A Potted History of the Harwich Town Sailing Club
In the nineteen fifties it became possible to easily own a dinghy. Build yourself designs proliferated so that wherever there was a bit of sailable water, sailing clubs were formed to exploit it, Harwich was an ideal place for this exploitation. The local town council caught on to this and had a ramp constructed to enable small boats to be launched from the Harwich beach.They also fenced off an area adjacent to the beach for a boat park.
The scene was set to form a dinghy club, so at an initial meeting organised by John Lovely and John Dedman in late 1960 the consensus was to go ahead. As the established local sailing club had neither the facilities, or the interest to cater for racing dinghies, the way was clear to for a new club, the Harwich Town Sailing Club to be formed and it started accepting members in February 1961.
The local council was very supportive and made available, an old building in Kings Quay Street, which had been a school amongst other things, as the first clubhouse. This was superceded by a new building on the promenade two years later, built by the members. It has had a couple of extensions since but still remains the headquarters with superb harbour views, close to the boat park and launching ramp.
Initially the main class of dinghy being sailed was the Enterprise, with a few Cherubs and Ospreys however over the years this has changed mainly to the ubiquitous Laser and for a while caramarans. There are also a few cabin boats offering their sailors a bit more comfort.
The area off Dovercourt incorrectly called Dovercourt Bay is a superb venue for championship racing,the Club was soon organising many such events and has continued to do so ever since.In the time when big championship fleets were the norm, the Club aided by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club hosted three Enterprise Championships, the largest fleet being two hundred and twenty-five boats in 1972.
Over the years the Club has produced some very good sailors. An early national champion was Brian Vincent in the Cherub class. Brian was an experienced sailor when the club was formedhowever two notable champions learned to sail in the Club, David Reason as National and International Champion in the Condor catamaran class and Andrew Webb as current National Championin the Hurricane 5.9 catamaran class. Andrew has previously been European and National Champion on numerous occasions in that class. Racing is at the heart of developing good sailors and the Club's season starts in April and finishes with the now traditional Boxing day Race, included in the programme there are the normal dinghy races with a few novelty events thrown in, as well as is a series of cruiser races in which the Club is joined by the Harwich and Dovercourt Sailing Club.
Recently there has been an upsurge in training youngsters to give them the basic sailing skills and knowledge. Following on from the success of the training week in previous years,this year there will be a small fleet of Optimists and Toppers available , this will allow the Club to extend the training, with weekly sessions throughout the summer in addition to the Cadet Week
The Club has had it's periods in the doldrums but is now once again a very vibrant club with a lively social side for the families and non sailors. With the Youth training, under our own qualified RYA instructors, the future of the Club can only go from strength to strength.