Commodore's Message COVID-19

Published Sun 29 Mar 2020

COVID-19 – The Way Forward

By Dave Giddings - Commodore

Dear Members,

By now, I am sure you will have received many COVID-19 emails from organisations you interact with, I know I have been in overload.  I decided to let the dust settle a bit before bringing you up to date and I will not labour the point on the seriousness of the current virus situation.  I want to let you know what RANSA is doing to make sure we are prepared to resume operations for you once we come out of hibernation.

We held our monthly Squadron Committee meeting this week.  It was RANSA’s very first fully virtual video conference meeting and it proved very successful.  We discussed at length RANSA’s current financial and operating position, taking into consideration government and Australian Sailing advice, as well as direct feedback from other Sydney sailing clubs such as the CYCA.

Firstly, as you are aware there will be no winter series sailing (RANSA Wednesdays or Combined Clubs Saturdays) from RANSA or any Sydney sailing club.  Unfortunately neither the harbour nor the clubhouse will be the same this winter.  Sadly we have had to cancel all member functions, as well. I feel for all members who had selected our “Tin Shed” for your special occasion and denying you the opportunity of sharing RANSA with your family and friends. If you decide to defer your special occasion to post COVID-19, let Nick know and you will have priority of dates available.

Secondly, while this is extremely disappointing for those usually participating in winter sailing, it is a relatively quiet time for RANSA.  If you have taken an interest in the RANSA AGM’s and annual reports you will know the Squadron Committee and the Honorary Treasurer take a very conservative approach to our financial management.  We can assure you that RANSA is in a sound financial position to weather this hopefully short term storm with your continued membership support.  When the storm passes, and it will, we are looking at RANSA being stronger on the other side.

On a positive note Woollahra Council have informed us that they are waiving RANSA’s rent for the next few months. This will significantly offset the loss in winter operating revenue. We are reviewing all major operating costs in order to determine where these can be lowered consistent with our reduced levels of activity.

We understand that some of our members may well be experiencing significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 impact.  Therefore, RANSA will be not be issuing membership renewals on 1st July. Fees are being deferred till 1st October for a pro rata membership of nine (9) months on the 2019 membership fee i.e. 25% reduction. Any member that is financial/paid up as of 30th June 2020 regardless of membership category will automatically be eligible for the reduced fees.

In the interim the Squadron, Sailing, House Committees as well as the Office are working on a number of “what ifs” at present to achieve two main goals during this period.  Firstly, how we can continue to keep members involved with RANSA, but virtually. This includes delivering our regular winter Tech Talks as a webinar or video conference, providing online RSA training for members as we need our volunteers geared to do Bar Duty, when the storm calms down.  We are looking at delivering YouTube boat maintenance videos, creating a boatie bits buy, swap and sell marketplace among a number of ideas where we can still keep the spirit of RANSA functioning without physically being at the “Tin Shed”.  We welcome all member ideas and/or resources to be able to deliver virtual services to Members over the coming months.  This is your opportunity to provide a valuable service for RANSA membership, please email the Office if you can assist.  In amongst all this, we will still be beavering away with council and Adam & Emma to get all of the café ticks in the box for the full time operation.  Wow - that will be another excuse for a party.

The Office will continue to operate, but wherever possible Nick & Roger will be working from home. If you need anything from the Office, please call. The Office phone will be transferred to RANSA’s mobile phone or just email as they will probably not be at the clubhouse.  The clubhouse remains open to members with a key for access to your dinghy or boat, but we reiterate the government’s messaging about social distancing and absolutely no social gatherings.  If you enter the clubhouse, please ensure the members’ entry door or marina gate is then closed behind you.  There will be no excuses why your “Pride N Joy” will not be ready to take on the fleet or be ready to go cruising once we clear the doldrums.

Finally, we are still planning for a number of events that have been postponed.  Once we have a good indication of the storm calming down, a firm program will be set in place for  Pirates Day and the Annual Prize Giving plus the opening season cocktail party . On the sailing side, if we get the all clear to sail again with enough time before the Twilight Series, we are looking at a short “Sprint Series” as a lead into the Twilights.  We look forward to “getting the ball rolling” or should I say “the sails flying” as soon as we get the green light.

While these are challenging times for everyone,  we look forward to your continued support for RANSA during this listless period.  So that when we come out the doldrums we will be toey to enjoy sailing and socialising on our magnificent harbour and the old “Tin Shed” with the best views in Sydney Harbour.

Fair Winds & Stay Safe,

Dave Giddings