Steve Betty, Commodore, Dartmouth Yacht Club 2010
How long have you lived in Dartmouth?
I moved here with my partner Jenny just over six years ago prior to which we had been living in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire. I was born in Bridgwater and have moved about quite a bit during the course of my career.
What did you do before retirement?
Starting as a 16 year old apprentice electrical engineer I spent 30 years in the electricity generating industry and ended up running what is referred to as Facilities Management, everything from transport, security, IT, buildings and technical maintenance, procurement – all the service ‘bits’. I usually had to spend 2 or 3 days a month in London which is why we lived in Gloucestershire because of the good transport links. I did that until 20 years ago when I got divorced, negotiated a decent severance deal from my job and then became a management consultant for a number of companies whose role was primarily rescuing failing companies and advising them on efficiency savings. All this fitted well around my then new found love of sailing!
How did the ‘sailing bug’ get you?
Through the company I was working for who had entered in a ‘Round the World’ Challenge and I managed to get a few trips on what was the prototype yacht for the BT Global Challenge. Chay Blyth was running the boat and he had poached one of my employees to help with the training of the crews – so my trips were a sort of payoff and I’ve been sailing ever since. I have also been part of delivery crews sailing boats down to Greece, Turkey and other places.
Do you have your own boat?
Yes, only a small twenty odd foot motor/sailer which is ideal for pottering about locally, enjoying the Dart and the more immediate coastline. It is more than capable of sailing further but it is not at all luxurious, more waterborne camping and I would not want to spend more than a night, perhaps two sleeping on her. I much prefer sailing other people’s larger yachts!
Dartmouth Y.C. obviously picked up on your management skills quickly…..!
I think I must have been sitting on the wrong bar stool at the wrong time!! The then Commodore, Alister Harbord, managed to persuade me to take on the job of Treasurer which I did for two years followed by two years as Vice Commodore. I am now in my second and final year as Commodore.
What aspirations does Dartmouth Y.C. have?
Like a lot of clubs who are asset rich we still have to keep the revenue flowing in. To that end we are always looking to increase our membership and to offer our members good facilities and a fun events programme. We have a very proactive Social Committee who organise social gatherings every month – we even have a passable Skittles Alley! As a growing club we are attracting younger people, families and single ladies who also find it a welcoming and easy place to come in to. We are lucky to have a spacious building which offers a comfortable bar and lounge area with superb views over the river, a good sized ‘gunroom’ where we hold the dinners and events, a good catering kitchen which produces tasty lunches and our Friday Steak Nights and Dinners, and we have male and female showers and changing rooms. We have a system operating where people without their own boats can register to crew for other boat owners which works very well. You do not have to be a boat owner to be a member!
Last year we set ourselves up as a RYA Training Centre which is working well and which we are looking to grow. There is a Cruising Section which organises several cruises each year, some for long weekends and others for a week when we can go further afield and we also have a thriving canoe section run by Tim Freeman. Our gunroom is also used by other organisations such as the U3A Jazz Group and the RNLI. If you are interested in hiring the space please make an approach to us.
What should people do if they are interested in becoming a member?
There are always membership forms available in the club so please feel free to pop in and ask anyone to point out a committee member if you need any further information. The cost of membership is £100 single/£145 joint with concessions for juniors and seniors. Come and join us – we look forward to seeing you!
More information can be found at
Dartmouth Yacht Club, South Embankment, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ6 9BB 01803 832305
First Published June 2010 By The Dart