MSC Club of the year 2020 nomination, highly commended.

The following is our submission to Australian Sailing for club of the year 2019/2020. This submission was compiled by Malcolm Parsons.

Please click play to listen to the audio translation of the document.

Victorian Club of the Year


Does your club have a strategy to attract and retain underrepresented groups in sailing eg disability, CALD, youth and women? (2,500 character limit)

Sailabilty: Mordialloc Sailing Club has an established record of supporting students with a disability.  A yearly Sailabilty Program with Yarrabah School in Mordialloc has now run for over 5 years with programs in Term 4 and Term 1 offered each season. The program was again running this year until cut short by Covid restrictions. Mordialloc volunteers work with staff from Yarrabah to develop and provide a sailing program for students that develops confidence, greater independence and life competencies. Parents are encouraged to attend and are invited to observe the program via support craft. At the end of the program a presentation is held and parents are provided with a pathways documents that includes information on transition into our sail training programs, volunteering at the club, boat rental and so on. Where appropriate the instructors will take parents sailing with their children. Refer to video

Mordialloc also offers bespoke programs in this area and has run events for Rossbourne School and Berendale School in past seasons.

Youth sailing: Refer to club coaching/ development program and the Open Skiff seed program outlined below. With the Seed Fleet program MSC is developing a strategy and class structure to enable experienced junior & youth sailors from the open skiffs, to progress to intermediate classes such as 4.7s and Flying Ants.

When a family join our training program and have a child that needs extra support to participate an extra Instructor is added to a group so the whole family can participate within that one group.

Women in sailing: Under the ‘Change our Game’ program a  sailing day with Mordialloc College Year 9 girls was scheduled this season until abandoned due to Covid.  A speaker (Jeni Danks) was included. The aim was to support the relationship with Mordialloc College, provide a sailing and development experience for the girls and illustrate pathways into the club for the participants.

Two of our key instructors for youth sailing and Sailabilty are young women (see Sailabilty video). Both were involved in the Open Skiff Nationals as coaches. Both have received financial support from the club for instructor and powerboat courses.

A yearly training scholarship(s) for training is offered to both Yarrabah students and Mordialloc College Students.


How has your club worked to grow participation in the past twelve months, and what have the results been? (2,500 characters)

Sail training and boat hire: The club offers a wide range of sail training opportunities including sailboard training. Participants become members during the training. Retention is comparatively strong with around 20% of adults and 40% of juniors (and their parents) becoming members the following season. Mordialloc has a large number of good quality club boats, including Pacers, Lasers and Open Skiffs. These can be rented by members on a daily, half-season or season basis. Fees are kept deliberately low to encourage participation and this has proven very popular with current and past sail trainees and new members, and has been a big factor in this successful retention rate.

Open Skiffs: In May 2019 the Open skiff association approached MSC with a proposal to run their national titles in January 2020. This included a ‘Seed Fleet Program’ where the Skiff association supplied 11 boats for MSC junior members to be trained up to sail in the nationals from green fleet upwards.  MSC undertook to train the juniors in the three months leading up to the nationals with the expectation that the families would purchase the boats at a 30% discount after the series, which they did. This was a huge win-win for all parties as the Skiffs gained a new Victorian club fleet focus and increased numbers at the nationals.

MSC now has 16 Open Skiffs sailing. The fleet is supported with club training and a class transition strategy which is popular with parents. This significantly increased membership as can be seen by the following family membership data. Family memberships 2017/18 – 88, 2018/19 – 97, 2019/20 – 128! This is the largest number of family memberships at the club for 10 years.

Junior Sleepover: A junior sleepover is held every year, generally on the weekend of the November Go Sailing Day and our juniors help out with the sailing activities on the Sunday with a focus on the younger visitors.

Coffee Cruise: Popular with both racing and non-racing sailors is our Saturday morning Coffee cruise where sailors cruise to the local beachside café and then back in time for lunch at the club. Non-sailors and trainees are actively encouraged to participate and this has doubtlessly held, if not increased members looking for a more relaxed sailing option.

Kids in Sharpies: The Sharpie class at MSC holds at least one “Kids in Sharpies” day per season, often in conjunction with the sleepover, where the younger members and friends are invited to go for a sail. This exciting experience is loved by the kids and has resulted in a few new regular crew members within the class.

SUPs: Mordialloc also as 3 new stand up paddle boards that can be used by members for free. This has proven very popular with sailors and non-sailors alike and has the added benefit of getting members to the club outside race days.

Midweek twilight sailing followed by a social dinner attracts a range of members and gusts to the club during the summer months. The convergence between this and the initiatives above is helps retain and build membership.

Please outline the activities you conduct in partnership with schools(2,500 characters)

MSC has a long standing record of of working with schools to provide a range of programs and experiences. Due to Covid a number of these have had to be suspended.

Parkdale Secondary College: For many years sailing at Mordialloc was an important part of Parkdale Secondary College’s Term 4 sports program. This program has introduced hundreds of Year 8 students to sailing.

Yarrabah School: The Yarrabah program has been described previously but a short comment from the organising teacher of this year’s program reinforces its value. “We would like to express our appreciation to you and the Mordialloc sailing team. We have had an extremely enjoyable experience and one the students will never forget! The time, effort, skills, understanding and caring nature from ALL the staff at Mordialloc sailing club has been greatly noticed and appreciated, everyone went above and beyond to make sure our students had a positive experience, we feel it was definitely a success, and was great to see how excited some parents were especially Lester’s parents, because for them, this was a massive achievement for their son! We look forward to hearing from you/ continuing this program next year.”

Mordialloc College: MSC developed a strong relationship with Mordialloc College and last season ran an adventure day for the Year 9 boys. Unfortunately as mentioned previously the Girls day planned for this year had to be cancelled due to Covid 19. During the recent Pacer and Open Skiff National Titles MSC and Mordialloc College worked together to provide low cost camping options at the college. Feedback on this from regatta participants was very positive indeed.

Please describe your club coaching/ development program (2,500 characters)

MSC is a Discover Sailing Center running courses from the Dinghy Program (youth and adult), Tackers Program (junior) and Windsurfing Program, and can run the Powerboat Handling Programs.

Tackers: had 17 Registrations this season. To support juniors transitioning from Tackers into the Open Skiff fun sailing, MSC runs a Junior Development Program which includes many fun activities where the juniors learn varying skills along the way in a fun environment. The juniors receive instruction from qualified Instructors and also learn from the other juniors who have started in the program earlier.

Junior Development Program: 2019 – 2020 was a very successful season for the Junior Development Program with 16 juniors regularly participating in Saturday morning development sessions and/or Saturday afternoon club racing. The highlights have been covered elsewhere.

The Dinghy Program had strong numbers this season with an even balance of men and women. In fact the club needed to utilize all 8 club Pacers for Feb-Mar.

• The 2019 Oct -Nov SS2 course had 10 participants

• The 2020 Feb-Mar SS1 course had 6 participants

• The 2020 Feb-Mar Better Sailing course had 8 participants

Due to COVID-19 restrictions there are still 3 outstanding sessions for the Better Sailing (BS) course. To ensure continuity and member retention these will be completed at the beginning of the next season before promoting a Racing Skills 1 course to them.

Boardsailing: This season was the second year running Start Windsurfing courses. There were 5 participants this season and whilst still early days MSC see this as a growth area for the club. Mordialloc has both a fully qualified Windsurfing Instructor and a windsurfing simulator – both are very rare in Victoria.

Instructor training: To maintain the standards of all programs MSC funds, on average, the training of one new Instructor and assistant instructor per season.


Describe the main events hosted at your club in season 2019-20 (2,500 characters)

Mordialloc Sailing Club has a very strong reputation for successful regatta management and boasts a very experienced race management team that includes international, national and state race officers supported by experienced volunteers.

Mordialloc successfully conducted the following events during the 2019-20 season:

* Pacer National titles Dec 19 to Jan 20. A highly successful event with 23 entries supported by 23 Club volunteers

* Open Skiff National titles – Jan 20. This was an exceptional event that included 64 entries and 53 Club Volunteers and coaches for Silver and Green fleets

* Mordialloc Sailing Club winter series, – Aug and Sept 19

* Sail Mordy and the Vic Dinghy Champs. Very strong entry of 75 boats

* Sharpie State titles Nov ’19. 17 entries of which 9 were MSC boats.

MSC held two ‘Discover Sailing Days’, one November 10th 2019 and the other January 5th 2020.

Tours of the club and sailing experiences were offered to visitors. 3 participants signed up and have participated in training courses.

Please describe your volunteer reward and retention strategy? (2,500characters)

Volunteers: Mordialloc is a relatively small, family oriented club and relies entirely on volunteers for the programs, events and regattas that it conducts. We have a large group of committed and long standing volunteers who commit again and again to the extensive list programs outlined earlier. This is highlighted by a number of volunteers who supported the two national titles, then Saturday morning training and Friday morning Sailability.

Retention: The retention rate for volunteers is extremely high and reflects the care the program leaders take in managing and supporting the volunteers.

Official recognition is an important part of reward and retention and this includes; funding training courses, recognition functions and via club media, and a club person of the year award. Although these are important more critical is the way volunteers are treated and supported.

Key factors to support and retain volunteers are:

  • Each program or event has a designated leader who is responsible for the program and the volunteers in that program
  • Information is critical – program or event detail is communicated to volunteers in a consistent, timely and defined manner
  • Program or event objectives are clearly outlined to the volunteers
  • Roles for each volunteer are clearly articulated and the volunteer is trusted to carry out this role
  • Volunteer input is invited and respected. The volunteers own the program they are involved in
  • Feedback from the participants in the program is shared with the volunteers
  • The program should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience
  • The program leaders continually liaise with each other to ensure volunteers wellbeing and prevent overloading and potential burnout.


Describe how your club has promoted itself over the past year, citing examples of promotions and successes?

Mordialloc use a range of media to promote itself. This includes:

Email: Weekly ‘Around Mordi’ newsletter that is also shared on Facebook

MSC website: Includes events, results and static information. The weather station and video cam is extremely popular with members and other community stakeholders such as fishers and owners of boats moored in the creek

MSC Facebook includes posts of events, news, sharing of sailing stories, photos and videos. The MSC profile remains consistent and now with the addition of posting on Instagram we reaching a new audience. The posts about the St Ayles Skiff drew many supporters and helped get the MSC name out to a new audience, as did the video on Sailability produced by Ray White & Co in Parkdale. Highest reach on Facebook was 2.1k for posts about the Open Skiff Nationals.

YouTube: Small videos posted to YouTube of club activities.

MSC have also been working with the Bendigo Community Bank, sponsor of the St Ayles skiff, on co-promotions in social media.

Flyers delivered to local schools

Visits and displays: MSC attended and displayed at the Mordialloc College community expo in 2019 

What involvement does your club have in your local community?

Mordialloc Sailing Club is an active member of the local community and has a strong relationship with the City of Kingston Council. Members of the council along with state and federal members of parliament and regular guests at our opening day and other events throughout the season.

Relationships with schools in the area have been outlined elsewhere and will remain a key focus of the club.  Additionally MSC donated two boat hulls to Aspendale Gardens Primary School recently as play equipment and there are early discussions around possible sailing programs.

The Director of Ray White Mordialloc is a volunteer and strong supporter of the Sailabilty program. Recently he made a video of the program to feature on their community series “Local Heroes.”

Currently we have been having discussions on how we can assist the Mordialloc Sea scouts while they transition to a new location after their own building on Lamberts Island in Mordialloc Creek was burnt to the ground.

MSC has a positive and ongoing relationship and agreement with Mordialloc Motor Yacht Club. Reciprocal sailing events and special membership arrangements are two aspects of this relationship.

St Ayles Skiff: During 2019 a St Ayles Skiff was built at Mordialloc Sailing Club. This is a community project sponsored by the local Bendigo Bank and is aimed at supporting the local (and broader) community to build and then row a traditional Scottish rowing skiff in bay along with other member clubs where possible. A special membership deal is being offered to the builders from outside the club who want to maintain their association with the skiff through the club and join one of the rowing teams.

The skiff was launched in mid-January just in time for us to join the Steamers Run rally in Gippsland April this year and since then has been rowed by 4 different teams.

Mordialloc Sailing Club is registered with the National St Ayles Skiff Assn and the plan is make the skiff available to community teams for social or event rowing (there is a national program of events and competitions). The release of information has been delayed due to Covid but Bendigo Bank is ready to get right behind the skiff in their local news letter as soon as conditions allow this. Mordialloc will offer support to teams and community memberships for those who would like to become part of the club.

  • Based on word of mouth only, we have receive interest from a number of groups incluing:
    Bendigo Bank itself!
  • Mordialloc College
  • Kingston Youth
  • Mordialloc Community Centre
  • 4th Mordialloc Sea Scouts. 
  • City of Kingston sponsored Youth Alliance

Community resource: MSC offers the club rooms for hire as a function venue.  As well as one-off functions such as birthdays, weddings, etc we have a number of regular users including Kingston Calisthenics College, Sarah Waddell Dance and Fitness Classes, CSIRO Atmospheric Social Club and SCOPE. Members will volunteer to provide support if required.