Concord & Ryde Sailing Club Inc

Life 2023


At the Concord & Ryde Sailing Club’s AGM held at Putney Bowling Club on 28th July, 2023 Duncan McRae and Ross Venner were nominated for Life Membership of CRSC.

Duncan McRae.

Duncan joined CRSC 13 years ago during the 2010/11 season with his NS14. After a couple of seasons took on the roll of NS14 Class Captain for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons and did a commendable job in this position. The following season he accepted the roll of Commodore and has held this very responsible position for 9 seasons. Over this period Duncan has also represented our Club in discussions with authorities about various matters. Duncan always adds sense to our Management Committee meeting about topics raised.

The nomination for Life Membership was made by our President, Chris Gildersleeve and was as follows:-

 “I think the toughest job in CRSC is Commodore. As Commodore you get little rest between seasons and across the season need to be on top of everything from the smooth running of the program through to what’s the wind like today through to our Presentation Day. The Commodore is the one responsible for all our on-water activities each week. It the most full-time volunteer job in CRSC.  

Duncan McRae succeeded me as Commodore in 2014. He has shown unending commitment to ensuring our Saturdays happen as they should for 9 seasons! Duncan holds the record of the longest serving Commodore.

Duncan has not only served us selflessly as Commodore. He steps up whenever the opportunity to help with projects and assist members. For example, he is using his engineering capabilities to collect wave data to help with our application for funding for a southern groyne to increase protection of our beach.

Duncan not only sails on our river. He is an accomplished open water sailor and navigator with many Sydney to Hobart races under his belt. He chooses not to ride in the relative “luxury” of a maxi. His choice is one of the smaller boats in the fleet, a more challenging journey.  He happily shares with us what he has learned beyond the heads.

It is my privilege as my last act as President to nominate Duncan McRae as a life member of CRSC.”

The motion was seconded by Craig Burwood and passed be the members unanimously.

Shortly after this Duncan was re-elected as Commodore for the 2023/24 season this being his 10th season in this role.

Ross Venner.

Ross joined CRSC 20 years ago during the 2001/02 with his Firebug introducing this Class to CRSC. He endeavoured to establish a fleet of this class of boat and was elected as our Firebug Class Captain and when this was merged in with other classes became our Class Captain for “A” and “B” Divisions endeavouring to nurture those who sailed a boat outside our normal classes.

Ross was nominated for Life Membership by our Moth Class Captain, Shane Greaves, whose nomination proposal covers much of Ross’s activities over the years and it follows:-

“It's with great pleasure that I nominate Ross Venner to be recognised as a life member of the Concord and Ryde Sailing Club (CRSC). I believe that Ross should be honoured as a life member because of his many years of contribution to the growth and prosperity of CRSC. I work alongside Ross at the Club and strongly believe that he is a prime candidate for Life Membership because of the impact and contributions he has made to the club over the years.

Ross Venner joined CRSC in 2001/02 season and over the years Ross has slowly worked on how the club can prosper into this ever changing future. It all started with the Firebug he built in which he caught the bug of wooden boat building, this inspired him to take a course at TAFE to gain his certificate 3 in marine construction. Whilst Ross was sailing his newly built Firebug he started campaigning the Firebug fleet not only at CRSC but throughout Australia forming the Australian Firebug Class Association to this end he organised the first Interclub between Lindisfarne Sailing Club in Tasmania taking a team from CRSC to compete.

In 2018 Ross noted the decreasing number in youth, in particular wanting to get involved in sailing and joining the club. Ross had an idea that getting youth to build Firebugs at the club during the off season may encourage more youth into the club along with building skills and most importantly a sense of community. This along with the sail making programme went well and was well received though a number of articles published in various magazines.  

Over the last few years Ross has not been able to get the winter youth boat building programme running due to Covid however he has been hard at work planning and building a team to help him.

Fast forward to 2023 Ross organised to reinvigorate what he had started in 2018 and was able to get Boatcraft NSW and Boatcraft Pacific to come aboard and sponsor the programme. Ross has been heavily active promoting the programme and the club throughout social media and articles in magazines to this end the feedback has been positive for the club and is getting noticed as far as the UK. This has also attracted some possible big supporters like the major boat fittings manufacturer Ronstan to reach out to the club requesting to come onboard to sponsor.

Ross’s dedication to the prosperity of CRSC is extraordinary and the positive waves he is making for the club is remarkable and for this I believe Ross Venner deserves to be honoured as a life member.”  

This nomination was seconded and passed unanimously by the members.

For the 2023/24 season Ross still remains as Class Captain for the “A” Class and the “B” Class as well as still using his expertise in the building and maintenance of Club boats.