The Hostellers Sailing Club offers day sailing and dinghy cruising during the summer and country walking during the winter. The HSC suits all levels of sailing experience including complete beginners. Most members live in London/ Essex/ Southeast England, we also now have a few in Devon. We keep a club owned Wayfarer dinghy on a mooring at Paglesham on the River Roach in Essex.

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Three reasons why this sailing club is different:

  1. This club provides boats for its members to sail, so making it ideal for those who don't have a boat.

  2. This club offers an alternative to sailing for the winter months.  The HSC is affiliated to the Youth Hostels Association and organises a program of country walking weekends over the Winter, often staying overnight at Youth Hostels.  We have some members who go sailing but never go rambling and we have some who go rambling but never go sailing.

  3. One of the main sailing activities of the HSC is dinghy cruising, a branch of sailing few other clubs support.

Sailing location

Our sailing base, currently at Paglesham on the river Roach in Essex, was chosen to be within weekend travelling distance of a fair proportion of the UK population. It is within about two hours drive from most parts of London or the Home Counties. For members living in London it is almost the nearest saltwater - only the lower reaches of the River Thames or possibly the Medway would be nearer.

For directions to find Paglesham by road or rail CLICK HERE

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Our club boats

The boats owned by the HSC are two Wayfarer sailing dinghies. The picture at the top of this page shows these boats getting ready to sail. For a few more pictures of our club boats SEE HERETo read more about the design and history of the Wayfarer sailing dinghy SEE HERE. Both our Wayfarer dinghies are old and much used. They lack show room gloss but we keep them seaworthy with attention to essential equipment such as buoyancy, ground tackle, sails and rigging. Almost all the maintenance of these boats is done voluntarily by club members. 

Our Moorings

At the present time we are keeping one of our boats (the wayfarer dinghy 'Merganser') on a mooring throughout the summer months, this allows members to go sailing without struggling with launching trolleys.  Our other boat is kept on shore with a road trailer so that it is available for members to road trail to explore new waters. Our present mooring at Paglesham allows the boat to float for rather more than half the tide, but the boat does dry out on the mud at low tide. It is possible to go sailing at pretty well any tide state if you don't mind paddling in the mud - only the top two inches is soft - in most places anyway! When the tide is in we launch our small TENDER and row out to Merganser. When the tide is out we walk across the mud to the boat then slide it down the mud into the water - this is easier than you might think since the mud is smooth and it is downhill - once you get the boat moving it will sledge down to the water. If you return at low water it can be a struggle dragging the boat uphill to the mooring but this can usually be avoided by taking the tide into account when planning your sailing.

Day sailing from Paglesham

Our local waters for day sailing are the rivers Roach and Crouch and around the small creeks and islands which separate Foulness Island from the rest of Essex. Our most popular day sail is to Burnham-on-Crouch and back. This would include stopping for lunch at Burnham-on-Crouch which is an attractive small town and a very busy sailing center in the summer. SEE HERE for some pictures of Burnham on Crouch. Two other interesting and shorter day sails are to circumnavigate Potton Island or to sail up to the head of the River Roach then perhaps take the footpath to the Cherry Tree pub. Or if the tide is right you could do a long trip to the upper reaches of the Crouch above Burnham, or you could sail down the Crouch and out to sea to view the colony of seals basking on Foulness sands at low water. Altogether there are more day-sailing options than you would have starting from most sailing bases.

Longer Cruises and attendance at sailing festivals

Our dinghy cruises are planned according to demand from members. Typically, we have had a week long cruise in mid to late summer together with one or possibly two weekend cruises earlier in the season. In addition to this, we have road trailed our boats to attend several of the Semaine du Golfe and Seafair sailing festivals - SEE HERE. In 2013 we fitted two one-week cruises into our program and we have intend to do the same again in 2014. 

Our one-week cruises have taken us as far as Aldeburgh in the North and the upper reaches of the Medway in the South. SEE HERE for accounts of some of these trips.

Camping in the Paglesham area

Sometimes members camp overnight while day sailing from Paglesham or doing maintenance work on the boats. We usually use the well equipped campsite at 'Riverside', Wallasea Island. You will see signs to this campsite as you approach Paglesham by road. 

'Crewing Agent'

We have a committee member who acts as 'Crewing Agent' to coordinate use of our club boats. We also make good use of a private email list to plan our club activities.

Clubhouse (lack of)

If you visit us at Paglesham please don't expect to find a proper clubhouse such as you would at many sailing clubs. Until a few years ago we did have a small clubhouse in the form of a cosy wooden shed. SEE HERE to see pictures of this shed. This was rather a nice shed, especially as a place for a hot drink after sailing, now we save money by managing without it. There is always the Plough and Sail Pub' instead. We do have a small storage space that we share with the Roach Sailing Association in the Paglesham boatyard and we use this to store lifejackets and various items of boat gear. The lack of a clubhouse does not prevent us from having social events from time to time - we occasionally hire the Paglesham village hall for social events and we usually hold a summer barbecue at a member's house or at the 'Riverside' campsite at Wallasea near Paglesham.

Youth Hostelling, country walking and social activities

Our sailing season is from soon after Easter until late October. A program of country walking and youth hostelling is available during the rest of the year. Each winter we have about three weekends staying at youth hostels and sightseeing/country walking, one of these weekends also including our annual general meeting. In recent years we have generally had a day walk on New Year's Day. We also have occasional theatre visits and other social events which can be at any time of year. Basically, anything that would be of interest to a substantial part of our membership can be arranged. SEE HERE  for more information about our country walking and hostelling activities.

Burgee

Most yacht clubs have a club burgee, ours is as shown at the head of each of these pages. The green triangle is from the Youth Hostels Association. The general design has some similarity to the burgee of the Dinghy Cruising Association. This is not coincidental, Eric Coleman was involved in the foundation of both groups some fifty years ago. The Dinghy Cruising Association has a white triangle on a blue and yellow background. I have an idea that this is supposed to represent a boat tent midway between the beach and the sea.

Rules

We do have some rules for the use of our club boats. To see all the rules in detail click SEE HERE. For reasons to do with insurance and common sense we require that a crew for our club owned boats includes at least one experienced member. By 'experienced member' we mean one who has passed a simple test organised by the club, we have a 'training officer' appointed to carry out these tests. The test requires competence in sailing a wayfarer dinghy plus some knowledge of the local waters. We do not require any formal RYA qualifications. I hope that we are not going to offend new members who are already experienced sailors by asking them to take our test - if you have done a fair bit of estuary sailing in small boats you should find our test straightforward. On the other hand, if you are a prospective new member who has done little or no sailing beforehand, then sailing with the HSC would be a good way to learn the basics and to gain experience.

Club Newsletter

Our club newsletter, titled 'Ahoy', has been running about as long as the club itself. The newsletter is distributed to all our full and associate members approximately three times each year. Inevitably there is some overlap between the content of the newsletter and that of this website, but not a complete overlap.

Administration

The club is run by a committee comprising a chairperson, secretary and treasurer together with a few others. The club constitution requires the chairperson, secretary and treasurer to stand down after three years - not just to stand for re-election as most club constitutions require. This system has worked well, it avoids people feeling obliged to carry on with these jobs for years on end and it encourages new members to join the committee and take a part in running the club as quickly as possible. Since it is a small club and has no premises the workload of administration is light and in recent years two committee meetings together with an AGM each year have been sufficient to coordinate our plans.