I can say I have been to Sailability Heaven.
Steve & Carol Livingstone and my wife Jenny and myself attended the Sailability State Conference in early March. The conference was held on the Gold Coast at the Southport Yacht Clubs facilities at HollyWell. Sailability Gold Coast operates out of this facility on the Broadwater.
What struck me most about the operation was how user friendly it was for the volunteers and sailor clients.
The Conference brought together Sailability Club members from ten of the eleven state clubs as well as members of the Sailability Queensland Conference.
As expected, the Conference covered issues like, challenges, insurance, equipment and maintenance, volunteers, grants, funding etc.
The real value in the experience came from meeting the Sailability members from other Clubs and listening to how they operate and the challenges they experience. All clubs have their own challenges. These challenges are usually associated with where the clubs operate. For example, clubs that can sail to and from a pontoon do not experience the same transfer problems that Biloela, Darling Downs and Capricornia experience. The latter three clubs sail in lakes or dams.
It is good to be able to put a face onto the emails that come from Sailability Queensland. Not only putting a face on the names, but knowing that those people are only too willing to help in any way possible. There was a real sense of belonging to something alive, active and working for the same ends.
On the last day of the Conference, there was a sailing race. Each club was allocated a Hansa 303. Steve and I had a purple one. Ha ha! No one told us how strong the tide flow was in the Broadwater. Virtually impossible to sail against the tide in the light conditions. For the records, we came 6th. For the records: the race was won by Graceville who by the way do all their sailing in the tidal flow of the Brisbane River.
Since attending the Conference, I am more convinced than ever that our volunteers are doing it too hard. After seeing some of our volunteers dragging our boats to the launch area: my reaction was: we have to do better. My resolution after visiting Sailability Heaven: we are going to purchase a quad or some such vehicle to do the heavy work. Do you know someone who wants to give us one?
The whole experience was wonderful. Sailability Queensland is looking for a venue to host the next State Conference in two years. I believe, Capricornia could host the Conference.