It has been an interesting year, most of you will agree. Challenging at times but encouraging. Some of our focus has had to be on background issues, not always interesting, but crucial to keeping the club functioning and well placed for the future. We have attended to as best we can the risks we know about.
While Governance, safety and Risk Management are not the sexiest of topics, it is vital in our role as Directors that we have the appropriate focus and attention to these key areas of the business. These issues are not always present to the average member but as a business we must ensure the back office is sound, safe and we are protecting and developing the sailing, paddling and financial interests for the Club and you the members.
Some of the fundamental areas of the business we have focused on include:
* Review of the petty cash operation, accountability and record keeping (e.g. separation of SUP income from casual staff wages)
* General asset register of rescue craft and ongoing maintenance of fleet
* Cessation of haphazard employment of staff and coaches
* Formalization of service charges/entry fees and the like in lieu of random “favourites based” charging.
We are conscious that delivering our core business of sailing and paddling services, Sailing School and top-class race environment requires a dedicated group of energized, focused and well-trained staff and volunteers.
I am confident we have delivered to the expectation of the membership, which was shown in the survey results with an overall satisfaction rating of 83%. The culture, friendliness and presentation of the Club were highlighted as areas for improvement.
We continue to seek a full time Sailing Manager. After several rounds of advertising and interviews at this stage we have not confirmed who will take us forward in this role. We are presently in discussions with several strong candidates and I am hoping to have the role filled in the coming month. Our thanks to Lissa who has stepped into acting sailing manager and done a great job. We are of course looking for someone who can grow into the role, work with our Sailing Committee and in time take on more of the general management in the business. We have come close, but no cigar.
We are lucky to have found Eddie, who has not only held the fort and helped the Board isolate and clarify the issues, but he has organised to get all the functions performed as well as getting safety standards in rescue boats up to legal status, ditto the fire services in the clubhouse, tax returns up to date, and he is working on better defining the functions and roles we require, the processes required to carry out those functions effectively and accountability around their delivery.
But that’s enough admin. We are a sailing club and there are some sailing related things that need to be acknowledged and some celebrated.
Firstly, there are the Henry boys, father and son, both worthy of the high honours awarded to them by Sailing Australia in the recent NSW Sailing Awards. Otto winning Junior/Youth Sailor of the Year and Male Sailor of the Year – Rupert Henry along with Greg O’Shea.
For our own membership I would like to thank those who regularly committed to Club sailing and racing. The vibrancy and health of the Club is dependent on active boats and sailors competing regularly in our Club racing. Congratulations not only to the respective class winners but all of those who raced and kept our fleet numbers strong.
It was great to see in the Winter series the success of the development/training weeks and a group of “senior” sailors embracing their sailing under the guidance of coaches in several of the classes. We are looking to further develop these training and learning opportunities into the summer months.
Importantly we have initiated a greater connection and support of the paddling and outrigger members. Our support of the Tingara Event this year, improved washing facilities and ongoing conversations with a group of paddlers is a real turnaround from the past. We look forward to continuing to create further opportunities for the paddling community at the Club.
The ramp has not been a straight forward affair. We have finally come to terms with NSW Fisheries and Crown Lands in the past few weeks and nothing is now preventing Council from recommending approval to the relevant committee.
There were also delays to the engineering drawings with our Marine Engineering firm being taken over during the preparation of tender drawings. It is possible that the Director who was running our project was distracted. We now have the fully developed design and it is out to tender as I write.
After feedback from members of the Sailing Committee, we have decided not to try to carry out the ramp works this winter. We have secured an extension of time of 12 months from Transport NSW for the grant, so we do not need to disrupt the summer season and we will have more opportunity for both engineering and commercial preparation.
The grant will fall well short of the cost of the ramp and breakwater and we will use the time to raise money. We are also in early planning for the next project which is the racking and storage.
There will always be the next opportunity to improve the club, and there will be plenty of opportunity for anybody who wants to step up and be involved.
Lastly, I would like to thank my fellow Directors – the most functional Board in both their business and NFP skills that I have had the pleasure to work with.
Particularly sincere thanks to Diane Vukelic our Secretary. Diane freely offered her resignation to comply with the Constitution. Her vast experience in business and other NFP Boards in the arts, her diligence not only in typing speed but her personable and balanced approach to problem solving, her non-abrasive attitude to seeking workable solutions and her attention to detail has ensured this Board operates in the best interest of all members.
Like you, the Directors are all committed sailors and paddlers and always ready to listen to your feedback. As volunteers we happily give our time and energy to provide the environment and structures to provide a safe and well operated Club atmosphere.
Woollahra Sailing Club Commodore