The '10 Shilling Note' Sailors
by Nicholas Jones,
son of founder member J. Clement Jones
When a public meeting was arranged at the Victoria Hotel, Wolverhampton, for the evening of September 3 1953, such was the response that thirty nine people attended. There was to be no going back: Victor Gough was elected the first commodore; Stanley Gittins became vice commodore; and to ensure the club would be able to continue on a firm financial and legal footing, all those who wanted to become members were asked to put a ten shilling note into a hat.
One of the thirty nine people who paid up to become a founder member was Peter Waine, already a highly-successful yachtsman, who with his wife Pam became enthusiastic supporters and who have both given countless years of dedicated service to the SSSC. Peter's vast collection of the club's early records and other memorabilia from the last fifty years has provided an invaluable resource in researching and writing this history.
It was at the September 1953 meeting that ‘South' was added to the original title of ‘Staffordshire Sailing Club', in order to avoid confusion with another group of frustrated yachtsmen in the north of the county who were also searching for a stretch of water on which to sail. Across the West Midlands, the hunt was on for suitable locations.
The first task for the newly-appointed officers was get the club's name registered with Lloyds Register of Yachts and then prepare a constitution for the South Staffs Sailing Club, so that it could be lodged with the Yacht Racing Association (which became the Royal Yachting Association in 1955).
I found a type-written copy of the club's original twenty five rules pasted into my father's scrapbook. The club's objective could not have been clearer: "to encourage sailing and yacht racing in South Staffordshire." Indiscipline was not to be countenanced as "any conduct prejudicial to the prestige of the club shall render such member liable to suspension or expulsion."