Interview with Club Commodore

Interview with Club Commodore

Godwin Zammit has been on the RMYC committee since 2000, serving as Rear Commodore Racing and as the Race Committee Chairman of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.  An architect by profession, he took a very active role in the development of the Club’s premises. This is Godwin’s ninth year as Commodore. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with the RMYC. 

RMYC | You have been on the Club Committee for twenty years, and this year marks your ninth year as Commodore. How has the Club evolved throughout these years? What are, in your opinion, the highlights and lowdowns of the past eight years?

Twenty years is a long time. I previously acted as Rear Commodore Racing for 10 years and 2020 is my ninth year as Commodore. The former position was just about the sport while as Commodore there is far greater involvement in all other aspects of the Club. The Club had to manage numerous ongoing operations including the Bar and a marina while maintaining regular social activities and a full racing programme. The highlight of the year remains the Rolex Middle Sea Race which has continued to grow in stature and takes up much of the club’s efforts to organise. The Club has faced numerous challenges in the past eight years, among which were the acquisition of the club restaurant The Galley and appointing a caterer and the ongoing legal saga regarding part of the club property on the waterfront. For me the most gratifying development in these recent years was the setting up of the RMYC Sailing School in partnership with Sailcoach. I felt that a sailing school was an essential part of a yacht club and this has grown and evolved into a very successful undertaking thanks largely to the dedication of our instructors.

RMYC | The Club Committee adapted to the Covid-19 situation by meeting online. Have virtual meetings been a positive learning curve for the Committee? Have the meetings been less colourful?

Virtual meetings are an acceptable alternative but they have their limitations and make it more difficult to have meaningful discussion and reach conclusions with a large number of persons.

RMYC | Obviously right now the Club is being steered through the Covid-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times, as the Club has never been completely closed to its members. With restrictions now being eased slightly, how is the Club planning on returning into operational mode?

In the present circumstances arising from the COVID19 pandemic, the Club had to close as required by the health authority’s directives. As things are now starting to be relaxed we eagerly wait till we are able to become active again. After consideration, now that restaurants have opened again, we were able to get certification to Covid-19 Protocols by the Malta Tourism Authority to open the Club’s Terrace.  Meanwhile the Sailing School has opened within the parameters they are allowed to operate in and we eagerly await to be allowed to start racing again.

RMYC | Health Authorities and Sport Malta have issued a number of guidelines with regards to resumption of activities. Whilst dinghy sailing does not seem to be of an issue, what is your take on the regulations issued for keelboats? Do you think they are realistic or doable? What are the plans for the Club’s racing calendar?

Sailing on keelboats is permitted with limited numbers but competitive racing is still not allowed. We hope that this will be eased sufficiently to permit racing to start again even if with certain limitations so we can resume some of the planned events which had to be postponed.

RMYC | With sailing being such a social sport, do you think that racing will be difficult if there is any anxiety about social distancing? Do you think that this will put off sailors from taking part in races, once the Club restarts its racing calendar?

Sailing is an activity which takes place out on the water with a limited number of crew on board so I don’t think sailors will be put off racing. There may have to be restrictions on holding the social activities that normally take place around racing events.

RMYC | World Sailing announced, earlier on this week, that the World Sailing has cancelled the 2020 Offshore World Championship, due to be held alongside October’s Rolex Middle Sea Race in Valletta, Malta, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disappointing but understandable. What about the Rolex Middle Sea Race – have any decisions been taken or will the Club give it some more time before a final decision will be taken?

World Sailing decided to cancel the Offshore World Championship for mixed doubles in the present circumstances. The Rolex Middle Sea Race, however is still a distinct possibility. The race is scheduled for October and we hope that things might have relaxed sufficiently to permit the event to happen even if in a reduced form. There is good interest from sailors with entries at a near normal level for this time of year. It seems that sailors, having had to miss out on much racing this year, might be hoping to at least race in the RMSR at the end of the season. We continue to review the situation as it evolves and act accordingly.

RMYC | What lessons have been learnt, from the Club’s perspective? Will the Club be doing things differently going forward?

This is an extraordinary situation which may require new measures for a while once the club is allowed to open again. We hope that things may return to normal in the not too distant future.

RMYC | On a personal level, how has Covid-19 affected you?

Personally I have not been seriously affected by the situation so far except that meeting people has become restricted and the sailing programme has had to be put on hold.

RMYC | Anything you are looking forward to once this is all over?

We hope to be able to function normally again and start to implement new ideas we had been discussing to enhance the facilities at the club and increase activity for members.


RMYCRMYC CommodoreRoyal Malta Yacht Club
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