Solent Branch

The Coordinator’s Role – Guidance Notes

NOTE: All skippers are responsible for themselves, their boat, their crew and guests at all times. – The Coordinator does not take on any liability for the skippers/crews

This is intended to act as a general set of notes to assist Coordinators. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Neil O’Connor (Branch Events Secretary) or any of the Branch Committee who will be happy to offer any guidance by phone or email.

Well Before the Event

Planning – With many venues in the Solent area becoming booked up before the calendar year even begins a draft events calendar is now prepared in time for the branch AGM in the autumn.  Some events and venues are dependant upon the timing of high tides and try to allow for people to take part from wherever they are based within the Solent.  If you spot an event in need of a Coordinator or spot a free weekend in the calendar and think the tides will be right for you to offer to coordinate an extra event contact the Branch Events Secretary.

Berthing – Pontoon space may need to be reserved – for some events provisional bookings will have been made prior to setting a date for the event.  The Branch Events Secretary will confirm what arrangements have already been made and provide you with contact details for managing the bookings for a particular event when you volunteer as Coordinator.  You will need to make contact with the berthing office / harbourmaster to confirm what details might be needed prior to arrival and, if you think you are going to need more berths you will need to negotiate this.

Restaurant / Yacht Club – Reservations may need to be made. This usually involves a preliminary estimate of numbers, and keeping the restaurant informed. Some venues may offer fixed price meals, which will involve agreeing menus and getting choices from participants.

Activities – Is the event just a meet? These can often be enhanced by planning a modest country walk to a pub for lunch, or by arranging a game or competition, e.g. boules, kite-flying, quiz, etc.  The Branch may be able to provide some nominal prizes to encourage involvement and help people gain much more enjoyment out of the weekend – speak to Martin Boyce (Branch Treasurer).

Please do not be shy to ask for some support from those coming to the event. You are there to enjoy yourself as well, and this should not have to be a one-man show.

Deposits – If deposits are requested speak to the Branch Treasurer to request payment. Coordinators are not expected to be out of pocket.

Publicity – Two or three months prior to the event please send some promotional details to the Kim Sage (Branch Web-Coordinator) to encourage members to book space.

Attendees – People will email you to sign up for an event.  If you would prefer to keep your personal email private we can arrange for emails to be automatically forwarded to you via a email address.

You will need to keep a schedule of attendees with contact details, boat name/size, number of crew, etc. Be ready to circulate any information updates by email and please keep Kim informed as past experience has shown that a growing attendee list can encourage more people to sign up.

Passage Races – A number of events may have passage races ‘attached’ to the event – please include a reference to the race in your publicity. e.g. the Cherbourg Cup is awarded for best outbound passage times on a cross channel trip.  For passage races crews should be asked to record their own times and to lodge these with Ian Bevington (Branch Race Results Coordinator). Most other races will be Dixon format and Ian Fellowes-Freeman (Branch Race Officer) will provide you with the information you will need to encourage the participation of attendees.

Shortly Before the Event

Confirm numbers if there is any material change to the booked reservations with the berthing office/restaurant, etc.

Berthing – For some venues you may need to direct boats as to where and how the berthing office/marina has asked you to berth. If you think it likely that some boats will arrive before you consider circulating a complete attendee list.

Finance – If you need to collect payments before an event the simplest way is to arrange for cheques, made out to the third party, to be sent to you in advance.  If the recipient requests a single payment the Branch Treasurer will be able to recommend how best to handle this.

Weather – This is the one thing that cannot be controlled. Most events are reasonably weather-resistant to all except the more extreme conditions. However, trips outside the Solent, e.g. France, are inevitably more vulnerable. Please remember that it is for each skipper, including you, to decide what is safe for their crew. Please do not place yourself in any potential difficulty out of a sense of ‘duty’.

As a skipper, you will in any event be watching the forecasts. If the outlook looks questionable, you may want to flag up a caution on the website over the arrangements. It is probably prudent to also telephone other skippers known to be travelling early if you decide at a late stage not to make the passage yourself.

The final point is that if there are any bookings that have to be changed as a consequence you will need to ensure that this is done.

The Event

Arrival – Please try to get to the venue early, and make contact with the berthing office/harbourmaster. It makes it much easier for attendees if you are knowledgeable as to any arrangements! If you think you may not be the first boat to arrive try to establish who is planning to arrive early and provide them with a copy of the arrangements.

Communications – If appropriate, it can also be most helpful if you are able to advise of berthing arrangements on request by radio, (particularly for French events!). The listening watch should be Ch77.
Lines – Where possible, be ready to take lines. It is much appreciated and breaks the ice for the event. It also encourages other earlier arrivals to do likewise.


A pontoon party is often a highlight of an event.  A couple of bottles of wine and some nibbles are all you will need to kick-start the social as you will find that most people will arrive with wine and/or nibbles and be happy to bring glasses with them.  Remember to let everyone know what time to turn up and make sure you allow sufficient time if you will need to move on to a dinner reservation.

– It is always good to have some event photos for the website.  If you think this is something you would like some help with ask someone else to take some photos for you – don’t feel you need to do everything yourself.

Thanks – It always leaves a good impression if the Coordinator takes the time to thank the Harbourmaster, restaurant manager, etc, and helps us when we want to repeat the visit.

After the Event

Report – Please write up a description of the event, mentioning any highlights or amusing incidents and include the results of any competition or passage race.   If you are concerned about this aspect of the role ask someone at the event to do the report for you.  Event reports do not have to be lengthy tomes – a couple of paragraphs accompanied by a photograph or two would be great.  Being able to read event reports encourages members to participate in future branch activities so please help us ensure we have a report for every event this year.  Please email your event report to Kim Sage and Sheena Boyce.

Feedback – If you have any comments about venues, harbours, etc that would be helpful for the Committee to be aware of for future reference, please pass these to the Branch Events Secretary.

Photographic competition

This year there will be a single category with a theme of “Reflections”. This category is open to the individuals interpretation of the theme. Make sure you take your camera with you on your holidays or any events you attend and get snapping. The closing date for submitting your entries will be 31st October 2015 and prizes will be awarded at the Solent Branch AGM on Saturday 21st November 2015. Details for submitting entries will be confirmed nearer the time.

Arun Trophy

This year the “Arun Trophy” will be awarded for a “Round the Isle of Wight Passage.” This can be completed at any time during the sailing season, with a personal choice of start/finish line. Details of the passage date, your start line (you choose but remember this line will be your finish line), start time, finish time and category (i.e. cruising or racing) should be emailed to Ian Bevington and Ian Fellowes-Freeman no later than 31st October 2015. As soon as a few results have been received we hope to publish a league table on the website to encourage more entries,


Regular e-newsletters have been sent to Solent Branch members this year. If you have not received an email please check your junk and/or spam folders. If this is unsuccessful please check your membership details are up to date.

Casual Sailing

Sometimes Solent branch members will suggest an Informal Meet – a simple gathering! The idea is that people will just turn up and be responsible for making their own anchoring or berthing and dining arrangements. The whole idea is informality and spontaneity. If you spot an opportunity to propose an Informal Meet try sending a message via the Solent Branch Discussion Board. The Solent Branch uses VHF Ch 77 with group call sign “Compass”. Our group DSC MMSI number is 023200031.