Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are the things that our visitors ask most often.

  • What's special about Island Barn?
    Peaceful sailing away from main roads and flight paths, easy launching from several access points (no bottlenecks), lots of pontoons so no need to fish out between races, good for spectating from the clubhouse, sailing 52 weeks a year, good racing competition at all abilities. What more could you ask?

  • How do I join IBRSC?
    Visit the online membership site. As soon as you have paid you can start sailing. If you're bringing a boat, it must be suitable for our waters (no catamarans or twin trapeeze boats and it must fit through the water gates) and insured before it comes through the gates, but once you've done that you're in business.  

  • Those subs look cheap - how come?
    That is because we have no staff - the races and clubhouse are run by the members on a rota basis, and we are a non-profit club. This allows us to offer competitive rates, and lets everyone learn about race management, rescue boats and cookery! This does mean that you commit to doing member duties and to helping out whenever you can. For 2014-15 we have reduced the duty commitment from four to three times a year.  

  • Is the family included in all that?
    Yes, the rate includes partner and all children under 18 at the same address. Please note that parents remain responsible for their children at all times.

  • What's involved in the duties?
    Duties are part of your membership commitment, and are what keeps the fees down and the club friendly. You can choose your role and dates on joining or rejoining. The main duties are to run the racing, provide safety cover and catering. A duty team leader who is an experienced Club member is in charge of duties each day. Duty day is not a chore but an active part of running the Club for its members. 

  • I can't sail - do you do lessons?
    Yes. Take a look at our training pages. We cater for adults and children and for TrySail you don't even have to be a Club member. Courses get booked up FAST so don't delay if you are interested. 

  • Can I sail outside hours?
    Our normal sailing hours provide plenty of access to the water, but members can sail without safety cover if there are at least two dinghies on the water, manned by experienced over-18 helms. Remember that you always sail at IBRSC at your own risk.

  • Do you take a break over the winter?
    No - we sail all year round. With no currents or tides to contend with and the shore never far away, reservoirs are ideal for winter sailing. OK, it's cold, but there's plenty of kit suitable for winter sailing and the wind is generally breezier. Our racing turnouts are often higher over winter as we offer a Winter Membership option and there are less competing events. 

  • What about the kids?
    Our junior sailing has really taken off, and we now have a regular group of youngsters racing Toppers, as well as an enthusiastically-supported Junior Sailing School which runs on Sunday afternoons. Please note we require that under-16s must not be alone at the Club; a parent or nominated adult must be on the premises at all times. Parents are also responsible for the behaviour of their children.

  • Do you have club boats?
    Yes - we have club boats for use by members; RS Visions are our main teaching and hire boats along with Solos,Lasers, RS200s, Toppers and Oppies. We don't hire dinghies to non-members for organisational and financial reasons. Under-18 hirers get a discount on all rates

  • Are there any limits on what can be sailed at Island Barn?
    Not many, but basically the facilities aren't suitable for twin trapeze, very heavy or wide boats. See the fleets page for more detail..

  • Is there space for my trailer? I don't want it cluttering up the drive.
    Yes, there's a trailer park at the end of the car park, we charge a token fee per year. Please label your trailer and do not lock it to the fence - a hitch lock provides all the security you need while still allowing us to move the trailer if required.

  • What is the standard like?
    At the front of the fleet, pretty high - you'll see IBRSC sailors high up in the results on many of the travellers and European circuits, and we can also boast a world champion or two. But fear not, there's plenty of room at the back of the fleet, and we're not aggressive racers. So whatever your standard, there's sailing to match at IBRSC.

  • I don't fancy racing - can I cruise?
    Yes, of course, any time the club is open - all we ask is that you keep clear of the racers, there's plenty of room. However racing is a lot of fun and much less intimidating than you think - why not give it a go?

  • What about windsurfing?
    You are welcome Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and summer Tuesdays. IBRSC is not, to be honest, a short board venue - it is not often that windy. (Although it does happen...) But for long boards, it's excellent, and you won't find cheaper.

  • Can I do canoeing, jetskiing etc?
    The reservoir is for the use of the club, which does dinghy sailing and windsurfing. We are able to make arrangements with other groups for some non motorised watersports, but do not allow waterskiing or jetskiing. Please also note that there is no (deliberate!) bathing in the reservoir. This means that you should not allow your children to jump or dive off pontoons, a reservoir is not a swimming pool and there may be obstructions under the water.

  • What about water levels?
    Island Barn is a live reservoir, but it is at the end of Thames Water's supply chain, so generally we don't have a problem when bigger reservoirs are empty. Of course it is all under Thames Water's control, but we are set up to cope with varying water levels and we haven't had problems in quite a while.

  • Can I bring a guest?
    You may bring a guest sailor along up to six times in one year. (They must have suitable insurance cover and are not allowed to sail the club boats unless there is an IBRSC member helming). Non-sailing guests are welcome at any time; please also sign them in.

  • What happened to 'Walton-on-Thames SC'?
    It's the same club! Tradition is a wonderful thing, and we were loth to lose 25 years of history by a name change. But we need members and visitors, and we found that we were losing lots of potential members who assumed we were on the river, and preferred a different kind of sailing area. Also, each time we held an Open there were lots of confused owners driving round Walton! (We're only three miles away). So we changed the name, following a discussion at the AGM, to reflect where and what we are. You will still hear longer standing members talking about 'WOTSC'.