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The latest news and events from the Dark Horse Sailing Club.
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Merry Christmas, <<First Name>>!

While Santa has been busy dashing around the planet delivering presents, I've been busy putting the finishing touches on the club’s 2019 Sailing Programme; read more on that a bit later.

The 2018 End of Season Rally back in late October seems a long time ago now. We had three boats participating — Andy and Tina’s catamaran Fizz and two Beneteau Oceanis 37’s — plus 21 members, so a great turn out. The conditions were blustery, but that didn't stop some close racing on Saturday! The evening was held at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club for a superb three-course dinner followed by night-caps aboard Fizz. A great way to end the 2018 season.

2019 Programme

The Committee have worked hard this autumn speaking with all the qualified skippers in the club’s database, seeking their input into next year’s programme and their thoughts on how the club can encourage more member participation… and ultimately run more, successful events!

Once we had collated all this information, a draft programme was sent out to the skippers about 10 days ago. Further feedback was taken, the programme refined and more detail added to the proposed events, resulting in the programme below.

There are lots of events available – and even more asked for – but the big advantages this year are that 1) we already have skippers volunteered for lots of events and 2) the programme is out nice and early.

It is likely that some events will still get cancelled due to lack of interest, but the sooner you can express your interest in specific events the better, so get planning now. Firm bookings will be taken in January, once the programme has been published on the website and the expected prices ranges finalised.

Finally, a quick note on programme dates. Start and End dates for events have historically been the first and last sailing days of an event, with attendees typically arriving the evening before. From time to time, this causes confusion, particularly with new and prospective members. From this season, Start and End dates are the actual dates when attendees join and leave the boat, so typically a Friday for most weekend events even if sailing doesn't start until the Saturday.

Kick Start Weekend & AGM dinner — 12 - 14 Apr

Fri eve to Sun eve: As it’s name suggests, the Kick Start Weekend is the club’s first event of the season. It is an opportunity to brush away those winter cobwebs and get your sea legs back. Saturday evening will be the club’s AGM followed by dinner, venue TBC.

AGM dinner only — 13 Apr

Sat 7pm: Those who can’t come along to the Kick Start Weekend are encouraged to come along for the AGM on the Saturday evening, followed by dinner, venue TBC (but somewhere on or near the Solent).

Training Weekend - Yachtmaster practice — 26 - 28 Apr

Fri eve to Sun eve: We’re always keen on promoting good yachtsmanship, so this year’s training weekend is targetted at those who already have good sailing skills and are looking to progress with an RYA Yachtmaster qualification. The intention is for an RYA YM Instructor to join the boat for at least a day, ideally the whole weekend funds permitting, and help attendees refine their YachtMaster practical skills, perhaps in anticipation of an exam later in the year.

Cross-Channel Mid-Week Cruise (May) — 5 - 10 May

Sun eve to Fri noon: Taking advantage of the better charter prices mid-week, this event starts on a Sunday evening for a sail across the Channel – perhaps to the lovely Fécamp, Honfleur, St Vaast or Barfleur – before returning for Friday afternoon. No doubt sampling tasty French cuisine will be on the agenda, from local restaurants, delicatessens and supermarkets! There’s a suggestion to move this event to the following weekend to avoid the early May Bank Holiday: let me know which weekend you would prefer.

Inter Bank Regatta - BoE (Bank Holiday) - Date TBC — 24 - 27 May

Fri eve to Mon eve: The first of four Interbank Regatta weekends in the sailing season. This one is hosted by the Bank of England sailing club, with races on both Saturday and Sunday and (optional) evening dinners in one of Cowes’ yacht clubs. NOTE: The dates for this event are TBC, awaiting the 2019 Interbank Regatta schedule to be published.

Scottish Cruise (Bank Holiday) — 24 - 27 May

Fri eve to Mon eve: A long weekend sailing in Scotland, offering some stunning scenery and superb sailing. The destination is TBC, so if you’re interested get your preferences in now!

Mediterranean Cruise — 1 - 8 Jun

Sat to Sat (TBC): It’s been a couple of years since the club organised a Mediterranean trip, so it’s about time we had another one. The Balearic islands are a suggestion, but really it’s down to those attending to decide. If you’re up for some early summer sailing in the sun, let me know where you would prefer to explore.

Inter Bank Regatta - Portcullis - Date TBC — 14 - 16 Jun

Fri eve to Sun eve: The second of four Interbank Regatta weekends in the sailing season, with this one hosted by the Portcullis (Natwest) sailing club. There are race(s) on Saturday and usually Sunday, with Saturday’s (optional) evening dinner in one of Cowes’ yacht clubs. NOTE: The dates for this event are TBC, awaiting the 2019 Interbank Regatta schedule to be published.

South-West Cruise #1 (w/ owner) — 21 - 23 Jun

Fri eve to Sun eve: This event is based from Plymouth on Mike Thompson’s Oceanaire (Grand Soleil 46.3), with Mike as skipper. He’s a very skilled yachtsman, with thousands of miles and numerous RORC races on his sailing CV. He knows the south-west coast very well and will take you to some idyllic places. This is one of two ’either/or’ options for the event; also see 28-30 June.

Round The Island Race — 28 - 30 Jun

Fri eve to Sun eve: One of the world’s most famous annual yacht races, with nearly 1,500 yachts and 15,000 sailors competing in a one-day race around the Isle of Wight. A must for any competent sailor with a competitive streak! Tides, tactics, teamwork and of course weather play key roles, the later varying significantly from year to year!

South-West Cruise #2 (w/ owner) — 28 - 30 Jun

Fri eve to Sun eve: This event is based from Plymouth on Mike Thompson’s Oceanaire (Grand Soleil 46.3), with Mike as skipper. He’s a very skilled yachtsman, with thousands of miles and numerous RORC races on his sailing CV. He knows the south-west coast very well and will take you to some idyllic places. This is one of two ’either/or’ options for the event; also see 21-23 June.

Under 30's Sailing Weekend — 5 - 7 Jul

Fri eve to Sun eve: The club is very keen on getting our younger members out on the water on their own, exploring what the Solent can offer. Dates are flexible, so if you’re under 30 and think different dates will work out better, please let me know.

East Coast Weekend — 12 - 14 Jul

Fri eve to Sun eve: There has been interest in trying sailing areas other than the Solent, and the East Coast is close to many members and offers good sailing. Once we have a few bookings we can decide where to sail from and where to explore.

St George's Channel and Ireland Cruise — 19 - 26 Jul

Fri eve to Fri eve: For those wanting a longer sailing trip and some good sea miles, why not try this new entry to the programme. The yacht charter will be from Neyland in Pembrokeshire, setting sail across St George’s Channel for a few days on the Irish coast before returning a week later.

Dorset Coastal Cruise — 21 - 26 Jul

Sun eve to Fri noon: Another event taking advantage of the better charter prices mid-week, with this one aiming to explore west from the Solent along the Dorset coast. Catching the tide can be key in these waters, so some early mornings and/or night sailing may be required.

Taittinger Regatta (incl. pre-race training) — 25 - 28 Jul

Thu eve to Sun eve: The Taittinger Regatta is a spectacular event with competitive racing, hosted by the Royal Solent Yacht Club in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. The club’s event starts on the Thursday evening, with Friday dedicated to pre-race training and a sail over to Yarmouth in time for the Taittinger Champagne Reception and Club Supper. Racing starts on Saturday with the Towers Dinner in the evening and more racing on Sunday, followed by a hog roast and prize giving.

Scottish Cruise (Scottish Bank Holiday) — 2 - 5 Aug

Fri eve to Mon eve: The second of our long weekend sailing events in Scotland. Again, the destination is TBC, so if you’re interested get your preferences in now! Also, the dates are currently the Scottish Bank Holiday dates but could be moved to the English dates instead; again, let me know your preference.

Pembrokeshire Coastal Weekend — 9 - 11 Aug

Fri eve to Sun eve: The feedback from this event in 2018 was so positive, we’re offering it again. The options of places to explore are plenty and the charter costs much cheaper than other areas, so this event is likely to prove popular.

Cross-Channel Dash (Bank Holiday) — 23 - 26 Aug

Fri eve to Mon eve: Back after many years of being absent from the club’s programme is a cross-Channel trip, but achieved in just a Bank Holiday weekend. Attendees will need to get to the marina by about 4pm on the Friday, ready to set sail by about 6pm. The night-sailing ensures an early arrival in France on Saturday, and 36 hours to enjoy their delicious food, vin, bière and cidre, before the sail back home.

Inter Bank Regatta - Spread Eagle - Date TBC — 30 Aug - 1 Sep

Fri eve to Sun eve: The third of four Interbank Regatta weekends in the sailing season, with this one hosted by the Spread Eagle sailing club. There are race(s) on Saturday and usually Sunday, with Saturday’s (optional) evening dinner in one of Cowes’ yacht clubs. NOTE: The dates for this event are TBC, awaiting the 2019 Interbank Regatta schedule to be published.

Canal Cruise Week - Falkirk Wheel — 14 - 24 Sep

Sat to Sat (TBC): Some club members have already organised a 10-day canal boat trip from the Falkirk Base, and have asked if anyone else would like to join them in a second boat.

City Yacht Club Finn Trophy & RYS dinner — 20 - 22 Sep

Fri eve to Sun eve: For the racers amongst our members, why not join the regatta organised by the Lloyds Insurance, Baltic & Stock Exchanges, with Saturday dinner in the Royal Yacht Squadron? Member René Chinnery is offering his boat Temptation (Westerly Regatta 290) but if there’s enough interest we can always charter a second boat.

Inter Bank Regatta - John Lewis - Date TBC — 20 - 22 Sep

Fri eve to Sun eve: The last of four Interbank Regatta weekends in the sailing season, with this one hosted by the John Lewis Partnerhip sailing club. There are race(s) on Saturday and usually Sunday, with Saturday’s (optional) evening dinner in one of Cowes’ yacht clubs. NOTE: The dates for this event are TBC, awaiting the 2019 Interbank Regatta schedule to be published.

Solent Cruise — 4 - 6 Oct

Fri eve to Sun eve: One of the club’s regular events, a casual cruise around the Solent in early October. No racing. No formalities. Just simple, late-season sailing.

End of Season Rally — 25 - 27 Oct

Fri eve to Sun eve: The most popular of all the club’s events, and a great opportunity to catch up with lots of club members. In 2018 we had enough attendees to warrant three boats and some fun racing on the Saturday. The semi-formal Saturday evening dinner is a great social event: venue suggestions for the 2019 EoS Rally are welcome!

EoS dinner only — 26 Oct

Sat 7pm: Those who can’t come along to the End of Season Rally are welsome to join everyone for dinner on the Saturday evening, venue TBC (but somewhere on or near the Solent).

Event Price Range

Occasionally we receive comments that club event prices look expensive in the programme, so let’s explain how sailing fees are calculated, charged and refunded:

The first fundamental is that an event only costs attendees the actual charter costs involved, plus a £10 booking fee. Other than the booking fee, which helps cover the Direct Debit system charges, the club doesn’t profit – or make a loss! – on the events as could have happened a few years ago.

For the prices stated on the programme, I get rough prices for events based on last season’s charter costs and whatever other info I can gather. This estimated cost is then uplifted by a few percent (just in case). A cost range per person is then created based on between 100% and 75% berth occupancy, the 75% occupancy clearly being more expensive. Those booking are always charged at the higher rate by Direct Debit, and then any excess sailing fees left after the charter costs are paid are refunded to the skipper as the event’s initial ‘kitty’ pot.

More information on sailing fees can be found under Booking Conditions on the Programme page of the website.

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Membership Posters


As always, we're keen to attract new members. A great way to help with this is through advertising the club in your place of work or local sports or sailing club.

Feel free to print the posters yourself (available for download from the website), or drop me an email and I'll send some in the post.

That’s it for now. Please read through the 2019 programme and start planning your 2019 sailing adventures now. I'll be sending out another newsletter once the programme has been published on the website along with all the expected price ranges. Firm bookings will be taken then.

All that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Looking forward to seeing you all on the water in 2019. I think I just saw Santa outside…

Kind regards,

Simon Jackson
Dark Horse Sailing Club

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Please note: While the language used in these newsletters sometimes implies the reader is a DHSC member, its distribution is to a much wider audience. Indeed, we actively encourage all readers — club members or otherwise — to forward the newsletter to friends, family and colleagues who may be interested in sailing.

If you're not yet a member and like what you've read, you can subscribe here or contact me about membership. We're open to all, from complete beginners to Ocean Yachtmasters!
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