Bardowie Sailing Club sets sail for a fantastic future

Bardowie Loch Pics for spread'Photo Emma Mitchell'8/7/13
Bardowie Loch Pics for spread'Photo Emma Mitchell'8/7/13
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Around 30 enthusiastic novice sailors gathered at Bardowie Loch this week to take part in one of a series of summer camps organised by Clyde Cruising Club’s Dinghy Section.

Countless generations of people have learned to sail at Bardowie over years, and with the club celebrating its 80th anniversary recently, it is continuing a proud tradition.

The dinghy section is run entirely by volunteers and although people need to be members of the club to sail on the loch, it welcomes people from all walks of life.

Current captain of the club Jim Graham, who has been a member for the last 15 years, said the club has come along way since its tentative beginnings in 1933.

He said: “We have a very dedicated group of volunteers here who are passionate about passing on their skills to a new generation.

“That is all part of the strength of the club - we have members of all age groups who give up their time to help out and share their passion for sailing.

“The oldest club member is a man call David Mollison, who has been a member since he was 18. He still rows here on a Thursday night.”

To mark the 80th anniversary, the club recently held a 1930s themed tea party, with people coming along dressed in period costume.

A number of races and formation sailing events were organised in the club’s Oppies and Toppers dinghies.

Old and new members turned up for a fun day in the new club house reminiscing about the old times and looking forward to a vibrant future.

Jim added: “Many members have been involved for more than 30 years, with grandchildren of former members now learning how to sail.”

The origins of Clyde Cruising Club Dinghy Section go back to the 1927 AGM when a Mr A Wotherspoon suggested finding a suitable location near Glasgow for dinghy sailing by cadets and members.

It took some years for this idea to be translated into reality but eventually on the November 3, 1932 it was decided to form the Dinghy Section and acquire a lease on Bardowie Loch.

After that things began to move much faster and six boats were ordered for delivery in early April 1933 at a cost of £16 each, and by the end of March a quotation of £31 for the first clubhouse had been accepted. Then, on May 18, 1933, Bardowie was formally opened.

There were about 130 members in the first season and from the beginning racing and instruction were undertaken.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 further extensions to the clubhouse, which had been planned were cancelled, the professional waterman released and the club run entirely by volunteers.

In spite of wartime restriction the club was able to continue to operate, albeit in a limited manner.

After the war developments resumed with a new clubhouse in 1954/55 and nine new boats costing £195 each bought in 1959.

These were the last bespoke wooden boats owned by the club, thereafter all club boats would be constructed from GRP or in the case of the Optimist, Toppers and Picos boats polypropylene.

The first GRP boats to arrive were Larks at a cost of £430 each in 1969.

Major developments during the 1970s included the introduction of nationally recognised RYA training and certificates.

In 1981 the club acquired nine GP 14 dinghies which were suitable for both training and racing and disposed of the Larks and Marine Tutors, and in 1986 acquired the first of what would become its most numerous class of boat the Optimist,

In 2004 a new clubhouse was opened by former Vice Commodore Boyd Tunnock and since then more boats have been added to the expanding fleet.

Jim concluded: “The club has gone from strength to strength over the last 80 years and I have no doubt that if the present levels of commitment are anything to go by it will continue to do so.”