On opening Mollymawk's hatch after a long cold winter, Kate Copestake discovered her husband emerging from the fo'c'stle. He had been surviving on cans of Tennents, left over from last season, tins of Tesco Allday breakfasts and long life milk. In his frantic search for sustenance he had resorted to tearing up the lockers and it was only luck, and the sound of feeble tapping that alerted Kate to the fact that she had not seen her husband for some weeks. Colleagues at SEPA assumed he had been at his desk as usual, but could not recall actually seeing him or what he did there. "But then we never know when we'll see him. He is as elusive as a capercaillie in a pine forest." Paul is now back in the bosom of his family, recovering from the ordeal and wondering how on earth he can replace everything he dismantled in time for Mollymawk's launching day.

Loch Broom Scalping Contractors

I sometimes wonder if we are a sailing club whose members like laying gravel, building sheds, levelling ground, laying foundations, or a bunch of civil engineers, who occasionally enjoy going sailing.

Well today it was quite clear. I'll let the photos do the explaining, but those  not familiar with the ways of the Old Loch Broom may find some of them perplexing.

However, the job (as John O would say) is a good 'n. The boat park is now scalped(?) graded and level(ish) ready for the next storm to wash it all away.

Obergruppenfuhrer Buchanan will now attempt to keep the wayward tenders, Fevas, trailers and dinghies in some semblance of order (good luck Donald).

Fitting Out Time Again

'Tis the time to get to grips with all those little jobs you swore to tackle this time last year. Here we have some top tips from one of our most experienced members in how to go about preparing for the new season.

First decide what job you wish to tackle first. Then carefully arrange your tools in order so everything is readily to hand. Note the way every tool in the boat here has been laid out, ready for use. No frantic searching in tucked away places for that elusive screw driver, that 4mm bolt. 

Next decide on the priority. Here we see Paul in the forepeak of Mollymawk, which is as good a place to begin as any, adding an escape hatch. Next job on the list will be to stuff that No2 genoa back in the loo compartment for another year: out of sight out of mind is a good mantra on a small boat.

Note the large Stilson on the sole, which as everyone knows is used as a last resort if you have forgotten to bring a hammer. Be prepared to improvise and if necessary, add more resin.

Just two weeks after this photo was taken, Mollymawk will be happily riding at her mooring, which goes to prove that miracles can happen, given skill, experience and dogged determination.

Club Roof Garden, Bar and Members Patio

Barring last minute delays, a deal will be signed today which should greatly enhance the club's facilities. A sub-committee has been working behind the scenes since last February to secure an agreement with Highland Council which will give the club a long awaited extra storey to the club house. Plans drawn up include a members' bar, viewing platform, overnight accommodation for visiting yachtsmen and, above that, a tropical roof garden.

This, as everyone knows, has been long in the pipeline, but negotiations have necessitated some level of discretion. Highland Council finally gave consent to the plans last week, after months of work to ensure the interests of the club are fully respected. Alongside plans for the club, the council will be constructing a roundabout to ease traffic heading for the ferry terminal, which will entail moving the club a few metres seawards, and building up the sea defences to give us more hard standing.

The club itself, once the work is completed over the course of next winter, will be greatly improved. While upstairs becomes a members' area, downstairs will have changing rooms, with showers (men and women), a lecture room/dance floor and storage space. Bunks for four visiting yachtsmen and a commodore's office are envisioned.

In order to comply with Highland Council inclusivity rules, the club's name will need at some point to be changed to encompass all water sports users. A number of options have been put forward including Loch Broom Skiff and Sailing Club; Loch Broom Watersports Club and Ullasport. These will be put to a democratic members' vote as soon as the ink has dried on the contract.

The work will not be cheap, and subscriptions will inevitably have to rise from the current level. A modest increase of between 40 and 50% would seem reasonable for the added facilities members will soon enjoy.

Much of the expense will be funded under the Scottish Government's HFSSC initiative, for which we have to thank Paul Copestake for negotiating on our behalf. It does, however, mean that the club will need to become a CASC in the very near future, one of the stipulations being that the next commodore and at least 10% of the committee must be chosen from the ranks of our women, or gender non-specific members.

The work which is estimated to cost £120,000, has been put out to tender, with bids from Ullapool Construction and RJ McLeod the likely winners. The design has yet to be finalised but will be in keeping with the immediate surroundings. Plans show a gently curving profile to match the ferry terminal, with the club's logo, a red herring (which is to be retained) illuminated.

Some measure of secrecy has been inevitable throughout the process and members should not think they have been ignored in the decision making process. The committee, however, feels strongly that in order to survive, the club needs to expand to include skiffs, kayakers, divers, fishermen and jet skiers.

Plans will be available to see at the club house from today, 01/04/17


Three illicit entries, one break in, one theft, heaters left on for days, two new locks, one trashed combination lock, one CCTV camera, hours of police time, wasted electricity, the cost of the locks (£168), the trouble of going to Inverness and waiting for keys to be cut (many thanks John McIntyre)... all on account of a few unknown idiots who (as my old headmaster would have said) spoiled it for everyone, sailors, skiffers and kayakers.

A very limited number of keys are now available, first come. They will cost £10 for members, to cover cutting costs and locks. Who amongst us has not left a key in the door, in a "safe" place, on the bench from time to time?

During the clear up a key was found on the roof; another behind a pile of leaves, and keys have been left on roof beams.

Each new key is numbered, and coloured, which may help keep track of them. New keys can only be cut from the master keys, held by Adrian and Donald.

Hopefully that's the end of it.

Finally, if anyone is going to Inverness, and will wait an hour or so while the next batch of keys are cut and numbered at MacGregor's, then they can have a FREE KEY.