Club History

In 2014 the club celebrated it’s 30th anniversary!!

The first official meeting was in November 1984 in the bar of the Pleasure Boat Inn. Originally the club was formed to be able to properly organise and control windsurfing from the public staithe next to the pub. A big problem was parking and confrontations with the pub landlord were commonplace. Fortunately a local landowner was persuaded to lease the club an area of land that could be used for a car park. This solved the parking problems but the car park was a long way from the launching area. Further discussions with the Broads Authority and other landowners eventually lead to the club acquiring a lease on another piece of land which now forms the club’s beach and launching area.

For many years club facilities had been minimal. Changing took place in a couple of sheds or in the car park. In 2008 club members built new changing rooms (with showers and WC facilities) and these were upgraded in 2021. The Club house was never designed to be protected from cold weather meaning the plumbing had to be drained each year as many other sailing Clubs do. So there was no water, hand washing, toilet facilities or shower facilities for most winters. Pipe frost protection was added in 2021 meaning hand washing and toilet facilities are now available all year round. The showers however are prone to frost damage if left unprotected, so they are turned off and left insulated in the winter. Emergency space heating was also added in 2021 to provide a safe warm refuge for windsurfers in case of an emergency,

The club has held taster sessions for the public (Come and Try days) for many years, and in 2006 introduced an annual fun day for club members, and some racing series.

Like many Clubs, maintaining membership levels and encouraging new members to join is a challenge and critical for the long term future of the Club. The local Whitlingham training centre (mainly via instructors Dave, and Ben) provided a steady stream of trained and enthusiastic new members for many years. However, by about 2014 less courses have been run due partly due to a shortage of instructors, and also blue-green algae at Whitlingham Broad in the summer months. The Club responded by creating their own training centre with support from the RYA, and training their own members to become instructors. This helped maintain membership levels up to about 150 memberships. Although very successful for 6 years the effort required to run professional level courses became too much of a burden for volunteers, particularly the organisers. Membership levels dropped to about 90 post Covid pandemic, and so a new approach was adopted. Firstly advertising was targeted to those who were actively looking to join a Club, and prepared to take control of their own development. The club provided more informal support, (information, books, creating a beginner WhatsApp community, You Tube videos, RYA books, picking the best conditions to practice, teaming up with others, and providing better beginner, and intermediate loan equipment). Early signs are promising, all taster Come and Try day sessions were sold out in advance (the first time ever) and the Club recorded their best recruitment drive ever with 35 people joining from the 2022 Come and Try day.

Being an unsupervised Club, members are responsible for their own safety, and deciding when it’s safe for them to sail. Members have access to Club safety information to help keep their selves and others safe. All safety incidents are recorded and reviewed so that improvements are indentified and issues addressed. The RYA recognised the Club has a very good safety culture.

The membership survey result tells us the members like the excellent facilities, private beach, friendliness, relative safety, and the beautiful location.