Severn sailing

A short club history ......


Severn Sailing Club was formed in 1936, and originally sailed at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, on the River Severn.

The club was laid up on the outbreak of World War II in 1939, and remained dormant for many years.

During the '50s, Smiths Industries (Now GE Aviation) a large local employer, had a large sports and social club for its employees, and the sailing section of this club sailed at Bredon on the River Avon. In 1960 their landlord gave them notice to quit this site as he could make more money from providing cruiser moorings.

The Smiths sailing section were now without a base from which to operate and, in the course of trying to find a new site, they discovered that there was a club called Severn Sailing Club in existance with a small amount of cash and some trophies in the bank.

As many of the original members of this club as possible were traced, and their agreement to a revival of the club was obtained.

The inaugural meeting was held in Bishop's Cleeve Village Hall in 1961, a committee formed, and a plan of action agreed upon.

After a prolonged search, a suitable site at Bredon's Norton was identified, and the landowner was pursuaded to sell just over 4 acres of land for £1000.00. Most of this money was raised in loans from the members, notably Mr. Tom Godden, of the old Gloster Aircraft Company.

It's interesting to note that the " NIMBY " (Not In My Back Yard) attitude was alive and well in the 1960's - a rumour started that the Club was just a cover for a group that wanted to develop a commercial cruiser marina on the site, and the landowner almost pulled out of the sale. Happily he was eventually convinced that the Club's intentions were honourable, and the deal went ahead.

Thus the revived Severn Sailing Club came to be based on the River Avon and, by a strange quirk of fate, the Avon Sailing Club had also been revived following the war, but now sailed on the River Severn!

Funds being short, the original accommodation was very basic - just a green wooden hut. Most members had to change for sailing in their cars!

Following several years of fundraising, and a grant from the Playing Fields Commission, the present spacious clubhouse was commenced in 1963. The main structure was built professionally, and the finishing work was largely carried out by the club members themselves.

The new clubhouse, although luxurious compared with the prevous accommodation, was soon found to have a serious structural flaw - there was no bar!

By the early 1970's this sad state of affairs had been rectified, and a well appointed bar now provides a focal point for 'Apres Sail' activities.

In 1973 the Club saw the potential benefits of organised sail training, and became an RYA Recognised Training Establishment soon after the scheme was launched. Training has been a core activity of the Club ever since, several of our Commodores and many of the present General Committee having joined as a result of attending courses at SSC.

In the mid 1970's the clubhouse was enlarged, again with the assistance of members' loans, with the addition of a boat store and a lecture room for training.

Severn S.C. commences the 21st century with considerable confidence. The Club has a long tradition of providing facities for whole families with a minimum of rules and regulations. Committees over the years have taken the view that a private " word in the ear " is a better way of dealing with minor annoyances than a long list of " Do's and dont's " in the club rules, and this has made for a very comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. New members in particular find it easy to integrate into the club, and this is probably one of the reasons that membership has been so strong over the last 30 years or so.