Lane Cove 12Ft Sailing Club Elects Max Gundy as a Life Member – The Man Who Saved the Club After Fire and the COVID Pandemic

    On Friday, 8 April 2024, the Lane Cove 12 Ft Sailing Club (located in Longueville near the Longueville Wharf) held a function to recognise that Max Gundy, a two-time commodore of the club, had been elected a life member.

    It was appropriate that it was a stunning Friday evening on the Lane Cove River with the sun setting over the water and a gentle breeze blowing.  The club had invited all the Life Members to attend the function, and it was a big turnout.

    It is tradition for another life member to introduce the new inductee and make a speech about the new life member’s contribution to the club.

    ITC was invited to the function, and this was the speech that life member Andrew Glassock presented.

    Andrew Glassock and Max Gundy

    Tribute to Max Gundy by Andrew Glassock

    Good evening, at the Club’s Annual General Meeting on June 7, 2021 the club membership unanimously elected Max Gundy as a Life Member of the Club. I would like to take a few minutes of your time to outline the contributions made by Max to our club.

    In the club’s 100-plus-year history, very few people, Max being the fourth and me the third, have served two terms as Commodore, and very few Commodores have had to face the challenges that Max encountered during his second term.

    On this International Women’s Day as I look across at the Commodores Honour board and I note that there has not been a woman as Commodore, I hope that is soon corrected.

    As a Club we do have a number of women who are life members, Karyn Gojnich who is overseas and unable to attend this evening, both Carolina Biggs and Beth Dawkins are able to join us this evening, a round of applause to acknowledge them.

    The Fire

    I want to take you back to Saturday 15th September 2018. There was a real buzz around the club, its Opening Day of the 2018 -19 season. Club membership and registered boat numbers are strong. Racing is back underway, old boats have had their winter maintenance, kids stepping up a class into new boats – let go sailing!. After a few post race refreshments and afternoon tea members headed home and the club was locked up.

    About 3am the following morning the buzz was Max’s phone ( I still don’t know why he answered it) saying the smoke alarm in the western shed had been triggered. Getting out of bed and driving to the club to investigate Max found the Fire Brigade in attendance and the Western Shed and Council Dinghy lockers fully engulfed in flame and the firies actively defending the main clubhouse from ember attack carried by strong westerly winds. Thankfully Lane Cove council had only months earlier removed the large pine tree from the cliff face behind the kitchen otherwise the roof would have been covered in pine needles.

    As the flames died down and the sun came up the true extent of the damage was clear – the building and the 46 dinghies stored in the shed were lost. As word got out and members gathered later that morning and it was clear there was a strong will to rebuild and build back better.

    Within hours (and no change of clothes or makeup) Max was fronting national TV as the evening news covered the story of the fire.

    As well as media liaison for the club Max was

    •  loss and grief counsellor
    •  political activist
    •  political lobbyist
    •  a top-class schmoozer (and I mean that in the nicest possible way)
    •  a town planner
    •  a concert promoter ( the Enormous Horns are a great band)
    •  sponsorship wrangler
    •  finance and budget overseer and negotiator

    There are probably a few hats I have missed but most of all Max was the Team Leader and coordinator (herder) of the efforts of the many many members and supporters who helped the rebuild sub committee. He doing all of this when he had given up the suits and ties of the finance world for shorts and t-shirts to run his new business, Sydney Sailmakers.

    The Rebuild

    And so the rebuild clock started ticking and 1141 days later on Saturday 30th October 2021 the new Western Boathouse and Storage Facility was officially opened.

    I know as Max expressed to me as the project hit speed bumps – “ can’t we just get this bloody thing built”

    COVID 19

    Just as all the complex pieces of the western shed rebuild were falling into place in early 2020 Max and the club had to deal with a global curve ball – Covid 19 which initially curtailed our sailing programs. Max and the committee were able to develope and implement the necessary safety plans that allowed us as a club to recommence sailing and later limited social activities, As the government restrictions changed, so the clubs plans needed to be modified and adjusted to meet the new regulations and health environment. As always in this difficult period Max’s leadership skills were exemplary and he worked hard to keep the membership informed

    That is the recent past, so stepping back in time a few years Max Gundy joined the Club in 2005 when his son Cam first enrolled in our Learn to Sail Program. Despite not being an experienced sailor, Max threw himself into volunteering his time to assist with junior sailing and was always the first to volunteer when BBQ cooking or other skills were required. When Max’s other two children Maddy and Charlie also joined our LTS Programs in 2007, Max ramped up his contribution to the Club and by joining the Club’s Management Committee.

    In 2009 was elected as Commodore and over the next three years he made great improvements to the way in which the Club communicated with members at
    a time when our membership was expanding quite rapidly. The growth that we experienced over that period was notable because at the time many other sailing Clubs had static or declining membership. Max also decided that his kids could not have all the fun and so he started to learn to sail dinghies himself.

    Never one to do things the easy way Max effectively learned to sail in the very challenging 12ft Skiffs. Starting off in 2012-13 and has been a regular competitor each season since then. He also competed in the 2012-13 Cherub Nationals Championships at Lake Macquarie as crew for Charlie.

    And to give Max the last word in the 2021 Annual report Max said:

    “This is my final year as Commodore. When I accepted the role, nobody could have foreseen the fire at the Western Shed, COVID-19 and the resulting issues at our

    While the past three years have been challenging, the support of the Club’s Committee made the role so much easier. Re-building the shed and decking area
    could not have been accomplished if not for the members of the Re-build Committee who worked with me. Finally, and most importantly, thank you to our

    Club members and Supporters who have all been so wonderful and encouraging over the past three years. I finish my term as Commodore incredibly grateful and
    appreciative of you all.”

    A big thank you to Shelagh Gundy for her support and encouragement and to Max’s family Maddie, Cam and Charlie.

    Max Gundy’s Reply

    Max’s reply was humble and incredibly funny. He stressed, however, that he could not have achieved the rebuilding of the club and guided the club through COVID-19 without the support of the club members and the volunteers who turn up every week to undertake maintenance of the club’s buildings, equipment, and rescue boats.

    Well done, Max, on your life membership. Not many people have had to guide an organisation through fire and a pandemic.

    Help Support Local and Independent News

    You can support us in three ways:

    1. Become an ITC reader sponsor – If you have enjoyed our local news coverage, please consider becoming an ITC reader sponsor. You can sponsor us with a monthly sponsorship fee. We have reader sponsors who support us for $5.00 a month and some who invest $100 a year – no amount is too small or too big. Thank you so much to those who supported us via our press Patreon account. Help Us Here.
    2. Buy the ITC  team a coffee – We now have a team, and they need to be paid – by the ITC team a coffee (or two) that will help us pay their wages. Buy a Coffee here.
    3. If you own a Lane Cove Business or a Lane Cove resident who owns a business, you can advertise with ITC. Please email us here for our raise card.