The Royal Southern Yacht Club recently hosted senior representatives from 20 international yacht clubs together with a number of UK ‘guest’ clubs for the seventh International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) Forum, lending a fitting international dimension to the Royal Southern’s 175th anniversary year.
The ICOYC itinerary commenced with a two-week cruise in company along the South Coast, followed by a dinner at the House of Lords for delegates and their partners, hosted by Royal Southern member the Rt. Hon. Lord Wakeham. All the delegates then gathered at the Royal Southern’s riverside Clubhouse in Hamble to attend the three-day Forum while a full partners programme got under way.
After a warm welcome from the Royal Southern’s Commodore Mark Inkster, the participants enjoyed an opening address from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, during which he bemoaned the general lack of mainstream media coverage of sailing and spoke of the need to promote ‘boating’ to a wider and less demographically biased audience.
A tightly run schedule of moderated sessions covered wide-ranging and challenging topics interspersed with presentations from guest speakers Jack Edwards, Chairman of Trustees for the Mansura Trophy competition for development of hybrid powered vessels Mike Pope, CEO of Forum sponsors GJW Direct, David Fuller, CEO of Pilote Media, David Tydeman, CEO of Oyster Yachts and Jerome Pels, Secretary General of ISAF. Session-related case studies were also presented by individual yacht club representatives after which, delegates were invited to put their questions to the panel of speakers.
Remarkable similarities between challenges and problems are shared by the majority of clubs
This successful format leads to full and frank discussions and shared debate on the various issues faced by yacht clubs around the world, discussions that are encouraged between the members of the ICOYC at these Forums, hence the attendance is restricted to senior yacht club representatives e.g. Commodores, Past Commodores, senior Flag Officers, Communications managers and Club Secretaries.
The Forum’s 2012 agenda included presentations focusing on membership development and using club assets and activities to bring new participants into the sport, the inexorable rise of hybrid technology in the marine world and the ways to run accountable ‘green’ regattas and events.
It was agreed during a session on effective communications that new platforms such as social media were not replacing existing mediums, but rather supplementing them. An interesting and revealing presentation and discussion took place on the importance of strategic planning, the vision and the mission.
Continuous demand to increase fleet numbers
The ICOYC Club survey on regattas and their management revealed that most clubs ran multi-class regattas but it was also evident how important evening racing is to some clubs. It seems that while Team and Match racing were run by relatively few clubs, it was very important to those that did.
Three clubs who presented reported experiencing continuous demand to increase fleet numbers and noted the benefits of standardising fleets in neighbouring geographical areas. All agreed that controlled maintenance was a key factor.
The closing session focused on the role of operating management and how clubs manage member expectations, promote usage of facilities, gain cost efficiencies and examining the practicalities, differences and financial implications of in-house versus bought-in catering.
On the final evening, delegates were joined by Royal Southern members and friends for dinner aboard HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The assembled gathering was beaten to dinner by the Corps of Drums of the Royal Marines. The after dinner speaker was Bob Fisher, yachtsman, raconteur and yachting journalist who unbundled the history, politics, peccadilloes and disasters surrounding the America’s Cup.
John McNeill, past Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club, was announced as the new President of the ICOYC, taking over from John Stork of the Royal Thames. Summing up at the Forum close, the outgoing ICOYC President, John Stork, thanked all the moderators, panelists and guest speakers for their input and the Forum was declared the most valuable, biggest and best in the history of the organisation, due in large part to the organisation and delivery by the Royal Southern as host club.
The next Forum host club is the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Member clubs attending ICOYC 2012:
Annapolis Yacht Club
Brussels Royal Yacht Club
Eastern Yacht Club
Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
Royal Danish Yacht Club
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Royal Norwegian Yacht Club
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Royal Perth Yacht Club
Royal Thames Yacht Club
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club
San Francisco Yacht Club
Sandringham Yacht Club
Seattle Yacht Club
Société Nautique de Marseille
St. Francis Yacht Club
Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee
Yacht Club Italiano
Guest clubs attending ICOYC 2012:
Island Sailing Club
Royal Air Force Yacht Club
Royal Corinthian Yacht Club
Royal Ocean Racing Club
Royal Malta Yacht Club
Royal Motor Yacht Club
Royal Yachting Association
Royal Yacht Squadron
Further information about the ICOYC can be found here: www.ICOYC.org
For news and further information about the Royal Southern Yacht Club, visit:
Peta Stuart-Hunt | PR Works
T: +44 (0) 1590 679621
M: +44 (0) 7711 477707