Sailing and canoeing on the River Thames in Kingston

Commodore’s news

I hope that you and your families are well and staying safe at this difficult time. It seems that it will be some time before club activities will be back to normal so we have been working on temporary arrangements for a Virtual Club.

Virtual Bar

We have been experimenting with different technologies and we have had some enjoyable meet ups over a few drinks – with the advantage that you can have your favourite drink! I am aware that many of you are using Zoom to keep in contact with family members and so this weekend we are going to try it.

The ID for the Minima Virtual Bar is [redacted] and it is open all the time. If you haven’t got Zoom yet just click on the number or use this link: [redacted] to install it and take you straight there – there is no sign up involved. Normal opening hours are 6pm to 7.30pm on Sundays and 9pm to 10.30pm on Wednesdays and there will be a Bar Steward on duty at these times to make sure we do not get too unruly.

I would like to share thoughts about the club’s web site with you so if you have any ideas or want to hear mine please be in the bar by 6.30 – more about this below. I hope to see as many of you there as possible and if it gets too busy we can open the shutters on the snug!

Virtual Sailing

The club held its first Virtual Sailing event on Wednesday and the results are here. Although virtual sailing feels very different to the real thing, race tactics are surprisingly similar and so it is a good way to ‘keep your hand in’ whilst we can’t get on the water, or if you don’t have much experience of racing it is a great way to learn. We will be racing again on Sunday and we will also be broadcasting the sailing, with commentary from the competitors (well from me anyway), so read on whether you just want to watch or to take part.

eSailing has been ‘a thing’ for a few years now but has obviously really taken off with COVID-19. The RYA has produced a handy guide on getting started here; you can ignore the parts about setting up club racing and you don’t need a VIP account to get started. Note that we will be racing in J70s as that is what the RYA is using for the eSailing Spring Club Championships, and I recommend doing the training and getting some practice in before Sunday although if you don’t, join in anyway, the controls are easy to use and you will pick it up in the practice races.

Like the RYA we are holding our race briefings in Zoom, the meeting ID is [redacted]. If you want to take part then you should join this meeting for a briefing at 4pm on Sunday. Races are quite short and so we plan to have 2 practice races followed by a series of 5 races with 2 discards. Coaching will be permitted throughout, both to help those sailing but also to provide a commentary to anyone watching (I will share my screen on Zoom).

Note that Minima plans to enter a competitor for the RYA eSailing Spring Club Championship. We will hold a qualifying event to select our entrant and we hope to post a Notice of Race for this on the web site, but if not then note that the first start will be not before 7.10 pm on Wednesday 29 April with a mandatory Zoom briefing on [redacted] at 7pm. I am not planning to compete but will be joining this event as a spectator boat so bring your supporters to cheer you on!

Web site

On the subject of the web site, whilst we are not on the water this is the main presence of the club to the outside world. I have for some time been planning to start work on bringing the site up to date and would be very grateful for any help or suggestions so please do come along to the Virtual Bar on Sunday.

Virtual canoeing

We haven’t managed to come up with anything for this at Minima yet, although a few of my more competitive paddling friends missing the annual Devizes to Westminster canoe race at Easter decided to have a #VirtualDW complete with blisters and sunburn!

Back in the real world

I am very grateful to members who continue to visit the club and the boat park for essential maintenance particularly Steve and Kathy Collins for their continuing efforts in keeping the vegetation, which is enjoying this splendid weather just as much as we cannot, at bay. We do keep an eye on the boats and equipment there but do make sure you have renewed your insurance as the club does not cover your own property.

If you do need to come to the boat park for any essential maintenance then maintain safe distancing at all times, and note that the Environment Agency has effectively closed the River by asking the owners of all boats not to use them on the water (other than to access essential services and facilities, which does not apply to dinghies or canoes).

Finally a summary for your diaries

This Sunday 26 April:

  • 4.00 pm Virtual Sailing
  • 6.00 pm Virtual Bar
  • 6.30 pm Chat about the web site in the Virtual Bar

See you all soon on the water, until then keep safe and healthy.

Paul Bloomfield

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