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.

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.

Latest Minutes

      Loch Broom Sailing Club
Minutes Saturday 18th March 2017 at 4:20 pm

1.                  Present: Adrian Morgan, John Osborne, Kate Copestake, Nat Wilson, Dave Maxwell, Paul Copestake, Sandy Osborne, Gill Wilson, Donald Buchanan, Paul Driver
Apologies: Gilly Meighan, Jason Leon, Alison, Bobby and Siobhan Osborne, Craig Maddock.

2.                  Minutes previous meetings

2.1.              28th January 2017: Accepted as read
2.2.              22nd October 2016 (Last full committee): Accepted as read
2.3.              4th March 2017 (Draft AGM Minutes): Have been circulated, to be approved at next AGM.

3.                  Officers' reports

3.1.              Commodore:  Focus on offering value for money to members – how can this be realised when most have their own boats? At present those who seem to benefit most are junior sailors using club dinghies, those who sail the club’s Flying Fifteens (only one operational at present), and rowers. Need to encourage members to crew for private yachts and Flying Fifteens.
3.2.              Treasurer: bank balance stands at approx. £11k, with membership subs largely received, and no major expenses as yet this year (main expenses known are insurance ~£1500, and roof repair (see below)). At present, each Champion has a spending limit of £100 per year, with anything over this requiring approval by the committee. The guideline budget for each Champion is £300 – if this figure is spent across the board, the club would make an annual loss of around £250, which is sustainable in the short to medium term. Paul and Dave to review spending guidelines.
Post AGM Rollick: 53 paid £17.50, 53 attended (51 paying and 2 guests) charged £15.00 by Royal, £100 given as quiz prize, leaving surplus of £32.50. If those who paid and didn’t attend want a refund – break even. Donald’s raffle raised £150. Only gripe was lack of pudding; coffee was available on request. Repeat event next year.

4.                  Champions' Comments

4.1.              Cruising (John O):  Dates on programme remain unchanged.
4.2.              Flying Fifteens (Adrian):  Sandy is looking at handicaps – likely to remain much the same. “Freedom” in good shape. Discussion about second FF centred on its colour – Nat and Gill to look at adopting this boat, with a budget of £300 for bringing it up to spec.
4.3.              Youth (David-Paul D-Alison):  Dave reported that 14 are signed up for Pico Week, which has Robyn as instructor as per last year. Emma is around in the summer, and hopes to be available to help with sessions.
4.4.              Skiff (Paul C):  In summary, regular rowing sessions continue, new oars made over winter, and in training for Coigach and Ullapool Regattas.
4.5.              Clubhouse and surrounds (Donald):  Clubhouse roof is leaking above clubroom. Sandy to obtain opinons/advice and quotes from local contractors. Paul D to make temporary repair to prevent further damage. Could also consider fibre glass roof with fall.
New combination lock bought for shed, following loss of key.
Clubroom heater left on on several occasions, evidence of smoking and drinking – culprits unknown. Donald and Adrian to fit combination lock (that we have) to clubroom door [note: overtaken by events subsequent to meeting].
Donald has offer of kerb stones etc from Royal works. Royal’s contractors unlikely to be able to help with placement on club hardstanding. Job for forthcoming Work Day.
Wee Pier: Some pipe fendering fitted, but bolts still protruding elsewhere. We have pipe to fit. John to obtain studs and nuts; Sandy to obtain grout. For work day.
New water heater needs to be turned down to Frost Protection setting after use – notice required.

4.6.              Trailer: Has new wheels, and is finished mechanically. Frame needs sanding/rust treatment, and painting with Hammerite. Paul C to draw up conditions for use. Noted particularly that those driving must have trailers included on their licence, and have motor insurance that covers trailers. Tailboard to be provided by those borrowing trailer – needs to be full width. Only for use of club members. Fee for borrowing to be decided – around £10. Never to be put in seawater. Decided not to include under club insurance – theft is only risk. Keep in John’s field. Lock needed – John to investigate.

4.7.              Review of Champions – remain as last year.

5.                  Work Day and Curry night Afternoon Tea, 25th March

Tasks: Fit fenders to wee pier, paint trailer, prepare for surfacing of hardstanding, general tidying, and more.
Time: 11am start, with tea at 3 pm.

6.                  AOB
Clash noted between Coigach Rowing and Isle Martin event – both dates set, unfortunate.
Nat mentioned fundraising – need to continue despite healthy funds. Decided to organise an “Outdoor Activity Jumble”, with date around 22 April (check on other activities). Charge £10 per pitch. No public advertising of event due to licence requirement. Adrian and Gill to take forward.
Noted: Inverness Boat Jumble taking place North Kessock, 29 April, in aid of RNLI.

2017 Committee

Commodore:               Adrian Morgan
Vice Commodore:       John Osborne
Treasurer                    Dave Maxwell
Secretary                    Paul Driver

Paul Copestake, Robert White, Siobhan Osborne, Bobby Osborne, Alison Osborne, Sandy Osborne, Anthony O’Flaherty, Donald Buchannan, Gilly Meighan, Nat Wilson, Jill Wilson.