The Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club has a long and prodigious history of making improvements. The construction of the Club jetty nearly twenty years ago, the implementation and merger of the Couta Boat Club with Sorrento Sailing Club, not to mention the construction of our existing Clubhouse a decade ago.
Previous Committees have successfully prioritised strategic investments that have ensured our Club, its structures and facilities are appropriate and fit for their purpose.
At the time our current SSCBC clubhouse was completed we had a membership base of around 1,400 members. Fast forward to 2017 and the Club has more than 3,700 members. I know many members will have formed the view that this rate of membership growth is not sustainable. Your General Committee agrees wholeheartedly and has already implemented a strategy to limit future membership growth.
As a result of this extraordinary proliferation of members, we now find ourselves at a point in the Club’s evolutionary cycle where the need for change is upon us once again.
Undertaking regular improvements around our Club, for the benefit of Members and the community, is very much a part of our history. It is time to open the next chapter.
After more than a year’s planning by the Infrastructure Sub-Committee and the Club’s architect, we are now ready to embark on the next infrastructure upgrade. This project will ensure we meet member expectation and remain relevant for the next generation.
Once completed, this project will stand as the hallmark of a club that doesn’t rest on its laurels, a club that isn’t prepared to stand still.
One of the outstanding features of this upgrade will be the inclusion of a highly developed, modern training facility. This facility will manifest itself as the most important part of the project. Among the benefits of such a facility will be the growth of our on-water operations and a marked improvement in the delivery of sailing and sailing related activities provided at the Club. The provision of these new training facilities, will also ensure we have capacity to host major world class regattas. The improvements in general learn-to-sail coaching services for both juniors/beginners and adult sailors will fill a gap in our current program.
Our sport of sailing is changing. As we can see from reports such as Alistair Murray’s “Global Sailing Trends”, people’s participation in sailing needs to include much more than just weekend racing. It requires a shift in emphasis, from weekend racing to more recreational sailing and boating in general. The provision of boat handling courses, radio operators licensing, certifications to go bare-boat chartering, basic learn-to-sail courses and the like may become the thrust of the services we provide.
A significant part of this project brief was to do away with the need for the Marquee that is erected on the hardstand each summer. Your committee is intent on seeing the hardstand returned to its intended use as a boat park for our sailors. In the past the Marquee has provided a focal point for regattas, operated as a “below decks” cafeteria and beach club restaurant. The project will provide these same services at an outdoor picnic forecourt to the west. This precinct will include a lawned BBQ and presentation area, and will be of sufficient size to cater for the largest of functions.
The project will also provide substantially enhanced facilities for the general use by many of our community groups. On completion, the project will serve as a homage to the historical significance of our Couta Boat heritage. Visitors to our Club will be left with little doubt about our commitment to fostering the heritage of this fleet. Our successes with dinghy sailing around the world will also be on display. In general, our location and boats we love to sail will be illustrated throughout the building. Standby for many a surprise on this front.
The change in club usage over the last decade has highlighted the inadequacies of our kitchen and bar service. We will undertake significant improvement to the proportions of the Members Lounge, whilst simultaneously doubling the size of the kitchen and its capacity to deliver at peak times of the season. There will be points of contact for bar service, including remote delivery to a vastly different western deck. The project will delivery capacity improvement with more efficient food and beverage services in general.
It will also come as no surprise to many members that we need much more operational storage space (Fred’s Own). The new extensions will include a service area for club boats as well as bus garaging during the winter months. A new administration and reception area is also included providing welcome relief for our hard working administrative staff. The proposed extensions will take our administration and operational capacity to a new level.
The Finance Sub-Committee has already produced a draft funding proposal. Elements of the funding may include, but not be limited to:
• Accumulated Cash Reserves
• Lockers/Donations etc
• Members Payments in kind
• Accelerated Sponsorships
• Government Grants
Architect, Bruce Henderson, together with members of the Infrastructure Sub-Committee and Finance Sub-Committee will provide further detail in the near further on:
• Expected Project Timeline
• Proposed Funding Mechanism
• Proposed Project Specific Webpage and information updates
Proposed Clubhouse Design
Architect, Bruce Henderson, has provided the following plans to provide you an opportunity to view the new clubhouse: