As part of the CBYA Crystal Jubilee celebration, each month we are going to hear from a member who has made a significant contribution to our club. This month we are going to hear from Bob Gordon, this year’s winner of the prestigious Karlheinz Witte Trophy, awarded to him for setting up and successfully running the CBYA Dinghy Section (despite vandalism), and for his welcoming attitude towards all, enthusiastic involvement and long-term commitment,…….
Hello Bob. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!
Can you tell me why you joined the CBYA?
….well just by accident ! I had been visiting a friend, Ken Upton, in Pedreguer since 1977. As a result I bought my house, by accident, in 1982. Ken was one of the original CBYA members. He was a little eccentric, built a boat and then sailed it round the Balearics. He thought I might be interested so he introduced me to Ron Watson, and to the famous Tricky D (one of the foundation stones of the CBYA), and from then on in there was no stopping me!
Relaxing after a strenous Dinghy Day!
What was a memorable first experience?
My most memorable early experience was attending social functions. They were good and someone had put in a lot of work arranging it all. But no one bothered to say ‘thank you’, so I decided to get up at the end of the meal and say a ‘thank you’. This progressed to me telling a little joke and then the ‘thank you’. Which grew into a ‘normal’ regular situation so as soon as I stood up it got into the inevitable ‘oooooooooooooohh….no’ before I delivered my joke of the day, and of course a ‘thank you’.
What was your role and how did this change over the years?
The CBYA was looking for a new Chairman. Ron Watson was Secretary and I felt he would make the most excellent Chairman. I proposed him but to cut a long story short I ended up becoming the Chairman! I followed Richard Jones and John Sloggie who had both previously served in this capacity. At that time, there were about 150 members and we already had a very good relationship with RCNC and sailing the TOMs. The social side was also very active with ‘get togethers’ most weeks.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I was chairman for 4 years (2014-2018). I was not the most popular because I ran the club like I ran my business when I employed 250 people, and I wasn’t the most popular then either! However during my time the membership doubled to over 300. I introduced the Dinghy Section by purchasing a dinghy for €1000 (couldn’t knock down the price because the money was going to local Javea charity) and donating it to the club. With the help of Karlheinz we introduced the Cruising Section. We developed the TOMs and expanded the social side of the club. RYA affiliation, a new web site with a commercial page designed to produce a little extra income, trips, courses and lectures and most importantly formalised the official side of the club’s Spanish registration as a non-profit making organisation. We got rid of cash collections, set up a new accounting package and brought all subscriptions onto an annual basis spread across the year instead of 1st January. It is now possible to join and pay your subscription to the CBYA ‘on line’.
Give us one of your amusing anecdotes then Bob…
Well…….I have always ‘preached’ that to capsize is not good sailing. It can always be avoided if you know what you are doing and don’t get caught out! Well not so long ago I took a laser out….the rudder came off for some unknown reason, sank to the bottom, I had no control and capsized. I was rescued by Paul Frazer and he even dived down and recovered the rudder…amazing. But you can imagine the greeting I got when I got ashore…….capsized….capsized …….they just couldn’t stop !!
Salvaging our Flying Fish dinghy (Yelly) after Storm Gloria/ Taking care of the paddle board & kayak man
What are your hopes for the future?
The CBYA is a great group of people from different walks of life, different sailing abilities (novices to round the world yachtsmen), different nationalities and provides sailing and boating opportunities for its members as well as a good social combination, all for a very small subscription. We don’t perhaps need that many more members and we don’t necessarily need boat owners, as they are a breed of their own and don’t always fit into our requirements. What we need are more people to get involved and share the responsibility of just ‘providing great boating (combined with social) opportunities for our members’. And when I say boating, I mean all aspects of being on the water, power, sail and all the modern opportunities available today.
Bob – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and giving us this retrospective. I am sure the CBYA members will enjoy reading about this. You are such a CBYA legend!!