Rule Change Proposals and 2017 AGM Minutes

Thursday, May 10, 2018

 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)

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.)

 

NATIONAL SOLO CLASS A.G.M. MINUTES
10th July 2017, Royal Torbay YC
Present:- 46 members in attendance of which 6 were Committee Members
1. Apologies for absence:- D Walford, A Liddington, G Clark, S Townsend, P Whybrow, N Fisher
2. Minutes of the last meeting There were no objections to the previous Minutes

3. Presidents Report
Firstly, a warm welcome to Royal Torbay Yacht Club and to the 2017 Noble Marine National Solo UK Championship.
It is indeed a pleasure to be standing before you at this, my third Annual General Meeting as Class President, in surroundings befitting of this prestigious event. The AGM is often thought of, as one of the least popular “social events” of the week. Not that we, as a Class could ever be accused of providing wall to wall post race entertainment. A cold beer and then an early night still seem the preferable to fancy dress and a dance.
I have known members to fain injury or opt for a visit to the local crochet museum rather than attend, and yet, this meeting really is the pivotal moment in the year, decisions discussed and actioned by like-minded Solo sailors will define the future and health of the boat we all love so your participation is greatly appreciated.

I would like to briefly outline the last twelve months since we met in Pwllheli, before we look forward to 2018 and beyond.
We had 83 entries at Pwllheli in 2016 and while the competitors certainly did not appreciate the rather long distance and lack of matting for launch and recovery, the club itself was impressive and the staff, helpful and friendly. I would recommend returning to this venue in the future, provided the local council do remove sufficient sand from the ramps. Andy Davis won the title and is here defending this week with rivals including Charlie Cumbley, who won the title here in 2008 in a fleet of 84, sailing 4858. Nine years later the newest boat here is 5764, an incredible 900 builds in 9 years.

Unfortunately the 60 Year Celebratory event to be held at Draycote Water in August was cancelled due to the forecast of strong winds, which was fully justified as the prediction held true.
We manipulated the Inland Championships to include a Vintage criteria, but this proved a less popular format and was not widely supported.
I do believe there is room for a Vintage section within our Open Meeting circuit, but this would rely on volunteers to organise and to be honest, the Committee has enough on its centreboard plate right now.
One of the positives to draw from the event was the introduction of a live band for the Saturday evening social and with the draw for Solo 6000, ensured a memorable evening for all, especially for Patrick Burns. Andy Davis was once again dominant, winning all three races on day 1 and the fleet were relieved that day 2 was binned early as the forecasted light winds were realised. I must praise all who attended, despite the poor weather forecast, 79 of you turned up.

Your attendance at these major events sends the very bold message to other classes that we are THE Class to race if you want big fleet one design racing.
The Inland Championship also served as a platform for members to view an altered National Solo following some month’s serious investigation into possible improvements. A huge thank you to Dave Winder and Steve Denison for chopping up one of their Solos, and also thanks to the Member’s frank views on the version displayed. While the Committee made it quite clear that we would not support the changes, it was made clear that NSCA Members could still put a rule proposal forward at this year’s AGM.
With the proposed rule changes put to bed, new boat sales quickly took off which was a big relief to all, especially the builders and to the RYA who receive a boat registration fee. At this event the latest new build is 5764, while at last year’s event it was 5682 and in 2015 it was 5628.
There are currently builders with licences, Winder Boats, Ovington Boats, P+B who market the JP hull, moulded by Richard Wagstaff, Kevan Gosling Dinghy Craft, Boatyard at Beer, and Steve Parker Boats who have just applied for licence.
I have to say, the modern day Solo is indeed a fabulous product and second hand values remain high with builders unable to keep up with demand. Wooden and composite examples can be bought at a price which really does not justify the work that has gone into them, the lack of free time put aside for maintenance has certainly affected these sales rather than by performance issues.

The End of Seasons marked the finale to the North Sails Super Series, and despite re-arranging the event the weather would not play which resulted in cancellation. Andy Davis defended the North Sails Super Series and collected a brand new trophy for his efforts. Chris brown claimed the new North F2 sail and was suitably chuffed. Chris is a worthy winner and did complete nearly all of the events which gave him a better chance than some. Do more events and give yourself a better chance in 2017!

Website
During December’16 I had correspondence from our Webmaster Paul Dowman that he would be unable to continue to oversee the Solo site and this included hosting it. Paul also admitted that while the site functioned, it was not quite up to the specification that he would consider acceptable. These observations reflected Member’s views which we had taken onboard.
Paul put us in touch with Neil Hodges at Yellowphin who specialise in web hosting and more importantly, web design. Committee Member Andy Hyland, who has some knowledge of website use and functionality acted as a conduit to ensure there was a seamless handover from Paul to Yellowphin. Paul agreed to pay back £1500 and this has been actioned.
We do pay circa £200 + per month for hosting and maintenance and I am assured that this is the going rate for such a business.
The next stage was to take on board all feedback and criticisms of site design and usability and initiate a re-design. Fortunately some of the basic platform created by Paul was in place so Yellowphin, working initially with Andy Hyland, put forward a number of proposals aimed at re-igniting the site’s visuality and usability. Andy has a background in project management and has been able to clearly define what the NSCA site should provide, and has been able to give clear instruction to Neil at Yellowphin. Working with a small sub Committee team, we hope that the new design will reflect the vibrancy and health of the Class.
The cost, which we agreed at our last Committee Meeting in April is £5k with the hosting and maintenance fee remaining at approx £200 per month.
Andy Hyland provided a brief update – A lot of feedback has been received about the design of the website and not engaging members in use of the forum. A test version of the alterations is shortly be undertaken, with a potential release of the redesign by end of August’17. A request from Gordon Barclay was made that the site send members an email notification when a new forum item was posted, and new for sale items, with the option for members to opt in or out of this central notification.

The RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show
Another successful show and huge thanks to the Committee and other volunteers for manning the stand. I highlight Andrew Thompson as the show Co-Ordinator who ensured everyone was where they should be and that the three Solos on show were delivered and exhibited without any problems. We intend to reduce the size of the stand in 2018 and show two Solos. Bribery will ensure the right boats are on show!

The Noble Marine Winter Championships were hosted at Draycote Water. While the forecast was for strong winds with gusts in the 30s, the limit we had set is 33mph and, on the day we did not encounter that bomb on the racecourse. That said, Charlie Cumbley did go for a swim while winning the event so it was a tad breezy. Great effort from the 37 entries and a fine display of heavy weather racing from you guys. While we must keep one eye on wind prediction and safety, we must not get too soft and deter the younger healthier, fitter sailors from racing the National Solo - they are the future.

Spring 2017 Committee Meeting
The Committee met after racing at the Spring Championship at Oxford. The main point of discussion was how to get funds back up to an acceptable level following two years of spend. Among the “prudent” measures agreed:
Magazine - For 2018 the NSCA policy will to offer advertising slots which must be pre-paid before inclusion. We estimate revenue to be between £1300-£1700 which will cover 50% of the cost of publication and postage.

Following several years of judging which has proved largely successful in educating the fleet, thanks to Steve Watson, we are cutting back on the “on water umpiring” though we still hope to provide this form of policing at some of the major events including the Inland Championship.
I must say I am very pleased to see, largely, fair racing on the water this week, please may it continue. I think Laurence Creaser may disagree and I am still waiting to see what happens when Andy Davis and Chris Brown cross tacks this week.

In conclusion, since I have run out of time to type, the National Solo Class continues to flourish with over 90 new hulls built since last July. Members are stepping forward to fill vacant positions and the Committee is at full strength, albeit without a Vice President. Please visit your consciences, discuss with your wives and consider what a great job you could do as future President.

4. Hon. Treasurers Report
In the absence of the Hon Treasurer, David Walford, his report was read out by the Class Secretary:
After four years as your Treasurer I have decided that now is the right time to step down. During my time in the role matters have changed within the National Solo Class Association, and currently the finances remain in good order which will enable my replacement to take matters forward.
Summary 2016
A challenging year for the National Solo Class Association where a trading loss of circa £12,000 is being reported. There are reasons for this loss which are summarised below. In basic terms 'One Off' costs have been incurred during the last year without an understanding of where additional income could have been generated to cover this expenditure. Going forward the Solo Committee have agreed to assess matters fully before additional 'One Off' costs are incurred. The objective being to cover this expenditure from other or additional revenue opportunities.
Currently the Reserves maintained are circa £50,000 a reduction from £62,500 in 2015. If losses continue to be reported at this level then the reserves would last for just over 4 years.
Overall the National Solo Class Association must operate profitably or break even, and no doubt this will be discussed at future Solo Committee meetings:
Membership Numbers:
2016 2015 2014
870   812   963
· It is anticipated that membership numbers will remain stable at circa 860 in 2017.
Subscriptions income:

 2016     2015      2014
£19,531 £22,262 £22,401
· In 2017 and based upon the increased subscription of £25 this will increase to £21,500.
Total income:
2016 2015 2014
£40,303 £43,353 £56,334
· A reducing trend attributable to lower membership numbers & other income sources, despite the increase in recent increased Championship income.
Nationals:
2016 – Pwllheli 2015 North Berwick 2014 - Brightlingsea 2013 - Hayling
Entrants: 84 Entrants: 70 Entrants: 69 Entrants: 113
£13,845 £9,765 £10,567 £19,010
It should be noted that despite increased income for Pwllheli, this did not cover all costs for the event and a loss of circa £1,000 was incurred.
RYA Registration Fees - we have also have seen a reduction in RYA registration fees during 2016 due to fewer new Solos being purchased & registered. This being due to the uncertainty around possible Class Rules changes which subsequently have been addressed.
Advertising Income - this has substantially reduced as advertising within Solo Specific Magazines has been paid via donation of sailing equipment as opposed to cash. These items have then used as prizes for members at various Championships. Going forward it has been agreed by the Solo Committee that this stance will change, with all adverts being paid up front in cash.
Ongoing costs:
  2016    2015      2014      2013
£52,334 £40,241 £39,976 £45,905
· A substantial increase evident for the reasons shown below.
Solo Specific Magazine £10,305 - whilst lower than in 2015, income to cover this cost has reduced as shown above. Currently each edition of the Solo Specific Magazine is costing the Association circa £2,500 ie £7.5k to £10k pa depending on the number of editions.

This cannot continue unless a different approach is negotiated going forward.
Publicity £4,925 – a substantial increase on the £1,298 in 2015. This relates to advertising within Yachts and Yachting where increased charges are now payable. It is anticipated that in 2017 advertising within this magazine will reduce.
Dinghy Show £6,167 – this cost has remained stable at this level for some years, but savings were made in 2017, and a reduced space has been booked for 2018. It is however necessary to have a stand for obvious reasons.

Solo Nationals £14,843 - another significant increase on the £10,654 in 2015. The increased costs are attributable to higher mileage to Wales, On Water Judge, & Accommodation costs. Costs for the 2017 event have been reviewed & reduced, but it is likely another loss will be incurred.
Other Costs £12,651 – up from £6,077 in 2015. A substantial increase but hopefully a 'One Off' occurrence. This does include the cost of 'Solo 6000' £5,691 which was offered to the Solo membership as a 60th Anniversary prize. Also the new Website which was very much needed cost £3,600 although a further upgrade is required in 2017 costing £5,000.
· In total an Overall Loss for 2016 of £12k was incurred.
The annual membership subscription fee was increased to £25.00 for 2017, but if costs keep increasing perhaps a further rise in future years may be necessary. The Committee continue to produce the excellent Magazine, Website & Facebook for the membership, and fund prizes for the various Series Events across the UK. These are funded from subscriptions, advertising & sponsorship, and in regard to the latter our key sponsorship is Noble Marine Insurance. This relationship has been in place for a number of years, and we wish to thank them for their contribution, which is greatly appreciated by all within the Association.
Plans for the future
We introduced a Web Collect option for paying subscriptions in 2015, and to date there has
been an 80% take up of this option by the membership. In 2016 this was extended to Class Association organised events, and further enhancements are anticipated going forward.
The Association website has been redesigned, updated & improved for future use by all members, with a further upgrade for enhancements which will benefit all within the NSCA.
In summary 2016 was a challenging year financially, but we have a good foundation in place which must be protected and retained going forward.
Finally my apologies for not being in attendance at the AGM, but should anyone have any questions with regards to any financial matters please email the Treasurer.
Dave Walford

5. Membership Secretary’s Report
The current total Membership stands at 787 (815 at same point last year). The ability for Members to pay by Direct Debit was introduced in March’17, and this is encouraged as will reduce significantly the time spent by the Membership Secretary & Treasurer going forward, as well as avoid members having to make a separate payment when renewing annually.
At the request of Members, a reintroduction of Membership Stickers will occur in 2018.

6. Chief Measurers Report
I am delighted to report that I have very little to comment this year, but I wish to announce that this will be my last year at Chief Measurer, and I shall step down at the next AGM. I wish to thank everyone who have helped me since I first started in this role, and the friendship within the Class.
I am pleased to report that Nick Hornsby has volunteered to stand as my deputy, and will during the coming year learn the ropes on undertaking this role.

7. Election of Officers & Committee
President Will Loy
Vice President Vacant
Hon. Secretary Shaun Welsh
Hon. Treasurer Andrew Liddington
Membership Secretary Andrew Thompson
Championship Secretary Steve Ede
Chief Measurer Gordon Barclay
Assistant Chief Measurer Nick Hornsby
Publicity Will Loy
Magazine Editor Guy Mayger
Training Co-ordinator Mark & Linda Lee
Dinghy Show co-ordinator Andy Thompson
Committee Member Chris Brown
Committee Member – website Andy Hyland
Committee Member 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. Vacant
Scottish Rep. David Parkin
Vet/GM Rep. Peter Fryer
No names were received from the floor, and a show of hands accepted all proposed.

8. Proposed Rule Amendments
8.1 Proposer: Dutch Solo Class Association:
Rule C.5.1 (a) 1 Electronic or mechanical timing devices that do not indicate, transmit or collate data related to wind speed or boat location. The notice of race for an event may amend this rule to permit the use of a watch with additional GPS capability only. The proposal was put forward as Dutch organised sailing events already permit use of GPS watches, and that many modern watches already have GPS capability. Additionally information can be downloaded to show tracking during a race, and is attractive to sailors for coaching purposes.

Comments were made that other UK classes do not allow this equipment, that such watches are costly, and would provide live positioning on start line bias. Watches do not improve boat handling, and sailors would know they are over the line but if not spotted by the Race Committee, would be a breach of the Racing Rules.
A suggestion was made that a 1 year trial at joint events with the Dutch Solo Class be undertaken to determine if any advantage was provided against non GPS watches.

Vote For the amendment: 4 Against: 35

8.2 Proposer: John Webster Seconded: Will Loy
Rule D.9.4 (a)
Corrector weights of any material shall be permanently fastened to the aftermost end of the centreboard case, or to the underside of the centre thwart, or a combination of both locations, when the hull weight is less than the minimum requirement.
John Webster highlighted that many existing & new dinghy classes do not have correctors showing, as they are unattractive and can propose a safety risk with ropes catching around them. Historically correctors were placed in such a position to penalise builders from building underweight boats. With the change in materials over the years, boats are now produced significantly underweight and correctors are always required, hence the proposal to move them out of direct sight to overcome both issues.
Comment was made that builders could easily produce boats to the minimum weight by placing more resin within the boat, but this would slightly increase costs. Comment also made that when capsized, by moving corrector weights to a slightly higher point within the boat, this may make righting harder. There would be no cost to Members in moving current correctors from their current position and re-attaching to under the centre thwart, which would be permitted.

Vote For the amendment: 28 Against: 4

9. Any Other Business
9.1 A notice was received from South Caernarvonshire YC who host the Welsh Sea Championships that a required pre-entry level of 40 boats will be set for 2018, and if not achieved the event may be cancelled at short notice.
9.2 A potential venue for the Nations Cup to be held in Barbados in 2021 was raised by Chris Brown, who provided an indication of costs – Transport of boats £200 each within a container, Entry Fee £250, Flights £300+ and accommodation prices varying on standard of hotel etc. The Barbados Tourist Board have been very helpful with details. Andy Davis provided an insight when competing there at the GP14 Worlds, and feed back from recent OK Worlds, that the sailing area is poor and organisation not good. Agreed Chris Brown to continue to make enquiries and report back to the Committee for further review, but other Overseas venues also to be considered.
9.3 A concern raised that no on the water Judge was in attendance at this year’s Nationals due to cost. Consensus from Members that this should be provided in future event if this increased the entry fee slightly.
9.4 Dutch Class Association requested that they be included within future consultation of proposed rule changes and Nation Cup venues to ensure we are united going forward. The Meeting closed at 9.00pm The Next A.G.M. will be held at Hayling Island SC on Monday 23rd July 2018 (subject to confirmation by the Committee)

Signed
President Will Loy

 

 

Signed
Hon. Secretary Shaun Welsh

 

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