About Gunfleet Sailing Club
The Gunfleet Sailing Club is situated at Holland on Sea, on the Essex coast, next door to the well known holiday resort of Clacton. It is a small and very friendly Club that caters for all types of sailing - whether it be racing, cruising or just pottering. All classes of dinghy are welcomed and at present the following are based at Gunfleet: Laser, GP14, RS200, RS Aero, Blaze, Solo, Europe, Hobie 405, Comet, Topper, Topaz, and Sea Ranger. The Club boasts a Clubhouse with licensed bar and galley, along with changing rooms, showers and toilets. There is also a sail locker, and to aid launching and recovery an electric winch has been installed. The Club has a full programme of sailing and social events, all designed for the whole family. There is an active Cadet and Otter section, with events every Saturday afternoon from end of May to beginning of September specifically for Cadets and Otters; one of the strengths of the Club is the great way young and old mix so well together. The racing is light-hearted and the cruises provide an opportunity to sail further afield in company. The Club has two Rescue Boats that are always present when racing or cruising takes place.
Gunfleet Sailing Club
Gunfleet Sailing Club is located on the cliffs at Lower Marine Parade East, Holland-on-sea. There is ample parking along the seafront or in adjacent Hazlemere car park.
Road directions by car can be generated by entering the postcode of the houses adjacent to the club in to Internet mapping websites or vehicle GPS units:
History of the Gunfleet Sailing Club
The Gunfleet Sailing Club was formed in 1961 by a group of former Clacton on Sea Sailing Club members. The Clacton Sailing Club (CSC) had been based, since its formation in 1951, at a small site at the base of the Holland on Sea cliffs, opposite Hazlemere Road. The compound was sheltered from weather but yet was very close to the water’s edge. Such was the popularity of CSC that in 1961 it moved to a new and much larger site at Holland Haven with a compound set back some 100 yards from the sea. This was ideal for the modern dinghy and catamaran sailor, particularly those that enjoyed racing, but the more traditional sailor, with the heavier clinker boats, realised that the original site at Hazlemere Road was, for them, far more suitable. So a breakaway group formed Gunfleet Sailing Club and in 1962 obtained the lease of the Hazlemere Road site. The members soon built a smart little clubhouse and installed an electric winch to ease still further the launching and recovery of their craft, and settled down to the sport of “simply messing about in boats”.
The members of the Gunfleet always recognised that the physical space available limited the size of the Sailing Club but they saw this as a strength. With around 100 members maximum this ensured that there was great camaraderie and a real commitment to support the Club and its activities. During the 1960’s the Clubhouse was extended and changing facilities built. The Club started running a few light-hearted races as well as organising cruises but the fundamental basis still remained of social sailing. As well as the Sea Ranger class of dinghy, which had been established on the site in 1954 and remained ever since, and a variety of other clinker dinghies, there appeared a small number of Fleetwinds and for many years during the ‘60’s the Class Association held the Fleetwind East Coast Championships at Gunfleet.
In the 1970’s the Fleetwind class grew and was joined by several Mayflies. A little later on the younger members of the Club started sailing the single handed Toy class and a large fleet was established at Gunfleet. The Club also managed to expand a little with a modest compound extension to the west of the main site. In the 1980’s the Club welcomed a windsurfing section but this was to fade out by the 1990’s. The Club saw the Fleetwinds and Mayflies replaced by Lasers, Toppers and Mirrors, as well as a mix of other classes, modern and more traditional. The sailing programme was expanded to provide regular racing, whilst the Club never forgot the cruising side and those that didn’t feel the need for competitive water sports.
In the 21st century the Club has never been stronger, with the latest high-tech craft comfortably rubbing shoulders with the traditional clinker boats. Several of the members look back with fondness to the very beginning of the Club but equally look forward to the next 50 years or so.
A history of the Gunfleet Sailing Club, Clacton Sailing Club and Gunfleet Boating Club has now been published. Illustrated with pictures of all three Clubs the book is available by clicking on the words "contact us" at the end of the next paragraph.
If you have any old photographs or memoriabilia relating to the Club please contact us
The Gunfleet is run by a Committee, made up of Club members, elected each year at the Club's Annual General Meeting. The following are the Officers for 2021:
President: Tony Heath
Commodore: Richard O. Walker
Vice-Commodore: Dave Fowell
Rear-Commodore: Helen Swinbourne
Treasurer: Peter Downer
Sailing Secretary: Clare Giles
Social Secretary: Shelley Smith
Cadet Officer: Adam Searles
Compound Officer: Malcolm Jolly