View From The Bridge – Episode 1

Say the word “Commodore” and to me it immediately conjures up a vision of a neatly pressed uniform adorned with medals and a smart cap trimmed with scrambled egg*. Well your new Commodore has none of these (though I am partial to scrambled egg especially when it is presented on a toasted muffin and topped with a little smoked salmon).

Being appointed Commodore of Phoenix Yacht Club after 17 years as an ordinary member is at once a great honour and a daunting prospect. I have never served on any club committee so I come, I hope, without preconceptions but at the same time have a lot to learn about how our club is run. After my first Management Committee meeting I am pleased report that at a crucial time in our history, I feel the club is in good shape.

The past year has been a difficult period for PYC. It has been clear for some time that we needed to replace Spellbinder, and yet so many of us have an emotional attachment to her. How many of us earned our first and subsequent RYA ratings at her helm? Who has not got a tale to tell of her sea-kindly nature in difficult conditions? After 25 years service we had all come to know her little idiosyncrasies. Boarding Spellbinder was like re-uniting with an old friend. But like all of us the years were taking their toll. Little snags became bigger problems. Maintenance costs were rising, possibly exceeding her value. A decision had to be made and with that decision would come the thorny problem of the choice of her replacement. That process has been going on for well over a year and here I would like to pay tribute to the small team of dedicated members who have brought that process to fruition. They have navigated the treacherous waters of members’ preferences, tacked against the headwinds of doing nothing and reached out to every member with a choice vessels that would satisfy our three main activities of cruising, racing and training. Undaunted by lack of suitable vessels in the UK they widened their search and nailed their colours to a fine X-yacht that will soon be our new flagship. The purchase has been prudently financed despite the low final valuation of Spellbinder. Even now there are a few navigational hazards to overcome but as I write, plans are in hand for the final leg in this voyage which will deliver our new boat to her new home port. It is a significant chapter in our history and a tribute to the determination of the team who have seen it through.   I hope that you will take the time and trouble to seek them out and thank them for the incalculable hours they have spent trying to meet our demands. I also hope that you will demonstrate your appreciation by filling the booking calendar across the season. I look forward to reading your impressions of our new boat in these pages.

Spellbinder has gone.

It’s time to RelaX

Bob Cousins

*PS “Scrambled egg” the colloquial term for the gold adornment on the cap and uniform of naval officers above the rank of Full Commander

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