This year is the 7th year that Open Water Swimming has been an organised activity at RWSABC in the modern era.  When I first joined the Club and became the Convener, I was confident that there would be at least 10 new or existing members who would take up Open Water Swimming on a regular basis in that first year.  This year we have reached that milestone. My apologies for taking so long to reach this milestone.

Organised Open Water Swimming activities takes place on Thursday and Friday evenings during the season.  Like other activities in the Club there are also many ad hoc outings throughout the year.  The first organised session in 2019 was on 18 April and the last one was on 13 September. On most evenings there were 4 to 6 swimmers.  I have reviewed the book where club member’s “book out” and I have counted 142 “excursions” between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018 with 531 swims by individuals. Compared to 2018 the number of excursions has decreased by 3% and the number of participants decreased by 5%.  Discussing this with other swimmers I attribute this to extended holidays of some stalwarts and other swimmers not aiming for specific goals during the year.

To encourage members and the public to try open water swimming there were ‘Social Swims’ in June, July and August.  These events had between 16 and 25 swimmers in attendance.  At some there were children accompanied by their parents swimming.

The 2019 RWSABC Clyde Swim from Kilcreggan took place on 3 August.  There were 31 participants.  Conditions at the time of the swim were excellent with a light easterly wind. The water temperature in the Clyde at the time of the swim was 15°C.   Swimmers left Kilcreggan around 1 hour before high tide at 2:15pm and the last swimmer arrived at the RWSABC Beach at 4:20pm. Twenty six of the swimmers were swimming in wetsuits and the rest were swimming in just their swimming costumes.  The 2020 RWSABC Clyde Swim has been scheduled for 8 August but this is under review in light of Coronavirus.  If the swim goes ahead in 2020, we are going to make a concerted push for more junior swimmers between the ages of 12 and 16 to participate.  The last Clyde Swim where a ‘Junior’ swimmer participated was in 2015. With regards to the 2019 Clyde Swim I extend my gratitude to all who helped on the day, especially the kayakers who provided safety cover.

On New Year’s Day 2020 there was a swim at the Boat Club where the public were invited to participate.  It was attended by around 50 swimmers, some went in for just a dip but others did “proper” swims. It was a reasonable day and it is estimated that there were over 100 spectators watching the event from the Club House or The Esplanade.  The Club House was open and RWSABC provided hot drinks and biscuits to participants and spectators.  My thanks to Adam Graham who arranged for the Club House to be open and the kayakers who were down to provide safety cover.

I consider that this season has been successful.  The highlights in my opinion is that Open Water Swimming is becoming more popular among members.  In addition, it is beginning to attract new members specifically for Open Water Swimming.

I thank all the other committee members for their assistance and support throughout the year.

Joe Heffernan – Open Water Swimming Convenor

The past year has been a pleasantly busy one at the Club, and looking after the Clubhouse has been no exception.

Keeping any 150-year-old building in running order means there’s always a list of on-going maintenance, from simply replacing bulbs and locks to fixing plumbing or roof leaks. The Club has always depended on the goodwill of members to lend the occasional hand, and this past year more of you than ever have risen to the challenge.

So, firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who’s helped out over the past year. It’s been really great to see the time and expertise that so many people have contributed. Lots of things simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise!

As well as individual contributions, we organised a number of work parties over the year. These were all well attended and also really good fun. (Combining these with a BBQ and refreshments seemed to be a particularly popular idea that we’ll be continuing!)

Some of the things we’ve achieved with the help of members:
1). Kayak Store: this was emptied of boats so the back wall could be reinforced and relined- the wall had been badly damaged from boats piercing it (right through to the boiler room beyond).
2). Painting: The boathouse doors were painted. The entire balcony and front stairs were re-painted. The balcony timbers were re-stained. The metal handrails on the ramps were repainted, as were the handrails and balustrade at the front entrance. Hopefully you’ll agree the finishing touches of bunting and flowers (thanks Rose Sloan!) have made the front of the club look much more attractive.
3). Beach wall: we’ve made a great start on repairs the sloping beach wall. It’s still work in progress, but this major task was long overdue. With the help of our volunteers we’ll complete this for a fraction of the quoted cost, and it’ll further improve the look of the beach frontage.
4). Defibrillator: thanks to the fund-raising efforts of members and donations from Jayden’s Rainbow and Cardwell Bay Community Council, our publicly accessible defibrillator has been installed on the front of the building. We think this is a great community asset and it’s generated lots of positive feedback both from Club members and the general public.
5). New winch post: This was installed outside the new boathouse to allow for heavier craft to be winched up the slipway.
6). Spring Cleaning: As the Club gets busier, storage space is at a premium. As a result, we’ve managed to clear quite a lot of unused junk from all the downstairs storage areas. Some of it dated to the 1960’s and earlier! There’s still more to be done though.

We brought in outside contractors last year to repair roof leaks and install power for the defibrillator, but otherwise most jobs have been tackled under our own steam!


We’re actively doing what we can to reduce the environmental impact of the Club. So, over the past year we’ve:
• Replaced our plastic straws with recyclable paper ones. We’re trying to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics generally and cut down on our waste. Reducing our use of paper plates, cups and disposable cutlery are next on the agenda.
• Introduced a recycling collection for our waste. Special thanks are due to the bar staff for the extra effort this involves.
• Started insulating the roof-space areas. There’s no insulation anywhere in the building, and we intend to tackle this as funds allow. Overall, it’ll reduce running costs as well as our carbon footprint.
• Started a programme of replacing all our lightbulbs with low-energy fittings.

Stuart Barr is also organising more regular beach tidies to keep our foreshore clean. We’ll also be putting more litter bins around the grounds of the club. If you have any other suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.

Testing, Testing, Testing

These routine things have to be done to keep us safe and legal every year. This list includes arranging annual inspections, tests and maintenance of fire and security systems, electrical equipment, gas appliances, fire-fighting equipment, emergency lighting etc. All these tasks, which have to be carried out by specialists, are currently up-to-date, and are part of our annual running overheads.

Our Fire Risk Assessment, which is required by law, has been re-evaluated and updated over the past year. As an additional safety measure, we invited our local Fire Prevention Officers to inspect the Club buildings. They were happy that the club has a higher than required standard of safety features.

We’ve also added some extra fire-fighting equipment in the kayak store (water extinguisher) and the boathouse on the beach (CO2 extinguisher).

It’s worth sparing a thought for our Office-Bearers here; because our alarm systems are remotely monitored, it’s not unknown for them to get called out in the wee small hours to investigate false alarms going off!

Tasks for this Season (2020)

Obviously, none of us know quite how things will develop this year, but there’s a list of some jobs in the pipeline for when the club re-opens. These include:

Repair Shed:
This roof was due to be stripped and re-slated in the coming weeks, As this would have been a reasonable amount of expenditure we’ve decided it prudent to put this on hold temporarily. This roof has been leaking for some time now: it’s long overdue a refurbishment and the ‘sticking plaster’ approach of patch repairs is proving to be false economy.

The main hall lights were about to be upgraded and various other broken/obsolete fittings replaced with new low energy LED lamps. Similarly, we’ve decided to put this on hold temporarily until we see how this year’s finances work out.

Front entrance:
We’d like to get some hanging baskets put up at the entrance. Rose Sloan does a fantastic job in planting and maintaining the flower baskets on the balcony, and it really improves the look of the place.

Beach Wall:
Finishing the repairs here will be one of the major, but very worthwhile jobs come the better weather.

There’s a new whiteboard to be mounted in the main boatshed. It will list any small tasks that can be tackled by members with some time to spare. Any help you can give will be most appreciated.

Back wall:
The back wall of the club takes the brunt of the weather, especially over the winter months. This year was particularly wet and windy, resulting in numerous water leaks in the gent’s changing rooms. We hope to get a scaffold put up and a proper waterproof coating applied before next winter. Paint brushes at the ready folks!

Outside doors and window frames are on the ‘to-do’ list for this year. Timber and hinge repairs to the boatshed doors are also on the list.

Of course, there are many other improvements we’d like to make around the club. Due to the current circumstances we’ll leave setting out our priorities until we see what the coming months bring.

We’re always keen to hear your suggestions for improvements. Similarly, if you spot something that needs fixed around the buildings please let us know.

In the meantime, we hope you stay safe and look forward to seeing you all later in the season!

Allan Downie
House Convenor

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