Leaders of world’s premier yacht clubs 'in the same boat'

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The International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) has released its second annual Commodore’s Concerns survey. Each year, ICOYC invites its member Commodores to express their major current concerns to help establish the agenda for inter-club discussions at its International Forum, and on its virtual electronic discussion board at www.icoyc.org

The International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) was formally established in 2006 to extend the reach, influence and enjoyment of senior yacht clubs around the world for the benefit of its membership by integrating the clubs into a network of leading international sailing clubs.

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is one of twenty plus member clubs of this international Council which also includes prominent clubs from Canada, UK, USA, Europe, Africa, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

The stated mission of the ICOYC is to:

· Foster closer relations between selected yacht clubs around the world in order to improve the quality of the yachting and other services they provide to their members.

· Build on the synergy that already exists between member clubs and develop new links by the use of contemporary communication tools and the organisation of timely forums.

· Identify areas of mutual interest and concern among member clubs and to share information on these topics.

· Foster fellowship and informal communications among member clubs by encouraging participation in joint events such as cruises, rallies, youth exchanges, Interport regattas and social activities.

The top clubs’ major concerns this year relate to the economic crisis and its effects on club operations. They are concerned about maintaining sponsorship to continue running major events, and they are also seeking the right financial and management models for these challenging times. This mirrors 2008 concerns about economic and club management issues, although in 2008 membership development was the main issue.

At the same time many of the clubs within the Council are finding that their members are more active than ever. Turnover is up in many cases and the members are flocking into the clubs, possibly to escape from some of the uncertainties outside.

Many clubs are introducing new initiatives, like fleets of match or team racing boats, or starting a new 'sailing academy' to make sailing skills more accessible to all including match racing, offshore sailing, and preparing for the 2012 Olympics.

The need to attract and retain youth is a major concern at some yacht clubs. One Commodore outlined his concern as the need to 'create a sailing vibe and growth path for juniors vs. other sports and computer games, etc.'

For more information contact the President of the ICOYC, John Stork, at president@icoyc.org. Or call +44 (0)7973 344338.

Issued on behalf of the International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) though the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (a member club)