Commodore’s Report on Extraordinary Meeting of General Committee on Sunday 24/3/2020

Following a series of urgent decisions made in relation to the COVID-19 (C-19) response over the last week made by the Commodore in email consultation with GC, we were able to all meet via video conference last Sunday for an extraordinary meeting entirely focused on C-19 issues. While next Thursday’s normal GC meeting will proceed (also by video conference), we believed it was necessary and appropriate to meet before that to assess the situation and confirm or modify our response as needed.

The meeting began with an overview of the medical situation from Dr Jim Lynch, who stressed the magnitude of the health crisis, the extra risk that our older demographic of members is at and the need for strong action that could be expected to continue for six months. The General Manager then summarised our current actions and the situation with our contractors. Finally, I presented on the actions of the other Port Phillip yacht clubs, noting that RMYS was at the “risk averse” end of the spectrum, along with Sandringham Yacht Club and Royal Geelong. This group is characterised by strong and early action.

The meeting went for four hours, so my meeting summary for members is less discursive than normal in order to get through all the issues and decisions. The key outcomes were:

  • Motion carried to appoint Dr Jim Lynch (Antagonist) as the Squadron’s Honorary Medical Officer (HMO)
  • Appointment of COVID-19 sub-committee (Commodore, HMO, General Manager) to provide advice to GC as to our policies and make day-to-day and emergency decisions about our response, with major decisions to be referred to GC as the final decision maker
  • Commodore to be the single point of communication on COVID-19 for all major announcements; General Manager to continue to make day-to-day and reminder announcements as needed
  • Current hardship policy to be applied as appropriate where members are genuinely in need
  • Communication to members explaining the importance of maintaining their membership for the Squadron’s viability; membership fees to be maintained (see my email to all members this afternoon)
  • Squadron to urgently develop protocol for awareness and support of members in quarantine or infected with C-19
  • All Squadron on-water activities to be cancelled until the end of September, based on advice from government and HMO, with regular reviews
  • AWKR to be cancelled; Squadron to ensure that 2021 regatta is fully supported to get back on track
  • Other small regattas we run to be cancelled
  • No decision to cancel Stonehaven Regatta (January 2021); to be kept under regular review as situation evolves
  • Yard and marina to remain open to members unless and until government regulation prevents this
  • Red Book replacement to be pursued as a high priority
  • Options for web-based virtual events (talks, webinars, etc) to be explored (ideas to be sought from GC members and general members; Member Services Committee to coordinate this).
  • Potential for Virtual Sailing to be explored
  • Close main spine of marina to public to further minimise potential for members to be at risk
  • All committees to meet by video conference
  • Opportunities for Federal, state and local government support to be explored and applied for where available
  • Seek reductions in costs wherever possible
  • Consider reducing the annual sailing-safety-fee of $60 to $30 due to cancelled racing (Treasurer to assess and bring to GC this week for determination).
  • Commodore to provide a weekly update on COVID-19 issues in eBreeze
  • Commodore to continue to provide monthly eBreeze report on GC meeting outcomes.


Although we all want to see organised sailing start again as soon as possible, this will clearly not be happening for some time and it is vitally important that we do as much as we can to protect our member’s health and well-being during this time. We also need to protect the Squadron financially and as an organisation. These will be the priorities for GC.


Take care, stay well.


Charles Meredith