From the Commodore - Summer 22
We are well into the sailing season and are delighted to have had an excellent turn out of some 90 pupils for the P7 tasters despite very mixed weather. This followed an open day which attracted more than 30 folk and resulted in a significant number of adults signing up for our adult courses. We have also altered the sailing schedule a little to allow more space for Stage 1 beginners on Wednesday evenings as we progress through the summer courses and have more beginners needing to consolidate their knowledge on the water. As yet we have
not had to shift too many Wed night folk but the plan is Tuesday Adults and Stage 4, Wednesday Stage 1 and Thursday Stage 2 and 3.
Courses are heavily booked, and in fact were full until we added extra capacity by having an additional instructor on the water, so this year there is the potential for 75 course places for Cadets, plus Adults, Powerboat and Windsurfing so plenty of use of the water in the harbour. Rowing is still available through the use of our skiffs (and training on our rowing machines, with the best view in any keep fit environment looking out over the harbour to the Cuillin) but we are currently without an instructor so that opportunity will be more limited.
Big boat sailing is, however, more limited, as many have not put their boats in the water, and other competing priorities keep folk away from their boats when they are. We had a very small gathering for the Gairloch trip last weekend (above right) with just two boats out (and a Rib catching us up in Rona for the workers amongst us). It was a very enjoyable event for those present. Feedback would be welcome on what you as members would like to see happen with big boating (if anything) and how we might improve on advertising the event to those who might like to be crew. I personally emailed all the folk that I knew might be here and have an interest a couple of months ago, and made an open invitation in person to all our current instructors at the Sailing Club on Tuesday last week. It was also on the website and picked up by a random Canadian visitor who came with us! We will try and reinstate some “round the cans” sailing for keel boats and also the Admiral’s cup at the games, but it may be that there is insufficient interest to have Round Raasay or the Kyles Cup again this year. A volunteer leader for the “big boat” activity would be much appreciated.
Windsurfing starts this Saturday 2 July and whilst they are on the water with a safety boat out we are very happy for more experienced sailors to take a sailing boat out. You may also see the Atlantic Rowers out whenever we have a safety boat on the water as they continue their training for the Talisker Challenge in about 18 months' time. We are investigating how we can help them more about which I hope to write in the future.
The Portree Harbour Development has sprung back into action with an open “consultation” on Friday 17th when they told us what they planned to do. This was the first that we in the club had seen of the new plans which include a cruise terminal in the middle of the bay. We continue to fully support the redevelopment of the historic quay and pier area, and provide a relief road round Bayfield to the oil terminal, but the cruise terminal is not ideally placed for our purposes.
We have asked that we be involved in future planning of the water space in the harbour, given the number of principally local families to whom we offer the opportunity of boating in Portree Bay.
Those of you active in the club, or just around the bay in Portree, will have noted that the house build behind the clubhouse is nearing completion. It has been done sympathetically and we have had very little disturbance from it. The hotel has kept us informed of progress and offered us some of their car parking for our open day. You may also have seen that parking is even more restricted around the bend opposite their hotel sign which may be an issue for us over the summer. We will engage with the council to see what can be achieved to alleviate the difficulty this is likely to cause, but in the meantime can you all please park responsibly when you come to the clubhouse, even if it does require a slightly longer walk.