Sunday, June 24, 2018
Social Events

Social events include barbecues and various annual events such as the Prizegiving Dinner. 

Prizegiving Dinner 2018

Prizeging Dinner 2017

Dittisham Sailing Club held its annual dinner and prize-giving ceremony at the Seven Stars hotel in Totnes last Friday. (Please don’t yawn while you read it’s not very polite).

Now you correspondent has been to lots of these ceremonies at many different clubs, for both annual dinners and sailing Championships but in his experience a Dittisham Dinner is unique.

You know how your heart sinks and your dinner starts to well up when the top man gets up and says “Ladies and Gentlemen it gives me great pleasure……?” Your mind says “It might be about to give you great pleasure mate, but I should have taken the opportunity to nip to the loo two minutes ago!”

Well at a Dittisham Do you never quite know what will happen.

I mean, you know there will be a bar, and drinks, and dinner and some silverware to hand out and lots of applause and general jollification.

What you can’t be sure of, unless you are the type of nerd who maintains his own private results spread-sheet, is who has won the overall championships, who will the special discretionary awards will go to and who might the Commodore single out for singular honours and special thanks if anybody?

The lovely thing about this traditional evening out is that even after fifty years or so there don’t seem to be any long-standing traditions.

Take the venue. The village hall for some years, a local pub on other occasions and, this year and last, the very fine ball-room at the Seven Stars. (Much too grand for a bunch of dinghy sailors you might think but they scrub up quite well and wet-suits were expressly forbidden in the invitation.)

Then the format. Some years the prize-giving is accompanied by a history lesson on the origin of the individual trophies, other years it’s been a rapid run through and back to the bar and, more recently there’s been a bit of a cabaret comprising mildly disparaging doggerel about the vagaries of the various fleets and some hilarious party-pieces.

This year, before the main prize-giving, the Commodore again broke with tradition by presenting the out-going Commodore Richard Hayes and his wife Mary, the past and current Social secretary, with a fine decanter to mark their selfless (they don’t even race) devotion to running the club for three years. For the whole of that time in addition to Commodorely duties they’ve been filling the stomachs of hungry sailors on too many occasions to count with their famous fattening feasts. (All you can eat for £3, enough to quite put you off the Sunday lunch that was waiting for you when you got home!).

He then brought a lump to the throat of your otherwise totally un-embarrassable correspondent by presenting him with an illustrated bound volume of all the reports he had contributed to this very newspaper during 2016.

On then to the prize-giving itself. This year (2016 season) the honours were wonderfully evenly spread among the fleets and competitors. So much so that the Honorary Sailing Secretary claimed that he had put everyone’s name in a hat and drawn them out in random order, (though no-one believed him). With no less than twenty-six pieces of silver to distribute, some that would cost a truly staggering amount to replicate, there is no room here to list all the series and special event awards.

The highlights were the presentations to the fleet champions.

James Dodd prevailed over the PY fleet (in spite of complaining that Phantom sailors never win anything), Martin Ely was crowned Lord of the Lasers while Bob Thomas became Solo Supremo and also, greatest honour of all, was awarded the Booth Cup as Champion of Champion for the best performance in all the major series of the entire season.

The ceremonials concluded with awards to best-all rounder, Paul Mogridge, outstanding contribution from a lady member, Anna Chrystie and, for frequently volunteering to help crew the Safety boats during the season, the best crew award went to Raoul Fereday.

The evening was delightfully rounded off by two, mercifully short, cabaret items. First up, a pair of lady Streakers. (No, nothing like that, do you mind?  This was in the Seven Stars Ballroom in Totnes not Twickenham and the Steakers in question sail boats of that name and were laying down a stern warning to the other fleets if they were foolish enough to get in their way on the start line or in port and starboard confrontations).

 And finally, the very successful 14 strong ladies group, know as the Dittisham Belles, were serenaded with the world premiere of a song called, appropriately enough, “The Belles The Belles”, by a musically challenged cross-dressing trio who said they were called “The Deci-Belles”. (Though their disguises were not too convincing and their rumoured appearance on The Voice should only be treated as Fake News.)

All the right people were thanked by the Commodore, applauded to the rafters by the 80 or so guests, and everyone left feeling they had had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Click here for a list of the 2016 Prizewinners

Prizegiving Dinner 2016

A Right Champion night Out by Jonathan Weeks

Over sixty members, their partners and guests attended the Dittisham Sailing Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving event on Friday evening last week. Congregating in the bar in the Ballroom of the Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes at the beginning of the evening, many members had to look twice to be sure of recognising one-another. More used to seeing each other every Sunday dressed in wet or dry-suits, or stripped to the buff in the changing rooms, it was slightly disorientating to see people they thought they ought to recognise disguised in smart jackets, some even wearing ties, or posh frocks, (mostly the ladies that was, of course). It was rather like meeting your grocer or butcher, stripped of his white coat or striped apron, out for a stroll after church on a Sunday –“I know that chap awfully well, where have I seen him before?”

Anyway, it didn’t take long to get accustomed to the new look and at 1925hrs promptly, as befits a Sailing Club, the Commodore sounded the five minute warning on the PA system and at 1930hrs the fun began. Two excellent courses had been set, back-to-back as is common at these events, first the main and then pudding. The overall winner was the Chef and his team and before you knew it it was time for coffee and the Prize-Giving.

The Hon. Sailing Secretary, Jonathan Weeks, rattled through the list of awards at a goodly pace managing the tricky task of insulting everyone equally while appearing to congratulate them.

Wild applause accompanied each proud winner to and from his seat, with the loudest reserved for the more unlikely and therefore more popular victors.

 Within a mercifully short time the enormous table which, up to then, had been groaning under the load of splendid silver-ware and Dartington Crystal keepsakes, was suddenly empty, its contents neatly re-distributed around the room. 

Space precludes us from listing the many trophies and their recipients here but this year the awards were shared out much more evenly than on recent previous occasions. In particular, the efforts of James Dodd, in the PY fleet, Martin Thomas representing the Lasers and Mike Webster, Mike Bennett and Jonathan Weeks from the Solo squad, featuring prominently in the role of honour.      

Special awards went to Les Moores for his selfless attention to Nikita’s bottom, (she’s the club committee boat so don’t go getting the wrong ideas); to Mary Hayes for rustling up a huge quantity of delicious Beach Feasts during last season and organising this very dinner; to Chris Bates for being the best of the long-suffering  two-man-boat crews; and to Martin Fodder for chugging along, mostly at the back of the fleet, without complaining. (He’s bought a new boat now so next season there’s no excuse!)

The evening was brought to a riotous end with what is rapidly developing in to something of a concert party. Peter Symons and Jennie Richardson did a hilarious ham-up of that old favourite “There’s a Hole in my Bucket” but with a Laser as the Bucket. (Actually a Laser is more like an ironing-board than a bucket but it’s hard to see how you can work your way back to the beginning from an opening line of “There’s a hole in my Ironing-board” and anyway it doesn’t scan).

Richard Allen and the Hon Sailing Sec, accompanied by a virtuoso performance on the key-board by Paul Honey, attempted to top their U-tube sensation of last year (12 hits already without counting their wives and immediate family) with a sad song about a Laser Sailor in love. They had to plead to be allowed to do an encore with last year’s effort and the applause that greeted this finale was clearly a measure of the relief felt by the audience when they finally quit the floor.

A seriously good evening, in an ideal venue, there is already talk about trying to replicate the event next year with even more members in attendance.

Prizegiving Dinner January 2015

Watch Jonathan and Richard perform their ditty about the Solo.


And if If you want to sing along, here are the words!

THE SOLO WITH A FLAG ON THE TOP (Tune- “Surrey With The Fringe on top”)

When we all go down to DSC
Sailing on that lovely estuary
There’s one dinghy that stands out above all others,
It’s the coolest boat you’ll ever see-----

Toppers, Lasers Yawls have to follow,
When we pass them by in a Solo,
When we pass them by in a Solo with a flag, on top.
Other fleets look on with some sorrow,
Wish that they could beg, steal or borrow,
Boats as quick as our little Solo, with the flag, on top.
They point like hell with the centre-board down,
The tiller feeling lighter than a, feather,
With a Kicker and a Cunningham you pull right down,
In case there’s a change in the, weather.
Two large side tanks stop them from sinking,
You can keep your rig if you’re thinking,
You can keep your rig if you’re thinking, that if we’d care to swap,
For our super little Solos with a flag, on the top.

Bob and Jonathan, Richard and Patrick,
Folks might say the fleet’s geriatric,
Folks might say the fleets’ geriatric and it’s time to stop.
We all sail in a gale without funking,
Even though it ends in a dunking,
We don’t count the masts that we’re junking, no we can’t just stop.
Our knees are shot, our joints all creak,
Our minds are often in a, muddle,
We get so excited we can hardly speak,
And end up sitting in a, puddle.
Now we’re past the age of Viagra,
We would sail our boats OFF NIAGARA,
We would sail our boats OFF NIAGARA, ‘cos we just can’t stop,
Sailing, super little Solos with a flag, on the top!

We all sail in every Regatta
Passing years just don’t seem to matter
Ageist insults? – just idle chatter, we can’t all be young and thin!
True our wet-suits do tend to flatter,
In our dry-suits we look, well, fatter,
Though when all squeezed into the latter, you can’t see much skin
We’ve now been given racing, in our own little fleet,
We’re trying to avoid appearing, cliquey,
The others get so cross when we pass them on the beat,
No wonder they all try and take the, mickey.
In light airs our boats are all magic,
Sailing something else would be tragic,
Sailing something else would be tragic, so we’ll never stop,
Sailing super little Solos with a flag…….on the top

Dittisham Sailing Club v Stoke Gabriel Boating Assocition

Cricket Match 1430 Saturday 13th September 2014 Middle Back

They won by one run. It was a fair result and a surprisingly close and exciting finish.

They had a number of advantages. Our team numbered only ten including the two ladies doing the teas and hence unable to bat. SGBA had previously managed a total of two members over a period of two years. This time it seemed, the whole village turned out, fielders were everwhere . We had an average age of sixty years, theirs was nearer sixteen years. They won the toss and batted first, by the time DSC batted the boundary had receded into the distance. DSC had a perilous voyage to Middle Back, SGBA voyage was less then 100yds, they arrived fresh as a daisy. Not that I am making excuses.

The ground staff classed the pitch as soggy. Ten overs each side, each member to bowl an over, initially tip and run later relaxed in view of the difficult bowling conditions. SGBA scored 44 in their 10 allotted overs. Particular mention must go to Anna Christie and Nicky Moulsdale for their devastating spells of underarm bowling.

DSC batted with great spirit but the forest of fielders contributed to a large number of run outs. The two J's, Jonathan Weeks and Johnny Moulsdale scored well, ably assisted by Anna Christie acting as runner for the older “J”. They had some very young bowlers with run ups that started in the waters of the Dart, but their accuracy made scoring difficult. There were many wides on both sides but SGBA bowlers also delivered “highs” and most difficult of all “shorts” where the ball never made it to the other end and batters had to resort to a type of bunker shot. The outcome would not have been as close had not one of their members batted for us. He scored very well and I think we should offer him honorary membership in time for the next fixture.

Comment of the day, having bowled someone, Nicky was heard to ask “ Are they allowed to change batters mid over?” Never mind the scones were excellent, thank you Mary and Nicky. Thanks also to Stoke Gabriel for a very refreshing elderflower cordial. Thanks to Johnny Moulsdale for supplying bats, balls and stumps and to Chris and Richard for organising the event.

David Thompson

Prize Giving Dinner - Friday 24th January 2014

50 members of Dittisham Sailing Club attended the Prize Giving dinner last Friday at The Sportsmans Arms Blackawton. They heard the newly elected Commodore Richard Hayes report that 2013 had been a very successful year. It had started slowly with the unusually cold spring but soon got under way enhanced by the purchase of a much needed committee boat. This enabled better courses to be laid in a variety of conditions improving the quality of the racing.


The two main series over the summer were held with fleet racing for the Solos, Lasers and Laser Radials. This had produced close exciting racing and will be repeated for the Solo fleet in 2014. The Commodore also reported increased activity for the Ladies Group , the Ditsum Belles and the junior section which will be expanded to involve juniors participating in the general racing. The Club had also run a family sailing week in August which would be repeated again this year.


The overall winner of the Booth cup which is for all classes throughout the season was veteran sailorJonathan Weeks in his Solo. Keeping it in the family the winner of the Deverell cup for the best overall performance under 18 went to grandson Joshua O’Brien in his Laser Radial. The winner of the Stoyle cup for persistant effort throughout the year went to Janie Harford whilst Brian Perks was best crew. The ladies cup was won by Susi Stockbridge whilst the Primrose Salver went to outgoing Commodore David Thompson for his contribution to the club. Racing resumes on Sunday March 9th at 1000

Commodores Picnic Report - 8th September 2013

The Commodores Picnic was scheduled to sail down river with the ebb to Dartmouth and out into Start Bay, before returning to Dittisham with the flood tide. The weather forecast was not good with heavy showers and a south west wind that might have made the picnic a rather chilly affair in one of the suitable bays.

An alternative trip was offered, essentially a sail around the perimeter of “Dittisham Lake”. Members rarely see the Dart at or near low water, so this plan would offer views that are rarely seen. The choices were put to the vote and the Dittisham Pond escapade won by a small majority. The chance to have the BBQ under the shelter of the balcony plus hot drinks seemed a key factor.

An Admiralty Chart was produced showing the proposed route, sailing a clockwise circumnavigation visiting Eel Rock, various members boats and using Anchorstone as a turning mark. The fleet set off with Nikita and three safety boats shepherding the sailing members. This was a day for social sailing with three Fevas, two Devon Yawls plus a range of single handed boats, Solos and Lasers.

Eel rock was calculated to appear at 12.30 being 1.5m above chart datum. It was only found an hour later when spotted from the Clubhouse. Peter Christie and Jon Avery kindly visited the rock, pictures enclosed. Describing the rock, Peter observed “ It is small and somewhat insignificant but still very hard when you hit it.... “ Whilst a number of member's boats were identified, this proved almost more difficult than finding Eel Rock. Perhaps a membership requirement should be introduced whereby members must fly a DSC pennant from their backstays in future, to make this sort of exercise simpler in the future.

The fleet decided to avoid Anchorstone, there was little wind and a strong ebb tide, so a major towing operation would have been required to get boats back to the clubhouse for the picnic.

So the picnic took place back at the Clubhouse with the BBQ available for members to cook their own lunch. The Pinot Grigio and Rioja were both considered very palatable, but the Sauvingnon Blanc was renamed SB ordinaire. Mary Hayes produced a delicious Chocolate cake, thank you Mary. One of the junior members was an example to us all in insisting on having a cake fork to eat the cake. It is good to know that standards are going to be maintained in the future. I am unsure how many people came to the picnic but seven bottles of wine and almost two cartons of beer were consumed. Despite a lousy forecast, there were only a few spots of rain and occasional glimpses of sun. For future picnics, September is rather late in the year, my first picnic as commodore was in July at Newfoundland Bay and we could have been in the South of France, maybe next year with a bit of planning.....?

Thanks to all who came

David Thompson

Commodore DSC

The Commodores Picnic - Report
Stoke Gabriel - Sunday 12th August 2012


The Commodores Picnic was scheduled for upstream this year. The Commodore decided to revert to a practice of some years ago, whereby the destination of the picnic was not revealed in advance. The plan was to hoist a flag on the commodores boat and for the fleet to follow, in this case it was a “J” flag for a jolly jaunt.

After a ten minute coffee break at the clubhouse to allow a brief shower through, the fleet set off with a decent wind from the southwest. Initially it seemed the weather had put off a number of members, but it was like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn, with more craft seeming to join the fleet as we progressed up river with the flood tide. Three safety boats acted as pack horses for the drinks, food and any people wanting a lift. A good range of boats was evident from a Gaffer, Cornish Shrimper, Etap, Devon Yawl, Phantom, Cadet, Lasers to an Otter.

We were fortunate in that Neil and Pam Millward from Stoke Gabriel Boating Association generously allowed us to land on their private beach and wood near to Stoke Gabriel. It proved an ideal setting with a delightful clearing in the trees where a camp fire and barbeque had already been started by Neil. A convenient tree stump provided the bar and as soon as that opened we were joined by more members who had somehow discovered the location and walked across the dam from the car park at Stoke Gabriel.

Someone managed to count fifty two members who attended, a very creditable turn out considering the weather forecast and the Dittisham Regatta the previous day.

Thanks to janie Harford for the photos (More in The Gallery)

David Thompson
Dittisham Sailing Club

Prize Giving Dinner - Friday 6th January 2012

The members of Dittisham Sailing Club gathered at the Sportsmans Arms last Friday for the annual Prize Giving Dinner.

Commodore David Thompson said that 2011 had been a very successful year with a full programme of racing both at senior and junior level. He also congratulated Arthur Marshall and his team on the progress made with the youngsters during the year and Anne Ely for her efforts with the enlarged Ditsum Belles.The cruising section had held a number of successful events and the social side of the club had flourished under the new Social Secretary Janie Harford.

The Sailing Secretary Mike Bennett announced the winners in chronological order explaining that the club had run 62 races during the year with only a few being cancelled due to adverse wind conditions. The racing had been close with winners being spread across the fleets. He particularly thanked the Starting Box ladies Susi Stockbridge, Sheila Phillips and Stephanie Ashton for their efforts throughout the year.

The Commodore ended the evening by presenting the Primrose Salver to Roy Pryor for the most significant contribution to the club during the year.

See more photos in the Gallery

Cricket Match v Stoke Gabriel Boating Assocation - Report
1st Oct 2011 on Middle Back, Dart River

A glorious sunny day, so drinks, team talk and photos at DSC clubhouse was followed by launch of two safety boats armed with charts and oars. Course set to invade the SGBA sailing area upriver. Careful pilotage proved essential.

Middle Back sand bank emerged from the Dart and proved to be an excellent wicket. Hard sand with a smattering of shells and enough oysters to keep Dartmouth restaurants going for a week. Although relatively little bounce in the wicket, it took spin, largely in the form of players falling over themselves. A tennis ball determined unnecessary the plan to use buoyancy aids as cricket pads.

Two varieties of the game were offered to sustain crowd and media interest. “Tip and run”, the equivalent of todays 20/20 was followed after the tea interval by the “Test Match”.

Unfortuately Stoke Gabriel were unable to field a side, although their Commodore John Bradbury and his wife Chris arrived with cakes; much appreciated, particularly the banana and cherry cake, very moist. This more than compensated for the omission of the plastic mugs in the DSC drinks cabinet.

In the Test Match, two captains were appointed, DSC Commodore and ex Commodore. Jonathan Weeks believed he could act for SGBA ( having dual nationality ) and the teams selected in the classic playground manner. The rules were essentially tip and run with each player required to bowl an over and each batter to face maximum of six balls. Despite some fierce bowling and powerful batting on both sides, the outcome was an honourable draw, each side having scored 24 runs. Such was the size of the pitch at 0.5 m above chart datum that no boundaries were recorded. Particular mention to Erica Pilkington - impressive bowling despite this being her first game ever Josh O'Brien and John Hitchins for their batting and Neil Drew who showed considerable zeal in the oyster collection competition. Special mention should be made of Les Moores and Richard Allen who paddled from Totnes in their canoes.

All in all a great days fun. Special thanks to Chris Taylor for the initial idea and excellent organisation despite my attempt to accidentally take it on.

David Thompson

More pictures available in The Gallery

John Bradbury, Commodore of SGBA, has kindly sent us his version of events

Just for the record:

In eight years I have never come up river to Stoke Gabriel at low tide. After all I do draw 3 feet ! So it was with care and some trepidation that I followed the channels up from Noss, past Flat Owers, Blackness and Pighole up to Middle Back. About 1.5 hrs before low water (0.3m) I did a recce of the area between the sandbank and the channel, finding about 3ft of water, so I buoyed up at the creek entrance and had lunch, waiting for slack water to dinghy over to the cricket pitch.

Meanwhile three boats came up from down river and disgorged about 12-15 souls. By the time the Commodore's wife and I had got over to Middle Back a game was well under way, and having introduced ourselves and mentioned Christine's cake and banana bread a tea break was proposed ! Following liquid fortifications provided by the visitors we all reformed into two teams of about six aside (mainly visitors, but a sprinkling of locals), each batsman or batswoman receiving a maximum of six balls. The rules had a "make it up as you go" flavour, but a great deal of hilarity, skill (especially among the lady bowlers !), and effort resulted in a nail biting 24 runs all draw, the final equalising run being achieved by the youngest visitor.

Once again in 2011 the event was blessed with fabulous weather, and although the incoming tide did its best to steal some vessels, the mud discovered by those approaching from the south rather than the east, was easily washed away.

I also noticed with interest that the area between Middle Back and the deep channel was very wide and shallow near low tide. So much so that some hardy souls were wading up and down searching for last week's lost Pico tiller.

All in all it was a fun filled afternoon, thoroughly to be recommended, most informative on low water navigation, and for me the first cricket match in about 50 years !!

John Bradbury,
Commodore, SGBA.

The Commodores Picnic - Report
Newfoundland Cove Sunday 3rd July 2011

Just a quick thank you to every one who came on the picnic. Particular thanks to the members of Barry's team who had to transport the bbq, the drink and many picnic hampers in the three safety boats.

We were blessed with lovely weather and a decent easterly breeze which offered a gentle beat and reach down past Dartmouth and beyond the castle to our chosen destination, Newfoundland Cove.

With few incidents to report, it was an idyllic day for most. However it must not go unreported that within a few minutes of departure and shortly after commenting on the Commodore's attire, the helm of the GP14 managed to orchestrate an impressive capsize which involved a number of craft including the Dittisham Ferry. Another notable first was the total submersion of the leader of Ditsum Belles within two yards of the shore, whilst wading out to cool off. I gather very successful as it turned out. Belatedly I also learned the Commodore's wife executed a partial immersion whilst boarding her carriage, but was heard to cry " My shoe, my shoe, don't worry about me, I've lost my shoe, someone find my shoe".

A special thanks to the member who managed to catch some mackerel on the way, these arrived on the beach fully prepped. I was pleased to note that one fillet was left on the bbq for sampling by the commodore, always good for a boat space 2012.

We are indebted to John Phillips Susi Stockbridge, Janie Harford and Chris & Roy Pryor for the excellent photos.  (See Gallery)

David Thompson




















Commodore's Picnic






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