Commodore’s Address to Members
To Mark Gallagher – Mark is one of the most balanced, objective, consistent and morally solid people I have met. He is modest yet immediate in his action and has never shied away from taking hard actions which may ultimately be in the best interests of members or the club as a whole. Thank you, Mark, for your guidance and support.
I would also like to thank Fraser Spencer and Steve Best for their unwavering dedication, time, experience and expertise for the benefit of all Members as they step down from their Committee positions.
In this report, I wish to concentrate more on the overall direction of the Club and our future goals, rather than the quantitative results of the group and individual business units. These are competently detailed by our Honorary Treasurer Mr Steve Best and contained in the annual report. We welcome our new Honorary Treasurer, Andrew Gibbs, to continue the good work.
The General Committee (GC) has agreed to ensure we continue on a path of fiscal responsibility, with no significant cost bearing capital projects over the next two years. Rest assured, the Board is acutely aware of its responsibilities and will always act the best interests of the Club and the members.
We aim to strike a balance between progress, core values, respect and tradition and as our Vice Commodore describes – our plan is to “Bring back The Royal” in RQYS.
Board, Committees, Mentors
There have been numerous key changes made to improve the structure, operation and effectiveness of the Board.
We have included our Honorary Solicitor through a secondment to our Board, enhancing the Board’s understanding and compliance of their duties and responsibilities. All Board Members have attended or are attending the Australian Institute of Company Directors NFP Directors courses.
We have also seconded to the Board at strategic times expert members to help ensure succession planning for potential and specific expertise.
Our Committee members are volunteers – like all other volunteers in our great club – with key responsibilities. It is an often-invisible duty, with very little understanding by many Members of “what they do”. Their responsibilities are to provide up to date and relevant information to the GC via the Chair of the relevant Committee. Members can approach committee members to raise relevant subject material for discussion at the appropriate Committee meeting.
This is the most effective way to have direct access to all levels of the organisation – as it should be. At various times, Flags and GC members will be asked to “change something” – at times this may be valid – but we have a process to follow to ensure that stable and incremental improvement of the Squadron continues. Any urgent or critical change is obviously dealt with on a case by case basis.
PC Gallagher implemented a “call for duty” type announcement to encourage experienced, capable and motivated members to offer their time as committee members. This has been a continuing success – the better the candidates for Committee positions – and the more dedicated they are to the selfless and objective benefit of the entire Squadron – the better we all progress together for our common goal – to have the best possible vehicle to enjoy our common love of boating and waterborne activities.
A strong, focused, intelligent and educated Board with a common goal and planned succession is critical to ensuring the secure longevity of the Squadron and its assets for all members present and future.
Our esteemed Group of PCs is our greatest asset of experience and relevance, due to the continual inclusion every two years of the immediate PC. This group ensures we retain tradition and core values and ensures that we are also able to look forward with the benefit of experience. Our strategic plan is dynamic – we are able to carefully and responsibly adjust in a controlled manner.
Additionally, and I should take care in making note of individuals, we would be at a loss without the unwavering support of members like Dugald Henderson, PC Kirby, and dozens of others who tirelessly give their time, day in and day out, without any self- interest or personal gain.
We have a strong and relevant board with extensive experience in all aspects of the Club’s activities as well as extensive business knowledge, whilst understanding we are custodians of the future of the Squadron. We are committed to strong member benefits and core values of sailing and boating. More than half of the board and all Flag Officers are competing in major sailing events in 2019, including the Inaugural B2HI and 75th Sydney to Hobart. All Flag Officers have a strong commitment to the power and sailing cruising and log events. I personally entrust the safety of the whole crew of our own TP52 race yacht to the integrity of those onboard – it is no coincidence that half of the Board are amongst that crew – it is an indicator of their strength of character and abilities. I would trust them in any situation.
Our Core Activity – Sailing
Industry icon, Ronstan’s Alistair Murray and Australia Sailing Board Member said last weekend that RQYS was, without doubt, one of a few of the world’s great yacht clubs, underpinned by tremendous participation, world class regattas and a membership which overwhelmingly gets out on the water. I can think of no better example of this than to refer you to Page 11 of our Annual Report which graphs the growth we have presided over in recent years, in this instance showing the growth in Youth Squad sailing. This growth in participation is also evident across all facets of our sport.
The initiatives for retention of the youth in our sport of sailing are multiplying, with more involvement in sailing at RQ now than in the hey days of the 70’s and 80’s. Through the Management of Brady, Katie and the whole Sailing and Academy Team, as well as the generous support of money, resources and time from members and Sponsors to drive the Academy, Youth Development program, the John Harrison Olympic Support Foundation, Wyuna Syndicate and more, there are multiple opportunities for our young members to stay and grow with the sport, developing their skills and love for the water.
Financial planning, management and stability, is a core responsibility of the Board. Carefully designed initiatives to enhance the future security of revenue for our Club and Core activity (sailing), is a critical part of our responsibilities. All members can (and must) help to support our Club – for the Members. I make special note of initiatives from high performance youth Tom Needham and Joel Turner to raise money for themselves, additional to the significant funds we, as a Club are generating for support of up and coming sailors right through to ensuring the best opportunities for Olympic selection and success. We have Jake Lilley striving for his second Olympics, Matt Belcher and Will Ryan again a solid Gold or medal hope and now Mara Stransky leaping into selection and medal hope for the future. It is almost impossible to find a rigging space on our lawn or to buy a good secondhand laser dinghy in South East Queensland. We have the largest Etchells fleet in the world, more than a dozen division yachts racing weekly, an instantaneous fleet of more than a dozen VXOnes, a dozen 29ers and Flying Elevens, a dozen Finns, a Sailboarding Academy of world standards, and one of the largest sailing academies and Optimist Fleets in Australia.
Our Management Team and Staff
We have, without exaggeration, one of the most competent and dedicated General Manager and support teams that any Club could wish for. The complexity of RQYS and the entities, with some fourteen cost /revenue streams across seven entities, in addition to our NFP status, more than 4,000 Members and a changing Board, makes Shawn and his team’s task even more “dynamic”.
With so many diverse views, needs and priorities from so many directions, it is even more critical that we all – as Members, understand the constraints and challenges in such a diverse and dynamic Club which we have. For those of us who have seen the Club develop from the 70’s and before, it is clear that there has been a huge change in usage and participation.
In the 70’s, the rigging lawn was used for sailing on Saturdays – we sailed up the river on Sundays, and that was only during the sailing season. In 2019, there is sailing – and coaching, almost every day of the year. Our lawns are full. The facilities are utilised to their potential. The growth of our sport and activities at the Squadron, and the associated complexities have grown enormously. The Management Team handles a complex web of tasks and needs, and we thank them for their continuing dedication.
Core Traditions – “Bring Back the Royal”
You may have noticed – At the main Flagpole, a new highly varnished staff now holds the Club’s Burgee proudly in place. This has special meaning to the restorer of the staff from Rubina in memory of our Rear Commodore’s father, the long-standing Member Bill Warlow.
This is an indication of how we wish our Squadron, its grounds, it’s fixtures and assets to be maintained. We must remember and be proud of our heritage. The lawns and flags, storage areas and public places, amenities and the service to our patrons are all to be a proud indication of how we respect our Club. Please take time to appreciate our history and be proud of our grounds and assets.
I encourage all members to proudly fly our Club’s burgee and to show pride in our Club’s heritage and values, respect your fellow Members and remember we are all a team. Sometimes there will be disagreements, however we should be able to settle these with a simple apology or shaking of hands. The Squadron is our place of recreation and enjoyment.
Decisions are made in the overall best interest of the Club and our Members. At times, groups will be unhappy with the outcome for their special interest, but we must remember that the Board and all Office bearers give their time as volunteers for all members, and not for their own personal gain or favour. Our management team operates under our Constitution, as all members must.
Our smoking policy has been strengthened to reflect a change in our culture and Laws in Australia, as have the laws for conduct in a licensed venue. As Members we must respect these Laws – and abide by them. I don’t desire a punitive approach. For self- regulation to succeed, all members must respect our policies and limitations on our premises, at events and any time we are representing the Squadron.
We expect the highest standard of behaviour from our members.
While simple, we must retain such important traditions as removing one’s hat when entering the Club or bar areas, showing respect for other members and the public on or off the premises – additionally on social media and when at invited events and functions.
We are all ambassadors for our Club.
Capt Barry Cuneo