View From The Bridge – Episode 3

Ask not what your club can do for you etc......*

Comfortably seated around the cockpit table in the fading sun talk turned to how we each joined Phoenix and why.  The “hows” showed a multitude of pathways but there seemed to be a common theme with the “whys”.  For most people it seems that belonging to the club is as good as or better than owning your own boat.  Shared costs and responsibilities was a major incentive but close behind came the social factor, meeting people who shared the enjoyment of time spent afloat. Friendships are made (and just occasionally unmade) in the close confines of a small boat, people learn of each other’s strengths and specialities. We care for each other’s safety, we learn of each other’s endurance in challenging circumstances. We form bonds.

Of course sailing isn’t just about time spent at sea but with no shore base it is inevitable that most of our exchanges are based around seatime and usually the only time we meet ashore is at the AGM. That changed this year when Steve Greenham organised the very successful “welcome to Phoenix” event when RelaX joined our fleet. It seems that without the pressure of club business the talk could turn to practical matters with the delivery crew giving their ideas about the virtues and vices of our new addition, comparisons made between new and old boat and a whole new learning process initiated. That learning process is vital to good seamanship, boat owners never stop learning and since we are all, collectively, boat owners then neither should we.  

The difference here is that individual boat owners spend a good proportion of their time aboard moored up in the marina, fixing things, improving things and generally getting to know their boat.  With a club boat it is different. You turn up at the marina and want to get to sea, after all that is what you have paid for.  You go through the checklist and away.  So how do you become more familiar with the boats without wasting precious seatime? 

Well it just so happens that a great opportunity is about to become available as Bo’suns Richard Ash and Ray Allenby are organising some maintenance days for both our boats at the end of August.  It’s a great opportunity to meet other members and get to know the boats in greater detail in an unpressured environment.  The tasks will be many and varied and Phoenix is lucky in that amongst the membership there are some specialists who are happy to show others how things work and what to do to keep them working.  Previous experience is a bonus but not essential. Look upon this as an opportunity to continue that learning process and have some fun at the same time. We need to keep our boats in top condition and the club needs your help to do that.

Personally my favourite task is polishing the GRP. Very relaxing and looks great when it’s done.

Bob Cousins, Commodore

*with apologies for misquoting JFK

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