3 January 2018

I hope you all had a very good Christmas season.

Many were lucky to get tickets for the sold out New Year’s Eve Party which was very much enjoyed by everyone there. Our very own Paul Brown stepped up to the mark as DJ, after the band was unable to come at short notice through illness.

2017 was a successful season on the water ‒ and we retained The Yoke again! After the extensions, refurbishment and calamities of previous years, the Club and property had a quiet season, and indeed quietness reigns in the Wet Bar with the very effective new sound insulation.

The Sailing and House teams have produced another full programme for 2018. We have also started looking at other water sport activities including paddle-boarding and kayaking. Interest is rapidly growing and, as well as catering for existing members already enjoying them, we want to help people who would like to gain experience and to appeal to future members. This follows other clubs in the harbour and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, recent research shows that sailing has become less appealing, particularly to the young who have so much else on offer which is more instantly gratifying. The demographics also mean that there will be fewer youngsters to appeal to in the next few years. I am setting up a steering group to look at how we can address these challenges.

In our favour we have a very attractive and updated club, in an excellent position within walking distance of Emsworth town centre, with a swimming pool and very importantly, excellent training facilities, including the Mill Pond.

The same research shows that cruising is more popular, for the over 50s in particular, and we will promote this more. This year we have been kindly invited to join the Royal Southern Yacht Club events, where I am also a member. We will give details in due course.

We are also looking at restructuring and simplifying the membership categories/fees to be more in line with today’s membership profiles.

Last year we welcomed our new membership secretary, Victoria Lovell. She is currently in the middle of the membership renewal process using our new club management system, SCM. Please remember that Club fees are due by 31 January 2018, after which the £25 surcharge applies. If you haven’t already done so, you need to log into SCM to see your invoice. If you are happy with the invoice, confirm your renewal online (this is NOT automatic on just viewing the invoice) and pay either by direct debit (new this year), cheque or bank transfer. Our oldest member has already renewed online unaided by Direct debit ‒ so can you!

Direct debit by GoCardless on SCM is very simple and, once set up, it is in place for the future as well. The take-up of GoCardless has been well above expectations so far.  If you have any problems logging on to SCM, or with the details of your invoice, please phone or pop in to see Victoria.

The Club was full in 2017 with a healthy waiting list and, with the natural annual turnover, we have already started interviews for new members.

 With fine weather as I write this, I hope it means we can look forward to good sailing in 2018!

I wish you a happy new year and full enjoyment of our Club and the water.

Michael Geary
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