Published 12:44 on 27 Jun 2023
Time for an update on the committee's work and aspirations for this club year and beyond.
Like most organisations, we are having to come to terms with increases in operating costs, and not least the unprecedented rise in the cost of electricity. The committee is working on ways of reducing the impact of these increases on the club's finances:
As you are aware, subscriptions have been increased. Bar prices for non-members are being increased to reflect local pub prices - no reason to give non-members a discount. This will create a larger differential between member and non-member prices which may encourage membership.
More social events will be arranged music nights, talks, exhibitions, open days, food offerings and more and ambitious uses of the upper deck (maybe a small river view bar up there) to keep the club filled and buzzing - and to attract new members.
More training courses. More outside bookings to make good use of our superb galley.
More advertising in the local community as to what we can offer.
Bar hours have been reduced, but as we have learnt in the past, rather than closing the bar, opening hours and revenue can be increased by the creation of new events and ambiences. The success of opening the bar on Thursdays for games nights being an example. Setting bar hours is a difficult balancing act, especially as the numbers using the bar cannot be predicted from week to week. The hours will be kept under review.
We have tightened up on what organisations can use our facilities for free.
To make the clubhouse more energy efficient the upper deck heaters have been serviced and there are plans to replace the ground floor heaters with more efficient thermostatically controlled units, and thermostatic control has been added to the cellar cooler. Where appropriate, old lightbulbs will be replaced with LED bulbs. As opportunities arise, wall insulation will be added during the maintenance of the clubhouse front.
The club insurances are being reviewed and consolidated (apparently we still pay for insurance for moorings that were relinquished years ago).
An in-depth analysis of all our income streams and costs is in progress to provide guidance for further actions.
A major project this year will be the maintenance of the clubhouse front, which is looking in need of care. It is essential to literally stop the rot before major and more expensive repairs are necessary.
And more work for the committee:
Re-connecting our clubhouse with the local waters.
Are we more a social club than a sailing club? Times have changed over the 90-odd years since the club raced dinghies and kept them outside on the Quay. Now, unlike other sailing clubs, most of our boats are moored elsewhere, our sailing events take place elsewhere, we don't have a yard and we don't have any club moorings. We describe ourselves as a sailing and social club for people who enjoy activities on the water and have a love for the Blackwater Estuary and the sea, and because times have changed, the clubhouse emphasis is on social - and one that contributes both socially and financially to Maldon life something we should all be proud of.
We've got the social side sorted, now we need to find ways to reconnect our clubhouse with the local waters.
Our traditional, well-supported Cruising programme can be expanded to include more events in local waters. I have asked Tim Davis, our Cruising Captain, to fit more events into the cruising programme that would attract the owners of smaller boats - more trips to Heybridge Basin, Osea and Bradwell for example, because not everyone has the skills, confidence, desire, or boat to want to go further.
We can widen the types of craft that the club embraces. The Row Race demonstrated the popularity of kayaks, paddle boards and rowing dinghies amongst our members. A paddleboard/kayak /dinghy/inflatables group could be set up within the club with their own cruising programme to include, for example, trips up the Chelmer to Beeleigh for a picnic, and further afield on the Chelmer and Blackwater canal, our own short rowing races, and many other fun events. The inclusion of these types of craft into the club would encourage more and younger members into the club.
To encourage the setting up of this new group, negotiations are in progress to store kayaks at the Sail Lofts yard.
This is great opportunity to add a new and fresh additional to the club's sailing activities. If anyone would like to work alongside the Cruising Captain to set up a paddleboard/kayak /dinghy/inflatables group and arrange a cruising programme for them, please let me know.
(Writing this paragraph brings back the memory of my own introduction to the magic of boating, many years ago, being set free on an inflatable one evening on the Stour at Mistley).
I would remind you that the club has a rowing boat for all members and their guests to use. She is suitable for up to 4 persons and is located alongside the Maldon Gig Rowing Club pontoon to the rear of the Queens Head pub. For more information or, to book the rowing boat, call or text Tish Woulds, our Dayboat Captain, on 07931 541957.
Strengthening our connection with the local waters is also being achieved by work to build our relationships with other local sailing clubs and the riverside community.
Review the Club Rules and Standing Orders
The admission of non-members into the club is a concern for some of our members.
The income from our members, their guests and visiting yachtspersons is insufficient for us to operate as a private club. Also, restricting who comes in limits the number of introductions and the inflow of new members that is essential for the long-term future of the club - how are people going to find out what we do and what a welcoming bunch of people we are, if they can't come through the door?
But we are not a pub, open to anyone who walks in, but non-members join in our social events - not just music nights and parties, but also our talks, lunches, and charity events, they bring new people, new members, and fresh life to our club - and we need the revenue they bring.
There is a balance to be struck. Current club rules allow non-members into the club as member's guests signed in with their names and addresses in the guest book. Clearly this is not practicable when club and quayside events pack the clubhouse.
It is acknowledged that the club rules need updating to reflect how the club operates today, and your committee is working on a re-draft which when agreed, will seek approval from the membership.
Finally, the club needs someone to put together a regular newsletter, and someone to help with advertising and publicity to let people in the local area know what the club can offer.
If anyone would like to take on either of these jobs, please let me know.
Keep in touch, and enjoy your summer on and off the water.
Last updated 18:07 on 8 September 2023