Farewell Commodore’s Cogitations

At the AGM, I was very pleased to see Ian Lee elected as our new commodore, bringing to the end my stint at the helm of 3 years (and a bit due to the delayed AGM!!). I’m not going anyhere – having been elected sailing secretary and rear commodore (thanks for the flag now hanging in the study) so you will still be hearing from me but on a different range of matters.

In my annual report I covered not only the highlights from the 2017 season but also some reflections on my 3 years in the role which I thought I would circulate to those that were not able to make it to the AGM.

I became commodore following a few years of steadily declining membership and a club that had clearly split into two main sections. Guided by Trish, our president, the Management Committee, the operations team and many others, we have focused on

  • Introducing the joint sailing in the summer to bring together the junior and adult sections of the club It’s fabulous to see that 6 juniors have sailed enough races in the Folkes series to qualify this year. Also, it’s great to see how Jybaz and Sunday sailors now know each other!
  • Continued investing in facilities – boat park, committee room, new boats, new rib, new pontoon
  • Retained our focus on racing – one of the core elements of the club
  • Improved our PR and communications and website
  • Focused on training, novice support and generating new sources of members such as the home school sailing scheme and school sailing and a record breaking open day in 2017. This is another  core element of the club.

The result has been a steady growth in membership – up by about 25%. Our achievements have been recognised twice as finalists at the RYA club of the year awards and this year with a certificate of commendation. With increased membership comes more revenue enabling more investment – a virtuous circle.

I have learnt a few things

  • People join our club for many reasons – to learn to sail, to race, for social reasons and many more – so it’s essential to cater for all members and aspirations
  • We are volunteer run – until I became commodore I had no idea how many unsung heros there are in the background doing all sorts of tasks to keep the club running.
  • We have to continue investing to keep moving forward, better facilities, better boats attract more members

My thoughts at this stage

  • Shape the roles in the club to fit the people and their skills – we have many talented members, and need to keep adapting our structures and roles
  • Keep a balance across all the aspects of the club, racing, novice development, juniors, training, social and more
  • Remember you can only please some of the people some of the time – decisions have to be made to keep moving forward
  • Keep investing – in particular in maintenance and things to reduce the demand on volunteers. As we all become busier, we don’t have as many members with time to mend/repair things, so investments to reduce the workload are important.

My request to the members

It’s very hard work running the club, more hands make light work, so please step forward to help Ian. In particular if you an organiser (a bit bossy is OK!) we need you. There are plenty of willing helpers but fewer who will take on the leadership roles.

Thank you everyone for your support, tolerance and in particular enabling me to keep on sailing as well as being commodore. Lastly, a special thank you for the one person who has tolerated me spending long evenings at the computer, doing duties, emails, comms, endless committee meetings and more – Sarah.