Members of the Lantau Boat Club Limited—those members, past and present, who have worked so hard pre and post its December 2012 incorporation—will understand how good it feels to say this. It was a delight to be asked, nominated, and voted in as Commodore of our club at the LBC’s 2014 AGM, along with an elected General Committee with new and old faces. New bylaws were approved and minor modifications to the Articles were approved, along with the approval of other routine items. Discussion items were the creation of further committees and election of committee members along with the needed purchase of a club boat and full-time club manager to continue the momentum of our club since its founding.
For more of LBC’s history, please see our archive of club pages from Fragrant Harbour, especially this article, with contributions from Laurence Baum and Steve Jones on the club’s early years. LBC has a proud history, both past and present, and the creation of Lantau Boat Club Limited is the latest step in this history, which brings with it substantial protections, costs, and benefits to its members, but as always, increased responsibilities, professionalism, and workload for your General Committee and members of the section committees.
With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to thank both your past and present General Committee for the huge amount of work that has been done, and would like to take this opportunity to name and thank your club General Committee members, for without their hard work as voluntary members your club would not be where it is today:
• Commodore: Justin Reynolds
• Vice Commodore: James Branch
• Secretary: Ross Taylor
• Treasurer: Ulrike Weckler
• Beachmaster: Martin Kidgell
• Paddling Representative: Adie Leung
• Rowing Representative: Bob Wilson
• Sailing Representative: Steve Devlin
Outside of your General Committee, there are a good number of people that are, day by day, helping to build and drive your club. I will leave the section representatives to go into the details and successes of each section; however, I would like to name and thank the backbone of our club, Cindy Chung and Chris Fraser. Cindy is our club’s Administrative Coordinator and Chris our Webmaster, both very valuable assets.
As Commodore, I am very grateful and relieved to have such a strong and capable team who work tirelessly and unconditionally in their spare time, driven by their desire to make your club what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. This being my first Commodore’s letter, I thought I would use it to raise, very briefly initially, a few areas that we as members need to start thinking about so our club is best placed for tomorrow.
Growth — After some time looking at the club I feel it is probably at its most difficult stage at the moment, mainly because it is too big to be small — given the incorporation — and too small to be big — how our club needs to change to deliver what an increasing number of members and non-members are starting to ask of it. As in any company, growth needs to be sustainable, measured, managed, and dynamic, but most importantly it needs to be backed by the membership and properly funded. I will write more on this in near future; however, the most important aspect of this is that we, the members, continue to participate in the growth on a regular basis and support the efforts of each of the sections.
Product — Your club has frequent inbound requests from both members and non-members to offer more services to its members and the wider community. Youth training is one, the hiring of boats and a proper club house with better facilities are others, which would result in increased presence on and off the water during activities. Your General Committee is looking at all of these and you will start to see and read about each of these as they develop.
Finances — Your club is in a good position cash-wise. During the past years, operational expenses were kept below the club’s income, minor investments and improvements to facilities were financed through cash flow and a small reserve fund for future projects has been accumulated. Given the voluntary nature of the club, monthly administration running costs are minimal, but financial planning will need to stretch beyond short-term requirements, so as to provide for medium- and long-term investments and improvements.
Participation — Thanks to the work of the section heads and their committee members, activity on the beach and on the water by LBC members is increasing. New members are signing up, teams and individuals of the LBC are participating and winning races and events throughout Hong Kong, regionally, and further afield, and we have an increasingly active NACRA fraternity, given that the NACRA 17 is the chosen Olympic multihull sailing boat. Participation of LBC members is the bedrock of our club, both on the beach, on the water, in the club house, and within the committees, AGMs, and social events. If I had to put my name to one area that I think threatens the development of our club it is participation, and hence I encourage all members to become more and more involved in your club at all levels, both to participate in and solidify your club’s future, but also to return and recognize the hard work that your General Committee and the section committees put into managing and providing events, the club house, the beach, and our club’s governance.
Safety — This is always of the utmost importance. Safety is and will always be both the responsibility and personal requirement of every member when on the beach and water and when undertaking personal, social, or formal activities from our club. Accidents will happen, and whilst the club is actively looking and is fully focused on how, given the present and future needs, we can provide greater support on the beach and on the water, the safety of members is first and foremost the responsibility of each individual member. Please be safe.
Details of the above five areas, along with those not mentioned, will start to be communicated in more detail, but I encourage all members to email me with any thoughts and questions you may have at all about your club.
Most important, it’s the end of what has been a very hot summer, the water and air are warm, and the agenda is full — see our event calendar here. I look forward to seeing you all in the clubhouse, on the beach, and on the water over the coming weeks and months!