Founded in 1949 when dinghy sailing was very much in its infancy. We are located in Deal, on the East Kent coast, just North of Dover and get our name from the historic safe anchorage known as The Downs, protected to the East by the infamous Goodwin Sands where historically ships would wait for favourable winds to continue their passage.

Downs offers an extremely friendly, inclusive, family atmosphere providing a safe and fun environment in which to develop your sailing skills. You can join the club as a non-sailing social member, individual or family, with or without owning a boat and make loads of friends.

The Clubhouse offers a large clubroom with bar, kitchen and training room. We have modern changing rooms with showers and facilities for the disabled.

We have an extremely active membership with no paid staff and a club which is run for and by the members. Safety boats, race officers are staffed on a rota basis by members, with training available for all roles.

We hope to see you out on the water soon!

  • We are now pleased to announce that racing has resumed at the club

  • Club bar will be opening for post-sailing drinks from the 5th July

  • For updates on how the club are responding to the Covid-19 restrictions, please keep a look out for updates on Facebook and by email

Commodore’s update 12th December

Dear DSC members, 

I just wanted to share some sad news with you all, we have heard that past commodore David Evans has sadly passed away.

Next Saturday 19th December why not join us on Zoom for our annual quiz for the RNLI see poster below. The link for club members will be emailed to all a few days before the event.  Non members welcome, they need to send their email address to email on poster below. Look forward to seeing you there, or on the beach if weather kind for 


️ Kind regards

Julia Commodore

️ Kind regardsJulia Commodore

Commodore’s update 29th November

Following Thursdays Government announcement, I want to update members on what this means for activity at Downs Sailing Club. With effect from Sunday 6th December Sunday sailing will resume with the following restrictions which are not to dissimilar to those we introduced when returning to sailing after the first lockdown.

  • The Club house and changing rooms closed except for Toilets or a Medical emergency
  • Toilets to be accessed on a one in one out basis.
  • Members from the same family to man Safety Boats
  • Apply rule of 6 on the beach, everyone must be wary of keeping their distance between groups
  • Only 6 people can be around the Safety Boat, so we will use Grey and Blue (Grey could be single crewed if we need two SB on water)
  • Only one person can be inside on the bridge at a time
  • The club house (canteen and bar) will remain shut.

People will need to come down changed or will have to change on the beach and it would be sensible to bring a flask with a warm drink to have after sailing. As we are now into winter sailing the start time will be 1100 as shown on winter programme and the Vice Commodore and Sailing Secretary have agreed to go down to the Beach at 9am to assess the conditions and will post on FACEBOOK if they think sailing is practical and sensible at that time. This hopefully will save members living some distance from the club making an unnecessary journey.

Stay safe and keep well


Commodore’s update following government changes 24th September

Following yesterday (22/9) government announcement with the new Covid restrictions, I have discussed with the bar manager and house secretary the implications this means for our Sailing club. 

With effect from this Thursday 24/9/20:

  • Tables must be maximum of 6 and can be from any family (inside and out).
  • There will be a restricted number of tables in the club, with 6 chairs. These must not be moved, and no standing.
  • Bar and canteen service must operate as table service, with no ordering at bar or canteen. Someone will come and take your order at table and payment.
  • No swapping tables or chairs.
  • Masks must be worn by people behind bar or canteen and all members unless seated to eat and drink.  This means masks must also be worn when entering the club, on the bridge, changing rooms and toilets. 

NB – the club as well as individuals risk being fined if this not followed. Sailing on the water is unaffected, but members are reminded not to gather in groups of more than 6. I just want you all to know this is as difficult for me to have to give out this message as well as for you all to adhere to, but it is now law and none of us have any choice. Let’s hope the R number reduces and we can all get back to some normality. Remember do contact me if you have any issues.

Commodore’s update September 2020

A summary of the latest updates for DSC include keeping us COVID compliant:

  • Only visit the club if you are healthy
  • Sign in the “Track & Trace” log located inside the front door
  • Use hand sanitiser on the way in and out of the club
  • Follow the in & out route
  • Maximum of 2 households per table inside the club
  • Bubbles can be created for sailing and safety boat cover
  • Bar and Galley are now back operating with limited service
  • Keep 1m distance
  • Changing rooms are available but please take your bags with you once changed
  • Showers are not available for use at this time

Please see the link below for full details

Commodore Update Sept 2020
Commodore update Sept 2020

Commodore’s update 25th July 2020

A summary of the latest updates for DSC include:

  • Now moving to ‘Phase 4’ of our phased return plan
  • Further easing of restrictions for double handed sailors
  • Use of the club’s changing facilities
  • Hire fees for club boats to be reinstated from 25th July
  • Use of card reader available to reduce cash handling

Please see the link below for full details

How 25th July 2020 update can affect DSC
How 25th July 2020 update can affect DSC

Commodore’s update 9th July 2020

We are please to announce that we will be returning to racing as of Sunday 12th July, however, we will still be operating under the Club’s Covid-19 Guidelines and adopting a precautionary approach as to whether the weather conditions are suitable. The latest information regarding club operations as regards our return to racing can be downloaded from the link below.

Update to members on our return to racing
Check the sea conditions Live! – Click on the image above for the Live Skyline camera on Deal seafront

Commodore’s update 3rd July 2020

Dear Member,
The Downs Sailing Club executive will be meeting this Wednesday (8th July) to discuss how we can resume racing at the club.  The details will follow on the 9th.

The club bar will be reopening from Sunday 5th July and we will be following Government guidance. A restricted bar service will be available after sailing on a one in-one out basis and all patrons must observe social distancing outside the club house until further notice. Further details for accessing the club bar facilities can be accessed from the link below.

Covid-19 Bar Rules


Commodore’s update 22nd June 2020

Dear DSC member,

As we did not manage to sail on Sunday, some members have asked if we could arrange safety cover on Thursday evenings.  Following a discussion with the Exec we are keen to put a safety boat on the water (manned with 2 from same household) between 7 pm and 8.15pm on Thursday evenings from now on.  This is in addition to Sunday’s and will be weather permitting and subject to duty cover.

Duty cover is in place for this Thursday 25/6, for anyone wanting to do some recreational sailing. For future safety cover please sign up on Dutyman (beach master,  safety lookout on bridge, safety boat).

Just to confirm that the normal club program remains cancelled at present, which includes Red Trouser Day walk and Deal Regatta (in town/club).  Other events will be reviewed when and if government guidelines permit.  

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Kind regards

Julia – Commodore 


Commodores update four- 4th June 2020

Following the governments further relaxation of the social distancing measures the club exec have agreed that it is possible to put out a safety boat on the water while complying with the guidance. The clubhouse Bar, Canteen and changing rooms will remain closed but access to the toilets will be allowed on a one in one out basis and strictly controlled.

Sanitiser spray and hand gel has been provided and it is important that people use these and follow the signage when entering and leaving the building to ensure social distancing.

As well as putting a safety boat on the water the club winches will also be switched on for people to use but must be operated wearing gloves to prevent cross contamination.

Guidance has been sent out to all members and we would like you all to read this before coming down to the club as well as any further instructions posted on a board outside the club entrance.  Two-man boats can only be sailed by members of the same household at the present time and if others are to help in launch and recovery social distancing must be maintained by using a minimum of 2 metre ropes attached to both their own boats and sledges.

The club programme as published is currently suspended however it is intended to initially provide this limited facility on Sunday mornings only between 10.30am and 12.30 noon weather permitting although the sailing committee may decide to change this to a Saturday afternoon on a weekly basis if the forecast is not looking good. A club official will notify members as to whether conditions are suitable to sail by flying the AP flag over 1 from the club flagpole and posting a message on Facebook at 9am on the day, flag N will signify that there will be no sailing due to the conditions deemed not suitable.

Anyone wished to go sailing during this time is welcome to do so but must strictly adhere to the clubs COVID 19 launching and recovery guidance sent to all members and published on the club’s web site.

Initially rescue boat, OOD/safety officer and beachmaster will be covered by the exec but in future duty man will be adapted to enable family members to sign up to rescue boat and other duties.

We can only go ahead if these guidelines are strictly adhered to in order to keep all members safe. Anyone found not to be following this guidance may be asked to leave by the club exec.

We are hoping to start from this Sunday the 7th June but this will be dependent on the weather conditions being suitable for our return. I know we are all keen to get back sailing but we will not restart if the conditions are not optimum.

Julia Blackman



RYA’s New Sail From Home Web Page

As we take the first steps to getting back on the water, don’t forget there are still lots of great opportunities to keep sailing and learning from home. There is something for everyone, including expert advice on everything from boat maintenance and cruising, to coaching sessions on Virtual Regatta and racing rules webinars.  The RYA’s Sail From Home web page has it all…

Click on the image to go to the RYA Sailing From Home website

DSC Commodore and Exec. Officers update.  14th May 2020

Dear member,

Just to update you on potential changes following the Government’s announcements on the 13th May regarding ‘outdoor-activities’.  The Exec. Committee met that evening (virtually) and it was agreed that we are all keen to keep members in the loop on what is happening in the ‘boating community’. 

The RYA are supporting all clubs with on-line meetings/forums, which the EKYA (East Kent Yachting Association) chair and disseminate information and updates.  This is useful in our planning for a safe return to sailing.  Whilst the RYA are saying we can go back on the water, this is dependent on clubs being able to comply with the social distancing measures outlined by Government. At the EKYA forum, which was attended by clubs across Kent, it was agreed that while it would be possible for yacht and motor cruiser owners to go on board their boats to do any work etc, to go out to sea could potentially put pressure on the RNLI at a time when they them selves were not fully operating.

With regard to dinghy sailing, clubs provide their own safety cover which under the current guidance could not be managed. Manning rescue boats with members of the same family was discussed but even then there was the secondary issue of rescuing some-one from another family while social distancing. Going out in light winds only was also discussed but then again there was the possible issue of breakages or someone being taken ill to consider. After a long online debate it was agreed by all clubs that at the present time it was just not possible to commence any form of club sailing activity unless the social distancing rules changed.

In the meantime, your exec are looking at options for a return to sailing in both a considerate and conservative way as things open up and are relaxed further in the future. This will include full risk assessments for any option considered.

It is therefor with regret I have to inform you that for the present time the club will remain closed although this does not prevent anyone from coming down and doing any work on their boat as long as they maintain social distancing from anyone else. However, the clubhouse will remain closed following Local Authority instructions. I realise that this is disappointing for both newly joined members and those who have recently just paid their subscriptions and your exec will be looking at the possible options available and reviewing membership depending how long we are unable to sail.  

On a different note we are looking for an individual with the relevant interest and IT skills to manage and support the club website which has been recently built on a “Word Press” platform. If you are interested please contact me on:-  commodore@downssailingclub.co.uk or give me a bell and don’t forget to keep connected to the club through the club Facebook page and email where you can find out about activities and join in on online virtual races.

Julia Blackman 

Commodore DSC. 

Martyn and John rescue the DCS buoy from a beach in the Netherlands and made the local news. Check out the full interview at https://youtu.be/HWIVfba2LP0


01304 361932

Or in person before or after any sailing events.

Downs Sailing Club
The Clubhouse
The Strand
CT14 7DY

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