Costa Blanca, Spain


As part of our CBYA Crystal Jubilee celebrations, each month we are going to hear from a member who has made a significant contribution to our club. This month we are are publishing some memories from Brenda Bates.

My first introduction to sailing was in Mombasa in the 70s, when a friend whose husband was a sea captain took me out in her dinghy in the busy harbour. We sailed between huge ships, and I learnt the meaning of ´tacking´.  Then in the 80s in Port Dickson near Kuala Lumpur, I learned about ‘capsizing´! I was in a race, out on the trapeze when my skipper turned his Laser too sharply into the gap in the reef.  Swimming no problem, but I was now underneath the sail, and had to make my way to its edge, with sharp coral under my feet..  Whew!

So in 2002, when I met Ron Shanson at a formal dinner, I was pleased to accept his suggestion to arrange social events for his group of boat-owner friends.  So the Costa Blanca Boat Club began.  I would be able to get out on the water again!  Never had any formal training, but am a willing crew member.

The ‘auto-pilot’ was one of my next lessons. Sailing on TrickyD with a very patient skipper, Richard, (think it was 2006)… …we had rounded the top of the finger of Corsica, and were into the heaviest weather that I had ever experienced. The skipper had to go up front to fix something and left me at the wheel trying hard to keep to the course he had set.   I was physically and nervously exhausted when he came back to the cockpit, and explained there was an autopilot!!  He said that he thought I was doing OK, and could learn a lot. Whew again!!

Initial meetings of the CB Boat Club Committee were held at Ron´s home in Rafalet, and I remember the tasty refreshments, and later wonderful meals, that Faye produced for us all. Early Committee members were Mike Arnold, Chris Middleton, Roger Dawes, Tony Saunders, Richard Jones, John Tucker and Peter Hooker. We took turns to meet at each other´s homes. It was agreed that Monday would be good for social meetings, and that tradition still continues today.

Chris did all the official hard work of dealing with the Spanish authorities in order to get us legalised.  As the word ´Club´ often referred to red light premises along the N332, it was better for us to be an Association!   Hence the CBYA was registered in 2005, and now we are celebrating our 15th anniversary. A thriving and growing club, yet still without a club house, which of course keeps the annual fees very low . For this reason the social gatherings were, and still are, an important part of our group.  I was the Social Secretary for most of 2002 to 2010. During those years, Tony Saunders, Diana Jarvis and Rachel Garnham, each brought new social entertainment ideas. Subsequently, even more interesting and enjoyable events were organised by Jacki Mudge during her term as Social Secretary.  Now we have a Social Team, who do a great job in arranging activities.

As we had no internet in the early days, the Monday meetings, held at various venues around Jávea, Moraira and Calpe, included a physical notice board. These meetings were important for arranging raft-ups and opportunities to crew for our several yacht owners, who were willing to take out members as crew.  I remember great social raft-ups, with sometimes eight yachts, and super days on the water with Ron, Chris, Richard & Martin Charman . In May 2004, two yachts (Chris´s  Cobber  & Martin´s Rubha Duck) and ten crew, enjoyed two weeks sailing the Balearic islands.  How many times have our members sailed across to the islands since then?

Richard & Martin sailed their yachts East across the Med to cruise the Greek Ionian Islands for several years. A succession of members, including myself, flew to join them, sailing around those lovely islands.  Wonderful memories, with good friends.

I organised our first club polo shirts & caps with a simple pennant logo.

Bowls & supper events at the Inn on the Green were well supported, and many tried bowls for the first time. We had dinners & dancing in a variety of restaurants,  Venta de Posa in La Xara and  El Andaluz in Moraira, were both popular  locations  One day we hiked around the lake at Guadalest and had lunch there. Diana organised fun treasure hunts in Jávea & Dénia, with the final clue taking us to a mystery restaurant in the Ports.  Quiz evenings were also popular. Rachel was ace at setting the clues, which we enjoyed during popular dinners at Dracula´s in Calpe.

Along with my tennis & mountain walking, being a member of the CBYA has been a very special part of my life since I moved to Spain, on my own, from Kenya in 2001.

Thank you everyone for all the great sailing and friendship over the years. I am sure the CBYA will continue to thrive & progress in the coming years with our increased membership & current knowledgeable and willing Committee, organisers and volunteers.

Very best wishes to all who sail in her!


Comments (3)

Wow, Brenda, what a great write-up and so much history about the club included.
You have put a lot in and have got a lot out. 🙂
Thank you for all you have done, and do, for the club. xx

Thanks Brenda, nice to read, capsizing near a reef with sharp coral… oeps

Elaine Goddard-Tame

What an adventurous life Brenda & great contribution to CBYA.

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