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!
The Sailing Club is currently closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Policies on Covid-19 and the club's Phased Return Risk Assessment have now been posted on the 'Policies' page of the website
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
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.
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…
DSC Commodore and Exec. Officers update. 14th May 2020
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:- firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Or in person before or after any sailing events.
Downs Sailing Club