On Saturday 10th October Robert Daws was presented with a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Lifetime Commitment Award by Ian Walker, MBE, the President of Chipstead Sailing Club and Director of Racing at the RYA. Ian himself sailed at Chipstead from the age of 8 and attended Sevenoaks School, before establishing his racing career.
Usually this would have been awarded by Princess Anne at an event in London, however Covid has meant a move to local presentation.
Rob Daws’ father had been one of the early members of the club in 1953 and Rob started sailing at Chipstead in 1954, with his sisters crewing for him. He became a full member in 1956 and has been a member ever since.
In the 64 years since becoming a member, Rob has actively covered many of the volunteer duties carried out by members. In the early days he was active in numerous jobs required of a fledgling club, but as the club grew, with an increasing number of members, greater organisation was required so Robert became Sailing Secretary for 5 years on two separate occasions, which entailed scheduling the races and the duties of the race officers.
From 1991 to 2004 he was the Commodore, a down to earth leader, overseeing the period when membership of many sailing clubs began to wane, but with his thoughtful guidance leading the General Committee, Chipstead maintained a high membership, enjoying the benefits of a greatly improved clubhouse and an increase in the size of the lake.
Rob is still active in the club, as both a Trustee and also regularly racing in his Laser, leaving many younger racers in his wake.
In addition to presenting Rob’s award Ian Walker, a winner of multiple European and World Championships, holder of two Olympic medals, competed in 2 Americas Cups and won the 2014 Volvo Round the World race, spent time with the Junior sailors, both coaching out on the water and giving hints and tips while ashore.
Many of the Juniors will have had a morning to remember.
Photos of the award can be seen here.