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Reading Offshore Sailing Club – 50 years of sailing

18 January 2021

Back in the 1960’s if you wanted to go to sea in a sailing boat you probably needed to know another sailor who could teach you about navigation, seamanship and safety.  Modern electronic aids to navigation were yet to be invented, so navigation had to be done by eyeball, compass and log aided by pencil and paper.


In the late 1960’s a former Merchant Navy navigating officer was conducting classes in College Road, Reading, on how to use nautical charts to navigate at sea. This was proving very popular and in 1971 the courses developed into teaching the Royal Yachting Association syllabus for Day Skipper and Yachtmaster qualifications that are now renowned around the world. Possession of these qualifications opened up a world of sailing now enjoyed by thousands of people and importantly, enabled successful students to go on to safely sail their own boats and to charter vessels in diverse parts of the world.


Courses in the early 1970’s were run as evening classes and each week students would gather afterwards in a local pub for a social chat.  At the end of the course in 1971 a group of students and the then Instructor, Mr Mike Bowyer, decided to form a club to continue sharing the  experiences and enjoyment of sailing that had been fostered during the courses.  Thus was born the Reading Offshore Club, later to change its name to the Reading Offshore Sailing Club to avoid confusion with offshore financial activity.


The club met in a number of local pubs before eventually settling at its present venue in Sonning on Thames. Over the past five decades the club has brought together hundreds of people from the wider Reading area with a shared interest in sailing and boating on the sea. Regular meetings have featured talks from many prominent figures from the world of sailing as well as on technical topics and a variety of social events. Social sailing and racing have featured prominently over the years. Members have enjoyed sailing in the Solent and other waters of the British Isles as well as in many other places around the world, from the near Continent to Australia. The club continues to offer navigation and seamanship training as a Royal Yachting Association accredited training centre.


This year, in May, the Reading Offshore Sailing Club celebrates its 50th anniversary. Following a year during which most of its activities have had to be confined to online and socially distanced events it is hoped to get back on the water and resume more normal pursuits.

ROSC members attend virtual talk by owner of Bembridge Harbour

11 January 2021

Henley Offshore Group very kindly invited ROSC to join their first meeting of 2021 on Monday, 11th January at 8.oopm,  which was by Zoom. ROSC members almost outnumbered HOG members.

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