HELENSBURGH Sailing Club was forced to hold its annual prize-giving ceremony a little differently this year by congratulating its members via social media.

The popular local nautical society was established in 1951 at Helensburgh Pier, before moving to “The Hangars” and then in 1959 to its present base north of Kidston Park. Their clubhouse opened back in 2009.

Under usual circumstances, prizes for their best sailors of the year would be handed out under its roof - but not this year.

Taking to Facebook, the club celebrated their members with a social media post.

Sailing secretary Gavin Jeffrey told the Advertiser: “Racing this year was very different and we could only run organised racing when government and RYA guidance allowed.

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“That said, we managed to run our autumn series and Series 2 on our Thursday evening racing.

“In addition to this we have two pre-set timed courses of the club and sailors, when allowed, could head out on their own and time themselves, submit their times and be entered into either of the two series.

“The two series are the Barking Challenge, which is timed one way, in either direction, between the Sugar Boat and a mark off Helensburgh Sailing Club - this has been running since 1999 – and a new three-mark course off the club set up for this year. We named this the Lockdown Cup and it ran June, July and August.”

With lockdown restrictions firmly in place for a while now, it was expected that the local club’s popularity would dip, however, if there’s one thing the pandemic has revealed about the Helensburgh community it is that times of strife only strengthen their resolve.

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“Usually we host a prize-giving at the sailing club in December,” Gavin continued, “but clearly this wasn’t possible this year and we decided just to do a post on Facebook as this has the widest reach for all our sailors.

“Overall we’ve seen an increase in members old and new getting out on the water in dinghies this year which is excellent to see.”

This year’s Helensburgh Sailing Club prize winners included Logan Brown, Alan Jeffrey and Mark Homer in the Thursday Series 2, while Andrew Jeffrey, Iain McGregor and Alan Jeffrey picked up Autumn Series trophies as well. Lockdown Cups were handed out to Mike Forbes, Tim Flatman and Mark Homer, while Nigel Lynn and Alan Jeffrey picked up Barking Challenge awards.

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