InSYnC magazine Article

This article recently appeared in the current issue of the Southport yacht Club InSYnC Magazine.

This is the unedited version

InSYnC magazine Article

At the commencement of this my first year as President of Sailability Gold Coast, I have found myself, naturally I think, pondering Sailability’s raison d’etre, why it works so well, what makes it tick, what of relationships with stakeholders, what the future might hold and how might we prepare for that future?

These musings inexplicably took me back many decades to Mr (Darby) Munro, a Latin teacher in secondary school.  Although I never truly came to grips with the forms of declension in Latin, Mr Munro instilled in me a fascination with the pithy nature of the Latin language.  You know the sort of thing – veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). This message was reportedly sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to provide an overview and result on a battle he had led, and won, in 47 BC.  Pithy indeed. This message would surely hold its own in the world of text messaging today more than 2000 years later.  These expressions – and there are many of them – are everywhere to this day (think ‘carpe diem’, ‘ipso facto’, ‘in vino veritas’, labor omnia vincit, mea culpa and ad nauseum).  At the risk of invoking the latter I’ll let you chase-up the English translations if you need …

My musing considered why do 60 or more of our 150 Sailability GC volunteers present themselves to SYC Hollywell each Tuesday for 48 weeks of the year for a day on the water with 80 or more clients?  Why do 30 or more volunteers present themselves again on Thursday each week of the year for more sailing, maintenance work or training?  The answer is quid pro quo – ‘something for something’.  Everybody, volunteer and client, gets ‘something’ and gives ‘something’.

People volunteer for a variety of reasons, with the main reason being that volunteers simply enjoy helping others. Many volunteers also want to learn new skills and gain experience. Volunteering can help people build confidence and self-esteem and meet new people.  Volunteering can build resilience. Some of our volunteers have invested 20 years or more (in other words from our beginnings) into Sailability Gold Coast (meet one of them (Stan Phillips) here: in our first newsletter for 2020).

Sailability volunteers are members of a very special family, each a vital member of a special community.

So, what is the quid pro quo – that something for something for them?  Every volunteer at Sailability Gold Coast experiences a palpable pride, a camaraderie and a social connection and, as many of them are sailors with decades of experience you will often find yourself having a chat over a tea or coffee – learning, sharing, teaching, giving and often laughing together.

Sailability Gold Coast is made up of 100% volunteers.  Volunteers play a unique and valuable role in the services we provide. Their time, commitment, dedication, and skills are valued at Sailability.  Most clients and carers, who rely on the volunteers to be there every week to take them for a sail or a boat ride no doubt value the dedication and commitment of the volunteers.

Speaking of our client base (many of whom have been visiting Sailability every week for many years) as a new volunteer you quickly learn that they give you much more than you them.  It is a fundamental human spiritual connection that you experience.  You also come to learn that the clients are brave and adventurous, and each has a story to tell as indeed we all do.  Per ardua ad astra – through hardships to the stars.  The clients (and their carers) of Sailability Gold Coast are all part of our family – part of our community.

Many readers may not be aware of the enormous financial and ‘in kind’ contribution that our volunteers, supporters and sponsors and some of our clients have made to the infrastructure at Hollywell – ex gratia.  Over the past 20 years that contribution runs to, conservatively, more than $1.5M. This willingness to contribute occurs for many reasons described above in this column.  At SYC Hollywell the ‘something for something’ is built upon the cornerstone that is the harmonious relationship we share with Simon, Mark, Karen and Leo – the SYC team at Hollywell.  They too are part of the SailabilityGC family – part of our community.  Amazing magic happens with collaboration and communication.

Of course, SYC members and their family and friends are always welcome to visit Sailability.  After all you are all de facto members of our family, our community.  Why not consider volunteering at SailabilityGC?  If you know someone with a disability or, if you have a friend or family member in their senior years, get them to consider a sail or a boat ride on the GC’s beautiful Broadwater with Sailability Gold Coast.  For contact details visit .

Each week our clients join us for a ride on our Pontoon Boat (Freedom) or our 4.75 Savage Dolphin (Flipper).  Many choose to sail on one of our two Payne Salvo day sailor yachts (Spirit and Hope) or one of our 12 Hansa ‘double’ skiffs or our two 2.3 ‘single’ skiffs. And lurking always is the Liberty Hansa Access (‘Primary’).

Down to the business of our business.

This year is off to a rather slow start with several our first sailing weeks cancelled due to weather conditions.

However, we did enjoy Australia Day on the beach at Hollywell on a truly magnificent GC day where more than 60 Sailability family and friends gathered to ‘Advance Australia Fair’.  Again, Richard the hard-working SYC ‘lone ranger barman’ on the day gave his all at SYC Hollywell.

On 22nd March this year Sailability Gold Coast will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our incorporation and that surely will see some form or other of celebration.  Keep an eye on our Calendar of Events for more detail to come.

Over the Christmas New Year break ur Payne Salvo Day Sailor, ‘Spirit’ was buffed, anti-fouled and sprayed and is really carving up the water (as all of you that have been following her over the finish line know).

Sail Paradise was an enormous event and surely will continue to grow in stature.  The Sailability volunteers, along with their fellow crew members, put on a great performance on the SKUD 18s.  Well done to you all.

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