Bewl Valley Sailing Club has gone into administration after 30 years of boating.
The club at Bewl Water has been actively sailing since 1977, despite being founded 10 years earlier.
But due to financial difficulties, the sailing club has been forced to shut down and held it’s last weekend of boating on Saturday and Sunday (July 11).
Vice-Commodore Trevor Spink is saddened by the closure but hopes the club can return in some other capacity.
“I think it’s a tragedy for the local community,” he said.
“The club is going into administration and is working hard to figure out what comes next and we hope we can find a different arrangement for us to continue to sail.
“I very much hope that a new club can be formed and that we will all continue to be able to sail at Bewl.”
The dinghy and windsurfer sailing club has around 1,200 members with space for 1,500 boats.
Members were advised to remove their boats this week as they may be deemed part of the club’s property by the administrators and sold off.
“Until we can find an agreement that allows people to keep boats there and continue to sail, we advise our members to take their boats away,” Mr Spink said.
Southern Water has a statutory duty to ensure that Bewl Bridge Reservoir is made available for recreational use.
Mr Spink believes a sailing club provides the best way to adhere to that duty. “I think the key point is that the club provides an important community amenity and in the lease that governs Bewl Water, there is an obligation to provide reasonable access to the water for the purpose of water sports,” he said.
“It’s very vague but without a sailing club to deliver that obligation they must do it themselves or it would put them in breach of the lease.”
The club’s executive members did all they could to negotiate a deal with their landlord to remain open.
But, unfortunately, members said the rent offered to them was too expensive and Mr Spink and the other flag officers were forced to accept administration and hand the ownership over to Chris Latos and Sue Maund of White Maund LLP.
“I would like to thank my fellow flag officers for all the hard work done that they have done on behalf of the club, and all the members that have made my time at Bewl so rewarding and worthwhile,” Mr Spink said.
“The challenge before us proved insurmountable but I know we did our best.”
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