Tess Woodnutt is new Commodore

At the Alderney Sailing Club’s AGM on Wednesday 22 February, Committee member Tess Woodnutt was unanimously elected to be the Club’s new Commodore.Tess follows in the footsteps of her father Martin Smith who was the club’s Commodore twenty years ago and succeeds Boyd Kelly, who, last year – after the untimely death of Commodore Chris Walker – took over as acting Commodore.

Tess Woodnutt has been a keen sailor since her early teens and enjoys being at the helm of most types and sizes of boats, from dinghies and small sailing boats to catamarans and ribs. She particularly enjoys taking part in classic yacht races. Last summer she had the opportunity to crew a 67-ft classic yacht in three Mediterranean regattas – Antibes, Corsica and St Tropez – which she described as an amazing and exciting experience.

Tess is looking forward to being at the helm of the club which three years ago celebrated its 50th anniversary. She is very enthusiastic about the club’s sailing courses and activities planned for youngsters

Below is her acceptance speech on Wednesday 22 February 2017 at the AGM:

Thank you, Boyd for proposing me, and offering to be my Vice, (although I didn’t know it was THAT kind of club!)

A bit about me, so you know what you are letting yourselves in for.

I’ve been sailing since my early teens, initially out of Christchurch, enjoying the thrills of making landfall in foreign places (often Alderney). When I first moved to Alderney I worked for Mainbrayce on the water taxi for two seasons and in 1989 Alan and I built the little Wharram catamaran A Roamer, and spent many happy years cruising and successfully club racing her. That lovely little boat is still being enjoyed by our son, Jake and his friends, and can often be seen out on the water.

Since then and until last year, my boating has been mostly spent ribbing, with regular trips to France and Guernsey, with the odd dalliance on Ragtime, Dad’s boat, and Earendil, Jonathan’s motor boat.

Last year I had the enviable opportunity to crew a 62’ Classic Yacht in three Mediterranean regattas, a fantastic and exciting experience, and one I would like to repeat several times this season.

Looking forward to sailing here…

Thanks to the hard work of Annabel and her team, the dinghies are fairly active and sailing courses teaching kids to sail are efficiently organised and well subscribed, however, it would be great to involve the parents more, and engage them in the clubs activities, and encourage more adults to take to the water in dingies.

I would obviously love to see more big boat races this year, but because of the small number of locally based yachts that may mean canvassing visiting yachties, which in itself could be fun. We have a considerable number of races on the fixtures list, and lots of silverware to be won and handed out at the Prize giving in November, which brings me to the Laying Up Supper.

Possibly the biggest challenge for a Baby Commodore…This event I feel may have come of age, and perhaps this is the year to make some major changes, to try and reinstate it as the Islands ‘Society Event’ of the year. Possibly moving the annual dinner to a summer event, with a less formal clubhouse based ‘Laying Up Supper’ in November. Just an idea, and all comments welcomed at this early stage of planning.

I am lucky to have a hard working and dedicated team on the committee, and look forward to the next year, (or more) working with them, and at the helm of this amazing club.

The Club has just published a list of fixtures and races for this season which may see a few more racing and social events added by the new Commodore. Check it out here

For the youth training courses scheduled so far please click here