14 October 2019
Mike Wilkie Solo 5352…in response to the survey that that was sent out to the membership with reference to purposed changes to the Solo.
Before I come to the survey results… a little about me for those members who may not know me. I’ve sailed a Solo since 1982 not as long as some, but longer than most, in that time I’ve mixed it with most of the top sailors that have come and gone in the class, then have done well then moved on and some have returned back to the fold, I’ve had moderate success over the years, Scottish Champ, for my sins I even won the Scottish travellers, driving up from Surrey to mix it with our Scottish brothers, multiple open winner. In recent years things have not been going to plan for me, 2 replacement knee operations on the same leg, and to top it all it’s failed again! In that time since 2008 I’ve had issues with my leg, it never once in that time did cross my mind to stop sailing my Solo or changing class to a less challenging one. Why would I, when what you see is what you get in the Solo? It’s in my DNA as it is probably in many more of us, Which brings me onto the proposed changes…
Firstly, how many of the members that completed the survey and have been members for, say, more than five years voted for the changes? And for those that did, ask yourself why you decided to come into Solos in the first place? Was it because you had friends already sailing the Solo, or had you heard what great competition you get in Solo fleets, or that the Solo could be found the length and breadth of the country? Or perhaps you fancied getting your name in bright lights as it was known as an old man’s boat, and it would look good on your CV to go down in history as class champion, then found out its quite challenging, or perhaps you just liked the look of this quirky single hander or you heard that the people that sail the Solo aren’t a bad bunch and the camaraderie is pretty special too… but most of all its a ONE DESIGN - which means that you don’t have to worry about changing the boat every time a change comes along. That’s the beauty of a ONE DESIGN, it’s a good safe investment, keeps its value and is easy to sell on.
Before FRP the Solo’s were mainly constructed of wood: you would spent your money on what you considered the best builder that your money could buy… so when FRP came along that was the death knell for wooden Solos and to be fair FRP boats are good value for money…not soon after, you had a choice of a MK 1 or a MK2 that was allowed within the class rules thanks to Jack Holt…the Solo way back was designed manly for home construction.. then as the Solo became more popular, professional builders came on the scene and would put their own mark on things, the Lovett’s, Beckett’s Runnymede Dinghies and then you had the Gosling’s and Thresher’s of this world, and all keeping to the plans, you never saw the need for major change, gentle changes have happened over a long time to what we have today, a cracking dinghy called a Solo…
So we jump forward to what we have today: we have a Solo One Design still. Today’s builders, in general, build a very good product and still manage put their mark on things. The Solo has a great following all over the UK..Holland..Portugal..and down under in OZ…(I feel that perhaps we should be pushing more to spread the word out and about in Europe of what a GREAT boat we have...not trying to destroy it!)
I voted against the proposed changes. Why would you want to change the great product that we have? The changes would devalue the Solos that we currently own, who in their right mind would want to buy a second-hand Solo that will look nothing like the proposed new Solo. You would have two different boats each called a Solo… how’s that going to work?
How many Solos do we have out there? Getting on for 6000 give or take a hundred or so. For those that are hell bent on taking us into a black hole, are they prepared to compensate us for loss of money on the investments in our Solos that we have made? …I think not! If these people, and they know who they are, by all means go ahead with changes; I’m sure there is a builder out there would love the chance to carry out the changes. I’ll be first in line for compensation on my investment.
The Solo is an iconic dinghy with all its warts, and all, that’s why we love it!
For me this bit is very important...on the Solo website the Survey Results says, I QUOTE :- “We the Committee are currently working with the RYA and Builders with the intention TO FAST TRACK TO A VOTE ON RULE CHANGES” Where on earth does that come from?
Does that mean that we have no say in our destiny?
I don’t think so. All that has happened there was a survey on possible changes. The Survey says that 760 people were sent a survey and 423 replied out of that 221 replies have been read by the committee, THE COMMITTEE CONCLUDES THERE IS A CLEAR MANDATE TO INVESTIGATE CHANGES FURTHER. This not in my opinion democratic. How many of the 423 have voted for change? The Committee have said 221 have been read...again I ASK YOU out of the 221 read, how many voted for a change? I believe within The Solo rules there has to be 2/3rd or 67% majority for changes to go through. This is a very important issue: the whole membership would have to vote, not 221 surveys read out of the 423 returned.
I thought this was put to bed about 2 years ago when Will Loy was president. To those of you who are hell bent on taking us down this road to disaster, I’d like to say: I have no problem with you taking your ideas to a builder of your choice, having your new boat built and calling it what you will… But it can’t be called a SOLO!
As you can see from my post I’m not happy about where we are heading. I would like to think I’m not alone in my thoughts. We need to put a stop to this madness and get back to sailing the Solo we love.
S5352.. Mike Wilkie..