Do I have to live in or near Swanage to join the club?
No, anyone is welcome to join as long as they can make good use of the club’s sailing facilities and help with occasional volunteer duties.
Is there a Joining Fee?
We charge a Joining Fee which is used with other sources of income to cover our running costs. We are a non profit making organisation and therefore our charging structure is simply geared towards balancing income with expenditure.
Is there a waiting list?
The Club is a victim of its own success. Due to our popularity we only have a limited number of places each year for new members. We do not operate a waiting list as such; applications for membership are accepted throughout the year but only processed in January and February for enrolment in the spring. Unsuccessful applicants are notified in writing and must reapply the following year if they still wish to be considered for membership.
Can I be a member of SSC without owning a boat?
You don’t have to own a boat to enjoy sailing at Swanage. We have a growing number of one and two person boats for hire to members. Within the fleet we have a large number of two-handed boats whose owners are frequently on the lookout for willing and able crews. In fact, we encourage new members to crew for other sailors as this provides an opportunity to try different classes of boat before purchasing your own. The notice board in the club house and on the members’ Facebook group page is the place to offer your services and to find a sail!
Additionally, club boats are free to use for 1st year trainees doing adult Tuesday night training , and free for children doing Saturday morning training.
I’ve heard sailing is expensive, is that true?
Dinghy sailing can be very inexpensive, and your costs could minimally be:
- club membership
- basic clothing and equipment such as a wetsuit, boots, gloves and a buoyancy aid.
Owners of double handed boats frequently look for crew and the club has single and double handed boats for hire at very low cost. Boats are free to use for first year trainees during the adult training weeks.
Can I sail any boat?
Within reason, provided that it is within your ability to launch and recover the boat safely. We have a wide variety of boats within the fleet, ranging from small monohulls, through assymetrics, to powerful cats. Our preferred classes are Wayfarer, Albacore, Laser, Dart 15/18 , Stratos and RS Feva / Vareo / Vision.
Are non sailing family members welcome at the club?
Our non-sailing members are an important element of the club and do much to ensure its success, often volunteering their services to make things run smoothly. The Club provides a relaxing and safe environment from where to watch the sailing and enjoy the splendid views across the bay. Guests of members can also use the club up to 3 times in any one year.
Can children sail?
We have a very active Junior Sailing section with many planned activities throughout the year. There is no minimum age for participation, but parents must accompany their children on site at all times. Junior sail training takes place in the spring and the more competent are able to compete in their own race series. (There is a minimum age for Junior training starting at age 8, again a parent must accompany them)
Can I use the facilities when there is no racing?
Safety Boat cover is only provided for race events and organised cruises. Members are free to use the Club’s facilities at any time and can access the changing rooms, galley and club room. Hot water is constantly available for showers. Naturally, the Club cannot accept liability for personal injury arising out of use of the club’s facilities, and the members must use their own discretion when deciding whether to sail.
How is club racing organised?
A comprehensive racing calendar is organised at the start of each year and published in the Club Handbook. In addition to 15 separate ‘Cup’ races, there are weekend and weekday evening Series races. Typically each ‘series’ comprises 10 races, the best 6 results counting. The racing is handicapped (Portsmouth Yardstick) and all results are computerised. There is one start for Cup races and separate starts for catamarans and monohulls in Series races.
Do I have to enter club racing?
The Club’s ethos is to encourage the art of sailing for pleasure and competition. It matters not therefore whether your preference is racing or cruising; it is active participation that counts. With pressure on berthing space, it’s a source of frustration that some boats are rarely used. Ideally we want to see all the boats in our fleet in active use; one of the best ways of improving your sailing skills is to participate with the fleet in closely contested races.
What safety cover is available?
All sailors are responsible for their own safety on the water. During organised club events members provide safety cover on a rota basis. Typically there will be a Committee Boat and two or three rescue boats out with the fleet, until all competitors are safely back ashore. We also appoint a Beach Master to oversee the safe launching and recovery of boats. During a race the Beach Master retreats to the clubhouse from where there is an excellent view of the fleet, providing an extra set of eyes on the lookout for boats in difficulty. The Race Officer, Beach Master and safety boats are in continuous radio contact so that their actions are coordinated and safety cover can be directed to where it is needed. There is mandatory theory training for all safety team personnel each year before the season starts.
What opportunities are there to sail?
Swanage bay is a large protected area and ideal for sailing and other water sports. We have a small tidal range so you can launch boats at any state of tide. The prevailing wind is from the west, so most of the time there are no waves in the bay making it ideal for all levels of sailor. Members can sail anytime but there is an organized programme of training and racing as well as social sailing groups. Although the Bay is ideal for sailing in most conditions, we do provide wind and tide safety guidance plus we have links to the Swanage National Coast Watch scheme who provide a reassuring lookout over the Bay.
When are the Bar and Galley open?
The bar and galley opens on Thursday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to coincide with racing. They are open Sunday lunchtime all year round. A range of hot and cold meals/snacks are normally available at these times.
Do I have to do club duties?
Yes, we expect all members to give a few hours of their time to the club each year. You can elect how you would like to help, or leave the decision to the Management Committee. All active sailors are expected to take their turn on the safety boats. Assistance is also required with the running of the bar and galley and major social events. Regrettably we cannot waive duties simply because members live out of town, so this should be taken into account before applying for membership. This club is run by its members for its members, so a ‘get stuck in and help’ attitude is expected.
Have you got space for my boat?
There is a limit to the number of boats we can accommodate on the beach at the club. When berths become available they are offered to existing members first, as equitably as possible, recognising that not every class of boat will fit in every slot! It is not uncommon for new members to wait 12-18 months for a berth. Boat sharing is encouraged and boat use is monitored to ensure the allocation of space is given to those actively used boats.
How does SSC benefit from its RYA status?
In 2005 Swanage Sailing Club was awarded RYA Training Centre status. We organise and run courses for club members only, accredited to the RYA national sailing syllabus. A full range of sailing and power boat training is offered to both adults and juniors; most courses starting in the spring. Training is not offered to non-members.