Dear Club Members

On 27 March we found ourselves going into national lockdown and who would have thought we’d still be in the same boat at the end of May?  A situation that has impacted our lives, our families, our businesses and our club.  I’d like to outline the effect on the club and the steps we as a committee have taken to ensure some form of balance between looking after our team, our members and ensuring the survival of the club.

Loss Of Income And Impact On The Team

Since the club has been forced to close and is likely to remain so foreseeable future we have lost the ability to generate income. 

With the help of our treasurer Johan Burger, we have compiled a thorough COVID-19 survival document, which includes a comprehensive handle of costs (which have been cut down to the bare minimum), weekly cashflow monitoring and staff payment scenarios.

The team is effectively in a ‘lay off’ state and, until we are allowed to reopen (at this stage it seems level 1), will remain in this state.  The team has taken a 30% cut in salaries and we have made (and continue to make) every effort to ‘top up’ with TERS (UIF) benefit payouts.  The whole process is cumbersome and frustrating and we’ve had varying degrees of success. We will however keep hammering away at it.  We will review the situation monthly and take action as required.  The team members have all expressed gratitude, in spite of the reduction, as many of their family and friends have lost their livelihoods completely.

Generous donations from club members have made it possible to provide food hampers three times during lockdown.  We extend a big thank you to them. This has not only helped the team members to sustain the extended families they support but has also ensured that they have been able to stay locked down more effectively – leaving home less frequently to shop.  They have been truly thankful for this assistance and the messages we have received from them have been quite heart-warming.

Since we remain closed almost indefinitely, we would be grateful if any more members are able to assist with a donation to this cause. There is absolutely no pressure.  We understand that many members have own their financial pressures or may have employees of their own to worry about.  Ceri-Ann and I have numerous people depending on us to survive the current situation.

Access To Vessels On The Marina

As we stand right now the harbour is still closed, and we do not have access to the club or marina. Elenore has been doing daily inspections of all boats, mooring lines, fenders and sails, and will continue to do so until we are allowed in. Fortunately, apart from a few small incidents during the recent stormy weather, we have had no issues.  However, we are concerned that many boats have not had a comprehensive check in weeks.

To this end, we submitted a formal request to DAFF to allow boat owners onto the marina to do more thorough checks of their vessels, including bilge pumps, running engines etc.  The letter issued by SAMSA last Friday has also been submitted in support of our request.  DAFF representatives have indicated that our appeal is with their legal team for input.  We are hoping for a positive outcome really soon and ask that you bear with us as we wait on their feedback and then, prepare the marina for access.  We need to do some repairs on the moorings and will also have to implement all the necessary COVID-19 protocols like sanitising, signage and anything else DAFF may require of us.

2020 – 2021 Membership, Special Levy and Mooring Rentals

The committee has continued to meet monthly using Zoom.  These have been completely focused on the current situation and have been really effective.  A key discussion has been the approaching financial yearend and subscriptions, levy and mooring fees for the new financial year.  The following has been signed off by the committee:

  • There will be no increases in membership subscriptions for the 2020 – 2021 financial year
  • Annual mooring fees were increased just before lockdown and will remain they are currently
  • Members paying their subscription in advance will be offered a 10% discount.  This offer is only available if you are currently up to date, it is for this year only and full payment must be made by the end of July 2020.
  • You may pay off your subscription in 6 equal instalments, starting with your first payment on receipt of your invoice and the remaining 5 payable in the 1st of each month until paid in full.  Again, this offer is only on the table if you are currently up to date and is only for this year.
  • The special levy payment conditions remain unchanged.  You can pay upfront in full or pay it off at R200 per month
  • You will be issued with a proforma invoice for the full amounts (for subscription and special levy) and only receive a tax invoice when we know how you wish to pay these amounts.  This is unfortunately resulting in more admin for us but will assist with more accurate allocation and payment of our VAT commitments.
  • A bar or galley voucher valued at 10% of the subscription for the member is on offer for every new member you bring to the club, provided the new member pays their subs up front.  They can pay off their special levy at the monthly rate.

Club Operations

As mentioned, the committee has kept up with it’s commitments through Zoom meetings.  Aside from Elenore who is onsite to check the moorings and spend a few hours a day in the office, the club house is closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Please make sure that you are a member of our GBYC COMMS WhatsApp group.   This is where all information and important news is shared with members, as and when it unfolds.  Click here to join or send a request to 063 067 2709 to be added to the group.

Member Engagement

We have made a concerted effort to keep in touch with our members by hosting quiz evenings, information sessions, online sailing regattas and by looking for activities that may be of interest to you (from a sailing, business or personal perspective).  The objective of all of this has been to help pass the time for those not working or otherwise engaged but, more importantly, it’s been to sustain some form of engagement with each other.  Feel free to join any of the activities any time.  It’s all really informal and quite a lot of fun.  Ceri-Ann and I have been the ‘Baffled Boffins’ at almost every quiz evening and haven’t done too badly either!

Finally, I really look forward to seeing all of you at the club again, either sailing or socialising, once this is all behind us.  Until then, please look after yourselves and stay safe.

Yours in sailing