks. This route is about 40 miles and after the war there were many steamers using these channels, and although the rule of the road is that steam gives way to sail they are greatly hampered by draft, and if one is seen to be on a steady bearing it is best to take early avoiding action. On one occasion we were dismasted in the first race due to a shroud giving way. This was before the days of stainless steel standing rigging and the galvanised wire had to be carefully maintained to avoid this. It would have been quite a problem if it had happened whilst crossing the estuary when we were in fact caught in quite a windy thunderstorm.
In the early days we were considerably hampered by not having a dinghy park and all the boats had to be left on moorings, and boat trailers and launching trolleys were virtually non-existent. Most were open boats without fore or side decks, and in strong southerly winds would sometimes be swamped, and members would make frequent visits to the harbour to make sure that all was well. We were later allowed to park the small boats along the jetty facing the boat-house, and later still we constructed a compound on the beach below the boat-house, and inshore of the present launching ramp, but this required constant attention.
This ramp, incidentally, was initially constructed by members of the Sailing Club and the Fishing Club, with the Martin brothers taking a leading part. Its design and constructional principal was the work of John Martin and the angle of incline and length it had to be gradual enough for a crew of two to be able to launch and recover a light weight racing dinghy. As the depth of sand in this area could increase by around 3 ft in a very short period of time, and this in turn, was removed from time to time by machines, the supports had to be strong and deep and the slope had to be usable in great differences in the height of sand, and in fact all this has been achieved for twenty or more years. The sand, in fact, builds up because from about two hours before until two hours after High Water the current in the bay runs in a clockwise direction and in strong North East winds the surf at the Preachers Knoll End of the bay picks up a lot of sand in suspension, and as the current slows up in the Harbour area the sand drops.
Before the sea wall to the north of the jetty was built the breaking seas used to wash across the neck of the jetty inshore of the boat house and wash the sand away. It was not until 1972, after the undercliff promenade had been built, that we eventually got our present dinghy park. Even this has not been without problems, as on three occasions during the winter months, we have lost the fencing due to heavy seas.
Another problem was the operation of the squarehead during racing and this was done in a small roped-off area at the end of the jetty. This was solved by member E.F. Warner who was a handicrafts master, and known throughout the Club as ‘Puffin’ after the name of his Foreland. Before and after the war the wooden structure on the jetty was covered by a canvas roof and sides for Uncle Mack and his Minstrels to perform in the summer, but eventually a wooden roof was added by the council, and at this point ‘Puffin’ Warner built a raised starters base under the roof complete with a veranda along the front and this became known as ‘Puffins Perch’, and gave a good view over the racing courses. The Race Officer and his helpers put in long periods on duty, often two to four hours at a time, sometimes in cold, windy or wet weather. Puffins Perch was a very welcome addition giving them shelter and more room to operate. The Race Officer has a very responsible position in deciding the course to be sailed in the prevailing conditions, positioning and instructing the safety boats by VHF radio, starting the various classes and with the time keeper, timing each boat’s finishing time. In recent times ex-Commodore, George Richardson, has been Race Officer for a good many years with the valuable assistance of George Overton as time-keeper.
By 1952 the 14 ft. National Merlin Rocket class had been formed, and I bought ‘RONA’, and as they were rather faster than the Kent class they were raced separately, although the Kent Class owners had done their best to improve performance to compete with the Merlin Rockets. The very heavy iron centre plates were replaced with wooden ones and rubber strips fitted along the keel either side of the centre plate slot to reduce turbulence when the plate is up. Also, the solid wooden masts were replaced with hollow ones to take the halyards and reduce windage. Rigging screws were also fitted to the shrouds and forestay in place of the old hemp lanyards, as they were safer as the season progressed, and could be set up more accurately. Plywood foredecks or canvas dodgers were also fitted to reduce the time the crew spent bailing in strong winds or choppy seas. At one time there were up to eighteen 14 footers, and the turn out for racing was usually twelve or more. In 1954 I changed Rona for another Merlin Rocket ‘WINDSWEPT’, which was a lovely boat to sail with wide rolled in side decks, self bailers, plenty of buoyancy and good terylene sails, as opposed to the Egyptian cotton of the old days and which, when new, had to be carefully stretched to their marks in light winds on a number of fine summer days. To avoid mildew, cotton sails also had to be rinsed in fresh water after sailing and, occasionally, ironed.
In addition to tuning the rig, good sails are essential in getting the best performance, and in the days of cotton sails Ratsey and Lapthorne were generally thought to be the best. Because cotton stretched at first, sails had to be cut so that they assumed the correct flow and size, after careful stretching. Ratseys were expensive and were taken great care of once obtained. With the advent of synthetic material which does not stretch, the top helmsmen started getting sails made to their special design, and if they did well in National events other people wanted them, and they became sail makers. Amongst others, Banks sails were sought after for a long time. One member acquired a set of sails from Australia and some UK helmsmen got their sails from Hoods in America.
By 1969 the Merlin Rocket class had declined and was finally transferred to the Handicap class, and I sold ‘Windswept’ and bought the Fireball ‘MINOUCHI’. The Fireball fleet was a strong one for many years and by 1977 had risen to 22 boats, and provided excellent racing with plenty for the crew to do as they had to trapeze and also helped to set and trim the spinnaker on a broad reach or run. Only three Fireballs now remain in the Club and they have been transferred to the Fast Handicap class. ‘Minouchi’ was my last boat as I parted with it in 1983, and since then have become used to being simply a spectator. I suppose I can’t complain as apart from the war years I had been racing at Broadstairs for 47 years.
In the meantime by 1948 the Foreland Class had become well established with nine boats built through the enthusiasm of Bill Hewett, who was Secretary for some years, and later became Vice-Commodore from 1957 to 1960. He had great drive and had searched around for nine people who he thought could afford to part with £100 as that was the cost of a new Foreland.
In the search for a suitable boat Bill visited 20 boat builders along the Essex and North Kent coast and eventually gave the order to Seacraft at Leigh-on-Sea as they had suitable timber and were prepared to build at the price, including mast, rigging and sails. Bill and his Crew sailed and rowed the first boat back to Broadstairs. Due to lack of wind it took two days including an overnight stop at Harty Ferry on the Isle of Sheppey, and they rowed for more than 10 hours – not easy in a Foreland! His crew was Doug Coleman who, following Mr. Dipple’s death in 1954, became Commodore until 1961. His other crew was his brother Peter as far as Harty Ferry and Fred Smith from Harty Ferry onwards. The total distance was 43 miles. They were ideal for our conditions as they had to be kept on moorings and took the ground well, often in heavy surf during southerly gales. By 1961 twenty-four Forelands had been built, many of them locally at Broadstairs, and they were of tremendous value to the Club in getting members sailing. In those days there were always plenty of young people anxious to sail, and the Forelands provided a good training ground as they had a crew of three, and the third person did not need to know much about sailing. For some years there were so many young people wanting to become Junior members that numbers had to be limited. With the ravages of time and the conditions with which they were kept afloat on moorings, the Foreland Fleet slowly diminished and finally ceased to exist in 1993. The Forelands were an American design and called the Curlew Class and were renamed Forelands by the Club, and Bill proposed they should all be named after birds, especially sea birds. All but two did this and they were Harry Ward who named his ‘LITTLE AUDREY’, thought to be a compliment to his wife, and Commander Chamberlain who called his ‘SIOUX’ after a tribal class destroyer in which he had served.
The Snipe class became established in 1954, after John Bowden and Audrey Tucker each bought one in 1951, and this class has flourished and given excellent racing until the present time, as it is well suited to the sea conditions off Broadstairs. It does not easily capsize, but if it did it was not an easy boat to right. It reached is peak of twenty-two boats in 1959, and remained a strong fleet for many years, but it is now down to four, and also in the Fast Handicap series.
Another popular class, especially with junior members was the Mirror Class, and this became established in the Club in 1968, and for many years from 1970 there were more than twenty-five, and they reached a peak of 33 in 1977, but now they are down to two, and Toppers have taken their place, and are currently a fleet of 13.
Since 1988, Contenders have been the most advanced class with three coming in to the Club, and numbers slowly increased until in 1992 there were thirteen, but this number has fallen to six. They are a high performance single-handed trapeze boat and require a good deal of skill and agility.
Lasers have been with us for a good many years and we started with a few way back in 1975, and a class was formed in 1982, but in recent years has considerably increased, and now numbers twenty-four. Although a small lively boat, it seems to cope remarkably well with our conditions, given a reasonably skilled helmsman.
Until fairly recent years most of our boats were crewed by two and in the case of Forelands, three, and much more of what we called pleasure sailing took place. After a race perhaps half a dozen boats would sail in company and beach at Joss Bay, and after a cup of tea sail back. Even the two man boats would often take a third member. Sometimes we would go the other way to Shellness at the mouth of the Stour for a picnic or Bar-B-Q. Landing is now discouraged (or forbidden) as it has become a bird sanctuary. Occasionally, we would sail into Ramsgate Harbour, again for a drink of some sort, but we did not do this too often as harbour dues of four old pence had to be paid, as they rated our boats at one ton. Bill Hewitt’s brother, Peter, owned a 20 ft 3/4 decked gunter rigged sloop ‘BASSETT’, and he would take out boatless members for a sail, once, up to ten at a time.
Having so many single-handed boats as at present is a disadvantage to the Club as it does not encourage young persons to become members if they are not able to afford to buy a boat. Also crewing is a good way of becoming a helmsman and learning about local conditions.
I believe that the greatest single boost to the Club would be the re-introduction of a not too demanding or expensive two man boat, and suggest that perhaps Mirror dinghies are still a good boat for the youngest (note David Derby’s success) and possibly Miracles for the rather older members. Mirror dinghies can be built from a kit comparatively cheaply. Tony Thumwood built three and completed one in a week.
When the Club was first formed we did not have a Clubhouse and used to meet in the Droit office adjoining the cafe opposite the Tartar Frigate, and after the war the Committee met in the back room of the Crown Inn which was run by the father of Club member Norman Smith. The first Clubhouse was a large wooden hut in the garden of the Esplanade Hotel (now the site of Copperfield Court), and we acquired this and started a bar in 1948. In 1951 the loft above the garage in Alexandra Road became available and with a lot of hard work put in by Club members became a quite attractive Clubhouse and bar. A point of interest was the rather old sofa, and it soon became accepted that if a male and female member were often found to be occupying this, that a collection for a wedding present would eventually be made, and in fact the Club has achieved a good number of matrimonial successes.
Our present Clubhouse in Harbour street was acquired in 1957, first rented from Broadstairs Council and eventually purchased for £16,000. A great deal of hard work has been put in by members to achieve its present pleasant and functional state. In 1927 the property was known as ‘The Chinese Lantern Cafe’, and a murder is said to have been committed there. As a result of this, the building is reputed to be haunted.
Apart from the pleasure of having a Bar it is invaluable as a fund raiser in order to help finance the considerable expense of running the Clubhouse, and ordering stocks and generally running it has been done for many years by Richard Noble. The House Committee, at present and for some years lead by House Committee Secretary Shirley Richardson, and supported by Jean Thumwood, Hazel Morris, Jessica LeSurf, Pam Kemp and Freda Bean, spend a lot of time preparing food for the Open meetings, special events and parties, such as Fitting-Out and Laying-Up, Seafood Supper, Bar-B-Q’s, and especially the Christmas buffet which is followed by carol singing, supported by the small orchestra formed mostly from our junior members. During the winter, there is also a monthly whist drive, first started by Stuart Fill’s wife Pat who, incidentally, served as House Secretary for 19 years. Also worthy of note is Alec Martin who served a total of 27 years on the Executive committee, and is an honorary life member, as also is Bill Hewett.
The Club has also had a number of quite prominent members, and amongst the first was John Madgewick who was a natural helmsman and won many races at Broadstairs and other Clubs. This culminated in winning the UK Snipe Championship at the Medway Yacht Club in 1957, and I crewed for him. He could have gone on to Europeans which I think were in Barcelona, but decided it would be too costly. He died, tragically, at quite an early age some time later, after a motor cycle accident.
Rather better known was Ted Heath, now Sir Edward, who had become a member earlier, and in 1966 he started to sail and used to crew for Gordon Knight who owned a Foreland, and who helped to teach him the art of helming. In 1967 he bought and sailed the Snipe ‘BLUE HEATHER’ which he sold at the end of the summer, and bought a Fireball ‘BLUE HEATHER II’, one of the first to have a fibre-glass hull and built by Chippendales. He sailed this in the summer of 1968, and as it is quite a demanding boat, like most of us, he had the occasional swim following a capsize. At the end of that summer he parted with that boat, and decided on a Sparkman and Stephens 34, ‘MORNING CLOUD’, and in 1969 started sailing in off-shore races round the coast. In the winter of 1969/1970 he took it to Australia and subsequently won the Sydney-Hobart race. In early 1971 he had ‘MORNING CLOUD II’, built, and at around 41 ft., it qualified and was eventually chosen to be one of the four boats in the British Admirals Cup team, and he was elected Captain. He had, by then, become Prime Minister, and that summer the British team won the Admirals Cup series.
A highly successful member was David Derby, who was very skilled at tuning a boat, a good tactician and a first class helmsman, and with his crew Chris Sherman (a non BSC member) won the Mirror Class UK Nationals at Pevensey in August 1979. With BSC member Chris Bishop as crew, they won the Mirror Europeans in July 1979 at Blackpool, and in the winter of 1979/80 they competed in the Mirror Worlds in Perth, Australia, and in the usual large fleet in this sort of event, again took first place, and so became world champions.
David Derby then turned his skills to the Fireball Class, and together with Kym Leatt as crew, won the UK Nationals at Torbay in 1981, and as a result took part in the Fireball Worlds in January 1982 at Frankston, Australia (Port Phillip Bay south of Melbourne). Winds were light in the mornings which suited the British boats well, and David and Kym soon won one race in a fleet of seventy, who had to pre-qualify to take part. The strong winds in the afternoon favoured some other countries crews, including Australia. Their final result was a very commendable third overall.
Kym Leatt also took part in the Fireball European Championships held at Broadstairs in 1984, this time as helm, and with Robert Smith as crew, and they came fourth overall in a strong fleet which again had to pre-qualify.
Our founder, Mr. H.A. Dipple, served as Commodore from 1936 until his death in 1954, and since then to date have had a further sixteen Commodores who have mostly served up to nine years as Flag Officers, and many years before that on the Executive and Sailing committees. Commodore Dipple was a yachtsman of the old school and with pre-war standards, and he expected members to conform to these, and to wear tidy dress when visiting the Club, i.e. not shorts, and jacket and tie on Sunday evenings. All racing dinghies had flag halyards and were expected to fly the club burgee when sailing, and their personal racing flag when racing. In the event of a retirement when racing, the racing flag had to be lowered, and the Club burgee hoisted.
When Ronnie Vaughan became a member in 1964, he was interviewed by committee members Stuart Fill and Gordon Knight. At that time Ronnie had a motor bike, and wore a leather jacket, and was told that he would be accepted if he did not come to the Clubhouse in his leather jacket! (A relic of Commodore Dipple’s influence). Also, he was the first member to sail the Atlantic at the age of 21, in 1967, and became Commodore in 1987. My original co-owner of MITZI and founder member Janet Humphrey, has continued to be a life long yachtsman (and professional sail maker) and has since also sailed the Atlantic.
1936 – 1954 H. A. Dipple
1955 – 1961 D. H. Coleman
1962 L. A. Douglas
1963 D. Tomlinson
1964 E. F. Warner
1965 – 1967 S. J. Fill
1968 – 1970 E. F. Lunn
1971 – 1973 T. D. Mycroft
1974 – 1976 R. W. Plackett
1977 P. H. J. Westwood
1978 – 1980 D. J. Browning
1981 – 1983 J. C. Martin
1984 – 1986 G. T. Richardson
1987 – 1989 R. S. Vaughan
1990 – 1992 P. J. Giffen
1993 – 1994 E. J. Temple
The following past Commodores became members at an early age many years ago, and remain active members;
Ted Temple as a junior member in 1955
Duncan Browning as a junior member in 1956
Peter Giffen as a junior member in 1965
As was the case with many juniors, both Ted and Duncan did not own a boat, and became known by boat owners by ferrying them out to their boats on moorings, as dinghies at that time were not kept ashore. This was the best way of being take on as crew, particularly for the Foreland Class.
To them and many others who have served on the Executive and House Committees and helped in other ways, the Club owes its success. It is up to the younger members to build on its success and ensure that our sport of sailing and racing flourishes in the years to come.
and contributions by Graham and Janet Thomas, Richard Noble, Ron Austen, Bill Hewett, Ronnie Vaughan and Kym Leatt.