The calendar has evolved over the years in an attempt to cater for a wide range of abilities and interests of its members, offering racing, cruising, coastal sailing, expeditions and training. The problem is that because of the size of the UK most meets involve very long car journeys for most of the members most of the time. Whilst some members seem to manage lots of travelling to meets I am sure it is mostly done with reluctance and for many members or potential members it is a turn-off.
We in the northwest of England have been fortunate that the majority of meets have been here, partly because of the numerous lakes that are ideal locations for canoe sailing and also because traditionally there was a core of members living close or who were willing to travel here. Nevertheless we in the northwest still tend to sail together occasionally as just a bunch of friends, usually just day sailing on Coniston or Windermere.
This occasional sailing has made me think that perhaps the OCSG could try to help other members from other regions to get together for occasional sailing in the form of Local Meets. If members had more opportunities to sail with other members then their experience and skills level would increase. If there were more meets in the regions then there would be more opportunities for new members to come along and join in. If we had many more members then it would be possible for the club to have well-attended meets without people having to drive the length of the country every time.
I propose that the OCSG should continue to produce a calendar of National Meets that are spread throughout the UK but should also introduce a series of Local Meets to supplement this. I think that this is an important step forward for the group so perhaps we should have a discussion at the Winter Meet to decide how best to implement this.
To start the ball rolling I will outline how I think that this might work.
Without a Local Meets coordinator it could become a free-for-all, so I think that this is an important position. The coordinator could make sure that meets follow the group's guidelines on safety, that sign in sheets are filled in, etc. and that meets are properly publicised on the website. If this is done properly, the group's third party insurance, which we have through our affiliation with the BCU, will cover these meets.
At National Meets we have anything from 6 boats to 25 boats. Generally meets are deemed successful the more people attend. I think for Local Meets we could consider 3 boats to be a successful meet and more as a bonus. The main thing is to get more people out more often, sailing safely in company. How many regions and how many Local Meets there should be could be decided at the Winter Meet. Local Meets could follow the normal weekend format or even be just day sailing. This could alleviate the problem of finding a campsite next to the water and give us more venues from which to sail.
If any member has ideas that you would like to share but who cannot attend the Winter Meet, please e-mail me your thoughts.
What Do You Want From The Winter Meet And AGM? (JeffB)
One trophy, the Bernard O'Connor Trophy, is not awarded for any sporting endeavour, but is instead for creative achievement, such as a written or visual work. We have in the past awarded it for a video, an article in Water Craft, a blog and a website. Please let me or another member of the Committee know about any nominations you may have. What is your favourite article in Gossip during the last year, or have you seen a photo or video of canoe sailing that you think captures the essence of the sport, for instance? You may of course nominate yourself. In fact, we could make it a photo competition with a vote at the AGM if there is sufficient interest.
The Gossip And Website (JeffB)
As you are probably aware, a rota of members has recently edited The Gossip. This is not too much of a problem when there is plenty of copy, but can be a drag when you have to search around for stuff to put in it. While I find it satisfying to produce a Gossip that is, I hope, readable, informative