The Surrey Sailing Club was established in 1970 and provides facilities and lessons for sailing and racing. The club site at Crescent Beach is less than 100 feet from Mud Bay where we launch off a shallow beach into the river channel. Members store dinghies inside the club compound on dollies for convenience and security throughout the year. While humble in appearance the club is a jewel to its members offering a club house and barbecue facilities and frequent private or club sponsored social events.
The club consists almost entirely of member-owned boats. In addition to one of the largest Osprey fleets in North America, the club has a number of Hobie Cats, Albacores, 420s, 470s, Enterprises, Lasers, Tasers, and various lesser known boats and one-offs. Racing is held every Wednesday night and most weekends, tide permitting, from April to October.
Races are conducted under the Portsmouth handicap system. Main events attract over 20 boats with around 10 boats being an average for lesser events. There is one start for all classes and all boats sail the same course so there is always good competition.
Our Osprey fleet is the club’s premier fleet. This domination is helped by the fact that the Ospreys are the fastest fleet and can overcome the adverse currents, or at least this is the reasoning often heard from the club’s other fleets.
Dick Clift, an émigré from the UK midlands and one of the club’s founding members, brought the first Osprey (209) to the club in the early 1970s. 209 is a Plycraft Mk 2 built in the late 1950s and was bought in North Devon from the North Devon Yacht Club. 209 has changed ownership many times and a number of club members can point to their innovations on that boat having owned and worked on her previously. 209 is still at the club and is now owned by Ross Mullen and is sailed for pleasure with his family and friends and actively in the races, with his regular crew, David Olson.
The Clift’s respect and fondness for the Osprey led them to bring a number more from England. When club Osprey came up for sale they would buy them and resell them to assure they stayed. These efforts helped to retain the current fleet of 8 National Osprey at the club. There is hardly an Osprey at the club that has not been owned by a Clift at one time or other.
Dick Clift, now deceased, was the secretary of the Canadian Osprey Class Association, which unfortunately no longer exists. His son, David and David’s family own Osprey 1014 and can be found sailing her at the front of our fleet.