The club looks a lot different in winter. The ice sculptures under the equipment and the bushes on the west wall look quite attractive (if bundled up for a short walk), but the ice in the basin is a different story.
The D docks get water splash and spray over the west break wall, which freezes into quite a thick ice cover. The weight pushes down the shore end and causes the water end to lift up against the chains. This puts a lot of stress on the dock connections and the mooring chains.
Already this year, there has been a fair bit of damage to the docks. A project is underway to look at replacements for these docks. The ice in the basin also puts strain on the main docks, though not as much because these have a bit more shelter. But even so, the main docks have been pushed west a couple of feet, which is quite noticeable from the north door of the club. Agitators have been used to try and keep some open water in the basin. This seems to help, but there may be other ways to reduce the ice pressure on the main docks.
We are currently considering a line of air bubblers in the eastern end of the basin to increase the amount of open water. Quotes are being obtained for D dock replacement and a bubbler system, with formal proposals to be presented at the next AGM.
By Don Weston, Vice-Commodore Marine