I learned to sail at school, taught by my Physics teacher in a GP14 built by my woodwork teacher. Twice we had school trips to the Norfolk Broads sailing flat bottomed gaff riggers. My A-levels were lousy but sailing was the best lesson I ever learned.
Dropping out of university in 1969, I joined an ancient Baltic coaster being converted into a 3 masted schooner. We sailed her from Kent to the Galapagos Islands and were the first boat to run tours in the islands
When the family came along we would take flotilla holidays in the Greeks Islands. There I met Simon Banting who told me all about Phoenix and in 2001 I joined. I used to think that belonging to PYC was the next best thing to owning a boat but I have to admit that it is actually better than being an owner. I have encountered so many people who love being afloat and are willing to get cold and wet and still enjoy themselves. I achieved all my RYA qualifications with Phoenix and have a great admiration for our Instructors who put themselves through so much in order to pass on skills and knowledge to newcomers. Our Instructors are a huge asset to the club.
My log book reminds me that I have sailed some 38,000 miles including 4 Atlantic crossings, a Pacific crossing and 2 Fastnet races. It does not show that I still get sea-sick!
Phoenix is a remarkable organisation, self-sufficient, safety conscious, educational, sociable, forward thinking. It is run and supported by people who care about the welfare of the boats and the people who sail in them. We begin the New Year with the sale of our beloved Spellbinder and the purchase of her replacement very much in our minds. That process has thrown up new issues about how we fund our vessels and plan for their replacement. I am impressed by our excellent Bo’sunry and would like to see more members updating their understanding of our boats’ systems, their maintenance and what to do if things go wrong. We now have an excellent communications system and I hope that we will be able to develop this to pool our collective knowledge of ports and restaurants. Looking to the future it is clear that to thrive the club needs more younger members and we need to develop a strategy that will encourage the next generation of sailors to learn and grow with Phoenix.
Phoenix has given me much happiness and I hope that through the role of Commodore I may have the opportunity to give something back.