Club Craft

The thirteen founder members had ten craft between them

       1 motor launch                               1 day sailer.

       1 small catamaran                           1 sailing dinghy

       6 sailing yachts from 17 to 37 feet,

                    (one of which was being reconstructed.)

With recruitment of new members, and some acquisition of extra vessels, by the beginning of 1991, members owned 22 boats

                   4 motor vessels                  10 sailing yachts

             1 catamaran.                      7 sailing dinghies

By the end of 1992, the fleet had increased to 26 boats, including 9 sailing dinghies, and that did not include the three Club Mirrors.

At the last count, the fleet was up to about forty boats, of which a considerable proportion are small to medium sized sailing dinghies.

In our first year, the Club acquired the first of its boats, a Mirror dinghy, Tishimingo, given to us by Mrs R L Wright of Wales, who had a holiday home at Shieldaig.

In February 1990, in the village hall, we explored the rigging of Tishimingo. We subsequently took her round to the Carron Restaurant for painting and refurbishment. There was ample room to work round the boat, but Rob and Jan had rather much clearing up to do before they could open the restaurant for the new season – sanding operations had spread dust all round.

The second acquisition, in 1990, was the purchase of Puddleduck, arrangements being made by Roger Coppock, through a friend in Edinburgh. The cost of £275 was met by a grant from the Lochcarron Sports Association.

The following year, 1991, we had another windfall, the loan of Marsh Arab from Derrick Allen, of Suffolk and Ardaneaskan. Eventually, Derrick converted the loan into a gift.

Again, in 1995, Dr Roberts, who has the Poorhouse as a holiday home, gave the Club the loan of their Mirror, a yellow one which is now painted white and named White Swan.

(Tishimingo was scrapped in 1993, and Marsh Arab in 2000.) 

For five years the Club used the three Mirror dinghies they had acquired, for training, for practice and for some low-key racing. Where we should go in developing a fleet, owned partly by the Club and partly by members was a frequent matter of debate. The Wayfarer Class had, in the past, been a stand-by for sailing schools and clubs. Costs were beyond Lochcarron’s resources.

The possibility was discarded and all the available effort and resources were put into obtaining a rescue boat for the Club’s third season in 1991. The Pioner Maxi and Yamaha 15 h.p. outboard cost about £3000. There was additional expense on tow ropes, anchor and mooring chain. The cost was completely covered by grants thanks to Roger Coppock’s efforts.

Another three years passed during which we tried to extend our Mirror Fleet, and considered where we should be going. The Topper Dinghy was coming to the fore. Highland Regional Council had a fleet of six Toppers, which could be hired by clubs. They are available on a trailer for collection by the hiring club’s transport.

As a preliminary trial we hired the fleet for the Friday and Saturday at the end of our first full week of training in August 1992. The fleet was hired for the whole week of training in July 1993. The experience prompted decisions to concentrate on that class as the Club boat.

At a committee meeting in December, Stan, as secretary presented a paper outlining alternative schemes for buying one new Topper, two second-hand Toppers, or two new Toppers. He was so overwhelmed by the committee’s response that he was only able to minute – ‘After much discussion it was agreed to try and get grant aid for four toppers and launching trolleys.’ (The italics do not appear in the official minutes.)

The four dinghies and their trolleys appeared in time for the sailing season in 1994, the cost almost completely covered by grants.

At the same time, two second-hand Toppers were obtained from Findhorn Yacht Club, and bought by Ralph Lewis, and Roger Coppock.

By 1995 and 1996, the merits of the Toppers persuaded other members to buy into the class, Maria Carter, Neil Sproule and John Murray all obtaining boats of their own. More have been acquired and there are now eight owned by members.

The committee had been considering the merits of two-man boats, and minuted in 1996 that the 420 class seemed to be the most suitable of the types considered. By 1997 Steve Patch and David Murray were sailing head to head in boats of this class.

The junior members who had started out in Toppers began to outgrow them. The Laser was the chosen successor. The Sproule, Murray and Patch families have all bought into this class.

Steve Patch and his family have been scouring the market. Dart Catamarans and Optimist dinghies, two opposite ends of the range, have appeared in the Club boat park.

Meantime, George Hendry still sails his Heron (Cartop) dinghy and Dave Sproule, occasionally, his Wayfarer. Doug Angus has recently acquired another Wayfarer.

Larger vessels in the club are a varied lot.

Seal Sinbad, Peggotty, was brought to Lochcarron by Stan Forrester in 1984. She was sold to Marcus Given in 1997.

Rob Teago has a Nicholson 32 MKVIII, Amatory, Sail no 1474Y in which he cruises whenever he can.

Phillip Pendred, although a founder member, resigned from the club some years ago. He has a traditional carvel built 34’ cutter.

David Murray has owned a Sunspeed 25, Elsie Dawn, since 1996 when he purchased her from George Nixon, a former member of the club.

Although Angus MacDowell farms in East Lothian, his mother lives in Lochcarron, and he keeps a Sabre 27, Ceol-na-Mara, in Slumbay Harbour in the summer.

Derrick Allen, a good friend of the club, although he does not take part in events as a member, has concentrated on powerboats. His current craft is a Nauticat 33 Motor Sailer. Fedoa

David Johnson is also a motor cruiser enthusiast. He spends most of the summer cruising in Meridian a motor cruiser.

Doug Angus, had a Swift 18 footer when he came to Lochcarron, but she has since been sold

Peter and Mavis Harrop, have a Mariner 18, Moss Rose.

Steve & Jennie Patch, and their family, have concentrated on dinghies and catamarans in recent years, but they still own an Alvin Vega, 27', sail no 1067, out of commission, ashore at Kishorn.

Nick and Cindie Reiter have a Drascombe Dabber, Tamsin.

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