A Message from the New General Manager – Rob Horrigan

Dear Members,

Firstly, I would like to say a very big “thank you” to the Club for providing me with the opportunity to accept this exciting and challenging role. Taking on the management of a prestigious Club which has such a proud and successful history is a great honour. My aim is to ensure that the Club continues to evolve and improve its services to Members and guests whilst preserving the traditions and values on which RBYC has been built.

I would also like to thank the Committee, Members and staff for the very warm welcome I have received in my first few weeks in the role.

Below are a few things that I would like to touch on in my first communication to Members.

Sailing Programs

Sailing is at the very heart of why we exist as a Club and a primary focus is for the Club to constantly provide sailing programs which meet the varying needs of all classes, ages and abilities.

Over the next few weeks we will have our last major regatta the Brighton Ladies Skipper Series, better known as BLiSS, on the 29th & 30th of April, as well as the conclusion of the club’s major trophies in the Keelboat and One Design classes. Moving into winter, the program will slow down, with an overall wrap up of the season at the club’s Presentation Night on Friday 7th of July.

New Olympic Bar & Restaurant

Wow! – What an impressive facility and asset for the Club. Whilst obviously not being involved in the project beforehand, I am delighted with the quality of the new areas. For those Members who have not tried out the new restaurant, bar and outside areas I encourage you and your family & guests to come and enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, our new facility is great for a relaxing drink inside or outside whilst taking in spectacular views of the bay.

Like any new dining facility, all patrons (and staff) are getting used to the changes. Accordingly, we are currently in a “trial period” with many aspects of the new facility. A number of Members and guests have already made some suggestions in relation to potential improvements and I see this as a completely natural occurrence. Over the past 2-3 years I had the wonderful experience of being involved in opening and operating a completely new whole clubhouse facility for a Member based Club. From that experience I learned that it does take time for things to “settle” and that any larger decisions in relation to changing structure, processes & procedures need to allow for sufficient time to elapse and for all relevant feedback and suggestions to be properly thought out. Having said that, our dedicated staff have already “tweaked” a number of things so far and will continue to adapt and make decisions on some things that we can improve on quickly, whilst also taking on board all feedback in relation to how the new facility operates.

Over the next few weeks we will see works on the pergola roof, BBQ and a few other minor things to finalise this impressive project. Please note that there may be some minor inconveniences whilst works are being attended to (i.e. restricted access to the deck areas) however, we will aim to minimise these where possible.

Volunteers

One aspect of RBYC which is clearly apparent to me (even in my first few days!) as a vital part of the Club’s successful operation is the dedicated work of our volunteers. I can not speak highly enough of what I have experienced so far, especially the work done by volunteers during the Club Marine Junior & Youth Championships during my first week. Fantastic work and congratulations go out to all!

New faces on the staff team

With the opening of our new restaurant and bar no doubt Members will have noticed many new faces in our hospitality team. I’m pleased to see many new, young, enthusiastic faces and I also think the new uniforms look very smart.

Over the past week or so we have also made some appointments within our sailing department due to the recent departures of Juliet and David.

Craig Cobbin has taken on the role of acting Sailing Manager and Tom Jenkins has started as the acting Marina Manager role as of Tuesday 18/4. I hope all Members will make Craig and Tom feel welcome along with all our new staff. Given the change of personnel in our sailing department we will take the opportunity to review the structure of our sailing department roles over the next few months and I thank both Craig and Tom for taking up these acting positions at short notice.

Gym

Even within my first few days in the role, it was apparent that there are a number of Members with passionate ideas and suggestions in relation to improvements for our Gym. Members may be aware that a few months ago the Committee issued an Expression of Interest for a new contractual agreement for the way the Gym is to be managed, controlled and marketed and a number of proposals were received. However, due to my recent appointment, the Committee have asked me to be actively involved in this decision making process. Without going into too much detail, my initial thoughts are that any longer term decision on the Gym needs some additional information gathering, feedback and analysis and I have started planning for this to take place. I will endeavour to do what I can in the short term to address some key issues which have been bought to my attention however, realistically it will take a little more time before any definitive changes are made.

We have posted updated signs in relation to Gym usage and etiquette and I would ask and expect that all Members pay attention to and respect these rules.

My Leave

Whilst not ideal so soon after taking on this role, I would like to advise Members that I will be taking annual leave from Sunday 23rd April, returning to work on Friday 12th May. These dates had been pre-booked and holiday expenses paid for some six months ago and I also received Committee approval for this leave prior to taking on this role. My reason for needing to take leave at this time is to accompany my youngest daughter to the USA where she is part of a team representing Australia in a Dance World Championships event. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to Members however, I hope you understand my reasons for not wanting to miss this unique family opportunity.

Overall

The first few weeks and months in this role will be part of a big learning curve for me as I continue to gain a better understanding of the sport, the Member’s needs and the Club workings overall.

I encourage all Members to continue to provide respectful & relevant feedback and suggestions for improvements on all aspects of the Club to myself at email address gm@rbyc.com.au.

Thank you for your warm welcoming and acceptance so far. I look forward to helping the Club to grow, evolve and prosper well into the future for the benefit of Members, their families and the community as a whole.