A.G.M Minutes

Friday, November 16, 2018

NATIONAL SOLO CLASS ASSOCIATION AGM MINUTES

Monday 23rd July 2018

Hayling Island Sailing Club

Present: 42 members present of which 9 were Committee Members.

The meeting was held in the upstairs training room.

Meeting opened: 1935 Meeting closed: 2100

1. Apologies for Absence:

Andrew Thompson; Guy Mayger; Doug Latta; Linda Lee; Steve Watson; Philip Barnes; Nick Hornsby; Martin Frary & Peter Fryer.

2. Minutes of previous AGM 2017

Accepted.

3. Presidents Report

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you, the competitors who have already made this a memorable Championship by reaching the 100-entry target. Hayling Island Sailing Club have managed to get half of their fleet on the water so congratulations to Fleet Captain David Moseley and Commodore Nick Peters for their efforts. It is one thing to bring the Championship to the water but another to get the sailors to pay the entry fee.

Going forward I wonder if we should try and ensure that host clubs provide a discount for their own members to induce maximum participation.

Thanks also to Nick for providing a discount to our only overseas competitor in the form of Hans Duetz from the Netherlands. I believe it is so important to extend the hand of friendship to all our over sea competitors and hopefully our newly elected President will continue to embrace this ethos with small fleets growing in Portugal and France. I know Doug speaks French quite fluently so Carnac should provide no linguistic challenges.

I would now like take this opportunity to summarise my term in office before handing over the reins to the next lucky candidate.

There were no rule changes at the 2015 AGM held at East Lothian Yacht Club, North Berwick to the relief of those that attended, my induction was popular and beer flowed to celebrate.

The Committee held a strategy meeting later that year to discuss some ideas including;

1. The introduction of on water umpiring which was agreed and Steve Watson duly stepped into the fold.

2. The completion of an updated website which had been co-ordinated by Roger Gravatt and would be built and run by Paul Dowman. This was completed and live by January 2016.

3. Division of the National Championship and Nation’s Cup in the years we host them to enable us to visit more exotic locations. We have visited Italy this year and will be in France in 2019.

Nick Hornsby who had shown interest in becoming Gordon Barclay’s Chief Measurer understudy and will today, take over that role.

As 2016 would be our 60th anniversary we decided to purchase Solo 6000 at a heavily discounted price to give away in a free draw at the 2016 Inland Championship. Nick Hornsby and Dave Winder were instrumental in making this happen.

I received some emails towards the end of 2015 from a prominent builder and a member, the contents prompted the committee and myself to re-evaluate the sustainability of the National Solo in such a competitive market.

In a nutshell, after several months we brought some alternative ideas to the membership via our Solo Specific magazine which certainly improved hits on the message board.

Following further discussion at the 2016 AGM held at Plas Heli North Wales, we were instructed by the membership to “with haste” provide an example of a Solo with altered capping and any other mods that could be done.

We provided an online survey which was completed by 45% of the membership and there were some interesting percentage splits on altered capping, tiller over transom options.

It was only when we displayed an actual prototype, kindly doctored by Steve Denison and Winder Boats at the 2016 Inland Championship that it became clear that we already had a great product and any fundamental change could divide the fleet.

We as a Committee therefore decided against proposing any of the alterations though we made it clear that any member could, with a seconder still make a proposal at the 2017 AGM.

Interestingly, following discussion with RYA Tech, it was made clear to us that any alteration to the fundamental DNA of the National Solo would require all members to vote, therefore a change would be required to our constitution to allow postal voting.

Boat sales had slumped during the period from May to September that year but immediately picked up post decision to the relief of the builders.

Following my prize giving cock up at the 2016 Nationals we decided to simplify the system for categories.

Any member who is 50 on the 1st of January will be classed as Veteran,

60 on the 1st of January would be classed as Grand Master

70 on the 1st of January would be classed as Septimus. We also implemented this system for juniors so:

20 on 1st of January would be classed, unsurprisingly as under 21.

There is still a good chance that I will class Tim Law as a junior, such is his youthfulness.

While we had attempted to hold a Vintage event in 2016 this was scuppered by strong winds, a blessing as I feel there would have been few entrants. The upshot was that the band we had booked for that event was utilised at the Inland Championship where 79 entries enjoyed the Saturday evening following a good day’s racing.

This was punctuated by the draw for Solo 6000 which was won by one of our more popular Scotsman, Patrick Burns.

In honour of our Scottish visitors, a joke that only Scots should get.

There are two cows in a field, which one is on holiday……the one with a wee calf.

In late December 2016 Paul Dowman informed us he was unable to continue to develop and oversee the website and after discussion re-embursed the association some of the funds which we then used for the further development of the site. Neil Hodges at Yellowphin took on this task with Andy Hyland co-ordinating the take over and in May 2017 it was re-launched.

We continue to use Yellowphin but with a Committee sub-team headed by Nigel Davies ensuring that tweaks and bugs are addressed with haste.

Obviously there has been significant cost to the Association for these improvements but I do believe we have a great vehicle for delivering the message that we are a strong and successful organisation.

Input from Committee and members is paramount.

We held a strategy meeting in the Spring of 2017 and the theme was to increase funds to a healthy level. Revenue streams including the Magazine advertising were looked into with a proviso put in place that adverts should be pre-paid for and goods for advert space would be dropped.

Subscriptions increased at the 2016 AGM to £25 from £22 and this would provide additional revenue in 2017 provided we hit member targets.

We also discussed reducing the number of events that would be covered by on-water judging but ensuring we have judging at both the National Championship and Inland Championship.

We introduced Webcollect in May 2017 and this would assist in helping the subscription process and reducing the work load for Membership Secretary and Treasurer.

At the 2017 AGM, held at Royal Torbay Yacht Club there were a number of rule proposals. The Dutch proposed the use of GPS enabled watches which was voted against. Interestingly I believe they were allowed at this year’s Nation’s Cup on Lake Garda but they do not seem to have proved to be a significant aid.

The alternate positioning of correctors was accepted and there are many Solos now with correctors fitted under the thwart which is less conspicuous and clearly not advantageous in a performance capacity.

There was discussion around a possible Nation’s Cup in Barbados which Chris Brown has investigated. Unfortunately, there is currently a state election which could alter the possible allocation of sponsorship funding for such events so we will await the results.

The assembled members voted to continue to have on-water judging at our major events and that an additional costing should be incorporated into entry fees. We have done this at a few of our events but where the club set the fee, an additional cost can be problematic to obtain and also may inhibit competitors from entering if the fee is already high.

So, into 2018 and, following a chance meeting with Max Blom CEO of Magic Marine at the 2017 dinghy show where we had procured the company’s sponsorship of the Nation’s Cup 2017/18/19 we were able to strengthen this relationship with several initiatives.

George Kingsnorth, Magic Marine’s UK representative was instrumental in the development of a class roots initiative aimed at rewarding club sailors, thus the Member and photographic awards were created.

So far 11 Magic Marine £50 e-vouchers have been presented to members and this scene will run until September. We may develop other ways of rewarding members, this is dependent on fleet captains co-ordinating with club members to provide us with worthy candidates.

Our association with Magic Marine has also provided us with title sponsorship of this National Championship, £500 of vouchers and over £1600 in goods, including the caps and visors you should be wearing when on the water.

Magic Marine have also been offering NSCA discounts at various chandleries and via their site so on behalf of our members I would like to thank the team for their generosity. With Magic Marine as our official clothing partner and Noble Marine as our class insurer, we have a package that benefits our members tremendously.

I would also like to thank our other sponsors who have donated generously to our early bird prize draw. Milanes Foils, P+B, Hyde,HD Sails,North Sails, C2 Marine, Selden, Winder and of course HISC who donated three free entries to this event, Doug Latta, Bill Hutchings and Charles Stimpson the lucky winners.

Allen have also provided us with a sponsorship package aimed at rewarding improvement at this regatta so however bad you have done, keep going, you may well receive a voucher for improver of the day or week!

Lastly, it has been my honour to serve as your class President for the last three years. I have enjoyed the challenges that comes with the responsibility but my team of experts must really take the credit. I realised quite early on that a successful committee requires volunteers with the necessary skill sets and I guess my own talent, other than baking was to enthuse fellow sailors, with a race minded mentality to come to the table and break bread with me. I might add that 8 of the Committee are here racing this week.

We are indeed very lucky that a volunteer has come forward with a similar enthusiasm for the National Solo and, having spent some time with Doug Latta, I can confirm that he likes to get from location to destination in the shortest time so I have no doubt he will guide us forward, and with some haste. I would ask that any member who has enthusiasm and passion for the class and has some free time, to step up and join the Committee, there are a few spaces, Vice president among them and we would also benefit from someone with a flair for publicity and marketing to take us forward.

We are one of the most successful single-handed classes in the UK and hitting the 100 figure has confirmed that to the sailing community.

Well done and thank you all.

Graham Cranford-Smith proposed a vote of thanks to Will for his commitment and achievements over the 3 years he has been NSCA President, this received resounding support and agreement from those present.

The President’s report (above) was accepted by those present, matters arising:

Mike Wilkie suggested that reduced entry fees to events for major events was unfair on NSCA members who were paying standard entry fees. Will accepted Mike’s views and apologised for it, stating this was a matter for reconsideration by the committee based on Mike’s comments.

4. Hon Treasurers Report

Having taken over the role of Treasurer at last years AGM this is my first report to you on the financial matters of the Association. I would like to thank David Walford, my predecessor, for his work during the previous four years.

The theme from recent previous Treasurers reports has been of difficult years in the past and this is true to a certain extent for 2017.

Membership Subscription Nationals

Numbers Income Entries

2018 782 to date 18,923 105

2017 817 19,926 90

2016 908 20,114 84

2015 781 19,531 70

Membership at 817 was slightly down on 2016 (908) subscriptions received following the fee increase reduced the monetary decline. Overall income was supported by increased advertising and sale of goods revenue.

Expenditure suffered in a number of areas particularly the website costs, we decided to take a one-off hit and write off all prior year’s expenditure on the old website. The new site build costs we are writing off in 2017 which leaves, going forward, the ongoing support and maintenance costs being the expenditure each year plus any alterations, which I have been informed should not be of any major extent.

I realise this is a big hit - £11,206 - but carrying forward values on the balance sheet of an asset which has no intrinsic value outside the association is not good commercial sense.

You will see, but for this, there would have been a small surplus for the year (£2,769), this has been achieved by reducing the print cost of the magazine, reducing the stand size at the RYA Dinghy Show and reducing the advertising budget – mainly Yachts & Yachting.

The income and expenditure figures for Championships, which include the Springs, Inlands, Winters, Areas, End of Season as well as the Nationals, have been netted as many of the venues collect entry fees on our behalf and then remit any surpluses to the Association. I think this shows a more meaningful result.

Looking forward, this year membership is holding up well, year to date we are in front of 2017 at 782. Magazine costs are further reduced and the Dinghy Show showed a reduction of £600 over 2017. We are anticipating a surplus for 2018 in the order of £6,000.

The committee is constantly looking at containing expenditure but without losing sight of ways of increasing revenue. Above all the aim is to maintain a buoyant and thriving class association.

The main areas under discussion are the:

Magazine – in which format to proceed with and maximising the income revenue together with on line advertising capitalising on the power of the new website.

Dinghy Show – how best to utilise the Association funds in this area.

Possible introduction of a New Sail Fee to produce increased revenues in light of additional costs associated with on water judges, splitting of the Nationals and Nations Cup when we are hosting.

To summarise 2017 has seen some major foundations being laid and these will begin to show positively from 2018. Should you have any questions regarding the annual accounts I will be happy to answer them if not now then by email.

The Hon Treasurer’s report (above) was accepted by those present, only one matter arising:

Magazine costs (Solo Specific).

There was a good deal of discussion amongst those present regarding the comparative costs of a printed & posted magazine versus that of an online alternative.

Central to this discussion were both cost and preference, and it was accepted that 43 members in the room might not be an accurate reflection of the entire membership (736) – many of whom do not travel or compete outside of their club racing, therefore the only tangible benefit for them is likely to be the magazine. In addition to this, many of the members are still paying annual subscription by way of cheque – suggesting that online payment (and other online useage) may not be the preferred option amongst a significant proportion of the membership.

At request from the room, a straw poll vote was taken to assist with clarity on the discussion –

Prefer online: 22

Prefer delivered magazine: 13

Abstentions: 8

There was some feeling within the room that this ratio may indeed reflect the broader membership, regardless - it clearly showed a significant divide.

Members were assured that this subject is a current and ongoing focus for the committee, led by Guy Mayger, who are trying to reduce costs with minimal negative impact on membership numbers.

There was wide agreement for some means of establishing personal preferences so publication numbers could be more relevant to member choice, in anticipation of a financial saving as a result. However, print set costs etc were unknown and may not actually reduce with print numbers.

There followed discussion regarding advertising in the magazine, it was accepted that advertisers prefer to advertise online. It was also explained that

the committee had moved away from a payment with kit for advertising, to a more accountable cash for advertising and this has shown some recordable increase in revenue (advertising income in 2017 was £1270, and 2018 already looks likely to be around £2,000).

5. Membership Secretaries Report

Andrew Thompson was unable to attend, his report (below) was read to those present by Shaun Welsh.

2018 membership Report

Stats:

2018 2017

Full 736 (723)

Junior 3 (3)

Non-Voting 29 (33)

Hon 10 (10)

Overseas Associate 2 (N/A)

Payment outstanding 9

2018 to date 782+9 787

Bank Transfer 587 (513)

Chq 84 (178)

DD 108 (68)

DVD 32 (27)

Booklet 41 (36)

Car Sticker 28 (19)

Highlights:

New Payment method – DD

The Dinghy show was another great success this year despite the weather. Many thanks must go to Doug Latta for arranging a last-minute replacement boat supplied by Charlie Cumbley. The other boat was stuck in Wales (Thanks Errol for doing your best). On the stand was Charlies Winder and a BoatYard @ Beer. We had sails from North, P&B, Hyde and HD. This year the show also included a ‘Class Association’ stage where classes were invited to give a 15-minute talk to present their association. I was pleased to be able to give this talk on our behalf and feedback was very positive. I was also approached on the stand by a marketing lady from Harken. They were putting together a promotional video featuring classes that they sponsor. This is expected to be released shortly and I will send a link to it when I hear it out.

Charlie Cumbley put on a Q&A session during Saturday Lunchtime. This was well attended.

The Solo class was also awarded a prize from SailRacer for the top class in the Winter Sail Juice series. Well done to everyone that tool part!

Finally, we were very pleased to be able to present winners of the Photo of the Month competition with their ‘virtual vouchers’ from Magic Marine at the show. There was a photo of each winner taken with the manager of MM who kindly attended the stand to make the presentations.

Many, many thanks to everyone that braved the weather and helped man the stand! These were (in no particular order)

* Doug Latta

* Shaun Welsh

* Godfrey Clark

* Steve Ede

* John Steels

* Terry Palmer

* Andrew Thompson

* Steve Denison

Special thanks as well to Godfrey for helping set up and storing the show equipment until next year!

Now, to the future … Next year (2019 renewals) We are planning to turn on the ‘auto-renew’ feature on Webcollect. This will mean that in January 2019 you will receive an email to say that your membership has been auto renewed. To avert any concerns, I have put together the FAQ below:

Q: What if I do not wish to renew?

A: No problem, please email me with your resignation and I will mark your account as cancelled. You will not receive any further emails from Webcollect regarding renewal.

Q: Am I obligated to pay?

A: No. You do not have to pay simply because you get the renewal email. If you are cancelling your membership or changing subscription types then please email me at [email protected]

Q: How will I know how much to pay?

A: Your renewal email will tell you how much to pay.

Q: I have changed my address, boat number, sailing club etc. How do I tell you?

A: The preferred route is to log in to your Webcollect account – details will be in the email, or follow the links from the Solo website. You can personally administer your details and edit as required. As a failover please email me the changes at [email protected]

Q: I pay by Bank Transfer – will you collect payment automatically?

A: No !! Please make the bank transfer yourself and use your unique payment reference number.

Q: I pay by Cheque – will you collect payment automatically?

A: No !! Please send your cheque to the address in the email along with a copy of that email so I can easily match your cheque to your account!!

Q: I pay by Direct Debit – will you collect payment automatically?

A: Yes! However if you wish to cancel your membership you have a grace period of about 4 days after receiving the email in which you can cancel your Direct Debit.

Q: Why are you turning on Auto Renew?

A: One of the main complaints we get is that our members can find it hard to navigate the Webcollect system. Turning on Auto Renew means that you will not have to log in to Webcollect unless you want to make changes to your subscription or personal details. Basically it is making your life easier.

Q: Can I still login to renew early?

A: Yes, no problem at all.

The report was accepted by those present and there were no questions or matters arising from it.

6. Chief Measurers Report:

Gordon Barclay, Chief Measurer…

I am delighted to report that there have been very few technical queries this year for the National Solo, so consequently there are NO new class measurement rules concerning hull, spars or foils to put before the membership this evening.

Shortly after accepting the position of Chief Measurer, 12 years ago, the RYA Technical Dept put a lot of pressure on the NSCA to revise the style of their Class Rules, so they were in a format promoted by ISAF. This turned out to be a major task that took 2 years of consideration, review meetings, and revision to complete. Fundamentally the aim was to follow a methodology and text layout that is common to all national and international classes. The sail rules were the priority and these were passed first. Then we worked on hull and foils rules. Previously measurements that were defined in the official plans were also part of the class rules without being defined in the class rules text. In retrospect, the class rules that had been in force for 50 years or so, were improved by adopting the present style, but it was a time-consuming task to get there.

I have really enjoyed my tenure as Chief Measurer of the National Solo Class Association and am very pleased that Nick Hornsby is going to succeed me in this position.

Earlier this year we conducted a thorough training for Nick in the measuring process for the whole boat and Will Loy was present to assist in the process and record it. We are indebted to HISC sailor Bill

Ingram for the use of his extensive garage and hospitality. Nick has now passed all the formal training in the technical methods that the RYA sail and hull measurers require.

So, I have no hesitation in proposing to the NSCA membership that I retire today and Nick assumes the position of Chief Measurer of the National Solo Class, with immediate effect.

Thank you very much for all your support….and interesting technical challenges! Unfortunately, Nick has had to return home so cannot receive your welcome to his new post.

The Chief Measurers report (above) was accepted by those present, there were no questions or matters arising from it.

At this point Steve Ede gave a speech of recognition and thanks to Gordon for his contributions over the last 12 years as NSCA Chief Measurer, this was received by those present with enthusiastic agreement and best wishes for Gordon.

Gordon was presented with a large printed historical photograph of him sailing a Solo and a basket of flowers for his wife, Alison.

Gordon expressed much appreciation and gratitude when accepting these gifts.

7. Election of Officers & Committee

An email from Doug Latta (below) was read to those present by Shaun Welsh, it was well received and attracted a sympathetic and supportive response.

“Please do let the fleet know I’m sorry not to be with them today, and to thank the many sailors who have passed on their thoughts to me today. My Dad passed away peacefully in his sleep so that is of great comfort to me and my brother who is also with me.

Please thank Will on my behalf for his incredible leadership of the NSCA and for ensuring that he will be an incredibly hard act to follow. I hope he will enjoy the gift on behalf of the NSCA and hope that we will share a glass at some point soon, and also to say stunning photos and video, which will be my best memory of this year’s Nationals.

Please also reassure members I will be always accessible, and will outline my vision for the class and what the role of President means to me, but in the meantime I’m deeply honoured to take on the role, and sorry not to be out there in the glorious conditions you’re all enjoying. Hope everyone has a great regatta, and look forward to seeing more videos! Thanks again Will for these, and glad you’ll be staying on to carry on the great publicity for the class.

Fair winds and following seas, also to my Dad who introduced me to sailing and was a keen Dragon sailor on the Clyde back in the 60’s

Doug”

The below list of officers and committee members was read to those present, there was a unanimous show of hands accepting all persons listed.

President – Doug Latta Vice President – Patrick Burns Hon. Secretary - Shaun Welsh Hon. Treasurer - Andrew Liddington

Membership Secretary - Andrew Thompson Championship Secretary - Steve Ede Chief Measurer – Nick Hornsby Media & Promotion - Will Loy Magazine Editor - Guy Mayer Training Co-ordinator - Mark & Linda Lee Dinghy Show co-ordinator - Andrew Thompson Committee Member & Facebook - Chris Brown Committee Member & Jury - Steve Watson *Midland Rep - Nigel Davis Southern Rep - Martin Frary Northern Rep - Phil Barnes Western Rep - John Steels Thames Valley Rep - Godfrey Clark Eastern Rep - Godfrey Clark Sea Series Rep - Robert Laurie Scottish Re - David Parkin Vet/GM Rep - Peter Fryer

*Those present were informed of Nigel Davis intention to stand down at the end of 2018 season.

Votes for: 42

Votes against: 0

Abstainers: 0

Committee members & structure as above CARRIED.

8. Proposed Rule Amendments:

Rule Proposal 1 To allow the NSCA to charge a royalty of £10 on all new sails

sold to UK residents. Proposed by Will Loy Seconded by Chris Brown (if agreed constitutionally we would then seek agreement from

RYA and advice on application/launch date)

There was a brief discussion in the room regarding this proposal. Including that it would be monitored by way of a sticker attached by sailmakers. Concerns regarding cost to members was raised, and whether this would see a direct price increase on a new sail. Charlie Cumbley (North Sails) explained that whilst it may result in a price increase, as a class rule it would be included in the price of the sail and may not actually be felt by the customer at all. It was clear that this comment was made as a generalised overview, and not a definitive or binding statement. It did however provide some reassurance for those present.

Further concern was raised as to whom would benefit from this additional cost, minds were put at rest when Will Loy explained that it was a fee that would go to the NSCA for the direct benefit of members.

VAT concerns were negated when it was made clear that the NSCA is not VAT registered.

The matter was put to the vote, results as follows…

Votes For: 40

Votes Against: 1

Abstainers: 2

CARRIED

This means the NSCA committee will now liaise with the RYA and sailmakers towards achieving this stated objective.

Rule Proposal 2 NSCA members must have hull membership stickers affixed to

compete/qualify for NSCA organised events and series with the

exception of those who only attend their own club open meeting

and Overseas competitors who will be deemed as members of

their own association. Proposed by Chris Brown Seconded by Will Loy (While we cannot restrict series racing to NSCA members at club

organised events, only NSCA members results will be included in

NSCA designated events.)

This proposal attracted a good deal of purposeful discussion. Issues such as ‘how it is policed & monitored’; what happens when boats are bought, sold, or borrowed? Are stickers to be removed & replaced etc?

Cost of producing & issuing stickers was raised. Stickers would be issued with Solo Specific magazine when posted out, which raised a further question given the previous discussion at item 4 in respect of a printed magazine versus an online publication, where no postage is associated with an online magazine.

And also, that this has previously been achieved by way of a required field on an event entry form.

Concerns were raised regarding how the sticker method would be ‘policed’, suggesting that a physical check of all boats was required which may be difficult to achieve, and for a number of good reasons legitimate members may not have a sticker displayed – whilst non members may by virtue of using or buying a boat belonging to a current member.

A number of members suggested that an up to date list on the NSCA website may be a helpful solution, providing access to names of members with boat numbers.

This concept received a positive response amongst many of those present but raised concerns regarding potential conflict with GPDR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Any such list was thought likely to only include name and boat number.

A number of members present with varying levels of professional experience in this area negated those concerns, stating that such a proposal would not meet the criteria for GPDR, and could also be included in a membership agreement.

A particularly poignant view, albeit perhaps more philosophical than specific, came from Patrick Burns who suggested the priority was that of sailing, and membership of the NSCA came from that. Inviting the members to take a more inclusive stance, from which membership may follow…rather than an apparently rigid start point of membership first and foremost which seemed likely to provide a negative, or discouraging introduction to Solo sailing.

This concept received a positive response from many members present.

There was further support for a website list because it was likely to improve Area Representative’s knowledge of members competing at the numerous open meetings. Such a list was also thought likely to assist with ensuring greater integrity with monitoring access to free training for NSCA members.

The matter was put to the vote, results as follows…

Votes For: 4

Votes Against: 31

Abstainers: 8

NOT CARRIED

9. Any other business

(i) On the water judge – does the membership want to

continue with this?

An email from Steve Watson (Committee member & On Water Judge) was read to those present by Shaun Welsh

“On water judge

It is interesting that this remains as an AGM item.

The costs appear to be a smaller part of the decision; a days judge will be travel, say 200 miles at £0.40. Accommodation cost could be significant and unpredictable. A local judge will reduce the personnel costs. The judge boat rental, which will be around £200 depending on venue, is significant. In terms of the currency of ‘memberships’, the cost of a judge is quite high and many members don’t get to receive the benefit. Even if the judge pays their own expenses the cost of a judge boat is a significant element. The entry fee implication may be resisted.

A more critical policy discussion is the value of having a judge at all. Promotion of “fair and enjoyable sailing” (RYA Charter) or external enforcement of a single, rather subjective, rule. I favour the former. Consistency of the judge’s ruling will be an issue. I believe there is no longer any formal RYA practical training in Rule 42 but is assumed as part of the theory-based judge course and an on-water

assessment for National Judge qualification. Having the range of weather and water conditions at a R42 training event for understanding the application of the various components of the rule is a problem. I am told the RYA are reviewing the R42 service to the UK.

The Class might opt for a regular ‘class judge’ or accept any available judge that might be appointed on an event by event basis. The former will develop a relationship with the Class and the nature of the boat. The latter might be appointed by the venue and questions of consistency are more likely to arise. An event appointed judge might be tempted to penalise to prove their contribution. The ‘fairness’ perception may be undermined.

At present there are seven judged Solo events in 2018. The current ‘class’ judge will only be attending four (also, one was not a R42). In terms of judging days, the ‘class’ judge is contributing a minority of R42 days.

The AGM is a good opportunity to determine the future in this regard.

I have to announce that, due to family activities, I will not be available for summer 2019, returning to the UK sailing circuit in the winter.”

In answer to a question of cost, it was confirmed that the on-water judge cost about £300 a year, but much of the cost is built into the entry fees at major events.

There was a clear and overriding consensus in the room to continue using an on-water judge, and when the cost per competitor was estimated (Eg. HISC Nationals judge cost was £800, which divided across 104 competitors was seen as good value).

The presence on the water was recognised as a significant deterrent, and proactive intervention further enhanced the fairness and quality of Solo racing. The educational benefit to racing standards was also recognised, and if consistency with judges could be achieved this was considered to be a further benefit to the class.

In terms of cost – Will Loy added that he uses the Judges RIB as a Media Boat as well, which allows for high quality media coverage on the water without any additional expense for another RIB.

When the number of judges was raised, it was felt that 1 per event was sufficient and proportionate to competitive Solo racing – and this was best achieved by continuing with the current random system in use.

The criteria for an event to warrant an on-water judge centred on number of competitors and prestige of event, as such the National Championships, Inland Championships & Nigel Pusinelli event were thought most likely to benefit. But it was recognised that other events have, and may still enjoy an on-water judge.

It was also recognised that this same matter was discussed and agreed at last year’s AGM – and the view of those present on both occasions remains supportive of an on-water judge.

Will thanked members for their views, explaining that it will now be taken forward by the committee.

There followed a presentation to Will Loy by Chris Brown – in recognition of, and thanks for the last 3 years as President. It was very well received by Will and there was unanimous support from all present.

Meeting concluded 2100.

Next AGM will be at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy. On Friday 9th August 2019, to be confirmed by NSCA Committee.

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