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From the Wheelhouse

October 2019

Thank you for your positive feedback to my first edition of From the Wheelhouse. I will endeavour to keep the information flowing, but as you know, most of the Committee members have real jobs as well as their volunteer role on management so this may delay my reports occasionally.
Review of strategic Plan
We are awaiting the return of Brian Aitken to continue with the sessions which should be in the next few weeks.
The first of many meetings to convert the ByLaws to policies and update current policies will commence on the 11th November. The plan is to invite relevant portfolios to review the documents. This will include the staff updating their roles and guidelines.
The Marine Annex Lease has been amended to reflect the sub-lease of Waters Edge Marine Trimmers and change of boundaries so we can improve the workflow of the hardstand and accommodate additional vessels.
With the Treasurer back, I think we should change the name of the meeting to Finance and Management Meeting, but all said and done, it’s extremely important that the committee are up too date with the monthly financial position of the club. After a lot of forecasts, adjustments, seasonal provisions and depreciation we are in pretty good shape. Functions are up and running, the hospitality season is looking good with forecast results above budget. In today’s market this is excellent.
We still struggle with 60 & 90 day debtors. Letters and phone calls haven’t solved the problem. We have changed our strategy, and after advice, we have moved into the digital era using SMS (Short Message Service or text) reminders and alerts. This seems to have woken the slumbering debtors. The committee is aware there is always the timely oversight with accounts and issues when paying accounts, but remember membership is paying for all the time and energy taken to control our cash flows and offset our bank interest charges!
*Note: If you end up in 90 day arrears your key access and account will be paused until the debt is settled.
Historically there is an annual pattern to resignations of 5%. This has been traditionally topped up at the November Open Day. The committee is very mindful of the importance of retention of our Juniors. That’s easy to say, but we need to look very closely at how we can involve parents. In the past we haven’t been good at that, so the committee will be striving to improve this. If you have friends or relatives you think might enjoy the Club, bring them down as there will be specials - 50% off Full Ordinary, Family and Centreboard nomination fees and no nomination for Social membership on the day.
Unfortunately, our works chairman has been called away overseas at short notice for family reasons. This has left a bit of a hole in the information trail.
With the increase in boats on the hardstand we are finding there are insufficient mobile access ladders on the Eastern Hard Stand. The Finance committee recommended the purchase of four new ladders with Management approving the expenditure.
Bosun's Club
The committee had proposed to remove the existing structure at the side of the Bosun's shed and build a new shed. This is where I will take the blame, but in the present watchful eye of the Council, we may end up with nothing, so I have requested we hang off at this stage, and use a consultant to look at how we can achieve approvals for the structure without jeopardising further improvements around the club. Once we have established requirements we can prepare a budget for the coming year. At this stage we can use the old Waters Edge Marine Trimmers sheds.
Pens and Moorings
We have a few vacant pens available with quite a few boats on the waiting list. We also have three 15m Deed pens that are vacant. Club pens will be easy to fill but the deed pens have a different criteria. The committee has agreed we use the Deed pens as temporary Club pens. We will have an Agreement in place to be fair to both Club and Members in these cases. This is ongoing.
Over the years it has been difficult to have all the boats in the Marina up to date with their Marina Compliance (Fire & Safety). Currently there are 90 + vessels that do not comply. The cost of postage and the time spent in the office managing these offenders adds up over a year. Maybe we should try SMS here!
Testing and tagging extension cords is another area of concern to the committee. This is all about reducing the risk to members and property. If, for instance, a fire or even death occurred, authorities would be looking very closely at our control of the risk. The committee is investigating ways to make compliance simpler. Firstly, to help boat owners meet the policy we are looking at introducing a service where contractors come to your boat to tag your cord and back charge you. Quotes for this are being obtained. Secondly, changing the renewal testing and tagging date from January to March is being considered.
Training and Development
In the 2018/19 budget we allowed for the purchase of SUPs (stand up paddle boards) and Wind Surf boards. The Finance Committee have recommended the expenditure and Management has approved the acquisition. This supports the “Out There Sailing” programme recently introduced by the Head Coach.
The Vice Commodore raised the question of the costs of the publications the Club produces - namely “Soundings” and the “Yearbook”. The committee were happy to go to a biannual printed “Soundings” issue and the “Yearbook”. While Soundings is available digitally on the SoPYC website, moving entirely to digital publications rather than print is being contemplated with perhaps a limited number of printed copies. Members will also be seeing a new format of Coffee Pointers from this week.

If you have any thoughts I would like to hear from you, my email is

The Centreboard Committee has reintroduced the Junior Captain and Vice-Captain which we are hoping will improve our communication with the junior sailors. Congratulations to Captain Regan Sommerville and Vice Ona Rafferty.

John Midolo
SoPYC Commodore
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