My name is Nicky Harrison, I am the new Rear Commodore Cruising and I am obsessed by boats. I am particularly mad about classics but really, it doesn’t matter what sort of boat you have, she will be interesting to me as are her crews and what they do with her. (She could , in fact, be a car, a camper van or a bike. Though admittedly they are best kept on dry land , it does means that you can get to an event in good time for the party.) At this time of year, we are working on a provisional cruising programme for next year but before it’s developed I’d be happy and grateful to hear more from the Membership about what they’d enjoy doing as an association next season and beyond.
For those new to the ECA, I should explain that the way our rallies work is evolving over time. To give you some dates to work with there will certainly be a group of fixed-date , favourite rallies – roughly one per month until October. This would include, for example, the early Spring trip, usually to Bembridge, the Boat Show visit in September and Bank Holidays get-togethers. But lately we are finding that more impromptu gatherings and rallies, often based on Solent festivals and events, are proving popular and rewarding.
We do realise that, for many, cruises are limited in scope by the demands of work or life in general. This means the average weekend rally will be restricted to the confines of the Solent and Chi Harbour. However, we do try to avoid the absolute ‘boat park’ marinas during our season and it doesn’t mean that we can’t use the old familiar places in original ways. However crowded the cruising ground is, even a short trip can be a unique experience. Hopefully for the right reasons! Watching the birds, viewing the historic, hitting the shops, having a very long picnic or concocting a communal meal away from the usual Solent watering holes are all possibilities. We are starting to kick around ideas for a music evening and a summer small boat gathering on the Harbour.
To give even more chances of cruising together, we pool members cruising plans: be it the long summer cruise or the impromptu trip to Cowes for a spot of lunch. Of course, there’s no obligation to share your plans if you don’t want to and it doesn’t mean that a huge dogged ECA Flotilla will make its way towards a particular sea port each year. It could just mean a couple of boats sharing an anchorage overnight, a passage together or just a drink/cup of tea/really nice cake during an encounter with friends somewhere between Emsworth and the Med. Meeting in the West Country or NW France may give us the chance of some ‘Wild Sailing’ , exploring harbours and rivers off our usual course.
Also, remember that membership extends to the’ whole boat’ and her crew (bring your guests if they’re up for it). If you have younger family or particular needs mention them and we will try to include activities that cater for you. We don’t expect everyone to turn up to every rally- that would be a bit chaotic. Neither will every rally appeal to every member. But we are an inclusive, friendly, helpful bunch and will try to get the programme well- balanced between the peaceful and the lively.
So at this point it’s over to you. I don’t expect official reports or passage plans, just your ideas and requests. If you have a destination in mind, tell me. If you’re not sure what to expect, just ask. If you want to comment on the Winter social programme, please do. We may not be able to organise everything you want but we’ll certainly try. Contact details are in the Yearbook ; please email, talk to me in person, post an idea on the website or even send a lovely real letter.
Above all, in 2015 and beyond, we all really want to see you and yours- and I want to see your boat (or car, van or bike).