Now that we have closed out 2017, I’m happy to report that preliminary results indicate we met our financial targets for the year. Our contribution to capital is slightly better than budgeted, new member initiation fees greater than projected and capital expenditures less than anticipated. Collectively, this produced a capital reserve account balance better than plan. The final numbers will be shared in detail at our Annual General Meeting on January 9.
Back in the February 2017 issue of the Mainsheet, I published the Board’s goals for the year. Here is how we performed against those goals:
Capital Reserves and Cash Management
Our goal was to maintain a capital reserve balance of a least $1.2M; we finished the year with a balance of $2M, a portion of which is earmarked for the Dredge/Berm projects. Our target was to maintain a $1.5M insurance reserve; we finished the year with $1.6M. Our working capital target was $700K; we finished the year with $1.1M (comparable to the last five years' average), some of which will pay down certain year-end accounts payable.
Membership Development, Retention & Affordability
Our objective in 2017 was to implement a professional approach to growing our membership. We brought on a membership director and are in the process of moving the membership application and tracking process online. That investment should pay dividends in the new year. We also began reviewing the membership structure to address affordability and work toward streamlining the membership categories. This effort, as well as some thoughts on retention, were explored but not implemented this year. The 2018 Board may wish to carry on that work.
The St. Francis Yacht Club is honored to continue our partnership with Rolex. I am pleased to report that, following on 12 years of partnership, our contract has been successfully renewed and expanded from a four-year to a five-year agreement. We look forward to working alongside Rolex through 2022 and beyond. We also extended the Kilroy regatta partnership for another four years. Other sponsorship discussions are in process.
Junior and Outreach Programs
Our 2017 emphasis was inclusiveness. By setting High School Sailing in fall only, we opened our upcoming spring months for a variety of on-the-water experiences for high school-age youth. We will build more-complete sailors this way, and participation is open to the community, not limited to the seven high schools we support in the fall. In a successful pilot program, the YMCA entered ten underserved students in our Learn-to-Sail classes, and we expect this to grow. Lastly, we had a great Call of the Sea weekend and a record-breaking Bike and Toy Drive.
Improvement in operational efficiencies allowed us to exceed our contribution to capital. The staff controlled food costs and optimized the use of our service labor to improve operational margins. Member engagement was up across the board year over year: dining covers increased 3.2% overall; A La Carte were up 6.5%; Club Functions covers increased 5.4%. Catering covers decreased 6.5% while posting roughly the same profit as 2016, an indication of better efficiencies.
This will be my last Mainsheet communique to you as Chairman of the Board. It has been a privilege serving the Club as a Director over the last three years—two of those years as Chairman. I’ve been fortunate to work with fellow members as Directors, Flag Officers and Appointed Officers who have been truly dedicated to the betterment of the Club in every way. To all of you, I say, “thank you.”
Working with our staff has been a delight. We should be proud of the caliber of our employees and their dedication to the St. Francis Yacht Club. Without them we would not have been able to deliver the member experience or execute on the budget as successfully as we have. To all of you, I say “thank you.”
I wish the 2018 Commodore and Board of Directors the best of success for the coming year.
Robin J. Driscoll
Chairman of the Board