Members´ stories

Social Fun with the CBYA


The CBYA, and formally the CBBC, has always run some great social activities.

Here is an example of a highly-successful, past “Last Night of the Proms” party!

Maybe we should repeat the theme in 2021?

The Social Team

June 2020



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.

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Fun with the Costa Blanca Boat Club.


Further to Dr Ron’s recently-published interview , we thought that you might enjoy reading about some of the past activities of  CBBC members.

The Committee

May 2020

CBYA Crystal Jubilee – May Interview – Dr Ron Shanson


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 an interview with Dr Ron Shanson, founder of the Costa Blanca Yacht Association.

1) Dr Ron – tell us how it came about that you were instrumental in setting up the Spanish sailing club that has become the CBYA?

In 1989 I set up a UK sailing club in Portsmouth called High Seas Sailing Club, which is still alive and sailing, and has 30 sailing vessels, both in the UK and France.

In 1996 to 98 I moved to Javea, which was wonderful, the sea was gorgeous – but how to live here without sailing? I still had my 15m Prout catamaran, MiFleur, but mooring was very expensive in the Javea area, so I ended up purchasing a 20-metre berth in Puerto Blanco, the other side of Calpe, on a 35-year lease. I wanted to make new friends who appreciated sailing the seas, so that we could share experiences, including the 1,001 problems of keeping a yacht in a “strange” new country. So in 2002, I tried to set up the Costa Blanca Boat Club. Initially the objective was to send two sail boats from the Costa Blanca to meet up with four from the London club in Ibiza and Valencia. The Costa Blanca News newspaper allowed me to take some newspaper columns, and I also placed some radio adverts. This resulted in my finding about 10 to 15 fellow yachties… and the club started!

S/Y MiFleur

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CBYA Crystal Jubilee – April Interview – Rachel Garnham


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 an interview with our Honorary Member Rachel Garnham, who is currently our Membership Secretary, and Training Officer.

Hello Rachel. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!

Can you tell me why you joined the CBYA?

Sailing has been a life-long interest, and I needed a distraction… after a few years in Spain, I happened across the CBYA advert in the Costa Blanca News. So – to have a distraction, and to be sailing again (I’d been on and off boats since I was 6 months old!) – I attended one of the regular CBYA Monday meetings.

What was a memorable first experience?

I turned up at the bar beside restaurant Mason de Paco and met a motley crew of very friendly people. The evening was going well, parish notes by Brenda, and sailing events by Peter Hooker (alas no longer with us). Nothing was done by email then; there was a notice board with a sheet asking for crew to go sailing the following week. So I put my name down, but then heard from a voice behind me “you’re new, you can’t just put your name down, there are plenty of existing members who want to sail before you”. So, that was it – I’d have to wait. But, as it turned out, there was space, and I sailed out from Dénia on Chris and Kathy (also no longer with us) Middleton’s boat, with a few others, and we had a great day.

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CBYA Crystal Jubilee – March Interview – Bob Gordon


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!!     


What’s Vicky up to now?


For those CBYA members who don’t know me, I left the Costa Blanca in January 2015 to follow my dream and sail the world as crew on a variety of boats.  Hugh has asked me to share my latest adventure with you.

Captain Chris, a retired pilot, and his dear wife Pam, invited me to join them for this four-month adventure aboard their very comfortable motor cruiser, a 62ft Tollycraft. We will sail the entire inside passage from Olympia Washington to Skagway Alaska, and back (a journey of about 3000 nautical miles).

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Sunny Spray Rides Again!


After their intrepid cruise around the Atlantic during 2015 – 2017, Helma & Bob Hermans have now started to think about doing a bit of sailing again! They have now completed the mast repair on their yacht S/Y Sunny Spray, which was damaged during their Atlantic cruise, and she is almost ready to go to sea once more.

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Royal Clipper – the world’s largest fully rigged sailing ship!



Imagine this: gentle waves lapping rhythmically against a wind-driven hull, the scent of the salty sea spray on the freshening breeze, taut sails towering majestically overhead, a pod of young dolphins dancing in the bow wave of the azure waters– all against a backdrop of some of Europe’s most breath-taking coastlines. This was the lure of what was promised to be the voyage of a lifetime for Paul and Helen Nicholls.

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CBYA Visit to the Isle of Wight 27th June – 1st July 2019


Julie Benneworth mooted the idea of this excursion and, together with CBYA Vice-Chairman Neil Robertson, and partner, Vicki Dryden-Wyatt, organised a super four-night CBYA trip to the Isle of Wight for the Round the Island Race. Eleven of us lodged at the Royal London Yacht Club, thanks to Neil/Vicki’s membership there.

On the first day we had lunch at the RORC, and in the evening Neil/Vicki invited us to their lovely house for cocktails, together with some of their local friends, prior to all going for fish and chip dinner at the Island Sailing Club.

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