Frequently Asked Questions

General

Do I need any previous experience in sailing or paddlesports?


No previous watersports is required to enjoy taking part in activities at Maidenhead Sailing Club. For dinghy sailing, we strongly recommend taking an RYA Start Sailing course, which you can book on our Training page. An RYA course is a great way to learn how to sail as a complete beginner, and enables you to learn in a safe and controlled environment. Please note that to hire a sailing dinghy from us you are required to be at least of RYA Level 1 sailing ability. Paddlesports are a great way to enjoy the water. Although we recommend taking a beginners course, many people with previous watersports experience find that they soon get the hang of it.




What clothes or equipment do I need?


During the warmer months, just wear normal comfortable sports clothes. Synthetic non-absorbant fabrics are best as they are quick-drying. Add on layers or a windproof jacket if it is a bit colder. If you have one, you can use a summer wetsuit. Be mindful of the sun, wear a hat, suncream and sunglasses. You must wear old plimsoles/trainers or watersports shoes/boots while sailing to protect your feet, but bare feet are ok for paddling. During the winter months, a winter wetsuit or a drysuit is required. Synthetic thermal tops and leggings under your wetsuit really help you keep warm. Neoprene sailing boots with neoprene or thermal socks (or plastic bags!) will keep your feet warm. Waterproof sailing gloves with liners will keep your hands warm and protected. Wearing a warm hat is always recommended. Specialist sailing kit manufacturers provide various layering systems and kit can easily be bought second hand.

The club can provide a buoyancy aid or lifejacket if you do not have your own.




Is the club open and running during the COVID-19 situation?


It depends on the restrictions in place and guidelines set by the RYA. Please find more information on the current restrictions in the News section. We are curerntly in National Lockdown so the club is closed.




Can I bring guests to the club?


Every member can bring other friends or family up to 5 guests per year for free to the club. On top of that, any guests or friends are very welcome to come with a one-day membership pass.




Are dogs allowed at the club?


Yes, dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead at the club. Please clear up after your dog and be mindful of others.




Can I access the club any time?


Yes, you can access the water at any time during the day with your key. During summer months (end March to beginning November) members can go on the water without restrictions (other than buoyancy aids). From beginning November to end March need at least 2 vessels on the water at any time with at least 2 adults). Please note that safety boat cover is only available during organised sessions and events. If you are on the water when there is no safety cover: -respect the conditions and only go out when it is safe and within your sailing ability limits -have a buddy system on the water and no fewer than 2 boats/craft -tell someone ashore that you are going out and when you expect to be back -wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket -carry a means of calling for help, e.g. radio, mobile phone in waterproof case, whistle




Can I hire equipment at the club?


We have over 30 sailing dinghies, as well as paddleboards, kayaks and canoes. Buoyancy aids are available as well as helmets for the little ones under 10 years old. Clothing is not available for hire or borrow, you must bring your own. If you are just starting, you can consider second hand clothing or buying some on the lower range from shops like Decathlon for example, before you decide what do you need for sure.




Do you have safety cover?


Safety cover is provided during events and racing by members on duties who all possess the relevant RYA qualifications. All RYA Instructors hold a first aid qualification, as well as RYA Safety boat drivers. A list of First aid holders is listed on the clubhouse noticeboard




Can I store my equipment or boat at the club?


Yes, there is storage available to members for your boat, paddleboard or kayak/canoe, subject to availability for an additional annual fee. N.B. Member-owed boats must have third party insurance with at least £3m liability if they are sailed or stored at club.




Can I come to visit/look around the club?


You are welcome to visit the facilities to meet the members and see if you would like to join anytime during organised activities. Please check the calendar. The club is not a public space, so if you wish to use it for picnics, walks, bird watching, photography, etc. we encourage you to take out a social membership.




What are the opening hours for members?


Members with a key can access the club at any time. For the times of organised activities, please check our calendar.




I’m looking for a venue to host a wedding reception/birthday party/training course and wondered if it’s something that you offer?


Our club house and facilities can be hired for different events. Please contact us at info@maidenheadsc.org.uk and we will discuss options and availability.





Sailing

Can I sail on my own at the lake any time?


If you are a Gold or Silver member, you are entitled to a key to the club. You can access the club facilities and sail on your own whenever you want. For info regarding COVID-19, please check the news page. During summer months (end March to beginning November) members can go on the water without restrictions (other than buoyancy aids). From beginning November to end March need at least 2 vessels on the water at any time with at least 2 adults). Please note safety boat cover is only available during organised events. If you are on the water when there is no safety cover: -respect the conditions and only go out when it is safe and within the limits of your ability -have a buddy system on the water and no fewer than 2 boats/craft -tell someone ashore that you are going out and when you expect to be back -wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket -carry a means for calling for help, e.g. a radio, mobile phone in a waterproof case, whistle




Can I do a sailing taster session before joining the club?


Yes, this is a great way to try sailing for the first time! Please drop us an email to info@maidenheadsc.org.uk and we can arrange for someone to take you out for a sail. For children, it is possible for them to join in with a Youth and Juniors session for a small fee. See our Youth page The summer is the best time to try sailing.




Do I need to have insurance on my own boat?


Yes, any boat or board used or stored at the club must have third party insurance with at least £3m liability.





Paddle Sports

Who can practise paddlesports?


Club members, one-day pass holders, guests, Paddleboard Maidenhead customers and prospective members can paddleboard. Paddleboarding and kayaking are fun and easy activities. Everyone is welcome and no experience is required. Adults and children can join, although small children would need to share a board with an adult and wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket. All children (<16 years) have be to accompanied by a parent or designated adult on the club site at all times.




Can I bring my own paddleboard or kayak, or are they available at the club?


The club has a number of paddleboards, kayaks (single and double) and a canadian canoe available to hire by members and one-day pass holders.

Everyone is welcome to bring their own paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, etc. Everything with a paddle can use the lake. However, you must have thrid-party insurance with at least £3m liability for your own craft.




Can I practice paddle boarding or kayaking outside the organised activities/events?


Paddle boarders and kayakers are also welcome to use the lake any other day of the week when using their own equipment, except during organised racing events. During summer months (end March to beginning November) members can go on the water without restrictions (other than buoyancy aids). From beginning November to end March need at least 2 vessels on the water at any time with at least 2 adults) Club paddleboards can be used only during organised activities or if previously booked. Please note safety boat cover is only available during organised events. If you are on the water when there is no safety cover: -Respect the conditions and only go out when it is safe and within your limits -Have a buddy system on the water with no fewer than 2 boats/craft -Tell someone ashore that you are going out and when you expect to be back -Wear personal floatation -Carry a means for calling for help for example radio, mobile phone in a waterproof case, whistle




What equipment is required apart from the board or kayak?


Please remember to bring appropriate watersport clothing (bearing in mind in the summer the effect of the sun is very much stronger on water), plus change of clothing and towel. Buoyancy aids are recommended, and the club’s buoyancy aids will be available during organised activities as usual. The water can be cold between November and May and we recommend people wear wetsuits during this period.




Do I need any insurance for my paddle board or kayak?


Yes. Club rules state that any vessel on the water must carry a minimum of third party insurance in excess of £3m liability.




Is there any paddleboard storage on site?


Yes, if you want to store your paddle board or canoe on site, please contact membership@maidenheadsc.org.uk. Paddleboards can be stored inflated, but space is limited. There is an additional annual fee for board/boat storage.




How do I connect with other paddleboarders and kayakers to arrange meet-ups or get the latest information?


A WhatsApp group has been created among members for the paddleboard and kayak activities. If you want to join it, please ask for the Paddleboard and Kayak Representative for details. Communications will also be sent to all members on email and updated in the website and Facebook. If you want more information, please drop an email to paddlesports@maidenheadsc.org.uk





Membership

Can I pay my membership in cash?


We promote cashless payment when possible via BACS transfer, but if that is the only option for you, yes it can be arranged as an exception.




Who can be part of a Family membership?


We consider a Family a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit. Any other adults living in the same household should apply for a Single membership. Please check with our membership secretary at membership@maidenheadsc.org.uk if you have a special situation that you would like to discuss.




When can I join? From when does the membership run?


The membership year runs from April to March. Many new members join later, and that is perfectly fine as well. If you decide to join during the winter months, from November onwards, it is possible to get a discounted Gold membership for the remainder of the membership year.




During Summer/Easter, do I need to pre-book a one-day-pass?


One-day passes are only available during certain weeks in the spring and summer when we have site facilitators to supprt you. (They are available all year round it you are visiting with a current member). We prefer it if you can book in advance and this will also ensure that equipment is available for you. However, but you can pop by on the day and our facilitators will take the payment from you by card or in cash.




How does the one-day pass works? What happens on the day?


One-day passes allow you to spend a day at the club. They are only available during certain weeks during the spring and summer when we have site facilitators available to support you. (They are available all year round if you are visiting with a current member). You can book a one-day pass in advance or just pop by on the day. Advance booking is preferable to ensure that equipment is available for you. Our onsite facilitators will register you in and help you put together the equipment. You can use a sailing boat or a paddleboard/kayak for 1 hour as part of your one-day pass. If you wish to hire equipment for more hours during the same day, it can be booked on the same platform as the one-day pass.





Youth and Juniors

Can I leave my children at the club during activities and go home?


Every children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or designated adult who is present at the club at all times. The responsible adult does not need to be on the water and can remain on shore.




Can my child go on the water on his/her own? Can the parent stay on shore?


Yes, during organised activities with safety cover the parent does not have to be on the water. However, being a club run by volunteers, help from parents to support the activity is appreciated. When safety cover is available, children can sail or paddle on their own. When safety cover is not available, it is possible, but perhaps not advisable to allow children on the water without an adult. Be very mindful of the conditions and your child ability. Would you be able to retrieve them from the far side of the lake if their equipement failed or they were injured?




What age can children join the Youth and Juniors group?


Children can join the Youth and Juniors sailing sessions from around 8 years of age.





Sailing Duties

What are members' sailing duties?


Our club relies on volunteers to assist with the running of the club throughout the year. It’s also a great way to meet other members and improve your knowledge about sailing and racing. To enable the smooth running of our Saturday social sailing and Sunday races we use a system called DutyMan to schedule members to help provide this cover - this is called 'sailing duty'. You will be allocated 2-3 duties during the year, Saturday 12:00-16:00 and/or Sunday 09:00-13:00. If you have a family membership it be will just the main contact who is allocated duties. Social members will not be allocated duties unless they have chosen to opt-in or volunteer for a duty.




What is DutyMan and why am I receiving emails?


DutyMan is a web tool that keeps you informed by email of the sailing duties assigned to you at the club. To ensure that you receive these emails, please mark emails from donotreply@DutyMan.biz as trusted emails so that they don't go in your spam folder. You can update your email address via your profile page. A sample of emails you may receive are:  Notification that the club has published new duties that have been allocated to you  Notification that the club has made changes to one or more of your duties  Duty reminders as your duty date approaches  Requests from other members for duty swaps




How will I know when I am on duty?


You will receive an email from DutyMan notifying you when you have a duty. Please either accept this or swap with another member for a different date. DutyMan has functions that allow you to ask to swap with others. A reminder email will be sent out to you the week before your scheduled duty and you may be contacted by your team leader. DutyMan can be accessed through our website or via links in the emails you receive. N.B. If you request a swap, please make sure it is like-for-like. If you are on race duty it is not wise to swap with someone on rescue boat unless you are qualified.




What will I be doing during a duty?


You will be given tasks that you are qualified for, so do not worry if you do not have much experience. Each team has someone in charge as well as members that are qualified to drive powerboats. On Saturdays, you will either be crewing on the rescue boat or generally helping other members to rig/launch their boats. On Sundays, if you are on ‘race duty’ this means that you will be either crewing on the rescue boats or helping on the committee boat where the race officer will be and they will let you know what needs to be done. It may involve some hooter hooting or flag waving!!




What should I do on the day of my duty?


Please take a look at the weather before you set off to the club. It can be chillier/or hotter on the water than you would expect, and there may be a chance that you may get a little wet (although it’s mostly dry work, unless it's raining!). Dress as you would for sailing, with possibly an extra layer as you will not be moving as much as you would sailing. If you are not a sailor (e.g. a parent), wear warm clothes, waterproofs and wellies/shoes that can get wet. When you arrive let the officer of the day know that you are on duty. If you are not sure who to ask for, someone will be able to point you in the right direction. They will then allocate you your duties for the day, if you have not been assigned to powerboat duties.

You may wish to bring a flask of drink and a snack for Sunday race duties, as you will not be able to return to shore.




Can I help when I am not rostered on duty?


Absolutely! In our club newsletter you will see when we need volunteers, or this can be found on DutyMan. Simply put your name down for what you can help with. During the warmer months we have Thursday evening sailing 18:30 to 20:00, which relies solely on members volunteering to run the race.




What information does DutyMan hold about me?


Along with your name, DutyMan stores your email and phone number for your team leader to contact you should the need arise. If you have any problem with this then please let us know so that we can find another solution.




Where can I ask more questions about club duties?


This video tutorial will show you how to navigate DutyMan. If you still have any questions about the use of DutyMan or about the club duties, please contact the Duty Rota co-coordinator Andy Pearce on DutyRota@maidenheadsc.org.uk





Useful Links

Where can I check the weather forecast?


Check out the link below to check the weather before you come down the club.

Windguru - https://www.windguru.cz/114559

Windy - https://windyapp.co/forecast/spot/407503/Maidenhead%20Sailing%20Club




Where can I buy chandlery, clothes and supplies?


VR Rigger www.v-rigger.com

Purple Marine www.purplemarine.co.uk

Pinnel and Bax www.pinbax.co.uk

Rooster Sailing www.roostersailing.com

CoastWaterSports www.coastwatersports.co.uk

Decathlon www.decathlon.co.uk

The club does not have any links to these companies / individuals and does not take any responsibility for members who use their services.




Where can I get my boat repaired?


Roger Gates - All forms of GRP or wooden boat repair

Tel - 07919 156918 Email - RGDinghies@tiscali.co.uk

Based from his home in Datchet - is recognised by a number of insurance companies

Paul Sleeman - Repair and refurb of dinghies

CS Boats and Rondar Tel - 07918600211 Email - csboats@btinternet.com

Will come and work at the club - lives the other side of Newbury

Espar Marine / Jason Brasier - Repair for GRP (main business is riverboats/cruisers)

Espar Marine has a chandlery at the marina catering mainly for rivercraft

Harleyford Marina South East Agent for Hyde Sails and offer MSC members some great discounts.

Tel - 01628 471368 http://www.espar.co.uk/EsparMarlow.htm

Chris Somner - Repair and refurb of dinghies

Poole Tel - 07941 301742 Email - chris@cserve.co.uk

Based in Poole. Chris has been taking care of our Bar Managers Albacore this year.

Adrian Gilkes - Repair for fibreglass, epoxy, GRP, etc.

Glass Fibre Solutions Tel - 07791 370863

Middleton Cheney, Banbury. Check out his website @ www.glassfibresolutions.co.uk

The club does not have any links to these companies / individuals and does not take any responsibility for members who use their services.




Where can I buy or sell a second hand dinghy boat?


www.apolloduck.com

www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk

www.sailboats.co.uk

www.ebay.co.uk

The club does not have any links to these companies / individuals and does not take any responsibility for members who use their services.




What insurance companies can I use to insure my boat/kayak/paddleboard?


www.noblemarine.co.uk

www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/dinghy-insurance

www.newtoncrum.co.uk

www.insurance4dinghies.co.uk

www.gjwdirect.com

The club does not have any links to these companies / individuals and does not take any responsibility for members who use their services.