WEDNESDAY 7 JULY 1999. 19.30 hrs
"The Class was designed in the 1950s as a one design development class. The Rules provide for hull construction to be tightly monitored and for foil shapes and layouts to be very flexible within parameters strict enough to preserve the basic concept of "one design" racing. For over forty years I think the Class has done extremely well in maintaining the integrity of John Westell’s original concept. In view of our ability to have held well attended World Championships every year for forty four years, I think we can lay claim to being the most successful high performance dinghy yet produced.
Part of this success has been due to the integrity of the fleet measurers in the various countries around the world. This is a point which I wish to dwell on. At a couple of recent major regattas some competitors have competed without the most basic requirement of being a 505 boat owner - i.e. being the holder of a valid measurement certificate. This practice is of utmost concern to the IEC and will not be tolerated. We have taken steps to have offenders’ results removed from recent regattas and make no apology for taking a strong stand on this issue. It is fundamental to racing a 505 that one must hold a valid measurement certificate. If we allow the Class to lower its standards on this issue we will very quickly slide into being an undisciplined group with no significance.
It is exciting to see such a huge entry for this year’s Worlds which is, I believe, our largest fleet ever. It will be interesting to hear the competitors’ reaction to such a large fleet after the event. In 1967 at La Baule there were 145 starters and it was this regatta which brought about a subsequent rule to limit Worlds entries to 75. Things have thus come full circle.
It is with deepest regret that we were recently saddened by the news of the passing of Huguette Buffet. Huguette had been an active and ardent supported of the Class and a supporter of Marcel’s involvement in the Class ever since its inception. Her familiar face will be sadly missed at International Regattas and our special condolences are extended to Marcel."
The International Secretary reported that the rule changes which went to ballot following the 1998 AGM had been passed by an overwhelming majority. The number of ballots returned, with the exception of Australia and France, was very low, although this may have been because the changes were not viewed as being controversial.
Following the recent debate in the Class concerning Category B advertising, we have been monitoring ISAF’s proposals to modify the advertising rules, since these include abolition of Category B. We have been actively making the Class’s views known, and were particularly pleased to have the opportunity of discussing matters with the ISAF President, Paul Henderson, at the IGC meeting two days before this AGM. Whilst the detail is still awaited, it is gratifying that the ISAF’s philosophy is that control should rest with the Classes, except for major international events such as the Olympics and the Round the World Race where ISAF would retain control.
Overall, membership in 1998 was slightly down on the previous year at 1,011. This was almost entirely due to a significant fall in UK membership. This was due to administrative problems rather than a real decline in active boat ownership. It is understood that numbers are already recovering in the UK and France is also likely to show significant growth in 1999.
Since the last Worlds, twenty four boats have been registered and we are on course for around thirty over the twelve month period, which is similar to previous years.
The ISAF have recently written seeking to increase the building fee from its present level of £25. They have reminded us that the figure is supposed to be based on 0.4% of the average price of a new boat in the UK, which would suggest an increase of between £15 and £20 on the existing figure - hardly something which is likely to impact on the number of new boats built.
The Treasurer presented the audited accounts for 1998 which had been circulated with the agenda. Although there had been a fall income, a surplus of £3,724 had been made following a deficit of £2,071 in 1997. This was mainly due to:-
It was proposed by Jim Berry (GBR) and seconded by Peter Holden (AUS) that the accounts be adopted. Approved without dissent.
Chris Thorne advised that Jurgen Feurerhake (GER) had indicated his willingness to stand again as auditor. His appointment was proposed by Tom Bojland (DEN) and seconded by Neil Fulcher (GBR). Approved without dissent.
The IRC Chairman briefly outlined the sail measurement changes which had been approved at ballot and would come into force either on 1 January or 1 March 2000, subject to approval by the ISAF. He recommended that all measurers should obtain a copy of the ISAF Equipment Rules of Sailing, which contained the definitions used in our new rules.
Both existing office holders facing re-election, Chris Thorne (International Secretary) and Steve Burwood (International Treasurer), had indicated their willingness to serve for a further term. There being no other nominations, the President declared them duly re-elected.
The post of IRC Chairman was also to be elected by the membership for the first time following the constitutional changes approved at the recent ballot. Rob Napier had indicated his willingness to continue in the position and was nominated by the IEC. His election was approved on a show of hands.
Although not formally due for election this year, the President wished to take this opportunity of confirming Ali Meller’s role as Vice President. Although this appointment had been made two years ago by co-option, it had now been formally constituted following the recent ballot. He wished to thank Ali for the huge effort he had made, both in maintaining the NA web site and communicating news to Association members and the outside world.
These were detailed on the agenda, which had been circulated to all National Associations prior to the AGM and which was available to members attending the meeting.
Peter Holden (AUS) proposed that the amendment to A7.2, item 8a of the agenda be approved. Seconded by Ian Dunn (AUS). Approved without dissent.
The Secretary and President outlined the discussions which had taken place with Paul Henderson, President of ISAF, at the IGC meeting with regard to the proposed abolition of Category B. Proposed by Tom Bojland (DEN) that 8b of the agenda be accepted. Seconded by Paul Young (GBR). Approved without dissent.
The Secretary reported that there had been no proposals made in accordance with Rule A11, A12 and A13.
Tom Bojland reported that a few Danish boats had been experimenting over the last winter with a larger spinnaker as mooted at the last two AGMs. The luff length had been increased by a metre to six metres. The experiments involved a simple, temporary modification to the mast, i.e. fixing a temporary external sheave for the spinnaker halyard 85cms higher than the existing. The pole fitting remained at the same height but the pole was carried 15cms lower. The conclusion drawn by the Danes was that the new spinnaker improved enjoyment of the boat and resulted in material speed increases when sailing broad and in lighter winds. Testing had been done in up to 30 knots.
Krister Bergstrom had tried an even bigger kite with 6.5m luffs and lower pole fitting. The problem with this was that he couldn’t see in front and he felt that this was dangerous and undesirable.
Jean-Baptiste Dupont (FRA) reported that he had tried putting the halyard up half a metre and moving the pole down half a metre. He also confirmed visibility problems. Another problem with lowering the pole was preventing it from lifting. He also found a problem fitting the larger kite in the chute. Tom Bojland countered that this had not found to be a problem by the Danes.
On a show of hands it was clear that the vast majority present were in favour of the trials progressing. The President proposed that the IEC should form a sub committee to draw up some firm guidelines for final experimentation and actively encourage National Associations to try the new kite in competitive situations during the next year, e.g. by allowing dispensation for its use in specific cases or regattas. This would then give a basis on which a firm rule change could be proposed and voted upon at the next AGM. This course of action was agreed by virtually all present, with only two dissenters.
Nigel Milln (RSA) confirmed arrangements for the 2000 Worlds at The Point Yacht Club in Durban on 13-24 November 2000. He advised that there would be a pre-Worlds series of three days. The Worlds proper would be Friday 17 to Friday 24 inclusive which would allow one lay day, scheduled after four days of racing. It was felt prudent to allow for a lay day since winds at that time of the year were expected to be strong - with an average of 15 to 25 knots. The sea would be significantly warmer than anywhere in Europe and the air temperature would probably be between 20 and 25 Celsius.
Sponsorship had been arranged with the Mediterranean Shipping Company. Containers and shipping would be free of charge, although competitors would have to pay incidental costs such as insurance, demurrage and transfers. Containers could be provided from Australia, the USA and major ports in Europe. Bob Crisp was in charge of organising the containers and had been making himself known to competitors at this Championship.
An advantage of holding the Worlds in November was that it was an off peak season and therefore both the air fares and local accommodation would be cheaper. Club members were likely to offer to put people up in their homes. Many of these were in the suburbs and would be particularly suited to families. In town hotel accommodation could be had for around £25 per night and a more modest bed and breakfast for around £10 per night.
Clube Naval de Cascais, Estoril, Portugal, had been intending to send a representative to the meeting to make a presentation, but unfortunately had to cry off at the last minute. A written proposal had been sent to the Secretary instead. The club seemed to be a venue with a good track record in hosting international regattas and an attractive place to stay. New facilities were in the course of being developed. The regatta was scheduled for July. Some concerns were expressed over the detail and the club’s ability to meet all our requirements, particularly on shore social events. It was agreed that it would be prudent for Officers to contact Cascais with our queries and perhaps visit the site with a view to satisfying themselves that the venue would be satisfactory. The meeting approved by a large majority a proposal by the President that we provisionally accept Cascais’s invitation.
In the event that Cascais does not prove to be satisfactory, Krister Bergstrom (SWE) advised that Sweden would be prepared to host the 2001 Championships, although its preference was for 2003. There was general acceptance of this proposal and the Swedish Association are invited to bring back detailed proposals for approval at the 2000 AGM.
Ian Dunn made a short presentation about the regatta site at Freemantle, near Perth. Grolsch had already offered sponsorship, although no specific sponsor had yet been arranged for containers. Whilst the meeting was positive about the venue, concerns were expressed over the proposed date with the pre-Worlds starting in December 2001 and the Worlds proper taking place in the first week of January 2002. Concerns were expressed over the costs and availability of airline tickets over the Christmas/New Year period. However, the greatest objection was that this date would be only five months after the Worlds in Cascais and, when taken together with Durban, would mean that there would be three Championships in little over thirteen months. It was felt that this programme would adversely affect the attendance at some or all of the three events. Rather than move the Perth Championships back to February or March, which would not prove popular with the Europeans, there was a strong view expressed from the floor that it would be preferable to have the Championships at the end of 2002, thus giving non Australians plenty of time to save up for the event. Ian Dunn agreed to go back to the club with this proposal.
Jim Berry confirmed the arrangements for the European Championships to be held at Abersoch in Wales in August 2000. The event would be combined with the UK Nationals and possibly with the UK round of the European Cup. A publicity leaflet was being circulated to competitors at Quiberon.
The formal business of the meeting was concluded at 22.00 hrs