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A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! I’m glad to be consistent – looking back I also managed to send Newsletters no 12 and no 16 out on New Year’s Day – it always seems to be a good day to look forward to Ceilidhs, meetings, and sailing again.

You will all have had your Mailing Packs by now – again, apologies for the delay. I must say I had never really appreciated just how much work goes into the preparation, printing, and packing of our mailing. As you all know, we are pushing for the mailing to be done by email, with an opt-out for those who still really wish or need for a paper version. This year I have been more involved with the production and packing of the mailing. Not only does the work start with updating the database with new members from the year’s cruises, but we then have to write and include the details for the cruises, ceilidh, and accounts together with the minutes. There are 4 separate mailmerges to do for the addressing, and then the printing - 3088 sides of paper. Many thanks to Jane Fanshawe for doing this, and to Badger, Sue, and my Mum for performing what looked like an Indian War Dance in our conservatory where five of us we trudged round the central table putting the packs in order before passing them to our two packers. I think about 330 paper packs were prepared, while only 50 were sent electronically. Obviously there is a cost issue here, but the extra manpower needed for the paper packs is hard to justify. When Paul Rose did it single handedly last year it took him over a week – but as he now has gainful employment I feel it is too much to ask of him. Still, gladly, he has now set up the club documents on ‘Cloud’ web storage for access by several of us, so the preparation work can be split which should make next year easier, as long as electronic distribution is adopted. I’m sure this will again be discussed in January.

Which does bring us neatly on to the AGM and Ceilidh to be held as usual at Colwall Village Hall on the January 12th. The doors open at 1400, the AGM starts at 1430, and ends with tea at 1630. There will be the optional Sailing Forum at 1700 as before. Supper then starts at 1900, with the Ceilidh at 2000, though we often delay this slightly with too much gossip! The band is new to us - The Compost Band, called by Ian Craigan who gave us our own Penguin Huddle Dance! With three musicians rather than five, and strict volume instructions, the noise level will be far more reasonable this year. Wine, soft drinks, and cans will again be on sale under Trevor Still’s command, and I’m arranging for a barrel of real ale. Paul Rose (see the mailing) can help with accommodation. Do try to come – it’s a great chance for a Penguin Congregation. Or Huddle.

Copies of the renewed Penguin Handbook will again be on sale, and copies of the Trifold Leaflet will be available.

Our cruises are filling up well – although I have not updated myself on the Canaries cruise, the Easter cruise has places left, and the Aegean in September has filled the two planned boats and a third is under consideration depending on demand. Do contact the organisers soon if you are interested!

I hope Father Christmas filled your seaboots with nautical niceties, and that the turkey was devoured without indigestion. With the Winter Solstice behind us, the nights are visibly drawing out, and we’ll be on the water in no time. I look forwards to seeing as many of you as possible in a couple of weeks – till then, relax and walk off the Christmas Cheer! Though as ever, in my case badminton and mountain biking will be necessary as well.

Best Wishes

Jonty Pearce