The Herne Bay Sailing Club started out in 1921 as the Herne Bay Amateur Sailing Club. Various classes were sailed from the beach and moorings. The 14ft Kent restricted class was popular as were Water Wags and Essex One Designs. The Club was mothballed during the Second World War with many members fighting for King and Country. The War Memorial plaque in the Clubhouse names those who died in the conflict.
After the war, sailing started again. There was a great storm, I think in 1947. Many Essex One Designs were lost from moorings and it was the beginning of the end for moored boats. When I joined in 1957 the club was sailing mainly Cadets, Fireflies and the first few Hornets. At that time there were 400 adult members and 100 cadets, with a waiting list. There was a very steep, short slipway in front of the Club which made launching and recovery a very physical affair. The current slipway was built in the 1970’s and is much less steep, though longer. The base of the slipway is built of old railway lines, courtesy of Lynch’s scrapyard and Dr. Beeching.
When I joined the club, house the current lounge was much as it appears now and there were a series of huts containing the changing rooms, a cadet room and a gear store. After a heavy capsizing day the grass behind the club became white with drying (cotton) sails after they had been washed down. There was a void beneath the clubhouse and we were plagued with rats. I can remember entering the gents on many occasions to find a rat gnawing the soap on the wash basin.The clubhouse has seen many alterations over the years including the first brick-built section, the current starter’s hut. The starter’s hut was entered through the cadet hut and was presided over by Archie Reidpath who did all the starting and time keeping. Races were started and finished by a foot pedal that rang a large bell that had come from HMS King Alfred, a Great War Cruiser.
We had two rescue boats, called Ron and Eth (from the radio programme, the Glums). Ron was an open clinker built boat with a Seagull outboard and Eth was partly decked and powered by a small Stuart Turner inboard. The Club ran many Championships including the Albacore Worlds and Nationals, the Hornet Worlds, Firefly Nationals, Dart 15 Nationals, Lark Nationals and many other large meetings for various classes.
Much has happened in my nearly 60 years at the Club; may it continue for many more.