King's Lynn-based Ouse Amateur Sailing Club celebrates its 140th anniversary
Founded in 1881 the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club (OASC) has remained open continuously over the last 140 years with racing at its core.
The original ‘Racing Instructions’ included the requirement for yachts/dinghies to be at anchor when the start gun was fired, they hoisted sails, hauled anchors and started the race – things have changed a lot since those days when all racing was done on the river Great Ouse in Lynn.
During the two World Wars when most clubs ceased activities, OASC remained open, acting as an unofficial Officer’s Mess for the Royal Navy who were often in Lynn.
The boats became smaller and are now racing dinghies, which are kept out of the water when not being used.
With the opening of the Tail Sluice during the 60’s, another sailing venue opened to the club giving it a non-tidal venue to hold regular racing.
Over the years this has proved more popular than river racing.
With the difficulties of sailing in the Great Ouse, its fast flowing tide and being shared with commercial shipping and fishermen.
Parking for cars and boat trailers in the very busy Common Staithe Quay parking area added to the difficulties so we have not held any racing on the river for several years.
Our racing is now at Saddlebow starting on the first Sunday in February and racing nearly every Sunday until Boxing Day.
OASC also race on a Wednesday evening during the summer months.
With no tidal constraints, the club's Sunday racing starts at a very sociable 10.30am so members do not have to get up at day break to catch a tide unlike our friends at the coastal clubs in the area.
In their latest action, Race one had 18 dinghies, with competitors ages ranging from 14 to their late 70’s, take to the starting line and the shifting wind direction made for a tricky start.
The faster Albacores and Aero 9 started to break away from the rest of the fleet but as ever Ian Bradley in his Streaker was never far behind.
But it was secretary and sailing secretary Bob Pope and Sue Pogmore who led the race from start to finish and were not only the first dinghy over the finish line but also won on handicap.
Race Two followed with the same course and a similar pattern to race One quickly emerged but this time Ben in his Aero 9 overtook the Albacore of Bob and Sue crossing the line first but not by a big enough margin to win.
Ian in his Streaker took this race and John in his Comet took second place forcing Bob and Sue into third.
For race three, a different course was set and again a similar pattern of boats emerged but with Ian Haynes getting his Streaker in on the action with the leaders.
The final results gave the win to Ian Bradley, second to Bob and Sue in third place being tied between three dinghies but John in his Comet took the last of the trophies on countback.
The club offers its members a friendly and safe place to sail, easy to reach with no tides or currents to contend with.
They have a number of boats for members to use on race days and we welcome sailors, paddle boarders and kayakers as well.
Other groups including Sea Cadets, Scouts and U3A use the club's facilities as they become a more community focused non-powered water sports venue.
OASC welcomes new members and more information can be found on their website at: www.oasc.co.uk or on their Facebook pages.