Handicap class captain, Laser enthusiast, girl power personified, Sue Manning was practically raised at Dell Quay!


My parents joined Dell Quay Sailing Club in the early 50's. I was brought up on Swallows & Amazons, and messing about in boats. Dell Quay was like our second home.

As the youngest of 3 children, I was taken along as 3rd crew with my Dad & Mum racing their Wayfarer, while my brother & sister raced together. So I learnt my port from my starboard, how to work a jib, flip the plate mid-tack, and not to sit in 'the slot' (one of my Dad's little obsessions).
I don't ever recall being taught to helm, other than being handed the tiller of the Wayfarer and told to "have a go, but don't tip us in"!

One of our fleet when I was growing up. Somehoe my brother & sister squeezed into her - she was smaller than a duckling!

I worked my way through several boats growing up - a Gull, crewed my brother in a Firefly, a Moth (before foiling was invented), a Fireball with my sister swinging on the trapeze, and a Laser (only full rigs in those days, so always a struggle) - before going off to Uni and being bitten by the Windsurfing bug.

We brought our 2 kids up in a similar manner, in all kinds of boats. When we finally bought our teenage daughter a Laser - with a lovely little 4.7 rig - there was the Topper they'd grown out of kicking around, so I decided to jump in it and join her racing. No longer required as beach crew, so why should they have all the fun?!

I found there was a new world of downhauls, outhauls, inhauls & kickers to adjust - we used to just rig it on the beach & sail - but now apparently I needed to start playing with all of those on the go as well, so more of a learning curve than I had expected.
And then I tried the Laser with its baby rig… I was hooked again on the lovely feel of a Laser helm, but without the full-rig jeopardy, and we bought a second Laser.

It was my daughter who persuaded me to have a go in Fed Week - now known as Chichester Harbour race week - run by Hayling Island Sailing Club annually. She had practiced crewing in an RS Feva as a junior, and with her as a very competent kite-flying crew, we borrowed the club Laser 2K and took the plunge. It was a windy & exhausting week, but we had solid backup & enthusiastic encouragement from the other Dell Quay members there - from shore crew to patrol boat crews, and not forgetting the Solo contingent - which very much made our week there so enjoyable.
I've been back there each year since in my Laser 4.7 and even come away with a couple of plates. Whoop!

I’ve tried a few other boats - playing with a kite is fun…


"Ready Salted"

Girl Power - a short foray into RS200 sailing with my daughter


… but I just come back to my Laser.

I'm still trying to work out how best to set all the different hauls & kicker (unless it's blowing a hoolie, when it's just about as hard as I can pull them) to get the better of all those sneaky Solos.


"Ready Salted"

It was windier than it looks!

- everything pulled full on


Some you win, some you lose, but sailing is definitely the best therapy for me.

'Cos girls just wanna have fun!   SueManning5



And Avril Sargent – volley ball in the mud, sailing the Enterprise to Bembridge in a force 7, the perils of channel crossings (there is no escape!) and many happy memories of Dell Quay

What Dell Quay Means to Me.

It was 1979 two years after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the year that we all sung ‘I will Survive’ and danced to ‘YMCA’.  A work colleague, the then Hon Secretary, Steve Parker, persuaded us to join. We bought our first sailing dinghy and were quickly introduced to the Enterprise class - the most popular fleet of sailors at that time. Racing at all times of year and in all weathers, it was via this group - club races, the annual parties, open meetings - that we made many of our lifelong friends.

So many crazy, but not lazy days at DQ. Volleyball in the mud - the smell of which you would not wish on your worst enemy, - they say it’s good for the complexion.  Rob’s crazy loony series, Jan and I would have won one leg had we realized the course was set in the Southern Hemisphere.  Sarah’s dedication in the galley providing the fuel we needed after a morning crewing. That’s what happened in those early days. Race officer and duty officer were one and the same.

I remember the long-distance dinghy races to Bembridge where we would sleep onboard the cruisers whose crews had supported our crossing.  Our last Enterprise crossing was in a force seven and just about everything broke on the boat. We survived, and the reception on arrival was fantastic.  Never has a half of lager tasted so good.

The parties at Dell Quay – such memorable evenings and great fun.  Masked balls, murder mysteries, wine tastings, and celebrations of all descriptions.  Such talent at DQ - in writing, set designing, food preparation and organization.  I remember one occasion when the port was passed round after the usual splendid meal.  In line with tradition the decanter was passed to our friend on the left.  ‘No, that is not a port class,’ we utter, as he tries to create a meniscus in a rather large wine glass.  We are not sure where he slept that night but he was still able to sail in the morning.

My only cross channel yachting experience was on board Harami, as part of a week-end rally to St Vaast. - We set off from DQ, six club members onboard.  I was really please to reach the Nab Tower without incidence.  Steve P took the helm and for some reason the boat did a 360’ without warning.  I spent the next 14 hours over a bucket wanting to get off the boat asap.  I believe it was Kevin Ridgeway who prevented me leaving - he had booked the restaurant and insisted I tried their Moules and frites.  They were good and I had a wonderful evening.  Needless to say, I came back on Brittany Ferry the following day.  The others of course had the most wonderful reach all the way home.

One evening I remember sitting relaxing in the Club, when I was approached by the then commodore, John Ayling. He asked would I like to be treasurer? After a while I agreed, little knowing that it would be eleven years later before I stepped down from the post, - when John became commodore.  We now stock the bar, a more relaxed duty.

Then there is junior week - the dedication and patience of all involved - rewarded by smiling faces of young people and their growing confidence.  Many of them going on to become instructors to give back to the next generation of young members what they have learnt.  No one does it better.  I love capturing the moment they arrive back at Dell Quay having achieved their goal.

We have had many happy years at and around Dell Quay, and now have our own cruiser, a Westerly Centaur, ‘Snoopy’. Day Skipper course completed, - thank you Carol for your dedication.  Isle of Wight, here we come again.

Lockdown 2020.  Well we didn’t see this coming.  Who would have guessed we would be in the position of not being able to socialize at the club?  In many ways it meant we were able to slow down and enjoy more family time.  Thank goodness for the fantastic summer weather.  It became the norm to take a BBQ and cook burgers and sausages on the beach or the Hard. The lockdown spurred our daughters to buy paddleboards and canoes, allowing us to share our love of the water with a new generation, our grandchildren.

Snoopy came into her own providing a means for the family to get to East Head without battling through traffic and queuing to get home. She became a diving platform and her dinghy a splash pool, - our summer house on the water.  We were also to enjoy a Westerly rally to Gosport with friends.  Last minute arrangements did not include supper.  We looked for a fish & chip shop, and found it closed.  Have you ever tried a kebab?  I was pleasantly surprised and it brought back memories of student days for our friends.

When restrictions allowed we were all enjoying being in one place, loving the sun, and being out as a family.  The sound of laughter and conversations between generations accompanying the glistening sunshine, and lapping of the water.  Young and old made new memories in a year that took so much from us all.

Dell Quay – A magical place to be at all states of the tide. 

Avril Sargent



John and Grandson, Jack abourd snoopy



Kebabs in Gosport
Junior Week 2019
- Instructors Evening