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History of the Army Offshore Sailing Centre

 

The Army Offshore Sailing Centre (AOSC) is based at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, Hampshire and is the home of Army Offshore Sailing within the United Kingdom.   The Centre moved into a new building in January 2013 which provides all the facilities that a modern sailing centre needs and requires.

The Army Offshore Centre was located in Clarence Yard in Gosport with 25 alongside moorings until 1999 when a decision was made to sell the area.  At this point, the Army decided to move location as the Clarence yard site was becoming unworkable.

In 2000 General Walker (the ASA Admiral) and Maj Gen Elliott (RE) (the ASA Commodore) negotiated an MOU between the Royal Naval Sailing Association (RNSA) and the ASA, for the yachts to be berthed in Dolphin Pool and as a result, the ASA moved to its new home.  Over the following years, the arrangement has worked well and the ASA and RNSA continue to work together for the best interests of the Service personnel.

The AOSC is housed within the iconic Building 100 or locally known as the ‘The Green Cathedral’ which used to be the Submarine Torpedo and Periscope Workshop when Fort Blockhouse was HMS Dolphin.  It is located overlooking both Dolphin Pool, where all the Army and ASA yachts are berthed, and the Solent.  The ‘Green Cathedral’ was used as the offices and stores for the logistic staff at Fort Blockhouse when HMS Dolphin closed but, when these were relocated, the building lay dormant for some 18 months.

The AOSC was originally located in Building 37 a small building which provided communal offices space and some storage away from Dolphin Pool; the AOSC also had a number of storage areas around Fort Blockhouse.  The acquisition in January 2012 of the ‘Green Cathedral’ was a major step forward and though there was much work to be carried out to ensure that the building was ‘fit for purpose’ that work has been completed.

 

Building 37 former aosc

 

 

The AOSC which includes the Army Marina based within Dolphin Pool now provides a focus for Army Offshore Sailing in the UK and is managed by the ASA Chief Instructor; the ASA Coaching and Inspectorate Staff are co-located at the AOSC and are fully integrated into the managing of the AOSC and providing RYA courses previously not available.  The AOSC provides individual offices for the Corps Yacht Clubs and Sailing Associations and now the AOSC is home to the RA, RE, RAC, REME, and AGC Yacht Clubs and the Household Division and Infantry Sailing Associations. the yachts are all berthed in Dolphin Pool where the pontoons are fully serviced with electrical power and fresh water and there is easy access to the Solent and South Coast cruising areas.

The new building was officially opened by Lt Gen Gregory in June 13 and named Sword Building after Sword beach where Lt Gen Gregory’s father was seriously wounded.  The Centre is now run by the Chief Instructor, Phil Brown, who is a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor and Examiner.  He is available to offer advice and help to all ASA members on any offshore matter.  Please feel free to contact him should you require assistance.

Apart from the offices, the AOSC has a large conference room which doubles up as a classroom when required, a sea survival briefing area and a crew reception area for berth holders and visiting crews for the Corps yachts.  The AOSC also has a cavernous heated sail loft and workshop, an outboard store and workshop and a mast store.

Though the AOSC has had some teething problem mainly due to the building being dormant for 18 months; the building is now well on its way to becoming a first class facility and focal point for Army Offshore Sailing in the future.
As the AOSC becomes more established it has hosted and run a number of events and courses throughout the year: the Army Offshore Regatta, the Services Offshore Regatta, the Army Sports Control Sailing Day and BBQ, Team Army/Hewlett Packard Race Day, Start Yachting, Competent Crew and Day Skipper Courses for: Army personnel, the Army Foundation College, the Army Scholars and ASA members.  The Centre also provides own boat tuition and examinations for Serving personnel and ASA members.  Overall the AOSC runs a varied and full sailing programme which is only available due to the support of the Service and ASA RYA Instructors.  If you are an RYA Instructor or Examiner and would like to help the Army and the ASA running courses at the AOSC please contact the Chief Instructor, Phil Brown.

 

“The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

 

RYA Sailing Courses at the AOSC

The AOSC started running courses for ASA members in 2011 and this continues to the present day. A variety of courses are available from Competent Crew to Yachtmaster Ocean including most of the Shorebased courses to support them. 2016 will see the re–introduction of the Cruising Instructor courses providing an opportunity for successful candidates to offer something back to the sailing environment.

The courses are run aboard the Centre's Hallberg Rassy 342 – an excellent teaching platform for all the courses offered. The Instruction is mostly delivered by volunteers, the strength of Army sail training.

Mast climbin, swimming and roast dinners are not complusory but are exceedly good fun.

To book any courses please contact the Chief Instructor, Phil Brown, at the AOSC.

Instructors Needed For This Coming Season

The ASA sailing course programme is predicated on the instructors volunteering to teach on the courses.  If you are a RYA Yachtmaster Instructor or a RYA Yachtmaster Examiner and would like to help in teaching courses or examining for the Army Foundation College, the Army Scholars, the Families Courses or own boat tuition and exams please volunteer.  Without volunteer the ASA will not be able to run such a comprehensive programme.  If you are interested please contact the Chief Instructor, Phil Brown, at the AOSC.

Want to be an RYA Cruising Instructor

To attend a Cruising Instructors Course you need to be a Commercially Endorsed Yachtmaster Offshore.  To become Commercially Endorsed you need to be a Yachtmaster Offshore, hold an RYA Sea Survival Certificate, have an Eng 1 or ML5 Medical Certificate and have competed and passed the online  Professional Practices and Responsibilities Course.

The Cruising Instructors Course is a minimum of 5 days in length and is split between classroom work and practical sailing.  Candidates should be confident in their teaching ability, have an in depth knowledge of shorebased subjects, be confident in their sailing ability and be able to teach and demonstrate sailing evolutions to a high standard.  The course is designed to improve candidates teaching skills both shorebased and practical and confirm that they have the base skills to be a RYA Cruising Instructor.  The course is split in to two days shorebased followed by two days practical; on the last day a moderator joins the yacht to confirm candidate ability and suitability.  The qualification is valid for 5 years. At the end of 5 years Cruising Instructors require to attend an RYA Instructors Update or attend the Yachtmaster Instructor Course.

If you are interested or need more information please contact the Chief Instructor, Phil Brown, at the AOSC.

phil brown

AOSC Contact

ASA Chief Instructor Offshore
& Manager Army Offshore Sailing Centre

Capt (Retd) Phil Brown
ASA Chief Instructor Offshore

Army Offshore Sailing Centre
Sword, Building 100 (Top Floor)
Fort Blockhouse
Haslar Road
Gosport
Hants  PO12 2AB

Email: asa-offshore@sailarmy.co.uk

Mil: 9380 65457
Civ: 02392 765457
Fax: 9380 65328

Mobile: 07717 800613

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