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Clubs gather for group forum in June

by Di Pearson 14 May 23:21 PDT 4-6 June 2018
Attendees at the 2016 forum outside Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron © Di Pearson

The 2018 Yacht Club Managers Forum, a national networking group of Australia's leading yacht clubs, will be held on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane, Queensland, over three days from 4-6 June, 2018.

A thoughtful agenda has been composed and speakers will include a combination of international and local leaders of our sport who have fascinating insights to share.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's General Manager, Hayden Porter, will discuss winning the America's Cup and how it has affected their Club, Royal Papua Yacht Club's Aaron Batts will speak on the unique challenges faced by running a yacht club in Papua New Guinea, while John Lee, appointed CEO of Australian Sailing one year ago, will provide a general update to include Q&A time.

Among other topics on the agenda are: On-water trends (what is popular); non-member crew (why not try day passes); critical Incidents/crisis management; growing membership (new ideas and trends); youth programs; food and beverage (benchmarking, caterers, trends and promotions) and more.

Representatives from sponsors Micropower, Club Marine and Superior Jetties will also speak during the sessions.

The Forum will also include a full tour of Southport Yacht Club and its facilities on day one. A welcome to and tour of the very impressive Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron will take place the following day. Day three includes visits to Southport Yacht Club's Hollywell Sailing Squadron and Dux Anchorage.

"Our primary host for this year's forum will be Brett James and his stand out team at Southport Yacht Club in Queensland," says Sandringham Yacht Club CEO and forum convenor, Richard Hewett. "This is a unique opportunity for industry professionals to get together and share ideas and best practices - and fortunately this time round, we get to do it at two exceptional Queensland clubs.

James, Southport Yacht Club's General Manager, says: "This is the fifth one I've been too and looking at the numbers, this is the largest. It's exciting for us and Shawn Ket (GM at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron) for participants to look at our facilities and see what we do that's different to them – and for us to get information from other clubs on what they do.

"No two clubs are the same, meaning all have something to offer, so we all get great ideas. The group has a great feel, it's always time well spent and it's always very worthwhile – and importantly everyone has an opportunity to speak."

James continues: "We're very excited to welcome everyone. Jean-Paul Langbroek, the MP for Surfers Paradise, will be here to greet everyone on the opening night. I've let our local council and state government know of this event and they are pleased to have everyone here."

Apart from Australian clubs, we also represent some of the world's leading yacht clubs," says Richard Hewett, who co-founded the group in 2011 along with Stuart Walton (GM, Royal Perth Yacht Club, WA), Suzanne Davies, (CEO, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, NSW) and Craig Evans (CEO, Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia).

"The forums are designed to give attendees food for thought - ideas they can take away and consider implementing at their own clubs or help improve them," explains Hewett. "The other exceptional aspect of the group is we stay in touch and reach out to each other to assist on a very regular basis via email and by just picking up the phone. I know Sandringham Yacht Club has benefitted enormously over the years and continues to do so."

The 2018 forum at Southport Yacht Club will be the fifth to-date, following on from Adelaide (2012), Sydney (2013), Perth (2014) and Melbourne (2016). Each has been an informative success, with growing numbers attending.

Forty CEO's and General Managers from around Australia, New Zealand and PNG have confirmed their attendance, which is strictly by invitation only to national yacht club management, along with invited industry guests.

For further information on the group go to

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