Over the years I've heard bar skippers pontificating at how the Sussex Yacht Club must be making a packet from the Royal Escape Race, which is just wrong. The truth is that not a single penny collected from race entries or donated by our valued sponsors goes to SYC or benefits any of the organising team, who are all volunteers. The efforts of the SYC Office is given free and even this website has been developed at no charge.
We do of course get huge bills each year with the largest costs being the social events in France along with the provision of prizes and silver; for example the cost of engraving and insuring our historic trophies makes you wince. Cost control is taken very seriously, unless it's to do with making the race better for you, which is why we always seem to go over budget when it comes to keeping the drinks flowing at the prize giving.
But when the SYC credit cards and myriad of invoices have been settled, every single penny left is held separate, and after making provisions for the following year's race fund, the SYC Commodore presents Sussex Sailability with a cheque. This RYA founded charity gets handicapped people out on the water; the effect that your entry into the RER has on those that can swop a wheelchair for the helm of a specially designed sailing dinghy is remarkable. Year in, year out, the Sailability volunteers do all they can to make the dream of going sailing a reality for people who otherwise would never get the chance, and they rely on the Royal Escape Race to carry on with their amazing work.
And there's more.... sometimes we decide to dip into the reserves to make a special award for a deserving cause, such as when we were approached by the Shoreham Youth Sailing Team who were trying to raise enough money to get them out to Rochester New York. They wanted to test themselves in the Sonar World Championships and we helped pay for some good second hand sails and other expenses. This team of really keen teenage sailors had been washing cars, swimming the river for sponsorship and basically doing anything within reason for money, and bearing in mind they are the sailors of tomorrow we thought they were worth supporting. Have a look at the blog and hopefully you'll agree.
So in summary, yes we do charge for entries to the race and yes we make sure cups are filled and fun is had by all in France, but long after the race has finished your entrance money and sponsorship keeps on working, revealing our amazing sport to people who perhaps deserve a chance to mess about in boats more than any of us.
From all of them, to all of you, thanks.
Chair, Royal Escape Race Committee