The 2023 Yacht Club Managers Group Forum Convenes in Sydney

Six general managers from ICOYC Member Clubs, including Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Sandringham Yacht Club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Perth Yacht Club recently attended the Yacht Club Managers Forum in Sydney, Australia. The Yacht Club Managers Group (YCMG) Forum was held May 17-19, and attracted 38 yacht club managers from all states of Australia as well as three international clubs.

YCMG was formed in 2011 and has grown to include managers from every state and territory in Australia as well as some of their neighbours from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong. The group’s first forum was in Adelaide in 2012 and they aim to physically meet at a forum biennially, alternating years with the Marina Industry Associations Conference. The last forum, in 2018, was held on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.
Though the group only represents around 10% of Australia’s sailing clubs, it is an opportunity for these major clubs, all facing similar challenges, to meet and discuss opportunities and issues in our industry. Collectively the group represents 106,535 members, 2,667 staff, 7,734 marina berths, 1,848 hard stand spaces and thousands of dinghy sailing boats. Furthermore, the collective statistics on land holdings, boatyard facilities and food and beverage operations are quite staggering.

The 2023 YCMG Forum was hosted at three venues: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and St Georges Sailing Club. Tours of each location were provided, and the forum sessions were divided and held in these clubs.

Session presentations were prepared by various yacht club managers and included topics such as international trends in yacht clubs, benchmarking, hospitality, yacht racing trends, youth development and training, facility development, asset replacement, growing and retaining membership, volunteers and staff, and marina management and maintenance.

There were also several industry professionals from the fields of insurance, cyber security, club management and marina software, including presentations from the forum’s sponsors Northstar Technologies and Marina Focus. Australian Sailing and Marina Industries Association also presented during the busy three-day schedule.

In addition to the above, managers had plenty of opportunities to meet and network, solving all of the world’s problems over a glass or two of wine. The networking and therapy provided by such forums cannot be underestimated. Managers left the forum with new friends and contacts that will be available to assist and offer support with those tricky questions and situations. Meeting in person is a great benefit to all clubs involved.

Early discussions for the 2025 Forum have already commenced with several clubs in Hobart collectively showing interest to host the next event.

The group is managed by Craig Evans CMM, Chief Executive Officer of the Fremantle Sailing Club. If any ICOYC clubs from further afar would like further information, including copies of the presentations, contact Richard Hewett, CEO Sandringham Yacht Club ceo@syc.com.au.