1925 – 2015

Celebrating 90 years of DQSC


Richard Ede


I became a member of Dell Quay sailing club in 1959/60, although my association with the area began long before that, as I was fortunate enough to be born in Appledram Lane, and spent my childhood playing and exploring the area around Dell Quay and the reed beds to the north. There were discarded fuel tanks from the wartime aircraft to be found lying around the creeks, with which we made rafts, which were fun, but not very seaworthy. My father, who was one of the founder members of the local wildfowlers, taught me many of the old country skills, including 'groping' for flounders and 'quadding' for eels. An uncle who lived locally, had a punt gun kept near the old mill at Fishbourne, which was a really scary thing to see in action, the recoil of which had to be seen to be believed.

My first 'proper' boat was a canoe, a PBK26 (one of the old Percy Blandford designs) built from a kit in our kitchen. With this, I was able to extend my explorations, and ventured as far as East Head, and all of the creeks in between, although after a year or so, I became interested in sailing, and contrived a rig for the canoe, complete with leeboards. Needless to say, it was hopeless. When I was 16, I bought a Snipe sailing dinghy from the boatyard at the Quay. This was an old wooden boat with cotton sails, and lived on a mooring close to where the boatyard jetty is now. It leaked badly, and sailed even worse, but I spent hours teaching myself to sail with it, no doubt learning many bad habits which are probably still evident today. It was not too long after, that I met a chap called Ron Chadwick, a member of DQSC, who suggested that I go for a sail with him at the weekend. I duly arrived at the club, where I was introduced to Dick Tomsett the owner of the Enterprise that Ron was crew for. That first sail down to Longmore started the addiction both to sailing and the club, as I became a member shortly after, proposed by Dick himself.

I badly wanted a better boat, so I sold the Snipe, and bought a National 12, N669, which was kept in the old shed where the education building is now situated. In those days, the changing rooms were up in the sail loft where the office is now. With a variety of crews, I raced every weekend, on courses which today would be classed as long distance, as it was always Longmore twice, and often down to Deep End or Park. By far the most impressive boats at that time were the 12sqm Sharpies, which left us all far behind with their speed through the water. After a couple of years, I sold the National, and bought a Cherub, which was an amazing boat with its huge spinnaker and terrific off wind speed. The trouble was that I was unable to keep a crew, perhaps because I was in the habit of shouting at them and being too competitive! The Cherub was eventually sold, to be replaced by an International Moth, which lasted a year or so, before I bought Solo 1909 from Dick Whyche, and have sailed Solos ever since.

During this period, much else was happening around the club. Roger Fauchon had built the prototype Fireball with Peter Milne, a very radical design at the time, and as I was on good terms with Roger, was able to watch the build in detail. At the club, the old starting box on the roof was disposed of, and a new one installed in the sail loft. Colin Taylor was in charge of operations, which entailed fitting the new large window, not an easy job, and cutting holes for the north and south portholes, a job which largely fell to me with hammer and chisel — very thick walls and many blisters. I can't remember the exact timing, but the jetty was also built around this time under the supervision of Fred Taylor, with the help of club members, much of the dirty work being done by me as one of younger members. Fred Taylor also raced a Zenith dinghy, an Ian Proctor design, which sported a trapeze. I crewed for Fred on many occasions, my abiding memory being his trapeze 'harness', fashioned from an old army belt which was the most uncomfortable, painful thing to wear. He also sailed a Felicity cruiser, in which we sailed around the Solent when there was no racing scheduled.

A couple of years after marrying Carole in 1965, Chris came along, followed by Steve. They were introduced to sailing in a Mirror dinghy when Chris was 6, and Steve was 4 years old. Both wore one piece sailing suits made for them by Carole, as they could not be bought small enough. They learnt very quickly, and were soon sailing by themselves, even managing the spinnaker, but the problem was that they both wanted to be helm, and could be heard shouting at each other from as far away as Copperas. It soon became evident that they would be better by themselves, so we found a Laser for Chris and a Topper for Steve. They both proved to be highly successful in these, winning many trophies both at Dell Quay and at regattas and open meetings elsewhere. In due course, Steve acquired Solo No2290 from Richard Willets at Maidenhead, and soon started winning club races with it. Steve has continued with the Solo, winning numerous open meetings, many regional championships together with being highly placed in both National and International championships. He was also president of the National Solo Class Association for some years. Chris meanwhile continued to race the Laser until a knee injury forced an early retirement. Eventually he re-joined the club, and raced a Laser for a while, until moving on to the Solo. He won many club races and series during this time, and was also elected Rear Commodore sailing. However a move to New Zealand put an end to his sailing career at DQ, until his brief return in 2014, when he raced Solo No4986 with some success, until he returned to New Zealand where he now resides.

While the boys were small, I had another foray into kayaking, gaining the BCU senior instructor qualification. Together with a friend, Rick Knight, we built many fibreglass kayaks, several for the youth wing at the Chi. High school, and surf kayaks for us. My routine was to race at Dell Quay in the summer, and surf during the winter. With a few experienced friends, we also kayaked to France, taking the short crossing from Dover, an interesting experience with the huge number of ships using the channel. When the boys were older, and with a view to family sailing, I bought a Vivacity 650 cruiser which was a failed experiment, as inevitably, Steve and I ended up trying to race every other cruiser we met, so it had to go.

That just about sums things up. Many changes have happened at the club during my years as a member, and those mentioned may not be in the correct chronological order. I have failed to mention the development of the clubhouse from the original brick building, which I believe was the brainchild of Eric Pascal, and probably many more important facts which have escaped my memory. During my time, I have been Class Captain for Solos on three occasions, Class Captain for Lasers, Sailing Sec twice, and Rear Commodore Sailing for two years. It is, and always has been a great club to belong to, and one to which I am proud to be a member.




Richard Ede December 2014