In 1971 there were a high number of people moving to Dalgety Bay, as one of the New Towns in Scotland. Some were sailors previously, so tell tail signs (i.e. boats sat in driveways) highlighted them to some enthusiastic people now living in Dalgety Bay. Stewart Cameron was one of those enthusiastic people and being of the view that The Bay deserved a sailing club persuaded sailors like David Tennant, Stuart Black, Brian Otway, Derek Baty, Gordon Harrison, Brian Moore and Alastair Burnside to join a work party digging out the first slipway. Stewart had already done the ground work to find the best location. Dalgety Bay was chosen by Stewart Cameron as the site for a sailing club because it was one of the very few places on the inner Forth where sailing could take place at all states of the tide. At that time Port Edgar was still a naval supply base. Brian Moore had sailed on the Meni Straits and was itching to get another boat, and the pull of the Forth was great.
The inaugural meeting was held in the original Dalgety Bay Primary School late in 1971 and from that point on the club moved forward at some speed. There were then regular meetings held over that winter in members homes, discussing racing areas and marks – In the early years when racing marks were very expensive we used inverted orange Spacehoppers, with the handholds lashed together – early recycling at DBSC! The original horms use for signaling starts was a 240v Klaxon hooter salvaged from Longannet power station that sounded like a vintage car approaching! Over that winter certain doubts were cleared and Stewart Cameron selected as the Commodore, Derek Baty & Gordon Harrison were our first treasurers, Alastair Burnside was the first secretary/membership.
The club started racing in earnest with fleets of Mirrors, GP’s and Fireballs. The mirror fleet was continuing to grow and in Cramond Place garages were turning into boat lofts. Mirror boat names from the past were Moody Blue, Ernie (funded by a premium bond win) Otrod (which is now out in Australia) Mini Moa, Fly Fifer & Maconi Flyer.
There was a main committee in position by July 1972 which set up a sub-committee to prepare the proposal for the new clubhouse on July 4th. The first AGM on October 26th 1972 approved the schematic plan for the new clubhouse.
Clicking on the following link will show you the original membership listing as at 1st September 1972.
On 1st November 2012, the membership voted by a large majority to convert from being a Private Members Club, to becoming a Limited Company Limited by Guarantee, as so came about The Dalgety Bay Sailing Club Limited.
The original clubhouse (The Green Hut) was in fact a wooden garage gifted from a friend of a friend in Aberdour who was about to replace it with a more substantial building. The hut was located at the rear of where the existing top boat shed is now. It had a drop down side, from this hot soup etc, was served. When replaced, it was first use to the store sailing equipment, before being donated to the Cricket Club where it was sited in the grounds of Donibristle House, where it was finally burnt down.
Also in those days before the club house was built, fund raising events ie Dances, etc., were held in the Aberdour Institute on Shore Road. One was a tramps supper (Fancy dress) with the children of Brian Moore being most amused to see dad rolling around the front garden getting dirty. Most effective, the men went over the road to the pub for a drink but Brian looked so much the part, he was told quite politely that they didn’t serve tramps.
Alastair and Beattie Burnside worked tirelessly for the club over the years. Beattie organised the social side and had us all roped in especially for regattas. The biggest weekend in the early days was the Fireball championships when we catered for some 500 meals over the weekend!
The logcabin arrived as a kit just before Christmas 1974 and was completed by the members for an official opening by Provost Les Wood on 14th June 1975. John Muir’s company built the brick basement foundation. With the wooden walls in place and the roof trusses on, one cold frosty day John Muir and Jimmy Ross put the roof on, it was slippery and with nothing between them and the concrete floor far below they raced to see who could finish their side first. You can’t stop some sailors racing, even in the close season, but it is not recalled who won the race. There are photographs of the building being built in the clubhouse and on our web site.
The new clubhouse was officially opened on 14th June 1975. Therefore, built by members and open in nine months, a fantastic achievement for a band of amateur volunteers.
The clubhouse originally had a turf roof as insulation, which was a major talking point. Colin Kemp with a trailer on his car went back and forth getting the turf for the roof – again, see our photograph archive. Unfortunately it was not without it’s problems and we ended up having weeds that would grow through to the ceiling (looked like carrots with a pointed end). Then these were followed by rain coming into the Lounge because it was draining through the holes the weeds made. Eventually after many man-hours of repeated weeding we gave up and stripped off the turf.
They were not finished yet and in 1978 the club members agreed action needed to be taken to address the need for separate wet areas (away from the upstairs portions of the clubhouse). The top boat shed was erected to moved safety boats into and the basement developed to provide changing rooms & a galley to help with functions hosted at the clubhouse. Again, all done by willing members volunteering to help for the greater good of the club, coordinated this time by Tim Penton.
The clubhouse was further extended in 2000, with the addition of the dancefloor area, provision of the training room below and removal of the infamous “pillar”. This allowed the expansion of the ladies and gents changing rooms and addition of further storage space. This work was again completed by a team of volunteers, ably led by Ken Marshall.
Ken deserves special mention as a very high contributor, leading many work parties to establish the club facilities we have today, including construction of the jetty or ‘Great Wall of Ken’ as it is affectionately known and the ramp access to the clubhouse.
After we had our new clubhouse, we were able to use our own facilities for various social events. Monthly Saturday discos in the lounge “dancing around the pillar” used to take place, and speakers were installed in the roof to accommodate and they used to be attended by well over 80 plus folk – often going on into the wee small hours.We also use to have a Bonfire and fire-works display on the grass in front of the club every November, which felt like virtually the whole of Dalgety Bay attended. Unfortunately we had to stop doing it because it was so well attended; we could not cope with just the same small amount of volunteers to marshal the event. And on 24th December 1988, a tradition started at DBSC where sailing families would get together for some carols, mulled wine, mince pies and even the bag man in the red suite took some time out from his deliveries to pay us a visit. To this day we always have a full house for this annual event and now have parents coming along who were once kids brought along each Christmas Eve.
The club was looking for a logo and Kenneth Moore designed a seal on the rocks which is the logo we still have today. Ken also made a little pottery seal at school which he used as well as a drawing. That pottery seal still exists today and we hope to soon house it in the clubhouse in a protective display box as part of our 40th year activities.
The club first Rescue Boat was built to a Shetland design by Kirkpatrick and Brian Otway at Bill’s home in Dunfermline and was called Sealqueen. Bill was a Shetlander and a Foreman of Shipwrights at Rosyth Dockyard.
On the subject of rescue boats, the much loved Nova is still with us and was a gift in 1976 to the club by Gordon Curtis of Curtis Motors (local Vauxhall Dealer). The Vauxhall Nova car had been recently launched, hence the name.
The Optimists fleet was established in the 70’s on the basis of being available to offer children who were not club members sailing opportunities. This justification certainly helped with our funding appeals for cash to purchase the boats. The boats were then built near Cockensie power station in a workshop run by Lothian Council aimed at training youngsters in woodwork. They made a good job of them apart from the hole where you stepped the mast being too shallow. David Tennant who had coordinated the initiative failed to spot this and naively organised a launching ceremony without a preliminary trial – result, 6 boats with floundering sails and masts at 45 degrees and David with a red face.
Youth Week was launched in 1992 by Gina Angus and has been an annual event since then. It now regularly attracts over 60 youths who work towards RYA certificates or develop their instructing skills.
The restoration of our harbour was coordinated by David Tennant in 1980. This project was not really required, as the club had no need for a high water harbour at the time, but to quote David at the time, “it would have been a shame to see the jetty disappear completely…. it would have disappeared within a year….we couldn’t sit and watch such an old part of Dalgety Bay vanish before our eyes“. Relevant comments because, as well as long term erosion, new residents of Dalgety Bay had been helping themselves to the stones for their rock gardens. When David had just started the refurbishment of harbour via planned work parties, he did think he had everything in place regarding land purchase. However, the legal people dragged their feet and David ended up going ahead with fingers crossed, potentially investing lots of resource into something we did not own! Fortunately we got everything signed but it took a further 2 years! The land alongside the northern arm of the harbour was immediately sold to the houses overlooking it and their cash paid for our expenditure… phew!
In 1987, the yachties were getting their act together / becoming official and a moorings association was formed and registered officially with the Crown Estates Commission. The club constitution was updated to reflect this agreement at the next years AGM. The formal title was issued to the sailing club in 1989 to lay up to 22 moorings and that was further extended to lay up to 50 moorings in 2005.
In 1978 the top boat shed was erected, allowing safety boats to be moved out of the basement and allow development of that space to create new wet areas and gents and ladies changing rooms
In 1997, the bottom boatshed and the purchase of some training dinghys were funded by Sport Scotland and the lottery fund. The new Picos replaced some very elderly oppies. Every penny received by the club from the lottery fund had to be matched by donations from the community in cash or time in kind. Ken Marshall was instrumental in promoting this work and raising money along with Alan Locke and Alan Clarke who were commodores around that time. Alastair Burnside was another keen helper. Contributions in kind were made by many members who provided the labour for some of the works. Alan Searle did the design, project management and grant applications for the job and Muir’s were able to supply some of the materials FOC or at very attractive rates.
DBSC were the first sports club in Fife and first sailing club in Scotland to be awarded the new Club Mark rating to Development level in 2012. In Fife the local council badged this as ClubFife and this certification let people see the club had adopted best practice recommendations for running a sports club, with supporting evidence of effective practices being in place.
In 2014 DBSC again won the RYA Scotland Club of the Year award, in recognition of the turn round in sailing participation, improved sailor development and it’s involvement with the local community.
DBSC are rightly proud of our history and celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a dinner on 19th September 1997 at the King Malcolm Hotel and did not miss the opportunity to have a party to celebrate our 40th year, this time in our extended club house on 27th October 2012, with a seventies theme. 25th Dinner Menu.