The 1973 season saw the first regular racing. At the last meeting of the previous year a very ambitious programme was projected: 3Allcomers races every Sunday, 2 races every Wednesday, training races on Wednesday afternoons. There was no clubhouse and no starter’s box, but the flagpole had been planted in the mud – Arthur Marfleet dug the hole and had disappeared from sight before it was deep enough. His back, he says, will never be the same again. Syd Sharrock sat at a table under the flagstaff controlling and recording the races in all weathers. There was nothing under his feet but mud, and the job must have been a little uncomfortable in the rain. During the summer of 1973 the Water Company erected the shell of the clubhouse and as they watched it being put together the picnic parties on the mud flat outside could begin to see that better things were on the way.
Over the first two years too there was a good deal of discussion about what classes of dinghy we were anxious to encourage on the one hand and unwilling to accept on the other. Multihulls were banned but on the positive side, the committee decided to wait and see and their patience was rewarded over the years as very sizeable Enterprise and Wayfarer fleets built up.
In May 1973 the Sailing Committee was set up. The idea was that through this channel, annual members could participate in running the aspect of the club they were most interested in – the sailing and especially the racing.
That November saw the second AGM and the first Annual Dinner Dance and Prizegiving – a strengthening exercise for more strenuous winter work in 1973-74 when an excavator was hired to dredge the pool and the spoil spread over the site the hard way. In addition to this, the interior of the clubhouse was painted (i/c Gerry Miles), the lawn was turfed and seeded, more berths were cleared and a second boat access road and slip constructed.
At the 1973 AGM the Club had 162 memberships, mostly family or husband and wife.
1974 saw quite a bit of further progress. The Clubhouse now connected up to electrical and water services and with its own sewage disposal system, was formally opened by Jack Boon on 7 July. Furniture had been purchased and the tea-bar planned but not constructed.
During this summer a start was made in building the south jetty.
In October 1974 permission was obtained to sail on the Eel’s Foot Broad.
For the first two seasons the only rescue facilities were what could be provided by Syd Sharrock’s private launch, which did sterling service but was not very fast. In 1974 the club used an inflatable dinghy powered by a series of borrowed engines.