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Kielder Water Sailing Club


Summary. The first meeting of K.W.S.C. was held to elect a committee on 22nd March 1981. This led to the formal establishment of the Club on 5th April 1981 and before the end of the month dinghies were in action on Kielder Water. The original clubhouse was based at Leaplish with a large log cabin clubhouse built in 1987. The 1990's saw the start of a new era for the club as Northumbrian water began developing the Leaplish site. In 1994 the Sailing Club commenced operating from the present site at Tower Knowe. The new location has proved very popular with members, it affords spectacular views over the lake while also providing a sheltered bay for the club's inexperienced sailors to use. It is also generally agreed that the wind is better at Tower Knowe than it is at Leaplish.


Club History.............

Most of the information below is taken from published background content in previous KWSC Business Development Plans.


If you want to read about the club cups (and shields, plates etc) the this is the link to use.

More Detail. The inaugural meeting for those interested in setting up a sailing club at Kielder was held in Bellingham Town Hall on 12th December 1979. A year later the first clubhouse was erected by founder Members at Leaplish. The first meeting of Kielder Water Sailing Club (KWSC) telect a committee was 22nd March 1981 and the club was formally established on 5th April 1981. Kielder Water Club (KWC) was also formed with its first officers from KWSC. In the winter of 1987 Northumbrian Water completed a new clubhouse building at Leaplish for Kielder Water Club which included KWSC, KW Yacht Club, KW Motor Cruiser Club and KW Ski Club. The building also included a separate shop with a small cafe operated by Northumbrian Water and open to the public.

In 1988 a Water Sports Officer was appointed and moved inta flat above the clubhouse. This position, mainly financed by the Sports Council and KWC, involved managing day sailing for Northumbrian Water. Subsequently this management was transferred ta commercial company called "The Reivers of Tarset". This resulted in a much reduced income for KWC and the termination of the position of Water Sports Officer.

In 1990 Northumbrian Water wanted to further develop their interests at Leaplish and at the same time the yacht club and the ski club were pressing for accommodation closer to their activity bases. Northumbrian Water responded and offered new accommodation to the yacht and motor cruisers and the ski club. KWSC were given reduced accommodation at Leaplish.

In 1991, following representations by KWSC, Northumbrian Water agreed that joint occupation of the clubhouse at Leaplish would create problems. Several suitable sites around Kielder Water were suggested for KWSC but most were rejected by Northumbrian Water because of difficulties in providing services to the building. In 1992 Northumbrian Water offered KWSC the present site at Tower Knowe. It seemed that there was no alternative but KWSC were well satisfied.

KWSC moved to the new clubhouse at Tower Knowe ready for the start of the 1994 sailing season. The substantial ferry jetty was moved west to a less exposed area and a smaller lighter jetty installed. This part of Kielder Water offers the best sailing on the lake but its exposed nature, unlike Leaplish, provided little shelter for novice and timid sailors. Equally its distance from the convenience factors such as adjacent accommodation provided by the Leaplish site made it less popular with some members and it is still, in the next century, possible to hear older members expressing a preference for the original site and arrangements. On a more practical and immediate level the foreshore originally planned as a major part of the boat park proved tbe vulnerable to flooding and boats were washed away and damaged. This resulted in almost all the intended car parking area being deployed for boat storage.

Following the move to the Tower Knowe site members of the club worked hard to commission and refine their new facilities. Activities continued as normal and open events were planned and executed as in the past. However by 1995 it was becoming increasingly apparent that a declining membership was only being supported by the income from the Galley and open meetings. Obviously something had tbe done and general recruitment schemes were complimented by a more specific and focused Business Development Plan (BDP). The publication of the BDP in July 1996 paved the way for successful applications to the National Lottery and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts.

The next year, 1997, saw the club using £60,000 of grant monies to address the aims of the BDP. A large area of the fore shore was concreted; a new RIB was bought; 2 brand new Wayfarers were purchased and the radios updated. The club also acquired 4 new Optimist dinghies when a member, Julie Gibbon, already a driving force behind the various bids for grant aid, won a "Yachts and Yachting" competition sponsored by International Paints. All in all it was a brilliant year and an associated rise in membership seemed to signal the rejuvenation that the committee had been seeking.

The euphoria and enthusiasm, evident at the 1997 AGM and Dinner Dance continued into the next year as the club planned and ran the regional finals of the RYA BT Match Racing Competition. In many ways this was, and remains, the most prestigious event undertaken by the club and was only made possible by the hard work of those members involved. The members also modified the clubhouse by partitioning off a portion of the lounge to create the foc'sle, a small room suitable for small meetings etc. away from the main body of the club. The Training Team armed with their new Wayfarers stepped up several gears. A new open event called "The Dam to Dam" was introduced. However despite all this effort and enthusiasm the encouraging level of membership attained this year was only sustained into 1998.

Once again in 1999 membership declined helped by a painful but necessary realignment of popular but ultimately destructive membership categories agreed at previous AGM's. With a change of committee at the end of 1999 came a realisation that the club needed to work hard to achieve a growth in membership tensure its survival. Thus the club entered a period of ongoing recruitment and retrenchment with minor refinements to the programme aimed at repeating what had proved successful in previous years and looking, in an increasingly critical way, at all the events run by the club but in particular those that did not seem tbe working. Areas of development during this period were small but significant and included the acquisition via a Millennium Grant of 2 Comets to further enhance the growing fleet of club boats. The clubs committee boat "Quartet" was wrecked by vandals/thieves but, thanks to the generosity of a member and the hard work of the then Commodore, its replacement rose phoenix-like in time for the next season and has subsequently proved to be much more suitable for the task. By the end of 2001 this hard work was once again beginning to make an impact helped, it should be pointed out, throughout this period by the indefatigable Training Team.

A further change in management at the end of 2001 gave the opportunity to exploit the gains made by their predecessors and very quickly a new RIB was bought. The "Dam to Dam", never a success in its original form, was scrapped and incorporated in the September Open thus reducing the clubs open meeting commitments by 25% at a stroke. In short the new committee looked at all areas of operation and attempted to make decisions which would spread the work load on members more equitably and drive initiatives which might prove popular with members. It also seemed time to revisit and revamp the 1996 BDP to give some structure to the ongoing attempts to improve the club for its members.

With hindsight, a very correct science, it is easy to see that the 1996 BDP succeeded with many of the more practical aspects. Indeed there are still some very practical and achievable aims that remain tbe completed to the benefit of all members. We also know that some things, such as the provision of club boats linked to an effective training programme, actually work. The new BDP will, of course, revisit these aims. It would be quite easy tproduce a similar BDP which would no doubt duplicate a similar response but, possibly inevitably, lead to similar outcomes. Therefore if this main aim is tbe addressed the new BDP (2003) needs to "grasp the nettles" such as expansion and accommodation which the previous plan acknowledged but left largely untouched.

The period since 2003 to 2007 has seen a number of significant achievements at KWSC:

  • An establishment of financial stability in the club;
  • A period of steady growth;
  • Further provision of training, and additions of SI, DI and several AIs;
  • Establishment of a Powerboat training capability;
  • Better racing through the provision of the 'circle of marks';
  • A provision of an easily launched 'committee boat' for weekly club racing (this was not anticipated in the 2003 BDP), together with a new 15HP engine for its use;
  • Minor but beneficial improvements brought about through equipment such as:
    • Valuables lockers;
    • Monitor for display of results and presentations;
    • DVD player and DVDs for use in training or generally;
    • Additional training RIB (grey small RIB and associated engine);
    • OHP for training use;
    • Large revolving white board for training use;
    • Laminator;
    • Watches, hand held anemometer and digital voice recorder for use in race management;
    • Shed to store training equipment.
  • Taking ownership of the jetty and beginning its refurbishment;
  • Purchase of two club Asymmetric Fevas for teenage or parent/child use;
  • Purchase of 4 additional club toppers for Young Sailor's use.

Development continue in 2007/8 with further emphasis on Young Sailors Development and involvment in club activities, the formation of a Youth Council, planned OOD training and rules awareness sessions and replacement of assets over time. All the time we are concentrating on maintaining our family centric friendly and famous welcoming outlook. Welcome to Kielder Water Sailing Club!

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