1990 – 1999

At the beginning of the 1990 season, builders were brought in to replace the deck and covering of the flat roof of the flag deck. Within a few weeks of their finishing a large part of the lath and plaster ceiling in the main clubhouse fell down. The builders returned and replaced all the rest of the ceilings, following which the whole of the inside of the clubhouse was redecorated. The bench seating was also reupholstered and a new carpet laid.

In 1991 a wet slipway was constructed on the site of the old upstream launching area. A recessed ramped slipway was formed into the river, wide enough to allow two boats to be launched simultaneously. The majority of the funding came from the Club accounts, but the National Rivers Authority donated a grant of £1,000 towards the cost.

This year also saw the start of the Christmas Lunches on the Social calendar, and the first of the Summer Ball’s, this time held in a marquee on the lawns. A glasswasher was purchased for the bar.

At the 1991 AGM Meeting Mr George Lean was appointed to the position of President of Henley Sailing Club. He was the second holder of this title, the first being Capt. V.H. Barnard. The office of President was invented in 1966 to move Capt. Barnard from the office of Commodore to allow the then Vice-Commodore Mr Dudley-Smith to move up. Capt. Barnard had by then been Commodore for eleven consecutive years. George Lean had been Commodore of the Club from 1970-71, again in 1985, and he had served on the Committee for many years.

In February/March 1993 a joint kitchen and bar extension scheme were carried out which provided a sink and glass washing area in the bar. The kitchen gained an additional 8’’X 6’ by knocking down the roof of the bar cellar to kitchen floor height. A hand-washing basin was also added to make the kitchen conform to new legislation relating to hygiene regulations. Further maintenance projects were carried out over the course of the next two years and included the provision of showers in the changing rooms and the complete replacement of the cedar shingles on the sail locker roof.

1996 was the Club’s Centenary year, and the Club was the focus of much activity. With the help of a grant from the Lottery Fund, and contributions by members to a Centenary Fund, many projects were completed. These included the purchase of a new safety boat, named Winsome in memory of Macpherson’s punt from the 1890’s, modification of the north lawn slipway, making it deeper and wider, and the fitting of an electric winch in the boat store to assist with removing the Club safety boats from the river. In addition, the interior of the clubhouse was repainted and refurbished, and windows replaced in the kitchens and toilets. At the beginning of the year a new Committee of ex-commodore’s was set up to organise the special events planned for the year. These included a Centenary Ball held on the lawns on 1st June which was attended by 160 people, and on 30th June a Centenary Day was held with a wide variety of activities offered to visitors both on and off the water. The traditional Regatta Reach weekend at Henley was attended by some Vintage International 14’s, which raced with the Henley fleet for a Centenary glass trophy, won by Rear Commodore John Thornton in his National 12.

During the 1998 season the Club National 12’s were very strong once again at events around the country, being placed second at the national championships, and winning the Thames Area Championships for the second year running. A major review of the club rules was carried out and voted on at the AGM. The Club’s President George Lean passed away after seven years in the post.

In 1999 a major project was carried out to replace 130ft of camp shedding downstream of the clubhouse, as the bank was badly undermined along most of its length. This was carried out by contractors at a cost of £11,200. The Commodore Derek, and his wife Linda, donated the Gorman Trophy to allow slower handicapped boats, and newer members to start their racing careers.