International Council of Yacht Clubs Forum - best ever

The Royal Southern Yacht Club hosted the meeting
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Representatives from two Australian yacht clubs were present when the The Royal Southern Yacht Club in Southampton recently hosted senior representatives from 20 international yacht clubs for the seventh International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) Forum.

Over the past several years, a significant number of the world's finest yacht clubs have joined together to form the International Council of Yacht Clubs. This has helped them by sharing their experiences, learning from their successes (and failures), and reviewing the common challenges they face. Of the four Australian clubs who are members, the Royal Perth Yacht Club and Victoria's Sandringham Yacht Club sent representatives.

It was not all work. The ICOYC meeting commenced with a two-week cruise in company along Britain's South Coast, followed by a dinner at the House of Lords for delegates and their partners, hosted by Royal Southern member the Rt. Hon. Lord Wakeham.

All the delegates then gathered at the Royal Southern's riverside Clubhouse in Hamble to attend the three-day Forum while a full partners programme got under way.

After a warm welcome from the Royal Southern's Commodore Mark Inkster, the participants enjoyed an opening address from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, during which he bemoaned the general lack of mainstream media coverage of sailing and spoke of the need to promote ‘boating’ to a wider and less demographically biased audience

A tightly run schedule of moderated sessions covered wide-ranging and challenging topics interspersed with presentations from guest speakers.

Among the speakers were Jack Edwards, Chairman of Trustees for the Mansura Trophy competition for development of hybrid powered vessels; Mike Pope, CEO of Forum sponsors GJW Direct; David Fuller, CEO of Pilote Media; David Tydeman, CEO of Oyster Yachts and Jerome Pels, Secretary General of ISAF.

Session-related case studies were also presented by individual yacht club representatives after which, delegates were invited to put their questions to the panel of speakers.

The Forum's 2012 agenda included presentations focusing issues that will be familiar to the members of many yacht clubs:

Membership development
Using club assets and activities to bring new participants into the sport
The inexorable rise of hybrid technology in the marine world
The ways to run accountable 'green' regattas and events.

On the final evening, delegates were joined by Royal Southern members and friends for dinner aboard HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. After dinner, speaker Bob Fisher, yachtsman, yachting journalist, and unofficial historian of the Americas Cup, unbundled the history, politics, peccadilloes and disasters surrounding the Cup.

John McNeill, past Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club, was announced as the new President of the ICOYC, taking over from John Stork of the Royal Thames. Summing up at the Forum close, the outgoing ICOYC President, John Stork, thanked all the moderators, panelists and guest speakers for their input and the Forum was declared the most valuable, biggest and best in the history of the Council, due in large part to the organization and delivery by the Royal Southern as host club.

The next Forum, in November 2013, will be hosted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club will host the 2013 meeting
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Member clubs who attended the forum were:
Annapolis Yacht Club
Brussels Royal Yacht Club
Eastern Yacht Club
Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
Nyländska Jaktklubben
Royal Danish Yacht Club
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Royal Norwegian Yacht Club
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Royal Perth Yacht Club
Royal Thames Yacht Club
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club
San Francisco Yacht Club
Sandringham Yacht Club
Seattle Yacht Club
Société Nautique de Marseille
St. Francis Yacht Club
Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee
Yacht Club Italiano