Commodore’s Report 2017 season.
An excellent year, when our club has matured into a lively interesting nationwide organisation.
First a welcome to our new members. The committee and I trust that you will find belonging to us worthwhile. We are a friendly bunch who do our best to enhance cruising on the UK’s wonderful waterways. Occasionally we get things a little wrong but overall the result each year has been unique experiences in good company.
On our website you will have read about the two summer cruises. Thanks to Bob for organising the Gloucester and Sharpness cruise. This was not the easiest to make happen, we had difficulties with CRT as to the number of attendees at the Tall Ships so a couple of members could not partake. Our apologies but it was beyond our control. The next Tall Ships is May 2019 so get your requests in now only 16 places and they go fast. First come first served!
The cruise was interesting in that is showed the history of the canals at Hereford, The Cotswolds and the unique Purton Graveyard where the club has erected a “thank you” plaque.
Many of the same cruisers went on to Chesterfield which frankly was great mainly due to the help from the Chesterfield Canal Trust and in particular Robin their Chairman. Again there were some very special experiences which I believe will be remembered by all who took part. The special trip round Chesterfield the welcome at Retford Boat Club the help from CRT and CCT at the final flight. In addition, Bob and Lyn came all the way up from Gloucester to help. The locals positive and excited reaction overall was very motivating. Chesterfield Canal Trust have sent a present for each cruiser which I think says it all.
This year belonging to the AWCC has benefited many members who left their boats at Retford and other places for extended periods of time. Without the AWCC we would not have had the special experiences we had and the members mooring bill would have been much higher!
One of the indicators on the network of our club are the pennants, please display one or if you do not have one, buy one; people do not remember all the boat names but the orange pennant is distinctive and immediately creates a wave and recognition.
Next years’ cruises are already being discussed and I think a good lesson from this year is that the cruises include local events, either as a visit or by attending a social evening with a boat club etc. It makes the whole trip pleasurable and gives the opportunity for everyone to relax in like-minded company. Cruises flagged up for this year so far are as follows:
A long trip to the Fens. These waterways are not used enough and yet have some of the best destinations, Cambridge, Ely, Peterborough, even Bedford for example. They are all major tourist spots with wonderful sights to see. I realise many of you will be concerned about distance time etc and have expressed the point that late July and all of August are not good times for cruising, partly due to the number of boats about but mainly due to family commitments at that time: i.e school holidays, family holidays etc. I think therefore, that the club should concentrate its cruising in May/June/July and September to maximise the use by members.
Many have expressed the feeling that two-week cruises with a number of boats is adequate as part of their overall cruising program and have suggested at present. 1. The four Counties Ring. 2. The Middlewich / Caldon and Bugsworth Basin where the excellent Navigation Pub could perhaps host a presentation by the local society. Plus a possible extension through the Huddersfield which would be organised in conjunction with the HCT.
This leads me to the next main event. We are organising a Social cum planning meeting at Stafford Boat Club on November 25th Lunch time. Maureen and Mike Wood moor there and we went to an excellent evening on the summer cruise . It is an amazing site and positioned centrally so most members can access. Please come have the wonderful Fish and Chips which we sampled in the summer meet us all and make a contribution to the future of the club. Further details will be sent out shortly.
Our currently supported Charity is going from Strength to Strength, the raffle at the above event will be for Cotswold Boatmobility.
My thanks go to all the committee members who have helped to guide and steer the club ever onwards. Without their hard work we would struggle to get anything done.
Finally our thanks to Ged who as secretary has been wonderful. He has given much excellent advice and been very patient. He has with his son designed the web site and now introduced the communication software which if correctly used means that all members receive communications about all our cruises with reports . If you have not done so, please do sign up (free) and contribute via this new system. Ged has continued even though he no longer has a boat, so thanks very much Ged for your contribution you’re going to be a hard act to follow.
Thanks to you all for reading this and in particular the support I had this year from members when throughout the cruising session and beyond I was not particularly well. Thank you all it meant a lot!
Treasurers Report April 2016-17
As you are aware last year was a bit of an anomaly as we moved the financial year and had virtually no income from subscriptions. So this year is the first real comparison. We had 48 paid up members compared with 59 in 2015, so a reduction of 10 which equates to a £50 shortfall.
We had to pay for the AGM meeting room this year which cost £45, the first time I believe. With the advent of the online AGM this will not recur, however the Planning meeting/Social will do and this will probably be a recurring cost.
In 2015 we funded our donation to Cotswold Mobility by way of a raffle; this year we have made a £100 donation straight from funds.
This has resulted in a modest loss of £34, but we are operating at a profit when considering essential expenditure, and our reserves are running around £250 which is healthy when considering the need to occasionally fund purchases such as Burgee stock.
Our outgoings are mainly AWCC and a very moderate charge for the website; thanks must go the Robin and Ged Layfield for providing and maintaining this at virtually zero cost.
In the light of the above the committee has agreed that subscriptions should increase to ensure we do not erode our capital base. There will be an agenda proposal to increase the subscription to £6 per person which I recommend.
Burgee stock is valued at cost; we make a very moderate profit on the sale of each one- around 25p!
We also need to canvass the membership to decide what our strategy for future donations (if any) should be. We have historically supported Costwold Boatmobility, suggestions have been made to include the CCT, and of course there are other waterways based charities. Cotswold Boatmobility is a worthwhile charity with a small funding base, our donations have been welcome and useful.
|INCOME and EXPENDITURE|
|Year to 05 April||2017||2016||2017 Notes|
|Subscriptions||240.00||40.00||48 members, 59 in 2015, 49 @ 08/17|
|Raffle Income||0.00||£132 in 2015 funded Mobility Donation|
|Cotswold Mob Donation||100.00||132.00|
|Website Fees||29.70||£10.49 paid 2017/18|
|Venue Hire||45.00||Frome Mill|
|Closing||58.24||8 Burgees+ AWCC Cards|
|Year to 5th April –||2017||2016|
|Cash in Hand||26.00||0.00|
|Stock of Burgees + Cards||58.24||9.90|
|Profit /Loss for Year||(33.96)||(148.70)|
Note: There was a raffle in 2016/17 but the cash went direct to Cotswold Boatmobility and not through our bank
Cotswold Boatmobility report to Cotswold Canals Cruising Club – Sept 2017
It’s mostly good news – we have been really busy and made good progress towards our aim of an accessible boating facility on the Stroudwater Canal. We are much better known in the community and we have been or about to be supported by the Aviva Community Fund, the Waitrose Community Fund, Stonehouse and Stroud Rotary Clubs and other community groups. This is important, not only for the financial support but it gives credibility to our support of the Cotswold Canals Trust for the restoration of the canal and for phase 1b in particular, for which they are about to apply for HLF funding. About 25% of our users come from Stonehouse, 25% from Stroud and almost all of the rest from Gloucestershire. You are reminded that we are only an hours drive from many places north, south, east and west of Stroud and we have a unique opportunity on the Stroudwater for anyone with disabilities and their friends and families to spend a good few hours on the water, soon even, all day !
We have our two Katakanus and regularly take them both out with a group of men on Mondays. The drop in sessions on Wednesdays vary in popularity and are bit more weather dependent. We have had some requests now for weekend use and we have weekend skippers.
The Wheelyboat sessions are progressing well, although not without issues. We do not yet have a slipway and we have further training and paperwork to do before we can launch ourselves on our guests. She is beautiful to handle and at 2mph she is silent, with her electric engine, and at 4mph she still glides through the water.
Both our vessels are non-standard vessels and do not conform to usual expectations, nor are we on open, deep or tidal water. This brings its own complications and requirements. Our guests come, too, with their own individual requirements. And dealing with all that, is what makes us special.
We are very pleased to have the continued support of the 4Cs. The Club was instrumental in getting us off the ground, especially with the purchase of the canoe paddles. As a boater, it feels appropriate that 4Cs can contribute to a group like ours. Some have been out on Polly and Neil’s boat nb Intrigue but many cannot access a narrow boat. Financially your contributions are so important because we need sums of money for insurance, security, publicity, training etc which are less glamorous than donations of paddles, life jackets etc but still essential. We need to raise about £6000 a year.
We also run a club membership for £5 which is open to all our supporters, including any member of the Cruising Club ( and some already are members.)
All are welcome to come and have a trip on our boats. If you are in the area, just give us a call. We go out all year round, so we may fit in with your winter schedule when you have winterised your own boats. We have a Facebook page with photos , videos, news and events.
Again, big thanks and keep in touch,
Membership secretary’s report 31.08.17
At the end of the 2016/17 year, we had 48 paying members plus one honorary member. This cruising year has seen a slight increase so as of 1st Sept 2017 we have 52 paying members.
Four members resigned as of April 2017 and several others didn’t renew their membership so all have been removed from the mailing list.
It’s important that we recruit new members in order to at least replace those who, for whatever reason, no longer wish to remain members of our club but at the same time, keeping to a friendly and manageable size.
Club members are free to invite fellow boaters to join our club. We have no formal vetting process but rather leave it to the discretion of our members to invite like- minded boaters, with an interest in undertaking more challenging or out of the ordinary cruises. The application to join the club can be found on the website, so please direct prospective members to the site http://cotswoldscanalcruising.club/join-us/ .
Webmaster’s Report 2017
The club email system has again been replaced with an improved system as of 21st August 2017. The new system “Mobilize” offers a much better facility to the club. Members are able to send and receive Group emails as before, conduct “chats” with particular individuals as required (much like Facebook). Images can now be uploaded very easily (Mobilize automatically resizes them) and it is easy to follow “Threads”
All in all, I think that Mobilize will be a far better and more reliable system than any used in the past.
As for images, it is stressed that this facility should be restricted to one or two images that are intended for the whole group or nominated individuals.
Where members wish to post batches of images intended for all the membership, then the website (or Dropbox) is the place to do that. Members may post as many images as they wish for uploading on their own personal pages within the password protected “Member’s page area” on the site or in the Gallery but these will still need to come (resized) to the Webmaster In the first instance (it’s the way it works – I can do it for you but it is very time consuming for me whereas if you click on the image in your picture files and select “send to” it will automatically reduce the file size without really affecting quality). With Dropbox (when it has been organised), they can be directly posted by individuals within the Group sharing facility which hopefully will be available soon.
Geoff Smith investigated Dropbox and Flikr recently and he has offered to co-manage the use of Dropbox if another willing member can be found to assist him. For that, my grateful thanks. Any volunteers please contact Geoff through the group mail (select “nominated individuals” and not “whole group”).
I have looked into Dropbox myself and whilst it is an ideal way to share, there are limitations with the “free” accounts. Each is limited to 2Gb, beyond that a subscription account is required. An account offering 2Tb of storage costs £10 per month which is presently beyond the resources of the club. Dropbox Capacity is something that can be managed by removing files after a period of time to make room for newer images.
As I have said previously (several times) Pictures of unnamed groups of people can be meaningless to those members who don’t know them whereas a brief identification helps to ensure that the personalities are, or become known to those who haven’t yet met.
As usual I must take this opportunity to moan a little about how underused the personal members’ pages on the website are. Perhaps this will now change?
Finally, my best wishes to all who have become my friends and to those newer members who undoubtedly would have. I remain now on the back benches managing your Website and the Group email system. I will be watching!
Webmaster & Club Secretary
Reports on the Gloucester & Sharpness Cruise organised by:
and the Chesterfield Cruise organised by:
are available on the “Club Cruises” pages of the website: http://cotswoldscanalcruising.club/topics/club-cruises/