The past year has seen a good range of club activities. Sailing days have see both the club boats and member’s boats on the water. The committee undertook a project to sound out members on their views for club and club night activities. These were ably compiled by our secretary, Leigh McNolty, and the committee undertook to follow several of these suggestions which gave rise to recent club nights with visiting speakers and also the shanty night. In the calendar there were the annual events that were well supported by the membership.

Among these activities were the weekend away in Paynesville, the Christmas Party in December, The annual summer gathering at Rye and our participation at the Begonia Festival in March. Perhaps the best thing for the year that the committee organised and was well supported by our members was the refurbishment work on the club boats at Greg Blunt’s Boat yard during April and May.  This brought together many of our members to work together in company and learn from each other. We must thank our boat manager, Graham Signorini and also Frank Raisin for the organisation of materials and tools and the advice they gave us as we set about our tasks.

The major initiatives for the year were the aforementioned boat refurbishments, survey of members, library support and the enhancement and upgrade of our website. These were carried out with careful discussion and consideration by your committee. It has served you well during the year and responsibly seen to the association business and activities.  I thank the committee mebers for their loyal support and service to the association throughout the year.

We have maintained our memorandum of understanding with the Albert Park Yacht Club and representatives from WBA were present at the opening of the last sailing season for APYC. We also support the yacht club in its social sailing initiative whereby members have been invited to come sailing socially here at the club on the same day as our sailing days. We hope that this will provide the opportunity for members of both clubs to get to know one another.

During the past year we have noted some trends that give us pause for thought.  As our membership ages we have seen a number of longstanding members resign their membership. We can understand their reasons and we wish them well for the future. Our treasurer has also noted that our running expenses such as insurance, registrations, maintenance etc have been steadily rising and the financial reports indicate that as an association we have been sailing close to the wind for some period of time. It is up to you to seek to interest others in the association and build our membership. With these trends we have also seen active participation at our regular gatherings appearing to dwindle as well. This is where the healthy numbers of members who turned up to help with the boats emphasised the need to turn this trend around.

For the future we have several challenges ahead. The Port Phillip 12 is patiently waiting. We have the offer of a skilled and experienced ‘test pilot’ or perhaps I should have said ‘ helmsman’. The boat needs its rigging and gear finalised. There are a few maintenance matters to be completed for the club boats. In September we are looking for support to hold a display at Greg Blunt’s boatyard during the Tall Ships event. I encourage members to also contribute larger boats to the display that is being held at SeaWorks at the same time.  The website will continue to be enhanced and set up for better use by members so please use it to stay in touch and share experiences, ideas etc.

In bringing this ramble to a close, as well as thanking all members of the committee, I would like to single out those members who step down today. They are our treasurer, Richard Jackson, Shavings Editor Jill Carroll and Librarian, Alan Chinn. Each has done served our association faithfully and with a loyal effort. It is unfortunate that circumstances in the past few months have arisen where it has become increasingly difficult for Jill and myself to continue in our current roles. So I close finally with my thanks to you the members of the association for your support and interest throughout the year. I wish you all happy wooden boating.

Geoff Carroll, President, 2012/13

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