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Metropolitan Police Sailing Club
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Dateline: 07-03-2014

From Phil Onslow:

Dear All

I do like this time of year. The sun starts to shine and before the end of the month, the clocks will change so it’s all quite positive. Our boats are in the water and a big thank you to those who helped out with the work on them during the winter.

I’ve included below some details of things which are due in the near future and would particularly highlight the Vice Commodores Rally which is always a top event.

We have a wonderful club with some fantastic boats, great people, and some skilled and experienced sailors and teachers. It’s fair to say that some of those who have in general managed the club magnificently over the years are now rapidly approaching their sell by date and we do need to plan for the future and need your help. It would be such a shame if the fantastic framework we currently have isn’t supported in the future so give serious consideration about volunteering to help and see the message below about a new treasurer and other roles. Your help will be really appreciated. If not able to take one of the key roles, some administrative or organisational help is always well received.

As always do contact us if you want any further information

We’ve had a good response to most of our cruises and interest is healthy especially later in the season so if you’re interested in these get in quick or they may be full. We do have some space on the following which in the past have proved popular and great fun.

Early Bird – You’ll have to get in quick as it takes place 28th to 30th March and costs just £99 which isn’t bad for 2 days sailing. The list will close shortly so don’t miss out. It’s only £99.

Easter Cruise – So how are you spending Easter. This is slightly longer cruise and gives an opportunity to build a few miles as well as have a great time. Poole or Weymouth are achievable subject to weather and as Easter is late this year, we’re hoping for something a bit warmer.

Vice Commodores Rally – This is usually one of the corner stones of our programme as it gives opportunity to boat owners and other members to get together and judging by some of the photos I’ve seen from previous years is usually a party from start to finish. If you’re a boat owner or just want a place on one of our yachts with a skipper then do get in touch on our clubline. Mike Wise our Vice Commodore is the organiser and will undoubtedly be leading the flotilla in his own yacht. Be ready to dispense passing honours.

Diesel Engine Course
On 23rd March we have a diesel engine course at Hamble. This one day course isn’t trying to turn you into a mechanic overnight but the greatest proportion of calls to the RNLI from yachts are due to mechanical failure and in most cases, there is a simple fix of a filter or air lock which can be cured in minutes, It’s based partly in the classroom but partly around our own diesel engine where you’ll be able to get your hands dirty, but don’t worry, you can wash them afterwards. The cost is just £60 which includes the RYA pack.

SRC Radio Online
Whether you’re into ribs or yachts, the chances are you’ll need to use a radio and it’s a legal requirement that you have a licence to do so. It’s all very easy and flexible now as there’s no requirement to listen to a boring instructor dressed in an anorak or two (that could be me) droning on about gain and squelch. You can sign up with us to do the course wholly online and then it’s a short examination to get the certificate.

The cost of £120 for the course and exam has been kept as low as possible. Most schools quote a figure of around £100 for the course only and the exam is an extra £60! Our package offer of £120 covers the course with full support, the RYA book and an exam on a convenient date, and you can do it all at a time and speed to suit yourself.

Essential Navigation and Seamanship
The RYA seem to be putting more of their training online and this course covers the essentials needed to navigate and is particularly suited to those who use a rib or who go fishing or diving. As with all our online courses there is a support available to you and you can do it when your time permits. The cost including the RYA pack is just £89.

Professional Practice and Responsibilities
Those who may be looking to work within the sailing industry, either teaching, delivery or skippered cruises, this course is a legal requirement. Because we se it as an important developmental opportunity to our members, we offer this course, which will be the same wherever you go, for just £20.

Practical Training – Competent Crew and Day Skipper
Our popular Day Skipper and Competent Crew courses are starting to fill, but we have vacancies on 6th to 11th April and 11th to 16th May, The cost of our courses is £380 which includes all food, fuel and moorings, all safety equipment and the use of our club waterproofs. The April course comes within our early season discount scheme so is even better value at £350.

Practical Training – Exam Prep Course
We’ve an exam prep course running in September and these courses require an element of preparation and the booking of an examiner. If anyone is interested in taking their Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore then do book early. We’re always happy to discuss your requirements before committing to this.

Cruising Instructor Course & Future Instructors
We’re running a cruising instructor course during September. This is to train those who are currently yachtmasters and who want to develop their skills on the practical training side. The scheme has recently changed and this represents an outstanding opportunity to gain the qualification at very little cost.

One of our strengths over the years has been the quality of our sailing instruction and this has cascaded down through the club starting long before I joined. We aim to identify members who are Yachtmaster Coastal and above and develop them within our training scheme with a view to becoming the instructors of the future. If you are interested in this activity then do let me know and we can discuss what’s needed in more detail.

Rib Training and Charter
Our level 2 rib courses start in April and we have vacancies on 12th & 13th April and 16th & 17th April. For other dates see internet site. These courses are run on our new rib which on a good day can do 45knots (provided you can hold on). Completion of this course and the above mentioned radio course qualifies you to take the rib out yourself. Why not give it a go. Unlike the last rib which had a 2 stroke engine and used so much fuel you needed to take an oil well with you, the new one has a 4 stroke engine which has been very well received by those who have chartered, particularly in relation to the low the fuel consumption.

You Can be Better Informed
We’re working towards keeping you better informed with our improvements to the internet site but to get the best from us we do urge you to watch us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. It’s a very easy process and if you go to our site, there are links at the top of the page to make it happen. Even I managed it!

Your Club Needs You
At our AGM next November several current members of our Executive Management Committee, the 8 directors of our club, have indicated that they will be standing down due to retirement and other personal reasons. Our club constitution requires that these must be Full members and at least half of the directors should be serving MPS officers or staff. We need to identify successors in these vitally important roles to plan and manage the future of our club.

One of the roles will be that of Club Treasurer, where the current postholder, John Oldham, is happy to remain as Assistant Treasurer to assist for as long as it takes the new Treasurer to take over the reins. The club uses Sage online accounting and some knowledge of spreadsheets etc. will be useful in this role but advanced accountancy skills are certainly not required.

The Exec currently meets 8 times per year for board meetings and, dependent on role, there will be some planning and other responsibilities, but nothing too onerous, and there will be plenty of support and advice available from our two managers and other directors.

If you think you can give some of your time to help ensure the future of our fantastic club or wish to find out more please contact Mike Wise our Vice-Commodore or John Bailey our General Manager or

Credit Cards and Future Developments
At the last directors meeting, a decision was taken to make a 2.5% charge for credit card payments. Existing bookings will not be affected but future bookings will have the small charge applied. There is no charge for debit cards and always remember that our preferred method of payment is by online banking and every form has information about how to do this….and it is free!!!

We’re just in the process of introducing an online booking system which we hope will simplify the process of booking charter, courses or cruises. More on this next month.

Good Sailing



Dateline: 04-02-2014

From Phil Onslow:

Dear All

Well blink and you’ve missed January. Was Christmas really over a month ago. The season will soon be upon us and just maybe we’ll have a good summer. What isn’t a maybe is that we’ve some great opportunities to sail whether you want to improve your skills or do a bit of cruising on one of our skippered cruises or take a private charter.

We’ve also some great support courses so have a look below and see if anything takes your fancy and as ever don’t forget to check our web page regularly and also look at my comments about Facebook and Twitter below.

Forthcoming Cruises
I’ve just had a fantastic weekend away. It was a bit windy at times but the boats can take that. If I’m honest the sail home in the sun on Sunday wasn’t ok…….it was magnificent. So why not think about one of our early cruises. Our Early Bird Cruise is 28th to 30th March and we usually get a good turnout on this and 2 or 3 yachts have a great time. At just £99 for the weekend, that’s great value.

Easter is later this year and I look back on some of the fantastic times I’ve had sailing over Easter. I’ll certainly be on the water this year. We’ve a cruise organised that will let you have a great time and will probably do a trip outside the Solent to Poole or Weymouth so an excellent opportunity to build a few miles and gain some more experience of real sailing.

As usual our Vice Commodore is holding his rally over the early may bank holiday and this is a truly memorable event. So much so that I daren’t put the photos on the site. The VC in his pirate gear is a sight to behold but you have to be there. You can book places on our club yachts but it’s also an opportunity for those who have boats to join in the fun. Contact Mike Wise for further details.

Practical Training
We’ve our usual programme of practical and shorebased courses as shown on our internet site. In particular there’s still one place on the first Day Skipper/ Competent Crew course from 6th to 11th April which qualifies for our discounted rate of £350. We’ve also a Coastal Skipper non assessed in June and that’s a great development for those who have completed their Day Skipper and want to progress. Contact the clubline to book.

Shorebased Training
This is scaling down as we approach spring but there is still capacity on our shorebased Day Skipper course from 26th to 30th April and one place on the early course 12th to 16th April.

Following requests from members, we’ve also arranged a diesel engine course for 23rd March at Hamble. This is a great opportunity to get hands on and see how easy it is to solve some of those minor engine problems that can otherwise spoil our sailing.

Our online SRC radio course is easy to complete and booking couldn’t be simpler. Just send in your booking form with the course fee and we’ll send you the link to login.

We now offer a number of online courses including Professional Practices and Responsibilities, CEVNI and Essential Navigation. The latter is great for rib users to improve their navigation and pilotage and build confidence and you can do it from the comfort of your own front room (or wherever your computer is situated).

Rib Charter and Training
Although currently hibernating under a canvas cover our new rib will emerge from this chrysalis state during March and reincarnate into a fast mean machine that uses far less fuel that our last rib. To use her, you need to have completed a 2 day Level 2 practical course and an SRC radio which can be completed online.

Club Internet
We’ve spent lots of time and energy improving our web site over the last 6 months and there’s still lots more to come. All our booking forms are there for you to download, complete and email to us although if you are one of these people who pay by cheque, we’re happy for you to continue but you won’t get the cheque down the phone line. For us internet banking is the preferred payment method but we try to please everyone.

What’s not got off the ground is our forum. With so many members this could be a wonderful means of communication and bringing the club together. You can give feedback to the committee about what you think, highlight articles for sale or look to find crew. Tell us what you think of the new rib or what yacht we ought to get next. Should it be bigger or smaller. We’d love to hear about your sailing experiences or those great little restaurants that you find on your travels or even the ones to avoid!

Using it is easy. Go on to the Forum page and click on the registration link to get your username and password. Once logged in you can click on the news item and make a comment about any of the existing topics or create a topic of your own for you and others to feed into. We need a few people to start the ball rolling by putting some comments and topics there and I’m sure it will engender some lively chat and ideas. It is your club! I may just put a little tale of my recent weekend sailing but rest assured that the names will be changed to protect the innocent!!

Facebook and Twitter
With our busy lives it’s sometimes a struggle to keep up to date with what’s going on and I speak to may disappointed people who’ve missed out on courses and cruises that they wanted to do. Apparently many young and dynamic people use things called Facebook and Twitter and do things called tweets to keep in touch. Now I know that the sailing club is old, in fact it was formed more than 50 years ago, but despite that, we have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds so you don’t have to wait for my boring monthly message. Just ‘like’ us on Facebook (see, I know all the jargon) or follow us on Twitter and then when things become available you’ll be the first to know. What’s even better is that I thought nothing’s free in life but apparently this is.

On the front page of the site you can like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter and both of these will give you more up to date information about what’s going on.

Yacht Charter
Some have already booked their private charter for the season. If you’re looking to plan something then do get in early and give yourself the best chance of your preferred dates. The availability is on the internet site as well as the booking form. Get in for an early season sail using the off peak rates and save yourself some money!

Dinghy Day at Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club . . .

On Saturday, 28th June, 2014 from 9.30am

As you are no doubt aware the MPSC is an affiliated member of Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club ( where we store our two ‘Vision’ Sailing Dinghies. This year we are holding a Dinghy Day where you and your family can come along, rent a Dinghy and do some messing about on the water. We will introduce you to Dinghy Sailing and for the more adventurous of you we will organise some racing in the afternoon

We are not restricted to MPSC boats. I have arranged rental of the IBRSC Fleet which includes, Visions, Toppers and Lasers for those of you who want to be adventurous.

There is a bar and food will be available so if you fancy coming along email me your details and I will put you on the list. I need to know numbers so please ensure you let me know that you are coming. The address of the club is Ray Road, West Molesey, Surrey KT8 2LF.

Cost for boat rental is £10 per family per day.

Nick Mason
Rear Commodore Dinghies and Racing MPSC

Finally a big thank you to those who have already attended working parties and those who are scheduled to come and help on future dates.

Good Sailing


Dateline: 02-01-2014

From Phil Onslow:

Dear All

Well a new year dawns upon us with new challenges and things to do. The days are already getting longer so at this time of year I’m always optimistic and looking forward to the new season. We’ve lots of activities for you to consider to stop you staying at home fretting.

I’ve copied below some of the details of our early season activities but as always have a look at our website for full details. We did have some problems with it and set up a temporary site but I’m pleased to say that we’re up and running on new servers and things are looking good.

Details of discounted London Boat Show tickets are here.

Read about our new online training programme. You can do some of your training including SRC radio and Essential Navigation without going into the classroom now.

Remember that all out courses, cruises and charter are on a first come first served basis so get your name down for what you want early which also helps us to tailor our programme to meet the wishes of club members.

New Membership Categories
Following on from the vote at the AGM, the directors have agreed to allow the following to become members of the MPSC

· Other Emergency Services (Fire, Ambulance & Coastguard)

· Other law enforcement services (National Crime Agency)

· Nominated Yacht Clubs (Hamble River Sailing Club and RAF Yacht Club have been nominated)

· Bona fide extended family and friends

Procedures for these to join are just being drawn up and will be published shortly and the necessary forms available on the internet site.

SRC Radio – Online Training
From 2nd January, we have recognition from the RYA to deliver the SRC radio course online. This means that once registered you can take the course at your own speed and at a time suitable for you and even break it down to bite sized sessions.

There is still an exam at the end which will have to be done face to face and the even worse news is that the exam cost has risen from £30 to £60. We can offer you the course and exam for £120 which is a great deal. Most schools I’ve seen are pricing the course at around £100 with the exam fee on top so if you do go on the internet and compare, make sure you are comparing course and exam not just the exam. I’ve not found any school offering cheaper – let me know if you find one!

Online Training
As well as the SRC radio course, we are able to offer the following courses/exams online.

· Essential Navigation and Seamanship - Great for rib drivers, fishermen (or should it be fisherpersons) and divers.

· Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR) – a requirement for those who want to operate commercially.

· CEVNI – the European inland waterways regulations that are necessary in some European waters

See the training pages of the internet site for further details.

Radar Course
We don’t run many of these but have scheduled one for January at NSY. There’s so much more to radar than most people realise and it’s an important safety feature and not just in fog. There is an argument for saying that you need to know how to operate it to comply with the collision regulations but I just think it’s a most enlightening and useful course.

Date 19th January. Cost £65

First Aid Course
Most of us live in an environment where we can call for an ambulance and it will arrive in minutes. Not so on a yacht and this course is there to cater for first aid when at sea. It’s a requirement for anyone who wants to take a certificate of competence (Yachtmaster etc.) as the job qualification doesn’t cover you.

Date 1st February. Cost £65

Day Skipper Shorebased Course
Our evening classes are finished until September but we have vacancies on our intensive course running from 26th to 30th April. The cost of this course is £285 which includes your course pack, accommodation and a day’s sailing.

Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Shorebased
This is a more advanced course suitable for the experienced sailor and you should have theory knowledge up to the level of Day Skipper before you start the course. We’re running it over 3 weekends on 1st, 2nd, 15th, 16th Feb and 1st , 2nd March at NSY. The cost of the course including RYA pack is £220.

Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical
We have our usual programme of 5 day competent crew and Day Skipper courses. These all start at 5pm on Sunday evenings and finish on the following Friday. The course includes all food on board, all mooring fees and fuel. Students also have free use of the clubs waterproofs for the course so the price really is an all-in figure.

The cost of these courses is £350 for April and £380 from May onwards. I have a few places on the April dates if anyone wants to save a few quid.

Yachtmaster Ocean – Shorebased
These courses come around about as frequently as a blue moon, but fortunately there is one this year. Yachtmaster Ocean that is. I can’t guarantee a blue moon. The scheduled dates are 9th, 22nd, 23rd Feb and 9th, 23rd March.

If you are interested in doing this course but cannot make the dates then do let me know as an alternative may be available.

Training Modules
We’ve 2 training modules scheduled for next year and these are usually quite popular.

From 13th to 15th April we’re running a close quarters boat handling course. This is ideal for those who want to build up a bit of berthing and unberthing expertise and improve their confidence.

From 8th to 10th June, we’re running a Day Skipper Refresher. This is good for those who may have completed their course but want to brush up on their skills before they charter.

Both of these courses are great fun, and very informative and are priced at £135

They were fully booked and a couple of people have been turned away but we hope to run 2 boats now for these courses so do get onto us if you’re still interested

So You Wannabe an Instructor???
During 2014 we will be running a course for members who want to be Cruising Instructors and teach Day Skipper and Competent Crew courses. The cost will be subsidised by the club and dates will be arranged to suit. You need to hold a Yachtmaster Offshore qualification, be commercially endorsed and hold a sea survival qualification as well. If you are interested contact the club line and we can discuss the course and requirements with you.

Sea Survival
This is the course which we hope we’ll never need but can save one’s life. You’ll learn about the principle of surviving if the worst happens, get a most informative insight into lifejackets and harnesses, life rafts and how to deal with them. Better to learn now than wait till you need to. The course includes a 2 hour practical session in the water that I can assure you will be very memorable. You’ll also get to set off some flares which is also an experience worth having.

Date 5th April. Cost £85

Cruises – Early Bird Cruise
We’ve put together a comprehensive cruising programme for 2014 with some old favourites and some new adventures. Personally I like the cross channel by traditional means where you turn the instruments off and see if you can find Cherbourg but that’s later in the year. The following are the early season cruises.

Early Bird Cruise – 28th to 30th March - £99

Easter – 17th to 21st April - £195

Vice Commodores Rally – 2nd to 5th May - £155

Members with their own boats are encouraged to join the VC Rally which is hosted by Mike Wise our Vice Commodore (the clue is in the name) and is always excellent fun.

See internet site for further details of these and other club cruises.

Facebook and Twitter
Apparently young people communicate by something called Facebook and Twitter. Well it seems we’re a young club so have opened accounts with these. You can find our Facebook by searching MPSC and for twitter it’s @mpsailingclub. It seems that if you ‘like’ our Facebook and ‘follow’ our tweets, you’ll get all the latest information about what’s happening. My question is, if I get a Facebook and Twitter account, does that make me a young person?

Winter Working Parties
As usual at this time of year, we need your help to work on the boats so that they are all in tip top condition when the 2014 season starts. No skills are necessary and we provide you with lunch and if I haven’t sold it to you already, we also give you a small discount on future course, cruise or charter. The working party dates are:- Saturday 18th January, Saturday 8th February, Saturday 22nd February and Saturday 1st March so if available, let me know by email or on the clubline.

Our subscriptions have been at the same level for around 4 years now but to keep us financially viable we have had to increase them. The good news is that the increase is just 25p per month.

Discounted Boat Show Tickets
Once again through the assistance of John Goode, we are able to offer tickets for the London Boat Show at a special discounted rate for club members. Details of the offer are contained on our web site.

Rib Charter and Courses
Our rib which was only purchased last year and about which we’ve had very positive feedback is currently laid up for the winter and will be put back into service during March. Good news is that most who have used her find her significantly more economical with fuel than the previous model. Details of her charter availability and course dates are on the site and bookings can be taken.

I think that’s about it for now. I hope you all had a great new year, have recovered or on the mend form the weeks festivities and are looking forward to 2014 as much as me.

Good Sailing



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