The Churches of St. Mary's, with St. Faith's and St. Francis

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Sailing Club Logo
Club History

Club Future

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Location:   Clayhall Road, Clayhall, Gosport, Hampshire  PO12 2BY
Main Contact:   Club Chairman c/o St Mary's Parish Centre, Green Road,  Alverstoke, Gosport PO12 2ET.  Or please send an email to the Club Secretary:-
Assistance:  If you feel you could offer some assistance with the club we would love to hear from you.  Please either send an email to the Club Secretary or write to us c/o the Parish Centre, Green Road, Alverstoke Gosport, PO12 2ET.
Club aims:  To introduce young children to the exciting sport of sailing in a relatively secure environment, so fostering team building and interpersonal skills.  To continue club growth and development through its links with Alverstoke and  Gomer Junior schools.  The sailing club provides all  necessary equipment to allow children to learn and enjoy sailing.
Main activities:  Sailing sessions for club members in school years 5 -10 (ages 9 -15) between 2:00pm & 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday afternoons between May and September whenever the weather is suitable.
Preparing for the water:
Boats ready for the water


Bird's eye view of the location:

Aerial view of Alverstoke Creek

Club History:  St Mary's Junior Sailing Club was first formed in the mid 1960s's on its present site by Peter Camp and Mervyn Dyer at the request of the then rector William Rees.  It took over the premises which had been occupied by "The Viking's Club" which had by then closed down.  It started by using the existing boats - pram dinghies and Cadets.  Later Mirror dinghies were introduced and the original one, which was purchased using Green Shield Stamps, is still being used by the children after restoration.  The club closed at the end of 1999 due to the retirement of the remaining founder member.  

Following an advert put in the Parish magazine at the beginning of 2001 a group of adults met down the club.  As the huts were first prised open, broken wooden dinghies lay on their sides, rotting rope and rusted wires hung in tangles from split masts.  The boatsheds themselves were falling apart and the path crumbling; things did not look promising.  Just a few months later with a lot of hard work in the background and a brand new boat, paid for by a lottery grant, plus bags of optimism, the club was keen and determined to get back up and running.  

New members arrived and old members drifted back weekly until a healthy 20+ was achieved per session. Some had little knowledge, whilst many were complete beginners, but hey, we have turned out Olympic medal winning sailors in the past so anything was possible.  Under the watchful eyes of the Sailing Officers new sailing skills were acquired and confidence gained.  There were gusty days when rowing was the safest option and near perfect days when the capsize drill was practised.  By the end of the season 40 children had joined, many had mirrored all of the RYA level 1 tasks and some had progressed through Level 2.  Seven Mirror boats were totally refurbished over the winter and some of the original names from when the club was first formed were put back on the boats. "Whirlwind",   "Oink-Oink",   "Ox-Box",   "Butternut", and "Mike," along with the new Miracle dinghy  "Twister" built by the Bosun, dedicating much of his spare time to rebuilding the boats whilst others scrounged free materials and donations.  

The boatsheds, pathways and ageing pontoons have seen a lot of work.  The old pontoons have been slowly dismantled and either burnt or dragged out of the way.  With the continued support of local & national sponsors we have seen water pipes being buried to supply fresh water to the clubhouse galley, a first in nearly 40 years.  The boat sheds have been re-roofed courtesy of a company in the Midlands so that they can now be used safely.  Two major companies donated nearly a £1,000 between them to help the club with its funds, a local sail maker gave the club a brand new set of sails for all the boats, along with numerous other companies donating rope, fittings, lights, water heaters, cash donations and many other things.  In October 2001 we contacted HMS Sultan asking for some rope.  As the link has strengthened, help from a team of their young Engineering Mechanics has included shoring up and laying a new gravel path, helping to clear years of overgrowth in the process, and constructing vital replacement dinghy running rig, rudder assemblies, tillers and centreboards in their entirety.

With the assistance from volunteer support from parents, friends and HMS Sultan, the club has increased the number of useable sailing dinghies from four to eight, with four rowing boats, a rescue boat, and through the link with Gomer Junior School, looking after a new Topper for use with their after school club.  The new lease of life has seen the membership rise to fifty children in 2004 with more on the waiting list.  We would like to write a small book about the history of the club from its days under the "Vikings" banner to the present date, so if anyone has any information no matter how small please contact us, or come down the club and meet us.  We would also like to hear from any ex-members as we are planning to hold a reunion in the future.

Club Future:  All of the hard work since its reformation has seen the consolidation of the club.  We are now planning for the future.  A local architect is currently drawing up plans for a replacement boatshed which we anticipate building in October 2003, subject to Lottery funding.  This and the slow acquisition of newer boats will ensure the club continues for the next 40 years, which is our ambition, whilst forging closer community links between the Sailing Club and Alverstoke & Gomer Junior Schools.  We aim to maintain the growth and development of community foundations first begun nearly 40 years ago, proven by ex-members returning to continue the original clubs aims.  Replacement of the existing buildings will give more space for amenities, providing running water and lavatory facilities for the children.  Replacement of the shingle beach is essential where it has suffered natural erosion over last 10 years.  It is also necessary to ensure a continuity of water depth in Stoke Lake, which has been naturally silting up, whilst maintaining harmony with nature and the environment, a matter to be raised in the near future with the Council.

This is our latest acquisition purchased with funds from The Mayors Charity last year. Kindly donated by Rosemary Bartlett and will be named Geoff in her husbands honour.

With Thanks: 

The Chairman and all of it's club members acknowledge the very generous contributions of the following businesses for their support:

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This page last updated on 27/05/04