Darwin Sailing Club

News from the Darwin Sailing Club

Sail, socalise and dine in the heart of Darwin

Posted on 13 July, 2017

Building a Stronger Community Sporting Club

Building a Stronger Community Sporting Club

 One step backward in order to take many steps forward

In 2016 the Darwin Sailing Club made national headlines by removing and destroying its electronic gaming machines and surrendering its NT gaming license.

While this decision was applauded widely by many sectors of the community, some questioned the logic of forfeiting a comparatively easy and continuous revenue stream. A stream very few community sporting clubs in Australia would consider removing.

Why take such a bold step?

This move was the first step towards realising goals set during a ground up strategic review of Club operations by its elected leaders.

A body of work including wide ranging research, national bench-marking, member surveys and consultation with NT Sailing stakeholders identified that while this move represented an undeniable backwards step in terms of revenue, it had the potential to set the Club free to focus on its core objectives. Namely, of promoting Sailing in Darwin as a community based and volunteer lead Club.

Becoming a Club true to its founding vision, and its community

It is the Club’s view that rather than relying on gambling revenue, the Club, Sailing and indeed the broader Darwin community are better served by focusing on positive and inclusive activities. Activities that deliver the best value sporting and social opportunities to participants.

The Club offers year round boat-park services, nationally accredited sailing related training courses and something in the order of 90 days of social and competitive sailing for all ages and skill levels each and every sailing season.

This places us into a very select group of sailing clubs in Australia in terms of services offered. Our annual Discover Sailing Day each year is the 2nd most attended event of its kind held in any of Australia’s 380+ sailing clubs.

Year on year this is achieved with the some of the lowest annual membership fees of any Sailing Club in the country.

The Club must meet the costs of maintaining an extensive fleet of sailing and support vessels, on and off water facilities, stock and equipment, overheads, insurance and the wages of those professional staff who support the Club’s volunteer army to deliver a high standard of sailing and social member services.

Unlike many sailing clubs, our Club does not benefit from revenue generated from marina services to subsidise operations. Instead, we rely on dining, functions and conferencing to fund annual sailing and social calendars.

In 2017, following the removal of its electronic gaming machines, the Club introduced a number of strategies to better align its social offering in particular with its broader strategic vision:

Some changes you may be noticing around the Club

  • Upgraded facilities, starting with our capital works program which is currently under way.
  • Introduction of Wifi services, an espresso coffee machine and stronger member based food and beverage promotions.
  • Improved entertainment throughout the year.
  • Reduction of Social Membership from $200 down to $75 per year.
  • Increased members discount over the bar. In effect, the discount received by a Social member who purchases 1 glass of wine per week will now pay for the cost of their annual Social Membership.
  • A Temporary Social Membership of $5 per visit for any visitor who attends the Club more than 3 times as a visitor in a 12 month period. This will allow Darwin’s many visitors to enjoy the Sailing Club’s social setting while at the same time encourage local residents to sign up for the many benefits of Membership at our Club.

When are these changes coming into effect?

  • Social Membership was reduced on 1 January 2017.
  • The Members discount was increased in May 2017.
  • From next Monday July 17th, a new electronic scanning unit will be introduced to allow the Club to record and manage the sign-in of all guests and visitors. 
  • Click here to Download a guide to signing a visitor or guest into the DSC: Using_the_Electronic_Scanner_to_Sign-in_as_a_Visitor_to_the_DSC
  • From August 2017, the Club will introduce a Temporary Social Membership Charge. 3 free visits for all visitors and guests, then $5 per visit. From that time, all visitors to the Club will be required to present a valid and nationally recognised Photo ID to enter the Darwin Sailing Club.

A final comment

Perhaps the most significant factor in this transition to a more regulated front entry for the DSC is communication. These changes do not affect the way that Members enter the Club. Members will however notice starting Monday bar staff asking them to present their members card in order to be served at the bar. 

Like all journeys, the first step is often the most significant. In this instance, the first step is a big one and will take some getting used to by all.

To raise awareness of these changes, a step by step step guide to signing in using the new electronic scanners has been developed. This guide is attached above a downloadable format. To complement this change to procedure, a brochure describing these changes has been developed and will be available at the Club's front entrance to assist all to understand these changes and the reasoning behind them. This brochure will be available from next Monday.

Kind Regards,

John Melenewycz - General Manager


Thanks to supporters of the Darwin Sailing Club