An official opening of Exe Sailing Club’s new clubhouse extension took place on Friday 15 November, when guests, including those who donated or loaned money for the project, as well as the professional and volunteer workforces who made it happen, celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Since the current clubhouse was built in 1974, the number of members has doubled, and the range of sailing activities has diversified. The club offers a wide range of sailing events including racing, cruising, sail training, junior coaching and regular activities for disabled people through the RYA Sailability scheme. This much-needed extension provides additional changing space, a workshop area for sheltered indoor maintenance activity and a dry storage area for sailing and training gear.

Funding for the ambitious build came from a variety of sources; a grant of £25k was obtained from the Coastal Recycling Community Fund, a members’ loan scheme raised a further £100k and the remainder of the finance came from member donations and the club itself.  

Building work was carried out between April and October this year. Members giving skilled services to the project included a project manager, an architect and a structural engineer. While the extension itself was constructed by a professional workforce and services were installed by professionals, all internal decoration and fit-out was undertaken by club member volunteers; in total, around 40 volunteers were involved in various stages of the project.   

Ted Draper, Commodore, expressed his gratitude to all involved, emphasising the advantages that the new building offers:  “This much needed clubhouse extension will provide us with the space we need to support our wide-ranging sailing programme within the local community and also help keep Exmouth firmly on the national sailing map.  

“The new store will support the volunteers who participate on the water, as all sailing gear will now be appropriately stored in a dry environment and in organised manner. In addition, the workshop will provide a modern facility for volunteers working on boat maintenance; previously this has been done outside in the open – not ideal, especially in the winter!  

“The club’s specially adapted Hawk dinghy has operated over 500 hours of Sailability sessions this summer. The boat’s ancillary equipment will now be appropriately stored when not in use and it will be easier for clients to access their clothing and lifejackets."     

Exe Sailing Club