Members Forum 2021 - Questions and Answers

All members were invited by the Commodore to attend the Club Forum on Saturday 30 October 2021, starting at 10:00 held at Stow’s, the Club Restaurant.


4 flag officers, 3 directors, 2 members of staff management, 43 members

Questions submitted in advance:


1. Will the clubhouse remain accessible for the members and guests during the drainage works? 

Yes it will remain open although there will be periods when access may be restricted and parking limited 

2. Will the moored craft remain accessible for members and guests during the drainage works? 

Yes although as above, access may sometimes be restricted (pedestrian only no vehicles allowed close to the pontoons etc) 

3. Will the club retain an area for emergency lift outs and for those who need to antifoul and change anodes? If not, will the member be reimbursed for using alternative boatyard/marinas? 

Yes, this is in the planning however where and how big the area is remain under discussion 

4. As the craft ashore will not be on SYC land, (after moved to alternative site), will they still have to pay layup fees to syc? 

Yes, layup will be due to SYC as if the vessel is in the yard. Boats not content with this should aim to launch or remove their vessels before the end of February 2022 

5. Are the owners of long term ‘projects’ and derelict craft being offered the opportunity to ’scrap’ their possession before transport to the other site? If so, who will pay the cost? 

Members always have an option to scrap their boat at their own cost if they wish to stop paying layup fees 

6. Will the ea/council re-imburse the loss of lift out income during the period as the hoist will be effectively ‘mothballed’ during the works? 

The club is negotiating at this time, an agreement that does not put it at detriment financially for these works 

7. Is the club considering refusing the return of those craft that are only being used as living accommodation? 

MMC will take this under advisement although it should be pointed out that syc does not have planning permission for people residing aboard their vessels and anyone breaching this is breaching planning laws as well as club rules 

8. Will the club enforce the ‘non residency’ rule in the boatyard? 

MMC will take this under advisement but please also note the answer to the above question which is equally valid for this 

9. Will the container workshops, storage and compressor house etc be retained on site during the drainage works? 

It is not known what element of the land will be required. Therefore the club has assumed worst case and that everything must move. Syc will try and retain as much/many vesles and containers in the yard as it is able and minimise the movement of those which are less sturdy or have delicate instrumentation within (like the bsac compressor equipment) 

10. Will there be severe penalty clauses in place if the drainage work overruns? 

The club is negotiating at this time, an agreement that does not put it at detriment financially for these works 

11. Is it in the plan to make this room look more like a yacht club than it does at present? Where , for example, is the collection of burgees which meant something to many of us offshore cruisers and racers who often exchanged burgees with clubs far and wide ? 

I am sure I am not alone in wanting to see these up again in our clubhouse. And pictures or photos of boats ? If the club is interested in more pictures of members' yachts please let me know. Yes, there are plans to put up the burgees in a number of locations in and around the bar and in stow’s. There are also plans for new artwork that showcases shoreham town as well as syc and for greenery to return to the club once more 

12. We were at the September Club Night dinner which was attended by over ninety people. The dinner and the company were very nice but the noise was appalling. Is it in the plans to rectify this? 

We have acoustic curtains which will deaden the sound if they stop being tied back. When it is felt appropriate, linen can go back on the tables at some of the functions which will also deaden the sound and make stow's look less sterile and canteen like. Artwork on the wall will also deaden the sound. It must be noted that the acoustic design of the room requires a certain level of ambient noise in order to allow private conversations at adjoining tables and the design level has been reached 

13. When are we going to see some improvement in the service at the bar and restaurant?  Ref email content below

"We are so thrilled to have become new members of shoreham yacht club and want to congratulate you on such a fabulous new building. It really has done the yacht club and indeed shoreham proud. So far, this summer, we have been able to visit the club for some drinks and a meal. The inside décor in the bar-area is lovely, especially the view from the well-designed windows. We fully intend to be regular visitors and therefore wondered if we could possibly mention a few observations we’ve made, purely to give some constructive feedback. We really want to help the club become a real ‘talking-point’, somewhere people will enthusiastically want to visit.

Last week, we had our first lunch at the club (having previously booked a table.) We arrived, but felt the ‘welcome area’ by the bar could be a little warmer when you go to sign in. Just for staff to perhaps be a little more aware, so members are not left standing too long. I can totally understand if it’s really busy, however, this was a really quiet wednesday.

We explained to your staff member that we had booked a table for lunch. As we were early and wanted a pre-dinner drink first, she led us to a lovely table outside, but hurried off, saying she’d be back shortly, but it was quite a while before she returned and we still hadn’t had a chance to order any drinks or to be given a menu to look at.

Your staff member eventually came back and asked us if we were having lunch (but we’d already explained this when she’s first seated us!) We ordered drinks, but still no menu was offered, as she hurried off again. It took us a while to grab her attention again to ask for a menu. Eventually we caught her eye.

Quite a lot of time had gone by and no one had offered to show us to our table in the restaurant, so we set off to find it ourselves. We found our table number. It was a semi-circle ‘put-you-up’ table, the type often used at functions/exhibits. It was pushed against the wall, so my wife and i had to sit side-by-side. It was rather like a canteen-style’ seating arrangement. The ambience was very strange for a restaurant, with the tables lined up in a parallel fashion, as i mentioned, like a canteen. Also, the chairs by the bar-area of the restaurant, were stacked highly on top of one another, which sadly didn’t give a good look. 

The food we ordered was delicious and of a really good standard and we couldn’t fault it. We enjoyed it very much. However, we felt it would have perhaps been better enjoyed in the bar area, as we noticed that a lot on the menu was of a ‘tapas/small bites’ style.

The waitress who served us was very polite, but was wearing a ‘grandma-style’ apronwhich really didn’t fit the club and seemed out of place. There seemed to be no clear uniform description. The waitress who cleared our plates seemed to be wearing shiny gym leggings and a baggy tea-shirt.

It didn’t seem clear what the yacht club’s aims and objectives were. What they actually want to club to be? It would, we feel, be really good to have a clear definition. For example, would the evening dinner-experience be different? I.e. The tables set out in a less ‘canteen-style’, perhaps table-cloths, and a different menu for the evening? 

We do hope you will take these points raised in the kind manner it was meant. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to do this. We really believe in the yacht club and that it could be a fabulous place. We look forward to visiting much and encouraging others about it"

Please first note that the email above was paraphrased and the highlighted elements only were read out. The points raised have all been noted and are being addressed. When the sender of the question sent in the email, the club had only been open following lifting of covid restrictions for two weeks. Syc had no idea how busy or not the club would be and sought the assistance of club members, mostly of long standing, to work as meeters and greeters and servers at the tables given the requirement for table service only. Most of the club members who kindly volunteered had little or no experience of this type of work and did the best they could with minimal training. Inevitably there were going to be teething troubles with a new clubhouse, new policies, both internal and external (covid operating guidelines etc), members with differing levels of confidence at being out and about in public once more. The steward and house committee have learned and continue to learn, adjust and improve the level and standard of service offered 

14. May I ask why you are shut Monday and Tuesday? You  might not be as busy but it’s an option for the member ? More food for the evenings . Once that fire is on? 

This is under constant review, at this time, it is not considered economically viable to open on these days but it is expected that 7/7 opening of the first floor will be reviewed in the new year 

15. Why do you not provide restaurant quality food for friday saturday evening?I go elsewhere . We are losing out on the social side and missing out on meeting members. The new members evening, the food was amazing !! 

This is also under review and will be offered in fact from next friday 

16. Why do you not provide afternoon teas for non member as well so they can come and see what the club is all about ? 

We have a lot of new members calling in to see the new clubhouse. Right now offering them an afternoon tea is not considered necessary to attract members to the club 

17. Why not have more theme night? Movie/history /discovery / discussion nights? I have some idea and may be some of the old and new member have idea too? 

The fixture card for next year will have many more theme nights within it. Any suggestions to house committee or steward are always welcomed 

18. Why not do cheeseboards,  so the staff can provide this for the evening maybe when the kitchen is shut? 

The food offering is ramping up, cheeseboards will be considered, thank you 

19. Why not offer breakfast at weekends? 

This was offered on saturday mornings and take up was not great. We will review and look to offer again if we feel it is viable 

20. Why not have more soft music /bands for sunday evenings? Band for the week ?  We have the universities up the road . I’m sure there’s some musicians up there . We can be there audience. 

This is planned in the new year 

21. Why not introduce wednesday (or another night) wine night?  Introduce local nice wines for your members to enjoy ( with the cheese board ) 

We are looking at putting on many more varied events at weekends and during quieter periods during the week 

22. The restaurant looks too clinical and is not a nice atmosphere to bring people to; what are you doing about this? 

As per the answers to questions 11 and 12, this is underway at this time to brighten up and bring colour to Stow’s 

23. The bar is often not a very friendly place to go and i have waited for far too long for drinks when they are not busy? 

We are undertaking more training of staff and making them aware of the welcome and service they provide to allcomers 

24. Why can you not be open all day for tea, coffee, breakfast, say from 1000 or at least fridays and weekends? Training courses and events bring a lot of people to the club at weekends and they have nothing offered to them 

This is under review in the new year 

25. The standard and variety of food on offer has gone as bad as it was in the old clubhouse, nothing fresh, all frozen and fried with chips. We were told the new kitchen would be able to cope with good fresh food and the restaurant would serve this each day. The restaurant has no identity on the menu, it is basic pub food 

Noted and will introduce more daily specials which will be from fully fresh produce 

26. Why do you not do more advertising within the club . The communication I find is not getting around to your members and your members are missing out on the events that you do provide. The advertising is not out long enough… more posters or use the tv to promote the things that do go on in the club .  Some people still do not use the internet. 

There is a marketing group being set up to examine all this. A new interactive tv is going up before christmas in Stow’s which will be used to display upcoming events (on and off the water) and results, photos and interesting articles about the club. We are trying to move away from paper based advertising (posters and leaflets etc) 

27. What is happening to the area in front of the new clubhouse now the old one has come down? Car parking, boat parking? What surfaces. Will it be kept looking nice when finished? 

Once cleared and a level surface is down, it will be used for car parking until the flood wall construction starts when it will be closed off once more. When finished, it will be car parking for the club 

28. Where will I be able to leave a bike? 

We ask that bikes are not brought into the clubhouse. Temporarily we will create a secure area for bikes to be locked to and long term a bike shed is planned (after the wall construction is completed) 

29. When will the new entrance by the footbridge be ready and how will it look? What will happen to the old workshops? 

This is in planning, the new entrance will house the SUP and sailability sheds beneath it and it will be constructed (subject to budget) in the next two years 

30. What is happening at southwick to get the moorings finished and the building looking better? 

Dredging is taking place imminently to make the moorings more accessible. There are plans to do minor works at southwick to the building (toilets, showers etc) and a major plan which was suspended during the shoreham works but will in the next year or so, be reawakened, reviewed and continued 


From the floor: 

31. David Carroll; southwick building improvements, please answer: 

There is a lot to get done on the marina completion and the building will be looked at with a view to prioritising after, see answer to q30 as well 

32. What happened to the lottery funding provided? £10k lottery funding was used to fund the concept ten years ago.

This plan was shelved to prioritise shoreham works and the plan can be brought back out as a heritage project moving forwards 

33. What is happening in the yard, more explanation 

The greater detail explained at the meeting held the previous week was outlined once more. This detailed timescales, working areas, easement areas and dimensions and  what will happen to objects in the yard (boats, containers, etc) 

34. Tom voice; does this have a deleterious effect on the boatyard surface long term? 

We will end up with a better surface in the yard after the work is completed and the development will then be complete 

35. Clive Hawker, can the club develop data on its members, social and otherwise. 

Yes, the club is able to produce more data than it needs on the habits of members, drinking and otherwise. The issue is selcting that information that enhances the member experience and not denegrating it 

36. Robin Gooders; what is the ultimate number of members syc can cope with? 

Numbers on the increase, must maintain a tenable ratio of members, active and non active and ensure we can deliver  satisfactory service to members. 

37. Chris West – comment on the changing make up of members

More social members means we must review offerings to members as a result of demand 

38. Cornelis van Rietschoten – is SYC in danger of becoming a social club to the exclusion of sailing members. 

No it will not, the business model must be constantly reviewed to ensure we don’t become a car park, don’t become a social club and don’t risk our status as a premier yacht club. Sussex cc regatta (june 2022), all forms of watersports being involved and all in favour. 

39. Yvonne Campbell – comment - nothing in club to advise what is happening for sailing and activity, basic answers to potential members and members, how to get on a dinghy, get on a big boat, get out diving, how to learn to sail, sup, dive etc. Many forms of comms at the club, website, social media, etc. All need to be looked at and a combination of it all is probably the answer

40. Clive Hawker – clarification on hard standing; 

Adur District Council will provide temporary hard standing elsewhere, where, how much, what facilities and security is not yet known or agreed 

41. David Carroll – regulating car parking; 

Parking control will be put in place and if abused, managed enforcement may have to be considered 

42. Alan Budgen – imminency of construction of flood wall – how managing the closing of the gates

An agreement will be put in place with Adur DC to manage the opening and closing as close to hw as required and safe for the benefit of members access to the club and to those who will rely on the barrier for the security of their home from flood 

43. Hilary Cornish – plans to improve rib owner access

Yes, we will be reinstating the capstan winch once the wall development works have completed 

Meeting ended 1125