Newsletter of the East Anglian Sailing Trust
This is Issue 22 dated Autum 2020
This is the text only version for visually impaired users who use a document reader.
There are no pictures in this version
The Queen Honors Bill Smith
In the Queen’s Birthday Honors List, Her Majesty has awarded Bill Smith, EAST’s President, Membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). The award is ‘For services to Sailors with Disabilities‘.
Bill was one of EAST’s founding Trustees, and over the past 25 plus years has fulfilled many roles within EAST. He has been a longstanding Trustee, Treasurer, Ambassador, Chairman, long term fund raiser, and he is now our President.
One of Bill’s major fundraising achievements was to successfully bid for a £50,000 grant from National Lottery’s People’s Millions programme. This was used to convert a workshop building into the EAST Waterside Community Centre; this is now our base with training room, boat maintenance workshop and dedicated accessible changing facilities.
Bill was instrumental in setting up the East Coast Cruise for Blind and Visually Impaired Sailors. Subsequently he has worked with others to improve the opportunities for both young people and adults, with a wide range of disabilities, to experience the joys of sailing. Under Bill's guidance, EAST has grown into a respected RYA Recognised Training Centre and Sailability Centre of Excellence.
Bill would like it to be known that he has accepted this award on behalf of all EAST members, Volunteers, Sailors and Friends of EAST who have helped him over the years.
Bill received this message from the Reverend Davy:-
Dear Mr Smith just a few words of congratulations on your award from one disabled sailor and his carer. The hard work which you have so faithfully supported and enabled has allowed people like my husband to get more out of their very restricted lives and for this we are incredibly grateful. I do hope you and your wife have a wonderful day at the presentation, no doubt we will have a report in the EAST magazine, I do hope so. With many thanks for all that you and your fellow supporters do. Yours Helen Davy
Sailing with The Woolverstone Project
After a busy programme of sailing for keelboat volunteers during the summer of 2020, EAST organised some Sonar training for The Woolverstone Project. The Woolverstone Project acquired a Sonar in the winter but had not been able to get it into the water this year.
The two training sessions in mid-October covered rigging the boats and some practical sailing. John Maxwell, Chief Bosun, lead the sessions and gave some guidance about how the boats had been rigged and how EAST have modified the boats to suit sailability sailing. These modifications include putting in two reefing points and adding fittings for seats with harnesses for our sailors needing physical support.
Over two Saturdays, six volunteers from Woolverstone had an opportunity to sail the boats over a short course and make themselves familiar with the Sonars. Afterwards there was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and have a chat over lunch.
It was good to meet and sail with the members of The Woolverstone Project. We look forward to further joint projects between the two clubs in the future.
We are very grateful for the donations that we have received in memory of our members who have sadly passed away. We have also received many other donations including one’s from Bidford, Suffolk District Council, Suffolk Community Foundation, the Upbeat Ladies Choir and many smaller donations. Both Activities Unlimited and Copleston High School made donations to support us and although our young sailors have not been able to sail with us this year they are looking forward to next year when we hope they will be able to sail with us.
We made an application to East Suffolk Council for a Covid 19 Business Rates Grant which was rejected but following some persistence and legal advice from the RYA, they subsequently accepted our application and we received £10,000.
The 100 Club continues to thrive and has generated a very good income, we have not reached our target of 100, so if you would like to take part please download an application form from the website or send me an email. Some winners have donated their winning’s which is appreciated and if these are donated via the EAST website Gift Aid may also be claimed.
Thank you to those who have used Easy Fundraising, Amazon Smile, Much Loved and Wonderful for their donations. Wonderful has now ceased accepting donations but if you use the Support US button on the EAST website you will see a link to both Easy Fundraising and Amazon Smile. There is also a link to our bank, CAF Bank, where single or regular donations may be made, you may also like to Gift Aid your donation which will be collected on our behalf by CAF Bank.
The Feed in Tariff for our solar panel generated a good income, as did the Galley before we had to cease our activities.
We carefully scrutinised all our expenditure to ensure that we only paid those bills that were necessary. Our biggest expenditure of £23,000 was for the purchase of two Sonars, this impacts on our bank balance but not our Revenue Account as this is Capital Expenditure from our boat replacement fund.
STOP PRESS We are now able to accept payments at the EAST Waterside Community Centre for Galley and Clothing purchases, Sailing and Training fees, by credit or debit card.
Geoff Dreher, Treasurer.
Getting to know the ropes
The first test as a new volunteer with EAST was a knotty one. Can you tie a bowline? I knew that one might show me up. But thanks to the patience of the instructors, and repeated efforts wrapping a rope round the back of a chair, I finally got the rabbit through the hole in the right direction!
I was inspired to volunteer for EAST following an afternoon as a carer for a friend on Mirage last September, which gave me a sense of how liberating sailing is for people whose lives are restricted. I wanted to be involved with helping that to happen – while doing something that I love.
As it turned out, of course, we have all been restricted this year. I am sorry that I haven’t yet done what I signed up for. But along with my fellow new volunteers, Peter and David, we have benefited from completing RYA Level 2 followed by further sailing sessions that have helped revive and improve our skills and knowledge.
Being paired with different instructors – all excellent sailors and teachers – each time we have been out on the water has meant we have got to know the “old hands”. The informal races and sails up the river have also made us feel welcomed as part of a positive and supportive team.
It has also been great fun! I hope that with my renewed confidence and competency I can be a useful crew and help to extend that sense of freedom and excitement to our regular sailors just as soon as normal sailing resumes!
As we near the end of the year, the sailing season begins to wind down for winter maintenance and other essential work. Normally we would be reflecting on the pleasures and activities enjoyed by our sailors and volunteers during the spring and summer months, and looking forward to some winter social activities. As we all know things have been a lot different this year and we are regrettably still in a very much restricted situation. I had hoped by the time this Autumn newsletter was due to be published, the restrictions would have been eased or lifted, unfortunately that is not yet possible.
While the government guidance has prevented our sailors and volunteers meeting and enjoying our sailing activities, essential charity management, planning, maintenance and training has been continuing using the modern technology available. This will ensure that EAST will be ready, when regulations allow us, to return to our activities of providing sailing experiences to our young and adult sailors with a wide range of restricted abilities.
As will be seen from other articles in this newsletter, the keelboat section have had three Sonars together with our Safety Rib in the water since July, during which time our keelboat volunteers have been concentrating on improving their sailing skills and qualifications in readiness for hopefully a return to sailing in 2021. The two ex Olympic class Sonars purchased in January have been, during the summer months, undergoing modifications in our workshop, to make them safe and comfortable for our sailors. This will enable us to offer increased capacity to more sailors and carers when we are able to start sailing sessions again.
The VI Cruising section have been unable to undertake any of their planned yacht cruising with our VI sailors and sighted volunteers, but you will be pleased to hear they remain hopeful, and are making plans for a return to more normal activities in 2021.We can only hope the regulations allow this to proceed.
During the summer months, modifications have been made to the EAST Waterside Community Centre and procedures introduced to comply with the Covid guidance. This has enabled reduced numbers of people to use the facilities for essential training, maintenance sessions and planning meetings. The modifications include a one way entry and exit system, a counter screen and a card payment system to reduce the number of cash transactions. Face masks are required for people moving about. Recently a reduced Galley service has been made available when planned activities are taking place in the centre. However the number of persons allowed in the room is reduced in accordance with government regulations to ensure the 2 metre social distancing rule is maintained where applicable. This reduced capacity means that usual social activities cannot take place at present. It was hoped that an outdoor social event could be organised in late summer but unfortunately the changing regulations and unstable weather conditions made this impractical.
Finally some really good news, as most of you are already aware, our President Bill Smith, was included in the recent Queens Birthday Honours list and awarded the MBE for his untiring services to sailing for the disabled for well over the last 25 years. Bill has accepted the honour on behalf of all EAST members together with the many people who have supported him over the years. I am sure when we are able, there will be an appropriate recognition event held at EAST to recognise this significant and well-earned achievement.
EAST Maintenance team develops emergency seat release system
A recent unfortunate incident resulted in a disabled sailor losing his life after his boat inverted and it proved impossible to release him from the seat he was using. Although it is unlikely in the extreme that an EAST boat could invert, it prompted our maintenance team to review the arrangement used to secure disabled sailors into the seats employed in our boats.
The seats we use are of a motor-rally type. These are bolted to the side bench in the boat and provide excellent vertical and lateral support. To prevent the user falling forward when the boat heels, we have been using a 2-piece webbing strap arrangement, secured across the wearer’s chest by a push-button release positioned at navel height.
On review, however, we concluded that this system suffered three significant disadvantages; firstly it could be difficult in an emergency to exert sufficient pressure to fully depress the release button on the buckle. Secondly, full release from the harness necessitated having to pass the user’s arms under, and clear of, the shoulder straps. Finally, the configuration of the straps meant that these had to be secured underneath the user’s lifejacket to prevent his or her chest being crushed in the event of lifejacket inflation.
To overcome all these problems, the maintenance team has developed a new harness and harness release system. This now comprises two independent webbing straps, each running from the top back of seat, over the wearer’s shoulders to the bottom front of the seat, between the wearer’s legs. These straps prevent the user falling forward, while the bucket style of the seat provides side-to-side restraint.
Each shoulder strap is in two parts, top and bottom, joined at about mid-chest height by a plastic side release buckle. In normal use these buckles are used to secure the user into the seat and adjust strap tension, and then to release him or her at the end of the session. Because the straps do not join across the user’s chest, they can easily and conveniently be routed under the sides of the person’s lifejacket.
The clever bit is the emergency release. This is located at the top back of the seat where an eyelet at the end of each shoulder strap is located over a spring-loaded pin and held in place by a split pin attached to a lanyard. The lanyard it led to an eye at the top of the seat. To release the harness in an emergency, it is only necessary to tug the lanyard. This pulls free the split pin and the ends of the harness are forced off the pin causing the whole of each strap to fall free and release the seat user.
While we trust that we will never have to use the emergency release in anger, we hope that its existence will give our disabled sailors an added confidence in the arrangement and provide the volunteers with an easy-to-use seat-user securing system.
New Sonars for EAST
In February this year, just in time for the Corona virus lock-down, EAST took delivery of two additional Sonars, bringing our fleet of these wonderful boats, so well suited to our needs, to five.
The boats were two of three owned by team Hannah Stodel and used in connection with the Paralympics. The third boat has been purchased by the Woolverstone Project.
Our boats are TANTRUM, built in 2007 and used in the 2008 and 2016 Paralympics; and MANDEVILLE, built in 2016 used as a trial boat. Both Sonars are in good condition but, having been used exclusively for competitive racing, arrived with a very complicated rigging arrangement. This was not suitable for EAST’s purposes so we have taken the opportunity during the post-lock-down period to start converting the boats to suit our purposes. This has involved removal and repositioning of much of the running rigging, cleats and fairleads, etc., fitting mooring cleats, fairleads and fendering and a host of other jobs.
Both boats will be Coppercoated on their underwater surfaces by the Suffolk Yacht Harbour workshops to provide antifouling that should last for up to ten years. TANRUM has already received this treatment and MANDEVILLE will be following shortly. Further professional attention will be given to the sails by the marina sailmakers, OneSails, who will be fitting the reefing arrangements we use to allow us to sail in what otherwise would be prohibitive wind conditions.
This conversion work will continue, along with the routine maintenance of our other boats, during the winter lay-up period.
The plan for next season is to launch the two new boats in the spring, together with two of our existing Sonars, leaving one of the older boats in reserve.
EAST Needs Your Support
Everyone who helps at EAST is a volunteer - nobody gets paid. Although we maintain our own boats and keep our overheads to a minimum, we need help to keep EAST afloat and every year we need help from our friends and supporters.
There are many ways you can help.
You can make donations using our website.
If you use Amazon, then you can purchase your items through Amazon smile, same great amazon experience and EAST will get a contribution from Amazon each time you use the service.
Do you buy online from other vendors? Join easyfundraising and you can collect free donations for EAST every time you buy online and it won't cost you a penny extra either
All your support and donations are very important and help us provide a great experience for our sailors.
Many thanks The EAST Trustees
EAST Cruising Committee Report
2020 has been a very challenging time for EAST in general, and particularly so for us in the VI Cruising section. Whilst some training activity has been able to be maintained during the last couple of months in the Keelboat section, activities in the Vi Cruising section have had to be at a standstill.
Earlier in the year the VI Cruising Committee were hoping for the best following the outbreak of Covid-19, and had all plans in place for our normal cruising activities in May, June and September. It was with great regret due to Government restrictions, the increase in Covid-19 infections, and the need for social distancing that one by one we had to abandon each planned cruise. To keep interest going in the section we held some Zoom events which were in part successful in keeping people in touch; they were very enjoyable events.
The Vi Cruising Committee have been working hard and talking aplenty in the background to put in place a programme for 2021 and we are hoping that the current Covid-19 situation will permit us to return to some sort of normality and implement our planned cruises.
Our planned cruises for 2021 are as follows:-
Taster Cruise (2 nights) – May 7th-9th 2021
Late Spring weekend (3 nights) – May 28th – 31st 2021
Late Summer Cruise (8 nights) – September 3rd -11th 2021
The EAST Cruising Co-ordinator, Judith Hedges, will be emailing all sighted and VI crew in the New Year, inviting all interested parties to apply for their place on their preferred cruise(s).
Obviously, whether or not these cruises are ultimately able to go ahead depend on the Government advice at the time and the availability of boats, but fingers and toes crossed for a better year next year where we can all meet up again!
Simon Daws Chairman EAST VI Cruising Committee.
And It’s Goodbye From Me
As mentioned in the previous issue of Points EAST, I will be standing down as the Editor of your newsletter at the next AGM.
I have produced the newsletter for the past 17 issues, and the time has come to handover to someone new. My thanks go to the EAST Management and Operations teams, for the copy and pictures they have provided over the past 9 years. My thanks also to the members who made a contribution, I wish more had been forthcoming. I am sure there are many interesting anecdotes and tales of adventure that could be shared.
I wish good copy to my successor. I will not just be ebbing from sight, as I will continue in my other EAST role.
Bill Price : Retiring Editor
The End of Points EAST 22