1979 – 1989

During the winter break in 1979 the bar was refurbished and new carpet tiles laid in the clubhouse, which together with the work carried out in previous years formed part of a five-year plan to bring the premises into good order. Due to serious flooding at the beginning of the season a total of 15 events had to be cancelled.

In 1980 the Drina Dudley Smith Memorial Trophy was donated to the Club by Gerry Dudley-Smith, a former Commodore, in memory of his late wife. It was to be awarded to the most deserving crew.

Ex-Commodore Mr G Dudley Smith passed away in March 1981. He was Commodore from 1966-67 and also Commodore of the Enterprise Class from 1963-66. Due to a continuing lack of support in previous years it was decided to abandon Saturday sailing for the months of April, May and October. The engine in Henliensis had been causing problems for some time and in July developed a major fault which necessitated its being replaced with a 7HP, BMW Diesel at a cost of £1466. There was a massive decline in sailing activities and 42 of the races had no entries. This was in part due to many of our helms competing at away Open and Championship Meetings, which made our National 12 fleet one of the strongest in the country at this time.

With the continuing poor attendance’s for sailing on Saturday afternoons, it was decided in 1982 to discontinue with the formal provision of teas. The National 12 Open Meeting this year was held in force 8 winds, and was attended by the Club’s most distinguished Honorary Member, Mr Stewart Morris, President of the R.Y.A.

In the 1983 sailing programme Saturday afternoon sailing was curtailed further to the months of June, July and August, and two years later in 1985 formal Saturday afternoon sailing was abandoned altogether, the result of a steady decline in interest over the course of several years.

During 1984 alterations were carried out to enlarge the bar area by forming a store at the rear which enabled bar stock to be kept readily available and gave much needed working space.

At the beginning of the 1985 season a small fire did some local damage in the clubhouse. Some members luckily discovered this and put it out, if they had not fortuitously been there it would have caused considerable damage. During this year a contractor was engaged to replace some of the old wooden windows with PVC double-glazed units, and some of the flat roofs were recovered where necessary. The staircase to the bridge was also clad in PVC boarding to reduce further maintenance work. Fixed gas heaters were also installed.

A major refurbishment of the kitchen was carried out during 1987, with the units and floor tiles being replaced. This year saw the donation of the Salcombe Hailer Trophy, presented by David and Frances Wilkins for the best placed Henley Sailing Club boat at Salcombe. A new rule was adopted at the AGM that allowed the Commodore and Vice Commodore to be elected to their posts for three years instead of two.

Although by 1988 there was a large membership and a lot of boats at the club, few members were participating in Sunday racing: the National 12’s were particularly keen and active, but very few Enterprises and OK’s were turning out regularly and on several occasions there were too few entries to qualify for a cup. For this reason it was decided to adopt the Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme, although for two years this attracted no new dinghies to the club.