For boat owners everywhere, the months between laying-up and fitting-out are necessarily peppered with activity. There are numerous niggles that need to be nailed and invariably one or two bigger jobs that cannot be avoided. But that is the nature of boats – they are demanding of your time and money but in return they offer the prospect of boundless enjoyment afloat. Over the last 12 months several of our members have said goodbye to their boats. Inevitably this is a moment of mixed emotions. On the one hand freedom from the treadmill of maintenance – but equally, a deep sense of loss and finality.
But provided you are still capable, selling your boat does not necessarily mean an end to boating pleasure. I have boated all my life but I have only owned a boat for a short period. That was many years ago when a friend and I decided we would sail together every Wednesday throughout the season. We sailed three times in three years and then we sold the boat. Since then I have been a strong proponent of chartering. I believe that by chartering I have often boated more each year than many of those who keep their own. And there are numerous advantages. The only cost is the charter itself – no insurance, no mooring costs, no maintenance bills, no licence to pay, no capital tied up, no depreciation and no unexpected bombshell costs.
And that’s not all. You don’t feel obliged to restrict your boating to the vessel that you own and you’re not constrained by where you keep it moored. With chartering, the world’s your oyster. Last year Jackie and I sailed in the Caribbean, narrow boated on the Llangollen canal, and boated twice with the Club – once on the Norfolk Broads and once on the Thames for the annual upstream cruise to Hurley. That’s a solid month of quality boating with massive variety and no further responsibilities once the charter is complete and the keys are returned. I strongly commend the chartering alternative to all those members who no longer have their own.
And in 2020 (that’s next year!), if sufficient members are interested, we will look to organise another TSCC cruise in chartered craft, either on the Norfolk Broads or elsewhere if we can find a practical, affordable alternative. Let us know if you might be interested and if so whether there are ‘uncharted waters’ you would like us to explore. Again, if there is sufficient interest, we will see what we can do.
During the dark winter days, the Club has remained as active as ever – an immensely enjoyable pre-Christmas break in Stratford upon Avon (a huge thank-you to Jackie for her meticulous organisation), a well-attended AGM, and an exciting skittles match with the Weybridge Mariners and the Byfleet Boat Club at which, for the first time to my knowledge, the TSCC claimed the winner’s trophy! And by the time you read this log, we will have enjoyed a Race Night at Ajax and we will be looking forward to our annual Fitting Out Supper at a new venue, Topo Gigio in Ewell.
I hope to see you at many forthcoming events and look forward to another season of fun and camaraderie, both on and off the water.