Dear Squadron members
As expected, the COVID-19 virus situation is changing day-to-day. Yesterday, I took the decision to cancel racing despite our original intention to run Wednesday’s race. This was not an easy decision to take – GC wished to see us continue racing if we could, a view with which I strongly agreed at the time. As new information from the health authorities came in and as a range of member’s concerns were raised, mainly through feedback to Sailing Committee, an urgent re-consideration was made yesterday morning. Following discussions with our Club Captain and the General Manager, I made the decision to cancel racing based on:
- the increasing levels of social distancing being recommended by the authorities
- the high level of uncertainty as to the actual risk posed by racing – when uncertain, be conservative – with an unexpectedly large number of boats opting to race
- the bulk of other clubs have cancelled club racing
- concerns about our ability to respond to an emergency given lower staff and volunteer numbers conducting the race
- the differing impacts on boats due simply to the age make up of their crew (high-risk members are generally choosing not to sail) creating an uneven playing field
- consistency with our overall response – how can we stop meetings in the clubhouse (generally of 4-10 people) but condone boat crews of similar size?
GC will meet this weekend or earlier and make a full consideration of the potential for us to continue racing in the future. We will then be in a better position to provide our members with certainty going forward.
On a positive note, it was very heartening so see that 30 plus boats wished to race. That sort of commitment and enthusiasm is a credit to you, our members. We will try our hardest to find ways to provide opportunities for you to continue to enjoy sailing.
We are currently reviewing the likely financial effects on the Squadron from the need to respond to COVID-19. There will definitely be some negative impacts but our initial analysis suggests that that these impacts will be manageable. However, for that to remain the situation, the Squadron needs your continuing support. Your membership fees will be our main source of income over the next few months and we need your commitment and loyalty to the Squadron so that we can emerge from this and return to being an active and growing yacht club quickly and smoothly.
We also know that the broader effects of the COVID-19 virus response may create financial difficulties for some of our members. Please remember that, if you are in genuine hardship, we can support you to remain a member in a variety of ways. If you need to know more, please contact the General Manager.
On a personal note, I have been heartened by the number of members who have expressed to me and other GC members their support for the Squadron and the actions we are taking in this difficult time. It is a difficult time for all of us and your support is very much appreciated.