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Commodore’s Newsletter October 2020

Dear Members,


Ah, the best laid plans!!  We had a great programme of cruises in store for 2020, including our 50th Anniversary Cruise to the Hebrides and St Kilda and a November cruise to the Canaries to help us through that dreary, miserable month, but it was not to be.  COVID-19 raised its ugly head early in the year and our programme was comprehensively wiped out.  However, despite the disappointment, cruises can be rescheduled; the key thing is that I hope you and your families have managed to avoid infection, or have recovered intact.  


In spite of the challenges that COVID-19 set us, we managed to agree favourable postponement terms with the charter companies for all our cruises and we were able to offer all applicants either the return of their cruise fees, or transfer to the equivalent cruise in 2021.  I would like to thank the Cruise Organisers for successfully doing this.  In addition, I am particularly indebted to our Risk Management Sub-Committee comprising: Simon Hamilton, Marian Keall, Ian Rose, Jonty Pearce, Charles Howell and our Scottish Correspondent, Paul Copestake for their work in successfully navigating our way through a complex, constantly changing environment and for the very sound advice they provided; thanks to you all!


Our hope is for an effective COVID-19 vaccine for early next year, but, just in case, we have taken a conservative approach to next year’s programme.  We are not planning our traditional Easter Cruise to Scotland, but aim to run the postponed 50th Anniversary Cruise in July and are organising a 10-day cruise to the West Country and Isles of Scilly, starting from Plymouth early September.  The postponed Canaries Cruise will take place late November.  Because of transfers from this year’s postponed cruises, both the Anniversary and Canaries cruises are almost fully booked, but there is the possibility of chartering additional boats, if the demand is there.  For the West Country/Scilly Cruise, we have reserved three boats from Liberty Yachts, with 20 berths available for booking.  Details of the cruises and application forms are located elsewhere, but I would urge anyone thinking of applying to do so early because, with the absence of cruises this year, there is likely to be a rush of applications from frustrated sailors.  Early applications will also give us the best chance to hire additional, suitable boats, should they be required.


We are in the process of upgrading the IT platforms we use for Club administration.  We have selected the MyClubhouse application for membership and cruise/event management and G-Suite for the Club’s Committee work and administration.  The former package should reduce a lot of repetitive form filling and administration and give you ready access to your details and the events that you have signed up for.  With fingers crossed, we will be using MyClubhouse as the channel for applications for the West Country/Scilly Cruise.  This will require you to check your details, which we have transferred from our current system, before applying.  These details will then be automatically used to complete part of the traditional cruise application form.  The remaining details for the cruise can then be completed on-line.  Full instructions will be distributed on how to use the application, but I hope that you will find it easy to use and save time when applying for cruises.  Thanks are due to Mike Fergie and Mark James, who have put many hours into researching the options and setting-up and testing the preferred packages.


The continuing COVD-19 pandemic means that we will not be able to hold our traditional AGM and Dinner at Colwall in January.  The AGM will be held virtually on Saturday 9th January 2021 @14:00, probably using Google Meet, which comes with the G-Suite package.  Full details on how to attend this will be supplied.  Hopefully, we will be back into full swing by January 2022 and a bumper reunion will be had!


Finally, I hope that next year brings some respite from the COVID-19 restrictions and that we are able to head out to sea once again.  In the meantime, stay safe.


Anchors Aweigh!


John Marriott

Club Commodore