Executive Committee

Largs Sailing Club has an executive committee of volunteers who help to keep the club running and organise all the club activities, with the assistance of an army of other volunteer club members, and our staff, club steward Avril Leslie, and office administrator Julia Gibson.

To introduce the executive, we have all written a few paragraphs about what we do, and who we are.

You can contact any of us directly using the contact form link on each of our profiles, or for general enquiries;

Commodore 2017 - Ewan Macpherson

My sailing fuse was lit by my father’s tales of pre-war west coast cruising trips. As a youngster growing up in Glasgow I joined the nearest Sea Scout troop as soon as I was old enough, and have had wet feet ever since!

A Heron dinghy in Hogganfield Loch was my first introduction to sailing – a 3d fare on the 38 bus every evening and weekend possible, graduating to an Enterprise which we part-built ourselves, sailing from Helensburgh. Student toil funded an Enterprise of my own which brought me to Largs SC in the early 70s. My sailing buddy and I then moved into the 5-0-5 fleet and enjoyed the 5-0-5 Nationals at Largs in 1973 as well as traveller events around Scotland. Cruising in the Clyde and Hebrides were also a feature, venturing as far as Falmouth and the Scilly Isles. I was one of a number of LSC dinghy sailors who crewed LSC Commodore Lamont Young’s famous yacht St Anton in several Tobermory races at this time. Work took me to Malta, where a Miracle dinghy was acquired and raced quite successfully, and then on to Hong Kong, where a young family and scuba diving took up more time.

I returned to LSC in the 90s, mob handed with my Sea Scout troop and a growing fleet of dinghies. The Sea Scouts proved to be extremely useful in manning up the ‘beach’ team and providing rescue boat crews for large events, especially since moving to the Largs Yacht Haven site, and had lots of fun in the process! We also introduced another Sea Scout troop to the joys of sailing at LSC. I became a RYA Senior Instructor and set up and ran a RYA Training Centre as part of my Sea Scouting.

I joined LSC’s Executive Committee in 2002 and served as Commodore in 2005-6. Business took me to the north-east where I moved permanently in 2008, whilst maintaining my LSC connections particularly in support of events. I am presently a member of Montrose Sailing Club where I sail my Solo dinghy whenever possible. I was invited to join RYA Scotland’s Council in 2007 and subsequently the RYAS Management Committee in 2011. I chair North East Scotland Sailing Development Group and Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust.

I am a chartered civil engineer, and have spent the past 20 years in the world of innovation across all sectors of industry, presently running my own business.

Contact Form for: Ewan Macpherson

Vice Commodore 2017 - Marilyn Robertson

Bitten by the sailing bug whist working in Marseille and sailing on a colleague’s 42ft racing Jeanneau off the coast of Genoa, I finally started learning to sail myself out of Port Edgar on the Firth of Forth in my late 30's.

Sailing has always provided an extremely welcome escape from an often demanding career in medical biotechnology, although I have also used business trips to experience sailing in many fascinating locations. Race night in Melbourne Harbour was a particularly memorable evening. At home, I have been an enthusiastic participant in the club’s cruising in company programme since joining the club in 2006, building my sailing confidence with the support and knowledge of others. I served as Cruising Convenor from 2014-16 and on our 33ft Delphia, Corshyecan, we enjoy frequent social sailing around the Clyde and beyond with our friends and fellow club members.

I have worked with past and present Commodores to put in place a Development plan for the club, using my professional knowledge and experience of public sector funding and small business and charity governance. I look forward to working with all sectors of the club now to further develop and deliver a successful future.

Contact Form for: Marilyn Robertson

Treasurer and Secretary - Graeme Robertson

A relative latecomer to sailing in my 40’s, I sailed dinghies out of Port Edgar Sailing School on the Firth of Forth. We brought our first trailer-sailor boat through the Forth and Clyde canal in 2003 for a 3-week holiday. In 2006 we joined LSC, immediately being welcomed into the new cruising section where, with our new 33ft boat Corshyecan, we enjoyed confidence-building sailing cruises-in-company.
 
I retired from my career in financial services in 2010, latterly working as a Pensions Actuary. Experienced in financial and risk management, I became the club's Treasurer and a Director in 2012.
 
After the steep learning curve to understand the club's accounts, I am pleased that (1) we have introduced accounts which separately show the contributions from our normal club activities and the major sailing events we host; (2) we have introduced budgets and budget forecasts; and (3) the Executive Committee now has a month-by-month cash flow tool which records past income and expenditure and forecasts the future. Together, these inform the Executives Committee's prudent decision-making process going forward, including what reserves we should aim to set aside for replacement of specific club assets. Having said that I am still keen to introduce some smaller items of financial control, so that LSC continues to move forward as an expanding, diverse and sound business.
 
I also have a passion for volunteer recognition and management, and would like to see the club recording the huge number of volunteer hours which our big army willingly gives. This helps our funding and sponsorship efforts.
 
Contact form for: Graeme Robertson

Membership - Gordon Cochrane

I learned to sail with the Largs SC cadets in the 1960's, when the Club was at its previous location in John Street, launching off the slipway at Cairnie's Quay. The cadets then were nothing like as well organised or extensive as the LSTA today!
In those days, the Club had a very active Enterprise fleet, and after crewing for a couple of years, I bought my own Enterprise (a 13'3" plywood two man sailing dinghy). After graduating in 1970, I towed my Enterprise south behind my Ford Anglia, for 10 years of pretty hectic puddle sailing in England, including lots of team racing, championships etc. This was followed by two years sailing a Laser in South Africa. After returning to the UK, work and other issues put paid to dinghy sailing, so I went big boat, spending 20 years as a mate with Ocean Youth Trust. This was fantastic experience, and took me from St Kilda to Dunkirk, and lots of places in between. With my wife Ann, we also started flotilla sailing, then bare boat chartering, in various parts of the world. More experience!
After returning to Largs in 2002, I rejoined the Club, crewed for a couple of years, then we bought "Night Owl", our Maxi 1100 keelboat, which we have since sailed all round the Clyde, often with the cruising group, and as far north as the Summer Isles near Ullapool.
I also quickly got involved in the committee, then was asked to be membership secretary in 2005, basically responsible for administering the membership. This is not quite a full time job, but particularly at subscription renewal time, can certainly feel like it! Also, I have become increasingly involved in publicity, including developed the "e-news", which I hope members appreciate.

Contact Form for: Gordon Cochrane

Sailing Convener - Howard Smallwood

The sailing convener is responsible for organising the running of the racing at LSC, and is a good initial contact if you are interested in taking part.

I first ventured afloat, aged 9, in a clinker dinghy with a faded brown lugsail. By the time I was twelve I'd built a Mirror dinghy and soon after was lucky enough to be racing a Merlin-Rocket off Shoreham and had managed to win my first race!

Whilst at University in Southampton I crewed on various ocean racing yachts and managed to acquire a very early Unicorn Catamaran - and my first wet suit! I also met and married Jacqui - who has had to endure boats ever since!

Lucky chap, I then got a job with a dredging company and found myself jumping around on tugs and barges, brandishing a sextant - no GPS in those days! On one of these tugs I met up with its young skipper, Dirk Kuyt, and soon after we had all moved to Wemyss Bay and started our own tug and workboat business.

In the early 80's , with our good friend Dave Clark, Dirk and I set our sights on building a yacht marina and were granted planning permission for the classic, cut and fill dredging project, which is now, one million tonnes of sand later, Largs Yacht Haven.

After a few years racing a Laser at Largs  I decided I was too old for dinghies so Jacqui and I bought our first small yacht and the family 'enjoyed' several years of juggling cruising and racing in a variety of unsuitable boats! Latterly we have discovered the joys of deck saloons - perfect for the Scottish summer!

During the mid 90s I had my first sailing lessons when I signed on for some very enjoyable evening classes with George Rich, ending up with my Yachtmaster Offshore certificate. Legal at last!

Move on another ten years and I rediscovered the joys of dinghy sailing at Largs, first in a Laser and latterly in catamarans. There's always something new to learn - for me it now seems to be Ribs!

Contact Form for: Howard Smallwood

Largs Sail Training Association Principal - John Scott

Having "messed about in boats" a bit while at school, I started sailing seriously as a student on Rolls-Royce's 55' sail training ketch, Merlin of Clyde, and quickly got the bug. I have now been yacht racing, fairly successfully, as crew and occasional helm for more than 30 years and have done a fair amount of cruising, mostly in the Mediterranean. I started dinghy sailing again when my daughters started as LSC cadets and rapidly got more and more involved in introducing kids and adults to the joys of sailing, qualifying as an RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor in 2012 and Powerboat Instructor in 2017. I have a Laser which I race occasionally and largely unsuccessfully when I have time.
 
I joined the LSC Executive in 2013 and took over as LSTA Principal in 2014. Largs Sail Training Association is an independent organisation, set up by LSC, to provide RYA recognised training to club members.
 
As LSTA Principal, I'm responsible for all training activities at the club and I'm proud to represent its wonderful team of instructors and volunteers on the LSC Executive. I'm also responsible for Safeguarding.
 
Contact Form for: John Scott

Safety - Bill Forsyth

A keen dinghy and keel boat sailor, I have worked in the maritime sector for over 30 years , the last 20 in front line search and rescue and vessel survey and inspection. Prior to this I was fortunate to be able to make a living sailing other peoples yachts, and managed to complete several transatlantic crossings and sailed to and from various Mediterranean ports.

Re introduced to the beautiful waters of the West coast when both of my sons became junior members at Largs in 2013, not content with just lending a hand on an occasional basis I qualified as a dinghy instructor in 2014 and now participate in both adult and junior training. Most weekends when I am not instructing or coaching I make up the numbers during club racing.

As safety convenor, my role is to ensure that the water and shore based activates are adequately risk assessed and that where required we comply with any statute requirements and follow best practice. I also support a very keen group of volunteers that maintain the club's fleet of RIBS. Assisted by many other members behind the scenes, we all work together to ensure that whatever events are happening on the water or ashore are delivered in a friendly, competitive, fun and safe way.

Contact Form for: Bill Forsyth

House Convener - Gill McNicol

Gill McNicol has taken over from John Connelly and will be organising the social calendar at the club. Many thanks to John Connelly who stepped down in November 2016 after three years as rear commodore (house), and his magnificent efforts over this period in  transforming the social side of the club.

Sailing Events Convenor - vacant

Freddie Moran stepped down after 3 great years in November 2016. Many thanks to Freddie for his enthusiasm and organisation in delivering some fantastic events over this time.