Commodores Cogitations #2

I hope everyone is looking forward to an enjoyable break over Christmas. I am reliably informed that on Boxing Day everyone starts planning their holidays. So a few items to start planning for.

Kieran coached by Ali Young

1. If you fancy some training next year to improve your sailing skills or perhaps become an instructor, our training team have put together dates and plans which you can read here. Book up early as many of the early courses are popular.

2. Duties. I know this topic always generates debate. We are going to allocate duties this year in early January. There are two schools of thought – let people choose dates and then fill in the gaps or allocate all slots. The problem with choosing is that all the shoulder season dates get filled with experienced people and we lack experience in the summer months. The disadvantage of rostering in advance is that some swapping is necessary. However, with Dutyman that is easier to do. So on balance we are going to allocated dates. If you have any strong views on types of duties you prefer (we already have a list of qualified Race Officers and Coxs – but can train more) or any dates you absolutely cannot do, then email me by 4th Jan and I will try to build them in. This is a classic situation where whatever decision we take will cause some problems -there is no perfect solution.

3. Our new leadership team is forming for the year. Mike Scott is going to work alongside Tom Power and he will be the person you hear most from in the early part of the year as he will be organizing working parties. More on that after Christmas. We are still looking for a but more help to form a strong team to run the Galley. I personally don’t think in the 21st Century its OK to assume the Commodores wife should do this. So anyone that would like to be part of a small team to organize that please let me know. We have a number of people already involved so you won’t have to do everything.

Thats all for now – I hope you have a fabulous break and I look forward to seeing you down at the club next year.

Commodore’s Christmas Cogitations

xmasI’m sorry I did not make it to the AGM. Many of you will know that my dad died recently, and his funeral was the following day. I am reliably informed I was elected as commodore! Thanks for voting me in; I’m looking forward to the role. My main aim is to bring together the different sections of the club and not to upset too many people along the way. I’m sure Sarah will keep me out of trouble!

Thanks to Andy Mellor for suggesting the title for my blogs this year, a pint awaits you at the bar as a small gesture of thanks. I thought I’d kick off with what I wrote for the AGM to go with my nomination. The successful running of the club relies on many people working together, in particular our President (Trish Ordsmith), various commodores (Rear Mike Scott, Vice – Chris Smith) and many others. I look forward to working with them to develop the club along the following lines

  • Build on the many strengths we have including Racing, Jybaz, Training, RYA recognition and our fantastic facilities. That said we must recognise without change the slow decline in membership numbers over the last few years may continue. That is what prompted the review of sailing formats that we will test next year and has informed the club’s 3 year plan.
  • Developing and improving sailing at the club. Jybaz has grown into a hugely successful section of the club of similar size to Sunday and Wednesday Racing. This year we will experiment with a period of joint sailing to bring the club together more. We also intend to continue develop our less experienced sailors through Go Sailing, Wednesday afternoon sailing and other initiatives These are the sailors of the future alongside our more experienced racers.
  • Developing a clear financial plan to give us a framework within which to make major investment decisions including maintenance of the fabulous club house, development of other facilities such as a second pontoon, continuing to build the clubs financial reserves and better exploiting grants available
  • Have fun, the club has many non-sailing members and for all, coming down to Rudyard means many things from a social day out or developing sailing skills, contributing to the smooth running of the club and competitive racing. Social and other events are a key part of this.
  • Spreading the work load and improving governance. The club relies on volunteers to keep it running. We plan to evolve the governance and organisation of the club to ensure the committee roles are not too onerous and every member is clear on whom to approach depending on the topic. We all have a role to play; being a member involves both a financial and time commitment. We also wish to create an environment in when everyone makes a voluntary contribution to the club (Duties, Bar, Working Parties, committee posts and many more) that is fully valued and appreciated.
  • Communication. We plan to continue improving communication and using the many and varied ways and tools available. The Clubs 60th Anniversary in 2016 coincides with the 50th Year of the Southport 24 hour race in which we one of only a few clubs to have competed in every race. I’m sure this will great opportunity for the club to celebrate.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable time over Christmas and Santa brings you lots of sailing goodies!

Definitely my last Sailing Secretary Blog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell its the end of a year, and I have submitted my report for the AGM. For those that can’t make the AGM on Sunday, I have reproduced it below.  I’ll leave it to others to judge and comment on the sailing this year, but I have tried to automate the results processes a bit more, and think about sailing formats and how to bring the different sections of the club together next season. We will see how that goes but to survive and prosper as a club change is essential. Please make the effort to come down, remember the club depends on everyone pulling their weight in what ever way best suits their skills to keep subs reasonably low and keep up our fantastic facilities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe held the Albacore and Enterprise Open 2 weeks ago – thanks to Brian Corfield for these photos. Steve Sutton had a fantastic day in his Albacore being pushed all the time by his crew James Firkins into second place overall – well done both of them. It was also great to see a big enterprise fleet out, including Dave and Margaret Burnham taking first Ruydard Boat back in their Enterprise – one last outing or sign of the times for next season!?

T2014-11-22 22.24.11he annual dinner was also a great event with a table full of Jybaz, a fantastic live band and a great evening. 2014-11-22 21.03.41Steve Sutton was the eventual winner of the Broken Rudder Award, thanks to all that voted. If you missed it, here is the nomination video. A huge number of people made the evening a success, thank you so much.

So as promised, my report on 2014. Thanks to all those that have helped me in so many ways as Sailing Secretary this year. Sorry I won’t be there for the AGM, I have my dads funeral on the Monday so will be in Northumberland.

This year has been characterized by smooth running of the sailing programme (thanks to my committee for all they have done to make this happen), some major events taking part including Bart’s Bash – a world record event and working on a restructuring of the Sailing Programme for 2015 to bring together Sunday Racing and Jybaz for part of the season.

RLSC Base camp

RLSC Base camp at Southport

Racing has run smoothly and further improvements to the results system has removed the need for paper and coming down to the club to collect results – thanks to Ian Smethurst for his ongoing support and development of the race software. Eric and Beth Haselden have been sorting the online results all season – thanks to them. We need a volunteer to do that next year – it is fairly easy to do and you don’t need to come down to the club to process the results, you just need a PC at home.

2014-11-22 22.05.57-1

I have focused on allocating clear ownership of specific events and left the owners to manage them. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the members of the sailing committee for delivering a major series of events including open meetings, Southport 24 and 12 hour events, the racing programme and much more. In particular Paul Gimson has been a great support;  particularly in the latter part of the season arranging the trophies for the annual dinner – a thankless task that is taken for granted if done with no errors and if not……!

We successfully introduced Go Sailing Sessions on a Saturday after Jybaz for those wanting to make the transition from a course or sailing a long while ago to confident sailors. This has proved really successful with over 15-20 boats going out each time. It has been one of the key reasons that prompted a rethink of the sailing formats for 2015.


Barts Bash

We took part in the Bart’s Bash World Record Event. Many people worked hard to organise this, and the day was also attended by past members. I was pleased to see how well the Sunday and Jybaz sections of the club came together on that day. The buzz at the club augers well for the proposed changes to the sailing format.

Olympic sailor Ali and Erin racing the club Enterprise

Olympic sailor Ali and Erin racing the club Enterprise

Training continues to be run by Larry Muir, he is one of the unsung heroes of the club giving up much time to ensure we have a steady flow of courses running and a supply of new sailors into the club. Jane Andrews is also key to the organisation of the courses and membership.

Alan Evans and the Bosun team have also been fantastic at keeping the rescue boats going, again unsung heroes that quietly do jobs that enable the rest of us to sail. It’s not till you are running things you really appreciate how much goes on to enable us to come down, jump in a boat and sail. Have you asked yourself whether you are making an appropriate contribution of time and skills as well as paying your member ship fee? The alternative is far higher fees and a paid member of staff – which is a route some other clubs follow.

Race HutOn that topic, I’d like to touch on duties. It is an obligation of everyone to do duties and we know this year the system of volunteering did not work well. We will revert next year to allocating duties. Hon Race Officer and Cox are available to those who are qualified/ trained; let us know if you want to do this. Otherwise you will be allocated either Galley or Officer of the Day or General Duty member roles. If you cannot make your date, it is your responsibility to arrange a swap and you can use Dutyman to do this.

pic2Now for sailing formats. Having observed over a number of years various conversations about the decline in Sunday racing and “why don’t the juniors come racing on Sunday”, I have worked with the sailing committee to look at different race formats. The final result attempts to create something different that is a combination of the best bits of Sunday Racing and Jybaz for a series of Sundays in June/July. I hope we have achieved this with the new format for next year. pic3It is an experiment and relies on everyone taking part.  Jybaz are being very flexible and changing their Sailing day for part of the season, and support from experienced sailors in the mornings will be crucial to help coach less experienced sailors. These are our future sailors, committee members and volunteers. Please do not see it as a morning off and then just come down for the race in the afternoon. I’d like to thank my fleet captains and also Chris Smith, Dave Burnham and Geoff Holmes for their work on and support for the proposals.

Lastly, communications. I hope you have found the regular blogs and updates useful, timely and hopefully at times entertaining. Whilst I will carry on doing the blogs, if someone would like to be PR officer and look after publicity/press articles etc., that would be great. Please let me know.