The Star Number 24.
February 2009

On receipt of this news letter you may, or may not, think “ Is it that time of year already?”   It seems the last season came, and went and just passed us by – we had the usual traumas, the influx of a new member !!  The loss of one other member to another Club and of course the tragic loss of our Very dear Friend, fellow Star owner, sailor, and Star Class Coxswain Peter Minch.

As you know Peter was a real asset to our Star section, he was one probably the most prolific “ test sail round the bloc  “ member of the Stars and would always take any new member Irrespective of age, size, nervousness or absolute lack of any experience, for a sail with a view to persuading them to take over one of our Fleet of Stars.  In many cases he was successful .  He will be very sorely missed.

You should have received the minutes of our last A.G.M. and will have seen the proposals etc – the major point to come out of this meeting was of course “ downsizing” the Fleet.   Over the past 45 years at least,  the Club has been very patient and allowed us to get away with quite a number of things best not discussed !! So , in return we felt it was pay back time and as a Class we will do what ever to help in making space,  getting the income to the Club up to date, cooperating with plans to downsize etc.

The plan is to let the obsolete Stars which are housed in the Dinghy rack go for sale of offers to some good home,  Pam Hunt our Star Sales girl has very kindly offered to advertise these boats on E Bay,  one at a time to test the market,  see if their are people out there who would be interested in taking over from us.   In the mean time,  if you have any other ideas as to who would or how we can pass these boats on then PLEASE let us know.

The general feeling from our AGM, (albeit we were not very well represented, had it not been for other Club members we could have met in a Star albeit, there were reasons.)  Wooden boats needing care and attention were loosing out to the plastic – easy to rig, not requiring any maintenance and at a considerably lower hire fee with no mooring fee to pay were a better proposition than a Star.  This of course is obvious and has been so for many years so, in a first step to getting a few more boats our we scrapped the Star Class fee of  £80.00 this year leaving only the Club fee of £97.00.  If we look into the past this has been so for many years and we STILL survive.

The outlook then is, we have 12 good boats, with new sails, new rigging, good launch facility and some money in the kitty so we need to get out and get new members in again – we’ve done it in the past They do tend to leak a bit !! but we also have new bailers, one for each boat !

On the bright side we have had a few more Stars out during the 2008 season we did a few more down river cruises, more racing in face we got mention in despatches !!  All this despite one of the worst for weather season we have seen for a very long time so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I understand we have a very varied sailing program for this coming season and hope we are able to put our more boats in support.
Perhaps we ought to make a special recruitment drive? Invite current Club members to sail a Star ? In the past we use to do a swap Dinghies in Cruises and Cruisers in Dinghies if you have any ideas please don’t be a shrinking violet, we are getting desperate.

You may or may not know that Mary Robinson supplied the Michael Robinson Sailing Trust with several photographs taken over several years by Robbie, who was an avid photographer, at or around Erith and during the trips to Holland. There were also several photographs of their Holland trips going back many years

Mary had these photographs and memories put on to 2 Discs, Brian Crickmore edited them and as a result we have 2 x DVDs. about the Club,
the Stars and several people and events from the past.
She has given us the DVDs which are now in circulation and hopefully being passed around - should you wish to see any of them please ask at the bar, I will arrange for them to placed there as a pick up point.  They are 1), Ship Shape and Erith Fashion 1955 – 1965 a History of the Club and 2) Robbie’s and Chitty,s Adventures to Holland.
When you have seem them will you return them back to bar please.

Mary did try on a number of occasions to get to Erith last year and participate in at least one Cruise, however the weather was against here and despite her best efforts we eventually persuaded Mary that discretion was the better part of valour and withheld her wellies !!.  Better Luck this season Mary.

Our other Mary, Mary Field sent us a lovely picture from Southampton, she also keeps us up to date with the happenings at the Hamble and although Mary had gone native with a “++++++ “ boat she still has the Stars at heart.
Its always very nice to hear from the home of the Stars and all things being equal and we manage to get custom made road trailers, which we are presently trying to source, then a visit to the Hamble Sailing Club could well be on the sailing program the very near future.

There were a number of suggestions to “ kick start” the Stars, one of which was, where events taking place where Stars in particular but Dinghies in general could not take place we should plan a sail away or an event not calling on the Club R.I.B.S by using Robbie George – there are occasion when the R.I.B. is involved in special training and so not available.
This would mean volunteer to operate Robbie George who would need to be trained up in its use have just one volunteer at the moment.  If you would be interested in taking on this task please let me know before I write to the Club for permission.
Another suggestion was to extend the distribution of our news letter ?  In the past I have sent the News Letter by Email to all we know that have showed an interest in Stars I also post a copy off to a number of ex- members.
We use the E-mail distribution method to save postage and printing cost, we also had a Friends Of Stars list where any member wishing to help maintain the fleet (when money was short) would make a small contribution.  This time I will extend the distribution to all the Club members and friends who I have on my E -mail list, if you can think of anyone else then maybe you would pass a copy on to them.
As agreed I will E-mail or advise of special dates and not rely on any other source. First date will be fitting out day, then refurbishing launch trailer then hopefully launch day.  What about a Star visitor day?
Finally, as we seem to agree every year we will of course support as many of the Club events as we can, we hope to increase our Star owners / users and if you have any ideas to help achieve these aims the please let us know.

Star 106.
Anyone interested in taking on – full time – Star Class Coxswain? or even part time ? no experience necessary  any help will be most welcome.
Apprentice caulker/varnisher.  Bob Saunders would appreciate any help in bringing the Fleet up to sailable condition.

© Erith Yacht Club