Many of those gathered for that inaugural meeting had some sort of boat; others might not yet have a boat but had a yearning simply to get out on the water. Getting together, we could be out there more often. Little did we know with what we were getting involved.
We got together on the water early in 1989 with what we called a Flotilla Day, in which seven boats sailed around the loch and rafted up near the butcher’s shop for a nibble, a noggin and a natter.
Another attempt to be sociable while sailing came to nothing. The plan was to sail round to Kishorn Island for a barbecue. The weather forecast was discouraging. The notice, in An Carranach, of the proposal caused a stir – the date set was a Sunday! Another failure was a suggested joint event with Torridon Sailing Club. Arrangements simply did not mature.
There was a successful outing late in the season, three cruisers laden with youngsters sailing out from Strome Ferry.
It was during 1990 that the first signs of the future shape of the club appeared. We acquired sailing dinghies, two Mirrors, for the use of Club members. The young members of our families were using them and learning, or improving, sailing skills. The Youth Club joined up with the Sailing Club during the summer holidays.
Membership took off. By September 1990, the secretary could report the paid up membership as 21 memberships with 44 individuals covered, (32 adults and 12 juniors). By the beginning of 1991, this had increased to 29 memberships, with 62 individuals covered. (46 adults, 16 juniors) and in the middle of the year, we reached the magic figure of a hundred. By the end of 1992, there were 48 memberships, with 110 individuals covered. (72 adults, 38 juniors) This was the peak of our membership record.
The very high proportion of junior members dominated Club thinking. We needed to see that they were properly trained. Much of the Club effort has been geared to providing that training, with the necessary facilities, the craft and a headquarters from which to work.
From that peak, membership has been dropping. A number of local folk had joined the new club, as it seemed a worthwhile organisation. Some drifted away. Some dropped out as they left the district. Some junior members joined, tried sailing, and then found other interests, which they preferred. The committee resigned themselves to such losses, particularly when considerable success was reported in an alternative sport.
For those years until 1993, the Club had been operating from the slipway in the middle of the village opposite the butcher’s shop. With the acquisition of four Topper dinghies in 1994 more space was needed. The centre of operations moved to the foreshore at the foot of Murray Square, Stan’s caravan acting as a club headquarters – we were still unable to see ourselves with a permanent clubhouse.
Dinghy racing became an ever more important element in the club programme. To cope with the necessary organisation, in 1995, a Club handbook, with the programme and general Club information, was produced to replace the folded cards showing the programme in previous years.
In 1996, membership stood at 91, 41 junior members and 50 adults, after some losses and 10 new members.
Many of these junior members became ever more enthusiastic for the sport. They were not only sailing regularly in Lochcarron, but were increasingly travelling to other venues, meeting stiffer competition
Although in 1999, the record had dropped to 20 memberships with 26 adults and 18 juniors, in that year we succeeded in acquiring a permanent headquarters, a Club Cabin, based on a portakabin.
Since then the signs are that the membership is beginning to pick up. At the end of 2000, the equivalent record is 23 memberships with 31 adults and 21 juniors.