better wind and force our way onwards. It turned into a ferry-glide through a number of other craft, including a couple of large tourist launches, a few yachts and many powerboats, most curious to see what we were up to. At the far side of the channel the tide was really strong with some standing waves. There was not enough decent wind to make it up-tide against all this and we had to concede defeat, tucking into a tiny bay amongst the rocks of Īle Longue. But I wasn't going to give up that easily, knowing that once beyond this very localised tidal situation we would have an easy ride for the rest of the day. So I hopped out of the canoe and proceeded to drag it along, wading through the shallows and blundering over numerous weedy rocks. Ann was not much convinced of this ploy, but she is long suffering of my tendencies and humoured me once more, also getting out to make it easier to manoeuvre the boat. About a hundred yards or so of this and we were able to get back aboard in negligible current to head north, with only a minor graze to a shin for my trouble. It was well worth it as we then gently reached and ran up with the tide to have our picnic in the sun on a secluded beach. The return trip was much less eventful and we picked our way back through the islands by a different route, again at times accompanied by many other interesting (and interested!) sailing craft.
Another long trip out was into the eastern area of the Golfe and around both large islands (Īle-d'Arz and Īle-aux-Moines). That day was cloudy and a little cooler but still a good sail and we had to work against the tides around the north of the large islands to complete our trip. So would we go back for more? Yes, absolutely! There's a lot more to enjoy and if we could go in June or early July it would be quieter and the weather should be just as good or better. And there are some offshore islands outside the Golfe to explore on the right day, too!
Committee Meetings At Rutland Water (JeffB)
The argument surrounding the way that the Participation Statement was rewritten has drawn my attention to the need to be more transparent in the way that the Group is organised. Previously we had assumed that by making the meetings held during meets open to all members, this was sufficient to ensure that the process was perceived as being open and democratic. However, I am now proposing to do more to publicise our deliberations. This may continue in the form of articles in Gossip, like this one, or might become a bit more high tech in future, such as posting minutes on a members only section of the website. See more below.
This was the first opportunity for the committee to meet since the AGM in February. The main issue to discuss was the Participation Statement that you will have signed when you applied to join for the first time or renewed your membership. As explained in my article in the last Gossip, the change was made at the suggestion of the BCU and while it does not mention 'duty of care' in the statement or safety policy, PaulW thought it should. We agreed to add an extra sentence to the statement and also to have the whole document checked by the BCU's insurers to get their view on its adequacy. We have now had a response from the BCU and they are happy with the statement, with the added sentence. There will not be any necessity for members who have already signed this year's membership form to sign another one; we shall be changing the statement on the sign out sheets for meets to also include the wording about the duty of care.
Unfortunately this may not be the last we hear about safety, participation statements and insurance since there have recently been a number of accidents in Scotland and the BCU Board will discuss the whole issue in June. This may result in additional changes to how we are expected to do things.
It was agreed at the AGM that some funds should be put towards updating the OCSG website to make it a bit more attractive. Previously the only funds expended for publicising canoe sailing were used for stands at exhibitions and expenses for members to man them. This has become very expensive of late and there seems to have been very little immediate benefit from the time and effort put in. A jazzed up website could potentially be seen by a far larger audience than the number of people visiting a stand at a canoeing or outdoor pursuits event. By investing in the website it can be made far simpler for us to update as well as being given a more up-to-date appearance and hopefully attract more 'hits'.
A sub-committee consisting of KeithM, DaveS and SteveR will have the responsibility for carrying out the process. To ensure that we get value for money they will initially be approaching three website designers for proposals and prices before the full committee selects one to carry out the work. The website designers will be responsible for establishing the framework of the site in a way that a number of people can have access to update it by adding or amending material and also to establish a 'look' or a unifying style to the whole website. In addition to the fees to set up the website and transfer the existing material onto it, there will probably also be a small annual charge to allow the provider to host the website and take care of all the associated administrative tasks. Anybody with particular ideas they would like to suggest, or who have a particular interest in web design or skills to offer, please get in touch with Keith, Steve or Dave.
SteveR announced his intention of resigning from the Committee, but did not wish to cause any