As we weather the elements through the month of November, I am delighted to bring you the latest updates on the exciting developments at our Yacht Club. We have been working tirelessly to enhance our facilities, plan extraordinary events for our centenary celebration, and establish a new and meaningful affiliation that will further elevate our club's racing credentials, particularly within dinghy fleets.
Yacht Club Refurbishment
Our club refurbishment project is well underway, and I'm pleased to report significant progress. The renovations include improvements to the clubhouse bar, upgraded ladies toilet facilities, and enhanced electrical wiring (to comply with our electrical safety certification). These enhancements aim to provide our members with a more comfortable and enjoyable experience both on and off the water.
We appreciate your patience and understanding during this period of transformation. Our goal is to create a modern, inviting space that reflects the rich history and spirit of our yacht club.
Centenary Celebration Events
As we approach the momentous occasion of our yacht club's centenary, we are planning a series of memorable events to celebrate this incredible milestone. The festivities will include regattas, a club Centenary race, with a special trophy kindly donated by the Williams family, plus numerous social gatherings and a gala dinner. The Edinburgh Cup will also be a highlight of the year as our only planned championship in 2024, with the Dragon fleet being synonymous with the club and its history.
Stay tuned for detailed announcements and invitations as we unveil the full schedule of events. Your participation and enthusiasm will play a vital role in making our centenary celebration a truly unforgettable experience for everyone.
I am thrilled to share that our yacht club has entered into a new affiliation with Abersoch Sailing Club. This partnership opens up exciting opportunities for collaboration and joint events. The affiliation aligns with our commitment to providing all members with access to diverse sailing experiences and fostering a greater sense of community within Abersoch.
We believe that this affiliation will enrich our members' experiences and contribute to the continued growth and success of our yacht club. More details about the affiliation will be shared in the coming weeks.
Save the Date
• Centenary Pursuit Race: 9th June 2024
• Shoot Out Trophy (Open Team Racing Event): 3/4th August 2024
• W&G Williams SCYC Centenary Fun Race for all classes: 11th August 2024
• SCYC Champion of Champions: 31st August
• Centenary Open Events: throughout the year
• New Year’s Eve Party: 31st December 2023
• New Year’s Day BBQ: 1st January 2024
• Bar closed for refurbishment during the month of January
• Bar Re-opening & 6 Nations: 2nd February 2024
• Tribute Evening Party: 17th February 2024
• Fitting Out Supper: 2nd March 2024
• Easter Egg Hunt: 30th March 2024
• Assorted quiz nights, supper nights & comedy evenings: March/April TBC
These dates reflect the plans for the 1st four months of next year, more detailed information with regards to each event will be communicated shortly. There are many more events scheduled throughout the year, which will be communicated nearer the time.
We look forward to your active participation and support as we embark on this remarkable journey of celebration, growth, and affiliation.
Thank you for being an integral part of SCYC. Here's to a fantastic centenary year.
See you in the New Year,
It is with immense pleasure that I introduce myself as the newly appointed Commodore of this esteemed yacht club.
With over 55 years of uninterrupted membership of SCYC, my connection to this club runs as deep as the ocean itself. It was here, at the tender age of eight, that I first set sail and discovered the enchanting world of boat racing with Dave Best in his Cadet, up against the formidable Peters and Allso families. Those early days were marked by the thrill of the wind in my hair and the salt on my lips, (together with the verbal abuse received from a competitive helm) igniting a lifelong passion for Abersoch and the sea.
In my odyssey through the maritime world, I have cast anchor in numerous clubs across the globe. From the pacific waters of the San Francisco Bay to the rugged coastlines of Dublin, I have been fortunate enough to share my love for sailing with kindred spirits from all walks of life. Each port of call brought with it new challenges, fresh horizons, and an opportunity to learn from the diversity of seafaring characters and traditions.
It is with great pride and excitement that I step into the role of Commodore at South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club. In the coming two years, I envisage a yacht club that not only stands as a bastion of maritime excellence but also embraces innovation and inclusivity. We will build on the foundations laid by those who came before us, while also setting sail towards new horizons.
As we approach our centenary year, I am filled with a sense of duty and determination to ensure the next two years are marked with celebration, progress, and of course a party.
The upcoming centenary is a momentous occasion for us all. A hundred years of rich maritime heritage, camaraderie, and unforgettable moments on the water deserves nothing short of an extraordinary celebration. I am committed to orchestrating a series of events and regattas that will not only honour our past but also set a resounding tone for the next century.
One of my foremost ambitions is to foster a spirit of inclusivity both within the club and the wider community. Our club has always been a sanctuary for seasoned sailors and novices alike, and I aim to amplify this sense of belonging. Through sailing opportunities, and social events that cater to all skill levels, we will forge a stronger, more tightly knit community of seafaring enthusiasts.
In tandem with inclusivity, I am dedicated to bolstering our family sailing programs. Our families are the lifeblood of our club's future, and it is imperative that we provide them with the tools, guidance, and experiences that will shape them into the next generation of accomplished sailors and responsible stewards of our beloved waters.
Furthermore, I am committed to modernizing our facilities and services. This includes improvements in our clubhouse and racing facilities. A club that embraces the latest in technology and amenities will be better poised to serve its members and inspire the next generation of sailors.
Lastly, in the true spirit of exploration, I aspire to expand our horizons beyond our familiar shores. Collaborations with neighbouring clubs and the organisation of inter-club regattas will not only invigorate our members' competitive spirits but also strengthen our bonds with the wider sailing community.
As we embark on this exciting journey, I invite each and every one of you to join us at SCYC and share your ideas, dreams, and aspirations for our club's future. Your voices will be the wind in our sails, propelling us towards a new era of excellence.
Here's to a century of unforgettable memories, cherished friendships, and endless adventures on the open sea.
“Fair winds and following seas, my fellow sailors!”
Smooth and happy sailing,
First, can I wish you all a very Happy New Year and send best wishes for the coming year on behalf of your Council and the Club’s staff. All the signs are that 2022 will be a year in which the worst of the disruptions of the past couple of years are firmly in the rear-view mirror and we can all look forward to an enjoyable and full season both on and off the water.
We had another fantastic season on the membership front, welcoming a record number of new members and ending last season with a membership of just over 1200 individuals, which is the highest it’s been in years. What is particularly encouraging, though, is the number of younger members and young families joining, being as they are the future of the Club. It was impossible not to notice the great atmosphere in the Club during the season with members of all ages enjoying the welcoming, relaxed and safe environment unique to a true members’ club in thespectacular setting that we enjoy. We made particular efforts to control access to the Club’s facilities and I am very keen to ensure the continued protection of members’ rights. SCYC is a members’ club, the benefits of which should be enjoyed only by those entitled to the privileges that come with membership.
2. On the water 2021
It was a cracking season on the water despite covid restrictions limiting our ability to host open events. A full Club programme of racing for all fleets was rounded off with a record entry list of over forty boats in Keelboat Week and SCYC boats taking all
prizes in all classes. Arguably, the Class 2 Captain’s decision to restrict entries to SCYC boats may have been a contributory factor in this triumphant clean sweep but a great performance none the less!
Dinghy Week was, sadly, a casualty of the restrictions on open events as we were unable to secure permission for the anticipated number of competitors to use the slipway to access the beach.
However, we did host two hugely successful events. Great efforts from the teams behind them saw over twenty boats on the water in Mirror Week, and the season at the Club ended on a high with over forty boats contesting the Squib Nationals in September and our own Mike Budd, with crewMark Platt, taking the crown. More success followed just days later when Malcolm Blackburn and Steve Allso took the Squib Inlands title at Rutland.
A new dinghy coaching initiative spearheaded by Chris Hoppins and Andy Wilkins providing supervised dinghy sailing sessions to youngsters proved immensely popular with the younger families who took advantage. It’s early days but we’ll build upon the initiative this season. It’s a great member benefit offering a supervised activity to parents of young children, and will help get the “new blood”, and next generation of Club sailors, onto the water.
3. On the water 2022
A full waterside programme is in the diary for the coming season. We are confident that the Club’s racing programme will not be affected by any lingering restrictions, but mindful of the possibility that larger open events may yet be impacted. As far as the dinghy racing events are concerned, our particular issue is the need to secure permission from the local council for competitors to use the slipway to access the sea.
We were extremely keen to host the Laser Nationals this season, but took the very difficult decision last year to recommend that it would be in their interests to seek an alternative venue. It’s fair to say that the recommendation was not welcomed but, as things stand, the local council’s permission is still needed to use the slipway and, in view of the large number of likely entrants and continuing uncertainty, we can’t with any confidence provide reassurance that permission will be granted, without which it would be impossible to host the event. I think that developments over the past fewweeks on the covid front, particularly in Wales, bear out our concerns.
We are, though, planning for Dinghy Week to return to its traditional slot at the end of July, and to host Mirror Week during the week before Keelboat Week in August. As these events are in our control, we are confident that we will be able tailor them to fit in with any restrictions that may be in place. We are also looking forward to welcoming the Solos for their nationals in July and the Darts for theirs in August, confident that the numbers involved will be manageable in the face of any restrictions. So, a busy and exciting season across dinghy and keelboat fleets to lookforward to.
4. Off the water
Any restrictions in force at the time will obviously have a bearing on what we are able to do on the organised social front but we are aiming to offer a full and varied social programme, catering for all. Some key dates for the diary over the coming few months are:
5th February to 19th March – Six Nations rugby
12th February – ABBAsoch Party Night
12th March – Fitting-out Supper
16th April – Easter Supper
4th June – Jubilee Supper
As I say, we are keen to ensure that all ages and interests are catered for, and always welcome any suggestions and offers of help.
5. Council Newbies
Fortunately, we still have members with the commitment, broad shoulders and rhinoceros skin needed to step into the shoes of those who have effected their escapes. Since my last update Louise Baldwin and Steve Harral have stepped down
from their respective portfolios of Club Secretary and Member Relations, and Anna Fern from her off-Council role handling marketing and communications. A huge thanks to Louise, Steve and Anna for their contributions over the last few years. I’m delighted to welcome three new members to your Council; Adam Collinson as Club Secretary, Selina Collinson, picking up the Communications and Marketing brief, and Rachel Dixon who will handle Member Relations. At less than half the age of most of the rest of the Council Rachel will bring a refreshingly youthful voice, articulating the views of the younger membership contingent! In accordance with the Articles, having been elected by the Council to fill a vacancy, all three will offer themselves for re- election at the next SGM.
It is perhaps worth mentioning, whilst on the subject, that Council membership is not some sort of arcane closed-shop. To ensure the continued smooth functioning of the Club your Council has to act from time to time to fill positions that become vacant, but
it is open to any member with views on the running of the Club to offer themselves for membership of the Council. It can actually be both rewarding and enjoyable – most of the time anyway!
6. ClubV1 Members App
The widespread adoption of the ClubV1 Members App by members has been extremely pleasing. If you’re not yet using it, can I encourage you to give it a go? Being a “Boomer” myself, with a hazy recollection of struggling with a slide-rule in maths O level, I can understand that some of a certain generation are not totally comfortable with some modern technology, but it really is very simple to download onto your smartphone and use. Amongst other things, the app allows you to keep abreast of what’s going on at the Club with information on events and bar opening times, and to manage your bar card, helping you to get full value from your
membership. The guidance on installing the app is included with this email, and Stacey will be happy to help if you give her a call.
Many thanks to everyone who has paid this year’s subscription, in particular those who responded to my request to move to payment by direct debit. It is, as I said in my October missive, a big help to the Club. As a quick refresher of the answers to queries that you may have about payment by direct debit:
The 9% discount for paying subscriptions before the beginning of March will be applied in full to direct debits set up before that date. It is normal practice to levy a charge for payment by monthly direct debit, but we will apply no such charge. The monthly direct debit will simply be the annualsubscription applicable divided by the remaining months in the financial year. Direct debit instructions received by the 5th of the month will be processed, and payments started, that month.
By way of a gentle reminder, subscriptions for the financial year 1st October 2021 to 30th September 2022 were due for payment on 1st January. I know that the timing is hardly ideal, coming hot on the heels of Christmas, but the direct debit option will help to spread the pain. Stacey will be in the office on Mondays and Fridays until about mid-afternoon and happy to assist with any queries.
Something that has been on the “to do” list for years is a review of our subscription categories. In comparison with other members’ clubs we have an abundance of categories, some of which, arguably, do not reflect the way times and demographics have changed since they were introduced. It’s a tricky one because any change means, inevitably, that there will be winners and losers but, if time allows, it is something that I think would be worth considering by the members.
8. Articles of Association
The Club’s Articles – effectively the contract between the Club as a corporate legal entity and the members – are well and truly out of date, having been drafted in accordance with the Companies Act 1985 which was superseded by the Companies Act 2006. Whilst this may seem an irrelevant detail it did, in fact, cause us practical difficulties over the past couple of years because, amongst other things, they do not allow for anything other than fully quorate general meetings in person or for written resolutions. Happily, in Adam, we have the services on your Council of a recently- retired Eversheds partner and he has produced an up to date CA 06 compliant set of Articles. These will be put before the next AGM for adoption.
Hopefully, this gives a taster of what there is to look forward to at the Club this coming season. As your Council, our objective is simply to do our best to ensure that the Club provides the service that you, the members, want. We always welcome feedback on what we’re getting right, as well as what we’re getting wrong, and any suggestions you have on improving the offering from the Club.
The weeks will fly by until the season proper kicks off at Easter and I look forward to seeing you back at the Club in the year ahead.
With best wishes
Hallelujah - it’s only a few short weeks until your Club reopens!
I hope that you are all emerging in good shape from what has seemed a long winter and looking forward to a great summer. In anticipation of seeing you back at the Club very soon, here’s a taster of what you can look forward to over the coming weeks and months.
1. Key dates and restrictions The key dates and restrictions dictating our reopening plans are: • 12 th April - non-Welsh residents allowed to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation. • 26 th April - organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people permitted
- outdoor hospitality opens
• 17 th May - formal move from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3. Opening of iindoor hospitality will be considered after 17 th May with the intention of opening before Whit Bank Holiday weekend. • Meeting outdoors – currently limited to six people from a maximum of two households. • Distancing – 2 metre rule applies
2. Reopening timetable Bar It’s been a long wait but hang on in there! Four barrels of Tim Taylor will soon be on passage from Yorkshire before settling in the cellar in time for the launch of outdoor service on Monday 26 th April from 4pm to 7pm. The same hours will apply until Thursday, when the early May Bank Holiday weekend will herald the return to normal opening hours. As if there were need for any more reasons to head for the Club, the oenophiles out there will appreciate the new Verre du Vin wine preservation system, courtesy of our drinks supplier, Tanners. It preserves opened bottles of wines and champagnes allowing a wider range of more interesting wines to be served by the glass.
Launch Mike and Conan have been preparing the launches since coming off furlough after Easter and the launch service will resume on Saturday 24 th April to enable members to bring their boats over in time for the Bank Holiday weekend. Weather permitting, Mike hopes to have one of the launches in during the week commencing 12 th April. At the time of writing, only two boats are on the moorings but a service will be available once a launch is in and should be arranged by contacting Mike directly.
Dave and Owen are preparing to launch the Cove’s takeaway service this weekend – Friday 16 th April. See below for more details of Cove operations.
3. Covid Protocol – Club facilities Outdoor socialising is restricted to groups of six people from a maximum of two households. Once indoor hospitality is permitted, the existing Alert level three rules dictate that socialising indoors will be restricted to groups of four from a maximum of two households. Children under 11 are excluded from these restrictions. Those of us who struggle to list six friends will be unaffected, but it does mean that we will be subject to similar capacity constraints as last season. The arrangements agreed with the Cove to cater for non-members are explained below but, other than that, until there is any significant relaxation of the restrictions on socialising and distancing, we will continue with a members-only policy on the premises and in the launches to ensure that the limited capacity is reserved for members. We cannot risk members being excluded because the limited space is taken by non-members – members must take priority.
4. Sailing programme We now have a date – 26 th April – for organised outdoor activities, which will allow racing to take place. The Sailing Committee will be meeting in the coming days to discuss the sailing programme and fleet captains will keep their fleets updated.
5. Events Readers of the yachting press will have read reports anticipating bumper UK race fleets this summer. The press can be forgiven for its optimism in its Anglo-centric bias, and it may well be the case in England if all restrictions are lifted in June, but in Wales the situation is very different. The Alert levels under which we are likely to be living for much of the summer restrict organised outdoor activities to 30 people.
Dinghy Week-Lite – 24 th July As advised in previous Updates, we had intended to open the proposed slimmed-down Dinghy Week-Lite to entries at the end of March, dividing racing into flights of 30 people on the “field of play” at any one time. Indeed, Selina and Tony were on top of their brief and ready to do so, believing that Gwynedd Council’s support for the event had been secured. On 26 th March, Gwynedd advised the organisers of proposed events needing to use Council controlled land that it had agreed a policy of referring decisions on whether events can take place to local members and communities. We can think of no practical alternative to using the slipway and beach, which are controlled by the Council, to access the sea! RYA Wales is assisting and supporting us in discussions with the relevant Gwynedd personnel and community representatives in our efforts to secure Gwynedd’s agreement but the process is likely to take weeks rather than days. The concerns that have been expressed relate to the risks arising from crowding on the beach and congestion on the slipway.
We are very grateful to Gerwyn Owen and Rosy Hearn from RYA Wales for their assistance and support.
Squib Nationals – 11 th September The Squib Nationals are scheduled from 11 th to 18 th September, an event that we are extremely keen to host given the Club’s long association with, and enthusiastic support for, the class. As things stand, organised outdoor activities are limited to 30 people - i.e. 15 boats - and the restrictions on socialising would prevent an organised social programme. This presents obvious challenges but we live in hope that restrictions in Wales will be eased in time for September.
6. The Cove Restaurant Its popularity is testament to the tremendous reputation that the Cove Restaurant has built up over the past couple of years. A successful restaurant operation is key to the financial wellbeing of the Club, but the membership alone is not a large enough customer base to support a viable long-term stand-alone business over what is a relatively short season. We either subsidise a private members’ restaurant from (increased) subscriptions, or offer dining to non-members. Our mutual interests depend upon catering for non-members, but we both understand that members should enjoy special privileges as an important benefit of Club membership. We have discussed how we can strike an acceptable balance between offering dining to the public and preserving members’ exclusivity and have agreed what we think is a sensible compromise that safeguards members’ interests.
Peak periods We have agreed that the key holiday dates, when demand for tables is at its highest, will be regarded as “Peak” periods, these being:
• All Bank Holiday weekends • Start of Dinghy Week until August Bank Holiday Monday
During these periods: • The premises will be closed to non-members until 18:00hrs • 50% of Cove capacity for evening dining will be reserved for members and guests until 48 hours before service starts. It is important to stress that this does not mean that members are restricted to 50%, rather that 50% will be reserved exclusively for members.
Pizza-led bar service We have invested in a pizza oven with the intention of offering an early- evening pizza-led bar service option to members and hope that this will be particularly popular with those coming off the water and younger families with children to feed. We also hope that it will prove to be a popular alternative option to members when they may have made a late decision to eat but the Cove is fully booked.
Takeaways Last summer’s takeaway offering was a big hit and will be continued, the menu augmented with pizzas from the new oven.
The takeaway service will be commencing imminently, but the roll-out of other elements of the above will be dictated by the easing of Covid restrictions. We will, inevitably, be adapting operations in accordance with the restrictions until things return to normal. Dave and Owen will provide updates over the coming weeks.
7. AGM – 27 th May None of us expected the Covid disruption to last for so long and as I have explained in previous Updates we deferred general meetings in the expectation that gatherings would be permitted indoors allowing us to hold a normal meeting in the clubhouse. There is, however, no indication of when larger gatherings will be permitted in Wales, and there is business that we should to attend to, so we are planning to hold an online AGM on 27 th May. The Notice and other material will be sent to you in due course but, before the AGM, to help us with our planning, we will ask for an indication of how many of you can face yet another Zoom meeting so that we have some idea of numbers expected. We won’t be in the bar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make sure you have a large glass of something strong on hand to help you make it through!
8. Subscriptions A big thanks to the great majority - your support for the Club over a difficult year has been fantastic and ensured that it has remained in good shape financially. To avoid any potentially embarrassing conversations, can I just issue a gentle nudge to the small number who have not yet paid with a reminder that membership is suspended automatically if subscriptions are unpaid at the end of April, and terminates automatically 14 days after that. As ever, I’m very happy to clarify, or provide further explanation of any of the above - or, indeed any Club matter. Feel free to contact me through the office. We’re all hugely excited about re-opening and looking forward to welcoming you back to your Club. Roll on 26 th April, it’s going to be a cracking summer!
Yours Nick COMMODORE
Dear Members Festive greetings to you all. I don’t think many of us will be sad to see the back of 2020. As we endure yet another lockdown here in the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Cymru, March seems a distant memory when we were assured that the tide would be turned in just twelve weeks. However, the vaccines mean that we can at least now look forward to next year with real optimism and a genuine expectation that the summer months will see us on the path back to normal life. With hope on the horizon, and the days now getting longer, I am sure that you will be keen to know how the Club has fared over the last year and what you can look forward to at the Club in the coming season.
Financial position – where are we now?
The accounts will be available as soon as they are finalised but it will come as no surprise to learn that income was impacted significantly by last year’s enforced closure and restrictions on operations. Income fell by almost £200k mainly due to the loss of bar sales and event income. However, I am pleased to report that through rigorous control over the P & L we have largely maintained our cash balances and are confident that we have the reserves to weather what are likely to be a barren few months until the spring. We continue, as we must, with measures to protect cash reserves until we are able to resume operations and have, effectively, placed the Club into a state of hibernation. Other than the office opening for two half-days a week, all staff are now furloughed and will remain so for the time being.
The messaging – backed up by actions such as extending the furlough scheme until the end of April – is that we will be living with severe restrictions until spring but can look forward to an easing over the course of the summer. We will therefore aim to provide members with as normal a season as we are able to, both on and off the water. Our expectation is that whilst distancing and other measures will ease through the summer, they will continue beyond Easter, so the likelihood is that last season’s members-only policy will remain in place, and extend into the summer months.
On the waterside, whilst we operated no formal race-programme last season, most fleets spent time on the water and our experience was that the smaller waterside team coped well, albeit with periodic support during pinch-points from members. Our waterside team is now furloughed to preserve cash, and we have no idea when the Welsh government will allow larger gatherings and events. Our plans, therefore, are to ensure that we have sufficient waterside resource ready to operate a Club race programme for members this season, but to restrict commitments to non-member events and championships; commitments that will involve the expense of scaling-up in readiness to host events but which may well be wasted if we are unable to hold those events. Specifically:
We aim to operate a normal full race programme for the Club fleets, which we are confident of being able to manage with a limited waterside team and in compliance with existing restrictions. This will include Keelboat Week which will, again, probably be members-only.
You will have received a note that was sent out last week on Dinghy Week. We are planning to host a “Dinghy Week-Lite” week of beach-based racing but with no clubhouse social programme. A copy of the note is included with this email.
We will monitor the situation and make a decision on Mirror Week early next year.
We plan to host the Squib National Championships during the second week of September. The original plan had been to stage the Nationals in June but we think the chances of being able to offer the full waterside and social experience expected will be increased by deferring the proposed date to September. We are particularly keen to host the Squib Nationals because it’s highly likely that one of the SCYC fleet will win! Other than the Squibs, we will not be hosting any other championships in 2021.
On the shoreside, the refurbishment of the clubhouse interior, and completion of the exterior steelwork repainting project mean that members have exclusive use of the smartest premises in one of the finest locations in the UK. It is our intention to develop a programme of social attractions throughout the season, aiming to offer something to all membership categories. Plans included a season-opening hog-roast party and Members’ summer BBQ with complimentary Prosecco reception. These plans obviously fell victim to Covid in 2020 and restrictions next year will dictate what we are able to do, but Chris and Esther are primed to get to work as and when circumstances allow. We want to ensure that the Club is the automatic choice for all members when out in Abersoch – a real members club.
The funeral of our great friend Tim Little was held earlier this month. A photograph is attached of his friends from the RC Lasers giving Tim a moving and fitting salute on his final passage through the village.
Annual and Special General Meetings
As has been reported previously, emergency legislation has permitted the deferral of our AGM and given me a perfect excuse to dodge awkward questions. I have always seen the General Meetings as more than a box-ticking exercise and very much an opportunity for members to gather, discuss Club business and enjoy each other’s company whilst boosting bar profits. We had all anticipated being able to hold a meeting before now but, as time moves on with no prospect of being able to hold a large gathering in the near future, I think we may need to consider dealing with the various matters in an online meeting early next year. As someone who sat maths O- Level armed with a slide-rule and log tables, I’d be very happy to hear from any techies out there able to assist.
SCYC Facebook Members Group
Anna has asked me to encourage members to join the SCYC Members Group. It is a great way for members to maintain contact during this period of enforced closure and whilst many of us remain subject to travel restrictions.
Subscriptions for the year from October 2020 to September 2021 are due on 1 st January. I know it’s hardly ideal timing that the latest lockdown should coincide with subscription renewals but we will ensure that the Club provides as full a range of membership benefits this season as is possible. Can I thank the many members who have already paid and urge others to help the Club by paying promptly? The new direct debit scheme is proving extremely popular and Stacey will be happy to help members wishing to set up direct debit arrangements.
Finally, your Council and all the Club’s staff send our very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. We will all miss our usual celebrations over New Year in the company of friends at the Club, but the end is in sight and we look forward to welcoming you all back to the Club in the spring for the start of a cracking 2021 season.
I hope this email finds you in good health and spirits.
The first rays of light are now visible at the end of the tunnel. As of today’s date all travel restrictions in Wales are lifted allowing second-home owners to return to their houses, and caravan parks, self-contained rented accommodation and hotels and B&Bs are expected to open this weekend. Barring any unpleasant surprises from the First Minister later this week, bars and restaurants will be permitted to offer an al fresco service as from next Monday, 13th July, subject to distancing and other Covid-related requirements.
These relaxations mean that we are now taking the first steps towards a resumption of, albeit severely compromised, operations and I thought it would be helpful to pull together the strands of the various communications on the resumption of operations and protocols to summarise where we are up to.
This is unfamiliar territory for all of us. Contradictions and lack of clarity abound in the official rules but we are doing our best to devise procedures and protocols that meet the requirements whilst keeping inconvenience to a minimum for you. None-the-less there are bound to be teething problems and we ask for your patience and understanding as we get to grips with testing conditions.
Access to Club
The conditions under which we must operate mean that the capacity to accommodate people on the Club’s premises is reduced significantly. Clearly, members should have priority and members must not be prevented from using the Club due to the presence of non-members. For the time being, access to the Club’s premises and facilities will therefore be restricted strictly to members only. We seek your cooperation in not bringing guests to the Club.
The gates will be locked at all times so please ensure that you have your card to hand when you visit the Club.
As advised by Steve in his email last week, a restricted launch service resumed today. Full details of the procedure and protocol were detailed in his email.
Barring any unpleasant surprises, the bar will re-open offering an al fresco service next Monday, 13th July. Mike will provide full details later in the week, but the key features will be:
Table-service only Payment by membership card only – no cash. Drinks orders by phone app or calling bar phone. We had planned to develop our own world-beating app but have decided to use an existing and proven version that is already available. Details will follow.
Plans to offer a catering service are, as yet, inchoate. Whilst food service is restricted to al fresco dining, it is simply not viable commercially to open and staff the kitchen and restaurant for the limited amount of custom that is likely. However, Dave and Owen plan to fire up the barbeque as and when weather conditions are conducive, and hope that restrictions will be eased further allowing them to offer indoor evening dining in August.
The continuing ban on large gatherings rules out the hosting of any larger events and distancing rules pose serious challenges to any formal Club racing programme. A particular difficulty is the logistics of ferrying crews to and from moored boats in a timely and covid-compliant fashion. We remain hopeful, however, of being able to organise some form of racing activity in August.
I hope that the above helps to clarify the situation as it stands, and we all look forward to welcoming you back to the Club over the coming days and weeks.
With best wishes
COMMODORE’S UPDATE – MAY 2020
The most important message to convey in this Update is that I hope you are enjoying good health and continue to do so.
Little has changed in terms of existing operations since my March Update, and uncertainty still clouds so much of the future, not helped by the Welsh government’s divergence on policy from Westminster, but I think that we have a reasonably clear idea of a number of things relevant to our summer season.
Without wishing to risk drawing attention to what we’re all missing, we have not been idle and have been making the most of the enforced closure. A small, socially-distanced team under Mike’s management has been busy in the bar in a Herculean effort to shift the ten remaining barrels of beer! Remarkably, they’ve also been doing a tremendous job with paint and varnish brushes giving the bar a much-needed thorough make-over, and giving the whole place a lift. A new state of the art cellar system, SmartDispense, has been installed which guarantees the delivery of consistently high-quality beer and cider, whilst Malcolm has been installing new drainage in the cellar room to enable thorough regular cleaning. Mike will report more fully when it is finished and, whilst it seems likely that it will be August at the earliest before we are able to open, we’ll have a bar that does justice to the view and a far more pleasant place for members to spend time in. As and when we are able to return Simon, our new Bar Manager, will be ready to welcome you to the smartest venue in town with the best views in the UK. How he’ll pour your drink without touching the glass, throw the glass to you from two metres away without spilling anything, and how you’ll drink it through your mask if you manage to catch it are questions for another day!
Sailing and other water-based outdoor leisure activities are now permitted in England but not in Wales. A great deal of uncertainty remains but I think that there is a reasonable degree of certainty over what will not change and which impacts upon our sailing programme:
The existing lockdown in Wales remains in place and will be reviewed at the end of this month. There is no indication when non-essential travel to North Wales will be permitted
Regardless of any relaxation of restrictions on permitted social and business activities, and personal movement, we are in for the long-haul with social-distancing – almost certainly beyond the end of the season
The ban on large gatherings will also remain in place for the foreseeable future
Cafes and restaurants may be permitted to open in July in England, but no indication yet in Wales
Bars may be permitted to open in August in England but no indication yet in Wales
Even if travel restrictions are lifted in the next few months to enable holidaymakers to travel to North Wales, which is uncertain given the messaging (Mark Drakeford on the Today programme on 15th May said that any return of tourism would have to be “with the blessing of the local community”) there are, I think, a number of key factors which inform our decisions.
Practicalities of launches/safety boats/committee boats with social distancing and hygene protocol
It will not be possible to provide a viable operation whilst maintaining social-distancing and hygene protocol – two metre separation, cleaning of surfaces, members of the same household only etc. And, of course, many of the crews would be in the same position themselves.
A continued ban on larger gatherings effectively prevents us from hosting events. Registration, briefings and prize-givings would be impossible and, with the bar closed, the absence of a social programme would rob the event of its meaning. Notwithstanding the existing ban, implementing and ensuring a Covid-compliant environment whilst hosting a large event in our Clubhouse is all but impossible given the physical constraints and our resources.
We would need the full fleet of launches, safety boats and team of seasonal staff to host events. It is expensive, and the financial viability is entirely dependent upon the revenue generated by the social programme and bar sales. In the absence of this income we would have to fund the events out of our cash reserves which we must preserve. If we are able to provide any waterside operation this season, any cash spent should be to facilitate members’ sailing and not on events for non-members.
All of the above factors lead us to the following decisions:
Dinghy Week and Mirror Week
Regrettably, we have little option other than to cancel both of these events this year. It is a great shame, particularly given the amount of work that Selina and Jon have put into Dinghy Week and Pete into Mirror Week. It will also be a big disappointment to regular visitors, but we will do what we can to encourage them to book early for 2021.
Keelboat Week and Club Racing Programme
Entrants in the Club’s racing programme are obviously all members and Keelboat Week entrants are, in the main, also members. We will remain committed until it is absolutely not possible, to providing something for members this season. Any resources used to provide racing will be for the benefit of members. I’m sure that you all recognise that the chances are slim but, if we can, we will.
Whilst the likelihood of a comprehensive racing programme this season is slim, sailing is now permitted in England so, if Wales follows the lead, we may be able to get back on the water soon. Whether those of us on the wrong side of the border will be able to get there is another matter! Our challenge will be to operate a launch service in a Covid-compliant manner but we are on standby with launches and moorings ready and, if we are able to agree a protocol that will allow us to provide a restricted service, and there is a demand, we will do so.
This is a rather lengthy explanation of the position but the waterside operations are so fundamental to Club membership that I wanted to explain in full to you why we arrive at the position we do – and I’ve never been one to use one word where ten will do!
I referred above to the challenges that we are facing when considering how to operate in a Covid-compliant manner – challenges that I am sure many members will be grappling with in their own working environments. RYA has issued guidance recently which illustrates those challenges. Here is the link if you are interested in reading it which I think helps further in understanding the background to the decisions that we are taking. https://www.rya.org.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/clubs/Club_Guidance_Covid19_v1%200%20(3).pdf?utm_campaign=%7b~messageName~%7d&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_content=%7b~mailVariationId~%7d&utm_medium=email
Just by way of update Stacey continues to man the office and deal with the day-to-day administrative tasks that continue unabated. Simon, as reported above, is busy working on the bar, and our waterside team of Mike and Conan has been furloughed. It goes without saying that we will not be employing any seasonal staff this year.
I referred in my March Update to the number of subscriptions that remained unpaid, and urged those who had not paid to do so.
Can I first thank you for paying your subscription and supporting the Club through what will be a challenging period. The level of support is a great testament to members’ commitment to the Club and points towards a bright future once we emerge into some sort of normality.
Inevitably, and unfortunately, a number of members did not respond and their memberships have now lapsed. I think it is important to know that we made every effort to explain the position, emphasise the Club’s willingness to be flexible and to offer a helping hand to anyone in difficulties, so am attaching a copy of the letter that was sent at the end of April to those who had not paid. No response has been received from those members whose memberships have lapsed.
Annual General Meeting
As you will be aware the AGM, which had been scheduled for 12th April was postponed and we are now going through the rather bizarre process, dictated by our Articles, of postponing weekly in the absence of a quorum of twenty-five. As a private company we are not bound by law to hold an AGM but rather by the terms of our Articles. We could stage a virtual AGM with the required quorum of twenty-five as a box-ticking exercise but it seems to me that the principal purpose of our AGM is to provide an opportunity for members to gather together, hear what the Council has to say and ask any questions that they have concerning the Club.
We have already supplied the Accounts, which is the one thing required by law, so I think that common-sense says that we simply agree to postpone it indefinitely until such a time as we are again able to gather members together. This will place us in technical breach of our Articles but these are unprecedented times and, unless anyone objects, that is what I propose to do.
Alternatively, we carry on with the charade of weekly postponements until holding a virtual AGM before 21st July, being fifteen months since the AGM in April 2019.
I mentioned in my March Update the difficulties that we were having with the website and which explained the generally unsatisfactory state of the site. We have been working on it and are very close to releasing a new site which should resolve the problems with the existing one.
So, whilst we would obviously prefer not to be closed, we are, at least, making the most of the opportunity that it presents to tackle jobs that need doing around the Club.
Before signing off, can I emphasise what I have said above - that we will do whatever we can to provide some sort of service this season if we are able to. We’ll keep you updated as and when Government guidance provides further clarity.
With best wishes, and continuing hope that we will see you at the Club this season.